Radical identity politics, homosexuality, and the irony of the new jihad
I had planned to pen a long blistering attack on both the radical pro-gay political orthodoxy, and the cowardly risk-averse actions of Mozilla, whose CEO resigned when it was learned — and some say, leaked, by way of an increasingly politicized IRS run, as is the Federal Civil Rights Division, by “progressive” activists (who in earlier times we’d simply call “authoritarians,” “fascists,” or “everything this country’s founders and framers hoped to repel from positions of power” ) — that he had given money to Proposition 8 proponents in California.
That is, because an American held a personal view that in no way affected how he would do his job, or how his company’s policies operated with the respect to the issue of same-sex marriage, he was effectively hounded into resigning by a tiny yet increasingly powerful political identity group that brooks no dissent: to be anti-gay marriage is to be, they say, homophobic — a canard on its face. Just as to be pro-gay marriage makes one necessarily anti-religious. These are policy questions, questions that redound to a political system supposedly built around consent of the governed, representative government, and federalism, with the states holding enormous autonomy; and yet they are no longer considered in such a way: today, these are the equivalent of litmus tests that we are told factor out the “haters” and “bigots,” and they are justified by those who engage in these inquisitions, these jihads, as the actions of the goodly and righteous, those who are “intolerant of intolerance” (as they comically, ridiculously, and overarchingly ironically) claim.
The thing is, though, I’ve already written about these types of things for years — going very much into depth into how and why identity politics gathers its power by claiming control over a diverse group’s homogeneous and unassailable “official” narrative, then uses that narrative, as asserted and ascendent thanks often only to bullying, temporary consensus, or fear of being marked with a scarlet letter, to bracket out dissenters who share the same identity characteristics as either inauthentic (which is how, for instance, say, Chris Matthews can come to think of himself as more black than Clarence Thomas), or suffering from “false consciousness” or bouts of “anti-feminism.”
So I’m going to leave that essay to Liz Scalia, who does a marvelous job of it here. I’ll quote at length:
[…] a gay CEO with a pair of brass ones needs to step up and speak truth to a growing, and most illiberal new power. He or she needs to hire Brendan Eich in some sort of corporate leadership capacity for the sake of the most fundamental of freedoms — the freedom to think what you want to think, even if your thinking is unpopular or deemed “mistaken” — and in so doing boldly declare that our society has no truck with inquisitions.
The very same people who have declared, “I yam what I yam”, and “we’re here, we’re queer; get used to it,” and who fought against discrimination on the basis of physical or emotional natures are proving themselves empty of magnanimity in victory. They are now saying “don’t be who you are,” and “you’re wrong, you’re gone; get used to it.” They’re applauding employment discrimination on the basis of an intellectual or spiritual philosophy.
What are they, anyway, philosophobes? Are they so terrified of any outlook which does not conform to theirs? I always thought a well-founded argument could withstand a little principled opposition. Apparently not.
Let’s think about this, for a second. Barack Obama only “evolved” on the issue of gay marriage when his re-election team deemed it necessary. Hillary Clinton came along even later, once the issue was clearly showing up in the “win” column. They blow with the wind, stand for nothing, but they’re given a pass. Meanwhile, as Allahpundit notes:
The difference between Eich and Obama is that. as far as we know, Eich didn’t lie to people’s faces about his views to further his own ambition. He could have publicly renounced his donation this week in the name of keeping his job, but apart from a statement about making sure that Mozilla supports everyone regardless of orientation, he didn’t. . .When forced to choose Eich evidently preferred to sacrifice his job [rather than recant].
Imagine that. A man who didn’t simply kowtow to a movement for the sake of personal or political expediency! Take a big whiff and marvel, boys and girls, because that’s a fragrance rarer than ambergris; it’s the scent of leadership in the morning, and it is almost unknown around these North American parts.
Clearly America’s successes since the 1690?s have been illusory; in reality, she has only moved her witch hunts and trials from Salem to Silicon Valley.
Let me be clear: I hold out absolutely no hope that this chill wind will be checked or reversed — too many people with money and influence and no individual courage at all find totalitarianism an alluring idea. Nevertheless, though everything is part illusion, I’ll still resist and say, as Tom McDonald so succinctly puts it, “this shit has to stop.”
Indeed; it is an execrable, detestable trend that, if unchecked, will affect every facet of our lives as “correct” thoughts and “correct” ways become ever-narrower and trap more and more people in its stinking and miserable gullies.
It has been clear to many of us — especially those who have lived and worked in a university environment — that identity politics, and the PC culture that it has cultivated as its social enforcement mechanism, was never meant to right wrongs or to fight for civil rights: America and Americans had, for many many years, been moving of their own accord in the direction of accepting alternative lifestyles, which is of course not the same as endorsing them. But what it is is tolerance, as it was conceived by our framers and founders. What we have now, instead, is an insistence that tolerance means something entirely else, and that failure to endorse a particular “official group narrative,” rather than merely accept it as part and parcel of a diverse society, is a sign of hatred, bigotry, and in need of shaming and a new secularist inquisition.
It’s the politics of “‘SHUT UP, they demanded” — and has as its core the totalitarian assertion that dissent from the orthodoxy of the official narrative, which becomes official and ascendant only after dissenters within the identity group are either excommunicated, shamed into silence, or denied their identity status altogether as inauthentic (that is, after the internal argument is “won” by sheer will to power and the facade of consensus), is akin to a hate crime or a civil rights violation. And it protects its hypocrisy — here, for instance, a religious or constitutionalist view that places certain public policy questions into the proper and essential arena of intellectual and legal debate — by claiming that “the powerful” can’t be the victims of the very kind of intolerance these politically powerful identity groups claim as their own exclusive bailiwick. Victimization, that is, can only go one way. And if you don’t like it, you’re a bigoted hater who hates and deserve to lose your job, your livelihood, your reputation, and often times vast sums of money defending yourself against the legal arm of these kinds of organized jihads and inquisitions.
And yes, I use those two descriptions of what is at work here quite consciously, because the irony should not be lost on anyone with even an ounce of intellectual integrity.
But this has truly been a long digression, so let me get to the actual point of my piece: I’m through arguing these issues on the merits of equality before the law, protection of speech, and my abhorrence of hive mind political witch hunts. In fact — and this may shock some of you — but I’m going to pause here briefly to let Andrew Sullivan speak to that, in a rare show of (partial) agreement between us two. Writes Andrew Sullivan:
Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.
Sullivan, as is his wont, tries to draw parallels between what the contemporary pro-gay jihadists are doing and a cartoon version of the “religious right” (I’m not aware of Chic-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby, say, having any kind of policy about hiring homosexuals), but his predictable equivocation aside, his larger point is dead on, and tracks with the points many of us “wingnuts” (that is, constitutionalists, legal conservatives, federalists, libertarians, and classical liberals) have been arguing for decades: the left’s version of tolerance is not “tolerance” at all; nor is it’s conception of “diversity” at all diverse, except in the most superficial, Crayola-esque of ways. Instead, those who engage in identity politics demand conformity, uniformity, and “correct” thinking, which they will determine and which they will enforce.
This is at its very heart anti-American, in the strictest sense, because it is fundamentally illiberal.
Yet, we know all of this, and have decried it for years now. To no effect. Because this is not an intellectual endeavor. It is a form of increasingly institutionalized and accepted tyranny.
So, here’s my answer: Fight the jihad with a counter-jihad. Adopt the tactics of these groups as a necessary evil for the “Greater Good” — only in this case, the Greater Good truly is just that, in that it beats back attacks on individual liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and the insistence on autonomy and protection of real tolerance, which requires that we accept that which we may disagree with, and not, as the left would have it, that we all think and believe the same thoughts that the left deems to be the correct, anti-bigoted ones.
The way I’d do this would be through a grass roots effort. If gay-activist groups are going to attack businesses and individuals for thoughts they believe are intolerable, we as individual Americans concerned about the chilling effects of such a strategy on our founding principles should be prepared to treat this as a war against us and, frankly, our country as founded. And in war, there will be innocents who are harmed.
I’d look at certain industries in which gays seem to flourish, and I’d begin my counter-attack there: this can be done through boycotts, claims of intolerance against non-gays by gays in the workplace, or through reporting “discomfort” at certain interactions with gays in, say, the service or retail industries, etc.
If risk averse companies are going to fold like cowards at the political pressure applied by tyrannical groups whose power far outpaces its actual radicalized membership, I imagine they’d have no choice but to make the same kinds of decisions should they be faced with countless complaints and boycotts against them from those who are tired of being bullied themselves, and resolve to put their attackers on the defensive.
The truth is, while there are certainly gays who still feel stigmatized, we have built into law protections against discrimination; and in my experience, most Americans, even those whose religion disavows homsexuality as legitimate, doesn’t hate the “sinner” so much as it labels the “sin.”
Until those people — and those of us who disagree with certain public policies pushed by identity politics groups for legal or constitutional reasons — enjoy the same social and, ultimately, legal protections as do groups who’ve managed to garner special political dispensation and perpetual victimhood status, we aren’t living in a tolerant or diverse society.
And since it seems that the aim of the identity politics groups — at least, their radicalized mouthpieces — is to make sure that their members are not treated equally, but rather can map their beliefs forcibly onto the rest of us, we are under no obligation any longer to turn the other cheek.
At least, I’m not. My tribe is of the Old Testament. And we have that whole barbaric eye for an eye thing that drives the leftists crazy. Because like honey badgers, we view their attempts to shame us, or to rely on our self-righteousness and refusal to stoop to the level of our opponents in order to save ourselves, as a non-issue. Honey badger don’t care. Honey badger don’t give a shit.
And it’s time these paper tigers feel our wrath.
Now, if anyone read me anymore, I’d expect this kind of suggestion to be widely condemned — and I suspect many on the right would join in to condemn it, placing themselves in a position of what they’ll frame as moral superiority. Frankly, I don’t much give a fuck.
If we don’t put an end to this kind of behavior by organized political grievance groups, they will just continue to step up their demands. And though they may not lead to chattel slavery, it will lead to a kind of intellectual slavery that I simply will not abide. I’ve written about it for years: it works and becomes permanently viable through the misuse of language that we come to accept as coherent when in fact it is not.
A caveat: I’d rather the outcome of all this be that there are enough in the gay-rights movement who, like Andrew Sullivan, can recognize the horrifying inevitability of what it is the mouthpieces of these movements are promoting — and that an effort is made within the group to change the official narrative. But unfortunately, those who aren’t even identified with the movement — but are rather garden variety progressives — give aid and comfort to the contemporary tyrannical orthodoxy, because at base, they prefer enforced thought and deplore individual liberty.
So it’s going to take more than just a counter-culture within the gay community to beat back this kind of deplorable social bullying. It’s going to take payback. In spades. And we need to be prepared to take the fight to our molesters or else be subsumed, and spend the rest of our days whining about how we used to be free.
I know which way I’m going. And each of you is going to have to decide for yourself which way you wish to go.