The Destructive Fruits of Sexual Politics

It may be no accident that Dale McAlpine, the Christian arrested for street preaching in England, was nabbed for his views on homosexuality. As Melanie Phillips points out in the Daily Mail, the preponderance of cases in what she calls Britain’s “attempt to stamp out Christianity” involve homosexuality.

This is also true in the U.S. and elsewhere as Christians find their beliefs proscribed once they criticize homosexuality. “This is in contrast to other contentious issues such as abortion, where the law specifically provides exemptions for conscience,” Phillips writes.

Clichés about “inequality,” “discrimination” and other agitprop jargon borrowed largely from the American civil-rights era disguise a much deeper development. The sexualization of politics (and the politicization of sex) is the most important – and least scrutinized – political development since the 1960s. In 40 years, the political Left has transformed itself from a socialistic campaign against property and enterprise into a sexual attack on the family, marriage and masculinity.

The sexual agenda is more than a simple request for “equality” (for feminists) or to be left alone (for homosexuals). It is an ideology with no precise limits demanding an open-ended sexual “liberation” that quickly expands into demands to exercise government power over others. As Burke observed, “Liberty, when men act in bodies, is power.”

Because this power covers what was once considered private life, the potential for intrusion is also unlimited. The words “power” or “empowerment” are now ubiquitous in feminist and gay literature, describing a control over other people’s private lives as well as public policy. Voices of restraint like gay campaigner Peter Tatchell, who criticized McAlpine’s arrest, do not change the larger reality.

Like other ideologies only more so, the danger may be seen in the absence of dissent. More than any other, sexual politics neuters, literally emasculates, its opposition. Feminist and gay politics contain a hostility toward heterosexual masculinity that is increasingly shared by the mainstream culture.

But no free society can exist without masculinity. Masculine strength is the only counterweight to the power of the state.

A free society needs people who are required to show courage, risk their lives and sacrifice them if necessary for our security and freedom – not just people who will do so, but people who must, as a matter of obligation. It requires people who cannot evade responsibility and danger by claiming weakness or sensitivity, who cannot run away, cry or claim special exemptions from the responsibilities of citizenship or the rules of constitutional government based on whatever they find “deeply offensive.”

And it needs such people apart from state functionaries. Otherwise the state will wield a monopoly of these functions, which makes it total.

Men (and really men alone) are required to risk their lives for our security and freedom. Women and homosexuals may well exhibit these qualities, but women are not required to do so, and homosexuals have opted out of the requirement. The only way these groups can be “empowered” is with the backing of – rather than as an alternative to – the government machinery.

The Daily Mail recounts that McAlpine was arrested because the policeman himself claimed to be deeply offended by McAlpine’s views, apparently expressed to him alone. “I am a homosexual, I find that offensive and I’m also the liaison officer for the bisexual-lesbian-gay-transsexual community,” Officer Sam Adams apparently told McAlpine before arresting him. I find many opinions offensive, but I cannot handcuff and incarcerate the people who express them.

Do homosexuals now have their own police that protect only them? Does a “bisexual-lesbian-gay-transsexual” police force arrest only heterosexuals? Not the equal protection of the laws but the subjective feelings of the policeperson – and of the special interests on whose behalf alone he was apparently exercising his official function – determined that McAlpine would be arrested. A free society cannot exist where the police serve special interests and where no distinction is recognized between hurt feelings and crime.

The sexual agenda is the most extreme in our culture today. Here in the U.S., the Employment Nondiscrimination bill will force employers to hire not simply homosexuals who keep their private lives to themselves (and who therefore need no special provision) but cross-dressers who exhibit themselves publicly.

Homosexuality is only part of a larger politics of sex that already exercises highly authoritarian powers, and Christians are not the only ones to run afoul of it. Heterosexual fathers, who embody the hated “patriarchy,” are subject now to a panoply of summary punishments, including incarceration without trial, simply for being fathers. This is exercised mostly through the divorce machinery, but it is spilling over to target both fathers and mothers in intact families.

In “The Prison and the Gallows,” feminist scholar Marie Gottschalk has shown with forthright honesty how the rapid rise in incarceration since the 1970s results directly from the sexual agenda. The U.S. and Britain are the epicenter of the new sexual politics. It is our task to bring it under control.

The alternative is to continue mouthing platitudes, in which case we will be dismissed as a chorus of scolds and moralizers—and yes, bigots. And we will lose.

Stephen BaskervilleStephen Baskerville is IAI’s Senior Fellow in Political Science and Human Rights. He is Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College and Research Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society and at the Independent Institute.

This article was originally published at on July 22, 2004.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

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