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Heterophobia

Exclusive commentary by Greg Lewis / WashingtonDispatch.com
September 16, 2003

Liberals are quick to resort to namecalling when they seek to dismiss an opposing position without actually discussing it rationally or dealing with legitimate issues raised. At the top of the liberal list of names is, of course, "homophobic," which leftists are quick to trot out whenever someone dares suggest that homosexuality should not be promoted as normative behavior. It turns out, however, that when they resort to such namecalling, those on the Left are actually desperately trying to conceal their own phobias.

The fact is that it's not conservatives who are homophobic; rather, it is liberals who are heterophobic. So deep is their fear of heterosexuality and the institutions which support it that liberals will go to any lengths to eliminate normal sexual orientation and behavior from consideration as a legitimate topic for discussion or as a basis for policy-making.

The roots of this phobia can be traced, of course, all the way back to the writings of Karl Marx. Marx saw the institution of marriage as "bourgeois claptrap," an institution which mirrored capitalistic social structure in that it allowed men to treat wives and children as property. Two influential Marxist theorists, Erich Fromm and Herbert Marcuse, perpetuated his views from the 1920s through the 1960s. Recently, a book entitled "Against Love: A Polemic," by Laura Kipnis, has continued the assault on this "capitalist" institution, which, in the final analysis, has become a "presenting issue" for the underlying heterophobia of the Left/Liberal agenda.

Marcuse was clear on the point that human potential would be realized only when people were able to manifest a "polymorphous sexuality." For Marcuse, such a state of affairs represented the ultimate liberation of mankind from sexual repression and, coincidentally, from the need to work for a living (both, presumably, exclusively capitalist phenomena), an historical outcome in which all citizens would give up individual freedom to the state and become pleasure-seeking functionaries whose primary value consisted in pushing the envelope of hedonism.

Kipnis also comes down firmly on the side of unleashing carnal desires. Indeed, she takes care of the "character" issue by implying that most people, like Bill Clinton, don't have any: "[S]ometimes desire just won't take no for an answer." For Kipnis, marriage is nothing short of drudgery, something to be worked at like a job. And the problem is that, like jobs in a capitalist society, marriages are carried out by people who somehow, by her reasoning, don't have a stake in the outcome. Marriage partners are, like their counterparts in the labor market, alienated by the fact that marriage, again, like the labor market, is nothing more than an instrument of state control. The answer, according to Kipnis, is adultery, that wonderful enterprise which allows married people to give rein to unbridled sexual desire.

The Marcusian notion — certainly affirmed by Kipnis in her promotion of adultery — that "polymorphous sexuality" is somehow an ideal toward which society should aspire has, as Kipnis' book makes clear, become ingrained in the political consciousness of the Left. Left/Liberals, almost to a person, have implicitly accepted that heterosexuality and the institution of marriage somehow represent a limiting condition that has been imposed on human beings by western democratic-capitalist societies. Never mind that for hundreds of millions of years the reproductive advantages of there being two sexes have enabled, among other things, the emergence through the evolutionary process of the very species of which we are members. And never mind that such activities as nurturing and providing for one's offspring have served humans and other species remarkably well thus far.

Such common-sense reasoning goes contrary to twentieth-century left/liberal dogma, which has asserted that the ascendancy of Marxism would usher in an era in which the hassle of working for a living and the drudgery of having to actually raise one's children would give way to a state of affairs where, as Hillary Clinton recommends, the state (aka the "village") would assume responsibility for such heretofore undeniably personal duties, leading to a condition where adult humans would be freed up to pursue their primary purpose, pushing the envelope of hedonism. The Left has so successfully managed to skew the terms of the debate toward its agenda of promoting the marginal and the unproven, that those who attempt to put forth heterosexual relationships, including marriage, as the norm are routinely shouted down as homophobic fascists.

Of course, it's easy to put down marriage. It's easy to point out all the things marriage isn't. It isn't, the Clintons notwithstanding, an arrangement which lends itself easily to the unfettered exploration of one's sexuality through encounters with multiple partners. Nor is it an arrangement which magically eliminates frustration, sexual or otherwise, from one's life. Nor is it a contract into which one should enter if an important goal of one's life remains personal sexual fulfillment, although personal sexual fulfillment can certainly be a component of marriage, Kipnis' whiny arguments notwithstanding.

To try to heap on the institution of marriage the added burden of catering to the whims of people who have not progressed beyond an adolescent view of human relationships, of people who have managed to reach adulthood without having been given the gift of experiencing a deep spiritual love of and appreciation for another person, is to falsify what marriage is and to devalue what it can be. To try to force on marriage the burden of being a contract of convenience, an "arrangement" susceptible to change according to the vagaries of contemporary culture, is to falsify what it means for a man and a woman to pledge their lives to each other unconditionally.

Because, as the Christian marriage vows state, marriage is not to be entered into lightly. If you're capable only of a depth of understanding that balks at anything more profound than self-centered sexual satisfaction, well, marriage is probably not for you. And if you're someone who's not capable of putting the interests of other people — particularly those of your spouse and your children — ahead of your own, again, you might want to think twice before you get married. Finally, if you're a left/liberal who has bought into your cohorts' deep doctrinal heterophobia, steer clear of marriage.

Indeed, the Left, in its blind adherence to Marxist dogma, has become frantically heterophobic. So fearful are left/liberals of normal male-female human sexuality and the institutions which have evolved to support those relations that they have constructed a veritable edifice out of aberrant sexual behavior, including homosexuality, bisexuality, and sexual fetishism, to mention several. When they are not cowering behind this edifice, they lob propaganda salvos intended to obfuscate the overwhelming success that continues to be enjoyed by normal Americans happy to marry and remain faithful to their spouses and raise their children and spoil their grandchildren.

In the final analysis, this now-crumbling leftist heterophobic edifice is proving to have been built with the bricks of outmoded and unworkable Marxist theoretical constructs. And despite apparent statistical evidence to the contrary, there is taking place a solid, if gradual, return to the values and institutions, including morality and marriage, that confute the left's railings against the institution of marriage and demonstrate the futility of the tactics they employ in defense of their rampant heterophobia.

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