The Bourgeois Change

Jonah Goldberg makes an interesting point about the particular victories of America’s homosexual movement:

… Watch ABC’s Modern Family. The sitcom is supposed to be “subversive” in part because it features a gay couple with an adopted daughter from Asia. And you can see why both liberal proponents and conservative opponents of gay marriage see it that way. But imagine you hate the institution of marriage and then watch Modern Family’s hardworking bourgeois gay couple through those eyes. What’s being subverted? Traditional marriage, or some bohemian identity-politics fantasy of homosexuality? …
Or look at the decision to let gays openly serve in the military through the eyes of a principled hater of all things military. From that perspective, gays have just been co-opted by The Man. Meanwhile, the folks who used Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as an excuse to keep the military from recruiting on campuses just saw their argument go up in flames.

Deep tradition and culture travel through time more as planets than comets, so they tend to absorb radical satellites that orbit them, but over time, the relatively small changes do shift their course. This speaks to the basic distinction, I think, between a conservative approach to addressing social change and the liberal one: there are ways to domesticate the gay subculture (or, rather, to give homosexuals a more domestic option) that reinforce the purpose of marriage rather than undermining it; there could have been ways of advancing equal rights for women and ending institutional male chauvinism without damaging family structure and reordering education to the detriment of boys; and there could have been ways of ushering black Americans from segregation to true equality without creating lasting racial divisions and a racial underclass, especially in inner cities, for whom hope is little more than a political slogan.
Essentially, the better approach is to maintain basic structural principles — such as the integral relationship between marriage and procreation — and allow the culture to do the slow work of kneading injustices and unnecessary restrictions out of traditions. The more radical approach of pushing social change through legal manipulation and pop-cultural affirmation has the effect of undermining the critical structural principles even as the tradition moves along with its own momentum. Consider another paragraph from Goldberg:

As a sexual-lifestyle experiment, they failed pretty miserably, the greatest proof being that the affluent and educated children (and grandchildren) of the baby boomers have re-embraced the bourgeois notion of marriage as an essential part of a successful life. Sadly, it’s the lower-middle class that increasingly sees marriage as an out-of-reach luxury. The irony is that such bourgeois values — monogamy, hard work, etc. — are the best guarantors of success and happiness.

Those who are already educated and whose families are already on a healthy path draw from the lessons of tradition for their own benefit, but because the essential rationales of the traditions have been voided, they do not reinforce them. They marry, for example, because marriage ensures the best environment in which to raise children, but they do so as if of their own personal assessment of individual circumstances, not because the institution of marriage is such that it ineradicably binds two adults together and to the children that they create. The consequence emerges first with those who can’t articulate the value of marriage or the importance of their children, but who have in generations past felt compelled to follow the family model nonetheless. Younger generations that once benefited from their parents’ conformity no longer will, because their parents will understand marriage to be mainly about themselves and their own preferences.
In summary, Goldberg’s essay ultimately comes down to an observation that radical change does not repercuss instantly. Civilization is a long-term project, though, and its course can move from one of continued advancement toward one of dissolution.

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brassband
brassband
10 years ago

“Deep tradition and culture travel through time more as planets than comets, so they tend to absorb radical satellites that orbit them, but over time, the relatively small changes do shift their course.”
Smooth sentence, dude!

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

People will put their own spin on everything, but it all boil down to one thing…equality.
DADT is about equality, Marriage is about equality.
Yes, I am sure there are groups that used DADT as an excuse to keep recruiting off campus, like Brown, but there are other private institution that keep gay groups off campus, (Georgetown comes to mind) because that is their right as a PRIVATE institution.
I don’t know where I read it but Modern family is most popular with Republicans, where Dexter is most popular with Democrats. I actually enjoy both.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Swaxool’s comments seem to assume that gays are “born that way”. So far as I know there is no more hard evidence of this than there is for Global Warming. If we assume it is a “choice” (and it is referred to as the “gay lifestyle”) then where is the problem? If you chose to place yorself outside of the mainstream, why should the mainstream be forced to adapt to you?
If there is good evidence contrary to my understanding, I would appreciate knowing it.
I may misapprehend the idea of civil rights. We forbid discrimination for “race, creed, color, or national origin”. Although you may be “born into it”, I believe that to some extent “creed” is a “choice”. And, that “choice” is protected. Unless, of course, you choose to be a Branch Davidian.

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Warrington,
I do believe people are born “that way” but lets assume it is a choice. We have a freedom to choose religion, should we also have a freedom to choose sexuality?
I don’t see why not.

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

When ever the topic of homosexuality comes up, I think of 2 people, the Conservative Rev Fred Phelps, and
the Conservative former Mayor Steve Lafey. The difference being, Mr Phelps has never advocated physical violent attacks on Gays, and Lafey has “I will punch you lights out, and break your ribs” Lafey wrote.
Not a slip of the tongue, or an off the cuff remark by Mr Lafey, but a thought out comment, that Lafey, sat a keyboard and typed, then delivered, to the college newspaper, for all to read.
At a very liberal school were Lafey knew that his Gay classmates would read his hateful diatribe

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Posted by Swazool, ” Warrington, I do believe people are born “that way” but lets assume it is a choice. We have a freedom to choose religion, should we also have a freedom to choose sexuality? I don’t see why not.” Swazool, You are asking the same question I posed. As there can be no doubt that nature produces hermaphrodites, it is probable that some small number are “born that way”. Now, as to the comparison of “creed” and “sexuality”. Perhaps extreme, I have given the example of the Branch Davidians as a creed we chose (as a society) to kill rather than tolerate. I was amazed at the number of people who thought “they got what they deserved”. It may be said that my example is “too extreme”. Fine, but that raises the question of “how much is enough”, before it is “too extreme”. Nonetheless, it proves the point the not every “creed” will be protected. Consider the heat Mormons, and Romney took during his campaign. Very few said his “creed” was out of bounds. How would you like to be a Muslim right about now? To continue, how will things work in the military? Will the Marines be required to accept “Drag queens”? How about a guy with “breast enhancement”? Will the military do gene testing, as do the Olympics, to determine gender? Too extreme you say? Well, then what are your limits? I consider my questions to be well within the limits of plausibility, if not entirely probable. Someone will test the limits. As to probable reactions, pick up a copy of William Manchester’s “Goodbye Darkness”. It is his memoir of his service in the Pacific during World War Two. He repeats, ver batim, General Orders of the day. Very frequently they include imprisonment “for taking into… Read more »

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Warrington, we are still talking about a volunteer army correct?
If someone is against dadt they don’t have to volunteer. I find it hard to believe a drag queen would turn in stilettos for combat boots, but if they do wouldn’t they no longer be a drag queen? A queen is defined by his clothes, correct?
I guess we will have to wait and see.

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

“and there could have been ways of ushering black Americans from segregation to true equality without creating lasting racial divisions and a racial underclass, especially in inner cities, for whom hope is little more than a political slogan.”
Could you explain what this means?
You write that there could have been ways, So what ere they?
Whose responsible for lasting racial divisions?

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Posted by Swazool:
“A queen is defined by his clothes, correct?”
I don’t know, that is part of the problem. “his clothes”? I once went to a meeting with a state board, one board member was a man dressed as a woman. “He” insisted on being addressed as “Ms”.(That was quite a group. Two refused to shake hands for fear of germs, the Chairman wore a diamond “pinkie” that would blind you)
This suggests another problem for the military, what if one demands to wear a skirt? Can this be a “violation of good order and discipline”? Once we have accepted gays, isn’t this to be expected?
I notice they had no trouble, last year, in removing the Boston Bankruptcy Judge who was arrested while dressed as a woman. Was this discrimination? If it is, why are we forcing it on the military?
In the very early days of television, Milton Berle made some sort of reputation by frequently dressing in women’s clothes on TV. This is frequently referenced in movies about the 50’s, so it must have made some impression. Was he a “Drag Queen”?
Personally, I think it would be defined by desire. Of course, “gender benders” have made a fad of cross dressing. 20 years ago, a frequent question for Dear Abby concerned “my husband likes to wear my clothes” what should I do.

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

When you are in the army or navy you are required to wear a uniform, correct?
When you sign up for the service, it is my understanding that you basically become property of the government, so you are really stretching it saying someone will ask to wear a skirt.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
10 years ago

Phil,
Equality under the law and nothing that presumes to expedite demographic equality in a race-conscious way. Policies that broadly encourage the behavior that benefits people of all races (e.g., marriage and self reliance).

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Posted by Swazool
“you are really stretching it saying someone will ask to wear a skirt.”
Oh, really! Note my experience with the man wearing a skirt noted above. If you don’t think someone will try it, I suggest your experience with large groups is slight. Note the prisoners insisting that taxpayers fund their sex change operations. Why couldn’t a soldier do the same if he insisted that the Army was “treating him like a man”, contrary to his genetic make up?
For your side of the argument, the British miltary/empire builders did rather well with gays. Notably such homosexuals/pedarasts as Laurance of Arabia, “Chinese” Gordon and Cecil Rhodes. As Winston Churchill said “The naval tradition is based on rum, sodomy and the lash” (things I have seen for sale around submarine bases,suggest that this may still be the case). Of course, this was at a time when “the love which cannot speak its name” was never spoken of except for snide references to “nature’s bachelors”.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

If normal men are required to shower in full view of open sodomites why aren’t female soldiers required to shower in front of normal males?
Sure would save a lot of money on seperate facilities…

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Someone recently pointed out to me that the Afghan “fighters” and their catamites are giving our military quite a run for the money. The same might be said of the ancient Greeks. But it is rarely noted that Greek soldiers were not permitted to marry until age 35. Young men crowded together, and denied an outlet, will find a way. It has been noted that rats crowded together will become homosexual, I am unsure as to how this determination was made. I doubt it was by “exit interviews”.
That may be so. Still, there are cultural differences. Just as were are enjoined to respect the differences of other cultures,ought we not respect our own?

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Too much time on my hands.
Tommy Cranston’s comment about male and female soldiers not showering together comes up frequently in private conversations, I have never seen any mention in the media.
I wonder if the Army’s slogan about “doing manly things with men” won’t take on an entirely new meaning.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

In my unit in Vuetnam there were at least four men who everyone knew were homosexuals,maybe more,but at least that many.
Only one was really disliked,for reasons having nothig to do with his being a homosexual-he was just a crazy sob with a miserable demeanor.
The only guy in the unit who wound up in the concertina one night was a thief,who wasn’t gay.
The point being,that most everyone didn’t give a rat’s ass about it.
Of course no one ever came right out and and said they liked guys-this was in the 60’s.Since we worked on a blacktop flightline inside 20 foot corrugated steel revetments filled with sand,when we got to shower it wouldn’t have mattered if a boa constrictor was in there.
BTW sammy-Fred Phelps advocates exterminating homosexuals-that’s just a LITTLE more extreme tha Steve Laffey.Are you saying Laffey has to be held to account for stuff he said in college?
I’d love to know what kind of nonsense you blathered in college.And I don’t even like Laffey.

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

“Equality under the law” you wrote to me and I agree.
“The more radical approach of pushing social change through legal manipulation”
If there is an inequality in the law and you wish to have as I do, and as you wrote, equality under the law, doesn’t it stand to reason that you must pursue a legal remedy first. Social acceptance sometimes lags behind the legal changes such as the civil rights challenges to the Jim Crow laws in some of our southern states. There was much turmoil and resentment in those times with those who were following and wishing to continue the tradition of segregation of the races. Today there is much greater acceptance in those same southern states of equality for all it’s citizens. Sadly the deep tradition of cheap labor continues as many of the Jim Crow south are the “right to work ” states now assuring that regardless of race workers will earn less than their counterparts in more labor friendly states such as ours.
In the same way that laws were instrumental in righting a wrong done to African Americans before there was the nearly universal acceptance of the correctness of those laws by today’s society the same will be true of the issue of same sex partnerships and the legal equal treatment they and others desire.
Lastly I would like to address this line you wrote;
“Younger generations that once benefited from their parents’ conformity no longer will, because their parents will understand marriage to be mainly about themselves and their own preferences.”
Are you suggesting that if we do not explicitly instruct our children about

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Once again, you can not volunteer for a job that you will have to wear a uniform and then ask not to wear a uniform. Prison is not volunteer.
Is this really a debate?
England has had homos openly serving in the army for years, have they had men asking the things you inquire about? just a question…

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Swazool,
I guess I am surprised at your willingess to assume things will never happen. I, on the other hand, expect “that which can happen, will happen”.
Tell me who anticipated this. It is very fortunate that we had few casualties when we decided to topple Saddam, the hospital ship was entirely full with pregnant soldiers. I guess they had too much time on their hands during that long build up.
Here’s another: “During the first Gulf War the USS Arcadia had so many pregnant sailors on board awaiting transfer back to the states (having to be replaced by someone else) that the ship was nicknamed the “Love Boat”.

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

the traditions that has accompanied our forebears through time. Do we include the violence, brutality, conquest, conversion at the point of a sword and then musket and now jetfighter and cruisemissle in our telling? Or do we resort to the lies that in themselves become the tradition. Lies told by the strong, the conqueror, the Church, the empires, the State, the Corporations. Whose history do we tell? That longterm project of civilization is sprinkled with moments where people have stood up on their hindlegs and decided to resist the eventually of being stoned to death by the traditions that enslaved them.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Swazool
“England has had homos openly serving in the army for years, have they had men asking the things you inquire about? just a question…”
We have to remember that much of our recent history includes a time when gays were simply not talked about.l
Read Laurence of Arabia’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” and you receive the impression that he didn’t mind being raped by the Turks. This does not appear in the movie, although adults might realize it was being suggested.
The “Dreyfus Affair”, everyone knows it is ascribed to anti-Semitism. Depending on where you studied military history, you might know that there were unspoken suggestions that Dreyfus refused homosexual advances. This was causing a great deal of trouble in the Polish army at the time.
As with the priesthood, all types of men are attracted to a male environment.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Warrington-Polish army?There was no Poland at that time.It was the French army.During that period,my great grandfather was serving in the Russian army,which occupied Poland.They drafted Jews for 25 years and he was lucky enough to be picked(sarcasm alert).
An interesting fact has been uncovered about former Marine General Victor”Brute”Krulak.It turns out his parents were Russian jewish immigrants,but he was raised in Cheyenne,WY and when he entered Annapolis he identified as Episcopalia,presumably because Jews had a hard time advancing through the officer corps in the Marines back then(prior to WW1).
Things sure changed-recently Krulak’s son was Commandant of the Marine corps and Gen.Robert Magnes,a practicing Jew was Assistant Commandant,and is noew retired.
In any event T.E.Lawrence sure didn’t fit the “gay” stereotype.
It’s funny Phil mentions stoning-the only place that happens now is in those Islamic societies he is so defensive about.

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