The Spectacle Blog

Re: DADT and ‘Hard Empirical Evidence’

By on 12.21.10 | 2:55PM

I have read John Guardiano's latest response to my most recent post concerning our disagreement over the repeal of DADT.

Alas, Guardiano's is "disappointed." Well, I too, am disappointed with Guardiano's latest effort:

He demands "hard empirical evidence" and "studies" to demonstrate what should be obvious to anyone; and that is that sexual attraction and allure affects human behavior and group dynamics.

Has Goldstein ever been, for instance, to a public high school, or even aboard a U.S. navy vessel? Has he seen how young men and women behave and interact with each other?  Do I really need to explain to him the birds and the bees?

Is this the best Guardiano can do?

Well, at least I'm glad to know that Guardiano isn't interested in "hard empirical evidence" or "studies" as a means of setting public policy. Why be encumbered by the sensibility to let factual information determine how we govern ourselves? If he wishes to wallow in ignorance and engage me in an intellectually lazy manner then that is his choice. But he makes it very difficult for me to take his arguments seriously.

Yet for my own amusement I will humor Guardiano. Yes, I have been to a public high school and I have also been aboard a U.S. navy vessel (I won't comment on the latter because I wasn't there long enough to to get an overall impression of the crew members.) So let me tell you about my experience attending high school in Thunder Bay, Ontario the late 1980s and early 1990s. To say that homosexuals were looked down upon would be an understatement. In fact, I recall that in our high school yearbook one of my classmates listed "Faggots" as his pet peeve. When I would challenge their attitudes towards homosexuality believe me they weren't quoting scripture. 

When it came right down to it their hostility towards homosexuals was based on the fear that homosexuals would attempt to proposition them. Of course, when I asked someone why on earth they thought a homosexual would possibly be interested in them that person invariably could not answer my question. Of course, these same people found lesbianism far less abhorrent. Given that lesbianism is often an object of male sexual fantasy it isn't exactly surprising. 

When I returned to my high school for a visit in 1995, the attitudes had completely changed. Gays and lesbians were actually treated like human beings. Of course, Guardiano is quick to give assurances that not only does not he not have "negative perceptions of gays and lesbians" but "in fact, most gays and lesbians that I have known, and know, I like." It's not quite "some of my best friends are gay" but fair enough.  Needless to say, I am curious to know what the gays and lesbians who Guardiano says he likes think of his attitude towards DADT.

But now that DADT has been repealed, Guardiano thinks the sky is going to fall:

The problems is that two gay soldiers might carry on an affair within a unit. It is that a gay commander or non-commissioned officer (NCO) might use his position of power and authority to secure sexual favors -- or that a gay soldier might use sex to manipulate his commander or NCO. It is the potential emergence within the military of a gay subculture.

Oh, the horror. Guardiano, who insists to the high heavens that he harbors no negative perceptions of gays and lesbians, proceeds to besmirch gay and lesbian soldiers for things that they "might" do up to and including creating a secret society within the military. If you're gay or lesbian and have a friend like Guardiano then who needs enemies?

But here is Guardiano's most egregious statement of all:

He compares religiously-informed objections to homosexuality with racist attitudes and behavior. This is really unconscionable on his part and the result, I hope, of ignorance and not anti-religious bigotry.

Obviously, racist attitudes of a generation ago were not rooted in Biblical or religious scripture.

The only person guilty of ignorance here is Guardiano. If Guardiano bothers to study the civil rights era he would be aware that segregation was most certainly justified on Biblical grounds. How about Genesis 9:20-27 for starters? Leviticus 25:44? What about 1 Timothy 6:1? Or Acts 17:26? Needless to say, those who used these verses as a rationale to maintain segregation were perverting their true meaning. Yet Guardiano does a disservice to those who suffered the most vicious kind of racism by pretending the Bible wasn't used (or more aptly misused) to justify this position.

Yet perhaps the most disappointing part of Guardiano's analysis is that by his own admission he considers gays and lesbians to be "fine soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines."  If Guardiano genuinely believes that to be true then he ought to have no objections to permitting gays and lesbians to serve in our armed forces openly. If he doesn't believe that to be true then he is being disingenuous in praising their service to this country.

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