Well, just who is John Derbyshire?
Examples of Derbyshire's teachings about homosexuality.
Derbyshire reacts to our investigation's exposure of his extensive homophobic writings!
The Derb defends Bailey against formal complaints by transgender women by calling his critics "transsexual terrorists"!
Well, just who is John Derbyshire?
During the summer and fall of 2003, our investigation discovered that Derbyshire (along with J. Michael Bailey) was an active member of the Human Biodiversity Discussion Group (HBDG) of the Human Biodiversity Institute (HBI), run by noted right-wing racist, anti-immigrationist and homophobe Steve Sailer (a major contributor to V-DARE, a website designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "hate-site").
For more about HBDG and HBI, and Derbyshire's and Bailey's connections there, see this link and this link. For more about Mr. Bailey's, Steve Sailer's and the HBI group's role in the propagation of "Queer Science" that defames and stigmatizes transgender and transsexual women, see the SPLC Investigative Report article of that title published in the winter of 2003.
Examples of Derbyshire's teachings about homosexuality:
Derbyshire rails against "buggery" and the humiliations of "being penetrated"
Derbyshire's call for rage in the fight against gay marriage
Derbyshire cautions young people from being tempted to turn gay
The Derb rants against the election of a gay man as an Episcopal bishop
Derbyshire justifies homophobia from an evolutionary biology point of view
The Derb teaches a five-year old boy how important it is to be a REAL man
November 16, 2003:
Derbyshire reacts to widespread exposure of his obsessively homophobic writings,
trying to explain away his exposure as a lunatic-fringe homophobe and transphobe
by posing as a victim in the "culture wars".
As a result of the investigation into J. Michael Bailey's book, Human Biodiversity Group (HBDG) member and staunch Bailey supporter John Derbyshire had by now been openly exposed as a lunatic-fringe homophobe and transphobe. This is not an empty rhetorical claim: You'll find clear evidence of Derbyshire's extreme views regarding homosexual and transsexual people at the following websites:
As a result of his exposure on those websites, Derbyshire, a prominent National Review magazine columnist, been must have been getting lots of e-mail from his more rational conservative friends asking him "Hey, what the heck is up John?". In his concern about his colleagues' reactions, "The Derb" went on the attack in a lengthy rant in National Review Magazine's website on November 16, 2003, in efforts to deflect attention away from his exposure as a nationally prominent gay-basher. In his rant, Derbyshire simultaneously attacks trans women by reporting details of Baileyan teachings that they are actually "sexually paraphilic men", and poses himself as being a "victim" in the "culture wars".
The Derb's article (for details and commentary, see the following page) was posted in "The Corner" in National Review Online, exploiting Derb's powerful media-access as a prominent columnist for the right-wing magazine National Review.
The title of the article was "CULTURE WARS: REPORT FROM DERB BUNKER". Check it out. You'll find it quite interesting...
April 8, 2004:
John Derbyshire jumps to defend Bailey against the new formal complaint at Northwestern,
claiming his critics are a "gang of pseudo-academic fascists"
engaging in "transsexualist terror"!
On April 6, 2004, Andrea James, Deirdre McCloskey and Lynn Conway filed a formal complaint at Northwestern University containing evidence that J. Michael Bailey had functioned as a clinical psychologist in the State of Illinois by conducting clinical interviews of and compiling clinical case histories of transsexual women, and that he had done this without ever being licensed as a clinical psychologist in Illinois.
Two days later, on the morning of April 8, 2004, the Daily Northwestern published an article about this latest complaint.
At 4:16pm of that very afternoon, John Derbyshire (who in his November 16, 2003 attack on Bailey's critics had claimed to be only "slightly acquainted with Michael and his work") posted a scathing and libelous attack on Mr. Bailey's critics in the National Review Online, claiming that they were engaging in "transsexual terror".
We've heard reports that the public exposure of Mr. Derbyshire's obsessively homophobic writings has led to subsequent shunning of him in academe as he's traveled to various universities to promote his new book. This must have truly stunned the Derb and knocked him mentally off balance, making him incredibly angry at having been exposed him this way, as evidenced by the strangeness of his latest writings in NRO.
So, instead of defending his now well-documented positions on homosexuality, Derbyshire has instead begun publicly calling his critics a "gang of pseudo-academic fascists" engaging in "transsexualist terror" for simply daring to use their personal websites to criticize him and his friend Mr. Bailey for their homophobia and their transphobic teachings about trans women.
The Derb is now publishing these hysterical accusations of "terrorism" in major national media, via postings in the National Review Online (see below). In these rants he continues the Baileyan tradition of the public defamation of transsexual women as being "paraphilic men", presuming to negate their criticisms by remotely diagnosing them as being mentally ill.
Furthermore, his claim that he is only "slightly acquainted" with Mr. Bailey is revealed to be false by the intimacy with which he can parrot word-for-word Mr. Bailey's teachings about trans women, and by immediacy of his response to news of the latest complaint against Mr. Bailey. We suspect that Mr. Bailey contacted the Derb on the 8th of April after reading the Daily NU article that morning, commiserated with him about that latest news, and sought his help in further defaming those who dared file formal complaints against him.
Seems like the Derb loves to dish it out and libelously defame others in national media. However, when he's the object of well-reasoned criticism by private citizens in their personal websites, he calls it "terrorism". My goodness, what a wimp and what a power abuser. Just like Mr. Bailey.
National Review ONLINE
Thursday, April 08, 2004
TRANSSEXUALIST TERROR [John Derbyshire]
As bad as the homosexualist agitators can be, they are kittens compared to the transsexualists. (NB: Transsexuals are people who wish to be not the sex that nature made their bodies, but the other one. The word is used regardless of whether or not "reassignment" surgery has taken place.)
I have mentioned before on The Corner the case of researcher Michael Bailey at Northwestern U. Last year Bailey published a book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, about effeminate men. (I reviewed the book for National Review -- see here.) Bailey adheres to the theories of another researcher in this field, Ray Blanchard; in particular, to the theory that a certain subset of male transsexuals are "autogynephilic" -- basically, they are men who are erotically attracted to the idea of themselves as women. This very curious and paradoxical state of affairs is nicely caught by the title of the chapter on it in Bailey's book: "Men Trapped in Men's Bodies."
This theory infuriates the transsexuals in question, and a small group of them has launched a ferocious and determined campaign to destroy Bailey. What makes them so mad is the implication, contained in the Blanchard/Bailey theory, that they are really just very eccentric men. WE ARE NOT MEN, WE ARE ***W**O**M**E**N***!!! they scream. Bailey's book, by the way, is full of sympathy and humanity towards people who are sexually odd. This, of course, counts for nothing with the people hounding him. These transsexuals are not the least bit interested in compassion or tolerance. They want total roaring approval of their self-constructed self-images, and of the theories they have concocted to support them. If you do not offer that, you are a vile bigot, and must be destroyed.
The wrath of these transsexualists extends to anyone who has worked with Bailey, supported him, or given a friendly review to his book. It probably, I don't know for sure, extends to anyone who ever sold Bailey a pizza. This is major-league wrath. Because I gave Bailey's book a friendly review, and have the same publisher, I myself feature in their propaganda, which is all over the Internet. Here is a specimen. Note that their "facts" about me are wildly inaccurate. I have never written a book about sailing, "instructed young men in PE," or (until I read this) heard of B. Devereux Barker IV. These idiots seem to have just Googled "Derbyshire" -- a rather common surname in parts of England -- and thrown together everything they found. These are the people criticizing the accuracy and integrity of Bailey's research! I note, by the way, that their error-laden and vituperative account of me is posted under a "umich.edu" URL. Does the University of Michigan know what kind of material is being posted under its web addresses, at the university's expense?
Anyway, the latest installment in this sorry saga can be read here. The transsexualists are pushing a bill of goods about Michael Bailey having violated proper procedures in gathering the data for his book. This is all humbug; they wouldn't give a fig about his procedures if he hadn't wounded their precious self-esteem. In any case, to judge from their U-Mich-hosted attacks on me, concern for procedural regularity in the gathering of facts is not a thing that features very high on their agenda.
Make no mistake, this is not a scholarly disagreement over abstract theoretical principles. It is a determined attempt by a gang of pseudo-academic fascists to destroy a working scientist who bruised their egos. If they get away with it, it will be a triumph for the forces of obscurantism and PC totalitarianism. Support Michael Bailey!
Posted at 04:16 PM
Friday, April 09, 2004
RE: TRANSSEXUALIST TERROR
In response to my rhetorical question about this , which was: "Does the University of Michigan know what kind of material is being posted under its web addresses, at the university's expense?", several students & alumni of U.Mich. have responded to the effect that, if they don't know, they'd be proud to find out. U.Mich. (these people tell me) is Diversity Central.
Posted at 03:34 PM
Examples of Derbyshire's teachings about homosexuality:
RE: SANTORUM & GAYS [Jonah Goldberg]
THE STATE OF GAY RIGHTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
RE: GAYS [John Derbyshire]
MORE SNIVELING CAPITULATIONISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
WELL, NOW THE BOAT'S A-ROCKIN'! [Jonah Goldberg]
Now, a few clarifications. I do not support gay marriage and I've been consistent on this from the beginning. But, it seems from your perspective I should say A is not happening because I am opposed to A. Not only would that be intellectually dishonest, it would be precisely the sort of intellectual dishonesty (i.e. rightwing political correctness) we criticize the Left for on every issue under the sun, from race to, yes, homosexuality. I think gays -- for want of a less monolithic term -- have largely won. My argument is that it is better to fall back on civil unions or some such than to keep shouting "Stop!" as the temple of marriage itself is overrun. It would also be the decent thing to do for homosexuals, most of whom are certainly law-abiding and decent people.
You also seem to imply such honesty about trends not to ones
liking is somehow inconsistent with being a C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-V-E
of the National Review stripe. I seem to recall that Whittacker
Chambers was convinced he'd joined the losing side when he left
the Communists and signed up with the NR crowd (though to be
fair, Chambers considered himself a "man of the Right"
and not a conservative). I also seem to recall that James Burnham
was equally pessimistic about Western Civilization's chances
against the forces of Stalinist collectivism. It also seems to
me that voicing ones pessimism may have a positive effect on
those who do not see how dire the situation is. That was surely
one of the beneficial effects of NR pessimists in the past.
National Review Online
May 17th, 2001
Whoever Causes One of These to Sin
I am going to take issue with my colleague Deroy Murdock. Reluctantly and respectfully, since I love Deroys stuff, and I also love the fact that a tiny alteration to his first name gets you started on my last name. And in fact Im not even sure Im taking much issue, rather filling in something important I think he left out of his piece on homosexuals being re-oriented by therapy (Gays Can Go Straight, 5/14/01 on NRO).
To begin with, let me quote, with permission, an email I recently received from Lawrence Henry, who is a columnist for Enter Stage Right and a person of much worldliness and wisdom. This email was one of several in some exchanges we were having about homosexuality. Here is what Larry wrote (except that I have changed a name and a city).
Before I proceed to my main point, let me say that I think the whole issue of homosexuality is a very difficult one for social conservatives. For some of us, anyway. If youre a Christian or Jewish fundamentalist, its a no-brainer: the proscription is right there in Leviticus 18:22, and there is nothing more to be said. Most of us, however, are not fundamentalists. I myself am a not-very-observant Episcopalian. (Which, from a strictly pastoral point of view, leaves me wide open on this topic. A colleague of mine who once served time in a Jesuit seminary told me the following joke, which apparently has them slapping their thighs round the refectory table. Q: How many heterosexual Episcopalian ministers does it take to install a bishop? A: All three of them.) For people like me, who think that homosexuality as a social phenomenon whatever we may think of individual homosexuals, or wish them to think of us is deplorable, or at least regrettable, there is some explaining to do, especially to the homosexual friends and colleagues all of us have. I have no space to do that explaining here, though I think what Im going to say covers some of the territory. What I mainly want to do is just unpick one single thread from Deroys Monday piece, and pull on it to see how much unravels.
In that piece, Deroy discussed the controversy over a recent study asserting that highly motivated homosexual men can be turned by appropriate counselling and therapy. Deroy quotes some of the angry reactions to this study from homosexual-rights activists, and points out that their protests are based on the widely-held beliefs that sexual orientation is firmly fixed at birth, and that a person is either 100 per cent gay, or 100 per cent straight. He then explodes those beliefs by raising some counter-examples, for example of heterosexuals like James Hormel, the former U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, who went in the other direction after fathering five children. Deroy concludes:
Perhaps it is; but what, exactly, does the phrase every American encompass? Every American above the age of ... what? Obviously it does not include my son, aged, as he will be pleased to tell you, five and three-quarters. What about Gerry in Lawrence Henrys little story is he included, as his father seemed to believe? Young people and I would include college-age under young need some guidance and authority to turn their raging romantic and sexual urges into healthful and socially desirable channels. They know they do what is Gerry doing but asking for guidance? So what guidance should we give? Is homosexuality healthful? Is it socially desirable?
Well, in the first place, there cannot be much dispute about the fact that male homosexuality is seriously un-healthful. There was not much to dispute about this even before the rise of AIDs, though this has been pretty much forgotten now. Leaving that aside, is homosexuality male or female socially desirable? Is any kind of entirely private behavior any of societys business?
That, of course, is where the interesting arguments begin. Social conservatives like myself rest their case on the common experience of humanity across the ages. You cant have much of a society let alone a civilization without some reasonably stable system for nurturing and socializing children, some system sanctioned by custom, fortified by law, and granted preferences and privileges to assist it. The only system with much of a track record is the man-woman family arrangement. There might be individual records of success with other schemas; but statistically speaking, homosexual partnerships are way too unstable to serve the nurturing and socializing purposes, and the single-parent family gets you what we see in our inner-city ghettoes. (And while polygamy and polyandry might, for all I know, both work, they are both grossly and obviously unfair.) It follows that while homosexuality can be, and in my opinion ought to be, tolerated as a fringe activity for people who are determined to follow that inclination, attempts to proselytize and normalize homosexuality ought to be resisted, even if it could be shown that normalization is possible, which I dont think it could.
The common attitudes of humanity reflect these (as it seems to me) obvious truths. Very large numbers of people agree with me that homosexuality is not socially desirable. Polled by Gallup in February 1999, in fact, 43 per cent of respondents to the question Do you think homosexual relations between consenting adults should or should not be legal? answered with Not legal. This is much sterner than my own position I cant see any point in laws against homosexuality, nor can I see how such laws might be enforced but its obviously how an awful lot of people feel.
Now, you might say that widespread beliefs prove nothing. You might say well, you probably wouldnt say, but you might very well think that the only thing proved by Mr. Gallup is that 43 per cent of the American public are unenlightened bigots in need of some serious re-education. They are homophobes! (A stupid word, which, if it meant anything, would mean having similar fears, as in: She and I are homophobic; were both scared of spiders.) You might add that a majority of citizens in 16th-century Spain probably supported the burning of heretics, and that until quite recently, a majority of people everywhere believed that the earth was flat. Sure, sure: but look at the sheer stubborness of these attitudes. By 1999, the American public had been marinated in pro-homosexual propaganda for thirty years . Movies, TV sitcoms, magazines, newspapers, celebrities, colleges and even high schools have been preaching the gospel for an entire generation. Tolerance! Diversity! Could be your own child! Gay is just as good as straight! Yet after all this in the teeth of all the propaganda, all the proselytizing, all the sanctimony and intimidation and lawyering and moral blackmail the U.S. public obstinately refuses to believe that homosexuality is just fine. Close to half of them think it should be Not legal!
Whether you think they are right or not, one important fact undeniably follows: that homosexuals are an out group (no pun intended). They are an unpopular minority unpopular, at least, with huge numbers of their fellow citizens, and likely to remain so for a very long time to come. If thirty years of relentless propaganda by the massed forces of the U.S. media, education and entertainment industries have still left 43 per cent of us wanting homosexuality Not legal, when, exactly will homosexuality be taken as normal? Homosexual activists are in complete denial about this. Like British generals in WW1, they believe that one more propaganda Big Push one more Philadelphia, one more Queer As Folk, one more Mathew Shepard atrocity will swing the public to their side, will suddenly have everyone believing that, by gosh, yes, gay is just as good as straight! I have news for these activists: it aint gonna happen. You are stuck in the trenches. For ever. Again, you may think this is a grave injustice, and you may be right: but unjust or not, its a fact as plain as the nose on your face.
So what does a wise adult say to a young person like Gerry, who is wondering whether to take a ride on the gay side? At the very least, he should say this. The common opinion of humanity is, and always has been, against homosexuality, in almost all times and places. (And the exceptions are not very exceptional: see, for example, K.J. Dovers Greek Homosexuality.) There are strong social reasons for this, and probably some biological ones, too. You may be wiser than the rest of humanity, but this is not a priori very likely. If you commit yourself to homosexuality, you are committing yourself to a life apart from the main current of society, to being despised and sneered at, mostly but not entirely behind your back. The generality of people, always and everywhere, feel that male homosexuality is mildly disgusting, and female homosexuality mildly ludicrous. You might have the luck to settle into some social niche certain of the performing arts, for example, or the womens professional golf circuit where the sneering is at a minimum, but no-one can, or should, live altogether apart from the larger society. People in whom the homosexual impulse is irresistibly strong put up with this outsider status. Some of them even like it to a certain personality type, there is a thrill in being an outsider, a trangressor. Its not probable that you are that type, and in any case this is not the time to try to find out. At your age, you should be sampling the ordinary pleasures that most people have found fulfilling and satisfying, and the proper pursuit of which helps hold society together, and has provided the raw material for most great art and literature down through the ages. If you find those pleasures irksome, there will be plenty of time in your adult life to experiment with others. Before you can break the rules you must master them; before you can create abstract art, you must cut your teeth on still lifes and landscapes; before you can write free verse, you must cope with sestinas and sonnets. Yours is not the age for transgressions especially not for trangressions that spread disease and dysfunction, as male homosexuality does. Your best shot at a happy and fulfilled life is bourgeois normality, unless you are an exceptional case. Whether or not you are such a case simply cannot be decided at your age, certainly not by you yourself. Stay away from that guy!
National Review Online
June 25th, 2003
The One and the Many
The Episcopal church belongs to the Anglican communion, in which the Church of England is first among equals. That church is itself close to schism over the issue of homosexual clergy. The bishop who presides over the Diocese of Oxford, which covers some 600 parishes in the southwest midlands of England, has declared his intention to appoint as suffragan bishop that is, a sort of assistant bishop, under his authority a man who is openly homosexual. The appointment has been loudly opposed by scores of churches in the diocese and has given rise to a slightly farcical duelling bishops spectacle. Nine bishops signed an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury protesting the appointment; eight other bishops then sent a letter supporting it.
All this is taking place in the context of ructions within the world-wide Anglican communion over this same issue openly homosexual clergy. Anglicanism is very strong in the Third World, especially in Africa. Out there they stick close to Scripture and are socially conservative, and they feel strongly that homosexuality in the clergy is contrary to church teaching and tradition. The bishop of Nigeria, whose diocese is believed to be the fastest-growing in the Anglican communion, is one of those who protested the appointment of Canon John.
And all that is taking place against the background of the recent scandals in the other catholic church. (We Anglicans consider ourselves to be catholic. At Eucharist we recite the Nicene Creed, including the line: We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. The main difference of opinion is over the authority of the Pope in Rome, which we do not accept.) Those scandals revolve around the issue of homosexuality in the clergy. It is very politically incorrect to say that, but anyone who has been involved in the matter, or in reporting it, will tell you it frankly and angrily, and it comes loud and clear from Michael Roses book Goodbye, Good Men.
Now, of course, homosexual clergy are nothing new, certainly not in the Church of England. The queer vicar was a staple of schoolboy jokes in my own childhood, long before gay liberation was heard of. It has probably always been the case that the Roman Catholic and Anglican clergy include a disproportionate number of homosexuals. Quite aside from the glamor element of priesthood in these churches the colored vestments, delicate altar furnishings, chants, bossing about of altar boys and so on priests belong, after all, to the caring professions, to which homosexual men are disproportionately attracted. My mother was a professional nurse all her life until she retired in the 1970s. In those years there were very few male nurses; but every one of them, according to my mother, was assumed to be homosexual unless he presented convincing evidence to the contrary. A high proportion of those who work as servants to the British royal family are homosexual. (One of George Vs footmen was arrested for sexual assaults on young boys. His Majesty, on being told, said: Good grief! I thought chaps like that shot themselves.) Teachers in boys-only schools likewise; Evelyn Waugh remarks on this somewhere, and so do I.
Not only are homosexuals attracted to the caring professions, they are usually good at them. A.N. Wilsons fascinating piece in the Daily Telegraph makes it plain that a lot of the homosexual Anglican clergy he writes about are, in fact, so far as the carrying out of their pastoral duties is concerned, excellent priests. In my oblique way, I made the same point about that schoolmaster of mine, in the column I linked to above. At the boys school I attended, the repressed pederasts were far and away the best teachers. (Please dont send me e-mails arguing that pederasty has nothing whatever to do with homosexuality. I dont believe it.)
So... whats the fuss about? Isnt a homosexual just as entitled to be a schoolmaster, a nurse, a footman, or even a priest, as anyone else? Wouldnt it be unjust, not to mention unkind, to deny a job of this kind they are mostly thankless and ill-paid jobs to a person who, as I have just said, is likely to do it well? In the priesthood, of course, the issue of church teaching comes up: homosexual acts are proscribed in the Bible. However, Canon Jeffrey John, the priest at the center of the Oxford fuss, tells the world that the 27-year relationship with his partner (also an Anglican clergyman) ceased to be physical in the 1990s. He can therefore claim that he is not violating church teaching at all. Why deny him a promotion? Why would so many of us want to deny him? Why do I want to? Isnt this just homophobia blind unreasoning prejudice?
For a clue to the answers, I refer you to Mrs. Leona Helmsley, a person perhaps not as well known out there beyond the Hudson as she is in New York City. Mrs. Helmsley is an 82-year-old lady who owns a number of swank hotels in Manhattan. She was in the local newspapers back in January because of a court case: an ex-employee, name of Charles Bell, was suing her for discrimination, claiming that Mrs. Helmsley had fired him for being homosexual. There were some gray areas in the testimony, but the following at least became clear:
That last led to one of the best courtroom exchanges. Mrs. Helmsleyss attorney asked Bell about an incident when the lady walked into an elevator at the Park Lane and found herself face to face with Bells boyfriend, all decked out in leather-fetish regalia and with a shaven head. From the New York Post courtroom report: He was dressed completely in black leather? [the attorney] asked. Not completely, Bell snapped.
I tell this sad little tale to make a point. The point is that open homosexuality is not necessarily, perhaps, but all too often an infiltrating, exclusivist, corruptive and destructive force. It seems unlikely that anyone can help being homosexual in nature, and no-one should be subject to acts of unkindness or unjust discrimination on account of something he cannot help. On the other hand, an 82-year-old lady of dignity and accomplishment should not be confronted with outrageously-dressed freaks paying discount rates when stepping into the elevator of a hotel she owns.
Here is another case, this one from Michael Roses book. Joseph Kellenyi is talking about his time as a student at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago, a training school for Roman Catholic clergy.
(My italics.) So it will always be. Homosexuality, open and proud, is a subversive force subversive, that is, of any institution in which it becomes entrenched. The Roman Catholic church has recently learned this. The Anglican church is about to learn it. The Boy Scouts of America would have learned it, but for a lucky break from the judiciary.
There is no reason why an individual homosexual might not be a good and honorable person, any more than there is any reason why an individual heterosexual might not be a liar and a thief. In matters social and organizational, though, the sum is often greater than the parts, and it is not the one we should focus on, but the many. This, unfortunately, is a very difficult thing to get people to do in a highly individualistic culture like ours. What about Joe? Hes homosexual, but a finer human being you could never wish to meet. Sure, we all know Joe; but his case tells us nothing about the probable behavior of an organization whose higher levels are 30, or 50, or 60 percent homosexual.
I do believe, with a high degree of certainty, that after a few more appointments of the Canon John / Rev. Robinson kind, my church will cease to be a vehicle for the teaching of Christs gospel, and become instead a dating service for homosexuals. Its ethos will no longer be Christian, it will be gay, like the ethos at that Chicago seminary (and many others Michael Rose reports on).
Long-time readers of National Review may recall Robert Conquests three laws of politics, of which the second was: Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing. (Conquest actually offered the Church of England as an example of this law in action.) I should like to hypothesize a fourth law, which I am going to call Derbyshires Law.
The key phrase there is frank and open. These things I am talking about are new in the world. Catholic seminaries of fifty years ago were not, to judge at any rate from the novels of J.F. Powers, plagued with the kinds of issues detailed in Michael Roses book, though there must have been lots of homosexuals in them.
In this sense, the problem is not homosexuals or homosexuality. I am sure that God loves homosexuals and has a purpose for them. (I even think that their prowess in the caring professions offers some clue as to what that purpose might be.) The problem is the sexual revolution. The problem is hedonism. The problem is the preening vanity and selfishness of coming out, of parading private inclinations, of a kind that repel normal people, as if those inclinations were, all by themselves, marks of authenticity and virtue, of suffering and oppression. A large part of the problem, too, is heterophobia the dislike, mistrust and contempt which many homosexuals feel towards normal people.
My own reaction to all this is, well, reactionary. I rather liked the old order I grew up in, where everyone knew that the local vicar or the Latin master was a bit of an iron,* but that he kept his hands to himself and his private life private, and did a first-class job of work in his chosen line. Such a one could be a respected and admired member of the community. That homosexual schoolmaster in my National Review piece was known and liked throughout our town a substantial place, pop. 100,000 and widely mourned when he died.
The Rev. Robinson, with his selfish betrayal of two little babes, and Canon John, with his self-important announcements about his lifestyle and his bedroom activities, will never have that kind of respect and admiration, certainly not from me.** The church that they and their friends are busily colonizing will soon be one that ordinary Christian families will stay away from in droves.
Organized Christianity began as a religion for women and slaves. It looks set fair to end, at least in the Western world, as a religion for homosexuals. The only thing that might turn the tide would be a determined missionary effort by the diocese of Nigeria.
** It seems that Canon John has in fact been less than honest about these matters. In an interview with the London Times, the canon said that he and his partner had never lived together. Some days later, it emerged that in fact the two of them jointly own an apartment in London, and give frequent dinner parties there.
Homosexual spokespeople nowadays lean heavily on the argument
that we cant help it, were born that way.
... The evidence from history and anthropology is that homophobia
is so widespread and deep-rooted, it might very well be one of
those universal features of human nature listed in the back of
Steven Pinkers book The Blank Slate. ... Indeed, from the
point of view of evolutionary biology, homophobia
makes a great deal more sense than homosexuality!
National Review Online
July 29th, 2003
[T]hey do what Americans have always done when faced with disapproval, anxiety, and potential conflict. They move away. David Brooks
A thin congregation at my church (smellsnbells Episcopalian) last Sunday. This is normal for a hot, muggy day in mid-July. People are away, or off to the beach, or reluctant to leave their central air conditioning. The advantage of it is that you get a good look at the hard core of Anglo-Catholic worshippers. What do they look like? Old, unfortunately but that should be discounted, as older people are less likely to be off on family vacations, or to be addicted to air conditioning, than the rest of us. How about the remainder, the non-old Episcopalian cadre? Well, they come in all sorts, but one prominent element consists of plump, crop-haired women traveling in pairs, wearing frumpy clothes and truculent expressions. On their way to the golf course, perhaps.
Meditating on this during a too-long and not very inspired sermon (look, I write for a living; I spend my whole day reading and writing; you need to compose some sermon to hold my attention), and on something a friend had said a day or two before, and on the future of my church, I developed a long train of thought that ended up with the expression I have used as a title for this piece. Let me see if I can reconstruct that train of thought.
* * * * *
The topic here is homosexuality. In the USA today, heterosexual public opinion on this topic is spread out across a spectrum, with total acceptance at one end of the spectrum, total rejection at the other. The spectrum can be divided into three fairly distinct bands: acceptors, tolerators, and rejectors. Characteristic responses from the three groups, if you raise the topic with them, sound like this.
I think the US heterosexual population at present breaks down very roughly as 25-50-25, acceptors-tolerators-rejectors. Given the characteristic attitudes I have sketched above, and the infinite determination of modern Americans not to be thought unkind, that means Ramesh Ponnuru may well be right that gay marriage is in our future.
It means another thing, too, though. America has been here before here, I mean, with an accept-tolerate-reject spectrum of opinion, on a very different topic. Now, the analogy between black people and homosexuals is one that I myself generally resist. It is my impression that most black Americans resist it even more strongly than I do. (In fact, I should very much like to see some gay rights spokesman expound on that analogy to a roomful of working-class black Americans.) Historically, socially, and biologically, the analogy leaks like a sieve. However, there is not quite nothing there. There is at least this much: human beings prefer to be among others like themselves. You may think this speaks badly of human nature, and you may be right, but I dont see how you can deny the plain fact that most people, given a choice, prefer not to be among those they perceive as radically different from themselves. That is the human basis for the right of freedom of association.
Radically different how? By looking different? I dont think thats really a big part of it, though that is how the issue is always propagandized by liberals, as part of their endless campaign to make normal human preferences seem stupid or cruel. My children, at their public schools, are endlessly indoctrinated with the need for tolerance towards people who look different from ourselves. In fact, hostility based on differences in appearance is rather shallow, and easily overcome. I myself once lived for several months in a town where I was the only white person. When at last another one showed up, I was struck by how odd he looked, and was a little wary of him for a while...
The phenomenon I am working my way towards here, and which inspired my title, is the white flight from Americas cities that occurred during the third quarter of the 20th century, as poor southern rural blacks moved off the land. Why did those white people take flight? Because the sight of dark skin was intolerable to them? I dont think so. I have actually met quite a lot of the white fliers. Probably you have, too. What they were flying from, they will all tell you on being asked, was not blackness, but misbehavior. (As Thomas Sowell notes in his classic book Ethnic America, long-established urban black elites were fleeing too, with the same alacrity, and in proportionate numbers, and from the same motive.) For all kinds of historical and cultural reasons, a lot of those rural southern blacks had, or quickly developed, low standards of behavior. They acted up in school, they fell easily into drink and drug habits, they committed lots of crime and had babies out of wedlock.
How is this relevant? American homosexuals, with minor and ignorable exceptions, dont characteristically misbehave in those particular ways, do they? No, they dont (in the last way, in fact, cant). There is, however, a strong feeling, all the way up the heterosexual opinion spectrum from rejectors, through tolerators, and I think even some way into acceptors, that homosexuals are radically different from the rest of us behaviorally different.
This is something that, in my experience, it is very difficult to get across to homosexuals. They are, as the psychobabble cant phrase has it, in denial about this about homophobia. Ernest Hemingway is supposed to have said that rich people are exactly the same as all the rest of us, except for having more money. Homosexuals, the ones I have spoken with (all right, its a small sample) similarly believe that they are just like all the rest of us, except for this thing about finding members of their own sex erotically attractive. Lots of heterosexuals, most of us probably, disagree, and to that extent are homophobes. I am a homophobe myself, and I know all sorts of people who are likewise. We are not stump-toothed hill-billies, but respectable middle-class people with good educations, who would not harm a fly, nor deny civil rights to anyone tolerators, in the scheme I laid out above but who just dont like homosexuality.
Homosexuals, in fact, as well as being in denial about this, are in a philosophical contradiction about it. Homosexual spokespeople nowadays lean heavily on the argument that we cant help it, were born that way. My guess, based on the evidence I have seen, is that in most cases this is true, so far as inclination is concerned. (Actual deeds are, of course, subject to our free wills.) But what if the same is true of homophobia? The evidence from history and anthropology is that homophobia is so widespread and deep-rooted, it might very well be one of those universal features of human nature listed in the back of Steven Pinkers book The Blank Slate. I dont know whether this is so, but I cant see any strong reason to think it is impossible. Indeed, from the point of view of evolutionary biology, homophobia makes a great deal more sense than homosexuality!
Enter Steve Sailer, who, on an e-list we both belong to, was asked the other day to give his opinion about gay marriage. Steve was phlegmatic on the issue. On the basis of the Netherlands experience, he thought the numbers would be small, and so would have little impact on society at large. Then he said the following thing, which I quote here with Steves permission.
I believe it is that ghettoization that worries a lot of people, especially Catholics (of both Roman and Anglo varieties), and not only in respect of weddings. Homosexuals, as I have noted before, to much scorn and some abuse, have a track record in several spheres of clannishly discriminating in favor of, well, people like themselves. Some of the most famous things ever said by homosexuals about homosexuality testify to this inclination. Christopher Isherwood, for example, speaking of his deep-rooted loyalty to my kind, or E.M. Forsters appalling remark that: If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country. It is possible, of course, that this clannishness is, or was, a defensive reaction to the marginalization of homosexuals in past times. Possible; but I dont think Im willing to bet my church on it. And, as Steve notes, even in an environment like the theater, where it has been some decades since anyone was marginalized for his sexual preference, the ghettoization proceeds anyway, increasingly, in the latter phases, by heterosexuals opting out of the scene by straight flight.
Deplorable as it may be, we do not want to find ourselves among people who, we believe, differ radically from ourselves in their behavior. Not among lots of such people, anyway. One or two is no problem is, to the contrary, welcome to us as evidence of our own tolerance and open-mindedness. It is not the first arrival in our street that causes the FOR SALE signs to start sprouting, nor even the second nor the third. There is, as Sandra Day OConnor would say, a critical mass.
Thats what white flight was all about. Thats what todays residential segregation is all about. It doesnt mean that the fliers hate anyone, or want to bash anyone, or wish to deny any civil right to anyone. Some of them, some small subgroup of the rejectors, do hate, want to bash, or wish to deny, but most of us dont. I myself certainly dont, and I bitterly resent people who suggest otherwise.
If, however, some institution to which we belong is colonized
by those who are, in some way that seems important to us, different
well, we wont necessarily fight, or hate,
or bash. We will just quietly sell up and leave,
in order to be among people we feel more comfortable with, and
the institution will then be something different from what it
was. It will belong to them, not to us.