The Spectacle Blog

Goldstein Misunderstands DADT

By on 12.19.10 | 10:54PM

I'm grateful to Aaron Goldstein for sharing his thoughts about my recent exchange with John Tabin concerning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." If nothing else, this helps to clarify and elucidate the lines of debate.

This is important, because even with the Senate's deeply disappointing vote on Saturday, issues surrounding "gay rights" are going to be with us, both within and outside the military, for a long time. So clarity of thought and clarity of understanding are required.

But with respect, it doesn't look like Goldstein has read what I've written very closely. My argument is not "predicated on the assumption that because someone is gay... he or she is automatically attracted to every single member of the same sex."

That's a ludicrous caricature of what I've written. Of course no one agrees with that.

Obviously, as James Antle has observed here at The American Spectator, not every gay person serving in uniform is going to make sexual advances toward a fellow service member. But so what? It's equally true that not every taxpayer is going to go out and start a new business when you cut marginal tax rates. But again: so what?

The point is that some people will do both of these things. Some people will respond to the incentives and new opportunities that policymakers have created. And, in both cases -- openly gay service and cutting marginal tax rates -- this can and surely will have dramatic effects.

Indeed, some taxpayers will start up new businesses; and some gay military personnel will fraternize and carry on affairs. The former is a good thing, of course; the latter a very bad and dangerous thing because it can wreak havoc with a unit's military effectiveness and mission accomplishment.

But what's most frustrating about Goldstein's post is that blames U.S. military personnel for any problems that might result from openly gay service. The problem, you see, is them, those who "have reservations about homosexuality"!

Why, some of our servicemen and women are "uncomfortable with those who are openly gay," Goldstein writes. And this "says more about the character of uncomfortable military personnel than it does about the soldier who is openly gay.

The only reason a soldier would be uncomfortable serving with a soldier who is gay is the fear of the gay soldier making unwanted advances towards him or her. Again, we have an underlying assumption that the gay soldier is automatically attracted to every single member of the same sex.

With respect to Goldstein, his comments here say more about the modern-day liberal prejudices that he harbors than they do about the issue at hand.

And if Goldstein's attitude is indicative of how the military will treat traditionalists and religious believers who harbor sincere and good-faith objections to homosexuality -- with casual scorn and mild contempt -- then our military personnel are headed for much worse trouble than any of us might realize.

As I've written repeatedly here at The American Spectator, the feelings of U.S. military personnel are not at issue in this debate. Feelings are fleeting and ephemeral; they can and do change over time.

What is at issue is the introduction of an overt sexual dynamic -- backed up by the full power of the state, the full force of law -- into small-scale military units. And that sexual dynamic is inherently disruptive and detrimental to military effectiveness, mission success, unit cohesion, and good order and discipline within the ranks.

And please don't talk to me about me about military rules proscribing sexual fraternization. Those rules are willfully flouted today, and everyone up and down the chain of command knows it. It is simply impossible to police sexual conduct in a predominantly young and healthy coed population, most of which is barely out of high school.

Goldstein's argument, then, isn't with any military service member's "feelings" about lesbians and homosexuals; his argument is with human nature.

And again, a gay soldier needn't be attracted to "every single member of the same sex" to cause a problem. A gay soldier need only be attracted to one solider in one unit to cause one serious problem.

So there is no "assumption that rests on a foundation of arrogance, conceit, fear and irrationality." That is, if I may say so, classic liberal prejudice and projection. There is, instead, an assumption that is grounded in human nature and group dynamics -- an assumption that Goldstein is ignoring.

Finally, the military obviously does not value "sexual orientation over competence and character." That's why -- again, as I've observed here at the American Spectator many times -- military commanders are "loath to initiate separation procedures against a gay service member unless and until that service member makes an issue of his sexuality."

In fact, gay soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serve now, with honor, and without incident or disruption: because under DADT, commanders don't ask, and service members don't tell.

So what's the problem?! Why change or alter a manifestly successful policy?

Because, again, as I've observed before here at The American Spectator,

...the point of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" isn't to allow gays to serve. [They can and do serve now, after all. Instead], it is to enforce public acceptance of homosexuality.

It is to supplant the Judeo-Christian tradition with a more modern, secular humanist tradition. It is to put homosexuality on a par, legally and socially, with heterosexuality. It is to infringe upon religious liberty. And it is to replace our traditional understanding of manhood and masculinity with a more sexually ambiguous sense of these terms...

Indeed, that's the more nefarious and underhanded purpose of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which the media never report on or discuss.

That's why repeal of DADT is only the first of many skirmishes sure to come in the ongoing culture war over "gay rights."

There is, of course, the Left's attempt to redefine marriage such that it becomes meaningless. And then there's the Left's effort to deny religious liberty whenever it conflicts (as it must) with "gay rights."

The Boy Scouts currently have a constitutional right to keep out openly gay scout masters; but it is only a matter of time, I suppose, before the courts find that right, too, to be passé and superseded by the new morality.

The military used to be safely protected from these social and legal struggles, but not anymore. Now, thanks to Congress's rash and precipitous action, we can expect the same social and legal fights that have occurred in the civilian world to take place within the military. Welcome to the Brave New World.

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