Saturday, July 26, 2008

You're so pretty, and witty, and ... gay?

On the anniversary of a daughter's long ago declaration of her "gayness" I reviewed a response I made to her then. The world hasn't gotten any better in the intervening years and, as the blog is the staunch defender of the functional middle ground, I am very clear on the fact that the world isn't and shouldn't be made up of nothing but gay rights activists or gay bashers. With a view toward "declared" gays understanding a rational viewpoint on the subject, and people in the middle finding SOMETHING to identify with in print (there is VERY little that is not arch extremist from either perspective) I offer the following response to my daughter from that time some ten years ago -

" If you want to exist within a given social structure - if you want the benefits and functions of that social system - you have to be willing to pay the price, make the sacrifices in relation to pure personal autonomy that go with co-existence. This is true for everything from marriages to neighborhoods to communities and societies in whatever form they may take. This is an immutable law that exists in every instance of human society or civilization that exists. My discussion with them ended at this point. For you I will take it a step further.

The function of "being gay" has understandable roots in a recognized biological anomaly. As such, it IS NOT the "normal" biological direction intended for the species and therefore constitutes a deviation from "normal". Reproduction does not occur in gay pairing and reproduction, not recreation, is the fundamental reason for sexual function in humans. Whether we like it or not we are ALL "pawns" in a huge numbers game played by a very numbers oriented function called "survival of the species". That's WHY it feels so good - the pleasure center can create some of the strongest drives in humans to repeat certain behaviors (witness the problems associated with drug addiction). We're wired to survive - or not, in the case of those who are legitimately, biologically gay. Some so-called straight people are more at ease with tolerating broad variations on the human theme, others are not. In turn, some gay people are more effective at living life first as humans, and then in the context of their sexual orientation.

This is where paragraph two ties in - there is a fundamental misconception among those who constitute the (validly) gay community that by simply declaring their existence openly (coming out of the closet as they say) they can make a legitimate claim to special treatment and/or rights. I don't agree with or believe in supporting this misconception, as you know. The overall values and morals of any given civilization or community of whatever size are going to fundamentally revolve around what is collectively seen as best for that community, which in turn is going to trace it's roots to survival of the community. Survival of any community is inherently linked to it's capacity were reproduction/procreation are concerned. This puts the gay element on the fringe if not outside the pale in all instances - legitimate biological gay IS NOT a genetic path of survival and, like mules, dies out in one generation. The denegrating use of the term "breeders" by gays to signify straight people as much as acknowledges this point.

Advances of modern medicine have obviated much of the process of natural selection in humans thus allowing (if not promoting) vastly more survival of non-viable genetic material. That not withstanding, fundamental alignment toward "natural selection" and "survival of the species" are the underlying basis for societal resistance to and hostility toward the "gay" community. Ancient Sparta practiced the policy of infanticide for any infant not deemed genetically superior. No matter how "broken" the institutions of our society may be or seem, there is still the sense that any tolerance of something as "dead ended" as gay lifestyle is completely against the most elementary "best interests" or values of a community and society. Forget the fact that many myths about gay people exist because of exceedingly poor behavioral choices and value judgments made by earlier gays. Forget that the record of gay relationships throughout history is replete with sexually predatory behavior. Forget the alleged condemnations of gay lifestyle purported to be in the bible. All of that is emotional froth fraught with misinformation and knee-jerk reaction.

This problem is further exacerbated right now in history because of the emergence of a detailed view, and corresponding knowledge, of the myriad skeleton's that have been hidden in many closets for decades if not centuries, almost all of which involve some form of sexually predatory behavior. Sexual abuse of children, spousal abuse, male on male rape, male on female rape, incest, etc. The predatory record of homosexuality tends to get lumped into that sphere.

The bottom line: I am, on the level just outlined, part of THIS social system or community and I AM willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be a contributing part of the process. One of those could be seen as the sacrifices of individual liberty required to have and raise children, rather than hedonistic pursuit of our own earthly pleasures. These children will grow up to contribute to and perpetuate that social process. While it is not horrifying or particularly offensive to contemplate one of our children being gay, there is nothing particularly appealing about it either. I am not avoiding or rejecting communications on this subject as a matter of disrespect or dislike. I simply don't accept gayness as being a valid function of normal community survival or prosperity and don't find anything of happiness about declarations in that respect.

On some level the greater community good is the fundamental driver of all civilization. The natural derivative of that in the individual is commitment to a life that embodies and empowers a value system bigger than one's self. Early Greek and Roman thinkers spent a good deal of time on this subject. Some of the early arguments, pro and con, regarding the good of the individual, democratic thinking, and the notion of a republic all centered around different views of the “greater good”. Not much has changed in three millennia. While most people are, at one point or another, selfish, or may do things that are manifestly self-centered, if the overall balance of society or a civilization operates on an essentially self-centered scheme, devoid of a greater philosophy than personal materialism, it will ultimately fail. Witness the decline of the western Roman Empire, etc.

On a rational or intellectual level, I can accept that a gay couple can be every bit as loving, caring, and concerned for each other, as a straight couple BUT in the final word, all of that serves only the benefit of the couple, if it doesn't yield an incremental increase to the life span or survival of the community and it doesn’t convey the aggregated values of what DOES perpetuate the social process forward. By its very nature, a successful biological coupling brings a broad array of things to the process of forward social and psychological movement, as well as community survival that are either competely absent or severely challenged in an adoption situation, so adoption isn't the "easy" answer either.

Ultimately the works of the gay community over time have contributed and will continue to contribute in substantial and meaningful ways to the QUALITY of human life and civilization, but do not directly contribute in the most fundamental way to the CONTINUANCE of that community, and that will always be the critical focus and point of rejection, at the bottom line. "

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