National Commentary

Nick Benton’s Gay Science No. 70: Gay Sensibility & the American Revolution, Pt. 1

This series is not as a history, or a memoir, but an argument, a case for a better perception of gay identity, based on evidence that far from a random phenomenon or corruption, the genus of same-sex erotic attraction is a vital, important and indispensable component of creation, overall, and human development, in particular.
In human society, it is a “seven percent solution,” an element built in as an intercession, so to speak, into the species’ merely procreative impulse grounded in male dominion over women, children and territory.

Those experiencing primarily same-sex erotic attraction are motivated by something other than the procreative-territorial impulse, and harbor not only a passion for those of their own sex, but also for the disenfranchised victims of male-dominated society, including women, children and, as no longer useful to the perpetuation of male control, the elderly and infirm.

The history of human social development is characterized by two currents in conflict.

• The first is grounded in the male-dominated nuclear family and its extension, in which the male rules the roost, dominating women in the exercise of his reproductive power, and his offspring for purposes of extending his “franchise,” so to speak. Boys are raised to be warriors to fight his territorial resource-capture wars or to become corporate clones in the administration of the franchise. Girls are raised to reproduce and care for more offspring in their early years. In this paradigm, the elderly and infirm are cast off, generally, as useless.

Males clash with other males in this “family values” paradigm to compete for territory or resources, or form expedient alliances to gain more collective control and fend off challengers. These form into tribes or nations in which the king male, the most brutish and gains ascendancy stays in power to rule over an extended dominion through the perpetuation of his family line, also known as hereditary succession. While queens are allowed periodically to protect the integrity of the overall process, in general women remain docile second-class citizens, children duly subservient, and populations captured through conquest enslaved to perform rote labor.

Subject peoples are kept in line through ignorance, religious superstition and, of course, downright repression.

• The second current is, in a word, egalitarian. It rejects the dynamics of the “family values” model, asserting that women, children and subject peoples retain as much right to enfranchisement as dominant males. It intercedes to fight on behalf of the subject peoples and is an alliance of defiant women, rebellious slaves and subject peoples, inspired by concepts of democratic, just government and determined to dash the crippling influence of religious superstition through general education to advance scientific knowledge and the power of reason in each and every individual.

There is no middle ground between these two currents, even though history is filled with futile efforts at trying for it.

We know where the first current comes from: nature’s mandate for self-preservation through reproduction. But where does the second current come from?
It comes from a push-back by all or part of the those repressed in the first current. But it is more than push-back. It is inspired by concepts of universal harmony, beauty and visions for a free, happy and creative life for all, and they come from persons not captured in the motive dynamics of the “family values” current.
That defines, ladies and gentlemen, us. It is where we gays come in.

While nature operates by its powerful, overriding demand for its reproduction, it also provides for the mitigating effects of that through an equally-powerful expression of erotic passion directed to the same sex, though limited to a small fraction of the total population.

From the earliest human records, egalitarian anti-tyrannical teachings have come from our words and pens, from Socrates and Plato to the psalms and benevolence of King David, through pro-republican leaders of the Italian renaissance to Shakespeare, and the myriad of our gay sisters and brothers whose lives have gone unrecorded who have populated human history.

Our identity in the long sweep of humanity finds our natural same-sex erotic attraction and fight for egalitarian and democratic values coexisting and inseparable. I call this overall disposition our “gay sensibility.”

It accounts for why we are hated by the powerful “alpha males” of the “family values” paradigm. At the heart of the matter, we are their arch enemies who have created the political and other institutions to liberate their enslaved women, children and subjects.

The American Revolution represents a truly radical, history-changing triumph of the egalitarian current against the “family values” one.

The ideas that burned in the hearts of a people inspired to fight for their independence from a brutal “family values” monarchy, on behalf of sustainable institutions of a democratic republic, came from visionaries like Thomas Paine, whose pamphlet, “Common Sense,” railed against the very idea of monarchy and hereditary succession on behalf of a universal vision of a stable egalitarian alternative.

To be continued.