August 13, 2010
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Gay Conservatives in 2010By Robert Klein Engler
As the nation gears up for another election cycle, some gay conservatives are wondering about their role in the body politic. These conservatives often live in a closet within a closet. They have to take the risk of coming out not only socially, but also politically. Unwilling to be rejected twice, many just stay in the background.
Gay conservatives are also a rare species for political watchers. Pam Chamberlain thinks gay conservatives are the "unwanted allies on the Right." Yet many gay conservatives vote Republican, own businesses, want lower taxes and a strong national defense.
Events that happened in the 1950s still reverberate in the lives of gay conservatives. It was in 1958 that the word "homosexual" was first used in an English translation of the Bible. Also, in the '50s, the first gay liberation group in the United States, the Mattachine Society, was formed.
When Harry Hay, along with a group of Los Angeles friends, decided to form the Mattachine Society in 1950, he did so to protect and improve the rights of homosexuals. John D'Emilio, in his book Sexual Politics, suggests that because of concerns for secrecy and Hay's leftist ideology, the Mattachine Society adopted the cell organization of the Communist Party.
Ironically, for Hay's group, many Marxists consider homosexuality a product of capitalism. Their view is that when capitalism disappears, so will homosexuality. The Communist Party in Hay's day wanted nothing to do with homosexuals. They threw Hay out of the party -- not for being gay, but because he was a "security risk."
Gary Leupp demonstrates this same homophobia among communists today when he writes, "The Communist Party of Nepal [Maoist], leading what many have considered the most advanced Maoist movement in the world for the last decade, has recently been accused of attacks on gay people and of indulging in antigay rhetoric."
Gay people in America should know that Marxist politicians and progressives are not "on the right side of history" when it comes to gay causes. Marxists support the gay agenda until they get power, and then they dump their gay allies. This rejection happened with Hitler and National Socialism. It happened in Russia with Stalin and in Cuba with Castro.
The lesson from the real side of history is that Marxists, socialists, and leftists are interested not in social justice for gays, but only in using gays to secure political power. Wherever gays have aligned themselves with the left or National Socialism or Marxism, they have been the losers. Gays are safe only where a constitutional conservatism prevails.
Likewise, the goal of freedom for gays that queer theory offers, dressed as it is in the feathers and sequins of Marxism-lite, is really an illusion. Instead of opening up being gay to multiple meanings, queer theory straps gays into another straitjacket, this time worn in an alternative universe of gender Gnosticism.
Today, many conservatives and gays look at one another with acrimony across the divide of same-sex marriage and wonder what to do. The task of gay conservatives is to help bridge that gap with policies that take steps towards reconciliation. The first step is a move back from the same-sex marriage debate.
In a calculated way, Marxists will support same-sex marriage because they know it will help undermine all marriage. Gays who support same-sex marriage should be aware of this duplicity. As Toronto writer Marusya Bociurkiw understands it, "Marx and Engels were decidedly gloomy on the topic of marriage. According to them, marriage is a property relation, with its roots in slavery. It's perfectly designed to work with capitalism."
The lesson here is that Marxists will support same-sex marriage until they get it. Then they will abolish all marriage because of its purported roots in slavery. Gay progressives who sign on to this agenda in good faith can expect to be betrayed.
Merle Miller knew something of that betrayal mixed with resentment that many who have an affair with liberalism and Marxism-lite feel. In his influential essay, "On Being Different," published in the New York Times in 1971, he wrote, "homosexuals, unlike blacks, will not benefit from any guilt feelings on the part of liberals."
George Orwell likewise knew about political betrayal. He once described himself as a Democratic Socialist. He was wounded when he fought alongside the United Workers Marxist Party in the Spanish Civil War. He later had a political change of heart.
Orwell claimed that his novel 1984 was written to point out the perversions of Communism and Fascism. "The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power," Orwell stated of the Communists.
Thomas Sowell, writing about Barack Obama, hits upon what many of today's liberals also think of gay people. Sowell claims, "Obama is also part of a long tradition on the Left of being for the working class in the abstract, or as people potentially useful for the purposes of the Left, but having disdain or contempt for them as human beings."
Gays and lesbians are useful to the left, but privately, many leftists have disdain for them. If we think progressives will love us for who we are and not as cannon fodder for their revolution -- a revolution that will eat its children -- then we are looking for love in all the wrong places.
Even with this caveat against the communists and progressives, gays must not ignore the minority of fellow conservatives who have a tendency to homophobia. Hemmed in by their myopia, these homophobic conservatives allow their prejudices to decide who suffers and who does not.
Stated bluntly, some conservatives practice bigotry-lite. In any homophobic view, gays cannot suffer injustice. Homosexuals simply get what they deserve.
Perhaps same-sex marriage will sweep into the world like the wave of Bolsheviks who swept over Russia. In time, the illusion of the new is replaced by the reality of the old. Imagine the disappointment that came, for the millions of progressives who saw Communism as the salvation of mankind, when the red star of the Soviet Union ended up as a trinket in some hip London resale shop.
Russell Kirk was correct when he wrote that conservatism is "the negation of ideology." Gay conservatives are a witness to this negation when they lead exemplary lives. Gay conservatives may incur the scorn of Democrats and be ignored by Republicans, but that's tolerable if they keep their integrity.
Robert Klein Engler lives in Oak Park and Des Plaines, Illinois. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School. His many articles can be found online. His book, CONTRA OBAMA, is available from Lulu.com.