I’m writing this as a homosexual, part of a “sexual minority”, the son of an immigrant, with a disabled husband. I’m one of those people who were meant to be served by “identity politics” and the “liberal-left”; meant to love and be grateful to the righteous celebrities, and abjectly horrified by Brexit and the election of President Trump (two phenomena that share some causes but are also quite distinct in nature).
Anyone who reads my blog will know that I despise identity politics and “social justice warriors” though, and I find those celebrities risible. Relatively late in life I realised that the whole project of what used to be the “New Left” was a spineless but determined, dishonest kind of authoritarianism, the kind you used to find amongst gossiping, puritanical congregations.
With the election of Trump (which I think does mark the overdue end of something), time has been called on an illusion, and people raised on that illusion seem to really be losing their shit, understandably. “Millennials” particularly seem to be taking this badly, and I can understand why. They’ve been programmed to do just that, to think the sky is falling if “the program” fails. They’ve become ideologically dependent, and the supply looks endangered. So I’m writing this partly to millennials (while knowing that you aren’t a homogenous group), and partly to fellow sexual minorities, and I’m writing this because I want you to be happy. Not victorious, justified, or marching towards a glorious future for humanity, but happy. You don’t get to be happy when you can’t face reality.
I grew up at a time when it was illegal to engage in homosexual activity as a male, when it was considered a mental illness, and you could be given electro-shock treatment and aversion therapy to “correct” it, and prison on conviction. I was 9 years old when my future became legal (after the age of 21). Homosexual equality was an issue for neither Left nor Right, rather it was a humanitarian issue for liberals, which in those days wasn’t cobbled together with “-left” in a Frankenstein merger. The cultural upheavals of the 1960s in the West contributed to our freedom, but it wasn’t like it is now. It was more liberal psychedelia than earnest flag waving. We got freedom because a shift occurred in the population which meant that we, as a minority, were empathized with enough by enough people. Don’t let all that “man the barricades” bullshit fool you. If people weren’t ready for us, we’d have been a stain on the pavement, because minorities don’t have power, except by voluntary and sincere appeal. Sorry to burst the bubble, but the pseudo-marxist rhetoric was just people wanting to use you for their ideology. It’s ordinary people that gave us our freedom.
In the intervening 50 years we’ve come a long way, and some things have got easier, but some things have got ever more ideological in ever weirder ways, and to me gay scenes largely look as dysfunctional as ever, and I really do question just how happy a lot of people are. I count myself very lucky, but I have lived for myself and my loved ones, and instinctively resisted the whole glittering, synthetic dust devil of “gay culture”. The ideologues just keep marching on though, and their brittleness and steely determination has always given me pause for thought. Is this what my life is about?
LGBT rights, anti-racism, and the appalling spectacle of modern feminism have become the central planks of identity politics. A series of minorities, and a non-minority demanding to be treated as a helpless minority (though feminists themselves are indeed relatively small in number). Identity politics increasingly came to look like the tolerated, mouthy weak kid, seeking vengeance on the rest through the demanded actions of authority, the “adults”. Only in identity politics, the protecting authority is itself attacked. “Do what I say or else!” they say to daddy. “You’re the oppressor, protect me!”. And daddy largely has actually. And if he loses his patience, well there, “told you so!”. You see it at demos all the time. Cop baiting the people who are there to protect you, and other people from you. It’s a kindergarten outing.
My question to all these people is this: how are you going to find a happy life? Are you going to create it from scratch? Surrounded by people like yourself (believe me, that should give some pause for thought)? And when you’ve smashed “the Patriarchy”, what then? When you realise that “The Patriarchy” is just a sneery name for real life. You know, just like about everything you live in, work in , drive on, and most of what you eat, was overwhelmingly built, made, grown, tended or long hauled by heterosexual men. But in the revolution we just say “how dare you!”, and “that’s sexism”, “straight male privilege”, “oppression”, and we say “you owe us”. And keep on taking from them anyway.
Personally, I say thank you. Because I have some manners, and I like men.
There comes a time though, when daddy listens to his other children. Not just the mouthy, demanding, complaining ones that he has tried to understand and listen to for 50 years, but the ones who just take on stuff and don’t complain. And that’s what’s happening now. And yes, we do have to be careful that us weak, relatively powerless kids don’t get left to fend for ourselves entirely, because let’s face it, we aren’t Superman or Wonder Woman, and the cultural revolution is not coming. It was never meant to come. And by now you’ll have guessed that I’m very glad of that.
Much of this has been blamed on “old people” and their values, and you know they are right. Us baby boomers. But the old people responsible aren’t old conservatives. Gun toting, redneck hillbillies, and suburban lawn defenders. No. It’s the old radicals that have brought this on you, with their illusions taught as fact, their ideologies as truth, and their demands as credible. My generation, we did fuck up. We largely gave you the “New Left”, modern feminism, queer theory, political correctness and Orwellian “social justice”, all of which has seeped into academia, the media and policy making. The baby boomer Left did this. I apologise on their behalf, though I realised decades ago that it was seriously full of shit.
Do me a favour. Don’t listen to those people. They mean you no good. And if your mother is one, well look, everyone has to grow up. We all have our burdens.
Life is hard, but it’s worth it. We can come through anything when we kick on the engine in ourselves. Your happiness is not going to come out of the barrel of an idea, or banding together as identities or victims. It’s going to be in real life, relationships, hearts and bodies, deep nature, your own questions. Nature is the only politics that lasts, and you have Nature. You got this.