June 7, 2023

The Revolution at the Heart of ‘Pride’

Old norms don’t die easily. They must be killed in order to achieve “Pride” in the alternative.

June 1 marked the advent of Pride Month — the most important sacrament of the American secular religious calendar. During Pride Month, public schools across the nation teach small children the joys of alternative sexual practices and orientations; corporations plaster their stores in rainbow accoutrements of all sorts; and the federal government of the United States proclaims its fidelity to the LGBTQ+*&^% ideology.

The American public, for the most part, has historically taken Pride Month not for what it is but for what it sometimes purports to be: a call for tolerance of the marginalized. But that, of course, is not what Pride Month is or ever was. Pride Month is not a call for equality but a call for revolution. The Pride movement was always a call for a replacement of historic, tried and true cultural norms with new, untried and risky cultural norms.

Heteronormativity is one such tried and true norm: the correct belief that any durable society rests on the basis of male-female dyads producing children. Such a norm ought to be promoted. But Pride suggests the opposite: that heteronormativity is an authoritarian and discriminatory standard that places artificial limits on the full flowering of human sexuality. Explode the norm and maximize human happiness!

This, of course, was precisely the case made by the original exponents of the sexual revolution. Herbert Marcuse, author of “Eros and Civilization” (1955) called for a rewriting of all sexual norms in order to tear down the capitalist structure. He sought “a non-repressive civilization, based on a fundamentally different experience of being, a fundamentally different relation between man and nature, and fundamentally different existential relations.” Such a civilization could only be birthed by treating “the body in its entirety (as) an object of cathexis, a thing to be enjoyed — an instrument of pleasure.” Sex would be unmoored from marriage and parenthood; Marcuse argued, “the barriers against absolute gratification would become elements of human freedom… This sensuous rationality contains its own moral laws.”

By 1970, feminist Shulamith Firestone argued that sexual revolution would bring about “not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally.” Happiness would now be found in a “reversion to an unobstructed pansexuality — Freud’s ‘polymorphous perversity’ — would probably supersede hetero/homo/bi-sexuality.”

We have now reached the dystopia sought by Marcuse and Firestone: a world in which all the elites in our society participate in the rewriting of durable societal norms in favor of unending sexual gratification. In order to maintain that dystopia, however, our societal elites require one more element: repression of the traditional norms. A fair fight might leave traditional Judeo-Christian norms in place; they’ve proved rather durable over time. Marcuse had a solution for just such a problem: repression. Promotion of the new morality would require quashing the old. “(L)iberation of the Damned of the Earth presupposes suppression not only of their old but also of their new masters,” Marcuse wrote.

And so the culture war rages. Because, after all, old norms don’t die easily. They must be killed in order to achieve “Pride” in the alternative. And that revolution requires the exercise of cultural, governmental and corporate power from sea to shining sea.


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