Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dogs And Cats Living Together

Any conservative who styles themselves a 'moral realist' and holds that ours is a fallen species that must be controlled with strict universals does not really believe it.  Actual realism is accepting that the social conditions our own small selves happen to have been born to cannot possibly be the One ideal; that our own parents teachers & other perceptively giant local authorities of our childhood cannot possibly be THE standard for How People Are And Should Be.  The actual realist would be much more concerned with the implications of these facts than with seeking cause to vilify all those outside of one's own in-group. 

"If established norms are bad, then we are bad for having abided by them.' so blogged somebody about the Gamergate business.  My own memory can offer you no citation beyond 'somebody'. That truth bomb of a line is what stuck with me, and helps explain among other things how racism is able to persist across generations without necessarily requiring a constant and deliberate personal sadism on the part of most white people.  Sexism in video games has always been an obvious, acknowledged and joked about thing among players.  Justin had a robot girlfriend on Fallout; French for no conceivable reason, and we were both aware of the implications while finding black humor in them. "Misogyny: N.- Robot girlfriend" would fit in Webster's perfectly well wouldn't it?  Anyhow there came a day when someone suggested a serious reckoning with this obvious and acknowledged norm; and video game misogyny was suddenly no longer an obvious & acknowledged thing but a thing that only conceited PC fools would dare suggest the existence of, and those who so claimed that water was now dry quite naturally claimed the authority of 'common sense' for themselves.

I aim mainly to comment on the glut of anti-gay 'religious liberty' laws going about as well as the operatic passion that motivates their supporters.  Sexism and homophobia have always been the norm in monotheism.  That much is true.  Yet there are some today who claim in near so many words that universally required gender conformity is as definitional to Christianity as the resurrection. This of course is brazen bullshit.  A change of norms to acceptance of LGQTB's would be a far less basic change than many others Christianity has made before (the invention of Protestantism for example) while maintaining its identity and social predominance.

The protest-too-much element in modern homophobia has long been apparent.  Some prominent haters have of course been revealed to have been secretly gay themselves, and there is the related factor of some people wanting most forms of sexual expression to be forbidden because that is precisely what they find sexy about them.  Yet we should not make too much of this as some occasionally do.  It would be absurd, however amusingly so, to presume that latent same-sexuality has been a Bokononist human universal though millenia of sexual repression.

'If the norms are bad then we....' The intensified and exaggerated homophobia of some is a reaction against the lessening homophobia of the general public.  The Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality is of course the most vivid example of this; and as with previous civil rights decisions by the courts there is the myth that judges have "radically" invented new attitudes out of nothing; instead of simply reflecting attitudes in spontaneous evolution; attitudes that authoritarians will not accept are not their property to control. 

In the manner by which the laws in Mississippi and North Carolina were passed; special sessions with accelerated token debate, it is clear that conservatives were moved in no small part by a desire to assert to the world and themselves that they could pass these laws because they could.  To assert that it is not Our culture our ethics and our 'mainstream' but theirs theirs theirs and theirs alone.  In the NYT there was one NC state senator who spoke of the 'politically correct fiends' or some such who had passed a Charlotte city law protecting trans people, a law that small-government conservatives at the state level were especially eager to overrule. "Politically Correct" can mean lots of things, most commonly nothing.  but there are several ways in which it is used as a mantra to magically delegitimize progressive positions. In this case the intended meaning is that there cannot truly be such a thing as an ethical, sound-minded person authentically believing that laws protecting trans people are good; that such a stance can only ever possibly be a fashionable conceit. There is a self-betrayal in such an attitude, an implied assumption that all moral or political stances held by everyone exist in the foremost as gestures of conformity and claims to superiority.  There is also a heavy air of sticking it to the urban elitists here; an implied claim that no one is truly ok with living within impersonal diversity, that the hipsters are only pretending to not need the affirming effects of common lifestyle and identity, that Kids These Days who move to the city instead of validating their ancestors choices through repeating them are only acting out of fashionable conceit.

In our time there are members of the white rural and suburban middle class who retain a dry-drunk attachment to superiority or at least cultural centrality.  The standard way to claim entitlement through these things is through the language of religious concern (and the special respect that religious concern is imagined to command.) instead of through increasingly taboo outward claims of white Christian male supremacy. LGQTB's have become an all-around scapegoat for those who hate the very possibility of any social mores ever changing for the better; because they have prided themselves on abiding by the established ones better than thou. Let the comparatively sexually conventional among us bear in mind that the freedom of all is the freedom of all, that the liberty of the most straightarrow demographically normal John Smith is imperiled for so long as those who imagine themselves to be in normality contests hold inflated power.

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