The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Destructive Force of ‘Equality’

Posted on | September 9, 2023 | Comments Off on The Destructive Force of ‘Equality’

Many Americans were shocked when it was recently reported that the principal of John Glenn Elementary School in Oklahoma City, Shane Murnan, is a drag queen who performs as “Shantel Mandalay.” Furthermore, the fact that Murnan had previously been arrested on child pornography charges might have been a red flag, even if the charges were dropped on the grounds that it could not be proved that the material depicted minors. We might have expected this in some left-wing bastion like San Francisco, but Oklahoma City? Shocking. The state school superintendent called it “outrageous” and “completely inappropriate.”

How did this happen? Let our older readers think back to their childhood and ask whether any such person could have been hired as the principal of an elementary school back in those days. The explanation for this — Weimar-style decadence in public schools, even in Trump-voting “red” states — can be summarized in a single word: “Equality.”

This problem didn’t start with drag queens, nor is it of recent origin. Rather, if we want to point the finger at the most direct cause of our descent in degeneracy, the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution must be critically examined. Liberals have interpreted the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to mean things that those who drafted and ratified that amendment certainly never intended it to mean. The chief purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to establish the citizenship of former slaves, and to guarantee their protection under “due process of law.” The amendment was sufficiently controversial at the time that some of the ratifying states, including New Jersey and Ohio, voted to rescind their ratification after Republican supporters of the amendment lost control of the state legislature.

Given the mischief subsequently unleashed — the Fourteen Amendment has become the Pandora’s Box of constitutional chaos — we must wonder what those old-time Republican abolitionists would think of such consequences as Shantel Mandalay, the draq queen school principal.

In an 1880 Supreme Court decision — issued when knowledge of the Fourteenth Amendment’s purpose was still fresh in memory — it was declared that the Equal Protection Clause was “designed to assure to the colored race the enjoyment of all the civil rights that under the law are enjoyed by white persons, and to give to that race the protection of the general government, in that enjoyment, whenever it should be denied by the States.” Enforcement of that federal protection proved problematic in the post-Reconstruction era, giving rise to the 90-year tenure of Jim Crow, which finally ended in the mid-1960s with the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. The triumph of the civil rights movement occurred (perhaps not coincidentally) at a time of social unrest and liberal domination of the federal court system, and it was from the tumult of the 1960s — riots and protests, “hippies” and “free love” — that new radical movements emerged.

Feminism was the first of these movements, asserting that social inequality between men and women was the product of unjust discrimination that deprived women of “equal protection,” resulting in a series of legal cases which, among other things, established sexual harassment as a civil rights violation (Meritor Saving Bank v. Vinson, 1986). Meanwhile, what was called the “gay rights” movement began to argue that discrimination against homosexuals likewise constituted a deprivation of “equal protection,” and one of the most notable early controversies to arise from this claim was in Miami, Florida, where the Dade County Commission passed a gay-rights ordinance that met with a protest led by Anita Bryant. At the heart of Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign was the argument that a policy of non-discrimination would require schools to employ homosexuals. Here is how the result of Bryan’s campaign was reported by the New York Times in 1977:

MIAMI, June 7 — In a decision almost certain to have national impact, residents of the Miami area voted by a margin of more than 2-to-1 today to repeal a law that protects homosexuals from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation.
The vote, a referendum on an ordinance enacted more than four months ago by the Dade County Commission, was the first of its kind in a major United States city. It came at the end of a heated campaign that focused national attention on the long-smoldering question of what legal and social status should be given the 5 to 10 percent of the nation’s population that practices homosexuality.
Both the winners and the losers in the campaign vowed to continue their struggles elsewhere in the country.
Anita Bryant, the pop singer and television personality who led the repeal forces, celebrated the victory by dancing a jig at her Miami Beach home. Later, she told newsmen that she was establishing a national committee to fight homosexuality and added:
“All America and all the world will hear what the people have said, and with God’s continued help, we will prevail in our fight to repeal similar laws throughout the nation which attempt to legitimize a life style that is both perverse and dangerous.”

You may disagree with Bryant’s opinions, but the voters of Dade County supported her position by a 2-to-1 margin. What is remarkable is how rapidly liberals had transferred the concept of “equality” from the matter of race — the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — to the matter of sexual “life style,” as Bryant called it in 1977. The logic of this transfer has never been subjected to the kind of critical scrutiny it deserves.

Why is it that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, enacted in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, when the legal status of freedmen was clearly a matter of national concern, metamorphosized more than a century later to become the basis of legitimizing homosexual behavior? What seems to me to be the unifying factor was the liberal celebration of victimhood. Black people were viewed by liberals as “mascots,” to borrow Thomas Sowell’s term from The Vision of the Anointed. Because black people were victims of unjust discrimination, their cause was championed by liberals, who derived a sense of personal heroism from the civil rights crusade. Subsequently, when homosexuals claimed that they, too, were the victims of unjust discrimination, liberal endorsement of their cause was automatic.

This logic was always a non sequitur. Homosexuality is a matter of behavior. The distinction between gay and straight is not analogous to the visible hereditary differences between black and white people, for the simple reason that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Most people never would have suspected, for example, that Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sexually attracted to young boys. Nothing about Sandusky’s appearance or behavior suggested such an interest. Sandusky was very much “in the closet,” and I suppose most gay-rights advocates would even deny that he was a member of the “LGBTQ community,” as it is now called. But my point is that nobody ever discriminated against Sandusky on the basis of his sexual preference because nobody had any inkling what his preference was.

By contrast, no investigation is required to recognize black people — a matter of visible hereditary traits, genotype producing phenotype — so that anyone wishing to discriminate against black people easily knows whom to target. In order to discriminate against gay people, however, you must obtain information beyond mere appearance, unless the gay person makes a point of announcing their sexual orientation.

Here we come to a weird aspect of the gay-rights argument, namely that being “out” is necessary to their happiness, so that they are victimized in any situation where they can’t proclaim their homosexuality (and be applauded for doing so). This is part of what I’ve called the Compulsory Approval Doctrine of the gay-rights movement, the unspoken premise that no one can be permitted to express disapproval of homosexuality (as a behavioral phenomenon), a belief that tends toward a policy of exempting gay people from any criticism whatsoever, so that to be gay is to possess carte blanche — do whatever you want, without consequences.

Now, there are many gay people who vote Republican and who embrace conservatism quite generally. Peter Thiel is both gay and “far right,” and he is certainly not the only example of this phenomenon. In discussing the metamorphosis of “equality,” its transference from civil rights for black people to an all-purpose weapon now wielded by LGBTQ activists, it is not my intention to insult any of my fellow conservatives. But when we behold a situation like this one in Oklahoma City, with the drag queen “Shantel Mandalay” as elementary school principal, it’s important to ask the question: “How did we get here?” My contention is that by an uncritical acceptance of “equality” as a core value — indeed, a moral imperative — Americans have opened the door not only to such glaringly obvious wrongs, but to a thousand other problems that make life worse and are contributing to the destruction of our country.



Comments are closed.