The New Taboos
are times when, if I had a sense of humor, Id be tempted to laugh.
One of these moments occurred last weekend when I watched a panel of talking heads discussing Senate Majority Leader Trent Lotts gaffe in calling homosexuality a sin, and likening it to addictions like alcoholism. Not one of these tolerant souls dared to say that of course Lott was right, or even that he held a tenable position.
All of them agreed with Mike McCurry, Bill Clintons press secretary, that we have known for 25 years (!) that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. I wish I knew who this we is who always know so many things.
Its really not a matter of knowing anything, of course. Its a matter of social pressure among the intelligentsia, who like to erect a dozen new taboos for every old taboo they manage to raze.
What it comes to is that your conception of human nature may be not merely wrong, but impolite. If you think God or nature had a purpose in making two sexes, so that sodomy isnt quite on a par with making babies, please keep it to yourself!
In Washington, sodomy isnt disapproved; but the word sodomy is, and you can damage your career by using it in public. You are expected to let on that youd be horrified to learn that your son smokes Camels, but proud to learn that hes gay. Would these be the reactions of any parent you know?
What hypocrisy! But such is sophistication. We display our refinement by pretending not to have natural feelings. In the space of a few years, the tradition of millennia is repudiated. Whats more, the repudiation is mandatory for everyone. You might think that a liberal, tolerant society would leave a little room for what, until recently, everyone assumed, but no! no trace of the old attitude is permitted.
The one thing liberalism has zero tolerance for is the past. We live in a pluralistic society now, where everyone must think and talk alike, in keeping with the latest federal diversity guidelines.
Needless to say, there is precious little diversity about all this. What you think of homosexuality depends on what you think about other things. Do you believe in God? In a fixed human nature? In the immortality of the soul? In divine revelation? In the Catholic Church? In hell?
These are just sample questions. We cant prescribe one attitude toward homosexuality unless we can assume that everyone is in full philosophical, religious, and moral agreement about prior things. Its typical of todays Procrustean liberalism that it wants to destroy the depth and solidity of traditional consensus while demanding rigid superficial consensus on its own pet topics.
The new morality pro-sex, anti-smoking claims to be based on scientific and especially hygienic considerations, without the irrational emotions of traditional morality. And yet its become painfully obvious that male homosexuality is hazardous to your health, far more hazardous than cigarettes.
Its equally obvious that most liberals, having taken sodomy to their bosom, cant bear to admit this. They cant even comfortably admit that lesbianism is essentially different from male sodomy, and a lot safer. These free and easy people are still embarrassed by basic differences between the sexes. (Ask one of them whether its fair to ban bare chests in public for women but not for men.)
The pundits who shook their heads over Lotts gaffe were playing it safe by observing the current etiquette. They werent speaking as adults who feel any sense of responsibility toward children and adolescents in need of guidance; they were speaking like adolescents who are chiefly worried about what the other kids will think of them if they say something egregiously square.
Lott, to his credit, was speaking precisely out of moral concern, not to damn homosexuals, but to help them. Being fashionable was apparently the last thing on his mind. And Washington already has more than enough people whose consciences are always in fashion.
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