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Monday, October 3, 2011

Gallagher: From whence 'the moral authority of gay men'?

In her most recent column, Maggie Gallagher hits the nail on the head when describing the state of affairs in the ongoing culture war between radical gay activism and mainstream America....




"Moral authority is, of course, in itself a curious phenomenon. Where does it come from? Who has it? How is it made visible in the external and everyday world?

Every human child begins with anxiety: Am I OK? Is what I do good enough? Am I a good person?

The reassurance that mothers and fathers give ultimately passes to some external force in human affairs, one that defines and binds a society together: Moral authority is that influence over the human mind that requires no external backing. We crave it, we seek it, we respond to it. Human beings are made that way.

The moral crisis that the gay rights movement poses for American civilization is ultimately a crisis in moral authority.

The original civil rights movement built upon a Judeo-Christian and biblical foundation, used the power of suffering, with dignity and courage, to call for social respect for African-Americans.

The new civil rights movement takes Christian pity and uses it as a weapon to unmoor the Christian tradition itself of all moral authority in our society in order to accomplish the "transvaluation of all values."

The phrase is Nietzsche's, of course.

"I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity. ... I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind. ... And one calculates time from the dies nefastus on which this fatality arose -- from the first day of Christianity! Why not rather form its last? From today? Revaluation of all values!" he wrote in "The Antichrist."

For Nietzsche, the two great besetting sins of Christianity were its elevation of pity -- the moral authority of the weak -- and chastity; both in his mind were violations of the natural order in which desire and the strength to attain desire were the natural basis of morality. Christianity was "anti-life" because it interfered with the twin goods of strength and desire.

The genius of modern Progressivism is to instead take these two Christian virtues, pity and chastity, and pit them against each other -- to take pity for human suffering and direct it against the restraint of sexual desire..

To the gay rights movement, a strong moral confidence in the goodness of our marriage tradition is in itself the core moral offense, which requires disciplining, punishing, silencing, shunning.

Why? So that legitimate pity for the gay man, and his suffering as a child, can be turned against the moral authority of chastity, for that system of sexual ethics that begins not with our desires but with our responsibility to discipline and elevate them."




Bravo to Gallagher for the willingness to stand up against the Pink Hand and speak truth to power.



Given the economic downturn of recent years, I wonder if hard times really will produce hard men with the absence of decadence and wealth as one author has posited. Perhaps all of the moral posturing of homosexual activism might all go for naught as we may very well have already experienced Peak Gay.

12 comments:

Speedy G said...

Nietzsche, "Human, All too Human"

For in pity at least two (maybe many more) elements of personal pleasure are contained, and it is to that extent self-enjoyment: first of all, it is the pleasure of the emotion (the kind of pity we find in tragedy) and second, when it drives us to act, it is the pleasure of our satisfaction in the exercise of power. If, in addition, a suffering person is very close to us, we reduce our own suffering by our acts of pity. Aside from a few philosophers, men have always placed pity rather low in the hierarchy of moral feelings-and rightly so.

Desire to arouse pity. In the most noteworthy passage of his self-portrait (first published in 1658), La Rochefoucauld certainly hits the mark when he warns all reasonable men against pity, when he advises them to leave it to those common people who need passions (because they are not directed by reason) to bring them to the point of helping the sufferer and intervening energetically in a misfortune. For pity, in his (and Plato's) judgment, weakens the soul. Of course one ought to express pity, but one ought to guard against having it; for unfortunate people are so stupid that they count the expression of pity as the greatest good on earth.

Perhaps one can warn even more strongly against having pity for the unfortunate if one does not think of their need for pity as stupidity and intellectual deficiency, a kind of mental disorder resulting from their misfortune (this is how La Rochefoucauld seems to regard it), but rather as something quite different and more dubious. Observe how children weep and cry, so that they will be pitied, how they wait for the moment when their condition will be noticed. Or live among the ill and depressed, and question whether their eloquent laments and whimpering, the spectacle of their misfortune, is not basically aimed at hurting those present. The pity that the spectators then express consoles the weak and suffering, inasmuch as they see that, despite all their weakness, they still have at least one power: the power to hurt. When expressions of pity make the unfortunate man aware of this feeling of superiority, he gets a kind of pleasure from it; his self-image revives; he is still important enough to inflict pain on the world. Thus the thirst for pity is a thirst for self-enjoyment, and at the expense of one's fellow men. It reveals man in the complete inconsideration of his most intimate dear self, but not precisely in his "stupidity," as La Rochefoucauld thinks. In social dialogue, three-quarters of all questions and answers are framed in order to hurt the participants a little bit; this is why many men thirst after society so much: it gives them a feeling of their strength. In these countless, but very small doses, malevolence takes effect as one of life's powerful stimulants, just as goodwill, dispensed in the same way throughout the human world, is the perennially ready cure.

But will there be many people honest enough to admit that it is a pleasure to inflict pain? That not infrequently one amuses himself (and well) by offending other men (at least in his thoughts) and by shooting pellets of petty malice at them? Most people are too dishonest, and a few men are too good, to know anything about this source of shame. So they may try to deny that Prosper Merimée is right when he says, "Sachez aussi qu'il n'y a rien de plus commun que de faire le mal pour le plaisir de le faire."

Speedy G said...

The "desire to hurt" certainly explains the actions of Gay men. It lends "meaning" to all his "suffering". And as Nietzsche remarked concerning the gay man's opposite number, the ascetic, at the end of his "Genealogy of Morals"...

The ascetic ideal has been the only meaning offered up to this point. Any meaning is better than no meaning at all; however one looks at it, the ascetic ideal has so far been the “faute de mieux” [for lack of something better] par excellence. In it suffering was interpreted, the huge hole appeared filled in, the door shut against all suicidal nihilism. The interpretation undoubtedly brought new suffering with it—more profound, more inner, more poisonous, and more life-gnawing suffering; it brought all suffering under the perspective of guilt. . . . But nevertheless—with it man was saved. He had a meaning; from that point on he was no longer like a leaf in the wind, a toy ball of nonsense, of “without sense”; he could now will something—at first it didn’t matter where, why, or how he willed: the will itself was saved. We simply cannot conceal from ourselves what is really expressed by that total will which received its direction from the ascetic ideal: this hate against what is human, even more against animality, even more against material things—this abhorrence of the senses, of reason itself, this fear of happiness and beauty, this longing for the beyond away from all appearance, change, becoming, death, desire, even longing itself—all this means, let’s have the courage to understand this, a will to nothingness, an aversion to life, a revolt against the most fundamental preconditions of life—but it is and remains a will! . . . And to finish up by repeating what I said at the beginning: man will sooner will nothingness than not will . . .

Homosexuality... if THAT doesn't represent a "will to nothingness", nothing does.

GentleSkeptic said...

It's OK, Speedy: all your thoughts and knowledge are delusions.

GentleSkeptic said...

… for that system of sexual ethics that begins not with our desires but with our responsibility to discipline and elevate them." —Maggie Gallagher

Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves.  —Friedrich Nietzsche

GentleSkeptic said...

Leave it to Speedy to misread the passage. The "will to nothingness" IS "that total will which received its direction from the ascetic ideal: this hate against what is human."

Philosophy and delusion make strange bedfellows.

Speedy G said...

Hey, I don't advocate ascetism, either, GS. I never did. But as a reproductive strategy, homosexuality is most certainly an expression of nihilism as much as "abstinence" ever was. As Nietzsche has stated in WtP 493 (1885), "Truth is the kind of error without which a certain species of life could not live. The value for life is ultimately decisive."

...and homosexuality is not conducive to the continued "life" of the "species."

And the semiotics of a "feeling" can only at most be described as a "delusion". That a "word" can bring to mind "images" unrelated to the source making the sound is merely further evidence of this disassociative phenomena.

Speedy G said...

Nietzsche, "Gay Science" 115 - The Four Errors. Man has been reared by his errors: firstly, he saw himself always imperfect; secondly, he attributed to himself imaginary qualities; thirdly, he felt himself in a false position in relation to the animals and nature; fourthly, he always devised new tables of values, and accepted them for a time as eternal and unconditioned, so that at one time this, and at another time that human impulse or state stood first, and was ennobled in consequence. When one has deducted the effect of these four errors, one has also deducted humanity, humaneness, and "human dignity."

Speedy G said...

GS - You need to send Theuth down to collect a few fresh flower from the abyss. Just let me know when he gets back and one busts out of its' prison. There are only a limitted number of them down there. And since you're not open to planting new ones... there always will be a limitted number. So don't waste them. ;)

GentleSkeptic said...

homosexuality is not conducive to the continued "life" of the "species."

Oh THAT tired canard. I suppose gay men don't have viable semen, and gay women don't have viable eggs. And yet, gay men and women continue to be born, quite naturally. In vitro fertilization aside; at seven billion and counting, I don't think the continued "life" of the "species" is a legitimate concern.

But it doesn't really matter, since ALL of your thoughts are delusional.

Speedy G said...

I suppose gay men don't have viable semen, and gay women don't have viable eggs.

...and the two will never join.

Speedy G said...

Heterosexuality - necessary for continuation of the species.

Homosexuality - NOT necessary for continuation of the species.

It doesn't get simpler than THAT.

GentleSkeptic said...

Homosexuality - not an impediment to the continuation of the species.

Simpler.