Monday, November 20, 2006


On August 8, 2006, Lydia Howell posted David Thorstad's article, "Marriage, Marketing, Tailending: The U.S. Left and Same Sex Marriage" on the Minnesot Green Party discussion list, stating that "I adamantly oppose the aims of NAMBLA but, I do think Thorstad raises some interesting critiques and points that are food for thought." I do not know what Lydia Howell thinks the aims of NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) are. However, NAMBLA only supports CONSENSUAL sexual relations between people of any age, no matter how old or how young and no matter how wide the difference in age between the consensual partners is. NAMBLA does not support rape and tales about NAMBLA owning a Lear Jet to fly children from any area of the country to its members are not true. D.J. West in his HOMOSEXUALITY pointed out that the sublime discussions of love by Socrates in Plato's SYMPOSIUM were about what "we would call perversion." For those Gays who condemn NAMBLA and sex with people under whatever is the magic age of consent in the particular jurisdiction in question, that is also precisely what Socrates was expounding on in the SYMPOSIUM. Although not all Gays are attracted to males under the arbitrary age of consent, those Gays who dismiss sex with underage persons as criminal are saying that Socrates, Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and Walt Whitman should have been put in jail! Wainwright Churchill in HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR AMONG MALES pointed out that Western Culture is one of the most erotophobic cultures known. Conservatives view sex as evil. But even liberals and radicals, although they claim they view sex as good, also conceive sex as good but also dangerous, just as electricity is good but can also kill you if your are not careful, and also view sex as good only if it can be justified by marriage or love. Very few people believe that sex can be enjoyed for its own sake. Recreational sex is good in itself and needs no additional justification, although it is even better if it is conjoined with love. We need to ask ourselves why people get so upset over CONSENSUAL sex between an adult and a child and assume that somehow the child has been damaged. If the sex is consensual and enjoyed by both partners, then, once we have got beyond the erotophobia of our culture, is is obvious that no harm has been done but, in fact, only good if both partners enjoyed the encounter. Research has shown that no harm is done to the child if the people around him or her to not get so upset. I remember reading in popular magazine articles about child rearing in the 1950 that the child was unlikely to be irrevocably damaged by a sexual encounter with an adult if the adults around the child did not indicate that they now believed he or she was irreparable damaged or, even worse, that they now thought he or she was "bad." I have thought that I should write something for the various Green discussion lists about my views on this subject but, so far, the occasion to do so has not come up. I am writing this to you off list in order to organize my thoughts for a response to your post on list. The nearest I have come to writing about this on list was to forward a post about the hysteria and witch hunts around the country about child adult sex to the Minnesota and 5th district Green discussion lists. Even this provoked an email from Mark Snyder asking why I had posted the article and adding, gratuitously, that the posts must always be in the context of respect for others. I do not know what his remark about respect for others had to do with anything since my forwarding the post was not even in reply to anyone else. I replied, saying that the hysteria and witch hunting over child adult sex was likely to have a negative effect on GLBTI'S. He replied, saying that I should post an explanation of the relevance of my post but, in the press of other work, I never got around to it. And this witch hunt about child adult sex has had a negative effect on many people, not just GLBTI'S. The California scandal over the Little Rascals day care center, operated by Peggy MacMartin-Buckley, one of her children, and her grandson, Raymond Buckley, continued for a decade and cost millions of dollars in legal expenses before it was established that the state had no case and the case was dismissed. By that time, Peggy MacMartin-Buckley and Raymond Buckley has been in prison for years and Peggy MacMartin-Buckley had been assaulted by other inmates who knocked out all her teeth. Peggy MacMartin-Buckley tried to sue the state but the judge dismissed her suit, saying that as long as state officials had acted in good faith, they were immune from suit. That may be the way the law IS but it is not the way it SHOULD BE. The law should provide that if a person has been imprisoned for years unjustly, there should be a law providing them with enough monetary compensation to make them wealthy for the rest of their life. But there are some additional comments Thorstad made in his attack on the demand for same sex marriage and equal marital rights for Gays and Lesbians that require a reply. He attacks the demand for same sex marriage as an attempt by Gays and Lesbians to assimilate to heterosexuals and achieve middle class respectability and says it only became popular after the numbers of Gays and Lesbians who poured out of the closet in response to Anita Bryant's Save Our Children campaign made it safe for more conservative Gays and Lesbians to come out. He claims that the recent decisions against same sex marriage in five state courts "may have sounded the death knell for this issue in the United States, even if it did not drive a stake through its heart." It no more "sounded the death knell" than the Hardwick decision "sounded the death knell" for the fight against sodomy laws. And no more than the Hawaii Supreme Court's deliberately delaying its final decision until the voters had time to amend their state constitution to allow marital discrimination against Gays and Lesbians "sounded the death knell" for same sex marriage in the 1990's. It no more sounded "the death knell" than Plessey v. Fergerson sounded "the death knell" for the fight against separate but equal in the 1890's. And it cannot "sound the death knell" as the United States becomes more and more unique among the advanced industrial democracies in not guaranteeing the right of same sex marriage with the nearest counter example being in Canada, right over our northern border. Thorstad also denounced hate crimes legislation as a manifestation of identity politics and as "thought crimes legislation." Hate crimes legislation is not thought crimes legislation. Intent or "thoughts" have long been legitimate considerations in the law. An example is intent being considered in distinguishing between first, second and third degree murder and distinguishing those from first and second degree manslaughter. Intent is necessary in determining which of these five crimes have been committed and therefore, the severity of the sentence imposed. Furthermore, a hate crime against a member of a particular minority group heightens fear among other members of that group than a generic crime against a member of the general public can heighten fear among members of the general population. Also, hate crimes against a member of a minority increase the probability of crimes, i.e. acts, against other members of that group. Prosecutors are likely to assign a higher probability to prosecuting crimes that have a higher sentence. And the successful prosecution of a hate crime can undercut the general impression that people have carte blanche to attack members of unpopular minorities and therefore lower the probability of further crimes, I.E. ACTS, against that unpopular minority. Thorstad argues that "there is no such thing as'gay people' -- only homosexual acts -- that this was an abstract concept that erased fluidity and ambiguity and discovery, that diverted attention from decriminalizing consensual sexual acts that everyone had the potential to engage in, regardless of their sexual identity, and that turned freedom from sexual oppression into a question of mere identity politics." Thorstad is defending the position popular in much contemporary "modern thought," that Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersexed People have no existence as objectively existing groups and are mere "socially constructed" categories which are not even present in most cultures. It is true that the less GLBTI's are singled out and persecuted in some societies, the less Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender People and Intersexed People are less likely to think of themselves as distinct groups and if there were a society that lacked any such singling out, Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals in that society might not think of themselves as separate groups at all, that society's view being only that some people liked only sex with the opposite sex, other people liked only sex with their own sex, and that others liked both. However, even in that hypothetical society, it would still be an objective fact about people that they desired sex with the same, opposite or both genders. And if that hypothetical society did not consider it important whether a person identified as being the same as or the opposite of their bodily gender, maybe Transgender Persons would not think of themselves as separate groups but it would still be an objective fact about them whether they identified as the same or opposite of their bodily gender. And if that hypothetical society did not consider it important whether people were born with ambiguous and not distinct male or female genitalia, maybe Intersexed People would not think of themselves as a distinct group either, the general impression in that society being only that some people were born with distinct male or female genitalia and that some were born with ambiguous genitalia. However, it would still be an objective fact about Intersexed People in that hypothetical society that their genitalia were not definitely either male or female. Jonathan Katz abandoned his earlier view in GAY AMERICAN HISTORY that Gayness and Lesbianism were objective traits for the view that Gays and Lesbians were "socially constructed" categories with no objective existence in his later GAY AND LESBIAN ALMANAC. He went from, for instance, the true statement that the early puritans thought in terms of specific people who committed the specific crimes of engaging in sex with members of their own gender, sex with children, sex with animals, etc and not in terms of groups such as homosexuals, pedophiles and pederasts, zoophiliacs, etc to the false statement that the puritans apparently had an undifferentiated sexual attraction to both sexes, adults and children, animals, etc. An example that will make this clear is skin color. It means different things in other societies and is categorized differently than it is in contemporary American society. It has even been categorized differently at earlier times in American society. In the early twentieth century, Finns were not considered white. I suppose if there were a society that had gotten beyond racial prejudice, different skin colors might not mean any more than different hair colors do today. But the actual color of the skin remains the same, no matter how it is categorized in different societies. An analogous error to the error Katz made in the case of sexual orientation would be as if he said with respect to our hypothetical society that had gotten beyond racial prejudice that the people in that society apparently had skins of an indeterminate color instead of skins that were white, black, brown, yellow or red! This modern attempt to consider Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender People and Intersexed People as mere "socially constructed" categories instead of separate peoples with a proud history erases our proud history and ties in with the wimpy tendency of "modern," middle class, thought to avoid taking a definite position on anything. It also ties in with the tendency that Thorstad decries of less proud and militant Gays and Lesbians to want to blend in and assimilate with the heterosexual majority. After all, as so many post Stonewall Gays and Lesbians are fond of saying, "I'm just a human being."!!!! To paraphrase Jesse Jackson, we were born Gay or Lesbian among the heterosexuals, not heterosexual in Gay or Lesbian!!! Thorstad argues that identity politics and considering GLBTI's to be actual real groups instead of socially constructed categories relegates "gay liberation to a nearly weightless interest group." However, 10% of the population can in no sense be considered "nearly weightless." Thorstad says supporting equal rights for "gay people" is "something any liberal capitalist could support," ignoring the fact that capitalism has certainly dug in its heels against even tolerating GLBTI'S, let along granting us equal rights. Thorstad says identity politics has degenerated into the reductio ad absurdum of an "alphabet soup" of acronyms, "GLBT, LGBT, GLBTQIA, etc." I too considered it absurd to go beyond GLBT until I realized that people born with indeterminate genitalia are an objectively existing group and conceded that ONE more group had to be added. However, I consider it absurd to divide the groups into subgroups, such as Transgender People into Tsub 1, Tsub2, etc. And Q for Questioning People is unnecessary since all the questioning people will fit into one or the other five categories. And I forget what A stands for. It seems as if people have gotten caught up in a contest to prove how politically correct they are by thinking up a new category to add. However, Gays and Lesbians are separate communities in that many, though not all, Gays and Lesbians have the majority of their social network among others Gays or Lesbians. The old bromide "speak for yourself" is irrelevant here since the statement is based on my observation of other Gays and Lesbians. And Bisexuals are subject to bigotry from both the heterosexual and Gay and Lesbian communities, so they will qualify as a separate group also. And whether people identify as the same gender as their bodily gender or whether they were botn with indeterminate genitalia are objectively true facts about them so Transgender and Intersexed People will also qualify as separate groups. The majority heterosexual society until recently thought of us as all one group and lumped us all together so we tended to think of ourselves as one group also. But we are not one community but a coalition of five separate communities, each with its own distinctive set of overlapping, through similar, oppressions and each with a distinct need for our own separate organizations as well as a need to act in coalition with one another. Thorstad argues that " in all the ink spilled over gay marriage, other forms of marriage are not even countenanced, such as polygamy or between men and boys, as in the Siwa Oasis." He says "The State should get out of the marriage business. Society should extend recognition to all kinds of civil union arrangements between consenting individuals, whether man and woman, , man and man, woman and woman, man and boy, grandparent and grandchild, communal arrangements, and so on. Marriage should be relegated to the purely private and religious domain. Every citizen should be treated equally before the state and be guaranteed the same rights and privileges, without regard to conjugal or marital status. Separate church and state!" Thorstad dismisses the demand for Gay marriage as part of " the gay assimilationist agenda" -- incidentally, Thorstad's consistent refusal to capitalize Gay demonstrates the extent to which HE has been sucked into the Gay assimilationist agenda -- and states that "Oddly, left groups that uncritically support gay marriage are silent about the way marriage is treated in Cuba." He quotes Vilma Espin, birth name Mariela Castro, Raul Castro's daughter and Fidel Castro's niece, who when asked if Cuban Gays are going to demand a right to marriage, "pointed to Cuba's casual approach to marriage and its no-fault divorce." "Marriage is not as important in Cuba as in other more Catholic countries," she said. "Here consensual pairing is more important. What matters is love." Thorstad concluded: "So far, Cuban Gays have not demanded marriage. If they use their head, they won't." First, the fact that I want to affirm any relationship I succeed in establishing in a ceremony before the community does not mean I want to ape straights or assimilate to them. Second is is disingenious and avoiding the issue for Vilma Espin to assert that marriage is not as important in Cuba as in other Catholic countries as long as Cuba still legally recognizes opposite sex but not same sex marriage. And third, while Thorstad is right in arguing that the concept of marriage should be expanded to include man-boy relationships (as well as women-girl relationships -- Linda Frankel was one of the few woman members of NAMBLA), one husband and multiple wives and one wife and multiple husbands, and group marriage or polyamory, and that the concept of civil marriage or consensual contracts should be firmly delineated from the concept of religious marriage which will be the sole business of the particular religions involved, it is unnecessary to replace the words "civil marriage" with "civil contracts" once all that has been achieved. Civil marriage has always had the meaning of a variety of marriage. My parents were married in a civil ceremony before a Justice of the Peace in 1939 and they, I and everybody else always considered them as MARRIED in the usual sense, even if it was performed by a Justice of the Peace instead of a minister, priest or rabbi. So a terminological change is definitely not needed. But if that change is made, I want Gays and Lesbians to win the right to civil marriage in the generally accepted sense BEFORE we start calling it something else. Otherwise it will look like the heterosexual majority has gotten away with saying: "We don't want to admit Gays and Lesbians to MARRIAGE, which only a man and a woman are good enough for. So we will abolish marriage so we will only have to give them the inferior substitute of consensual pairings and civil contracts. The only way we can stop marriage from being sullied by Gays and Lesbians is to abolish it for everybody!" This seems to me very similar to the tactic of some public schools in Utah which decided that if recognizing other student extra cirricular clubs meant that they would be legally required to recognize Gay Straight Alliances, then they just wouldn't recognize ANY student extra cirricular clubs. Finally, Thorstad concludes: "In the 1970's, much of the left seemed to discover that the proletariat was unlikely to play the historic and revolutionary role assigned to it by orthodox Marxism. Leftists began to look around for 'new mass vanguards' and 'new social movements' such as students, women, gays, third world peoples. None of the groups have proven viable alternatives to the proletariat that, in the West at least, shows no sign of acquiring a revolutionary consciousness, or even of acting in its own self-interest. And none have proven more easily coopted by the capitalist system than homosexuals. This is the meaning of the marriage campaign." However, the remark about "homosexuals" being the most easily coopted is probably just a case of Thorstad assuming that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. And it wasn't just the left looking for new vanguard groups. The growth and expanding influence of the GLBTI, the Women's, etc movements forced the left to recognize them. All of these groups will once more play a revolutionary role when the political climate shifts back to the left. And I hope that Thorstad still recognizes that as capitalism goes deeper into crisis, it will be forced to attack the gains of the workers, which will force the proletariat to act in its own self interest, acquire a revolutionary consciousness and act once more in a revolutionary manner. Robert Halfhill (SITE NOW BANNED ON AOL)*Write AOL to complain, here:, or call 1-888-212-5537.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody who has any concern or regard for the welfare of children could hold such views. You don't defend anything. You rationalize most disingenuously and it is sickening.

11/21/2006 12:23 PM  
Blogger Robert Halfhill said...

Consider some hypothetical posts that are analogous to your post.
1. "Nobody who has any concern or regard for moralty could hold such views on Gay rights. You don't defend anything. You rationalize most disingenuously and it is sickening."
2. "Nobody who has any concern for the welfare of white women could hold such views about civil rights for Blacks. You don't defend anything. You rationalize most disingenuously and it is sickening."
Your assertion that "nobody who has any concern or regard for the welfare of children could hold such
views" begs the question since you have assumed my views are wrong without proof and drawn the conclusion from an unproved premise. "You don't defend anything" is another unproven assertion. "You rationalize most disingenuously" is another unproven assertion. "It is sickening" is also unproven since you assume again that my views are wrong without proof. It also is just name calling which does not prove anything.
Robert Halfhill

2/25/2007 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man/Boy love is a crime for good reason. Young children do not have the emotional or mental ability to make mature decisions about sex with adults. The potential for sex abuse of children by adults is huge. Man/Boy love is totally irrational for the simple reason that child abuse is wrong. Children are simply not for sex. This is NOT a gay issue and gay activists who argue for it will never be taken seriously by the LGBT community.

7/14/2007 11:20 PM  

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