Best Of The Web
“Revolutionaries have long wanted to abolish the family. Marx didn’t see it surviving the eradication of capitalism. The radical feminist Shulamith Firestone viewed it as the root of all gendered oppression, imagining in her 1970 book The Dialectic of Sex a world of test-tube babies and (less well-remembered) chosen families, entered and dissolved at will.
In a new book, Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family, queer feminist theorist and geographer Sophie Lewis revives such calls. Though the family is where most people seek solace from the world as we know it, she argues that it also upholds the forces that send us in search of relief. Like Marx and Engels, she posits that the family fuels capitalism by inducting successive generations into hierarchy, and like Firestone, she accuses it of inculcating gender inequality. Most pointedly, she argues that the institution turns our most intimate relationships into commodities, framing children as something like property: private investments in the future that belong only to the people who made them.
To dismantle capitalism, Lewis argues that we need “gestational communism”—a world in which babies are “universally thought of as anybody and everybody’s responsibility, ‘belonging’ to nobody,” and in which baby-making is “distributed and made to realize collective needs and desires.” In such a future, biological kinship would be replaced by devotion to “kith and kind,” and we would finally see that we are all responsible for one another.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"On Christmas Eve of 1966, Paddy Roy Bates, a retired British army major, drove a small boat with an outboard motor seven miles off the coast of England into the North Sea. He had sneaked out of his house in the middle of the night, inspired..."
"The book that changed lecturer, activist, and current presidential candidate Marianne Williamson’s life, A Course in Miracles, is not available for free online, but its workbook is. You can find it on the website for the Foundation for..."
"Here are two sets of statements from far-distant opposites in the climate change debate. The first is from Naomi Klein, who in her book This Changes Everything paints a bleak picture of a global socioeconomic system gone wrong: “There is a..."
"Voters who trust their government — and each other — are more supportive of ambitious welfare states than those who do not. Across nations, high levels of social trust correlate with high levels of social spending. The relationship between these..."
"With the presidential campaign under way, expect to hear a lot more about a shiny new toy of progressive economic thinking, “modern monetary theory.” It seems to be the only intellectual contortion that might allow candidates to promise..."
"“We don’t want to fight y’all. We’re not trying to go to jail.” That’s what A$AP Rocky, the 30-year-old New York City rapper, can be heard saying in a video of an encounter with strangers in Sweden that has ballooned into an international crisis."
"Israel’s top officials are considering denying Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib entry to their country due to their outspoken, controversial criticism of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians, not to mention their slurs against American Jews as..."
"For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share a piece of personal information without a moment’s hesitation: our phone number. We punch in our digits at the grocery store to get a member discount or at the pharmacy to pick up..."