The latest issue of The Other Journal has a fascinating interview with John Milbank on contemporary atheism. In the process a whole mess of things get talked about, including the sexualization of contemporary culture in contrast with the sort of inverted totalitarianism that obtains in regard to all other forms of freedom. Here’s just one snippet:
“Science is the freedom to know and is Faustian. Beyond this is the right to choose one’s lifestyle. But of course one can’t interfere with the freedom or happiness of others nor the power of the State. The really crucial thing here which the left has missed is that sexual freedoms have increased exponentially while all other freedoms have declined.
Today in Great Britain you scarcely have the right to demonstrate and a higher proportion of the population is in prison than are in China. The boy at the shop counter with no customers is not allowed to read a book to improve himself all day, but who cares what he gets up to with sex and drink after the shop closes? Of course there’s also a double think about sex—its all OK, male sexuality is nearly always exploitative, etc… But in general it would seem that, as Adorno and Horkheimer predicted, sexualization is intended to keep us all quiet: neurotic, hysterical, frustrated and unhappy but still ‘looking’. With sex divided from procreation, science and sexual freedom come together.
So by supporting the total disjuncture of sex and procreation, the left is really supporting a new mode of fascism. ‘Women’ are lined up with science and choice in order to produce a new kind of ideal human subjectivity—male and autonomous and yet pliant in ‘female’ manner. The newly envisaged female body is the final site of the coming together of scientific objectivity and absolute freedom of choice. Perhaps one could even speak here of a new racism of the human race as such—it’s to be made the object of an endless ‘objective’ improvement and expression of a will to freedom/will to power. Of course this also means that the specific phenomenology of the female body is destroyed. It’s denied that this body is inherently linked both to the male body (as also vice-versa) and to another body that is itself and yet becomes not itself—the baby. Having denied the link of babies to men and also to women save as objects of their (‘male’) choice, babies thereby become pure consumer objects and all human personhood is abandoned.”
–Ben Suriano, “Three Questions on Modern Atheism: An Interview with John Milbank“, The Other Journal June 4 (2008)