A little while ago, a few weeks back, we had a discussion here in this space about my insistence on using um, flamboyant and non-PC language when discussing the homosex phenom. We had a good time in that discussion, but we weren’t done yet.
Let me appear to change the subject for a minute. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu says something profound, something that very few conservative culture warriors, God bless them all, get. He argues that the wise general first attacks the enemy’s plans, then secondly, his alliances, and then third, his army or his forces. Get that? You don’t attack the enemy in the first instance; you attack what he is doing. You attack his plans first.
The push for homosexual marriage is very recent, and it is still ongoing. That particular battle is still in process, and no, we haven’t actually lost it yet. But we did lose some earlier battles, which is why the challenges are so great now. Conservatives tend to think that “the plan” is to corrupt our laws as a way of corrupting our youth, and so on. But that is a later phase of the strategy. The plan, as Orwell could have told us, was to corrupt the language first. The goal was to do this by establishing themselves as the sole arbiters of what constitutes “hate,” what puts the phobic into homophobia, what forms of discourse are automatically out of civilized bounds, what qualifies as hate speech, and so on. They put on the robe, walked up behind the bench, and have been issuing decrees ever since.
Unless we draw the line sometime, there will soon be laws against putting those foamy hand soap dispensers in homeless shelters, on grounds of hobofoamia. We are up against it, people.
For some strange reason, mainstream conservatives have tried to fight these characters on the explicit issues of law, but have not challenged them in this central corruption, the corruption that gives them the power to pursue all the rest of it. To be sure, conservatives have complained about the weird standards as they have been applied (“How is it ‘hate speech’ to simply say that I believe Prop 8 should have been enforced in California?), but complaining to the ref does one thing that we should never want to do in this instance, which is acknowledge that these guys have any right to act as refs. As soon as we grant that fundamental usurpation, surprise, surprise, we will have plenty more weird calls to complain about.
What we must needs do is this, confreres? What is their plan? They want to be the discourse cops. Instead of making them discourse cops, and then spending our time pointing what a bad job they are doing at it, why not gleefully embrace the duty and high responsibility of tweaking them every lawful chance we get? We tweak them by doing whatever it was they just prohibited. This is quite different from objecting to them applying their bogus standards all the times when we didn’t do anything.
Now I say “lawful chance” because, while they are not the discourse cops, there is such a thing. The Holy Spirit wants us to keep our speech gracious, seasoned with salt. Jesus tells us that we shall give an account for every idle word we utter. We should shun corrupt speech, and steer completely clear of the shrill malice of the Westboro Baptists. But we only do this because Jesus requires it. We frankly don’t care what the harridan in charge of Speech Codes at Behemoth State Cow College thinks of it. Do we? We care for her good opinion about as much as we care for the good opinion of the Westboro Baptists.
So what is their plan? They have assumed the center by seeking to regulate what we may and may not say. Before all marriage law battles, before every legislative clash, before any of that. And I have sought to assume a different center — the center of a conservative resistance to their central hubris, a hubris that was in evidence decades ago, and which they are taking full advantage of now. I promised at the top that I would be writing about my refusal to live in Pinkletown. Someone might point out that in fact I am doing so, so what about that? I should rather say that I refuse to live in Pinkletown while calling it by its approved name, which is something like DignityandAffordableHousingforAllville. And by refusing to acquiesce in this aboriginal corruption, this perversion of words, I am making it possible for my great-grandkids to live somewhere besides this linguistic shantytown.
The reason conservatives are dismayed today by how the ground appears to be shifting beneath their feet is that they do not recognize how complicit they have been in this whole process. Let me make up an example, and I will leave it to you to decide how true to life it might be. A junior research assistant for the DC office of FamiliesRUs is talking to some reporters the day after the Supreme Court debacle and in response to a question, off the record, he said he “really had to hand it to the homos. They were dedicated to their mistaken cause, far more dedicated than many of our people are,” etc. Despite being off the record, a tape of the exchange was leaked, and the uproar was lurid and overdone. Of course, FRU started apologizing like crazy, fired the assistant on the second day of the controversy, and then started apologizing for not having fired him on the first day. And when I say “apologizing,” I mean apologizing like Paula Deen would have for having said kaka in kindergarten. At least, that’s what it sounded like. Press releases, video tape, a second video tape, a press conference, and then pressuring a conservative publishing house — that was going to publish this hapless young man’s book in the fall — to spike it.
Impossible, you think? Conservatives! The opposition of the today’ radical proposals, enforcers of yesterday’s.