Thursday, January 13, 2011

Benton's "Gay Science" has important installment on homosexuality and social "non-conformity"

The Falls Church News Press (VA) has run a series called “Gay Science” by Nicholas F. Benton.

I can recall a friend in graduate school coming to Pride in Minneapolis, Loring Park, Libertarian Party Booth, with a copy of Nietzche’s “The Gay Science” as required philosophy reading.

The Metro Times runs his series as an advertisement paid for by the Nicholas F. Benton Foundation (best link seems to be this ).

But one of his best installments is Episode 13, “Gay Sensibility and Constructive Non-Conformity”.   He argues that there is a logical nexus between non-conforming sexual orientation (perhaps gender identity, too), and resistance to being expected to compete according to society’s norms.  He writes, in particular,

“Conformity is the bane of our, or any, age. In our times, young people are tracked almost like chattel into social expectations that lock them, with few variations, into routinely mundane and mediocre lives to reinforce the powers that be. Not a totalitarian system, this is the norm for our democracy, and it is done through our ruling class' vast resources of social engineering.

“Boys play sports to ready themselves to fight and die in wars. Girls play with dolls and cheer boys on the sidelines of sporting events, groomed to comfort the fighting men and have their babies.

“Alternatively, today's young are groomed to attend college, become steeped in student loan debt, to find a job to pay it off, afford marriage, buy a house and have children. By their early 20s, they're set in cement, locked in at an early age, with few inspired or motivated to buck the trend.”

It’s interesting, his insight that this paradigm is “the norm for our democracy”. Paragraph 2 here generates the link between “don’t ask don’t tell” and the former military draft, and the idea that it could come back some day.

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