John Lahr

Renegade Brilliance

Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility


Secker & Warburg 469pp £9.95 order from our bookshop

‘I finally had an orgasm but my doctor told me it was the wrong kind’. Woody Allen’s joke in Manhattan typifies the delirium of Western industrial societies over their own sexual pleasure which is at the core of the race suicide that Germaine Greer’s brilliant polemic explores. ‘Modern man is profoundly religious’, she writes of sex as the new opiate of the people. ‘But his religion is no longer centred upon the propitiation of heavenly or infernal powers, rather … in his propitiation of himself.’ Unable to sacrifice himself to God, man sacrifices other people to himself. In Greer’s book, it is clear that children – and especially the future children of the poor – are being sacrificed to ‘the new Saviour of family planning circles, the Small Family Norm’. Greer challenges the barbarity of cryptoeugenics behind family planning and the myth of overpopulation; arguing with poignant clarity that it is not the fecund poor but the rich who are the real threat to civilisation.

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