More or Less?

One of the books I’m reading now is William Cavanaugh’s Being Consumed. In his discussion of consumerism he writes:

What really characterizes consumer culture is not attachment to things but detachment. People do not hoard money; they spend it. People do not cling to things; they discard them and buy other things.

Other than those (a fair number) who are “hoarders,” this seems accurate. I see the same dynamic in the sexual revolution. What has happened in the apologetics for movement is not an increase in the estimation of the value of sexual practice but rather a devaluation. Because sex is just another leisure activity, a normal and to-be-expected part of our animality, surely we should be free (morally and politically) to engage in it when and as we like. Because it’s no big deal, it’s not something to be guarded in any way. But I don’t think people realize these actions, whether with regard to consumerism or the sexual revolution, are indicators of devaluation.

The biblical picture of sex shows it to be something that unites a man and woman not just physically but spiritually. That unity is not something to be taken lightly. Of course, even a quick superficial reading of the Bible shows that people have been taking it lightly pretty much from the beginning, treating it merely as a way to achieve pleasure or domination over others. The solution to misuse, whether ancient or modern, is not devaluation, but more careful valuation.

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One Response to More or Less?

  1. Mark Byron says:

    I recall a concept from an Economics of Women class I had as an undergrad, that children have gone from being a production good in an agrarian society to a consumer good in an industrial (and increasingly post-industrial) society. We no longer need children to help on the farm and look after us in our old age, so their role is now (from a secular sense) that of another way we spend our money on creature-comforts.

    If I can extend that to your post, sex is now a consumption good as well.

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