District of Corruption

Red Velvet


Richard Spencer’s references to Alex Knepper and his erotic activities while working as David Frum’s assistant bring up what is not an isolated embarrassment. It betokens what may be a widening problem for the neoconservative camp and given the influence of the neoconservatives, for the entire authorized Right. (Fortunately our side will not be involved, since we have no more investment in the present conservative movement than we do in the Obama administration.) It is highly doubtful that Knepper’s solicitation of sexual favors, “posting many pieces on a chat site for gay teens,” began the day before yesterday. Presumably there was a cover-up going on for a while, that is, as long as Frum could keep Alex’s critics at bay. Finally despite his value as a gutter journalist, Knepper became too much of a liability to be kept any longer (pardon the double entendre), and so Frum gave him the heave ho with expressions of “regret and remorse.”

I do recall a time when those who stupidly or opportunistically tried to see the good side of their new masters assured me that the ascending neocons were “serious about family issues.” They might have sounded like a cross between Trotsky and Ariel Sharon on foreign policy; and they might have drooled incessantly over Latino immigration, the Civil Rights Act, and the memories of their anti-Stalinist Marxist favs. But when family issues came up, one could supposedly count on them. This may have been the case for a few years, but by now the old story has worn thin. On family issues, the neocons are social-cultural leftists, and it is likely they’re going to drag all their dependents and lickspittles, and particularly their Christian stooges, in the same direction.

The neoconservatives have had a cozy relation with gays for some time, a truth that can be ascertained by looking at the staff of New Criterion, the catamites of Allan Bloom, and many neocon friendships in the New York-Washington Corridor. This however is no reason to ascribe ideological positions to those who feel comfortable around gays. De gustibus non disputandum! And one can always point to the fact that truer conservatives in an earlier period showed the same erotic propensities and were often exposed by the Left for their indiscretions.

The difference between then and now however is that none of these earlier homosexual conservatives or their well-wishers went around legitimating alternative lifestyles. It was simply assumed that individuals, including conservatives who thought of themselves as Christians, had their failings; and it was they who would have to cope with such flaws as idiosyncratic sexual preferences. But since the early 1990s, when the Wall Street Journal began bashing Buchanan for insulting the “San Francisco Democrats,” which was taken as a coded reference to gays, the neocon camp has been keen on homosexual rights, even pushing in some well-publicized instances the institution of gay marriage.

Jonah Goldberg, David Frum, and John Podhoretz are only three of the more prominent advocates in the “conservative” communion of extending marriage to gays. And for the last ten days, we’ve been treated to one tirade after the other against New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, for failing to show sufficient respect for Gay Pride parades. Paladino’s remark before a gathering of Hasidic Rabbis in Brooklyn that they should not “allow their children to be brainwashed” by those who treat homosexual relations as a norm, was perfectly appropriate. Such brainwashing goes on in our public schools incessantly; and I’m sure that Frederic Dicker of the New York Post, Charles Krauthammer on FOX, and other neocon talking heads know what Paladino said is directly related to reality.

But he is clearly not on the same page with Human Events’s “conservative of the year” in 2009, Dick Cheney. Unlike the scorned Paladino, Cheney is passionately in favor of gay marriage and showcases his lesbian daughter. While Cheney’s value as a “conservative” has more to do with his foreign policy belligerence than with his conception of marriage, indisputably his work as a gay activist has not damaged his “conservative” image. By contrast, the spunky Italian hard hat Paladino is being savaged night and day by neocons for taking the opposite position.

Earlier in the year, when every neocon celebrity came out enthusiastically for Obama’s concession to the social Left, to get rid of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military, I naively assumed that the reason was the one I heard Krauthammer give: “We’re going to need the military and so why exclude anyone who wants to serve on the basis of sexual preference.” I won’t get into the arguments that could be marshaled on the other side, for example, about gay officers trying to extract favors from those with lower ranks. But presumably if I thought like a neocon, that the primary mission of the U.S. is to get repeatedly into military crusades for democracy, I might have seen Krauthammer’s point.

Unfortunately, by now the neocons, and especially the children of the founding fathers, seem to be intent on accommodating gays, that is, people they’re more likely to run into in Starbucks than their well-wishers who live in fly-over country. And I don’t blame the neocons for preferring sexually ambiguous Jewish publicists whom they meet in their own social world to the cognitively deprived goyim who hang on their every word. I might prefer the company of urbane metrosexuals to those fools who weep over Glenn Beck’s incoherent encomia to MLK.

My question is what will happen when the latest neocon move to the left becomes an authorized position in their movement. Will those who depend on neocon favors go along with the move or will there be some opposition? My prediction is as follows. The drones will fall into line, with their usual rhetorical dishonesty. Just as in the case of the transformation of the Reverend Dr. King, from a quasi-Marxist philanderer and crass plagiarizer into a conservative theologian and Augustinian Christian, gay marriage will become a new exemplification of “family values.” There is no way one could do verbal justice to the sleaziness of kowtowing movement conservatives. I still vividly recall the way The Gambler, Bill Bennett, came out for hyper-Zionist Lieberman for vice-president in 2008, after having devoted years of his life to inveighing against abortion. Supposedly Lieberman, who voted for late-term abortion, was good on “democratic values” and therefore deserved to be president. Perhaps Bennett’s sponsors threw him payola for this highly publicized endorsement.

The most breath-taking example of servility toward the neocon master class that I’ve encountered came in a book of essays by a minor art critic dealing with postmodernist academics. The book treated the violently anti-Western, anti-Christian, and anti-rational ideas of three professors at prestigious universities, all of whom, not incidentally, had conspicuously Russian Jewish names. Although the Jewish backgrounds of these postmodernists may not tell everything about their intellectual journeys, such biographical data is certainly relevant for understanding them. American Jews, like American Irish, are disproportionately on the left but the fact that the Jews go disproportionately into the academic profession may have something to do with the leftist orientation of universities. Moreover, the attraction to postmodernism, as a vehicle for deconstructing a culture that one finds oppressive to one’s ethnic group, would be understandable in a group that feels rightly or wrongly marginalized in a Christian society.

There are certainly ways of expressing this self-evident connection between leftwing postmodernism and Jewish alienation without being unduly offensive. But the author in question had no desire to bring up a taboo subject, which might have cost him a cushy post in the neocon empire. Instead he devoted the last part of his book to beating up on German straw men, which is a favorite neocon pastime, perhaps best exemplified by Alan Bloom’s rant against “the German connection” in The Closing of the American Mind.Apparently recognizably Jewish representatives of leftwing postmodernism had been reading too much Martin Heidegger and were being corrupted by the same ideas that led to the Holocaust.

Now I for one admire Heidegger’s work and, presumably unlike our art critic, I have read his Sein and Zeit several times with growing admiration. I could also never imagine myself believing any of the trash the author in question attributes to Heidegger’s philosophy of being; and I’m not sure it’s even there. And I doubt he believes his other subjects picked up their subversive thinking (or anti-thinking) from Heideggerian ontology. The neocon art critic is obviously trying to kill two birds with one stone, both aimed at pleasing his masters, savaging the goddamned Krauts, who were once ruled by Hitler, and stripping Jewish leftists of any significant Jewish association. Those who play such abject games should have no trouble recognizing gay parades and gay marriage as paradigmatic “family values.” They will be depicted as the newest stage of the Civil Rights revolution, which was a “conservative” event from Selma through Stonewall.