Friday, December 21, 2007

Orgasms, Peace, and Population Control: Err…that’s a yes on the first two and a no on the third, y’all…

I’m very happy to see the second annual Global Orgasm for Peace is tomorrow/actually today for those of us here in the U.S. I’m a fan of orgasms and peace, and despite how some stuffy old lefties might feel about it, I think there’s a clear, if not always enunciable, relationship between the two. It’s not merely that sexuality is energy; it’s that even the possibility, the memory, and the anticipation of sexual joy generates happiness in those who experience it. It’s a universal happiness—at least for the sexually emancipated—and is both literally and metaphorically life-affirming. For a small time commitment, a whole lot of people will be bringing on (or is that bringing off?) sexual joy for peace. Even linking the two rhetorically is a healthy, progressive act with no real disadvantages.

But this part of
the announcement upset me greatly:

“Remember, over-population (6.8 billion people and counting) is a major cause of ‘peak everything’, so please don’t make more babies in the Global-O.”

With that single, out-of-place sentence, turned their advocacy of unbridled joy into bridled partisanship. The problems of “overpopulation” are really the problems of imperialism and class inequality, and the invocation of overpopulation without any prior acknowledgement of classism or imperialism is a tired and dangerous discourse indeed.

Others explain it better than I could: Steve Rosenthal has a
fine piece elucidating the fascist nature of overpopulation science (tied to sociobiology and a fixed view of human nature) in the context of Africa. More sweeping commentaries address the way in which population discourse is used to obscure the role of capital and class inequality in either enforcing an artificial scarcity or ignoring real scarcity (see, for example, Louis Proyect). Population control isn’t progressive. Repeating unreflective causal assertions about population is not pro-peace. In fact, it’s a pointless and potentially dangerous distraction.

Not to mention, it’s a serious downer. What if a baby is made during this all-important moment of collective bliss? That could be a very special baby. Who is to tell me, or anybody, not to make a baby while participating in a worldwide collective sex act for peace, for crying out loud?

Finally: If anything, progressives need to make more babies. Nuff said.

I’m open to discuss any of these arguments, but all I am saying is the little self-righteous warning was neither necessary nor desirable, it’s in poor taste and if it does indeed reflect a dominant ideological outlook in the people responsible for the Global-O, then it’s time for them to re-think this or turn the project over to somebody else. I’ll close with some
vintage Fred Engels:
it is absurd to talk of overpopulation so long as "there is 'enough waste land in the valley of the Mississippi for the whole population of Europe to be transplanted there"; so long as no more than one third of the earth can be considered cultivated, and so long as the production of this third itself can be raised six fold and more by the application of improvements already known.
Seriously, though: We should all participate in the Global Orgasm for Peace tonight/tomorrow. There’s simply no downside to it. It will lift our spirits and has the potential to make us aware of a fundamental, deep and ineffable connection between the individual erotic and the universal imperative of love. Happy orgasming. Remember: Solstice Day - December 22, at 06:08 Universal Time (GMT)


Annaleigh said...

Population control efforts and warnings against overpopulation are not always tied to sociobiology or the fascist stylings of those like Wilson. Overpopulation is a serious problem, one exacerbated and sometimes outright caused by imperialism and capitalism. Just warning against unplanned pregnancy in the context of the Global Orgasm for Peace seems different in intent (and... in most ways I can think of) than the writings of Wilson and other organic intellectuals. As you suggest, it is possible to oppose overpopulation and imperialism simultaneously by pointing out the ways in which imperialism and other -isms interact with control over bodies and family planning (like the US' global gag rule, an undeniably imperialistic policy). I'm unsure about why an appropriate recognition of overpopulation requires a prior account of a the linkage between it and imperialism. This seems particularly true in the case of the GOfP, since it is its own built-in imperialism critique. Isn't the whole thing a prior recognition of the ills of imperialism and classism?

Renegade Eye said...

I think you should have several orgasms for peace.

The world is overpopulated with Malthusians.