Derbyshire’s Homophobia

A Dance to the (Disco) Music of Time: A review of Homosexuality and Civilization, by Louis Crompton,” by John Derbyshire, The Claremont Institute, http://www.claremont.org/writings/crb/spring2004/derbyshire.html, 6 April 2004.

An interview with John Derbyshire,” Collected Miscellany, http://collectedmiscellany.com/archives/000047.php, 11 November 2003.

Derbyshire Interview Follow-Up,” Collected Miscellany, http://collectedmiscellany.com/archives/000058.php, 11 November 2003.

Here to Stay: We’re here, we’re mildly and tolerantly homophobic, get used to it!” by John Derbyshire, National Review Online, http://www.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshire200405140857.asp, 14 May 2004

In the middle of a fascinating interview on Wall Street, novel writing, and mathematics, a fascinating prediction and statement

This is probably going to happen to me sooner or later, actually. I am not very careful about what I say, having grown up in the era before Political Correctness, and never having internalized the necessary restraints. I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one…

Defending his views in a follow-on essay

I described myself as “a mild, tolerant homophobe.” This means that I do not like homosexuality, and I think it is a net negative for society. As a conservative, inclined to give the benefit of the doubt (when there is doubt) to long-established practices, I cannot help note that there has never been a human society, at any level of civilization, that has approved egalitarian (that is, adult-adult) homosexuality. Male-male buggery has been proscribed in every society that ever existed. I am inclined to think that there are good reasons for these universal prohibitions. To say the least of it, male homosexuality is very unhealthy–much more so than, for example, cigarette smoking. A lot of the people who howl “Homophobe!” at me whenever I write anything about this topic are people who have to swallow a bucket of pills eight times a day just to stay alive. Is it any wonder I have trouble taking them seriously?

Earlier in a book review, Derbyshire questions the meaning of homosexuality

His topic is, of course, homosexuality, and this raises a number of problems right away. What is homosexuality? The term is currently used in reference to those who find erotic fulfillment only with coevals of their own sex. A great deal of Crompton’s book, however, deals with different matters. Much of it is about ephebophilia, or boy-love, a phenomenon whose connection to homosexuality is unclear. Indeed, many present-day homosexualist propagandists insist hotly that there is no connection at all.

And Derbyshire quotes Sir Kenneth Dover as writing

If Spartans in the fourth century B.C. unanimously and firmly denied that their erastai and eromenoi [i.e., senior and junior partners in an ephebophilic bond] ever had any bodily contact beyond a clasping of right hands, it was not easy for an outsider even at the time to produce evidence to the contrary, and for us it is impossible.

Further in the review, he breaks the situation down into four kinds

Reading Professor Crompton’s book, I found that the most useful way of thinking about his topic was as a sort of dance—a “dance to the music of time,” as it were. (Apologies to the late Anthony Powell.) The participants in this dance are not individual human beings but invariant components of the human personality, found in all times and places. Principal among those components I would list the following:

* Homosexual orientation. Some small proportion of people find erotic fulfillment only with members of their own sex.

* Ephebophilia. Some much larger proportion of adult men can be sexually aroused by contemplating the bodies of well-formed adolescent boys. Overt expression of this attraction has been approved in some societies (or among some social strata in some societies—this seems to be controversial), where it has led to open romantic bonding between adult men and boys. Some similar, but much less historically significant, phenomenon is found among women.

* Faute de mieux homosexuality. In societies, or institutions in societies—monasteries, prisons, etc. —where social custom or institutional imperative severely constrains access to the opposite sex, some large proportion of adults, perhaps a majority, will find erotic satisfaction, or at least release, with members of their own sex, when there are not strong institutional prejudices against this (as there are, for instance, in elite combat units of the U.S. military).

* Homophobia. (Note: This ugly and etymologically stupid word has entered general currency, so I use it here for convenience, though under protest.) The contemplation of homosexuality induces negative emotions—disgust and contempt, mostly, but also sometimes indignation, anger, and hatred—in many people.

The story told in Homosexuality and Civilization is in large part the story of a long dance among these four partners, with sometimes this one, sometimes that one taking the lead. The well-known proclivities of the ancient Greeks, for example, arose mainly from the union of the second and third of the factors I have listed.

But perhaps this is fiddling while Rome burns

My personal bet is that homosexuality will disappear before homophobia does — possibly quite soon, in a generation or so. Here’s my logic: One of the least controversial things you can say about homosexuality is this: Practically nobody wants his kids to grow up homosexual. Some people mind the prospect more than others, but practically nobody welcomes it — not even, I should think, homosexuals. (One of the rare exceptions is Sharon Osbourne, who recently remarked: “My only regret in life is that none of my children are gay.” I doubt any very large number of Americans take Mrs. Osbourne as a parenting role model, though.)

Now, the trend in current research on homosexuality, if I have understood it correctly, suggests that the homosexual orientation is indeed mostly congenital — the result of events in the mother’s womb, or in early infancy, with perhaps some slight genetic predisposition. The thing is, in short, mainly biochemical — part of a person’s physical make-up.

Supposing this is true, let us conduct a wee thought experiment — admittedly a fanciful one. A young woman in the late stages of pregnancy, or carrying a small infant, shows up at her doctor’s office. “Doctor,” she asks, “is there some kind of test you can do to tell me if my child is likely to become a homosexual adult?” The doctor says yes, there is. “And,” the woman continues, “suppose the test is positive — would that be something we can fix? I mean, is there some sort of medical, or genetic, or biochemical intervention we can do at this stage, to prevent that happening?” The doctor says yes, there is. “How much does the test cost? And supposing it’s positive, how much does the fix cost?” The doctor says $50, and $500. The woman takes out her checkbook.

Of course this is not happening anywhere in the U.S.A. right now. If my understanding of the state of current research is correct, however, it might very well be happening on a daily basis ten years from now.

Thus ending the first well-written defenses of homophobia I have read.

Republic of Hate

As Holidays Approach, French Find New Ban on Religious Symbols Cuts Both Ways,” William J. Kole, Associated Press, http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGB720IZO2E.html, 13 December 2004.

France continues her anti-Catholic, anti-Islam, anti-God bigotry.

PARIS (AP) – They arrived as they do every December: gaily wrapped gifts destined for children at a kindergarten in rural northern France.

But this year, teachers unwrapped a few, took a look and sent all 1,300 packages back to City Hall. The presents were innocent, but strictly speaking, illegal: seasonal chocolates shaped like Christian crosses and St. Nicholas.

As Christmas approaches, France is awakening to the realization that a new law banning conspicuous religious symbols at schools – a measure used mainly to keep Muslim girls from wearing traditional Islamic head scarves to class – can cut both ways.

“It’s an unhealthy political affair. Absolutely regrettable,” said Andre Delattre, mayor of the northern town of Coudekerque-Branche, which has shipped the traditional chocolates to local schools for 11 years.

“What’s the point? It’s the children who are being penalized for this difference of opinion,” he said. “They’ve been deprived of a festive moment.”

The law, which took effect in September, bans overt symbols such as Islamic head scarves, Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses at public schools.

In the United States, religious expression is encouraged. The U.S. Justice Department recently intervened to protect a Muslim schoolgirl’s right to wear the head scarf. In France, they would make her a criminal.

No wonder our ancestors fled that continent of death and decline.

Hat tip Democratic Underground.

Fallujah

Marines clear out Fallujah
Sharon Behn
The Washington Times
http://www.washtimes.com/world/20041213-123025-1824r.htm

FALLUJAH, Iraq — Marines yesterday cleared bodies from buildings at the scene of their biggest battle since the fall of Baghdad, securing this former insurgent stronghold for the return of thousands of civilians and upcoming elections.
But six weeks before the historic vote, a U.S. official said, fewer than 1 percent of eligible Iraqis have responded to a voter-registration drive, forcing authorities to look for other ways to build up voter lists.

A city of geniuses. First, support an insurgency against the world’s only superpower and 80% of your fellow countrymen. Then, kill American civilians. Then, fight an idiotic battle which ends, predictably, with thousands and thousands of casualties. After all, guerilla wars are meant for holding ground. Then, bitterly refuse the send delegates to represent you.

Great job, guys. Fallujah: City of Geniuses.

Hat tip Drudge Report.

China Detains Dissidents

China Detains 3 Who Criticized Government,” by Joseoph Kahn, New York Times, 14 December 2004, Online at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/14/international/asia/14china.html. (Linked to on the Drudge Report)

China is modernizing country. It has gone a long way since Mao. Its economy is very free and the people are connecting themselves to the Internet. Recently, China launched very high powered cell phone transmissions into North Korea, allowing dissidents to make cheap and hard-to-trace phone calls to the outside world and one another. And then you hear about something like this:

BEIJING, Dec. 13 – The Chinese police on Monday afternoon detained three leading intellectuals who have been critical of the government, apparently stepping up a campaign to silence public dissent.

Yu Jie and Liu Xiaobo, literary figures, and Zhang Zuhua, a political theorist, were detained in raids at their homes, relatives and friends said. Mr. Yu’s relatives were handed a warrant that said he was suspected of “participating in activities harmful to the state,” said his wife, Liu Min.

The detentions were the latest in a string of arrests and official harassment of journalists, writers and scholars who have spoken out against government policies or written articles or essays that officials have deemed damaging.

Since President Hu Jintao replaced Jiang Zemin as China’s military chief in September, leaving Mr. Hu in full command of China’s government, ruling party and army, analysts say the political environment has become more repressive. The scope for discussing sensitive topics in the state-run media has decreased, they said, while the authorities appear intent on punishing people who violate unwritten rules about the limits on free speech.

China is still a one-party dictatorship. China bans independent churches of all types. China has onerous censorship laws.

The Middle Kingdom has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. The only long term solution is to keep increasing the Chinese people’s economic liberty and connectedness, and wait out the old regime.

*sigh*

Business for the People’s Party

An interesting editorial over at My Side of the Story

The whole thing is worth a read, but one paragraph stands out

Republicans, because of the lions without any courage Democrats, have been able to walk through the Heartland of America and convince people that if they want to succeed they have to sell themselves to business. Now, this is not intended to be a Marxist docrtine, but its the truth. Where were the Democrats? Why weren’t we out there telling people that the purpose of business is to provide for them, not vice versa. Business should work for us. That was the point of Unions; to get business to work for us. The more money each and every person, not just the wealthy have, the more they can buy. The more people buy, the more businesses can hire and the more products they can make.

This is why Bill Clinton was a great President, and how the current Democratic Party is letting him down.

Bill Clinton’s greatest achievement was cementing pro-business pro-growth policies as American policies, and breaking open doors for globalization. Under Clinton we achieved the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization, all with low spending and balanced budgets. Mistakes were made, some of them quite severe, but it is hard to quibble with President Clinton’s handling of the economy.

Thank God in the 1990s we had WJC instead of FDR as President. Roosevelt was a terrible president. Inaugerated before Hitler took power, he fiddled while fascism rose in Europe and Asia. Responsible for the Great Depression (it ended in 1932, until his increasingly insane policies restarted it worse than ever), it only ended when we enslaved (drafted) and/or killed-off our excess labor pool in World War II.

Besides (like the Republicans) mostly ignoring al-Qaeda, Clinton’s other legacy is the rise of morality in politics. After Clinton we have two modern and responsible political parties that agree on most economic matters. This leaves only the War and social issues as fields where the electorate can hope to influence party. The electorate is hateful of terrorists, suspicious of gays, and disgusted by late term abortions. Guess which party this helps?

Agriwelfare v. The Peoples

After NAFTA Comes CAFTA: Labor may object to the Central American Free Trade Agreement — but not nearly as much as do the sugar and rice industries,” by Robert B. Reich, American Prospect, 8 December 2004, http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=8918.

Following up both on the “Clinton was a great President” and Chinese textile themes, WJC’s former Labor Secretary comes out in favor of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

In fact, the real issue surrounding CAFTA isn’t about manufacturing jobs at all. It’s about agriculture commodities like sugar and rice. U.S. sugar producers don’t want CAFTA. They want to keep their generous government subsidies and tariffs that result in sugar prices here being three times what they are on the world market. CAFTA would open the door just a crack to much cheaper sugar imports from Latin America, and America’s sugar barons won’t hear of it.

As to American rice growers — yes, there are American rice growers — they get more than a billion dollars a year in subsidies from Uncle Sam. A billion dollars is more than Nicaragua’s entire national budget. It’s even more than the total market value of all the rice that’s produced in the United States. Unless those subsidies are ended, CAFTA will flood Latin America with U.S. rice so richly subsidized by U.S. taxpayers that Latin America’s own rice-growing farmers will be forced out of business.

So you see, the issue behind CAFTA is really the same one that derailed the Doha round of global trade talks a while back: How to wean big agribusinesses off tariffs and subsidies so poorer nations can sell their food to the rich. To the extent CAFTA is a step in the right direction, it’s a good idea.

George H. W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush. Three great Presidents, one great trade policy.

Turkey in Europe

Turkish Premier Slams German Opposition
Deutsche Welle
December 12, 2004
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,1564,1426240,00.html

At first, a pretty typical story

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out in a Sunday newspaper interview at Germany’s conservative opposition for its drive to torpedo Turkey’s EU membership bid, accusing it of populism.

“Unfortunately, the opposition in Germany seems to believe that it can make domestic politics out of our wish to join the European Union,” Erdogan was quoted by the mass-market Bild am Sonntag newspaper as saying. “I consider that to be a fateful error.”

EU leaders are widely expected to give the go ahead for the start of membership talks with Turkey at a crunch summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, but under tough conditions.

While German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has strongly backed Turkish negotiations toward full membership in the EU, the opposition Christian Union parties reject this goal, calling for a “privileged partnership” with the predominantly Muslim country.

My first reaction? “Germany. Against the Liberation of Iraq. Against the Membership of Turkey. Against Muslims.” Pretty juvenile stuff on both mine and the Fourth Reich’s part, but then I read further:

The paper reported that the Christian Union parties would pass a motion in parliament Monday entitled “Do not close your eyes to the problems with Turkey.”

The document lays out what the opposition views as the dangers posed by Turkey joining the EU including “rise in gangland crime, Islamist threat and terrorist danger” in Germany.

Ah, because immigration problems in Germany are indicative of problems in… Turkey? It’s Germany that has the immigration problem. It’s Germany that’s invited thousands upon thousands of permanent “guest workers” into her borders, and gave them no way to integrate. Until very recently Germany even denied they were immigrants, or could ever be Germans.

As far as melting pots go, Germany is a nightmare version of the United States as it could-have-been. Desperate for workers, but unwilling to ever let the gaijan be “true” Germans. The problem is all on Germany’s end.

Expect the best of the new Germans. Even if his name is Gurkan or Safak.

Situation Normal, All F

`Scrounging’ for Iraq war puts GIs in jail
Sun Dec 12, 9:40 AM ET
Aamer Madhani
Chicago Tribune

But when Birt’s unit was ordered to head into Iraq in the heat of battle in April 2003 from its base in Kuwait, Birt said the company didn’t have enough vehicles to haul the equipment it would need to do the job.

So, Birt explained, he and other reservists grabbed two tractors and two trailers left in Kuwait by other U.S. units that had already moved into Iraq.

Several weeks later, Birt and other reservists scrounged a third vehicle, an abandoned 5-ton cargo truck, and stripped it for parts they needed for repair of their trucks.

“We could have gone with what we had, but we would not have been able to complete our mission,” said Birt, who was released from the brig on Oct. 17 and is petitioning for clemency in hope that he can return to the reserves.

“I admit that what we did was technically against the rules, but it wasn’t for our own personal gain. It was so we could do our jobs.”

The thefts mirror countless stories of shifty appropriation that has been memorialized in books and films as a wartime skill. Birt and other reservists in the unit said that what the prosecutors called theft was simply resourcefulness, a quality they say is abundant among soldiers in Iraq.

While in confinement, Birt had a chat with a military police officer who was puzzled by why Birt was in the brig. The MP, a guard, told Birt that his unit had “acquired” a Humvee in a similar fashion.

Our soldiers are fighting and dying in Iraq. And the military lawyers have made it clear which side they are on.

Terrorists kill people. But bureaucrats kill people too.

Hat tip Democratic Underground.

One Dollar, One Vote, For You

Ever dream of getting mad at a crazy war, and not paying in retaliation? Ever get sick of federal welfare to the poor/corporations/farmers, and stop subsidizing it? Ever not do so, because you realize the penalty for that is imprisonment?

For years, international investors have been able to punish rogue regimes by withdrawing their money. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman calls these investors “the global herd,” and the new world “One Dollar, One Vote.” The global herd played a critical role in removing the Suharto regime from Indonesia.

President Bush wants to give you that power.

Most Americans pay no income tax, and yet they still have to subsidize the government’s policies. Their social security “premiums” go straight to buying government debt. The government forces people to vote for its politics with their retirement money.

The social security reforms making their way through Congress would allow individuals to invest some of their money in private accounts. Instead of the federal government getting cheap no-choice loans from you, you could stear that money where you want. Care only about profit? Go for a high performing mutual fund. Care for social responsability? Invest in so-called green funds that support environmentally friendly organizations. Similar funds for free speech, free religion, or free software could also grow.

Social security should enable social democracy. Support social security private accounts.

Obliteration Delayed is Obliteration…

China to Limit Some Textile Exports
Associated Press
Sunday December 12, 9:54 pm ET
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/041212/china_us_textiles_1.html

Red China has a new tax on clothes leaving the country.

BEIJING (AP) — China said Monday it will slap a tax on some of its textile exports in a nod to trading partners who fear that cheaper Chinese goods will flood their markets when global quotas on textiles expire next month.

China will impose an export duty on certain, unspecified textile products, the English-language China Daily newspaper said, citing Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan. The report did not say when the tax would be instituted.

The report said the duty would be calculated based on the quantity of the export rather than the value of the goods in order to “encourage high-end textiles.”

China is a dominant competitor in the US$350 billion-a-year (euro265 billion) world textile trade.

World Trade Organization members, including China, will see all quotas on textile and clothing trade expire on Jan. 1 as part of the WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing.

The United States and the European Union have expressed concern that the change will result in a glut of Chinese-made goods.

The reason is simple enough. After the end of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement international textile quota regime, China and India are going to be the big winners. They have cheap labor like Vietnam and Honduras, but much larger populations allow for much greater economies of scale. China also grows a lot of its own cotton, so it will be a one-stop shop.

This is scaring a lot of small countries, not to mention U.S. clothesmakers. Of course the devastation to this coddled American industry would have been mitigated if they would have supported the Central American Free Trade Agreement, allowing for tigher supply chains with much nearer latin producers…

Regardless, China is a big winner, and she knows it. Voluntarily limited exports for a time is a way of dampening protectionism in countries with the most losers. It’s disappointing rich countries are so captured by small special interests that the world price for textiles will remain higher than they should be for a time. It’s disappointing that the leading administrations don’t have the courage to face down the special interests, and instead allowed this regressive-tax-by-stealth on the world.

But January 1, 2005 will still be better than December 31, 2004 for the clothes trade. It’s all a step in the right direction.

The tDAxp eXPerience