Thursday, October 3, 2013

Arguing with Bullies: The Phobia Gambit

I love all the people out there who get their pantaloons in a twist because conservatives and Christians don't believe homosexual behavior is a good thing. They inevitably issue an angry denouncement proclaiming us "homophobic" as though we are somehow "afraid" of gay people.  I've seen a recent call for a boycott of Orson Scott Card's books and the new movie "Ender's Game" because Scott is Mormon and believes homosexual behavior is a sin. They call Card homophobic, a bigot and loser.

That makes no sense. 

If people like Card and me were "afraid" of gay people, we'd all pretend we thought gay marriage and gay sex were okey-dokey with us so that the scary gay people wouldn't hurt us and would stop calling us hurtful names that might make people not like us anymore. 

What a load of piffle!

Look I don't like alcohol addiction either but it doesn't make me alcoholicphobic or addictphobiic. I think adultery is wrong, but I'm not adultererphobic or for that matter sinnerphobic, a term I could use to apply to the fear of any person whose behavior violates my personal moral code.  The use of "phobic" applied to a person who disagrees with you on some moral point is nothing more than playground taunting, "You're just afraid; that's why you won't do it!" I can't tell you how many times I heard that used by 7th grade bullies to try and force some frightened kid to submit to their will or to do something he didn't want to do. 

Sadly for the LGBT advocacy community, many of us have grown up since 7th grade and we don't respond well to bullying. Their favorite tactic is useless against anyone who has actually bothered to grow up.  I seriously doubt Orson Scott Card is worried about the gay community boycotting his books. They don't read them anyway. Scott is making a good living writing for the huge untapped conservative audience for sci-fi/fantasy novels out there. They buys up his books in hardcover every time a new Ender novel comes out.  I've got the whole set myself.  The Commandant of the Marines made "Ender's Game" required reading for officer candidates. 

I don't own a single volume by Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde or Gore Vidal, not because they are gay authors, but because I don't like their stuff. I'm not boycotting them, nor calling for a boycott of gay authors.  I'll not be making any "boycott these gay authors" list. I just don't have any interest in buying books based on someone's sexual orientation. If I don't like their stuff I pass it by.  If I do, I read it.  I hear that Vidal's "Lincoln", for instance, is quite good and it may get a read before I'm done.  His historical perspective on Lincoln is, I hear, really well crafted and unique in the Lincoln literature. 

The difference I have with they hystrionic homophobe-bashers is that I don't care what books you own or do not own.  I don't call my LGBT friends heterophobic or Christian-phobic or Conservative-phobic if they disagree with me. As a way to force people to accept your point of view, I find the "you're afraid of us" argument less than effective with people who are at all worth convincing - grownups for instance.

Convincing the herd beasts is easy. Make them feel left out of the group and they totter into line as directed by the current societal bully boys.  People with real character and independence of thought recognize the bully argument for what it is and ignore it.  Those folk have left 7th grade far behind them. We are no longer afraid of them - not phobic if you will.

There's nothing sadder or more pathetic than a 40 year-old bully still trying to bend people to his will - or to hers for that matter.

© by Tom King


Coryan said...

I think you make some great points here. Labeling those that disagree with you is an attack on the person, not their argument. But would you agree that there are some homophobic people? I have known a couple people who had an irrational fear of gay people as if being near them would cause some harm. This is, of course not the norm, but I believe their are some who are homophobic. This doesn't change the point of your post, but I thought it worth mentioning.

Coryan said...

"there", not "their"