I’ve been spending a fair bit of time acquiring and analyzing books that advocate for manipulating people. Not, as you might be thinking, so I can manipulate people, but because I find manipulation to be disgusting, vile behavior. It is prima facie evidence of that the manipulator is a bad actor. Bad actors should be opposed. This puts me in opposition to people like Bernays, who believes that manipulation is necessary in a democracy. Or Alinsky, who reveled in it. And plenty of others, I am afraid to say.
In modern times, the manipulator (eg., ‘change agent’) is applauded and paid handsomely for applying their skills (eg, Gruber, Cass Sunstein, etc), but I hate them. And I hate being manipulated. To resist being manipulated, I need to understand how it is they aim to manipulate me (and everyone else). So, in that spirit, I picked up Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen’s After the Ball: How American Will Conquer its Fear & hatred of Gays in the 90’s.
It is an amusing read, to say the least. They refute their own arguments constantly throughout the book, and sometimes in the same paragraph. While the broad strokes of their argument can be discerned, the rest is an incoherent mishmash.
On the other hand, it seems like Kirk and Madsen didn’t consider the possibility that a ‘straight’ might read their book. I love this kind of stuff. You get to hear what they really think because they are talking to only their own people. Thus, they will admit and acknowledge things to each other that they will deny bitterly to the end if presented by an opponent.
There is amazing irony in this book. It begins with a vitriolic and enraged denunciation of those opposed to homosexuality, marking off one criticism after another with derision, contempt, and snark. Reminds me of a book length version of one of Dan Savage’s screeds. But I would be willing to bet that anyone who took the time to do so, could find elsewhere in the book explicit statements supporting the critic’s claims. The last 100 pages represent a denunciation of gay behavior… the very same behaviors denounced by the critics.
So, basically, after reading this book, you will discover that pretty much all the reasons you oppose homosexuality are, in fact, legitimate and valid.
The irony is piled upon irony by their first item in the list of “How Gays Misbehave.” That item: Lies, Lies, All Lies! Evidently, deception and self-deception are a big problem in the gay community. Don’t get angry with me! This is Kirk and Madsen’s argument!
But that creates an epistemological problem, does it not? If the gay community is prone to deception and self-deception, and Kirk and Madsen are part of that very community, how do we not know that they are themselves telling lies? A conundrum! This problem appears most dramatically in their attack on the “Big Lie.” They are insistent that there are far more gays in America than typically believed. (pgs 13-18). The number they give range from 10% to 21% of the population (the latter from that other deceiver, Kinsey), which of course amounts to millions and millions of people.
Why is it necessary to have such a big number? Well, for all their talk about ‘homo hatred’ it turns out that actually, the number one problem (again, according to them!) is that generally speaking, straights don’t actually… wait for it… CARE what consenting adults do. So, on the one hand, we’re supposed to buy this sob story about how horrible the gay community has it (the book is written in the 90s) when in fact their biggest complaint is that, by and large, to the question of “What Straights Think of Gays” they answer, “They Don’t.”
Well, that’s gotta suck, right?
Well, gee. You can’t possibly justify radically overhauling an entire society’s value systems on the basis of what a scant 2% of the population do, can you?
Well, I don’t know if Kirk and Madsen knew it was a fabrication, but they ought to have, since it isn’t exactly a new discovery that the gay advocates of the 1970s pushed the 10% number for political reasons–the same number that they pushed. But they do seem to be pretty well read (I was impressed to see Augustine mentioned, and even C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton), so my bet is that they did know that their 10% number was way off. And they didn’t care. See above about the epistemological problem relating to the fact that apparently gays are known to lie!
One of the clearest examples of this deliberate deception is on page 184, where they make it abundantly clear that they do not believe people are born gay. Note, in the same paragraph, they contradict themselves. No matter, despite understanding the limitations of the claim, for purposes of manipulation, they will recommend that their propaganda insists that gays have no choice in their homosexuality:
Principle 5: Portray Gays as Victims, Not as Aggressive Challengers
[throughout the book, they criticize gays for being too aggressive in their advocacy!]
In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be portrayed as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflect to adopt the role of protector. […]
In practical terms, this means that cocky mustachioed leathermen, drag queens, and bull dykes would not appear in gay commercial and other public presentations. […]
Now, two different messages about the Gay Victim are worth communicating. First, the public should be persuaded that gays are victims of circumstance, that they no more chose their sexual orientation than they did, say, their height, skin color, talents, or limitations. (We argue that, for all practical purposes, gays should be considered to have been born gay–-even though sexual orientation, for most humans, seems to be the product of a complex interaction between innate predispositions and environmental factors during childhood and early adolescence.) to suggest in public that homosexuality might be chosen is to open the can of worms labeled ‘moral choice and sin’ and give the religious Intransigents a stick to beat us with. Straights must be taught that it is as natural for some persons to be homosexual as it is for others to be heterosexual: wickedness and seduction have nothing to do with it. And since no choice is involved, gayness can be no more blameworthy than straightness. In fact, it is simply a matter of the odds–one in ten–as to who turns out gay, and who straight. Each heterosexual must be led to realize that he might easily have been born homosexual himself. [italics his, bold mine.]
By ‘straights [being] taught’ they basically mean behavioral modification and conditioning (ie, they are Pavlov, and you are the dog), on the premise that people are just animals that are the product of evolution who are ‘homohaters’ because they were born that way; but, through propaganda, these can be neutralized. (Chapter 2, The Roots of Homophobia, eg. pg 120-126)
That’s another contradiction, if you didn’t notice.
If someone is born gay, it cannot be a choice. And since no choice is involved, gayness can be no more blameworthy than straightness. But people are born bigots–it is not a choice. And since no choice is involved, bigotry can be no more blameworthy than ‘tolerance’.
Like I said, the book is a series of one incoherent contradiction after another. The only reason it should be taken seriously is because its pretty clear it was taken seriously, and we live today with the consequences of their deception and self-deception, and the results of their–effective–manipulation.
I could probably write a book detailing all the things that fascinated me about this book. There are three little things that made me chuckle in particular.
And where, for that matter, is the steam [for generating change] supposed to come from? Your patriotism and sense of fair play? Your homophile zeal? Benevolent love of your gay brothers and sisters? Agape?
No, few are motivated over the long haul by zeal or saintliness. Yet sufficient motivation is found in Chapter 1, and all around you: the sustaining emotional steam that comes not from Love but from Rage.
[…] Well, love is an excellent end in itself, but it isn’t half so compelling as a means. Over history, love has severed no colonies from their mother countries, nor overthrown any czars, nor obliterated any Nazis, nor produced any civil rights movements. You may discount what the pious tell you, because it is actually rage, not love, that lay behind all those progressive events.
Like all emotions, rage has its purposes, and its time and place. When a situation becomes intolerable, an oppression unbearable, when millions do not even dare to cry out beneath the hell of injustice, rage is the appropriate response. Fury galvanizes. [italics his, bold mine. 381-382]
Why yes, lets be outraged by the fact that the vast majority of Americans don’t, and did not, care all that much what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms by a scant 2-4% of the population! Remember, that most of America doesn’t think about gays at all is, in their mind, part of the problem.
But the real problem is that they don’t merely want to be left alone to do what they want. They want everyone else to express approval. And they will use totalitarian methods to obtain it. While denouncing totalitarian methods. It’s all very confusing.
This is eerily reminiscent of a debate I’m having elsewhere on this blog. At one point, they say that they don’t want to be judged by their sexual behaviors and taken merely as humans. You know, like MLKjr who dreamed a dream where people didn’t judge people by their skin color. But I now have fresh evidence that even if they had that, they would not be satiated [see comment section]. That’s because they DEMAND that the rest of us bless their sexual behaviors. OR ELSE. (closing pages of the book.)
2. Bizarrely, they constantly condemn groups like NAMBLA for giving gays a bad name, but after finally sorting out all the reasons that the gay community is dysfunctional (far beyond anything that yours truly could pen!), they conclude that the best ‘family model’ going forward is the ancient Greek one, where adults had… you guessed it… boys as lovers. Of course, they try to soften it up a bit by pushing the age of the pursued boy to a more mature age of 16, and doing their best to gussy up the pedophilia of the ‘old days’ as pretty good, really, since it was done within socially prescribed parameters. Kind of reminds me of dear old Caligula, who trained little boys to nibble at his private parts as he swam. All within the norms of society at the time, so no big deal, right? After many pages of this (361-372), in the very last paragraph, we get the caveat:
To a dirty mind, nothing is clean. We go on record, here and now, as stating explicitly that we do not advocate adults having sex with minors under any circumstances whatever. What we do advocate is adults forming the sexual relationships which they must and should form anyway within a reciprocal framework of age differences that will maximize not sex per se, but all that is good and fine and honorable and decent in human relations, setting a standard higher, and with a much stronger and more logical rationale, than that of the much-praised nuclear family itself. [Italics, them.]
So, did you follow that? They deplore outfits like NAMBLA (which would like to lower the age of consent) but advocate for older men and younger men “forming  sexual relationships” but, don’t you worry! They do not advocate adults having sex with minors! No word about their opinion on just what age someone ought to be considered a ‘minor’ for purposes of their proposal, but they do speak warmly ancient Greek men taking on lovers of, say, the age of 16 (on page 367). You know, hypothetically speaking.
See up for their concerns about the gay community having a problem with deception and self-deception.
3. Speaking of the nuclear family.
This chapter about boy/man love began with a quote:
The family unit–spawning ground of lies, betrayals, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence will be abolished. The family unit, which only dampens imagination and curbs free will, must be eliminated. — Michael Swift, “For the Homoerotic Order,” in Gay Community News.
I recognized this quote, and have referenced it on this very blog, calling attention to the transparent attempt to deflect criticism of the gay agenda in America. You know, stuff that Kirk and Madsen would say that straights fabricate, but then go on later to call gays out for actually doing. Anyway, if you want the full context of Swift’s quote, I did reproduce it in that blog entry.
Since propagandists for the gay rights have recently dismissed Swift’s “Homosexual Manifesto” as satire, I was interested to see what these two gay authors thought. Did they also think it was satire? It would appear that they take it quite seriously, as something seriously offered. And they aren’t happy that Swift wrote it, because it undermined their cause. But there is no hint that they thought it was mere satire. Coming just 3 years after ‘Swift’ published his article, I thought it would be good to include Kirk and Madsen’s characterization of the article (pg 361):
The above, cited in the Boston Herald (February 25, 1988) by Visigothic columnist Don Feder in an article entitled “AIDS, gay politics and the family,” is a bottled-in-bond example of the gay extremist rap on the evils of The Family. Luridly overstated as it is, it’s fairly representative of the line taken by the gay media radicals–angry people, perhaps damaged by emotionally sick families and blinded to the family’s good side, who feel compelled to turn their fear and loathing into the sort of social philosophy of absolute individuality. Unfortunately, they play right into the hands of homohaters–always hungry for ammunition–and allow the entire community to be advertised as emotionally ill. Feder, taking as his text both Swift’s rabid froth and a set of ill-considered remarks by Boston City Councillor David Scondras, whips up a whole three-ring circus of denunciations of those disgusting homosexuals, who live only for themselves and admit that they’re trying to destroy the American family. Intones Feder, “Heterosexuals who prattle about gay rights should wake up and smell the wine fermenting for the orgy!”
Must gay pundits really reinforce such idiotic misconceptions? [Italics them, bold, mine]
Ah, yes. I do love me some ammunition.
Might, perhaps, another ‘idiotic misconception’ be that those who oppose homosexuality are ‘homohaters’?
Might it be possible that, in point of fact, those like myself who oppose homosexuality, do so for reasons that are not only derived from the Bible, but for all the reasons that Kirk and Madsen themselves decry? And might it be possible that the reason why Kirk and Madsen find such things deplorable is because it is a fact, not an opinion, that there is a God as Christians understand him, and this God did actually make people just as the Bible describes? And this being so, flaunting that design can be expected to result in unsatisfactory consequences?
That there are unsatisfactory consequences, I will henceforth eschew the Bible, and simply quote Kirk and Madsen, chapter and verse!