The American SWP defends abstinence

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Dec 5 10:44:43 MST 2002


stuartwl at walrus.com wrote:
> I think Lou meant to say "abstention," not "abstinence." Maybe he just
> finished reading the current Newsweek cover story on "The New Virginity"
> about abstinence-only sex education and teens who "have decided to remain
> chaste until marriage." But who knows, maybe the Barnesites are for that
> too.

No, I meant abstinence even though abstention is the "right" word. I did
want to emphasize the sterility of the position, so to speak. That being
said, Oxford does not limit the term to sexual practices:

abstinence

abstinence (æbstnns).
[a. Fr. abstinence, refashioned on OFr. astenance, astinence:-L.
abstinentia, n. of quality f. abstinent-em, pr. pple. of abstine-re. See
abstain.]

1. a. The action or practice of abstaining or refraining; forbearance.
Const. from (of obs.).

1382
Wyclif Num. xxx. 14 That bi fastynge and abstynens of other thingis she
traueyl hir soul.

C. 1440
Gesta Rom. (1838) i. ii. 7 Goode werkis of kyndnesse, abstinence fro
synne, and almysdede.

1594
Hooker Eccl. Pol. (1632) v. 388 Jewish Abstinence from certaine kinds of
meates.

1692
Dryden St. Eurem. Ess. 343 The true Devout Person breaks with Nature..to
take pleasure in the abstinence of pleasures.

1732
Arbuthnot Rules of Diet 397 There are no better rules than Abstinence
from those things which occasion it.

1862
Trench Miracles xv. 260 Abstinence from an outward work is not essential
to the observance of a Sabbath.

--

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