A reader writes about the Modern Barbarians thread:

If this article were about “hookup culture” at SUNY-Albany I’d be moreconcerned about the broader culture. But, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “I don’t have time for a relationship, I’m concentrating on X” statement there too, where “X” is something like “working two jobs to pay for school and trying not to completely fall out of the middle class”.

We don’t have many models, in our current culture, of relationships being more than the sum of their parts. We’re great at examining them for equality, or domination, or financial dependency, or whatever, in the popular economic/sociological mindset. But, we’re very very bad at understanding and expressing how relationships/marriages/unions can be an end in themselves, rather than a means. And I think conservatives are as bad as liberals on this front. The stories just aren’t there.

I’m not surprised that young adults are looking at relationships/courting/marraige from an instrumental standpoint and asking “How can this help me achieve my goals?” Our culture does a really bad job of (a) illustrating lifelong monogamous commitment as a valuable end in itself and (b) uplifting it and preventing it from being a net detriment or drag on people’s other goals.

It’s pretty bad that these girls *think* that relationships will get in the way of the rest of their lives, but it’s even worse that they’re probably *correct*.

Yes. Some readers seem to have missed my point in describing these women (and the men who participate in this culture with them) as “monstrous” and “barbarians.” It’s not just that they have passion-free sex, rutting like animals; it’s that they appear to schedule these sessions like yoga classes, or a self-help seminar. The most intimate of all human relations is reduced to a paradoxical combination of animalism and detached managerialism. It is more alien to me than the Dionysian hippie sorts. The reader makes a good but depressing point when he says that people who see sex, relationships, and intimacy as barriers to the Self getting what it wants are calculating correctly. These young people are training themselves to see other people as means to selfish ends. They are training themselves not in how to make love, but how to mimic pornography.