Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dueling Imperialists

     Today’s Pentagon study on gays in the military was all over talk radio. The study documents high levels of disapproval among combat troops (nearly 70% in the Marine Corps), but the Leftist press is calling the study proof there will be no problem letting gay troops declare themselves openly. Here at RESPVBLICA, the editorial position has been that when a strong majority of military personnel are ready to shower with homosexuals, then will be the time to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Whether the Pentagon study establishes that the military has arrived at that point remains unclear. No doubt Congress will sort it out, maybe even before the Ninth Circuit rules on the Log Cabin Republicans case. In the meantime, the spitting outrage on both sides makes plain the impossibility of compromise between competing moral paradigms.


    For some on the Right, but particularly among conservative Christians, homosexual conduct is immoral per se. The people who hold this view simply declare by fiat that anyone engaging in gay sex is a moral abomination (to echo the language in Leviticus). They make a flat assertion of moral value, which they “prove” by citations to their moral guide: the Bible.

     For nearly all on the Left, homosexual conduct is morally blameless and anyone declaring otherwise is a bigot. The people who hold this view simply declare by fiat that anyone opposing gays in the military and gay marriage is abominably prejudiced. They make a flat assertion of moral value, which they “prove” (on the occasions they try proving it) by arguing the other side can’t prove it’s assertion.

     “Homosexuality is an abomination, because the Bible says so.”

     “Homophobia is bigotry, because you can’t prove homosexuality is wrong.”

There simply is no reasoning between these people.

     As noted before, the view here is that homosexuality presents no moral problems per se. Homosexuals have contributed to every science and every art. Like all citizens, they have a right to be left alone in quiet dignity. There are good homosexuals (like the Roman Emperor Hadrian) and bad homosexuals (like the Roman Emperor Elagabalus). On the other hand, the Constitution does not contain either a right for gays to serve in the military or a right to marry one another. Nor should homosexual conduct be counted as a constitutionally protected activity, judicial overreaching notwithstanding (see, Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003). When, and if, a legislature creates such rights, based on the moral consensus of the people, then we may say they exist. In the meantime, we may continue pointing to the larger consensus, the consensus of history, to inform the debate. On the one hand, there have indeed been successful military organizations of gay men (the Theban Sacred Band is the most commonly cited example). On the other hand, gay marriage remains without precedent, an anomalous social experiment urged (as usual) on politically correct grounds.

     Absent consensus, it comes down to one moral imperialism or another.

1 comment:

  1. You're getting dangerously close to the truth about politics - namely, consensus is impossible between conflicting morals. At the end of the day, beliefs about homosexuals in the military vs. not are articles of faith. The different studies, statistics, and "evidence" are just a smokescreen to conceal the theological foundation of both sides' arguments.

    Consensus will come only once enough people have been converted to one side, or at the very least give up the fight.

    Either rate, I think this whole issue is horrible. The military code of conduct explicitly requires members of the military to be heterosexual. Repealing DADT will just allow the recruiters and others to out homosexuals and subsequently expel them. DADT was put in place to prevent the discrimination that was already going on.

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