Wednesday, December 29, 2010

DUMBASS, DON'T TELL. 11 months ago, Jonah Goldberg said, "conservatives shouldn’t take Obama’s bait on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell... I’m not saying he doesn’t believe it should be repealed. But no one seems to think Obama will do anything to achieve this supposed goal." That ship has sailed, so now Goldberg's back to tell us how the repeal of DADT is good news for conservatives.

Goldberg starts, as conservatives tend to do when talking about gay people, with sex:
Two decades ago, the gay left wanted to smash the bourgeois prisons of monogamy, capitalistic enterprise and patriotic values and bask in the warm sun of bohemian "free love."
Two decades ago would be 1990, at which time I was living in the bohemian Ground Zero of the East Village and perceived very little monogamy-smashing among gays or straights. Maybe he means the 70s, bathhouses, and such like. (I still don't know how this relates to "capitalistic enterprise and patriotic values.")
In this, they were simply picking up the torch from the straight left of the 1960s and 1970s, who had sought to throw off the sexual hang-ups of their parents' generation along with their gray flannel suits.
Gay people had to learn about free love from heterosexuals? But I thought they were supposed to be corrupting us!
As a sexual lifestyle experiment, that failed pretty miserably, the greatest proof being that the affluent and educated children (and grandchildren) of the baby boomers have reembraced bourgeois notions of marriage as an essential part of life. Sadly, it's the have-nots who are now struggling as marriage is increasingly seen as an unaffordable luxury. The irony is that such bourgeois values — monogamy, hard work, etc. — are the best guarantors of success and happiness.
Goldberg can't claim that America, exhausted by the Great Orgy of 1990, has fallen in love with marriage all over again -- in part because marriage rates among young people have actually dropped. So he falls back on the standard rightwing idea that getting hitched makes you wealthy, leaving us to wonder why the poor haven't caught on to this money-making secret and how a bunch of rich people having weddings constitutes a conservative social revival. Maybe getting married is the new Going Galt?

Getting back to the homosexuals, Goldberg explains how they lost their taste for free love:
Of course, AIDS played an obvious and tragic role in focusing attention on the downside of promiscuity. But even so, the sweeping embrace of bourgeois lifestyles by the gay community has been stunning.
To put it another way: Yeah, there was this virulent, sexually-trasmitted plague, but still and all, you gotta wonder why gay couples are nesting in front of the TV.
Nowhere is this more evident — and perhaps exaggerated — than in popular culture. Watch ABC's "Modern Family." The sitcom is supposed to be "subversive" in part because it features a gay couple with an adopted daughter from Asia...
I'll spare you the detailed explanation, but the upshot is, Americans like gays on the TV, which means something conservative, because everything does. Finally we get to DADT:
Or look at the decision to let gays openly serve in the military through the eyes of a principled hater of all things military. From that perspective, gays have just been co-opted by the Man. Meanwhile, the folks who used "don't ask, don't tell" as an excuse to keep the military from recruiting on campuses just saw their argument go up in flames.
For years gay people have been fighting for the right to serve openly in the military and conservatives have been fighting against them. This month Democrats finally got a handful of Republicans to go along with DADT repeal. But Goldberg has found in his imagination a "principled hater of all things military" who doesn't approve. Plus ROTC! It's a wonder Mitch McConnell and Jim DeMint didn't get in on the big win in the Senate.

Finally, on to the next frontier:
Personally, I have always felt that gay marriage was an inevitability, for good or ill (most likely both). I do not think that the arguments against gay marriage are all grounded in bigotry, and I find some of the arguments persuasive.
Remember this ringing endorsement when marriage equality hits 50 states and Goldberg is telling us that gay is the new Tea Party.

UPDATE. See also Zandar.

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