Friday, June 27, 2003

Jamin B. Raskin of TomPaine.com says Liberals have won the culture war. It may be true, though I suppose the Log Cabin Republicans might disagree, but if so it was utterly predictable. Homosexuality, like race, has never been a force against the market, so it makes sense that it would find a home there sooner or later, and finally above ground. Race will take longer. I've known plenty of homosexuals who are bitterly racist, though they keep it largely hidden. My only quibble with the facts of this case is that I wish that the roles had been reversed, with an older black man and a younger white man. As it stands the element of white paternalism may still be seen to exist. (whether it in fact does or not is irrelevant.)

But there is more to add:
"The 60s saw the last attempt of the bourgeoisie to look outside of itself and at its role in the world. Now it turns inward to itself and considers it a political act" I wrote that 10 years ago, and it still applies.

There are two overarching and opposed definitions of social order: that of Convention and that of Desire. The communal activities of the working classes, in unions, churches and peasant organizations, in folk traditions defined by regionalism and or provincialism, are all tied together into various forms of social conservatism, predicated on limits to individual freedom, and on pressure to conform. This conservatism may include racism or it may not. It may include anti homosexual bias or not. Regardless, the market opposes indeed subverts all of these activities. Under the market the individual, the desire of the individual, is 'free', and in the context of this decision, it is that freedom that is being proclaimed. [Interestingly, in the Michigan decision the Court went against the individual but in also in favor of the market, a parallel worth considering]. In fact the theology of individualism that the market addresses has found a home in gay culture (and it has done so in ways frankly I despise.) But this has nothing to do with the decision itself, which is right in every way, especially in its isolation of the three most reactionary members of the court. I'm hoping Scalia's dissent itself is a setback for his cause. However, the sooner sexual preference is revealed to be an unpolitical decision, in the sense that politics deals only with questions of just government, the better it is for all of us. It's just not there yet.

And when it finally happened, it was an easy victory. Contrary to "conservative intellectuals" -to use their title of choice- it makes sense that the decision was made in this way, and now, because in fact the majority of the people of the United States, if not the majority of people in every part of it, were ready for it. And this, again, contrary to Nathan Newman's argument is a justification of judicial review.

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