must we abandon reproductive futurism?

Ok, no one has ventured here yet, to my surprise, so I'll go there: What, exactly, are the real and tangible consequences of advocating for No Future?

Edelman paints his argument with biting facetiousness, frequently taking aim at the holiness of the Child, etc. Which is fine, considering his call, yet I can't help but feel frustrated with the vastness of this indictment. I'm struggling here, in that I am eager not to discredit an argument which names a most hidden, and central, pillar of social order as we know it; yet I find myself distressed with regard to the ways in which Edelman associates the Child to its 'advocates.' Staunch conservativism aside for a moment, it has already become apparent on the blog that a number of us feel the sharp attack on our value for children, future, family, etc. And while I want deeply to see a No Future 'queerness' as an avenue ideal for not merely breaking, but ultimately abandoning, this social order, I wonder what good comes of speaking tangibly about Childlessness.

Edelman makes the disclaimer that this is more of a theoretical exercise of resistance, however, it seems a dangerous road to go down given the possibility for co-optation by a violent right wing rhetoric. He hails the Right for their acknowledgment of the truly devastating connotations of queerness, in light of the less radical-discourse of the Left which refuses to speak in terms of apocalyptic scale. Yet I can imagine an indignant Neo-Con reading this as the ultimate proof that the gays want to destroy us all - and while all of us are busy taking up Edelman's call for rhetorical queerness against reproductive futurism, there remains the queer community receiving the social violence of oppression as a result of this getting to the wrong hands. Pardon my paranoid musing,; I'm just concerned with the implications of making these delineations.

I am, as usual, quite unresolved about all this; as KF said, this is at once compelling and terrifying. At the moment, on a street-level, I'm a little more terrified.

Maybe I was wrong in this, but I read the Child purely symbolically, as just this deferred future structural space that would at once (a) retroactively constitute or bestow meaning and (b) reinstitute all the laws girding the Symbolic in a perfect repetition of the same. So the Child is just that future Lacanian position in which all the social fantasies that we take for granted (nuclear family units, the Law, whatever else) are perfectly legitimated and preserved in this figure that they can be discharged to, like a sprinter's baton.

One political danger of reproductive futurism seems to be that rights will be sacrificed now to create 'a better future for our children' or 'for the Child,' i.e., it will be on the backs of present citizens that an infinitely deferred McDonald's playland ballpit Child utopia is constructed. And of course we see this legitimating maneuver all the time, as Edelman points out, in political campaigns: vote the Patriot Act to make America safer for the children; keep gays from marrying to preserve the children; kill gays, even, for the sake of the children. If we reimagine politics as finding its legitimating temporal position in the present, then we can maybe forsake hegemonic back-from-the-futurism or, as it were, 'the fascism of the baby's face.' Imagine this as a more Lacanian and wackier take on the 'no more grand historical narratives' thread of postmodern discourse - it's difficult, so the reasoning goes, to organize political behavior around a utopian vanishing point without some measure of oppression.

Another political danger of reproductive futurism is simply that the Child serves as the repeating function of //all// ideologies - Edelman makes this point somewhere, that however radical or revolutionary an ideology camp is, it has as its conservative and only 'meaningful' (i.e., meaning-producing) core the figure of the child. But of course if all ideologies rely on this futural figure, then even really iffy ones, like fascism, do - recall Brecht's horrific 'They're planning ahead 30,000 years! We must forget nothing, leave out nothing, not even the womb!' Nazism is maybe one of the most potent examples of explicitly repressive reproductive futurism since it not only hinges on this notion of a master race, i.e., the pureblooded future Aryan Child that would reign - once conditions are right for him (cue eugenic projects and blitzkriegs) - over the playland ballpit of the world, but is also very clear (i.e., Nazism is) about just what social fantasies, ideological camps, Symbolic orders, and structures of meaning don't deserve a Child, don't deserve a futural repeating function that would reinstantiate them, e.g., all 'unfit citizens' who were euthanized, 'genocided,' or sterilized in order to ensure their inertial, un-reiterable fixity in the present (on Edelman's view, this is basically like slashing the tires of a Symbolic order).*

What I meant when I said 'more Lacanian' up there is remember that the Child and sinthomosexuals are doing work outside just pure sexuality, too - the sinthomosexual is anti-semic, disrupts current structures of Meaning (I think even language), brushes our faces with the Real, etc., and the Child is the ultimate restoration job, just effects a complete future repetition of all the structural meaning and social fantasy that the sinthomosexual has, temporarily, disrupted. So when Edelman says, 'We need an oppositional queer politics,' I don't think he means, following Cee-Lo, 'Put the barrel to your baby momma belly and squeeze off two/So the world won't have to deal with another fuck nigga like you/I hate ya' - rather, it's something closer to 'no more utopian meta-narratives,' or, following the Zizekian or Lacanian line, 'a pinch more Real.'

*Presumably the sinthomosexual response to Symbolically slashed tires would be to figure out how to embrace the 'no futurity' of its position in a negationally affirmative, oppositional way.

--Guattari Hero

I realized after posting this (and reading your reply to Bumpkins) that you already agree with me.

--Guattari Hero

As evidenced by the tid bit about his being married to his partner, the idea of a childless future, I take, to be mostly talk. That being said, I don't think the child is the center of the political world the way Edelman wants it to be. It may strike close to home, but not every decision can be broken down to "we must protect the children". Take the recent S-CHIP plan that was vetoed and couldn't muser enough votes for an override. What is more important than child's health care? Obviously the amount of money that would have to go into it and the benefit that would have been bestowed to those that didn't really need it. A childless future is not something we actually have to worry about, but neither is a world were all we care about is the future. I think people mat hold so much animosty toward the dreaded corporation because they live in the here and now. They don't care about the kids of the world, only how they can better themselves. This most jive with some of our understanding on what is socially acceptable and leads us to mistrust them. I guess even the idea of the baby in the Micheline Tire (sorry if i spelled that wrong) cant put a good face on all corporations.

i just related corporations to queerness... Did I do that logically?