The Spectacle Blog

Re: The Problem with Debating DADT

By on 12.23.10 | 9:45AM

John R. Guardiano begins his latest retort in our DADT debate by regaling us with an anecdote which took place at a gathering he attended with the late Irving Kristol. During this gathering, Kristol revealed that his wife, Gertrude Himmelfarb, had forbidden him from writing about homosexuality and 'gay rights.'

Judging by the quality of Guardiano's arguments it is a shame he did not take up Himmelfarb's wise counsel. Guardiano would have benefited from such counsel because he insists on making statements which are either contradictory or that he simply cannot substantiate.

Earlier in this debate, Guardiano asked if I had ever been to high school and I recounted my experience illustrating the changing attitudes towards homosexuality at the high school I attended.

Apparently, it isn't what Guardiano wanted to hear.

I mentioned coed public high schools simply to reference the sexual and group dynamics between men and women which a coed military now has to deal with.  

Students' attitudes toward homosexuality are neither here nor there. Goldstein keeps trying to bring the issue back to how people "feel" about homosexuality; but "feelings" are, as I've explained repeatedly, completely irrelevant.  

The point is that just as sexual dynamics create problems for public coed high schools, so, too, do they create problems for the U.S. military. And the introduction of open homosexuality within the ranks will only exacerbate this problem.

Guardiano says "feelings" are irrelevant. So how exactly does one engage in a discussion about group dynamics without discussing the attitudes exhibited within the group? 

But then Guardiano changes his tune:

(H)e discounts and ignores completely how sexual dynamics can wreak havoc within small-scale military units. Indeed, Goldstein seems to think that soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are robotic, Vulcan-like creatures who are devoid of emotion and sexual passion.

So in the space of a few hundred words, Guardiano goes from chiding me about how people's "feelings" towards homosexuality are completely irrelevant to the discussion to chiding me for ignoring the "feelings" of military personnel who will now suddenly be burdened with openly gay colleagues amongst their ranks. There is simply no logical consistency to his argument. 

Guardiano also has the need to utter statements that cannot be substantiated by fact.  In response to my demand for "hard empirical evidence" that would demonstrate the harm of including openly gay military personnel he writes:

The sort of evidence that I think is relevant involves how homosexuality affects human behavior and group dynamics, especially within small-scale military units. Goldstein ignores this evidence because it is inconvenient and unhelpful to his cause.

And exactly what evidence have I ignored? Has Guardiano offered evidence that conclusively demonstrates the presence of openly gay military personnel harms group dynamics in the jurisdictions where this policy has been implemented? Of course not. That would involve the kind of due diligence Guardiano is unprepared and unwilling to expend. The only "evidence" Guardiano can offer is that of his opinion or more aptly his "feelings."

Guardiano "feels" the repeal of DADT will result in "the softening and undermining of the military's warrior culture." It is his opinion and nothing more.

Guardiano "feels" the repeal of DADT will result in "the denial of religious liberty for our military chaplains." Hmmm, I thought we were all God's children. Oh well, it is his opinion and nothing more.

Guardiano "feels" the repeal of DADT "will result in homosexual hazing and harassment incidents." Should such incidents occur the fault lies with those who would perpetuate such acts, not the gay and lesbian military personnel to whom such acts would be directed. However, I am willing to bet the vast majority of our military personnel will exhibit far more professional behavior. It is a shame Guardiano has such low expectations of our men and women in uniform. But again, it is his opinion and nothing more.

Guardiano also falls into the trap of caricaturizing gays and lesbians and impugning their motivations:

An individual lesbian and homosexual might be a perfectly fine soldier, sailor, airman and Marine;and yet through his or her sexual dalliances within the unit, undermine the unit's morale and performance.

Thus Guardiano "feels" that gay and lesbian military personnel are incapable of refraining from sexual behavior. Guardiano "feels" they lack the requisite discpline to keep their urges in check. I'll say it once more. It is Guardiano's opinion and nothing more.

In the unlikely event Guardiano offers any "hard empirical evidence" to support his views I would be more than pleased to discuss their merits. Until then there is little more I can add unless, of course, he chooses to come back for more.

With that in mind, let me conclude with the following. I realize that my views regarding the repeal of DADT are very much in the minority amongst my fellow conservatives. If other conservatives disagree my views on this subject then so be it. I am not here to win a popularity contest. If conservatives take the time to read the whole body of my work here at TAS I think they will find themselves in general agreement with me more often than not. But if I find myself in disagreement with the vast majority of conservatives on a specific matter I will not hesitate to let my views to be known whatever the feedback. Debate, discussion and disagreement aren't bad things. Merry Christmas.

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