Friday, October 27, 2006

Seeking a coherent argument against gay and lesbian equality

Allow me to preface this post by acknowledging that I don't have a lot of time for Daniel (of Seeking Utopia fame), and I think it's fairly safe to assume that the feeling is mutual. I don't like his kindergarten anti-intellectualism, nor his propensity to become abusive whenever the flaws in his reasoning are pointed out to him. Despite his claims to be all about "civility" and "integrity," he doesn't mind indulging in the odd pot-shot, veiled or otherwise, against yours truly and others, both on his own blog and elsewhere. I refrain from commenting on his blog, and if I wasn't so "shallow and lacking in integrity" I might avoid it altogether--but you know how these things are. Like a car wreck, you can't resist taking a peek, even though you know you shouldn't.

So I suppose that the fisking of a post he has written on homosexuality that follows is going to be interpreted by some--Daniel in particular--as an exercise in flaming. Whatever.

Daniel's post begins thus:

I admit to being somewhat confused by the whole gay issue as it permeates more and more into our mainstream heterosexual society.

When I was being brought up homosexuality was considered not only wrong but was a crime and most people were very clear in their attitude to it. Unfortunately, homosexuals were ridiculed and wrongful violence was carried out against them. But I guess the flip side of that was that there was no confusion in the minds of children as to what was then considered to be right and what was considered to be wrong.
Well, I don't know about you, but I have to admit to being somewhat confused by this paragraph. Daniel holds that (a) in the good ol' days, homosexuality was a crime, and (b) there was "no confusion in the minds of children" regarding right and wrong, suggesting that (c) the current moral malaise is in some way connected to the fact that homosexuality is no longer a crime (of course, the nature of the connection is left unexplained).

And yet, in this Golden Age of moral certainty, when homosexuality was--as Daniel points out--considered "wrong," some people, doubtless motivated by the righteous belief that homosexuality is wrong (nobody beats up a gay man because they approve of his sexuality), perpetrated violence and injustice against homosexuals. Wrongfully, as Daniel points out--and how is that possible in a world where everyone knows right from wrong? Perhaps things weren't so cut-and-dried in the world of Daniel's childhood as he imagines. Or perhaps there is something profoundly wrong with the calculus of values prevalent in the Edenic era of criminalised sodomy--if such a value system fosters violence and ridicule towards homosexuals. Either way, it doesn't seem to me to be a time we should be hearkening back to.
Gradually, over the years, the strenuous efforts of the gay lobby and string-pulling by gay people in high places has brought about great change. Homosexuality has been decriminalised and it has gained for itself a measure of acceptance in the community.
"Lobby." I love this word. As if it's illegitimate--in a liberal democracy--for disenfranchised groups to seek redress for perceived injustices. Notice also how, whenever the word "lobby" is used ("special interest group" is an alternative), it is invariably invoked to describe a group advocating a cause with which the writer or speaker disagrees. The green lobby. The feminist lobby. You rarely hear nineteenth-century Chartists described as "the plebeian lobby." Nor are you likely to hear those who fought against Jim Crow laws in the US referred to as "the black lobby."
But the gay lobby wants more and are now demanding that gays should be allowed to marry, to have or adopt children, that the age of consent for males should be lowered, etc.
Here's a newsflash. All that has been demanded, as far as the age of consent is concerned, is that it should be equal regardless of whether the sex is heterosexual and homosexual in nature. And guess what? That is precisely the situation in every Australian state and territory. That horse has well and truly bolted, my friend. Sorry.
I worry about the impact of all this radical social change on the minds of children growing up. I remember a nephew of mine in primary school saying to his father that, “Dad, I can marry another man. The teacher said so.” I was horrified. Given that genuine gays, sexually, are genetically attracted to their own gender, surely it is wrong to suggest to all young children that it’s alright to have sex with either gender let alone to suggest to them that same-sex marriage is right and proper!
Not that this anecdote sounds remotely believable, but heaven forfend that we should tell LITTLE CHILDREN that there is nothing wrong with same-sex marriage!

Incidentally, the imputation that gay rights and children's rights are diametrically opposed, such that if you are in favour of same sex marriage or the right of same-sex couples to adopt you must be against THE CHILDREN! THE CHILDREN!, really must be one of the lowest cards in the homophobe's deck. Right above the slippery-slope nonsense (but more on that later).
Unfortunately, there exists a gag that effectively stifles freedom of speech as far as the gay lifestyle and its positive and negative effects on society is concerned. Instead of this important issue being discussed openly as it should, much of the time the issue is swept under the carpet and those who dare to question are labelled “homophobic” (much like those who criticise Israel are unfairly labelled as anti-Semitic).
If Daniel was the first individual--let alone the first blogger--to boldly go where no man has gone before and raise this topic; and if, as you read this, ASIO officers are kicking down his door and seizing his computer, he might have a point. As it is, all you need to do is Google "same sex marriage" or "homosexual agenda" to see that the notion that freedom of speech is "stifled" regarding these issues is nothing short of persecutionist cant.
I believe, perhaps incorrectly, that there exists a strong, unspoken, instinctive societal feeling which, though it might range from weak to strong in intensity, largely rejects or finds it hard to accept homosexuality as a legitimate or acceptable societal relationship similar to the predominately heterosexual one.
Yes--we call this homophobia: the notion that non-heterosexuals are categorically inferior to heterosexuals, and that the law should treat them as such.

We get this, by the way, from the same individual who but a few posts earlier responded to a commenter with the following:
You, Anony, are, generally speaking, the only one who largely promotes the status quo, that defends the indefensible. All the rest of us, in the main, want changes and challenge the popular right-wing, pro-religion, pro-capitalism views.

It is we who are the dissenters, not you! Cheers.
I guess some forms of dissent against the status quo are less acceptable than others.
I believe that most mature adults can happily accept the quiet living together of couples of the same gender and welcome them. Live and let live, I say. But some of the recent demands by the gay community, in an attempt to further legitimise themselves, may go too far.
Again: heaven forfend that the dirty disgusting homosexuals should seek to "legitimise" their perverted lifestyles!
The slippery-slope theory also worries me.When are we going to have other groups of people arguing that their behaviour should be sanctioned and legitimised because that's how they were born?
What a shock!! I so wasn't expecting that phrase to appear in a diatribe against homosexuality! Bolt, Ackerman and every garden-variety Religious-Right wingnut couldn't have put it better themselves.

Responding to Daniel's post, Don Quixote makes this observation:
I have no problem with gay marriage or gay parenting. If you're against either of those two things, I think the burden falls upon you to show how they will damage society.
Precisely. Arguments from ignorance, along the lines of "the jury is still out," or "the situation is perhaps too new for there to be any reliable, longterm studies," simply won't do.

Cross-posted at Punditocracy Watch.

UPDATE: See Ninglun's post on this topic, plus an excellent older post of his on the topic of the elusive "gay lobby." (Which is similar to the equally-elusive capital "H" Homosexual capital "A" Agenda.)

You should also check out Ed Brayton's site, which has a fantastic series of posts on Religious Right homophobia in the US. Not to mention this entry at The Huffington Post.

UPDATE II: OK--time to indulge in a bit of shameless flaming (think of me what you will). It appears, judging by the "Random Blogwatch" section of Daniel's sidebar, where I am described (obliquely, of course) as "a talentless, carping follower" (formerly just a "follower," but he appears to have recently updated this information), that my associate is developing quite an obsession with me. But Daniel--and I know you're watching--tell me something. Why all this coyness and innuendo? I know it can't all be in the interests of "civilising the blogosphere"--or whatever you want to call it--because your conduct demonstrates for all to see your insincerity regarding this noble aim. So if you must fire salvos at me, at least have the intestinal fortitude to name your target. I won't mind. Honestly. And I won't go running for the nearest solicitor, either. Because, Daniel, I think you're a cretin. But I would much prefer to think of you as an honest cretin than as a callow, hypocritical cretin.

Think about it.