In the Shadow of Leftward Movement
This blog is on record as not caring much about The Gay Problem. Of all the identity groups in the West, gays are the least problematic. A decent number seem to be natural aristocrats and right-wingers, but even if all of them were virulent leftists, they make up a tiny percentage of the population. And, honestly, what’s the worst they’re gonna do? Have a few gay weddings, prance around in chaps in a few parades, and gentrify a few ghettos? Two things they won’t be doing any time soon are setting off bombs and lowering home values.
Nevertheless, there’s a lesson about the ever-leftward zeitgeist one can learn from the recent pizza and bakery scandals: it happens in the blink of an eye.
A few months ago, to be in good standing with the Left, one needed only to agree that gays should have the full right to marry and that no state should bar them from marriage.
Today, to be in good standing with the Left, one needs to agree that all private businesses must get involved with gay weddings if called upon to do so, upon pain of mob outrage and state-levied fines.
In the blink of an eye—a couple incidents in Nowheresville—the goalposts of respectable opinion have been shifted a little further to the left. The articles of leftist faith have been expanded, and ipso facto, the realm of opinion designated “right-wing” has been expanded, as well.
Today, you can agree that gays should have full right to marry one another, but if you do not also agree that private businesses must be forced to get involved with gay weddings regardless of the owners’ religious scruples, you now have a conservative opinion. The culture has moved leftward, and if you have not moved with it, you are stuck in the reactionary shadow of that movement.
The Gay Problem demonstrates just how swiftly a society can approach a Left Singularity. Even a few years ago, the suggestion that religious people should be forced to get involved with gay weddings against their beliefs was not being floated anywhere in the media and not many places online. But all of a sudden it is an opinion that you must share if you are not to be labeled conservative by the elite progressive class.
In another year, the culture will find it odd that private business owners used to get away with refusing to involve themselves with gay weddings. How terrible! Were we that backward, once? And, of course, the culture will not have reasoned itself to this conclusion. It is pure sentiment. To some extent, it is a manufactured sentiment, but the whole Comskyan notion of “manufactured consent” is far too leftist for my tastes. The reality is that human animals are always very happy to attach their sentiment to ideals and rituals. As soon as their body chemistry has developed an emotional tolerance to a certain ideal or ritual, they will move quickly to find a new one. Perhaps leftward movement is just the consequence of a people bent on chasing its emotional high.