Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Few More Thoughts On The "Parade"

I’m beginning to get the strong impression that the Gay Parade won’t sashay forth as planned, the Attorney General’s recent remarks about Democracy aside. The Parade’s planners have apparently already begun bargaining for some meager scraps in return for the Parade’s cancellation; apparently, they too can smell the direction the perfume is blowing. Obviously, the High Court of Israel may yet force the issue. We’ll know one way or another soon enough.

The truth is, the Parade should have been a nonstarter from its conception. Supporters of the parade claim that “freedom of speech enables [us] to hold the event in Jerusalem, as a symbol of tolerance and pluralism, even if [ours] is the view of the minority of the city's residents.”

So ostensibly, the parade is about tolerance and pluralism. This is, of course, based on the relativist worldview. Homosexuality is not intrinsically any different – more or less moral – than any other sexual proclivity. And humans of all stripes deserve tolerance and respect.

But if one scratches just a bit beyond the surface, he finds the logical problem. If it is true that all opinions and moralities are equal, why isn’t the “bigoted” or discriminatory position of the protesters any less valid an opinion than any other? If so, it would seem that the logic of the protesters themselves would indicate that the Parade should not take place if it offends the cultural sensitivities of the residents of the Jerusalem.

We might turn to John Stuart Mill’s famous dictum for help. According to Mill,

That principle is that the sole end for which mankind are warranted individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is self-protection; that the only purpose for which power can rightfully exercises over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others…The only part of the conduct of anyone for which he is amenable to society is that which converns others. In the part which merely concerns himself his independence is of right absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

In short, man should be able to do anything so long as it does not harm another.

Now, it is not clear that we need include a public parade within the rights of a sovereign and free individual. But even if we should, Mill’s fundamental argument is flawed. Who is to decide, precisely, what is considered “harm”? Mill was clearly referring to physical harm, but that is really arbitrary. What if my sensibilities are harmed by a splash of rainbow cloth and a tilted wrist? Why should Mill’s definition of harm take precedence over mine? This is all the more true when the majority of a city is offended by a particular display – after all, the marchers themselves admit their lifestyle represents a minority.

So it seems clear to me that by the logic of the organizers of the Parade, the protest is an affront to tolerance and diversity.

But the truth is, we all know this is so much hogwash. The Gay Parade is not really a symbol of tolerance, diversity, or any of the other rousing ideologies attributed to it.

In The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom, James Burnham developed a fundamental distinction between what he referred to as the “formal” and “real” meaning of a statement or ideology. The formal meaning,

“serves to express, in an indirect and disguised manner, what may be called the real meaning...By “real meaning” I refer to the meaning not in terms of the mythical world of religion, metaphysics, miracles, and pseudo-history...but in terms of the actual world of space, time, and events.”

One recent example would be multiculturalism. Its formal meaning might be the idea that there is value in a multiplicity of cultures, and at a deeper level, that all cultures are basically equal. As anthropologist Renato Rosaldo writes, “Each human culture is so unique…no one of them is higher or lower, greater or lesser than any other.”

But its real meaning is quite different, and a quick perusal of recent university offerings will confirm this. As Dinesh D’Souza writes, “Yet in the real world and in the traditional curriculum, all cultures are not on the same footing. Consequently, multiculturalism in practice is distinguished by an effort to establish cultural parity by attacking the historical and contemporary hegemony of Western civilization. This explains much of the rhetoric by the race merchants such as Jesse Jackson, and the statement of Barbara Johnson that identifies the multicultural project with “the deconstruction of the foundational ideals of Western civilization.” So while the formal meaning of multiculturalism might be that all cultures are equal, its real meaning is that Western culture is perverse.

The same is true of the Gay “Pride” Parade. Its formal meaning is about tolerance and pluralism. But as we showed, that tolerance is really only directed at opinions considered acceptable to the liberal elite. The real meaning is about the unceasing culture war between the liberal forces of Progress and the forces of family, tradition and community. It is not enough that the masses cease discriminating against behavior deemed, for whatever reason, to be destructive to society. No, the forces of Progress will not rest until the very minds of society have been turned, until the people accept and respect homosexuals.

And frankly, it’s about recruitment. The liberal elite does its utmost to persuade teenagers, confused about sexuality as they are about most things in life, that they are in fact meant for, and destined to, a life of homosexuality. Again, this is less to fill the ranks of the walking confused than to pierce the hearts and souls of the defenders of Tradition.

I admit that I’m not proud of the chosen methods of the protesters; in fact, I’m downright embarrassed. As I said a few days ago, I feel there is another way. Nevertheless, I feel strongly that the Gay agenda should not be allowed to have its way with Jerusalem.

Let this last bastion of Light and Truth remain.

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