Monday, March 7, 2011

The Revolution of Solid Love in Argentina

One of the most remarkable developments in student culture in recent years has been the revival among small and energetic groups of students of an enthusiasm for traditional conceptions of human sexuality.  These groups rely for the most part on arguments rooted in human reason and the social sciences, eschewing what some regard as the narrower theological reasons to which one might expect them to appeal.  Princeton’s Anscombe Society, founded in 2005,  was among the first such student groups, but the interest in forming similar groups has spread to a number of universities across the country, including Notre Dame.
                The movement now shows signs of going international with student interest popping up in Europe and South America.  Ignacio Ibarzabal,  a 25 year old Argentine lawyer and a very good friend of the Center, is one of the leaders of the movement in Argentina.   He is the founder and Executive Director of Grupo Sólido, an NGO that is leading  the so called "solid love revolution" among young people in Latin America. After studying part of his career in Rome, he graduated at Austral University, Argentina, where he is assistant lecturer of Civil and Family Law. He also worked at the Buenos Aires City Government and served as an advisor to a national congressman.
                Ignacio published an opinion piece in La Nacion—the most important newspaper in Argentina—on February 8th of this year describing the goals of Grupo Solido.  With Ignacio’s permission we are posting a translation of his very interesting article.  Here at the Center for Ethics and Culture we have a file for pieces like this.  It is labeled “Very Good News.”

The uprising of solid love

                Ignacio Ibarzábal
                For LA NACION

                Tuesday February 8th, 2011 | Published in the printed edition

                Zygmunt Bauman, a Polish sociologist, has achieved great editorial success describing our “liquid” society. On his book “Liquid Love: On the Frailty of Human Bonds”, he captures the postmodern outlook regarding relationships: In these days, bonds among people are fragile, weak, almost ethereal.

                Liquid love is the legacy we inherited from the sexual revolution. And while adults may believe that young people comfortably swim in its waters, many of us are filled with dissatisfaction. In fact, a reaction is about to start.

                In the past few years, everywhere around the world we have seen young-led initiatives coming up against the manipulation of sexuality. The stronger movement sprouted in the United States. It started in February 2005 at Princeton University with the launching of the Anscombe Society. This society has gathered a group of students that—as Ryan T. Anderson, one of its founders, reports—were tired of the dehumanizing campus culture, and hoped to point to an alternative, a better way of celebrating human sexuality. The news spread rapidly, and the model was quickly mirrored on other campuses. Today we have similar groups in more than 30 universities and a new organization, the Love and Fidelity Network, has been created just to furnish resources and training to help these students to articulate and promote their values in the midst of hostile environments. In fact, similar groups are appearing all over the world, including here in Argentina.

                All these young people agree on a common set of ideas, unbeknownst today for too many adults. They believe sexuality is a human dimension to be celebrated. It should never be repressed, but it cannot be either reduced to the use of a partner as a means of pleasure. In this light abstinence acquires meaning and marriage stands out as an act of fundamental freedom that qualitatively enhances the ability to love. These youngsters—the first massive generation of children born from divorced parents–—see the family as a source of unconditional love, as a support for a healthy development of personality, and as a cradle of proactive and responsible citizens.

                The vital notion is that sexuality is where love flows naturally and that sexuality without true love cannot fulfill the hopes and aspirations of human beings.

                Nevertheless, the radical novelty is that these groups do not rely on theological reasons, but rather on human sciences. Which is why they dare to challenge and counter argue the dominant discourse of academia.

                An inattentive observer could claim that this vision contradicts facts. That the hook up culture, the fall of marriage rates, and the increase of divorces are unequivocal proofs that young adults are indeed liquid.

                And he would be partially right. But he will miss the point that social changes are the consequence of creative minorities and not of passive majorities. And these young minorities are longing for an uprise. They no longer face a family authority against to which rebel, not even a sexual ethic to mock at. Today we can only rebel against licentiousness, disorientation and the pain arisen from what Erich Fromm called separateness. Will we let this opportunity go by?

                We stand at the crossroads. Writers and academics continue to fill novels and papers with ink that smells of May 1968; sympathetic governments impose those ideas through public policies; and a legion of journalists, inspired by such breeze of uniformity, believe to be the carriers of the latest news while reporting the ultimate sigh of a revolution that already smells like naphthalene.

                But while the crowd looks at the domes of universities, governments and media, outside those walls new ideas are being born and a counter-reformation is being prepared. When everybody stares amazed at the achievements of the so called sexual freedom, a more attractive freedom settles down in the heart of thousands of young people. And it settles, with the tenacity that arises from the consciousness of being unfairly censored by political correctness.

                Far from winning the cultural war, the sexual revolution has begun to realize that its age is coming to an end, and while at the time it enjoys the rewards earned in the battles of the past, it faces the defeats which are the source of its future extinction. We, young people who were not even born in the sixties nor in the seventies feel tired when adults that were once our age—and alas, they have now become old—put in our mouths words that no longer can be theirs.

                So, while Simone de Beauvoir lies in her deathbed with a smile, contemplating tons of news and thousands of laws putting her ideas into practice, some of the children still unborn are already imagining a different culture. Be sure that they will reap new public policies from the seeds sown by the young people of today, who with the force of their reasons, are already attracting hearts to participate in a new revolution: the revolution of the faithful, true, responsible love. The revolution of solid love.

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