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 Equality Run Amok 

September 21, 2004 
In a recent column I made an observation about the vocal “gay community” that may bear amplification.

Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.On the one hand, these advocates tell us — us presumptive “straights” — that people’s “sexual orientation” should be of no concern to us.

Then they turn around and tell us that their “orientation” is the most important thing in the world to them — the very source of their “identity” and a matter of “pride.”

So it should matter to us not at all, though it means everything to them. But isn’t what a man considers an all-important fact about himself something other people should take into account when dealing with him?

Serious Christians consider their religion the most important thing in their lives, the defining fact of their existence. They don’t say non-Christians should regard this as a trivial fact about them. That would be nonsense.

Furthermore, the “gays” (as distinct from quiet homosexuals) make demands on the rest of us that require us to take notice of them — such as their current clamor for redefining marriage to include same-sex unions, a change whose ramifications, for all of us, would be vast and unpredictable. We are still supposed to regard their “orientation” as insignificant to us?

Such minorities — “gays” being only one example — want it both ways. They complain about the way they’re perceived, as if they’d prefer to be invisible; then they try to create new, highly visible, and of course totally favorable perceptions of themselves. They want to supplant “negative stereotypes” with what they call “positive images,” which are usually far more unrealistic than the old stereotypes.

The “color-blind” liberalism of the last generation insisted that ethnic differences shouldn’t matter. The “civil rights” era taught us, with endless and eloquent propaganda, that “race” was an utterly unscientific concept, even though it was transpiring that racial distinctions weren’t just social conventions; some diseases struck blacks but not whites, Jews but not non-Jews. All the neat little lessons about “skin color” were ignoring deep mysteries of human nature.

[Breaker quote: What about the blonde-oriented?]Other complications arose too, making these subjects hopelessly confusing to anyone who had believed the propaganda. Dissent — mere critical analysis of minority claims — was presumed to spring from bigotry, a presumption that made public discussion almost futile. “Affirmative action” and Zionism made you wonder what the slogans of democracy and equality really meant. Were some groups exempt from the principle of equal rights and equal treatment under the law? What about the idea that “double standards” were bad?

Then there was sex — or rather, as it was now often called, “gender.” The two sexes had always been regarded as pretty obviously different — seriously different. But suddenly they weren’t. The feminism of the last generation all but denied la difference. At least when la difference was to the disadvantage of women; when equality worked against women, it was another story. Police, the military, and other institutions lowered their standards so men wouldn’t monopolize the jobs.

Far from simplifying everything, as “progressive” rhetoric had promised, equality created a chaos of new rules, laws, and anomalous exceptions, as when “transsexuals” got into the act. (Only a liberal can believe that a man becomes a woman by having himself surgically mutilated — as if sex is defined by genitalia alone.)

It was often apparent that what “minorities” were after was not equality, but privileged treatment. Or, in a word, power.

The blandly abstract language of equality usually conceals specific interests. Civil rights, it’s now clear to everyone, means certain black interests; nobody takes it to mean anything else. When whites hear about a new “civil-rights measure,” they don’t imagine it means their rights are going to be protected; on the contrary, they know instantly that it means further violations of their privacy, freedom of association, property rights, access to jobs, and so forth.

Sexual orientation likewise means certain homosexual interests; it doesn’t cover, say, guys with a thing for blondes, even if this happens to be a source of “identity” and “pride” for them; the government doesn’t yet cater to the “blonde-loving community.”

The seemingly universal principle nearly always turns out to mean what's good for very specific groups. The seemingly simple principle can wind up bringing havoc to law and clear thought. One superfluous principle, however noble or innocuous it sounds, can eventually undermine an entire way of life.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2004 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
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