Homophobe-phobia

July 25, 2010 § 17 Comments

Homophobia is real. Let me explain.

Fear is not, in itself, irrational. It may be a-rational, but it isn’t irrational. Fear is a natural, human, emotional response to a threat; and the world is filled with threats. In fact that one of those threats will take each of us out of this world at some point is a virtual certainty.

A phobia is a radically disproportionate, overwhelming fear of something. It is perfectly rational to be afraid of, say, heights. I am sure there are even acrophobes who have died or been injured by falling from a height. What is irrational about the acrophobe is not that he fears heights, but that his fear of heights is disproportionate, overwhelming, debilitating. His emotional response to a real danger is vastly disproportionate to the objective nature of the danger.

I have no doubt that somewhere in the world there is a homophobe: a person who sees homosexual acts as a unique transcendent threat to such an extent that it causes an emotional reaction leading to psychological debilitation. I don’t know any such person, but I am sure he exists. I expect that should we encounter such a person, we ought to be able to agree that he suffers from homophobia; that he has… issues.

The reason leftist/libertine polemicists use the term homophobia is, of course, to paint adherents to traditional sexual morality as, not merely wrong, but as having… issues. Often as not this seems to be, shall we say, a projection on the part of folks who themselves seem to have… issues.

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§ 17 Responses to Homophobe-phobia

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    I've noticed something in these recent discussions of the term “homophobia” at W4: It seems to me that those on the left are trying to get a sexual traditionalist like me to say something to the effect that the normalization of homosexual acts is particularly problematic for society because those acts are not _only_ immoral but also unnatural in all ways, types, and forms, and could never be rendered morally legitimate by any context. Therefore to insist on teaching children that two men can be married is a different and special problem that goes beyond teaching them that a divorced person can be remarried. After all, if the divorced person were not divorced, if he were instead a widower, it would be _metaphysically possible_ for him to be married to the very woman with whom he has just conducted a civil ceremony. Hence, as well, traditional parents at some point teach their children about heterosexual intercourse but those same parents do not consider it a similar part of their job (to say the least) to teach their children about homosexual intercourse. By its very nature, the former can be legitimate and even part of a God-given union, but the latter is always unnatural and never can be. Hence we consider it highly regrettable if our children are brought even to start thinking about or knowing about homosexual acts _at all_, which is not the case per se for heterosexual acts.

    Now, I say all of this, but I get the feeling that this is in itself supposed to be some sort of “aha” moment for the leftists. They _caught_ me making a special point about the intrinsic, always-and-everywhere perversion of homosexual acts. _That's_ the essence of “homophobia.” It seems as though all the talk about “consistency” and the “source of inconsistency” and what-have-you are really getting at that: trying to “catch” traditionalists saying that there is something (what was the phrase?) objectively disordered about homosexual inclinations and hence always and per se unnatural about all homosexual acts.

  • I must have missed the 4W discussion Lydia refers to, perhaps I'll look it up. This comment is in two incongruous parts.

    Part I:

    The phrase “has issues” strikes me as too indirect. Is it too blunt to say that “homophobia” is a propaganda term used to depict the morally upright as *mentally ill*?

    “Homophobia” is quite a ridiculous word, implying that conservatives check under the bed each night to see if Elton John is hiding there.

    Lydia writes: “Hence we consider it highly regrettable if our children are brought even to start thinking about or knowing about homosexual acts _at all_, which is not the case per se for heterosexual acts.”

    Part of the “phobia” term's effectiveness is the way it undermines the habits of discretion and circumspection and revulsion which the old order cultivated on the subject. Blackstone denounced “that horrible sin which ought not to be named among Christians.” My father still only speaks of the “orientation” in hushed tones, and I'm not exactly loquacious about it in speech.

    To the permissive mind, these habits look just like phobias. The therapeutic ethos despises a guarded tongue.

    What if it is the collapse of discretion that is at the root of our problems? Does going on and on about same-sex “marriage” or other doings of political homosexuals and their activist friends actually bog us down even deeper in the impure muck? Should we scold Zippy for linking to that parade picture?

    I'd rate that picture at about PG-13. But in previous eras such near-nudity in public would be considered shocking and lewd. Reviving a similar spirit would indirectly respond to the problems we face.

    Part II:

    Another reason “homophobia” is a common insult: it has the backing of the Supreme Court, which will strike down laws rooted in “irrational animus” concerning sexual orientation. Recall that lawyers are now going through the Prop. 8 campaign records for signs of this “animus.”

    The insult is not just a cheap debating tactic, it's a matter of constitutional law and public reason.

    This interpretation helps further explain why some activist are, in Lydia's words, 'trying to “catch” traditionalists saying that there is something …objectively disordered about homosexual inclinations and hence always and per se unnatural about all homosexual acts.'

    This also helps explain why prominent SSM opponents seem to pull their punches so much, focusing on the good of marriage, and not the depravity and self-destruction of their opposition. The debate is rigged, and vigorous criticism is a sign of unconstitutional “homophobia.”

  • zippy says:

    FWIW, I linked to the photo rather than displaying it on the page as an attempt at propriety of sorts.

    I think the vague “issues” serves the semantic purpose better because it doesn't carry the exculpatory connotation of “mental illness”. “Homophobes” aren't just insane, they are insane and evil: the only form of evil recognized by liberalism, that is, illiberalism.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    I've deliberately not looked at the picture, but I can imagine. Last year in the middle of our fight here in my town against a homosexual rights ordinance, a local politician on our side (whom I applaud for her courage) gave the “against” side in a town meeting. During her entire twenty minute talk–which was well-organized and well-reasoned–she chose to display a slide show of a Gay Pride parade on the wall behind her. There were conservative families in the audience. It really bothered me. (This isn't a criticism of Zippy but of her. She didn't give us a chance not to click on the link!)

    I strongly agree with Kevin J's remarks in this regard.

    We have to recognize the utter intransigence of liberals on this. They will try every possible tactic they can, most especially ridiculous parallels. If they cannot get a conservative to say that a heterosexual married couple who (say) uses NFP for insufficient reason (or whatever) is just as much of a problem to society walking about amongst us as two men claiming to be married, we are supposed to be guilty of “irrational animus” against the two men!

    There is, I do not hesitate to say, a kind of utter removal from reality about all of this. And of course, despite all their attempted parallels and comparisons, homosexual activists know _perfectly well_ with their talk about “heteronormativity” and so forth that it is a _very_ radical departure from previous norms for us to treat a romantic/sexual relationship between two men or two women as normal.

    I'm “homophobic,” I suppose, because I would say that it is unnatural, objectionable, and something I don't want me or my children exposed to, for two men (even if they have not yet gone to bed together) to be walking about in public holding hands and glancing romantically into each other's eyes. But it is not unnatural (and not even necessarily a problem, provided they exercise restraint) for an engaged heterosexual couple to be doing the same. How are they going to bring contraception, NFP, divorce, or any of these other issues into _that_ comparison? Well, of course, they can't. So I guess it's a “pure” instance of homophobia.

  • c matt says:

    'trying to “catch” traditionalists saying that there is something …objectively disordered about homosexual inclinations and hence always and per se unnatural about all homosexual acts.'

    It is disordered.

  • Tommy says:

    Good points, all. Thanks for the thoughts.

    It is clear that gays have an agenda that is wholly opposed to traditional morality, and they are out to up-end that morality in favor of their version of morality. This cannot be done to a sane society, without first undermining its sanity. That's where the permissiveness of the sexual revolution started the ball: it is a kind of insanity to pretend (and pretend was they were doing, given the mores of the 1950s) that sex separated from marriage, children, and legal / social approval is anything other than selfish license that defies one root of society. When you have told yourself often enough to come to believe it that sex without reference to marriage & children is “good”, you have divorced yourself from reality and not surprisingly, you will start to be divorced from the rest of sexual reality. Insanity.

    Is there any realistic prospect that we will stop the homosexual agenda at some point short of full victory?

  • “Is there any realistic prospect that we will stop the homosexual agenda at some point short of full victory?”

    I've come to believe the answer is “no.” As I've said elsewhere, there is already a de facto ban on conservative institutions. Anti-discrimination laws, broadly construed, have helped create our PC establishment.

    The only possible progress I can foresee is to exempt for media and educational institutions in order to level the marketplace of ideas.

    Unfortunately, my interpretation means there are no institutional allies for opponents of the agenda, so support for such exemptions wouldn't be likely even if the populace hadn't been subjected to propaganda and pornography for more than a decade.

    Since conservative institutional strength is so weak, indirection is the way to go. The progress of the homosexual agenda is a result of other structural problems in society. If those are ameliorated, restoration will have a better chance.

    I'm working on an argument that the ban on mentioning churches in housing ads helped destroy church-centered neighborhoods and advertising-supported religious publications. Since churches are some of the few remaining opponents of the agenda in question, it's my hope that strengthening religious neighborhoods would better create pockets of resistance to, or relief from, these cultural trends.

  • Tommy says:

    I wasn't aware that there was a ban on advertising houses of worship in housing ads. I wonder what the rationale there was?

    At this late day, is there any prospect of getting any neighborhood homogeneous enough for a church to be a real community-wide center of cultural re-alignment? If each set of 15% of my neighbors goes to a different church, even if everyone goes to church it's hard to see how a church can serve as a community focus.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    I live in a part of the country that many think of as conservative. My impression is that my county is red but my city within that county is blue or at least purple. ūüôā

    Last year we opposed a homosexual and even transvestite rights ordinance. It was such an extreme ordinance that it was possible to focus just on the transvestite aspect of it to show how extreme it was. Yet nonetheless it passed. When I was trying to get signatures to force it to a referendum vote (as opposed to its being allowed to pass on merely the vote of the City Commission, which would otherwise have happened), I literally had people say to me, “I don't want to do anything against gays.” It was that stark. These were not ideologues (though I met plenty of those, too). These were nice, ordinary people who simply felt that it would be bad somehow to “do anything against gays.” One woman told me that she was afraid that her grown daughter would learn that she had signed and would be angry with her.

    That experience really discouraged me about turning back the homosexual agenda. The homosexual activist groups wrote that ordinance. I was even present at a meeting with the city commission where it was made _more_ radical by way of suggestions from the floor from the transgender activists present. They were able to write that ordinance however they wanted it written and get it passed because there were so many nice, Christian, Dutch Reformed people who wouldn't vote against it or do anything to stop it lest they be “doing something against gays.”

  • Tommy says:

    Apparently, in some areas at least, gays have won the war of ideas: the idea that they are just another group (like blacks) that doesn't “deserve” to be treated so that they cannot fulfill their aspirations under the law.

    If they have achieved that status in ordinary people's minds, I have to say that I think that ordinary people's minds must be pretty damn disgusting places. That seems to me an unavoidable conclusion. How can you even begin to formulate a sentence like “I don't want to do anything against gays” without first having managed to come to a conceptualization of the class “gays” as being “just some group out there that has legitimate aspirations? And to do that, don't you have to turn your back on the entirety of natural sentiments about what sexuality means? And how likely is it that a person will turn away from where the natural weight of sentiment leads us, without first having been defiled with a significant load of vice (especially, lust) to damage those natural sentiments.

  • Zippy says:

    And how likely is it that a person will turn away from where the natural weight of sentiment leads us, without first having been defiled with a significant load of vice (especially, lust) to damage those natural sentiments.

    Divorce rate, rate of extramarital sex, average age of first sexual encounter — yeah, I'd say your condition is probably met. The vast majority of people have been defiled with a significant load of vice, especially lust, and Heaven only knows how many – how few – escape from the prison. Martin Luther knew that once he got priests to violate their vows and marry, the conflict of interest would do all the heavy lifting to keep them on the road they were on.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: homosexuality isn't the camel's nose in the tent, it is the camel's hindquarters poking out. The rest of the camel has been dining at the table inside the tend for many decades. I'm perfectly willing to concede that sodomy is a greater transgression of nature than (say) fornication or adultery, and its public expression (kissing etc) is necessarily problemmatic in a way that two adulterers kissing in public is not necessarily (though it may be contingently, that is, based on who is present and what they know) problemmatic. But if it weren't for the pervasiveness of latter two the former would have no traction. A “conservatism” unable to come to grips with contraception, divorce, etc is in no condition to oppose the sodomite putsch.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    I don't know where exactly this fits in, but I did think that the woman's comment about her daughter was striking. And it wasn't the only case of that kind I encountered. One woman I met was utterly dominated by her miserably unhappy young lesbian-looking daughter (perhaps about twenty) who was present when I visited and who was extremely angry about my position.

    Some kind of corruption is working backwards through the generations–young people who have been sent (often) to public school and have either “come out” or at least have imbibed a strongly sexual libertarian ideology are imposing it on their naturally more conservative parents who may themselves have led quite chaste lives.

  • KJJ says:

    Tommy writes:

    “I wasn't aware that there was a ban on advertising houses of worship in housing ads. I wonder what the rationale there was?”

    I am under the impression that the words “near churches” was believed to be a signal that Jews need not apply, but I doubt whether that belief was accurate. Generally the Equal Housing Act applied the ban on “covert discriminatory signaling” to religion as well as race, and banned it very broadly.

    Lydia writes:
    “Some kind of corruption is working backwards through the generations”

    More grist for the mill: While the “natural” rate of homosexuality among women is estimated to be 1 to 2 percent, about 15% of young women now identify as l-sbian or bis-xual. Recruitment works.

    I realized my culture was destroyed when at a party of married Catholic friends who use natural family planning(!). The wife made out with another woman as the husband looked on wolvishly. I managed to encourage him to break it up, but I won't be recommending our home parish's youth group to anyone from now on.

    Socially encouraged bisexuality will be probably be the next battle, as the logical conclusion of anti-discrimination puritanism.

  • […] Zippy Catholic has been added to the blogroll. Anyone who writes like this is worth reading. Homophobia is real. Let me explain. Fear is not, in itself, irrational. It may be […]

  • […] There are plenty of words like this, and they multiply and proliferate as our nominalist society attempts to win cultural territory through the conquest of language. ¬†“Misogynist”. ¬†“Unpatriotic”. ¬†Heck, even “homophobic”, although I don’t think I’ve ever met a bona fide¬†homophobe. […]

  • […] So the main reason to be anti-anti-concept is because the proposal that torture, racism, misogyny, and even homophobia¬†are anti-concepts¬†is false. ¬†Even a term like homophobia, which is used almost exclusively as propaganda – that is, as a building block for telling lies –¬†refers to a real thing with an essence. […]

  • […] (HT Kevin Jones in an old comment). […]

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