Monday, April 14, 2014

Sodomy, conscience, and responsibility

Rod Dreher, "The Blinding Wrath Of The Righteous" (The American Conservative, April 11, 2014):
Longtime commenter Matt in VA, who is gay and married, put a fascinating comment on the conscience thread:
“…none of it excuses us from individual responsibility. If you go down that path, you will end up in hell, and make life hell for those around you.”

I think straight people generally cannot appreciate how completely devoid of a concept of individual responsibility gay male culture in particular is. Sure, a big part of it is “structural”: no kids and no real obstacles to sex except whatever you carry within you/bring with you from your upbringing or religion or culture or whatever else outside of the gay ghetto. The total disaster that is gay and bi men’s sexual health outcomes (and don’t be fooled by the existence of medicines to mitigate the worst effects of that culture; it remains a disaster) is just one symptom of the overall really fundamental moral vacuum/pit.

It is a rotten deal: you listen to “fag” and “queer” being thrown around all the time as a kid, either at you if you’re effeminate or at other nongenderconforming kids if you can pass for straight…and then you grow up and hope to find acceptance and a place for yourself and get sucked instead into a culture in which you’re encouraged to view yourself as a piece of meat, in which you are socialized to treat your own body and the bodies of others as trash receptacles for incurable viruses, in which drug use and trolling for sex partners night after night on the basis of proximity are normalized, and you end up spit out at some point when your looks fade, fundamentally changed as person, often infected, and no closer to (probably much farther from) finding meaningful love than you were before you came out. And the whole time the culture keeps telling you to keep your ire focused on conservative Christians, they’re the real problem, they’re the ones to blame if you experience any unhappiness.

Gay people who refuse to be the victims of this communal-sewer culture are the ones who retain that concept of individual responsibility from wherever they got it in the first place — their families, their religions, their upbringing, maybe even just from books (I think for me, it’s been books that have helped the most, though I was involved in, and implicated in, that sewer culture for a while). My point is, that idea — of individual responsibility, the Solzhenitsyn bit about the line between good and evil being not between you and some horrible Other but being inside your own heart — that idea, that saving idea is often within individual gay people, but it is not anywhere within Gay Inc. It does not exist there. I am gay-married, but I don’t think that perennial Big Issue, gay marriage, will make much of a difference in the lives of most gay men so long as gay culture remains continues to so completely exclude the truth that *we* are (and all human beings are) our own worst enemies, we are what’s wrong with the world.
[Hat tip to JM]

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