Book Review

 

 

Rainbow Over the World

 

Darel E. Paul, From Tolerance to Equality: How Elites Brought America to Same-Sex Marriage (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press 2018), 256 pp., $39.95, Hardcover.

 

Reviewed by Theo Howard


 

French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu said that to point out the social conditions and material interests underlying cultural values and modes is to “transgress… one of the fundamental taboos of the intellectual world.”[1] To make such a transgression one is likely to be condemned as sacrilegious in the “attempt to treat culture, that present incarnation of the sacred, as an object of science.”[2]

Diversity is the sovereign social and political ideal of our age. It is the public ideology of the country’s most powerful institutions. As Ellen Berrey said, “the word wears a halo”.[3] Within this dominion the gay-rights rainbow is to be conceived of as perfectly representative of the diversity of mankind’s nations, races, languages and sects. Indeed, it was first popularised politically by American Methodist minister J. W. van Kirk following the First World War when he incorporated it into his flag for a future world federation.[4] How fitting that the rainbow flag is found fluttering above the public squares of our polis now, as the dawn of a Brave New World stirs.

Your reviewer approached recent sociological study From Tolerance to Equality by Darel E. Paul with the hope that it would afford authoritative scientific evidence for the economic incentive behind the corporate and oligarchic promotion of ‘gay rights’ in our times. The regnant ideology of our age ensures Paul’s examination of the kulturkampf must be approached obliquely, and from an ostensibly neutral position. As an empirical study the book is data heavy and replete with sociological jargon. A superfluity of pages on sociological constructions like ‘multiple correspondence analysis’ nevertheless convincingly attest to the correlation between wealth, ‘social and cultural capital’ and support for ‘gay marriage’. Sadly, there is less material addressing the relation between the promotion of homosexuality and the suppression of wages, but the careful reader can draw genuinely insightful conclusions from the exhaustive evidence Paul examines.

Paul argues that American elites use opinion on homosexuality as a mark of social distinction and thus as a tool for accumulating cultural authority and political power. To infer they also expand their economic power can also be evidenced in the book. Notre Dame Professor Patrick Deneen writes how Paul’s study ‘raises unavoidable and even uncomfortable connections between the entrenchment of class inequality and elite-drive advances of sexual equality in today’s America.’ Deneen writes:

[Powerful adherents of the New Age are] committed to displacing traditional arrangements of family, marriage, and child-rearing in favor of individual autonomy, self-creation, and lifestyle choice shorn of long-standing commitment. World-straddling corporations have a strong interest in fostering atomized, de-normed subjects. Because their “identities” arise primarily from appetites that can be altered through both marketing and technology, they are the ideal consumers. The ideological justification for this economic project has been long-prepared by the intellectual class, which over the last four decades has devoted itself to the project of displacing traditional norms in favor of theories of self-creation in a world governed not by tradition or natural law, but solely in accordance with the human will.[5]

This magazine is interested in connections. Connections that no other publication sees or allows to be seen. Paul comes close to exposing the ever more clear connection between economic subjugation and sexual liberation but ultimately draws back from openly accusing the American oligarchy. To remain neutral, as Paul does, and yet send coded signals about the damage wrought to the common good by sexual liberation is a skill that one must begrudgingly acknowledge. For example, Paul writes that gay marriage is strongly an attack on fatherhood:

“The most common gay family is a lesbian couple. Thanks to same-sex marriage and the state’s presumption of paternity being extended to the wives of lesbian birth mothers, today the children of such couples lack not only social fathers but even biological fathers. Adoption, single motherhood, and sperm donors all predate same-sex marriage… Yet each of these in its own way disguised, replaced or anonymized the father. None presumed his nonexistence… Now that two women are listed on a birth certificate as a child’s two parents, the complete separation of biological from both legal and social fatherhood is not only possible but necessary.[6]

Let us dispense with platitudes, when the state ‘includes’ same-sex couples in the institution of marriage it confers public approval on same-sex activity. The state valorises sodomy. A clear majority of Americans and federal judges understand as such.[7] The book asks: why is it then, that universities, the highly educated, judges, Hollywood and the media have been the vanguard in the advance of homosexual normalization? Why has a framing of normalization as a matter of civil rights and equality been so successful? Why has a ‘conservative’ view of homosexually-active persons as ‘normal’ triumphed where a liberationist ‘queer’ image did not?[8]

The early endorsement by big businesses of gay rights seems especially puzzling. Corporate marketing that interacts with a wide general public is supposedly sensitive to public opinion. Paul says they tend to follow, not lead, the crowd when it comes to ‘red-button’ social issues. Yet in this case corporate support came a long time before public support. Famously, the French counterrevolutionary theorist Joseph de Maistre, wrote “the Revolution leads men more than men lead it.”[9] But here, something else seems to have occurred in the early days. In this case, a very small revolutionary vanguard of people got the ball rolling. How did a supposedly left-wing movement then, become the religion of the bien pensant wealthy and powerful?

Today San Francisco Pride is sponsored by Fortune 500 giants like Coca-Cola, Google, Nike, Bank of America and Apple. Nearly half of all Fortune 500 businesses espouse a “public commitment to the LGBT community” through marketing and sponsorship.[10] The narcissistic fantasies of millennials in taking part in the “civil rights movement of our time”[11] helps account for the crowds of indebted youngsters that now gather every summer for the Pride celebrations of sodomy in every public space in the United States and most of the Western World. Trumpeting homosexuality for this generation now carries a peculiarly potent mixture of prestige, authenticity and altruism.

Throughout history, the elites in almost any culture have desired unfettered liberty and wealth. It is not difficult to see the connection between this essential selfishness with support for whatever maximizes their political control. And no member of the upper-class spends more on luxuries or identifies more strongly with the global monoculture than childless couples or, better yet, homosexuals who don’t waste any time and money reproducing. Once that most persistent of restrictions on appetite and profit, the natural law, disintegrates, the road to ever greater class power is clear. Thus elites encourage the stimulation of the human appetite, material and otherwise, because it fuels the accumulation of wealth and power in pagan societies, like our own. Bread and circuses.

Paul guides the reader through the now familiar and depressing chronology of the relentless march of gay rights in the US. The rapidity is still shocking. The Democratic Party’s volte face on the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) was characteristically swift. 64% of the party’s House caucus supported the traditional definition of marriage in 1996 which collapsed to 13% in 2004.[12] In the 1990s even the most liberal Democrats carefully avoided explicit endorsements of gay marriage and couched their opposition to DOMA as opposition to discrimination.[13]

Corporate America was notable for embracing the normalization of homosexuality in this early phase of the revolution. When DOMA was passed in 1996 just over 500 US firms offered domestic health benefits to same-sex partnered employees. By 2004 this number had increased to over 8,200.[14] The control mechanisms for corporate compliance with the revolution are now comprehensive. The Human Rights Campaign tracks the progress of the country’s largest firms on its “Corporate Equality Index”. Scores are measured by provision of same-sex couple benefits, diversity training coverage and attendance and suitable fervour at Gay Pride marches.

But we have to travel back further to find the roots of the revolution. The psychiatric profession was pioneering in its support of homosexuality. From their beginning in the nineteenth century, psychiatric doctors have medicalized social deviancy.[15] Behaviours that were previously considered sinful deviations of passion became diseases. The American Psychiatric Association had defined homosexuality as a deviation from “normal sexual behaviour.” Gay rights activists cleverly focussed much early effort picketing and disrupting APA conferences beginning in 1970.[16] They successfully pressured the APA’s Board of Trustees to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1973.[17]

Other mental health organisations took up the crusade hereon. In 1977 the National Association of Social Workers published a forceful document calling for “the eradication of prejudice and discrimination against Lesbians and Gay men”.[18] A 1982 study of San Diego area physicians found psychiatrists were easily the most positive in their views of homosexuality, with 62% demonstrating “homophilic” attitudes. Physicians in surgery, general and family medicine lagged behind with homophilia rates between 20%-33%.[19] Unsurprisingly psychiatrists and psychologists are among the least religious of all American professions. A 2006 survey found 61% of psychology professors hold atheist or agnostic views compared to 23% of all professors and 4% of the general public at the time.[20]

The legal profession was next to closely follow the psychiatric cadre in advancing the revolutionary praxis. In 2000 lesbian legal scholars, Nancy Polikoff, Martha Fineman and Martha Ertman authored a new model legal code for The American Law Institute which posited the primary goal of family law was the promotion of family diversity and therefore rejected biological parenthood in place of “functional parenthood” based on household status.[21] This meant that for the ALI same-sex parenting is now the norm against which all other families are measured.[22]

The New York Times’ conversion on the issue bespeaks the media’s involvement as mouthpieces of the powerful. In just two years the paper went from refusing to publish same-sex union announcements to cheerleading same-sex marriage on a near-daily basis.[23] A Pew Research Center conducted after the Windsor Supreme Court Hearings in 2013 found that supportive media coverage outweighed opposing opinion by a 5-to-1 margin. Even Fox News, which permitted the largest number of dissenting or neutral segments, had 3.5 times more supportive than opposing stories across its coverage.[24]

Readers of this magazine will be familiar with the modus operandi of cultural revolutionaries: work strenuously to corrupt the morals of a cadre of people through sexual liberation, enforce a narrative of underdog heroism, and then capitalise on these gains legally through judicial fiat. Sure enough, by 2014 federal judges were overturning state DOMAs with direct appeals to “society’s evolution.”[25]

The end of the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has left America’s religious organisations as the last bastions of institutional opposition to homosexual normalization. However there has been revolutionary change here in the last two decades too. Reform Judaism was well ahead of the dominant Christian churches in fully normalizing homosexuality in 1990.[26] The seven large denominations that have normalized by the end of 2016 are among the eight most ‘highly educated’ in America.[27]

Sexual behaviour in Christianity and Judaism has always been hallowed within the marriage union. Although there was variation in doctrine as regards practice all agreed on the normative standard. As sects have normalized homosexuality they have quietly abandoned their belief that sexual relationships belong within marriage. “While the explicit intent of normalizing homosexuality has been to bring same-sex couples into marriage, the implicit effect has been to denormalize marriage for everyone.”[28]

Acclaimed as the leading LGBT activist in Russia, Masha Gessen acknowledged this inevitable cross-degeneration at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2012:

“It’s a no brainer we should have the right to marry. I also think equally, that it’s a no brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. So… that causes my brain some trouble. And part of why it causes me trouble is that fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we're going to do with marriage when we get there. Because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie. The institution of marriage is going to change and it should change, and again, I don't think it should exist… I have three kids, and they have five parents… more or less. And I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally. I don’t see why we should choose two of those parents and make them into a sanctioned couple.”[29]

 

***

Joseph Sciambra is a former gay prostitute and now Catholic who preaches to gay men in San Francisco. Interestingly he sees gay marriage as symptomatic of the failure of the gay rights movement. Sciambra states the obvious: before the 90s the last thing anyone in that world wanted to talk about was marriage. The name of the game was sexual freedom and casting aside the constraining monogamous norms of ‘heterosexual bourgeois culture’. For Sciambra the embrace of normalization and ‘stability’ represented by an Ellen DeGeneres say, signals that the ‘gay experiment’ has failed. Gay activists have ‘retreated’ to taking a position where they have taken up the banner of everything they fought against and hated but unlocked the means to command widespread public support. AIDS was the turning point. The ravages of sexually transmitted diseases in the gay world wrecked such havoc and trauma that the old liberationist line could no longer me maintained.

One of today’s tragedies is that the majority of HIV infections of gay men now occur within ‘committed relationships’. Of course these relationships are anything but monogamous in the sense most people would believe. They are ‘open’, they are ambiguous and they are subject to ‘experimentation’. If homosexuals themselves are not the victors of the triumph of gay rights then to whom will go the spoils?

The next phase of the Revolution, already well underway, is the idealization and glorification of homosexuality as of higher value than heterosexuality. Tolerance became equality and is now becoming idolization. In 2013 General Mills ran its “#LuckyToBe” campaign via its Lucky Charms breakfast cereal as a celebration of those “lucky enough to be different”.[30] As early as 2008, who else but the New York Times summarised a “growing body of evidence [that] shows that same-sex couples have a great deal to teach everyone else about marriage and relationships.”[31] The Times reported in 2013 social science findings that same-sex couples report “higher levels of happiness”, “far less conflict” and “higher levels of intimacy” than heterosexual couples.[32]

We are now told that children raised by gay ‘parents’ now not only “do just fine” but actually have the best outcomes and that gay fathers can teach straight dads how to be more “emotionally accessible” and “logistically capable”.[33] It is only now that the chains of the revolution become apparent to us and the road to the gulag forms more clearly.

Global businesses have become very interested in promoting low fertility amongst their workers. Dystopian egg-freezing schemes are all the rage in Silicon Valley now. Clearly, the expansion of the LGBT agenda fits within this milieu in providing suitable cover for the driving down of wages and the ongoing enslavement of people to the desk in their office and the blinking smartphone in their home.

Elite reception of a 2014 Australian paper on LGBT parenting that was portrayed as the “the largest study of its kind internationally”, was indicative.[34] The website Vox summarised the findings: “Largest-ever study of same-sex couples’ kids finds they’re better off than other children.”[35] The extent of this oligarchic consensus was exposed in 2012 when University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus published an academic study that suggested the opposite. Examining a sample of 15,000 young Americans aged between 18 and 39, Regnerus found that compared with children who grew up in intact, biological parent households “the children of women who reported a same-sex relationship look markedly different on numerous outcomes, including many that are obviously suboptimal.”[36] The media went to work on Regnerus and his study immediately. Abnormal press coverage was given to criticism of the study. Opportunities were taken to smear Regnerus’ faith and motives.[37]

Oligarchic pressure resulted in the journal editor that published Regnerus’ study acquiescing to an internal special audit of the study’s methodology. The auditor declared Regnerus’ paper a “non-scientific study” four months later in the journal and as “bullshit” to the media.[38] Clearly it is not permitted for the question “what are the effects of gay and lesbian parenting?” to be answered as a strictly scientific question. These are now cultural questions, and culture uber alles.

There have been other clear glimpses of the mask slipping. In their 2015 Obergefell brief, the “379 Employers and Organizations” supporting a constitutional right to same-sex marriage cited “the business value of investments in diversity,” (emphasis my own) including “significant returns for our shareholders and owners.”[39] This should be seen alongside the Fortune 100 corporations brief in the Fisher v. University of Texas case, which stated, “to succeed in their businesses,” American higher education must “develop employees [who] had the opportunity to share ideas… with a broadly diverse student body… This is a business and economic imperative.”[40] Here the oligarchy’s programme for what John Milbank called “bio-political control” was exposed for all those who care to see.[41] State religious liberty bills are now condemned as “bad for business” and that is enough for their repeal and evisceration.[42]

Municipal politicians have been at the very forefront of homosexual normalization. Urban ‘development advisors’ like Richard Florida have spent many decades now encouraging city mayors and politicians to nurture ‘gayborhoods’. Gays are presented as the pioneers of gentrification and successful urban regeneration. Advisors are quick to point out that neighbourhoods with larger concentrations of gays enjoy greater income growth, higher numbers of ‘creative start-ups’, and even, especially in the Northeast, greater population growth as well. Paul points out that the business elite, while anxious about living in ethnically-diverse neighbourhoods enjoy living amongst gay people. Gayborhoods are associated with attracting ‘talent’ and millennials willing to embrace sexually barren lives of childlessness and low wages.

John Milbank called gay marriage “a strategic move in the modern state's drive to assume direct control over the reproduction of the population, bypassing our interpersonal encounters. This is not about natural justice, but the desire on the part of biopolitical tyranny to destroy marriage and the family as the most fundamental mediating social institution.”

As Sister Lucia told Cardinal Caffarra, the final battle between the Lord and Satan will be over marriage.[43] The battle over gay marriage and its consequences is the clash that is extending into every facet of public and private life. Marriage has become the social and legal touchstone for the normalization of homosexuality in the United States.[44]

This change did not occur in a vacuum. Paul points out that Pew research found that 60% of respondents to a survey in 1982 thought children were “very important” to a successful marriage. By 2007 this had plunged to 41%.[45] The recent last phase of the homosexual revolution involved a shift from ‘toleration’ to ‘equality’. Critically, this change involves a transformation in public moral judgement,[46] what Nietzsche called a ‘transvaluation of values’.[47] Equality demands public affirmation backed by the state and restricts negative value judgement to the narrowest range possible.[48] It is the final conquest of the public square.

Corporate America and homosexual activists have formed a symbiotic alliance.[49] The extent of this alliance has been crystallised in recent state RFRA battles. The synergy between sodomy and usury is effervescent. In no other social issue in our time have capitalism and socialism been exposed as so clearly operative different sides of the same wicked dialectic.

Paul’s conclusion is astute. He writes: “The Sexual Revolution is not the least bit metaphorical. It as much a revolution as were the American or French Revolutions in their own times”. He then quotes the liberal legal scholar Douglas Laycock who draws a strong parallel between the French Catholic royalists of the nineteenth century and American religious conservatives of the twenty-first. “If you stand in the way of revolution and lose, there will be consequences.”[50]

The parasitic nature of the Sexual Revolution prevents any lasting armistice from forming, the parasite simply must devour more of its host in order to sustain itself. The current revolutionary frontier is transgenderism. Victory for the revolutionaries here will constitute the end of biological sex as we know it. Transgenderism is the most radical form of individual subjectivity yet produced by the Sexual Revolution. Interestingly, it is also proving the moment the revolution eats its own children. The fissures between transgender activists and feminists are ever-growing. Can the rainbow hold together? For Paul this radical challenge to all external forms of authority is also symptomatic of a larger crisis of elite authority. Confidence in all institutions – the state, universities and big businesses is at record lows.[51] The oligarchs appear to be losing control of the various revolutionary movements they have set in motion. What the full consequences are for promoting mass sterility for the oligarchy themselves, remains to be seen.

This is what happens when a culture lives by lies and punishes truth. Penumbras and emanations eat away at social bonds until all that is left is the rule of the jungle. Morality and justice are the opinion of the powerful. During debates in the British Parliament over gay marriage in 2013 legislators tacitly recognised that it is impossible to talk about “consummation” or “adultery” in the context of same-sex unions.[52] They therefore decided to ignore the issue altogether, thus importing the norms of homosexual relationships into heterosexual marriage via ‘equalization’.

Darel Paul’s otherwise careful and detailed exploration of America’s transformation into the ‘gay disco’ is compelling but incomplete. He eludes the economic elephant in the room while making glib suggestions. A future analysis of the correlation and causation between gay marriage and low wage corporatocracy is needed while there is still time.

This review appeared in the December 2018 issue of Culture Wars.

Footnotes

[1] (Paul, 2018) pp.x-xi

[2] (Paul, 2018) p.xi

[3] (Paul, 2018) p.117

[4] (Paul, 2018) p.124

[5] (Deneen, 2018)

[6] (Paul, 2018) p.112

[7] (Paul, 2018) p.76

[8] (Paul, 2018) p.11

[9] (de Maistre, 1971)

[10] (Paul, 2018) p.31

[11] (Paul, 2018) p.11

[12] (Paul, 2018) p.3

[13] (Paul, 2018) p.3

[14] (Paul, 2018) p.3

[15] (Paul, 2018) p.23

[16] (Paul, 2018) p.23

[17] (Paul, 2018) p.23

[18] (Paul, 2018) p.23

[19] (Paul, 2018) p.24

[20] (Paul, 2018) p.145

[21] (Paul, 2018) p.34

[22] (Paul, 2018) p.34

[23] (Paul, 2018) p.39

[24] (Paul, 2018) p.40

[25] (Paul, 2018) p.45

[26] (Paul, 2018) p.26

[27] (Paul, 2018) p.27

[28] (Paul, 2018) p.36

[29] (Bolt, 2017)

[30] (Paul, 2018) p.32

[31] (Paul, 2018) p.91

[32] (Paul, 2018) p.91

[33] (Paul, 2018) p.91

[34] (Paul, 2018) p.91

[35] (Paul, 2018) p.92

[36] (Paul, 2018) p.92

[37] (Paul, 2018) p.93

[38] (Paul, 2018) p.93

[39] (Paul, 2018) p.121

[40] (Paul, 2018) p.121

[41] (Milbank, 2013)

[42] (Paul, 2018) p.136

[43] (CNA/EWTN News, 2016)

[44] (Paul, 2018) p.4

[45] (Paul, 2018) p.83

[46] (Paul, 2018) p.8

[47] (Nietzsche, 2005)

[48] (Paul, 2018) p.8

[49] (Paul, 2018) p.136

[50] (Paul, 2018) p.152

[51] (Paul, 2018) pp.156-157

[52] (Milbank, 2013)

 

Bibliography

Bolt, A. (2017, September 26). 'FIGHTING FOR GAY MARRIAGE GENERALLY INVOLVES LYING ABOUT WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO'. Retrieved from Herald Sun: https://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/fighting-for-gay-marriage-generally-involves-lying-about-what-were-going-to-do/news-story/4bdea433fad7051069b4157806c2f996

CNA/EWTN News. (2016, December 31). Fatima visionary predicted 'final battle' would be over marriage, family. Retrieved from Catholic News Agency: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/fatima-visionary-predicted-final-battle-would-be-over-marriage-family-17760

de Maistre, J. t. (1971). The Works of Joseph de Maistre. New York: Schocken.

Deneen, P. (2018, November). Corporate Progressivism. Retrieved from First Things: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2018/11/corporate-progressivism

Milbank, J. (2013, April 23). The impossibility of gay marriage and the threat of biopolitical control. Retrieved from ABC Religion & Ethics: http://www.abc.net.au/religion/the-impossibility-of-gay-marriage-and-the-threat-of-biopolitical/10099888

Nietzsche, F. (2005). The Antichrist. Cosimo.

Paul, D. E. (2018). From Tolerance to Equality: How Elites Brought America to Same-Sex Marriage. Waco: Baylor University Press.

 

 


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