martedì 21 marzo 2017

2 Virtually Normal by Andrew Sullivan

Unfortunately for Foucault, however, history itself, the very discourse of the past, concurs with science and psychology to suggest the presence of what we would understand as the homosexual,Read more at location 921
as the historian John Boswell has demonstrated.Read more at location 924
Nights,Read more at location 925
GanymedeRead more at location 926
Plato’sRead more at location 927
AristotleRead more at location 928
Aquinas,Read more at location 930
Alain of Lille,Read more at location 931
in ancient Greece, where the language did not contain a word for “homosexual,”Read more at location 937
Throughout history,Read more at location 941
there are peopleRead more at location 941
asserting their homosexuality in the face of unremitting hostility.Read more at location 942
“Because I have never liked women or vaginas, does that mean I should not like passive men?Read more at location 944
Now it’s obvious that the way in which certain looks are taboo and others are not is entirely a social construction; but is there really nothing else in the flicker of eyes and suspicion of desire that transcends such constructionsRead more at location 950
Homosexuals have historically reacted to their erasure not simply by subterfuge or resistance or violence, but by a complex undermining of the culture itself, by “camp,” by irony, by laughter.Read more at location 964
a place of humor and self-consciousness that those who see only social structures of oppression can often miss.Read more at location 968
There is, in short, a space within any oppressive social structure where human beings can operate from their own will.Read more at location 970
it is ultimately free of its oppressor.Read more at location 978
This is why totalitarian societies attack the family: because they understand that the obliteration of particular human love and loyalty is the only means to secure total power.Read more at location 978
There is in Foucault, in short, little alertness to the resilient lifeRead more at location 981
The airlessness of his universe does not permit human beings to breathe;Read more at location 982
Foucault sees homosexuals trapped in another stifling discourse of binary sexuality,Read more at location 983
understood him or herself to be “gay,” because the newspapers themselves are so described.Read more at location 988
fundamental emotional needs are not eclipsed by this interplay;Read more at location 993
The liberationist argument, with its pessimism about the possibility of real human freedom within traditional liberal society, must also confront a particularly discomforting fact: that the last few generations have seen a considerable flowering of gay culture and gay freedom.Read more at location 998
And this growth of homosexual freedom has continually had its vanguard in the United States, despite its tradition of fundamentalist Christianity, despite its capitalist system, despite its allegedly oppressive influence in world culture.Read more at location 1008
To say, as Foucauldeans must say, that this is the mere exchange of one kind of chains for another, that the gay world of the 1920s is equivalent to the gay world of the 1990s, is to fly in the face of common sense and of history.Read more at location 1016
flaws in Foucauldean politics.Read more at location 1019
Because the state is not the source of power, but merely part of a matrix of power structures, there is no focus to the rebellion.Read more at location 1020
“queer” movementRead more at location 1023
attempt to generate an antipolitical politics,Read more at location 1024
It’s worth considering here one of those antipolitical political tactics,Read more at location 1025
I refer to the tactic of “outing,” the publication of someone’s homosexuality against that person’s will,Read more at location 1027
to force him or her to be free (to use Rousseau’s unforgettable phrase)Read more at location 1029
“outing” follows the logic of liberationistRead more at location 1033
It challenges the boundaries of private and public which have been historically used to cordon off homosexuality from “public” lifeRead more at location 1034
It is a classic case of Foucauldean resistance.Read more at location 1037
a form of rebellion against a discourse of power designed to oppress the queer.Read more at location 1039
And, following Foucault, there is no concern in this endeavor that this activity might violate an individual’s rights or dignity, since that person is merely a function of the oppression that defines him.Read more at location 1039
the politics of liberation fails to catch the individuality of every human being.Read more at location 1044
This dynamic is especially ironic, given Foucault’s own diagnosis of the West’s sexual sickness. It stems, in his view, from the structure of the Christian confessional:Read more at location 1051
you will seek to transform your desire, your every desire, into discourse.Read more at location 1053
passing everything having to do with sex through the endless mill of speech.Read more at location 1055
“Morally acceptable and technically useful.”Read more at location 1058
Those outed are usually described as “immoral,” betrayingRead more at location 1059
And the outing is technically useful:Read more at location 1060
Most homosexuals are not, of course, in or out of the closet; they hover tentatively somewhere in between.Read more at location 1065
And, in reality, outing is not a resolution of anything,Read more at location 1066
intensifies the desire to control the moment when that identity is revealed.Read more at location 1074
It is the sense of asphyxiation you feel when someone defines you without your consent.Read more at location 1078
The word “nigger” stings because it hammers an intricate human achievement into a common blur.Read more at location 1081
It erases dignity because it denies individuation.Read more at location 1081
“facts.”Read more at location 1085
masks for discourses of power;Read more at location 1086
outers enforce their particular ideology with particular zeal.Read more at location 1089
progayRead more at location 1090
place structures above people,Read more at location 1101
philosophy based on the uprooting of oppressive orthodoxy should end up enforcing it is not a new irony.Read more at location 1105
Outing is only the most extreme form of this tendency. The use of language is a milder version.Read more at location 1108
“gay” was no longer sufficiently liberationist,Read more at location 1110
the correct identification for homosexuals was from then on going to be “queer.”Read more at location 1111
it has come to be used by many gay men ironically, a device of self-mockery.Read more at location 1114
“Is he queer?”Read more at location 1116
In the mouth of a hostile heterosexualRead more at location 1116
form of threat;Read more at location 1117
self-deprecation or friendliness.Read more at location 1117
it is to turn language from a conversation which is essentially dramatic into a politics which is essentially programmatic.Read more at location 1127
Of course, for liberationists, language is already a form of control;Read more at location 1129
But the truth is that although language is susceptible to control and manipulation, it must also serve the complex needs of countless complicated individuals and must therefore reflect the results of a million choicesRead more at location 1130
Language that seeks to control by forcing meanings onto such a society will ultimately fail to work. It will become “newspeak,” or the kind of orthodox, moralizing discourse that periodically invades academic and political life,Read more at location 1132
homosexuals, whose sharp alertness to language and discourse has been shaped by generations of concealment and code,Read more at location 1134
one of the least susceptible populations imaginable.Read more at location 1135
Indeed, it could be argued that liberationism within a homosexual context was far more intelligible—and far more successful—as a style than as a politics.Read more at location 1137
the issue of gays and lesbians in the United States military—Read more at location 1143
its antipolitical politics made equality within the armed services a ludicrous endeavor.Read more at location 1144
For a politics designed to subvert existing structures, participating in the very instrument of state power is a nonsensicalRead more at location 1145
Gay soldiers were seeking, in contrast, to be admitted on the grounds of their conformist conduct, not their queer status.Read more at location 1149
It was not so much politics as theater.Read more at location 1155
The other salient political instance is the battle for gay marriage. In this, as in access to the military, liberationist politics buckles under its own contradictions.Read more at location 1156
same-sex marriage represent a suspect assimilationist goal for our movement,Read more at location 1160
It is no wonder that liberationist politics has preferred the arena of protest to that of law, the arena of closed academic discourse to that of actual political engagement.Read more at location 1167
their most common form of political activity was not a “demonstration” but an “action”;Read more at location 1169
media blitz.Read more at location 1171
politics of performance.Read more at location 1171
The audience is not an equal, it is a spectator.Read more at location 1173
By aligning queer cultural revolt with a politics of equality and acceptance, queer politics subverts itself.Read more at location 1180
ACT UP meetings were a cacophony of rival oppressions, with little means for distinguishingRead more at location 1186
the politics was inevitably a confused and seamless flux of competing constructions:Read more at location 1188
a recipe for political paralysis and chaos.Read more at location 1188
Michael Walzer puts it, “When critical distance stretches into infinity, the critical enterprise collapses.”Read more at location 1190
There was not even a vision, à la Marx, of some future of freedom to which this smashing might lead.Read more at location 1196
Judith ButlerRead more at location 1197
“Power can neither be withdrawnRead more at location 1197
It’s a grim and thankless task, this redeployment of power,Read more at location 1199
It might be argued, of course, that culture is politics;Read more at location 1201
the redefinition of what is normal,Read more at location 1202
is a political strategy in itself.Read more at location 1203
A politics which seeks only to show and not to persuadeRead more at location 1209
the achievement will necessarily be transitory.Read more at location 1212
Moreover, a cultural strategy as a political strategy is a dangerous oneRead more at location 1213
majorities win the culture wars.Read more at location 1215
culture, in any case, is not enough. It may be necessary, but it is not sufficient.Read more at location 1216
It is necessary to conform to certain disciplines in order to reform them, necessary to speak a certain languageRead more at location 1219
Foucault, he “stands nowhere and finds no reasons.Read more at location 1221
he has no plans or projects for turning the cage into something more like a human home.”Read more at location 1222
The liberationists prefer to concentrate—for where else can they go?—on those instruments of power which require no broader conversation, no process of dialogue,Read more at location 1227
So they focus on outing, on speech codes, on punitive measures against opponents on campuses, on the enforcement of new forms of language, by censorship and by intimidation.Read more at location 1228
as liberationist politics is cultural, it is extremely vulnerable; and insofar as it is really political, it is almost always authoritarian.Read more at location 1230
CHAPTER THREE The ConservativesRead more at location 1233
Note: 3@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Edit
There is a difference for conservatives between the invasion of people’s private lives, or the unwarranted attempt by the state to shape social and moral life, and the legitimate attempt by politicians to encourage some forms of behavior over others, to provide incentives for one kind of social outcome over another.Read more at location 1250
is not a concern with moral norms as such; it is a concern with social norms.Read more at location 1261
Note: c Edit
conservatives are not alarmed to meet a homosexual at a dinner party (indeed, they may even find it fashionable to invite one or two) and regard some level of comfort with homosexuals as a mark of civilized conduct.Read more at location 1271
Conservatives combine a private tolerance of homosexuals with public disapproval of homosexuality. While they do not want to see legal persecution of homosexuals, they see no problem with discouragement and disparagement of homosexual sexual behavior in the abstract or, more commonly, a carefully sustained hush on the matter altogether.Read more at location 1277
silence and discretion are key parts of this delicate political strategy,Read more at location 1282
John Finnis,Read more at location 1287
“The standard modern position considers that the state’s proper responsibility for upholding true worth (morality) is a responsibility subsidiary (auxiliary) to the primary responsibility of parents and non-political voluntary associations” (Finnis’s italics). So in the troublesome homosexual issue, the role of the state is firm, but also limited:Read more at location 1290
the public acceptance of homosexuality actively offends the identity—or “self-understanding”—of married heterosexuals and so makes it harder for them to practice marriage as it should be practiced.Read more at location 1308
So Finnis is a liberal inasmuch as he doesn’t believe it’s the state’s duty to affect private behavior among consenting adults; but he’s a conservative inasmuch as he doesn’t believe that the public affirmation or presence of certain behaviors, as displayed by openly homosexual people, is a neutral event.Read more at location 1314
Finnis’s is a pure version of the conservative stance: it is rooted in sincerely held moral beliefs—the exclusive purpose of sex is marital, loving, and procreative—but in public it is largely concerned with its pragmatic, social conclusion: that society should discourage all public messages that undermine the exclusively marital, heterosexual, and loving deployment of sexual desire.Read more at location 1318
as there is an environmental component to the development of a homosexual identity, that environment should more or less strongly dispose any individual toward choosing a heterosexual existence.Read more at location 1328
Harvard psychologist E. L. Pattullo:Read more at location 1330
Surely decency demands that those who find themselves homosexual be treated with dignity and respect. But surely, too, reason suggests that we guard against doing anything which might mislead wavering children into perceiving society as indifferent to the sexual orientation they might develop.Read more at location 1331
Hence to the extent that society has an interest both in reproducing itself and in strengthening the institution of the family—and to the extent that parents have an interest in reducing the risk that their children will become homosexual—there is warrant for resisting the movement to abolish all societal distinctions between homosexual and heterosexual.Read more at location 1337
CHAPTER FOUR The LiberalsRead more at location 1721
Note: 4@@@@@@@@@@@ Edit
Liberals believe, like conservatives, that homosexuality as a social phenomenon is a mixture of choice and compulsion. Some people, they concede, are involuntarily homosexual; others may be tempted that way, but could lead either heterosexual or homosexual existences. But unlike conservatives, whose first recourse is to ask how society’s interests are affected by this phenomenon—and therefore what social effects would be incurred by a relaxation of the antihomosexual taboo—liberals ask first how the individual is affected. And by this, of course, they mean primarily the individual homosexual.Read more at location 1753
They see the homosexual’s rights infringed in several areas: the right to individual privacy, where antisodomy laws exist; the right to free expression, where social oppression largely intimidates homosexuals from disclosing freely who they are; and, most significantly, the right to employment and housing, where antihomosexual prejudice results in homosexuals being fired or never hired because of their sexual orientation, or being refused housing.Read more at location 1758
liberal’s response is to create laws which protect this minorityRead more at location 1761
Note: POLICY Edit
abolition of antisodomyRead more at location 1761
antidiscrimination statutesRead more at location 1762
discouragement of antihomosexual public expressionRead more at location 1762
it has even seemed to intensify the hostility shown toward homosexualsRead more at location 1764
liberals are curiously blind to the illiberal dimensions of their program: they wish, after all, to deny others the right to complete freedom of contract and to complete freedom of expression, in order to protect a specific minority.Read more at location 1768
affirmative action,Read more at location 1840
The liberal paradox here is obvious: liberty is restricted for some so as to enlarge it for others.Read more at location 1846
liberalism moved from simple regulation of public life into regulation of private life, it moved into an entirely new realm.Read more at location 1866
The limitation on free speech encapsulated in hate-crime laws is a real limitation; the legal prohibition against a free contract in antidiscrimination laws is a real prohibition.Read more at location 1871
liberalism created a war within itself.Read more at location 1901
The old-fashioned liberal marveled at the complexity of these human interchanges, and was glad he did not need to regulate them; the modern liberal is so concerned to overcome the visceral hostility toward homosexuals in the society that he wishes to reduce all these emotions to a binary bigoted-tolerant axis, and legislate in favor of the tolerant.Read more at location 1945
CHAPTER FIVE A Politics of HomosexualityRead more at location 2167
Note: 5@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Edit
the four major positions fight noisilyRead more at location 2173
Note: 4 Edit
reconcile the best arguments of liberals and conservatives,Read more at location 2175
high premium on liberty,Read more at location 2176
human beings exist whose private lives may indeed be shaped by a shift in public mores.Read more at location 2178
This politics begins with the view that for a small minority of people, from a young age, homosexuality is an essentially involuntary condition that can neither be denied nor permanently repressed. It is a function of both nature and nurture, but the forces of nurture are formed so early and are so complex that they amount to an involuntary condition.Read more at location 2179
there is a limit to what politics can achieve in such a fraught areaRead more at location 2184
eschews the use of law to legislate culture,Read more at location 2186
Note: c Edit
law can affect culture indirectly by its insistence on the equality of all citizens.Read more at location 2186
public equality for those who, through no fault of their own, happen to be homosexual; and it would not deny homosexuals,Read more at location 2188
Note: c Edit
all public (as opposed to private) discrimination against homosexuals be endedRead more at location 2190
And that is all.Read more at location 2192
Note: c Edit
No cures or re-educations, no wrenching private litigation, no political imposition of tolerance;Read more at location 2192
formal public equality,Read more at location 2193
Note: c Edit
respects liberalism’s public-private distinction;Read more at location 2195
end to all proactive discrimination by the stateRead more at location 2197
end to sodomy lawsRead more at location 2198
equal legal age of consent to sexual activityRead more at location 2199
equal opportunity and inclusion in the military;Read more at location 2203
legal homosexual marriageRead more at location 2203
Its most powerful and important elements are equal access to the military and marriage.Read more at location 2214
military banRead more at location 2215
Note: t Edit
conceding the excellent service that many gay and lesbian soldiers have given to their country,Read more at location 2215
“don’t ask, don’t tell”Read more at location 2217
The prohibition was against homosexuals’ being honest about their sexuality,Read more at location 2221
Once the debate has been constructed this way, it will eventually, surely, be won by those advocating the admission of open homosexuals in the military.Read more at location 2222
Prohibitionists also won the military issue because of its symbolic power. The acceptance of open homosexuals at the heart of the state, at the core of the notion of patriotism, is anathemaRead more at location 2236
instead of seeking access as other minorities have done, homosexuals in the military are simply demanding recognition.Read more at location 2240
They do not even have to seek, as blacks did before them, the right to be integrated into the military: they are already integrated.Read more at location 2242
the homosexual entered public debate and said, “Let us into your military, and protect us from hostility. Let us into your businesses, so we can earn our living without discrimination.Read more at location 2255
now the homosexual enters public life and declares, “We are your military and have fought your wars and protected your homes.Read more at location 2259
Note: c Edit
This is a rhetoric that, unlike that of contemporary liberalism, is actually complementary to the deeper psychological changes that are needed for homosexual equality.Read more at location 2264
Note: c Edit
The liberal can campaign for formal public equality—for the abolition of sodomy laws, equal protection in public employment and institutions,Read more at location 2274
conservative, while opposing “special rights,” is able to formulate a vision of what values the society wants to inculcate. He can point to the virtues of a loyal and dedicated soldier, homosexual or heterosexual, and celebrate his patriotism;Read more at location 2279
access to civil marriage.Read more at location 2285
This point may be the hardest for many heterosexuals to accept.Read more at location 2290
Note: HARDEST Edit
And there may be religious reasons for resistingRead more at location 2292
Some might argue that marriage is by definition between a man and a woman; and it is difficult to argue with a definition.Read more at location 2295
The center of the public contract is an emotional, financial, and psychological bond between two people; in this respect, heterosexuals and homosexuals are identical.Read more at location 2296
The heterosexuality of marriage is intrinsic only if it is understood to be intrinsically procreative; but that definition has long been abandoned in Western society. No civil marriage license is granted on the condition that the couple bear children;Read more at location 2298
The state rightly, for example, withholds marriage from minors, or from one adult and a minor, since at least one party is unable to understand or live up to the contract. And the state has also rightly barred close family relatives from marriage because familial emotional ties are too strong and powerful to enable a marriage contract to be entered into freely by two autonomous, independent individuals; and because incest poses a uniquely dangerous threat to the trust and responsibility that the family needs to survive. But do homosexuals fall into a similar category?Read more at location 2303
Of course, marriage is characterized by a kind of commitment that is rare—and perhaps declining—even among heterosexuals. But it isn’t necessary to prove that homosexuals or lesbians are less—or more—able to form long-term relationships than straights for it to be clear that at least some are.Read more at location 2307
In some ways, the marriage issue is exactly parallel to the issue of the military. Few people deny that many homosexuals are capable of the sacrifice, the commitment, and the responsibilities of marriage. And indeed, for many homosexuals and lesbians, these responsibilities are already enjoined—as they have been enjoined for centuries.Read more at location 2311
one of the strongest arguments for gay marriage is a conservative one. It’s perhaps best illustrated by a comparison with the alternative often offered by liberals and liberationists to legal gay marriage, the concept of “domestic partnership.”Read more at location 2316
a variety of interpersonal arrangements qualify for health insurance, bereavement leave, insurance, annuity and pension rights, housing rights (such as rent-control apartments), adoption and inheritance rights.Read more at location 2320
The conservative’s worries start with the ease of the relationship.Read more at location 2323
In principle, an elderly woman and her live-in nurse could qualify, or a pair of frat buddies.Read more at location 2326
Marriage provides an anchor, if an arbitrary and often weak one, in the maelstrom of sex and relationships to which we are all prone. It provides a mechanism for emotional stability and economic security. We rig the law in its favor not because we disparage all forms of relationship other than the nuclear family, but because we recognize that not to promote marriage would be to ask too much of human virtue.Read more at location 2332
For conservatives, these are vital concerns. There are virtually no conservative arguments either for preferring no social incentives for gay relationships or for preferring a second-class relationship, such as domestic partnership,Read more at location 2335
There is no evidence that shows any deleterious impact on a child brought up by two homosexual parents; and considerable evidence that such a parental structure is clearly preferable to single parents (gay or straight) or no effective parents at all, which alas, is the choice many children now face.Read more at location 2338
Note: FIGLI Edit
Homosexual marriages have always existed, in a variety of forms; they have just been euphemized. Increasingly they exist in every sense but the legal one. As it has become more acceptable for homosexuals to acknowledge their loves and commitments publicly, more and more have committed themselves to one another for life in full view of their families and friends.Read more at location 2341
It provides role models for young gay people, who, after the exhilaration of coming out, can easily lapse into short-term relationships and insecurity with no tangible goal in sight.Read more at location 2345
Even in our society as it is, many lesbian and gay male relationships are virtual textbooks of monogamous commitment; and for many, “in sickness and in health” has become a vocation rather than a vow.Read more at location 2347

So long as conservatives recognize, as they do, that homosexuals exist and that they have equivalent emotional needs and temptations as heterosexuals, then there is no conservative reason to oppose homosexual marriage and many conservative reasons to support it. So long as liberals recognize, as they do, that citizens deserve equal treatment under the law, then there is no liberal reason to oppose it and many liberal reasons to be in favor of it. So long as intelligent people understand that homosexuals are emotionally and sexually attracted to the same sex as heterosexuals are to the other sex, then there is no human reason on earth why it should be granted to one group and not the other