It is a world historical event when Jonah Goldberg—one of our most prominent conservative intellectuals, judging by his book sales and his almost daily TV appearances—weighs in on gay marriage. Jonah is not some obscure academic or archivist grinding out research articles on ancient Mesopotamian linguistics. He is a frequent guest on Good Morning America and the talk shows of Chris Matthews, Glenn Beck, and Jon Stewart. His dense tome on how Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are offshoots of Hitler and Mussolini climbed to the top of The New York Times bestseller list within eight weeks of its publication and is now regularly quoted in the European “conservative” press as the last word on Obamaism’s Nazi-fascist origins.
For those who might have mistaken Jonah for a Neanderthal defending 1950s lifestyles, it is important to note that he’s a progressive conservative, one who briskly and happily moves with the times. Although like other conservatives he presumably believes in immutable “values,” Goldberg is quite willing to reconsider his moral positions depending on their relative popularity in the American media. Attacking Democratic administrations for deficit spending and Nazi-like policies is one thing; insulting presently favored victimized minorities is another, and Jonah doesn’t want to get too far out lest he sink into right-wing fever swamps.
Thus, he dutifully went after Rand Paul during the Kentucky senatorial campaign for raising limited objections to the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s public-accommodations title. Jonah defended the entire government-surveillance paraphernalia that the far-reaching Johnson Administration act created as the “beginning of our economic freedom.” The usually painfully PC Rand Paul was seen as having “associated himself with bigots” for even questioning whether the 1964 act went too far by unleashing government administrators and class-action lawyers on those accused of discriminating against blacks and women.
Now Jonah is offering his thoughts on gays as “mainstream” bourgeoisie, thoughts so refreshing that the Los Angeles Times has praised them as “surprising in a conservative journalist.” Supposedly journalists have never heard such oracular views coming from the conservative movement, despite the fact that media-certified conservatives such as David Brooks, Dick Cheney, David Frum, and John Podhoretz, among others, have already expressed the same opinions. Perhaps they have not stated them loudly enough for the Los Angeles Times to notice. Like Goldberg, these cognoscenti have recognized that gays are expressing “conservative values” when they seek to marry each other and wish to serve openly in the American military.
What Goldberg has added to this endorsement by way of David Brooks is the notion that gays are now so conservative—that is, bourgeois—that they are “simply too mainstream for liberals.” He refers to nice gay couples who have adopted Asian children and to those gays depicted on TV programs who are “hardworking bourgeois couples.” Our culture and social developments are giving the lie to “some bohemian identity-politics fantasy of homosexuality” and showing us that gay unions can and should mean “traditional marriage.”
Although Jonah doesn’t explicitly condemn those who resist gay marriage, he clearly sympathizes with his yuppie buds on the other side. He editorializes on behalf of what he calls gay marriage’s “inevitability.” It is “cruel and absurd to tell gays that living the free-love lifestyle is abominable while at the same time telling them their committed relationships are illegitimate, too.” Goldberg seeks to make us all rejoice with him and David Brooks at the arrival of “the homosexual bourgeoisie.” For true conservatives this should be “good news.”
Without being shockingly indelicate, one might bring up the anti-bourgeois behavior displayed by Goldberg’s newly found “conservatives”: for example, the frequent and costly vandalism that gay advocates, many of whom were presumably gay, inflicted on the property of religious denominations that supported California’s proposition to ban gay marriage. Gay advocates also threatened religious leaders who supported this project. Perhaps I shouldn’t mention the inexpressible vulgarity that is common at Gay Pride Parades, seeing that the neocon New York Post helped destroy a New York gubernatorial candidate for daring to notice this indecency.
And let me push the envelope a bit further (what the hell—I’ll never be asked to write for NR, anyhow) by citing the voluminous statistical data of Judith Reisman, Paul Cameron, and other research psychologists who have been driven out of professional organizations for failing to be politically correct. Such scholars elucidate what their profession has tried to forget since the 1970s, when it became verboten to call attention to what was self-evident but insensitive: Gays are three times more likely than heterosexuals to be pedophiles; pro-homosexual education in public schools has been used to recruit the young into gay activities, etc., etc. According to the pre-PC American Psychological Association, gays were promiscuous because it was inherent in their sexual orientation, not because they weren’t allowed to marry.
If Jonah’s beloved American liberal democratic government were willing to abolish all anti-discrimination laws, I’d be happy to let people marry their pet hamsters. I just want public administrators to stop telling me whom I should be nice to and who should be treated with special consideration. I personally prefer gays or just about anyone else to government bureaucrats, and especially to those engaged in modifying social behavior.
Why should I trust what TV screenwriters tell me to believe about some alleged neo-Victorian gay lifestyle any more than all the other nonsense they feed me? From these scriptwriters one might learn that most gangsters are white corporate executives but rarely Jewish, while blacks and Hispanics are crime-fighters or surgeons ministering to white people of lesser intelligence. All of this may be true in the alternate reality Jonah shares with his Hollywood friends, but none of this squares with what I’ve seen on terra firma.
How could Jonah miss the big picture? Gay activists seek a moral stamp of legitimacy, not the right to come out of the closet, something they already enjoy in a thousand different ways. Gays wish to gain respect for their anti-bourgeois lifestyle by redefining marriage away from a practice that has existed since at least the end of the last Ice Age. We may also assume that male-female pairing was the rule among primitive hominids a million years ago, as it was for all life forms beyond unicellular organisms. There has been a standard understanding of marriage for millennia, even before Christianity raised it to a sacrament.
The vastly broadened definition Jonah favors would require intensive recoding of everyone who is not on board with the demanded change, a social-engineering feat that has already begun in public schools, the media, and in the courts with the introduction of anti-discriminatory laws pertaining to the treatment of gays. This work is proceeding more smoothly than one might have expected it would back before the managerial state and media became so powerful and before gender roles and traditional families began to erode.
It might still take a lot more work before the imprinted social behavior that has developed over the last million years can be undone. According to Michael Levin, revulsion for homosexuality is deeply instilled in us because the practice subverts the reproductive pattern necessary for our species’ survival. Levin argued in The Monist (April 1984) that the twisting of heterosexual intercourse into homosexual activity generates deep distaste in a species that is conditioned to associate sexual relations with reproduction and family-building. But one should not underestimate the reconditioning mechanisms that are at the state and media’s disposal.
I would not underrate our leftward-lunging conservative establishment’s value as facilitators of goofy social change. The reaction of “conservative” commentators, most conspicuously Rush Limbaugh, to having openly gay soldiers in the military was breathtakingly underwhelming. It was as if the “movement,” going from FOX commentators through radio celebrities, had been briefed on what not to say. The ones who did say something, such as Charles Krauthammer, were typically in favor of what the Democratic Congress did. My Canadian friend Grant Havers, after reading Goldberg’s “surprising” commentary, quipped that our conservatives “might want to embrace all of cultural Marxism at one time. That way they could stay ahead of the Christmas rush.”