Hysterical: Sully denies nihilism, accuses conservatives of psychopathology

Quoted by Ta-Nehesi Coates:

I don’t think it’s possible to believe [the gay rights agenda threatens traditional families] without, at some level, engaging in homophobia – literally an irrational and exaggerated fear that the gay somehow always obliterates the straight, or that 2 percent somehow always controls the fate of 98 percent.
This is where paranoia and panic take over. It is where homophobia most feels like anti-Semitism.

Sullivan’s finger-pointing j’accuse is enthusiastically endorsed by Coates, of course. Amazing how these “intellectuals” — including Sullivan, who pretends to the humlity of Oakeshott — just know these things, eh? To oppose their politics is to be guilty of bigotry, per se, with them acting as judge, jury and executioner.

Myself, I profess to be a man of “untaught feelings,” as described by Edmund Burke:

You see, that in this enlightened age I am bold enough to confess, that [the English] are generally men of untaught feelings; that instead of casting away all our old prejudices, we cherish them to a very considerable degree, and to take more shame to ourselves, we cherish them because they are prejudices; and the longer they have lasted, and the more generally they have prevailed, the more we cherish them. . . . Prejudice is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, skeptical, puzzled and unresolved. Prejudice renders a man’s virtue his habit; and not a series of unconnected acts. Through just prejudice, his duty becomes a part of his nature.

The accustomed habits of a society are not to be cast away willy-nilly merely because some radicals conspire to convince us that innocent people are victimized by our traditions. As to the 2% versue the 98% of which Sullivan speaks, should the tail wag the dog? Ought one of our most fundamental institutions be redefined on behalf of the minority of gays who seek legal recognition for their couplings?

Sully and his friends insult conservatives by supposing us to be cowards. If we disagree on what is, at heart, a question of policy, we are accused of vicious hatefulness. Indeed, we are said to be suffering from a psychological disorder, homophobia. To this insult — and their arrogant supposition that we are too stupid to know when we are being insulted — I quote one of the great heroes of cinema.

“Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.”
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

The discourse Sully means to have with us:

Sully: You’re stupid.
Us: Excuse me?
Sully: You’re mentally ill, too.
Us: What the . . .?
Sully: Hatemonger!
Us: Boy, I’m about to whup you.
Sully: Fascist!

He does not argue in good faith. We have on our side ancient tradition and religious orthodoxy. He has on his side the prestige of the intellectual elite. Ergo, we are ignorant rabble, and he is so infinitely superior to us that he can insult us with impunity, and we dare not even take notice of the insult.

UPDATE: Re-reading this, I realize I failed to explain why I said Sully and those like him (who pretend to an expertise at diagnosing the mental malady homophobia) “insult conservatives by supposing us to be cowards.”

What I mean is that they seem to assume that we are so afraid of this pejorative label that, merely by accusing us of being “homophobes,” they’ll cause us to cede the premise of their argument. They make the same assumption when they throw around epithets like “racist,” “nativist,” “McCarthyite,” etc.

These negative labels are intended to pre-empt argument, to throw one’s antagonist onto the defensive so that he wastes time defending himself against this label, rather than discussing the subject at hand. And there is good reason why Sullivan supposes conservatives to be cowards in this regard: Because many conservatives are.

They are easily intimidated by liberal name-calling and will bend over backward to protect their precious “respectability” by trying to dodge the accusation. And in doing so, they end up abandoning the high ground, tacitly granting the premise of the liberal argument.

This is why I so admire Kathy Shaidle. When the leftoids shout, “Racist!” she responds, “OK, fine, I’m a racist. Do you have an actual argument, or are you just here to call me names?” Real courage like that utterly confounds the Left, because they’re so used to getting their way by intimidating their opposition into surrender.

Getting a bit more specific, there is a reason why the accusation of “homophobia” does not intimidate me: I refuse to accept that “homophobia” accounts for most of the problems experienced by gays. Define “homophobia” however you wish, if you are gay, ask yourself this question: What percentage of the daily problems and hassles in your life are the result of this supposedly pervasive phenomenon?

This is what is so absurd about Sully likening “homophobia” to anti-Semitism. It is he who has succumbed to the paranoid tendency, suspecting that “homophobes,” like the Jews of anti-Semitic imagination, are conspiring to deprive him of happiness. Here he is, a successful and famous journalist, with lucrative book contracts and nearly carte blanche to publish in prestigious publications, yet he sits around fretting and fuming over the pathological suspicion that other people don’t like him because he’s gay.

Who is it that really has the mental problem here? And who takes seriously the charge of “homophobia” from someone like that?

De l’audace, encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace!

UPDATE II: Speaking of fallacies, Debra Dickerson engages in the “progress” fallacy:

But this is an issue, like race, whose time has come. Enjoy the last few years left of discriminating against gays ‘cuz them days is almost gone.
It’s hard out there for a bigot. Homophobia is on a short list of acceptable bigotries. But it’s fading fast.

To quote Burke again:

We know that we have made no discoveries, and we think that no discoveries are to be made, in morality; nor many in the great principles of government.

Or, to quote G.K. Chesterton:

My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.

Truth is a durable commodity. Of course, Burke and Chesterton were intractable homophobes, which is why they are so morally and intellectually inferior to Andrew Sullivan.


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