Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wendell Berry On Sex

Not entirely unrelated to Tuesday's post on abortion, I love what eminent Kentucky writer Wendell Berry has to say about sex in America.

The "conservatives" more or less attack homosexuality, abortion, and pornography, and the "liberals" more or less defend them. Neither party will oppose sexual promiscuity. The "liberals" will not oppose promiscuity because they do not wish to appear intolerant of "individual liberty." The "conservatives" will not oppose promiscuity because sexual discipline would reduce the profits of corporations, which in their advertisements and entertainments encourage self-indulgence as a way of selling merchandise.

From Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community, (New York: Pantheon, 1993): 123.
While Berry may be generalizing a bit here, I think his point is a sharp one. And, to Tuesday's post on China's sex-selective abotions, abortion (and unwanted pregnancy) is a result--not a cause. Perhaps a focused conversation about sex can elicit better thinking about some of the issues Berry points out. Of course, that's the issue. The "two sides" would rather make it about political jostling than addressing the root of the problem. As Berry says, there's a lot to lose by doing that. A close examination of our views of sex, its use as a marketing tool, and sexuality's role in Creation (big C, not just procreation) might help give us fresh perspective on sex in America. But, that takes some transparency, courage, and a willingness to (2008 Buzzword Warning) change.

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