FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Nazification of Sexuality: Confessions of a Bigot

How far does one publicly dare to question contemporary shibboleths of liberalism/radicalism (my own preference is to distinguish the two; I view liberalism as antiradicalism, a moderate version of corporate capitalism, and hence, not one of my favorites)? More particularly, how open are publications and views with bono vide radical credentials to criticism of, for example, homosexuality and transgenderism? Yes, we all believe in toleration, profess a commitment to open advocacy, provided they fall within the parameters of human rights, which homosexuality and transgenderism certainly do. I am not calling for censure, public hangings, or even gentle criticism—only for a little perspective. Privacy, I believe, is a sacred right. No argument there. Yet, as an old radical (84 next month), with extensive background in practically all areas of radicalism (exception: sexual politics) over a lifetime, and with a diagnosis of terminal cancer staring over me, I feel I am free to speak my mind.

Whether others will want to listen, or grant me that privilege (especially when it goes against conventional radical wisdom), is another matter. This is not engagement in hate-politics, nor, hopefully, an expression of senility, but reflections on how I see as taking one’s eyes off the ball (i.e., a failure to prioritize structural-psychological issues in the face of world realities). To show concern for the liberation of sexual impulses, lifestyles, etc., when the power structure of the United States is moving ever-closer to fascism, is to me (a) a luxury of self-indulgence or of gratification, (b) a societal blindness to issues that affect, as I believe, more fundamental forms of human dignity (notably, the distribution of wealth and power in society, income inequality, enforcement of juridical concepts and provisions of equality before the law and as addressed by local, state, and federal police powers, and (c) a diversion from fighting against the real enemies of human freedom, capitalism, corporatism, fascism, lack of transparent government, perhaps most important right now, militarism, foreign intervention, regime change.

America just dropped on Afghanistan the largest non-nuclear bomb in global history. After the first day, a few references in the press and public discussion, and after that nada, as business as usual is resumed in full splendor—more threats, confrontations, possible interventions. Today, as self-indulgence, societal blindness, diversion, make the news, one feels that the radical vision of societal betterment is vanishing, lost from sight, as though sexuality trumps homelessness, malnutrition, gut-wrenching impoverishment, wars and their preparation, a military budget that sucks the lifeblood from the social-welfare sector, in a word, America as it presently exists, and as it has under bipartisan leadership since the close of World War II.

“Prioritize,” a cold, emotionless word, and yet, it follows disturbingly when it is set against a sexual politics that can only have validity when far more basic problems are first resolved. I know this contradicts prevailing radical opinion, which either looks askance at traditional factors of concern, or else puts sexuality on the same plane as the others as testimony to human rights. What good will the toleration, and for those immediately concerned, the practice of, homosexuality, be if the human race faces annihilation, or if in everyday living people are unemployed, undereducated, some dying prematurely because pollution standards are unenforced or not sufficiently rigorous, or dying prematurely because the pharmaceutical makers and medical profession get away with highway robbery? Much needs to be done, indeed, the whole reconstruction of society (whether or not socialism is the sole legitimate answer?) has to be created, away from war, hegemony, privation, environmental degradation, before rolling up our sleeves and confronting head-on issues of personal liberty.

I’d want very much to see dignity and complete rights freed from ideological stigma accorded to every human being, which obviously must include sexual identity. All of our brothers and sisters have a right to enjoy the sunshine, neither fearing discrimination and ridicule nor the diminution of self-worth because of societal prejudice. So what does this come down to? Build a better society, the democratization of power, but don’t ignore what is before us, which, doing, becomes complicity in a horrid status quo, filled by billionaires taking over government and capitalism becoming identical with the State. As precious as personal liberty is, it does not have to be flagrantly displayed when, e.g., race as a social determinant of condition still obtains or economic standing shapes one’s possibilities for happiness. Enjoy one’s own humanity and that of those one loves, without forcing to the front, and therefore giving conspicuous attention to, what for the moment demands equal or greater notice, than the solution to, yes, specifically economic-political problems crowded out of our field of vision. Don’t trivialize radicalism, which itself, historically and morally, seeks the health, well-being, and pride of every human being, but at the same time, affirm the significance of social structure and ideology in ensuring the fruition of human dignity as an unconditional birthright for all.

More articles by:

Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

March 25, 2019
Jonathan Cook
Three Lessons for the Left from the Mueller Inquiry
Dave Lindorff
The TSA’s Role as Journalist Harasser and Media ‘Watchdog’
Tanya Golash-Boza – Michael Golash
Epifanio Camacho: a Militant Farmworker Brushed Out of History
Robert Fisk
Don’t Believe the Hype: Here’s Why ISIS Hasn’t Been Defeated
Jack Rasmus
The Capitulation of Jerome Powell and the Fed
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s Moves to the Right
John Feffer
After Trump
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9/11
Dean Baker
The Importance of Kicking Up: Changing Market Structures So the Rich Don’t Get All the Money
Lawrence Wittner
What Democratic Socialism Is and Is Not
Thomas Knapp
Suppressing Discussion Doesn’t Solve the Problem. It is the Problem.
Stephen Cooper
“I’m a Nine-Star General Now”: an Interview with Black Uhuru’s Duckie Simpson
Andrew Moss
Immigration and the Democratic Hopefuls
Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail