Friday, January 06, 2012

The vast wastelands of intolerance

When I first joined gay liberation some forty years ago, I found that adhesion to "progressive" politics was mandatory. This position had, we were told, a rational basis because since gay men and lesbians were only 10% of the population, we must ally with other groups for success. There wasn't much prospect for allying with Wall Street or Christian evangelicals, so we had to seek our allies among disadvantaged ethnic groups and students--as Herbert Marcuse had recommended.

It wasn't so much this view strategy I objected to, but the tendency to suppress other viewpoints--left-liberal intolerance in short. PC ruled. I fell afoul of this mandatory progressiveness with my Encyclopedia of Homosexuality which was prematurely declared "out of print" because of pressure on the publisher. That is a long story that I won't repeat here. Suffice it to say that the effort at suppression was not wholly successful, for the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality is still available on Amazon and at several electronic sites.

Still, weary of being muzzled, I decided to join a conservative gay group with a closed list on the Internet. I soon found (no surprise there!) that these folks were even more intolerant than my erstwhile progressive comrades. So I dropped out.

Recently, along with many others, I created an ad hoc group of friends on Facebook. As it happens, they are, most of them, "progressives." These people speak pretty much in unison, and ignore my dissenting posts.

This urge to ignore and suppress has now come to a head with the candidacy of Ron Paul, who seems to be hated by all sides, even though he has important things to say. I take the liberty of quoting a portion of a recent email by my friend David McReynolds:

"I belong to the Socialist Party. I will support Stewart Alexander, our candidate. I do understand the Libertarians, much better than . . . a number of other liberals and left-wing good folks who, once they find that Ron Paul doesn't fit their politically correct image of the world, decide he is a fascist.

"Let's me clear. I do not support his NRA positions. I am for gun control. I do not approve of his position on AIDS (which is due in part to his age - younger people lost whole phonebooks of friends - older people, particularly if they are not gay, didn't feel touched by this). I strongly support the needed federal laws to protect the voting rights of minorities. One reason I am a socialist and not a libertarian. I support social security, socialized medicine, a higher minimum wage and, yes, socialism!

"But it is bluntly nuts - no better word - to accuse Ron Paul of being anti-gay. The Libertarians (including two friends on my GLBT list) have long welcomed gays. It is worse that nuts to accuse Ron Paul of anti-Semitism. It turns out (and I've checked the "sources" that rabid anti-Paul folks sent me) that his "anti-Semitism" amounts to his being critical of Israel and favoring cutting off aid to it. I am among
those who strongly favor ending all aid to Israel - and am part of a growing movement, led by comrades within the Jewish community.

"What caused the real "panic" about Ron Paul? Why did the mainstream media (except, God bless him, for Jon Stewart) ignore Ron Paul until very recently? It was because he put himself firmly outside the garrison state to which liberals and conservatives both pledge allegiance - the armed might of America, willing and eager to go to war across the world in defense of corporate interests, and to provide, in the process, billions of taxpayer dollars to the corporate arms folks.

"Why did Newt Gingrich say he wouldn't vote for Ron Paul if he won the nomination? Do you think it was because of Paul's conservative positions on gun control, abortion, etc.? No - it was Ron Paul's peace position and - of great importance - the clear break with the "security state" nonsense we have bought into, the Patriot Act, the various attacks on our constitutional rights. Things that Obama supports.

"Again, I ain't voting for Ron Paul, but I thank God there is at least one voice of reason in the GOP primary - it helps those of us who want to "rethink" the domestic and foreign policies of this country."

END of McReynolds quotation.



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