Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Strange and Terrible Visions of Fred Phelps and Philip K. Dick

With the defenestration of Brandon Eich, it’s now officially illegal to be against gay marriage. Or not officially illegal, but with social sanctions the equivalent of a felony. You can commit a lot of offenses, which will result in fines and jail time you can serve on the weekend. You will be embarrassed but won’t lose your job. So being against gay marriage is worse.

The penetration of political correctness is so strong that most “reactionaries” will follow it when they feel they can. Derbyshire is a good example of this. He lets you know, frequently, that while he hates the official cant he doesn’t put any stock in that superstitious tomfoolery either. Like the neoconservatives, he thinks the romantic cult of the individual is conservative, and even atheism is conservative. Here’s a guy at Taki’s ripping on the weirdos who don’t like the Noah movie. Hey, at least he’s not one of those freaks.

This is also shown by the common belief that Fred Phelps could only have been a crazy weirdo or a troll. He was a liberal civil rights lawyer, conservatives say to distance conservatism from him. His church only consisted of family members, Christians say to distance themselves from him, and everyone says to discount him. Their picketing of military funerals puts them outside of any civilized bounds.

The real thing though is that the vociferous condemnation of homosexuality by Phelps and his family/Westboro Baptist Church falls outside what any sophisticated person thinks today. Nobody actually likes gays, not even progressives, as Jim notes. Progressives mock the homoerotic and homosexual expression outside any context useful to them. Conservatives just don’t like it period. All these people really have pretty much the same view of homosexuality, that which sophisticated urbanites have had for millennia, which is while that it’s gross, it’s just something that people do, and it’s mostly harmless. Involving children is very, very bad but as long as that line is crossed gays should be left to their own devices. The concept of “consenting adults” represents a truce between formal morality and total license. Almost as importantly to this story is the idea that sex is private and sexual activity or sexual display should only happen in private.

On top of this homosexuality seems to have had a role in bonding among the elites in certain periods of history. The Spartans had a formal system of homosexual relationships between older and younger elite hoplites, and other Greeks had similar customs. More recently, homosexuality has been part of the English public school experience. As far as I can tell all these relationships involved an older, higher status person and a younger, lower status person. These relationships would bond people directly, would have the effect of solidifying the power of the higher status, and would act as a form of hazing as well. I have read similar customs of young warriors being required to sexually service older warriors exist in Stone Age tribes in New Guinea.

Homosexuality violates natural law. It’s highly disordered in any case, and does not occur unless something is seriously wrong. A society that chooses to use homosexual behavior as glue for its elite has made a possibly pragmatic choice, probably a bad one but at least pragmatic and not involving non-elites. A society with high status differences and no sexual morality can suck many people into homosexual behavior, by the example of elite perverts, by forcing slaves to serve their masters sexually, by prostitution by financial necessity among the poor, and by a general atmosphere of despair and moral collapse. I believe the Greek/Roman society started out as the first, and having crushed all adjacent competitors and became extremely wealthy and powerful, became the second.

The first epistle in the New Testament, immediately after the Acts of the Apostles, is Paul’s letter to the Romans. Rome was of course the capital of the Empire, and Paul would have extremely important matters to speak about to the Christian community there. He chose to start his letter off with an extremely strong denunciation of homosexuality. Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality is the subject of a lot of revisionism by gay apologists. He didn’t mean homosexuality as we understand it, as a consensual thing between adults, but specifically temple prostitution. A plain reading of the words does not suggest that at all, but that’s what people who want to make Christianity and homosexuality compatible say.

A more nuanced case was presented by Sara Rudin, in a book titled “Paul Amongst the People”. She shows the grossly exploitive and abusive nature of Roman sexuality involving slaves, women, and children, and says Christian chastity wasn’t cruelly taking away people’s fun, but trying to stop this abuse and exploitation. This certainly has a lot of weight behind it, but Paul is clearly speaking about relationships between equals.

Counter Currents just had a piece on my favorite science fiction writer, and one of my favorite writers, Philip K. Dick. Dick’s stories lent themselves to screen adaption, the most famous case being the story discussed, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” which was very loosely adapted to “Blade Runner”, so loosely adapted that the stories aren’t really the same at all.

One of Dick’s ongoing themes- maybe his primary one- was the matter of apparent reality versus actual reality. The world we appear to live in is not in many of Dick’s stories the actual one we live in but a sinister mind trick concealing the real one, sort of like the situation in “The Matrix”. Dick was at one point a heavy user of psychedelic drugs, and probably because of that had a combination psychotic episode and religious vision in the early 70’s where he saw that the modern world was really the late Roman Empire, and a sort of psychic mind prison had been constructed by Satan or the forces of evil to make people think otherwise. A struggle between the forces of light and darkness to reveal or keep concealed the true nature of things forms the plot of the VALIS trilogy.

The concept of a false apparent world in which most people are fooled is common to the political fringes. Leftists believe conservative businessmen pull the strings, and present the show of liberal democracy. Reactionaries believe the Cathedral pulls the strings, and presents the show of liberal democracy. What is commonly called “political correctness” is simply lies on behalf of what we are told to believe. Most people use the Orwellian technique of crimestop to prevent themselves from engaging in too much crimethink. The system makes crimethink extremely uncomfortable, so people avoid it to the extent their mind permits them and mock those who don’t do it as effectively. This is the origin I believe of “no enemies to the left, no friends to the right.”

For those beyond the pale- those to the right of mainstream conservatives- the behavior of non-whites is the most obvious example of this. Non-whites are supposed to be just like us, and would be barring our evilness, but the empirical evidence just doesn’t back this up. The situation of gays is murkier, and I think this is why the system is promoting gays now over non-whites.

We are supposed to believe about gays, as we are supposed to believe about non-whites, that they are just like us, perfectly normal and healthy people, and to the extent they are not it’s because they are socially oppressed. Few whites have non-white relatives, but many have gay relatives, and being relatives they have approximately the same level of intelligence, behavior, and social class. And being relatives people will be positively inclined towards them, and want to believe the best about them.

Hat tip to Mindweapon, this lady sees the horrible effect watching Disney shows has on her two young daughters. A smart, conservative woman, you say! Unfortunately no. In another post she talks about how her brother tells her he’s gay and she eventually becomes a gay marriage advocate. Her parents are slower to come around but eventually the whole family leaves the Mormon church.

How’s that for a Cathedral victory? One gay family member gets the whole family out of the Mormon church and into what, she doesn’t exactly say, progressive spiritualism of a faux Christian kind I suppose. The kicker is that the behavior that so horrified her in her daughter- the verbal bullying and putdowns, the social cruelty, and the narcissistic hysteria- is GAY behavior. It is the behavior of gay males. These Disney shows she hates are written and produced by gay males, with help from women who like them. Women are like that to an extent, but they get this behavior largely from gay males, from direct or second-hand exposure.

The two gay shows I can think of offhand- “Will and Grace” and “Modern Family” both feature a gay couple where one partner is more or less normal-acting, and the other is a crazy fruit. The word “stereotypical” might be used, but stereotypes of course have a basis in reality. I guess the idea is that yes, some of the strange stuff you think about gays is true, but they’re just harmless weirdos at worst, positive and well-functioning members of society normally.

If you buy it. If you don’t buy it, there’s mental instability, interpersonal aggression, manipulation, sexual promiscuity and STDs, drug abuse, public sex, the involvement of minors, and many other dysfunctions that go with severely unnatural behavior. Of course, NAGALT. Not all anybody is like anything, but as we see from non-whites, the actual situation is a lot different from the official situation.

What really goes on with gays isn’t well known. Non-white dysfunction is well-documented. It’s usually a matter of public policy in terms of crime and consumption of public resources. Gay dysfunction usually doesn’t, and is carefully concealed in any case. The most visible problem is HIV. Thirty years ago the original HIV epidemic was blamed on Reagan’s heartlessness, not gay licentiousness. Now everybody knows what HIV is and how to prevent infection, but lots of gays still get infected. This is a huge public health burden, and what’s worse vast resources of medical research have been moved from other health problems to HIV. Gays seem to find age of consent laws inconvenient.

Does this sum up our situation? A society heavily compromised by sexual license, interfering seriously with its basic functioning?

There’s yet another situation, you will say-a democratic society with not-excessive differences of status, power and wealth where some people will engage in homosexual behavior, but only because they have a strong inborn tendency to do so, and will not force or use untoward persuasion to make anyone not so inclined to engage in it. In such a society, you will say, toleration of homosexuality is the best policy, to avoid unnecessary suffering and repression. This is the society we supposedly live in, but I don’t think that’s the case.

The Phelps/WBC saga began with what came to be called the Gage Park Decency Drive. Phelps went on a bike ride to the park with some grandchildren, and after riding ahead, came back to find them being invited into the woods by a homosexual looking for sex in the park. Known facts about the situation are few. Some sources, including the SPLC, say that “allegedly” public solicitation and public sex occurred in the park, but if you google “gage park gay” a variety of gay guides report it as a place to look for public sex, so it is reasonable to conclude it was ongoing. The LA Times reports the incident as a family story, but the Washington Post reports it as fact. Disputing this seems a crucial point in discrediting Phelps. Public sex is a violation of basic civilizational norms, but involving children is much worse. But either no one thinks it’s important or they think Phelps was discredited already by opposing public gay sex.

The resulting “controversy” is a case of the dog that didn’t bark. Phelps/WBC began a picket at the park protesting the public gay sex and solicitation of children. The reaction of the good people of Topeka was horror- not that this was happening in a public park, but that Phelps was making a public protest of it. There is record of police enforcing anti-solicitation laws in Gage Park but not until years later, 1995, and the reaction of gays and the ACLU was to protest the law, not sexual activity in the park. In both links it is assumed the persons agreeing to engage in sex will leave the park, which is a sop to tender sensibilities, but from material not aimed at forming public opinion- gays talking to other gays about where to find sex- they usually didn’t bother.

A big part of Anglophone culture is consensus about what is and is not talked about. Phelps violated the taboo of talking about gay sex, even if it crossed certain significant boundaries. I would like to know exactly what happened. I would like to know exactly what he said to the public officials and the church leaders of Topeka when he informed them about this, and what their exact response was both verbally and non-verbally. Phelps is dead and the people he spoke with can’t be counted on to tell the truth.

I think what Phelps heard and saw, what led to picketing military funerals with signs saying “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” was that the good people of Topeka, the legal, social, cultural and spiritual leaders, were not going to oppose homosexual activity even when it crossed certain bright lines. Topeka is not Manhattan or San Francisco. Topeka isn’t even St. Louis or Kansas City. Topeka is as morally traditionalist and socially conservative as any community in America. If you can’t oppose gays having sex in the park and inviting children to join in Topeka, you can’t do it anywhere. If these things are all but officially tolerated in small-town Kansas, America really is doomed.

Dick had a vision of the oppressive, brutal late Roman Empire concealed under an apparition of freedom and prosperity. Phelps saw a supposedly Christian community where gross sexual misconduct and abuse went unopposed. Both men can be dismissed as insane- Dick literally, Phelps figuratively- but I think their evaluations of America are a lot closer to the truth than the theme park of freedom and happiness that both conservatives and liberals believe in, if in slightly different versions.

The Roman Empire was rich and powerful, but its complete loss of any kind of morality, even pagan morality, created a social and spiritual desert. In a world of hopelessness and meaninglessness, Christianity provided hope and meaning. If you don’t believe Jesus is life literally, then you should believe it figuratively. The Roman Empire itself was an apparition- appearing to be all-powerful it was not just weak but dead, and appearing to be fabulously rich it was desperately poor. That’s a good description of America.



Filed under Uncategorized