The Corner

Culture

The Lonely Libertine Leftist

I don’t know why I’m surprised that The Nation has an advice column, but it does, and the questions are about what you’d expect. For example, from a recent issue: “I’m a Marxist-Feminist Slut — How Do I Find an Open Relationship?” The reader, “a 32-year-old woman who would like to have kids and a life partner in the not-so-distant future,” insists that she is not ready for anything exclusive:

Monogamy feels antithetical to the type of feminism and anticapitalism I subscribe to. I am repulsed by the idea of being a man’s property. Also, monogamy—like capitalism—requires us to believe in a false scarcity: that we have to struggle for every little bit and that everything we gain comes at someone else’s expense. The kind of liberatory future I’d like to see is one of abundance and generosity and sharing. One of the few places we can experiment with that now is in our love lives. 


So she’s not just being frisky, you see; there are sound ideological reasons for all of this.

Unfortunately, the anti-capitalist guys she meets tend to be unenlightened when it comes to her sleeping around:

ALL the decent men I’ve dated are really opposed to open relationships, while the men I’ve slept with who say they fancy the idea don’t ever stick around long enough for the “relationship” part of an open relationship.

The advice lady does her best to offer politically acceptable suggestions (“find your local poly and open-love communities and attend their social events, where many men are seeking someone just like you” — yeah, that’ll work), but somehow both she and the self-described “loud, proud slut” (NRO dating tip: Maybe work on the “loud” part) miss the most obvious solution of all: Get married. After all, Marx himself wrote that “bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common,” which would seem to be just what this woman is looking for. So all she has to do is go find herself a stockbroker and the problem is solved. And if the open-marriage thing doesn’t work out, she can always say that Marx’s vision wasn’t implemented properly.

Fred SchwarzFred Schwarz is a deputy managing editor of National Review.

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