The Great Refusal, by Glenn Parton

This is the third and final part of Glenn Parton’s latest essay. Part one, Exterminism, is a broad criticism of Western culture. Part two, Free Love, outlines a mystical approach in support of a polyamory lifestyle. In this third part, The Great Refusal, he advocates a movement that combines a rejection of monogamy with a progressive integral politics.The ideas in the essay are Glenn’s, not mine, and you can tell him what you think through the comment facility below, or e-mail him directly.  Although I’ll be writing about my reaction to Glenn’s essay in a future article, my general views on the subject were contained in this article.

The Great Refusal by Glenn Parton

The development of global financial markets and transnational corporations is the Big Problem, but this does not mean that there is no significant difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties. The Republican Party is nothing but the political arm of corporate globalization on U.S. terms, while the Democratic Party has some wider human and ecological interests and concerns that will ìslow downî the process, and upon this ìsmallî difference hangs the fate of the earth and its inhabitants because we need ìtimeî to evolve fundamental lifestyle changes to American-led world capitalism. Only by slowing down the Corporate-Republican agenda (which is speeding us directly to hell), with the assistance of the Democratic Party, can we secure the essential time to resolve the Deep Crisis.

Party-politics or electoral politics is the politics of emergency: itís about putting out fires, treating the symptoms, staying alive, while we develop an Alternative to being burned and buried by a nuclear fireball or Global Warming. It postpones disaster, but it will not save the world unless we also begin, very soon, a deep, long-range eco-social movement that transforms the established reality (in the available time given to us by the politics of emergency). If we donít root out the original cause of U.S. global hegemony, then this social disease will grow back even stronger until it kills all of Life on earth.

Resurrecting the Founding Fathers is not the remedy because Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, wanted to pursue their own entrepreneurial endeavors with a minimum of government interference, so they set up, under the influence of Adam Smith, a free-market society in which the American political system enables the unlimited accumulation of wealth in the private sector by removing natural and man-made obstacles. To borrow a metaphor form Calvin Coolidge, the country was to be carried comfortable down the river by the current or flow of Capital, and the function of government is merely to put out an oar where there is any danger of it drifting into the bank. Unfortunately, the Founding Fathers saw government as the major threat to (commercial) freedom, with no understanding that the major threat to (human) freedom is the concentration and centralization of wealth in private hands, and there is nothing in the constitution, as they envisioned it, to correct this fatal flaw of no positive role for government in the re-distribution of wealth.

We need a completely new American Experiment that does not replace British Empire with American Empire, but rather, restores the tribal wisdom to see (immediately and intuitively) the atrocities of ìfree enterpriseî (or what Smith called ìa New Order of the Agesî that is inscribed on the back of each dollar bill). In the jungle towns of Ecuador it is known that Global Empire destroys forests, pollutes rivers, pushes indigenous cultures to the brink of extinction. The neighboring people of Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil do not want to be integrated into a worldwide system of commerce that privatizes key sectors of the economy: energy, water, sanitation, transportation, utilities, and communications, because they know that ìliberating the market, deregulation, trade liberalizationî polarizes the world into the super-rich and the global proletarian, i.e. into the masters of the universe and those who suffer tighter and tighter austerity measures.

The whole system of world capitalism is so unnatural, so contrary to human nature, that it is resisted by the overwhelming majority of (sane) people around the world (including Iraqis, who oppose the globalization and privatization of their state enterprises) but not in America, where about one-half of the voting population supports it, brags about it, fights for it, and goes to war for it, not out of ignorance, for the facts and evidence of the Great American Beast are everywhere, but due to psychological damage from the cumulative over-restriction of sexual freedom, more than anything else, that closes the heart and mind. Once the heart and mind are closed, due to sexual wounding, then people stop learning from the consequences of their actions and end up supporting, with a lot of hatred and resentment, destructive ends. If we are to defeat the American rise and supremacy of the psychologically damaged, which are using voting-power to harm themselves and everyone in the world, then we need a new American Political Experiment of Sexual Liberation (that ultimately leads to the creation of a tribal constitution that exceeds the scope of this essay).

The merger of the Religious Right and the Neocons is predicable because they are both reactionary movements to the permissiveness of the Counterculture of the sixties and seventies that called into question and challenged traditional American values, especially marriage and the nuclear family. Cultural Conservatives understand better than Progressives that monogamous family life is the foundation of modern society–if you put out this lynchpin, then the whole system will eventually fallóand that is why experimenting with alternatives to it cuts sorely into the conservative core of most Americans (on the Right and Left). We need to question and challenge, again, the sexually conservative core of the American psyche because it is preventing progressive politics from taking hold and growing.

The fragmentation of the tribe into isolated nuclear units, which predates the body-hating, guilt-ridden morality of Christianity, was a huge blow to the communitarian nature and wider sexual freedom of human beings, making it the deepest layer in the geology of exterminism, and so we must face and embrace the sexual dimension of our being in order to heal the wounds we have inflected on ourselves and the planet. I am not suggesting starting communes in America because, for one thing, this path is not economically feasible for most of us, and, for another reason, we are not ready, inwardly, for such ìhighî living, even if some of us could verbally agree that this is the best way to live. However, Refusing Monogamy is within our reach, wounded and fearful as we are, and this simple decision would shake and eventually crumble the foundation of our entire way of life (which is based on the single-family household), and prepare the ground for a new lifestyle, but if and only if it is combined with political activism.

I propose that politically aware individuals (those who know that Global Empire is causing world-destruction) form free associations of individuals who renounce monogamy in principle, in favor of the principle that it is possible and desirable to sexually love more than one person of the opposite sex at the same time. I say, ìin principle,î because there can be nothing obligatory about sexual love except the willingness, courage, and intelligence not to limit it. It is perfectly acceptable, according to my strategy for social change, for a politically awake person not to find sexual love with anyone, or perhaps only with one person, so long as s/he remains genuinely open to the ideal of unlimited sexual love, and does not give up on this endeavor. What would this accomplish? 

This strategy would form a political community that is united not only by ideas and values, but also by emotions and desires. This is the key to successful political organization because ideas and ideals, no matter how important, are not strong enough, by themselves, to hold people together over the long runówitness the rise and fall of numerous progressive movements over the last half-century. The pattern is that caring individuals gather and organize for the best political reasons, but over time the group declines from within due to jealousy, competition, or personality conflicts of one kind or another. Only a holistic or integral community that engages the whole human beingómind, heart, and desire (knowledge, compassion, and sex), can achieve the cohesion, solidarity, creativity, and intelligence that are required for the long and difficult task of total social transformation.

Once sexual love is put in a monogamous box, then the couple becomes a community within a community, which is to say, it fragments the larger community, prevents it from reaching higher levels of complexity, integration and oneness, stops the free flow of sexual energy which is the only force in the universe, beyond friendship and intellectual bonding, strong enough to overcome the artificial boundary of monogamous coupledom that separates, isolates, and imprisons us. If we let sex out of the box, among the politically awake, at least in theory, then We would initiate a new love paradigm of togetherness, devotion and oneness. Given the selfishness that presently prevails in the dominate Culture, I do not think that free love outside of a safe progressive political context is the best strategy for social change, but if it was combined with the very best political intentions and actions, then non-exclusive sexual love would become a vehicle that carries us upward and onward, a groundswell for a new politics of vitality, adventure, and joy.

There is nothing young adults care about more than sexual love. Giving our politics a sexual dimension would draw them into a Movement (waiting to happen) far more powerfully than anything else, including ideas and ideals for ending world poverty, disease, genocide and ecocide. Sexual energy is the lifeblood of any social and political gathering, and if it is overly restrained and weakened by unnecessary and unquestioned customs and conventions, then frustration and boredom result, leaving only duty-bound morality to motivate people beyond ego and little family concerns, which has never been enough, and never will be enough, to save the world. In contrast, the battle cry, ìrefuse monogamy in favor of sexual-love-politics for world transformation,î would certainly get and hold their attention, not to mention the attention of the media, and it could lead to a global youth revolution that finally rejects the false masters whose only joy is suffering unto death.

Not just the young, but all adults have an inalienable right to a rich and diverse erotic life, but it is no where to be found in this ascetic culture, not in our mental-politics, and not in our false (desexualized) spirituality that believes that Enlightenment comes from leaving behind the physical (the human body and the larger body of earth). The sad truth is that Americans cannot handle sex, not in our politics and not in our spirituality because we are infected with the ìideaî of it as something dirty, shameful, or violent. The word ìspiritî stands for the integration and evolution of the total human being, which means that the 3 dimensions of human existence (sexuality, love, and knowledge) comprise a balanced whole in which each part is playing its proper role and getting its own just desert. I am not proposing (or condemning) free sex (for fun or recreation) for anyone, but I am saying that small circles of individuals who practice an integral politics that refuses to disregard or minimize any vital aspect of the human animal could begin a new society that everyone (sane) will eventually join.

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2 Responses to The Great Refusal, by Glenn Parton

  1. Lionel says:

    Hi, Dave. I love your blog. Warm French regards!

  2. natasha says:

    This is my question about non-monogamy: who takes care of the kids?I’m not hidebound enough to think all sex is about procreation, which presumably you know from having dropped in at the blog now and again, but when people do want children they take a lot of time and resources. Free love sounds nice in theory, but in practice it often means that guys get to have whatever fun they want and bail when there’s actual work to be done. Given such circumstances, most women decide not to have children if they have the option, and the ones who do tend overall to be less prepared for it than their counterparts.I know you don’t believe in population growth, but presumably you don’t want us to go extinct.

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