FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman - TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail