It may be misleading to call social positions that are in fact radically revisionist “mainstream” and “moderate,” since the attempt to transform fundamental human relations is neither, but it’s not dishonest. After all, if Gerry Ford didn’t set the gold standard for the mainstream moderate American there is no such thing, and he supported government benefits for same sex couples. In the events surrounding his funeral many thought his social views worth emphasizing for that reason. Jimmy Carter, for example, pointed out in his eulogy that he and Ford agreed that “Christians should not be divided over seemingly important, but tangential issues, including sexual preferences and the role of women in the church,” where “not be divided” evidently meant “united in accepting the liberal position.”
Carter of course has joined with Bill Clinton to announce the formation of a new group for “moderate” Baptists that will will focus on themes such as poverty, global warming and war and de-emphasize more traditional Baptist concerns: “We want to be all-inclusive [a code word in church circles], and we call on all Baptists to share those goals and join us.” And the Bush administration, however they may spin the issue, is evidently perfectly happy with “civil unions” and other aspects of what is now considered moderate gay lib, where the distinction between “civil unions” and “marriage” is evidently a temporary and content-free accommodation to old ways of thinking.
Since there’s no reason to think that Bush the Elder would dispute such positions, it seems clear that all recent presidents favor a new gender order that takes eradication of sex as relevant to social order for granted, and can consequently imagine no reason to treat homosexual relationships and normal ones differently. (Presumably they’d object to that way of describing the situation as prejudicial and divisive.) How can you get more mainstream than all recent presidents?
But how could those eminent men think otherwise? There’s no good way to reject the gay agenda unless you reject the feminist agenda, and there’s no good way to do that unless you think “stereotypes and discrimination“—acceptance of the practical day-to-day relevance of traditional components of personal and social identity—are OK. From any remotely mainstream point of view they are assuredly not OK. The supreme principle of social morality today is “nondiscrimination”—the exclusive use of financial and bureaucratic classifications in place of traditional ones. Only formal qualifications and free-floating personal qualities that have somehow been separated from any larger traditional setting can be taken into account in social relations, except to the extent the larger setting must be considered for the sake of neutralizing any effect it might otherwise have.
One must of course make distinctions, but under the new order permissible distinctions can only relate to wealth, neutral bureaucratic classifications, and things that (supposedly) do not touch people personally because they do not go to personal identity. Other distinctions would be invidious, so they must all be rooted out. You are allowed to distinguish college graduates and college dropouts, or even Yale and Harvard graduates, but not Mayflower descendants and Senegalese immigrants. Military experience can count, but not the experience of being raised a man rather than a woman or for that matter the consequences of 1,000,000,000 years of sexual dimorphism. Personality, character and loyalties can matter, but only if they have nothing whatever to do with cultural background. You can exclude people from teaching who haven’t taken useless education courses, but it’s a crushing objection to sex discrimination in the military that some women are bigger, stronger and more stoic than some men.
Some of the most moderate and mainstream rules are apparently from outer space. It’s been settled for decades that you normally can’t look at IQ tests or criminal records in deciding who to hire because blacks come out worse than whites on both and they haven’t been proven to predict performance perfectly in all positions. Diversity is said to be a “challenge,” which means “problem,” but if you try to narrow your problems by choosing people for likely compatibility—which is likely to include things like common culture—you’re a monster of iniquity, and irrational to boot. In more and more places it’s an actual crime to declare sex relevant to longterm intimate relationships, and it must even be ignored in situations like adoption that involve utterly powerless parties with no choice in the matter. The family is said to be the fundamental unit of society and terribly important when it’s useful rhetorically to say so, as in the case of selling “gay families,” but it’s obviously no longer recognized as a social institution at all: interference with commercial contractual relationships is a tort, but adultery is evidently a human right.
What’s happened? Evidently, we’re seeing a hypertrophy of bureaucratic and market institutions, to the extent that they and the habits and understandings that pervade them are now considered the sole standard for social order and rationality itself. Everything at odds with them is ignorant, irrational, retrograde, hateful, and increasingly illegal. Nobody with any influence sees any problem with that. They run the privileged institutions and they’ve gotten where they are by giving themselves wholly to those ways of thought and action. Somehow all this is perfectly rational and just, and it’s going to lead to a much more peaceful and functional society and make everybody much happier. At least that’s what we’re told. For all I know that’s right. The bureaucracies of knowledge are all on board, the only people who object are the people, and they’re ignorant losers who can’t put forward studies and learned arguments in support of their prejudices. So screw ’em.