Look out for “The radical homosexual agenda!”
Can anyone explain to me what this is? Whenever I read anything about gays and the political battles surrounding them, there are always a few dudes who come out of the woodwork and start yelling about, “THE RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA!” I would love for anyone to explain to me just what this is or means, because I’ve known and am friends with a whole bunch of gay people, and none of them had an “agenda” beyond simply wanting to be recognized as fellow human beings, entitled to all the rights and privileges as any other one, regardless of what who they prefer to share their plumbing with.
Ultimately it usually comes down to the fact that there are a lot of people who are scared of gays and don’t relish the thought of living in a world where homosexuality is considered acceptable or (shudder) normal. But their mistake is in thinking that their perceived right to inhabit such a world trumps the actual right of the people in question to peacefully live their own lives free from government persecution and discrimination. This is what the civil rights movement was fought about: blacks were legally and socially second-class citizens, with the local governments complicit in their repression. Such repression can’t happen without a government allowing or at least turning a blind eye to it, and the keys to ending it were normalizing blacks in society, and having a bigger government force the smaller ones to acknowledge and protect black people’s freedom just like they did for white people.
And that’s really what this is all about: anti-gay people basically admit that they want the government to discriminate against gay people and treat them like second-class citizens and allow them to do so as well, in the same way that blacks and women were treated for much of the last century.
Sadly, the bigotry engendered by the belief that you have the right to live in a country whose government represses groups you disapprove of doesn’t end with the modern right; I find about as many examples of the left doing it too. One I’d like to draw attention to is (surprise!) the Brady Campaign’s Doug Pennington. Buried in his latest post is a telling sentence:
An aside: isn’t it ironic how some libertarians want government to stay out of their lives, yet have no problem with forcing other people to live with loaded, concealed weapons everywhere they turn? The grocery store; the park; the school; the airport. Apparently, we have the “freedom” to live with what these so-called libertarians tell us to live with. After all, they have the guns, right?
Try replacing the words “loaded, concealed weapons” with “gays” or “negroes”. Looks a lot more bigoted now, huh? The truth is, we have to live with a lot of things that we might find distasteful. The Bill of Rights in fact ensures it!
For example, the First Amendment forces us to live with inflammatory newspaper articles that insult our beliefs, and fringe religions that blaspheme against all that we consider holy; it does this because each individual’s freedom to believe, express, and worship what he wishes trumps everybody else’s sense of offense and umbrage against same. Similarly, the Second Amendment forces us to live with our neighbors’ right to own and carry weapons, and the Fourteenth Amendment forces us to accept black people and other racial minorities as legally equal to white people.
No government can force freedom onto anyone; it can only force bigots to recognize others’ existing freedoms. That’s the whole point of the Bill of Rights, and that was the genius behind the American form of government — the idea that the government would act as a guarantor of liberty rather than its chief infringer, as was the case under theocracy and monarchy. Our history is a rollercoaster ride of coming closer and backing away from that ideal, as exemplified by highs like the civil rights movement or the decriminalization of sodomy, and lows like the Japanese-American internment during World War II or the normalization of the income tax in 1913.
But let no one believe that any one political party has a monopoly on this bigotry. It was beloved Democrat FDR who interned the Japanese-Americans by executive order as much as it was was racist Republicans who opposed civil rights. In this vein, I’ll end with one of my favorite Reason.tv videos: