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Friday, July 26, 2013

The Anti-Gay Industry: Fear-Baiters for Profit and Power, Part 1

 "A political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat.  If no external threat exists, then one has to be manufactured." - Leo Strauss, 20th century political philosopher

One of the oldest frauds in the world is to manufacture an enemy and then exploit the fear engendered for all the money/votes/power possible. The classic American example is the notorious Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, whose Red-baiting and hysterical claims of a communist under every government bed during the Cold War era of the 1950s, gave us the sobriquet, "McCarthyism," the modern equivalent of "crying wolf."

A present day McCarthy wannabe is former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. At a town hall meeting, West said he thinks as many as 81 House Democrats "are members of the Communist Party." He was referring to the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Fortunately, no one took him seriously, at least no one with critical thinking skills.

I remember as a child listening to the radio broadcasts of Rev. Billy James Hargis and the Christian Crusade. Hargis was crusading against the Red menace that was about to take over America, and its sly maneuver to corrupt our youth through teaching sex education in schools. It turns out that Hargis was doing his own corrupting with the boys of his church, college and camp, and was forced to resign from all his ministries and organizations. (Hargis denied the charges, but left nonetheless.) Since then there have been a spate of people who decry this and that who have been found involved intimately in the things they (publically) abhor. Ted Haggard, and Sens. Larry Craig and David Vitter come to mind.

This is not to say that all who indulge in enemy-baiting are insincere hypocrites. Not at all. There are many who find threats to their prefered view of things that are not only sincere, but consistent in their words and work. I am concerned here with 1) the reality that "enemies" make for good politics as well as personal gain, and 2) there are those who regularly exploit fear of enemies and even create enemies out of whole cloth. Today, with communism largely confined to Cuba, exploiters needed to find a new "enemy."

I am reminded of an incident Mel White relates when he was ghost writing Rev. Jerry Falwell's "autobiography." They were together in San Francisco where Falwell spoke to a large audience in a downtown hotel. After the speech, they had to muscle their way into their limo because a local gay protest had managed to block their way and, once in the car, impeded their progress. Amid the shouting, jostling of the car, and general hoopla, Falwell turned to Mel and said, "If I didn't have these gays, I'd have to invent them."

Yes, some "enemies" to exploit are readily at hand. And the Anti-gay Industry is alive and well today doing just that. I will be posting a series on the more destructive of these neo-McCarthyites over the next few days. We will begin by examining the pool of accumulated data that purports to be scientific studies that all the major players draw from, yet turn out to be as bogus and helpful as the latest fad diet. Stay tuned!

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