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The sexes

Are homosexual acts right?

The single most important question in the current debate over homosexuality is whether it’s good for those sexually attracted to persons of the same sex to follow through on their inclinations. If it is, then it’s a violation of their rights to stand in their way or act as if there’s something wrong with what they do. If it isn’t, it still might be advisable to leave them free to do what they want or protect them in various ways, but it puts the discussion on a very different footing.

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Stanley Kurtz on taboos and fairness

Stanley Kurtz has a generally sensible discussion at NRO of the practical function of sexual taboos, that by defining what is fitting within sexual relations they make it possible to rely on such relations to be something definite and so make family life possible as a social institution. He then says:

I would rather accept some disruption in family stability than go back to the days when homosexuality itself was deeply tabooed. The increase in freedom and fairness is worth it.

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Merchandise and the body

Money and mainstream cultural radicalism: Nude department store. Selfridges, an English department store chain, capped its month-long Body Craze promotional campaign by paying an American artist a five-figure sum to use its flagship store as the setting for an installation involving 600 nude volunteers.

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The abolition of woman

Who says feminism is pro-woman? As the Anti-feminist Page observes, the point is the abolition of “gender”—sexual distinctions—as a principle of social order, and their replacement by bureaucratic and market relations. The abolition of gender means, of course, that women are to be abolished just like men. The latest evidence on the point comes from Smith College, which still calls itself a women’s institution.

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Health and ideology

We’ve commented before on the success of the abstinence-based anti-AIDS program in Uganda, noting that the readiness of health officials dealing with AIDS to ignore the success of the program confirms that they are willing to sacrifice thousands of lives for the sake of sexual liberation and similar causes. It appears that feminism is another cause thought worthy of large-scale sacrifice of life. Article 14 of the UN Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS states that “…Gender equality and the empowerment of women are fundamental elements in the reduction of the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV/AIDS.” What that means, it appears, is that anti-AIDS programs are to be held hostage to other concerns. If a program—like the Uganda program—doesn’t put the social and economic independence of women and girls first, or is equally concerned with women and men, UN officials don’t want to hear about it.

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Support Santorum!

Good causes: support Senator Santorum, and sign a petition against the current attempt to write “gay rights” into international human rights law.

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The rich and famous have such problems …

Feminism gives ground for very serious complaints. However, the social location of those whose voices get amplified by the media ensures that they mostly take the form of yuppie kvetching: there can’t be anything wrong with feminism that more and better feminism wouldn’t cure, so that things become what they should be for me. Here are a couple of bits from Australia, the first by a TV talking head who was startled that even yuppie kvetching attracts feminist fury because it suggests there are problems with actually-existing feminism, and the other an account of a visit to Australia by Naomi Wolf. The author of the latter piece finds fault with Miss Kvetch on the ground that what’s needed is not better feminism for the privileged but better social services for abused children and other victims of the new moral order. Naturally, she doesn’t put it that way.

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More sexual miscellany

One way to express the contradiction at the heart of “gay marriage” is that it demands the right to a special status—marriage—in the name of abolishing special status. The real effect of such demands is to eliminate marriage in favor of equal treatment of living arrangements. The sentimentality about how nice married life is, and shouldn’t it be available to gays too, can only have a rhetorical function. One sign of the real tendency of things is the recent attempt to secure the equivalent of alimony in consequence of a rather stormy adulterous affair. Another is the approving treatment in the Newpaper of Record of promiscuous grandmas—aren’t they cute? Even bestiality gets an accepting nod from the “mainstream press” today when they aren’t putting on a show to get at Senator Santorum. Because the whole point is that nothing is special—everything must be treated in the same way as everything else.

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Thoughts on 'sexual identity' and 'gay marriage'

The homosexual movement and its allies constantly use the phrase “sexual identity.” The phrase seems to be taken for granted, and is rarely explained and justified. It seems, though, to refer to the notion that our sexual habits and inclinations are fundamental to what we are, more so than religion or even sex in the natural sense of whether one is male or female. It’s religious “affiliation” or “preference,” and “biological gender” (apparently nearly irrelevant to specifically human concerns), but sexual “identity”—straight, gay, bi, transgendered or whatnot.

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True love waits

As counterpoint to the “queering the schools” agenda, here’s a footnote-laden Family Research Council report on Abstinence until Marriage: The Best Message for Teens. We’ve touched before on the widespread technocratic prejudice against “abstinence-only” sex-ed programs. Nonetheless, it should be obvious that it’s the abstinence curricula that are based on reason and common sense and the “comprehensive” ones—the ones that treat sex ed as a matter of providing information so that teenagers can make their own informed choices—that are untried and narrowly ideology-based. One bit of evidence on the point is that unlike “comprehensive” sex ed abstinence-based curricula do work. Another is that teenagers, who do after all have some sense of what kind of world makes them safe, welcome such programs because they want society to take a strong stand against teen sex.

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O tempora, o mores

A tale of two causes: “queering the schools”—mainstreaming homosexual and polymorphously perverse themes throughout education—goes forward, and the only people who complain are said to be homophobic cranks. Meanwhile, it’s a huge scandal if the Secretary of Education praises Christian schools very moderately (“all things being equal, I’d prefer to have a child in a school where there’s a strong appreciation for values, the kinds of values that I think are associated with the Christian communities, so that this child can be brought up in an environment that teaches them to have strong faith and to understand that there is a force greater than them personally”).

The links are well worth reading. “Queering the schools”—the goal is the abolition of all order in a fundamental part of the human person, his sexuality—is a remarkably evil undertaking, but nobody objects to it. After all, the abolition of gender as a principle of social order is considered an obligation of public morality today, and in order to abolish it publicly it will no doubt have to be undercut and disrupted privately in every way imaginable. Radical measures are needed to get rid of something that’s always been so basic to human life.

Radicalism and hatred often go together, so in a way it’s not surprising the comments on Secretary Paige’s remarks have been so virulent in their bigotry. U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) said they stood for “the Taliban approach to education,” for example, and joined 11 other members of Congress in sending a letter to him saying, “If you are unprepared to make clear that this sort of religious bigotry has no place in the Department of Education, then we would urge you to resign.” Personally, I’d suggest other resignations, starting with Ackerman’s.

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Marriage as whatever is called marriage

In London, Ontario, a judge declined to recognize three people as the legal parents of a single child (the mother, the father, and the mother’s lesbian partner). And in an older London, the Lords rejected a request to interpret English law as permitting transsexual marriage.

The victory for the traditional definition of the family was more apparent than real. The Ontario judge declared that he would have granted the application, but held back for lack of jurisdiction. And while the Law Lords held that the requested change in legal concepts was a matter for Parliament, they also declared the existing law incompatible with the right to respect for family life and the right to marry, and ordered the Lord Chancellor to pay half the costs of the appeal.

This is where the millenial traditions of the Common Law and Anglo-Saxon self-government have ended: respect for family life and marriage means equal treatment for whatever sexual arrangements people work out for themselves and say they intend to live by. There’s nothing more or less to it than that. There’s also no apparent reason why sexual arrangements should get more respect than other arrangements. What we come down to, therefore, is that “respect for family and marriage” means “equal validity of all contracts, subject to the right of the government to intervene when it seems beneficial.” “Family and marriage” thus turns out to be identical with the abolition of family and and marriage: the extension of the regime of bureaucratically-regulated markets to the ground those institutions once occupied.

In Planned Parenthood v. Casey the Supreme Court said “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” As to the concept of liberty in present-day Anglo-American law, the Supreme Court was right. “Liberty” is now simply the triumph of the will, and the “respect” of which the Lords speak is simply recognition that the triumph must be equal for all wills. Such a view means the abolition of all institutions other than market and regulatory bureaucracy. Why be surprised when that result applies to marriage and family life?

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Which witches?

Maybe “gynocide” wasn’t so totally gynocidal: The victims of the witch hunt history would rather forget. Of the 60,000 or so persons executed for witchcraft in Europe between 1450 and 1750, perhaps 12-20,000 were men. In some regions, such as Burgundy, Normandy and Iceland, men were a majority of those accused. Those aren’t facts the dominant feminist school of witch history has latched on to, but a couple of English historians have finally written a book about them.

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Sex and the 5th grader

An item that illustrates John Rao’s point about the infinite openness of “common sense” in an officially pluralist society, as well as my point about the impossibility of dealing reasonably with sex under the new dispensation: Leading U.K. health agency gives 11-year-olds free condoms. The reason?

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Mad dogs and Scotsmen

When people need something to stew about what they choose is unpredictable. In Edinburgh it’s still OK to have a school Nativity play, you’re just not allowed to videotape it. The concern isn’t offense to animists or Muslims, psychological stress for participants, the right of the student to control reproduction of his likeness, or discrimination against those without video cameras or leading parts.

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Date rape among the Lords

Get government out of the bedroom!

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Expressions of love

A clever summary of the arguments for “gay marriage” and their intrinsic flaw: The Marriage of True Minds: A Dialogue. Why, after all, shouldn’t I be able to marry George Washington or the Bank of Nova Scotia?

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“Inclusive” language stalls

Something that should surprise people who claim that using “inclusive” language is just accepting the natural development of how people speak: Mankind, Other Lazy Terms, Return to News Pages. According to the Women’s Enews commentator:

Despite years of effort by women’s groups, linguists and educators to encourage speakers of English to adopt words that are gender-neutral, they note, and I note, a lapse into lazy terminology that excludes women. This slippage is occurring even at major newspapers, where their executives should know better.

So its own proponents view the “natural development” as an intentional program of re-education. If you’re lazy, the feminist language slips away, so eternal vigilance is needed. Sounds almost like it’s against nature!

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U.N. unmasks Canadian sexism

Did you hear the one about the UN bureaucrat, the feminist and the Canadian? Here it is, from the Toronto Star: U.N. report says Canada failing its women. In fact the story’s no joke, however absurd it may be. Because Canada signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, it must subject itself to periodic determinations from what passes for a world forum that it must do more to advance feminism. A basic principle of all such determinations, of course, is that there can never be enough welfare programs, enough affirmative action, or enough PC.

For another side of the social advances feminism has brought, this one from the land of l’amour, read The misery of being a French man. “Man no longer exists,” according to the French women’s magazine Elle. You don’t have to buy into everything the publication says to see that the French have big problems regarding the relation of the sexes. Not that we don’t, or are likely to do much about the ones we have. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, who may suffer from the virility deficit Elle noted in young Frenchmen, announced that he would only consider the recommendations that received the unanimous consent of the commision considering reforms of Title IX enforcement. If the feminist activists on the commission didn’t agree to something, it’s a non-starter.

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AIDS experts strike again

What to do about AIDS in Africa? Easy, says a New York Times Op-Ed by Kati Marton of the International Woman’s Health Coalition. It’s mostly a disease of powerless and victimized women, so the answer is empowerment: female condoms and microbicides, and programs that train women how to resist sexual predators. Sex and disease are technical issues, the idea is, so where there are problems a technical fix—skills and resources—must be the answer. To the extent there are human problems they must all reduce to inequality, so egalitarian intervention must be the answer.

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