The Spectacle Blog

DADT Facts vs. Opinions

By on 12.23.10 | 3:23PM

Well, Aaron Goldstein is nothing if not persistent! He sallies forth with a new post in which he complains that I have made “statements which are either contradictory” or which I “simply cannot substantiate.”

If I thought that Goldstein’s latest post elucidated the issues involved in DADT and “gay rights,” I would simply acknowledge that we have a disagreement and let it go at that. But unfortunately, Goldstein’s latest brief confuses rather than elucidates our dispute.

As Goldstein surely must know, given the full context of what I have written, the “feelings” that are irrelevant are the feelings of straight soldiers, airmen and Marines toward homosexuals.

Indeed, how straight servicemen and women “feel” about homosexuals is irrelevant. What matters is how the presence of an overt homosexual dynamic within small-scale military units will or might affect unit cohesion and unit performance.

In short, I distinguish between, on the one hand, sexual dynamics between and amongst gay military personnel (or, for that matter, between and amongst male/female personnel) and, on the other hand, the “feelings” or attitudes that straight soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have toward homosexuals.

Surely, Goldstein understands this. Yet he conflates and confuses sexual dynamics between and amongst homosexuals with how straight people feel about homosexuals.

Goldstein complains that I have not offered up any “hard empirical evidence” that sexual dynamics shape and affect human behavior. Of course, his demand for such evidence is silly. You might as well demand “hard empirical evidence” that the sky is blue, or that night follows day.

Nonetheless, to address his point, I asked rhetorically whether he had ever been to a public high school or even onboard a navy vessel. There, obviously, you’ll see sexual dynamics at work between boys and girls, men and women.

(And this doesn’t mean that actual sex, or intercourse, is necessarily taking place either. It simply means that there are sexual dynamics -- tension, play, flirting, et al. -- at work.)

I mentioned a coed public high school because most of the U.S. military is barely out of high school. Indeed, these are 17-, 18- and 19-year old kids that we’re talking about.

Do we really need a scientific laboratory experiment, as Goldstein is demanding, to ascertain how sexual dynamics shape and affect human behavior and group dynamics? Obviously not. Yet Goldstein is stubbornly obtuse on this point.

And I am not “caricaturizing gays and lesbians and impugning their motives” when I point out another obvious point, which is that some gays and lesbians within the same military unit will carry on sexual dalliances with each other. The same can be said of some men and women within military units.

(As a Marine, I’ve personally seen the latter, though not the former. Of course, the Marine Corps swept these incidents under the rug; and they were never reported or discussed. We can expect the same of most homosexual affairs or dalliances within the military.)

Again, Goldstein’s understanding of human nature and sexual dynamics is unrealistic and almost otherworldly in its innocence and denial.

The homosexual hazing and harassment incidents that I referenced were just that: hazing and harassment incidents by homosexuals against straight servicemen and women -- or against other homosexual soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

Yet Goldstein assumes that any hazing and harassment would necessarily be perpetrated by straights against gays. But this is simply untrue. And it betrays Goldstein’s own bias and prejudice. In his world, apparently, just like Hollywood’s, lesbians and homosexuals can do no wrong.

Though in fairness to Goldstein, his biases and prejudices are not uncommon. They are, in fact, shared by the political and cultural elite, both Left and Right, sad to say.

Indeed, the elite are always concerned about how the military will deal with women or gays. But they’re not at all concerned with how women or gays might deal with or manipulate the military.

Goldstein is right that most U.S. military personnel will exhibit professional behavior. But what he fails to realize is that sexual dynamics often don’t result from bad intentions or a willful desire to be destructive.

Sexual dynamics are typically the natural and inevitable outgrowth of sexual allure and attraction. That’s one important reason the U.S. military bans women from frontline combat. This same reason, it seems to me, ought to apply to self-avowed lesbians and homosexuals.

Goldstein also belittles my concerns about the softening and undermining of the military’s warrior culture and the denial of religious liberty for our military chaplains and service personnel. These concerns reflect only my “opinion and nothing more,” he insists.

Would that this were true!

In fact, the U.S. military’s unique warrior culture is rooted in a strong sense of heterosexual manhood, masculinity and male bonding. The introduction of an overt homosexual dynamic within this unique culture obviously will undermine the shared sense of manhood and masculinity that helps to bind combat units and personnel together. And this is especially true if a gay subculture emerges there.

Goldstein, I’m sure, will demand “hard empirical evidence” of this. To which I can only respond: Do you also want “proof” of male bonding? Or “proof” that a shared sexual dynamic is part and parcel of that bonding process? It just is. It’s rooted in human nature and long-standing traditions. And no amount of gay reeducation or sensitivity training is going to change that.

As for religious liberty, we’ve already seen the U.S. Navy try to stop some chaplains from mentioning the words “Jesus Christ” in prayer. If homosexuality is now a specially protected minority within the military, then the day is not far off, I would submit, when chaplains will be “counseled,” if not required, to refrain from “creating a hostile work environment” for lesbians and homosexuals by preaching the Gospel.

Again, every major religious tradition in the world -- Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, et al. -- has moral proscriptions against homosexual behavior. And no, I’m sorry: that’s just “my opinion”; it’s a bona fide fact.

Finally, Goldstein says that “his views regarding the repeal of DADT are very much in the minority amongst [his] fellow conservatives.”

I wish this were true; but alas, I’m not so sure. Most conservatives, after all, have been silent on this issue. And their silence, it seems to me, has spoken volumes.

National Review, for instance, has said very little against openly gay military service. Certainly, NR hasn’t devoted anything like the editorial space or energy to this issue that they have to, say, the START Treaty.

Ditto Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly: The repeal of DADT either isn’t something that’s concerned them, or it’s something that they quietly support. Thus, they’ve devoted virtually no airtime to this issue.

Yet I think you could make a convincing case that repeal of DADT will do more to undermine American national security than the START Treaty.

Nuclear weapons and missile defense, after all, are narrow technical endeavors that can be turned on or off with relatively little effort. The U.S. military’s warrior culture, by contrast, is a far more complex operation, which, once weakened or destroyed, is far more difficult to restore.

That’s one reason why I’m glad the American Spectator has indulged Goldstein and me by permitting this debate. Our conversation is helpful in elucidating this debate over “gay rights.” And this debate, as I’ve indicated, will be with us for a very long time, with or without “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

But let me conclude on a positive note. Goldstein writes:

I [ever] I find myself in disagreement with the vast majority of conservatives on a specific matter, I will not hesitate to let my views be know, whatever the feedback. Debate, discussion and disagreement aren’t bad things. Merry Christmas.

And, on that point, dear readers, Goldstein and I agree: never hesitate to fight, and Merry Christmas, indeed!

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