As I predicted in 2009, some time before Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell was repealed, allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces, as a policy of the Obama administration, has resulted in command-level, institutional celebrations of homosexuality.
Another administration (and, frankly, a different, wiser American people) might have been able to handle it differently. But with this administration, it was never going to be enough to simply let gays be open about their preferences, and then have everybody shut up about it.
That’s not how the military works, for one thing. It’s not how executive departments of the government work. After 100 years of “progressive” government, the Mark 1 Mod 0 mode for government administration is not tolerance, it’s affirmation. Mere tolerance might as well be hatred now. Affirmation — orchestrated, enforced affirmation — is required to establish that there’s some form of special, narrowly defined “fairness” going on, and that policy is being adhered to. Democratic administrations are especially likely to ride this mode of operation hard.
So ritual affirmation of homosexuality is now built into military schedules.
As the Facebook post below indicates, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point held its “Inaugural Gay Rights History Luncheon” last Friday. The operative word is “gay.” This luncheon isn’t celebrating “rights.” If it were doing that, it wouldn’t refer to anyone’s sexual preferences, which aren’t even a proper subject of “rights.” (To take just one example, if your sexual preferences involve underage minors, you aren’t held to have the “right” to act on them. Nor do you have the “right” to engage in sexual relations with another person. If you did, there would be no such crime as rape. Rights are good against the state, and to some extent against other people. Rights compel and constrain others: the right to life means other people, including the state, have to take care not to kill you. There’s no realm of sexual activity that society or politics has ever considered to be a “right” that compels others, or puts your activities beyond the reach of regulation.)
No, the luncheon is about sexual preferences, not rights, and it’s about placing sexual preferences front and center in people’s social and political relations.
What does this have to do with military readiness? Nothing. In 2009, I asked, about military commanders, the same thing we could ask about the future officers at West Point, and the officers and instructors who mold them there:
It is entirely just to ask what possible relationship there is, between a willingness to make celebratory endorsements based on sexual orientation, and fitness for military command. These same commanders would have no problem at all commending individual gay soldiers and sailors for heroism, or service above and beyond the call of duty. Commending them, in other words, for their professional performance. How would we be advancing the readiness of our military by requiring the commanders to specifically affirm the soldiers’ sexual orientation – which gay service advocates insist, incidentally, is not relevant to military performance?
Having “gay rights luncheons” forces it to matter. A gay rights luncheon is not about tolerance; it’s about forcing people to express opinions one way or another, as a condition of their professional environment.
An honestly tolerant approach would be to let everyone feel however he wants about homosexuality, without any institutional celebrations prejudicing the work environment. That’s not what we have, however. We have favoritism and prejudice, including militarily irrelevant demands for positive affirmation of other people’s sex lives, built into administration of the military now.
This situation won’t remain stable. Coupled with things like the teaching tools in the military’s Equal Opportunity training manual (which urges trainees to, among other things, “assume racism is everywhere, every day”), the politicized emphasis on sexual orientation will, over time, cause military cohesion and performance to decline. Unlike the people who insist that this won’t happen, I’ve correctly predicted everything that actually has happened. This will too.