Monday, May 12, 2003

Atrios links to this post by Digby on Rove, gay rights and the neo-confederates, in what amounts to a refresher course on the divisions within neo-conservatism between economic and social conservatism. I have no problems with any of it except to complain, as I have been recently, of the strange blindness in American political discussion when it comes to psychology.

Digby did some research on the southern heritage movement and its obvious racial underpinnings:

"But, strangely, I found that they also spend a vast amount of time spewing the most vile commentary about gays and lesbians. Who knew this was such a huge part of America’s Southern heritage? These confederate historical associations are so obsessed with the “gay rights” agenda that you can only conclude that the “threat” of homosexuality was the most hotly debated issue in the pre-1860 south. Why else would these benign heritage societies spend such an inordinate amount of time and energy detailing the dangers of the “gay lifestyle?”

Unless, of course, discussing gays and lesbians as if they are less than human is a convenient way of signaling your bigot credentials in all things. Then, it makes sense for these historical organizations to take a bizarre stand against gays, while proclaiming their mission is a simple desire to celebrate their heritage. Trent Lott broke the rules. Santorum didn't."

These two paragraphs are just odd to me. Anxiety about homosexual desire as about anything else, is no more than a sign of its prevalence within the community. It seems obvious that a regimented and sexually restricted society- where the men are men and the women are ladies- should have a large homoerotic subtext. Ever seen Gone With the Wind, or Deliverance? Anything by Tennessee Williams? The relationship between racial and sexual insecurity predates politics, or rather it's where politics begins.

I'll amend that: It's not political commentators who ignore psychology, it's liberal and left wing commentators. I've harped on it too often to forget about it now. Reformers ignore our frailty in order to offer us a way out of the dilemmas we invent for ourselves. Conservatives assume the opposite, allowing them both the opportunity to indulge in sin and then in the punishment they believe themselves so deserving of: Bennett the gambler, Sullivan the bareback bottom, Thomas the chronic Masturbator, Bork the drunk. They all loathe themselves for their failings, and they hate those who don't feel the same self-disgust.

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