Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Power of the Powerless and the Lavender Curtain

One of the most troubling aspects of the same sex marriage debate is the complete capitulation of corporate America. Large companies are falling over themselves in an effort to outdo each other in accommodating gay rights. A Is this because they all agree 100% with every aspect of the gay agenda? I doubt it. The troubles of San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt suggest that there is more going on than a handful of people with signs in front of the hotel. The Public Utility company, PG&E, has donated money to an anti-Prop 8 group, and is lining up other businesses to fight the amendment.

The donation from the utility, and the formation of the business council, represents a shift from the last time that the question of gay marriage was on the ballot, in 2000. Back then, many businesses stayed on the sidelines.
Analysts said businesses may be more willing to get involved this time because they have more gay and lesbian employees who are out and in positions of power…

That is what worried me: gays in a position of power, using it to intimidate people into supporting their agenda. In the short run, each business believes that acquiescing is in their interests. The gay lobby gives them bad press if they hold out. They pressure their target behind the scenes, with money, with threats of cutting off other business relationships. If the business surrenders, the Lavender Mafia can make all those problems go away.

This blog is available to anyone who has been harassed by the gay lobby or other agents of political correctness. Send me your story. Try to keep it brief and to the point.

I am inspired to do this by the success of Czech dissident Vaclav Havel in fomenting the Velvet Revolution. His famous essay, “The Power of the Powerless,” is credited with helping to bring down the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. The allegory of the greengrocer encouraged his fellow dissidents in the Soviet bloc to stop cooperating with the regime. In spite of my request to “keep it brief,”I ask your indulgence for a not-so-brief summary of Havel’s argument.
The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: "Workers of the world, unite!" Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment's thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?

Is PG&E’s enthusiasm for same sex marriage so great that they feel an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with this ideal? Would not the business of the public utility, which is, after all, a monopoly, go on without this expression of solidarity with gay people? Have the owners of the public utility really given more than a moment’s thought to what same sex marriage would mean? Vaclav Havel again:

I think it can safely be assumed that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life "in harmony with society," as they say.
Obviously the greengrocer . . . does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone. The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: "I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace."


Our California businesses that support Equality California evidently expect to be left in peace. They behave in the manner expected of them. But what is the price they pay? Vaclav Havel’s genius is that he revealed to the greengrocers behind the Iron Curtain the price they paid.

Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan "I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient;' he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, "What's wrong with the workers of the world uniting?"

What is wrong with same sex couples getting married? They love each other.

Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is ideology. …The… system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

Human rights commissions suppress freedom of speech. Thought control takes place under the guise of prosecution for hate crimes. Private property rights are abrogated to accommodate the “privacy” rights of the newest and most powerful protected class. The democratic process is protected by bypassing people’s right to vote.

A Lavender Curtain is falling across America. Fair-minded Americans want gay people to be treated with dignity. But they don’t want to be pushed around. People are being quietly and not so quietly bullied by gay millionaires who don’t want the American people to ever have the opportunity to vote on the meaning of marriage. Institutions of civil society are being intimidated about pursuing their missions, for fear of running afoul of a high profile lawsuit, followed by a financial shake-down. Ordinary people are losing their rights to educate their children as they see fit.

Am I being hysterical? I don’t think so. Gays and lesbians are no more than 3% of the population. Their influence is all out of proportion to their numbers. But there is reason for hope.

Let us now imagine that one day something in our greengrocer snaps and he stops putting up the slogans merely to ingratiate himself. He stops voting in elections he knows are a farce. He begins to say what he really thinks at political meetings. And he even finds the strength in himself to express solidarity with those whom his conscience commands him to support. In this revolt the greengrocer steps out of living within the lie. He rejects the ritual and breaks the rules of the game. He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity. He gives his freedom a concrete significance. His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth. . . .

We know how the revolt of all the hypothetical greengrocers ended. Those thousands of individuals who stopped living the lie produced the Velvet Revolution. The Czech Republic, and the other countries of the former Soviet bloc obtained their independence without ever firing a shot. They just started living within the truth. They discovered that they were not alone. And they prevailed.
As I said earlier, this blog is available to anyone who has been harassed by the gay lobby or other agents of political correctness. Send me your story. I’ll review it before posting it. Try to keep it brief.
You are not alone.

3 comments:

Tom said...

I haven't been harassed by a "gay lobby," but I have been harassed by nameless neighbors: http://rationalfeast.blogspot.com/2007/05/hate-crimes-hit-home-literally.html.

I've also been denied -- until now -- the opportunity to enter into a civil, secular relationship with the man I love, simply because he is the man I love and not the woman.

It is not the "gay lobby" that is powerful, it is equality that is powerful. It is the Constitution that is powerful.

Brian said...

Dr. Roback-Morse,
That was very well put. People are acquiesing to gay rights activists b/c they think they are alone. People need to consider the effects this will have on the dignity of marriage, children, and society.

Chairm said...

In his comment above, Tom has provided a brief example of how the greengrocer analogy strikes at the heart of the pro-SSM campaign.

SSM argumentation, and the campaign that has promoted it, is inherently corruptive of society, for it hides its low basis behind something high, like the principles of equality and the principles of good governance.

Hides, not stands.

It has done so in courtrooms, in legislators, and in debates all over. It is not about marriage, nor equality, nor the Constitution. It is about identity politics, first and last.

And identity politics should not be the source of wisdom for an open and free society governed by the rule of law. Yet that is what the SSM campaign has brought to the corporate board rooms, to the employer-employee relationship, and even to customer relations.

Today, we are all greengrocers.