Articles, Rants and Explorations
Current Jennilog for 11 / 22 / 2003: A Call To Arms
THE SOFT INQUISITION
There is a war going on, well, of course there is always a war going on, somewhere, humans being the violent primates that they are; conflict is wired into our nature. Hunter gatherers all, and we have not significantly changed for the past 150,000 years. We, as a species, are driven to seek and search and hunt things, and we are driven to collect and acquire. This is what we evolved to do, and we perform the actions in everything we do. Though we forage now in supermarkets, and we hunt down bargains and job opportunities, and we gather books and music and playthings, the drive to do so is far more than 150,000 years old.
Another thing our primate heritage drives us to be is tribal, we form groups and cliques and associations and clubs...and also we form families. Tribalism, like hunting and gathering, serves us in terms of survival, but it also has a dark side in that what is not defined as being 'us', is most certainly 'them' and to the tribal mind, 'us' is always more deserving and good and right and true and worthy than 'them', and this quality of innate deserving is applied not only to resources and land, but also to rights and even life, itself.
This is our drive to war. We are driven to take from other tribes, kill other tribes, dominate other tribes, anything deemed to be 'less' or 'unworthy', anything deemed 'not us', deemed 'them'. 100,000 years ago, this worked out well, because when resources grew short, it could be guaranteed that some humans in a region would always survive, by preying on their distant kin; in this way rather than everyone starving equally, at least some groups would live to reproduce. This instinct is so powerful that we are driven to sublimate it in all manner of abstracted competition, from violent sports to violent stories and violent games.
But in our modern world, in our technological abundance and power, such instincts are dangerous to allow to run wild, and we are at the greatest risk from our own ancient natures. Our tools have exceeded our own development, we are not adapted to the new environment we ourselves have created from the natural world. There is constant conflict both within, and without, our selves.
Conflict can come in many forms, and not all are viscerally violent. Some forms of conflict are social, political, and though little blood is shed, lives are nevertheless destroyed, and resources and opportunities are certainly hunted down and taken by force.
It is said that the measure of any culture is by how it treats its least members. In a primitive culture, the demands of survival often require the elimination, by violence or abandonment, of those who are weak, considered a burden, or which are otherwise found undesirable to the group. This is cruel, but nature is harsh, nature has no feelings, and survival is all that matters when one lives as an animal.
But we have elevated ourselves to a life beyond anything natural in this world, wrapped in our prophylactic technology, we -the first world of wealth and power- are shielded from storm and heat, from insect and animal, from soil and from hunger. There is no excuse for us to act like bestial savages, if we at all claim to possess a rational mind. Thus we may well judge ourselves by how we treat those not considered a valuable part of the tribe, those not considered to be 'us', those who are weak, or different, or a burden, or somehow undesirable.
Indeed, the progress of human endeavor can be measured in this way; we have gone from abandoning the old and injured to caring for them, from banishing the sick to treating them, from automatically loathing and fearing the different to making an effort to understand and include them. We are not ideal in these matters, by any means, but as a whole the human species has come a very long way, in a very short time. Most of the truly astonishing gains in such progress (such issues as women's suffrage and racial equality for example) have occurred only within the last 150 years, less than the blink of an eye in terms of the history of mankind. We still have a long, long way to go, however.
This conflict, between our bestial, animal nature, and the humanity we strive for is perhaps most evident in the current subtle civil war occurring throughout much of the world over the issue of civil equality in marriage.
I speak, of course, of the fierce and sometimes violent conflict over the civil rights of Queer folk, which in 2003 has come to a focus with regard to the issue of marriage. This conflict is most intense in the United States, though it is not limited to that nation alone, it is certainly at the greatest fever pitch within the First World in the States. While nations like Canada, and Great Britain, and most of Europe all work clearly towards finding a way to accord equal civil liberties and rights to their homosexual, transsexual and transgendered populations, America stands steadfast in a fundamentalist power struggle to firmly eradicate civil equality, or at best, to institute a form of apartheid, a 'separate but almost equal' form of civil registries in place of actual marriage.
The force driving this war is one-sided, it is fundamentalist Christianity, a minority with astounding resolve and impressive finances, and a very singular sense of purpose, and a common enemy. They are being joined by larger, and more mainstream forms of Christianity, such as the vast and powerful Catholic church, against this mutual foe.
The enemy? Queer folk. People, like me. There is a new nigger in town, a new monster to be destroyed, a new name for the 'them' that is 'Not Us', a poisonous satan which must be contained, constrained, limited, shackled and bound, and that new nigger of note is the homosexual person.
Now you may think I am going to make a case for how all gay folks deserve the right to marry exactly equal to that of their straight counterparts. And yes, I say without equivocation that they should, because if 'equality under the law' has any meaning at all, if it is anything more than just a falsehood and a lie, the equal right to marry is a clear and obvious thing which should have been granted already, long, long ago.
But what many may not realize is that the true nature of this war, this fight against the equal right to marry waged by the religious fundamentalists is not actually about marriage at all. Marriage is just the current 'Hamburger Hill' strategic hotspot of this little social Vietnam, the real conflict is actually against the fear that Queer folks will end up accepted fully as equal citizens overall. In short, the real war is a war to maintain the right to treat all homosexuals and transsexuals and such as third-class citizens, as monsters, as inferiors, as niggers.
If gay folks gain the equal right to marriage under law, it does indeed legitimize their relationships and lives just as the religious fundamentalists fear, and that means that it becomes much harder, even impossible, to successfully preach that all Queer folk are evil, or that they are to be despised, to be hated, to be shunned, to be free to destroy their lives, fire them from jobs, evict them from their homes, kill them on the street and escape punishment or imprisonment for the act, and otherwise to harm, hurt, disparage and vilify them. If gay folks gain equality in marriage, then they lose a great deal of their status as official niggers, and take a gigantic step towards just being people, equal and free.
What the Fundamentalist Christians are really fighting for is the right to keep their new niggers niggers. They have all but completely lost their last nigger, based on skin color and the dubious biblical basis for slavery born from the 'Mark Of Cain' mythology, just as they lost the nigger previous to that, the Leper.
Many Queer people fail to see how important the issue of marriage is. While their fundamentalist Christian attackers fight with solidarity, many Queer people ponder whether they even want such a thing as marriage available to them. They sit on the sidelines, thinking that this is hardly a vital issue. By itself, perhaps it is not for some. But in terms of social equality, the issue of gay marriage is absolutely everything. It is the key to the door, the very Proclamation Of Emancipation for Queer folk. By definitizing, marriage, not civil registries, not small concessions of basic civil rights, or tax breaks to buy gays off, marriage legitimizes the very existence, the very lives of Queer people.
The fundamentalist Christian understands this implicitly, and can feel the power to hate their favored nigger slipping from their clutches. They do not want to lose that special right to hate, to condemn, to punish an invented enemy, and they have made it the very focus of their political future.
This is the turning point, this is the crux upon which the social advancement of not only Queer humans, but all humanity is currently spinning upon. I say that it is not just a matter for the benefit of the homosexual, because, as previously stated, a civilization is judged by how it treats the people within it, and the advancement of mankind comes not just from technological prowess, but perhaps even more importantly, from the advancement of social liberty, and social justice. When the institutionalized enslavement of dark-skinned humans was abolished, all of humanity, of every color, was benefited. In that act, all of mankind gained ground. So too with the ongoing liberation of women. As a species, we advance as we rise above our most bestial and animalistic instincts, in favor of rational and generous and compassionate behavior.
The Inquisition has returned. It is a 'soft' inquisition, one mostly waged with arbitrary and hateful laws, in courts and in congress and in political chambers, though there is some physical violence to be found (violent attacks against Queer people continue to escalate every month) as well. The Soft Inquisition is being run by a coalition of churches this time, not just the Catholics, and has even more active involvement than the first, most famous, Inquisition. It is an openly declared war, too, and the Christians perpetrating it clearly state it as a war, and more than this, a war they intend to win.
If Queer people fail to get off of their behinds, and fight with total dedication in return, to stop this socially violent incursion, this declared war against them, then they will find, in the end, that they have lost far more than they imagine, far more than merely an equal right to marriage. They will find they have lost themselves to being niggers forever, damned not by some mythological god, but by the laws of their nations, as determined by the hate and ignorance of those determined to see them harmed.
Dammit, faggots, FIGHT!
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