Editor’s Note: This is round two of a three-part debate about whether gays should be a part of the Conservative Movement. Click here for part one. For this round each debater was alloted 1200 words.
By David Swindle
After reading Ryan Sorba’s response to my case for welcoming gays and lesbians to participate in the Conservative Movement I feel as though we’ve stumbled into a Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd cartoon. Mr. Sorba’s rebuttal is like a series of buckshot blasts from Elmer’s rifle — an unfocused spray of invective, questionable factual claims, and non sequiturs that seem to hit everywhere except his target.
I begin with some blunt clarifications that, while already inherent in my first post, need be stated clearly up front so there’s no confusion:
1. Social conservatives do not need to change their view that homosexual acts are sinful.
2. Gays do not need “special rights.”
3. Social conservatives do not need to compromise on their positions against government-recognition of same-sex unions.
This debate is not about gay marriage or the morality of gay sex — subjects upon which decent people can disagree. It’s not about whether same sex attraction is innate or choice — a point that is irrelevant to the discussion.
From the outset of his response, Mr. Sorba seems to be oblivious to the purpose of my opening paragraph:
In an article entitled, “Should Gays Be a Part of the Conservative Movement?” NewsReal managing editor David Swindle answers with a very masculine, “Yes!” then he defends shellfish eaters and masturbating. What a mess.
I referenced eating shellfish and masturbation because those practices have something in common with the “sodomy” that Mr. Sorba thunders about so much: they’re both condemned by religious texts.
Mr. Sorba wants to cast my position as though I view homosexual attractions as akin to skin color. He then trumpets his Born Gay Hoax as a corrective. But the cause of the drives which compel people to form intimate, same-sex relationships is not meaningful to my position. I don’t analogize self-identified gays to ethnic minorities. Instead I compare them to members of another religion which does not embrace the same behavioral standards as some Christians.
As demonstrated by my definition of conservatism, the movement is not grounded in a common religious or moral understanding of personal behavior. It’s based in a political understanding of the principles of the Declaration and the Constitution. That’s why it’s perfectly rational to have Jewish conservatives, Pagan conservatives, atheist conservatives, Catholic conservatives, and countercultural conservatives who end up mostly agreeing on politics while enjoying Inter-Faith dialogues.
Mr. Sorba’s confusion about this is further evidenced by who he chooses to cite to back himself up. In his response he identified Ann Coulter as his “better” and quoted her paraphrasing a gay joke from conservative founder William F. Buckley, Jr.
Was Mr. Sorba aware of the fact that Buckley actually supported my position in this debate? In a letter to his close friend Marvin Liebman, Buckley stated clearly that gays were welcome in the Conservative Movement. He wasn’t alone here. The two other most important leaders on the Right in the 20th century – Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater — also embraced my position. And it’s beyond me why Mr Sorba would cite Coulter — who was hammered for speaking to GOProud — as somehow supporting his side.
In a note on facebook on January 7 Mr. Sorba wrote,
Thus, members of the “gay” political party, those who see themselves as “gay” and those who support the “gay” political community, are not conservative.
By Mr. Sorba’s definition Reagan, Buckley, Coulter, and Goldwater are not conservatives. In other words, Mr. Sorba has fashioned a new “conservatism” which is at odds with the philosophy championed by the Right’s most dynamic leaders.
Mr. Sorba’s so-called “conservatism” is actually familiar. His is the usual opponent of classical liberalism: a totalitarian vision functionally identical in structure (if not goals) to radical Islam and the neo-communist Left. Mr. Sorba believes he can use the federal government to create his anti-gay utopia in which “sodomites” can be imprisoned:
Making an intrinsically immoral act into a fundamental right will pave the way for one group to infringe upon the legitimate rights of other groups who don’t want anything to do with immorality. This is not conservative.
This brings me to where I was so rudely cut-off by the Ron Paul Hippies during my CPAC speech. “Civil rights, when they conflict with natural rights…” are not rights at all, but tyrannies. Insofar as one group is given the civil-right to infringe upon another group’s natural-rights, there will be injustice
Here’s news to Mr. Sorba: “Intrinsically immoral acts” are fundamental rights. Read the Bill of Rights. I have a fundamental right to say things which others judge “immoral.” I have a fundamental right to religious freedom — to embrace the moral views I so choose provided I do not infringe on others’ liberty. Our government exists for the primary purpose of guaranteeing my right to do things which others regard as morally repulsive. What does Mr. Sorba think drove persecuted religious minorities to come to the New World if not the opportunity for individual liberty, unburdened by a totalitarian government that would impose its will?
Mr. Sorba rejects the classical liberal tradition upon which our nation was founded, but wisely he does not do so openly. Instead he concocts the hilarious argument that the personal lives of gay Americans somehow step on my freedom. Without citing his sources he claims that $20.5 billion of taxpayer dollars are spent annually on HIV/AIDS treatment of people who are mostly gay males who don’t have health insurance. (Here he ignores the fact that the vast majority of gays have nothing to do with AIDS and the disease afflicts heterosexuals as well. He also ignores whatever taxpayer dollars might be going to treat those with illnesses resulting from other “vices” like smoking and gluttony.)
Now, I think of myself as a moderately skilled researcher but after multiple google searches I was unable to find evidence that such a sum was spent on uninsured AIDS patients from the taxpayer coffers.
I’ll give Mr. Sorba the benefit of the doubt and assume he did not pull those numbers out of his ass. (I imagine he would characterize such an act as some variety of “sodomy.”) So if he could provide the facts to back up his claim that this is the taxpayer dollar figure spent on domestic HIV/AIDS patients then that would be great. Failure to do so will be considered an admission that he sees lying as morally acceptable behavior.
Regardless, this argument doesn’t prove Mr. Sorba’s quirky case that private sexual acts somehow affect my sovereignty:
David Swindle chants the libertine mantra: “The people are sovereign.” But neither state nor individual sovereignty is “absolute.” When one man’s “sovereignty” interferes with another man’s natural rights, as in the case of sodomy, sovereignty must take the back seat –lest it become just another euphemism for tyranny.
The federal government spending taxpayer money poorly is not tyranny. It’s just a policy that needs to be remedied.
I end this exchange by repeating the question which concluded my opening round and Mr. Sorba chose to ignore because it unmasks his “anti-sodomy” activism as the self-indulgent fraud that it is:
How is it that fighting such admirable patriots as Tammy Bruce and GOProud’s Christopher Barron can strike you as a higher priority than than taking on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Anwar al-Awlaki, and Barack Obama?
Will Mr. Sorba have the courage and intellect to answer my question this time around? Or will he only further embarrass himself with his non sequiturs?
By Ryan Sorba
In Mr. Swindle’s rejoinder to my article highlighting reasons why one cannot be both “gay” and “Conservative” he accuses me of espousing a “totalitarian vision functionally identical in structure (if not goals) to radical Islam and the neo-communist Left.”
For those who haven’t learned the knack, this seemingly incoherent babble is old-fashioned liberaltarian-speak for “Conservative.”
Swindle’s ad hominem attack reminds me of the time left-wing activist Gore Vidal called Conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. a crypto-Nazi, to which Buckley replied stridently:
“Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I will sock you in your goddamn face, and you will stay plastered.”
Buckley later apologized to Vidal, but not before making his position on the unnatural vice clear:
“the man who in his essays proclaims the normalcy of his affliction [i.e., homosexuality], and in his art the desirability of it, is not to be confused with the man who bears his sorrow quietly. The addict is to be pitied and even respected, not the pusher.”
GOProud, the pro-sodomy organization which prompted this debate is an organizational manifestation of what Mr. Buckley referred to as “the pusher.” GOProud’s mission:
“We are a gay organization, we only work on gay issues, we have never claimed otherwise. My God people.”
The aforementioned tweet was posted at 4:04 p.m. on Aug. 4, by Christopher Barron -the organizations founder. Other “pushers” include pro-abortion activist Tammy Bruce, pro-Islamist activist Grover Norquist, and as of yesterday Holly-weird’s own, Andy Brietbart.
Contrary to Mr. Swindle’s claims, William F. Buckley Jr. would not have approved of GOProud. Apparently his long-time friend Marvin Liebman would not have either:
“I can no longer accept such labels as Conservative, Christian, or Republican, which draw much of their coherence from hostility toward people like me. No gay or lesbian American should any longer accept any of these labels…”
Marvin Liebman renounced his conservatism when he became a “pusher” and urged other pushers to do the same. He renounced the Catholicism to which Buckley had so caringly led him. He even befriended and fundraised for HIV positive ACT-UP activist Michael Petrelis –who has advocated for such causes as the assassination of Jesse Helms and gay sex in the streets. Petrelis can be seen here in rainbow-suspenders defending his self-invented “right” to public orgy, while engaging in an act of banana-philia.
None of this context will deter Mr. Swindle I suppose -who seems to think that God and Man at Yale is a treatise on homosexual liberation, from launching post-mortem attacks on some of the “most important leaders on the Right in the 20th century,” based upon even the flimsiest evidence.
Swindle attempts to re-write Ronald Reagan as well, claiming Reagan “embraced” his position. Like Buckley however, Reagan was a sound Conservative. Reagan on “gay” rights:
“We will resist the efforts of some to obtain government endorsement of homosexuality.”
Reagan supported laws criminalizing sodomy. In fact, his hand-picked Supreme Court appointees upheld state anti-sodomy statutes in Bowers v Hardwick.
Swindle says that Reagan would allow practitioners of the unnatural vice to openly represent conservatism, but due to Reagan, they weren’t permitted to openly represent themselves.
Against Reagan’s “homophobia” Swindle puts forward a laughable non-sequitur. Since Reagan allowed an interior designer to crash at the White House one night, Reagan must have believed that conservatism ought to endorse everything about the man.
Swindle cites Barry Goldwater as well. When Goldwater ran for president his speeches were filled with socially conservative rhetoric. However, in his heart he was a factionalist libertine, not a fusionist, and as time went on and Conservatives learned of his real nature they began to detach themselves from the more libertine aspects of his life.
In Goldwater’s home state of Arizona a movement arose to remove his name from the Arizona Republican Headquarters, a lake, a high school, and an airport. He became involved in the Las Vegas Mafia and tied up in a murder scandal, was possibly involved in a wife-swapping club, and was way too interested in space aliens –seriously. His grandson and brother’s granddaughter both adopted the left-wing “gay” socio-political identity. His son went down for snorting cocaine, and in 2008 his family voted “Barack Hussein Obama Jr.” for President –in part because Barry Goldwater’s mother helped found the crypto-eugenics organization known as Planned Parenthood.
The men who made Goldwater, William F. Buckley Jr., Harry Jaffe (who wrote his famous 1964 nomination speech), and Brent Bozell (who wrote The Conscience of a Conservative commonly attributed to Goldwater) were all staunchly pro-family, social, fiscal, and foreign policy Conservatives –even if to varying degrees.
I think Conservatives would agree that Barry Goldwater was acting as a “libertine” when he searched for aliens and began to make public pronouncements in favor of sodomy years after his failed presidential bid, not a Conservative.
Andrew Breitbart seems to agree. Twenty-five minutes into an interview on C-SPAN last October he stated that he is not Conservative or libertarian, but “libertine on issues of consensual behavior among adults.” Mr. Breitbart’s honesty was refreshing. He called a spade a spade, last October. What is tiresome however is that after admitting as much he has chosen to throw a “big gay party” at CPAC 2011. Why push a self-described “libertine” agenda at a “conservative” conference, Mr. Breitbart? Is this not “hypocrisy?”
On January 19, 2010 Andrew Brietbart took things a step further when he chose to GOProud by joining the cultural Marxist organization’s Advisory Board. GOProud advocates for the radical “gay” agenda by using a tactic promoted, among others, by pederast’s Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen on page 167 of After the Ball: “Come out, come out, where ever you are.”
To be fair though, if a Religious-Right conservative declared himself an Islamist for Traditional Values he couldn’t be considered “Conservative” either –well, at least not by Swindle. Grover Norquist might allow it. What about a Neo-Communist for Traditional Values? Surely both men would reject this appellation.
Conservatism has grown in recent years, not only due to national frustration about the economy and Obama’s socialist health-care plan, which will only make things worse, but also due to the hard work of a lot of Conservative organizations and activists. This is a good thing.
However, we can not allow DID former men and women of the left, like Andrew Brietbart and Tammy Bruce to take Conservatism full circle with them back to liberalism. Conservatives, we are better than that.
To be fair, Brietbart may have joined the GOProud Board to get hits on his website, since ratings plunged last year causing him to drop two notches in the ranks.
Although Conservatism has no rigid ideological dogmata, it isn’t in essence populism either. Conservatism ascendant, I suppose we now need an objective standard by which to determine when a group is legitimate. I propose the following simple measure:
One must not insert an issue contrary to conservatism’s core tenants into one’s core organizational structure or core personal political identity, if one expects to be considered “Conservative.”
Floyd Brown, one of the few remaining Conservative members of the CPAC Board summarizes those core tenets:
The conservative movement as envisioned by Frank Meyer is a coalition between economic conservatives, social conservatives and defense and foreign policy conservatives. GOProud’s participation in CPAC undermines the coalition envisioned by Meyer, the philosopher at National Review that developed the framework on which the modern American conservative movement was built.
Jim Weidman, Director of Editorial Services at the Heritage Foundation agrees:
“It’s unclear what direction CPAC is going, what philosophy they’re going to promote. It looks like it’s becoming more of a cacophony, and we want to focus on the three pillars of conservatism: social, economic and national defense.”
My debate partner Mr. Swindle defines conservatism thusly:
“What exactly is a political conservative trying to conserve? Answer: a government based on the principles of two documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”
Conservatism is more than this, much more, but I will accept Mr. Swindle’s simplification for purposes of this debate. What I cannot accept is his view that these two Documents are not grounded in a “common moral understanding.”
Both the Declaration and Constitution ground human rights in human nature and the universal ethical dictates of the natural law –and this is crucial for the Conservative.
If our rights were grounded in the whims of men, or in left-wing socially constructed identities built up around various capricious desires like same-sex attraction or banana-philia, then our rights would be of a very different nature.
Pseudo-fundamental rights, as I shall call them here, would change often and they would ceaselessly clash with other pseudo-fundamental rights. They would also clash with the true natural fundamental rights explicated by the American founders.
This radical transformation in our understanding of rights is the very essence of the “gay” agenda –and herein lays the chief reason why one cannot be both “gay” and Conservative.
The “gay” identity is not grounded in human nature. “Gay” is not an individual person. “Gay” is not a religion, as Swindle argues –The Church of Scatology? “Gay” is not even a behavior (sodomy) principally, or same-sex attraction.
“Gay” is a chimera –an ideologically loaded fantasy. “Gay” is an abstract left-wing socio-political concept and construct designed by academics to brain wash the rising generation and achieve fundamental rights based on the whims of men rather than grounded in universal and immutable human nature.
If the “gay” agenda were to succeed in acquiring fundamental rights it would set a revolutionary precedent. It would strike a blow at the very heart of the foundation upon which all other rights stand –our shared human nature.
This is the goal of the “gay” agenda, which will stop at nothing to achieve its end. All who refer to themselves as “gay” are, at present, laboring to achieve this end –whether they know it or not. “Gay” is incommensurate with modern Conservatism, and Classical Liberalism. Either abandon the term, or get out of the movement.
HIV statistic source as Swindle requested. Hi Greg Gutfeld!