Essay on Homosexuality (2012) by D.J. Webb

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Essay on Homosexuality
by D.J. Webb
Published on the Libertarian Alliance Blog
7th May 2012

Homosexuality is in many ways an awkward subject to write about. In the old days, such things were not mentioned in polite conversation. Even today, the continual discussion of sexual orientation can grate: surely such things are meant to be intimate and private? However, conservatives do not set the tone of public debate, and for good or ill homosexuality has become a high-profile topic of political discussion.

First of all, it is worth pointing out that homosexuality has not been recently invented. There always have been men who were attracted to other men. While strict homosexuality is found among a very small minority of the population, it is likely that the numbers of men who have been attracted to some other men, or who have experimented along those lines, is much larger than the core homosexual demographic group. It is difficult to cite accurate figures, as not everyone is sure of his own sexuality, let alone confident in discussing it with researcher. The Kinsey Report compiled in 1948, entitled “Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male”, claimed that 46% of the men interviewed reacted sexually to another male at some point in their lives (the methodology that informed the report, including the selection of the pool of interviewees, has been questioned by some). Yet a government survey in the UK in 2010 put the “gay” section of the population at just 1.5%. This is a long way from being the statistical norm, leading some conservatives to conclude that “abnormality” makes homosexuality a “perversion” or even an illness, but the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973. From a strictly psychiatric point of view, a phenomenon often combined with high intellectual ability and otherwise normal functioning in society should not be regarded as a mental disorder.

Furthermore, it is fair to say that homosexuality is so widely found in human societies and across the ages that, while not being the statistical norm, it must be described as a natural phenomenon. Societies need to be reproduced, and should not be based purely around sexual urges, and so homosexuality cannot be thought of as a potential building block of society, but homosexuality is a human foible that will always exist in society. It is an interesting question whether a more open social attitude towards homosexuality will lead to its greater prevalence, as people who would otherwise repress their urges do not feel the need to do so.

The reason why some men—and homosexuality seems to be much more prevalent among men than women—are attracted to other men is ultimately unclear. The “gay” movement seems to have adopted the line that it must be genetic, backed up by somewhat bizarre arguments about occasional homosexual behaviour among animals. But in fact no one really knows: it is as likely as not that current social policies that encourage marital breakdown lead to confused sexuality among boys, brought up without father figures. Some combination of reasons could also be in play, not least because some men have gone “gay” in later life, raising questions over how stable sexuality is throughout one’s life.

Cultural factors

The Christian church has long railed against homosexuality, whilst being a notable organisation in which homosexual activity has always flourished. Before the Christian church embedded itself into the culture of Western Europe, homosexual behaviour was much more widespread in ancient Rome and ancient Greece, tending to show that genetic factors are not the key to understanding homosexuality, and that social and cultural factors are the main drivers of human sexuality. I tend to believe that the genetic instinct gives us the sexual urge, without specifying in detail the kinds of human beings that are to be regarded as sexually attractive.

Of course, referring to homosexuality as a cultural phenomenon fits easily into the prevailing left-wing narrative concerning “cultural diversity”, which attempts to unpick the social and cultural norms of Western society to justify multi-culturalism, apparently with the aim of creating a society of people who no longer have cultural connections with each other, but are in the main clients of the state. If the way things have been done for centuries in the West has not always been the way, or is not the way in all societies, it is argued that our culture is worthless, or its worth is ultimately subjective, and so the norms of society should be shunted aside in favour of a more generous, “liberal” approach.

There are many ramifications of this, but I wish to stick to theme of homosexuality here. Greek and Roman homosexuality appear to have been connected to the warrior culture: homosexual attraction was not seen as unmanly. It would be incorrect to impose modern notions of “gay identity” on the ancient world. There was no gay identity, and it is interesting to see that the main form that homosexual relations took in ancient Greece was of relations between an older warrior and a adolescent of 12-17 years of age. Such relationships between people of different age groups are not really the intention of modern laws decriminalising homosexuality, where adolescents under 16 years of age are not seen as capable of giving consent to sexual activity (despite being almost universally engaged in it).

Clearly, relationships between men and older youths in ancient Greece were not unmanly; neither did they detract in any way from masculinity. There was nothing “camp” or “queenie” about Greek homosexuality. But if it was possible for one society to interpret human sexuality in a radically different way from the present, then couldn’t one argue that all cultural norms are essentially arbitrary?

There is a problem for conservatives here, in that England was traditionally a free country in most respects, and so we generally call for a restoration of our traditional cultural norms, and yet it is undeniable that the Christian narrative on sexuality had a deep impact on English culture. One could argue, however, that despite the mainstream nature of heterosexuality throughout English history, some degree of homosexuality was part of the social norm. There always has been an undercurrent of homosexuality, and any attempt, legally, to create a society where all men adhered to heterosexual norms would in itself be a rejection of the realities of traditional England. Quite apart from homosexual attractions in the upper echelons of society (Richard the Lionheart, Edward II and James I spring to mind), there has for centuries been widespread practice of homosexuality among public schoolboys. Maybe this is why Roger Scruton in his England: An Elegy spoke of the homosexual nature of English culture.

It would be a gross misunderstanding to state that homosexuality has always been accepted, but England would not have been England without its undercurrent of relationships or sexual activity between men. Given that the Christian church is widely seen, even by its supporters, to have erred in many of the details of its teachings (e.g., on the Creation), I am wondering whether an English traditionalist approach could be devised that accepted the niche role of the church, and its architecture, liturgy and music, as a valued part of our culture, while also seeing that prohibitions against harmless private behaviour need to be downplayed, especially where state sanctions are involved.

Decriminalisation

Whatever eventually emerges from genetic search on the reasons for homosexuality and whatever the rights and wrongs of church teaching on the subject, libertarians could not support the criminalisation of homosexual acts, giving the state, as it would, the right to investigate what is going on in private bedrooms and behind closed doors. Laws against “sodomy” were repealed in 1967 in the case of participants over the age of 21, with the age of consent reduced in 2001 to 16. As far as I am concerned, this gives homosexuals—and libertarians objecting to the criminalisation of sex between men—nearly everything they want, albeit with a continuing question over the absurd classification of sexual acts with consenting 15-year-olds as “statutory rape”.

Another question that libertarians could take a stance on is laws against “public indecency” in gay cruising grounds, such as Hampstead Heath in London. In George Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith was able to escape the eyes of Big Brother by having sex in the woods, and in any free society, unless the state proposed to place cameras on the branches of every tree, sex in the woods is simply something that is going to happen. It is not necessarily something a cultured person would engage in, but we are talking about the laws of a free country here. Sex behind bushes in known gay cruising grounds is not at all the same thing as similar behaviour out in the open in a way that would offend most people.

It is interesting to note that England did not always have laws against homosexual acts. Before the 1533 Buggery Act, which criminalised anal sex, but not all homosexual acts, and specified hanging as the punishment, cases of “buggery”—as it was charmingly known—were handled by the ecclesiastical courts, with little evidence of any serious attempt to stamp out homosexual acts. Of course, in mediaeval times, people depended on their children in older age, and in a largely agrarian society without pensions and other modern financial instruments, homosexuality as a public lifestyle, in contradistinction to furtive acts conducted by people who otherwise adhered to the general norms of family life, was unthinkable.

The number of people put to death for buggery was necessarily small, as evidence would generally have been lacking. The death penalty for buggery was abolished in 1861, and an 1885 Act of Parliament extended the sanction of imprisonment to all homosexual activity between men and not just sodomy. Not all English conservatives seem to realise that homosexual acts (the broader definition thereof) were only illegal for 82 years, and so there is nothing really traditionalist about regretting the demise of the 1885 Act.

It is sometimes claimed that one cannot be a libertarian without supporting homosexuality. Is that really so? I don’t think one can be libertarian without opposing the criminalisation of homosexuality, but that is another thing entirely. Surely libertarians should oppose attempts to criminalise homosexuality and vocal opposition to homosexuality in equal measure. The right of others to deprecate homosexuality was mentioned during the Parliamentary debate on decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, where the Earl of Arran, a sponsor of the bill, said

I ask those who have, as it were, been in bondage and for whom the prison doors are now open to show their thanks by comporting themselves quietly and with dignity. This is no occasion for jubilation; certainly not for celebration. Any form of ostentatious behaviour; now or in the future any form of public flaunting, would be utterly distasteful and would, I believe, make the sponsors of the Bill regret that they have done what they have done. Homosexuals must continue to remember that while there may be nothing bad in being a homosexual, there is certainly nothing good. Lest the opponents of the Bill think that a new freedom, a new privileged class, has been created, let me remind them that no amount of legislation will prevent homosexuals from being the subject of dislike and derision, or at best of pity. We shall always, I fear, resent the odd man out. That is their burden for all time, and they must shoulder it like men—for men they are. [Hansard, 21 July 1967]

Adoption and civil partnerships

Decriminalisation did not mean that homosexuality was to be promoted in all arenas of life, much less than opposition to homosexuality was to be criminalised. Yet the gay agenda has developed along more or less extreme lines that Lord Arran indicated would have made the sponsors of the 1967 Bill regret their actions. Not only can homosexual couples—or, worse, lone homosexual individuals—adopt children today, opposition to such adoptions from the biological parents of children who have been taken into care is also ignored. Civil partnerships were a further development that seemed to chip away at social norms, and now the government is talking about introducing “gay marriage”, as if marriage were not originally a religious concept in the first place. Much of this appears to many to be intent on creating a minority of people privileged by the state by dint of their statistically deviant behaviour.

How should libertarians view these matters? As far as the adoption of children is concerned, the forgotten subjects of state intervention are the children. There is little evidence that raising children in novel and innovative household units is good for them: I am not denying that where one parent dies, the surviving spouse often remains a good parent. But to go out of our way to create family units where adopted children have a lone parent seems quixotic in terms of public policy. Given that men and women are different, and fathers and mothers bring something different to the family and the child-rearing process, I pity the child who is adopted by order of the state by two men or two women, simply to make a political point. Many of these children will grow up with no ill effects, but it seems more sensible to give all adopted children the natural family environment of a father and a mother. There is nothing libertarian about extremist policies to the contrary.

As far as civil partnerships are concerned, it is argued that taxation and inheritance systems treat married couples differently from single people, and so men in long-term relationships need ways of avoiding being treated as single people. I think libertarians can be sympathetic to the idea that any committed people—including two sisters and communes of many individuals—should be able to register as “fiscal units”, although our main approach is to eliminate personal taxation, which resolves most questions of this type. Consequently, the civil partnership arrangement should stay, although “ceremonies” organised by the state that appear to mimic marriage should end: civil partnership should be a simple application form in the post, and if the individuals concerned wish to have a party, then it would be up to them to organise it.

The problem is partly the state’s view of marriage. Once marriage was taken out of the hands of the church and made a preserve of the state—which is what civil marriages in registry offices amount to—arguably, heterosexual marriage was downgraded to the status now occupied by civil partnerships. For marriage is not about becoming a “fiscal unit” for the purposes of state revenue collection; in Christian theology, a man and a woman become “one flesh”. Although not originally related to each other, matrimony makes them one flesh, relatives of each other, a suitable state in which to approach the bearing of children. Two men cannot become “one flesh” in this way, precisely because they cannot have children together. Similarly, marriage is a vow in the sight of God. Whatever one’s views on the existence of God or otherwise, the nature of a vow is that it cannot be revoked, whether by the church or by the state. A solemn vow binds the individual for life (and I include here the Coronation Oath and judicial and political oaths of office). To claim that the state can “divorce” a couple makes a mockery of the vow, and means the couple were not really “one flesh” all along: civil marriage is therefore just civil partnership.

The reason why I oppose “gay marriage” is that the state cannot make anyone “one flesh”. It is a detail of Christian theology that the sacrament of matrimony does accomplish this in the case of a man and a woman, and this theology is backed up by the biological reality that a man and a woman do become related to each other (“one flesh”) by their joint relationship to and through their children. Even if the state hands out certificates saying two men are “married”, they cannot be married, any more than UK passports handed out to Africans make them truly British. I would like to abolish divorce too and go for a dual-track approach: if you wish to get married in church, to take solemn vows, which may or may not mean anything to any Supreme Being that may exist, then the state cannot declare those vows defunct; but if you wish merely to get married “in the eyes of the state”, then a man and woman should be able to send a civil partnership application form to the government in the way I outlined above or enter a civil partnership at a registry office, in the same way that two men can. Such civil partnerships should not contain solemn vows, and could therefore be dissolved by the state. I will later in this article argue, however, that libertarians should not officially take a position against gay marriage for tactical reasons.

Crushing dissent

One area where libertarians must take a clear view is the use of state power to crush opposition to homosexuality, which seems many times more determined than the rare use of the law against homosexual acts before 1967. People must be free to express their views on homosexuality. Yet the spread of notions of political correctness appears to turn people into “tolerance machines”, people whose views have all been decided for them by the state, and who have no business other than to repeat the views intoned in the media and the education system. For this reason, I am reluctant to say that libertarians “should” feel favourably or unfavourably disposed to homosexuality. People, including libertarians, who are instinctively averse to homosexuality, as I am to lesbianism, should feel no compunction about saying so, although, as stated above, support for state sanctions for homosexuality is another issue entirely, well beyond any reasonable turf for any real libertarian.

All laws designed to “enforce” acceptance of homosexuality should be abolished. Not only do people have to be careful at work nowadays how they express themselves on the subject—the authorities are only too eager to destroy the careers of those who step out of line—laws against freedom of association are also being used to crush dissent. In 2011, two gay men won £3,600 in damages after being turned away from a bed and breakfast guesthouse in Cornwall and a number of similar cases have come to light. Such “discrimination” is illegal, and it seems gay men have a licence to cash in where they know the owners of a B&B are Christians.

Anti-discrimination laws are a fundamental plank in a coercive approach to creating a multi-cultural society. Nevertheless, particularly in the case of family-run businesses, the owners have the right—the moral right, not the legal right—to offer their services to customers on whatever basis they choose. It is undoubtedly more than a little petty for B&B owners to lay down rules on who can sleep in double beds, but their religious or political beliefs may be strongly held, and it is not for anyone else to tell them they may not act upon them. In the case of large hotels or other non-family-run businesses, I think the principle still applies, that the owners of the business have the right to specify who they will serve. But in the case of large companies, it should be the shareholders, at an annual general meeting, who decide, and not some little Hitler of a manager who doesn’t even own the company. I think it highly unlikely the shareholders of any company would demand discriminatory policies, as companies have an interest in expanding their customer bases, and so the issue only really crops up with small family-run businesses, giving the lie to the claim that laws against discrimination are required to enable gay men and other favoured minorities to function in society.

Finally, equality before the law should be re-established. This means that laws labelling certain crimes as “hate crimes” and imposing stiffer penalties on them should be abolished. This is not the same thing as supporting hate crimes—I don’t support them—but surely it makes sense for the law to criminalise assault and battery of all members of society to an equal degree, without distinction.

Join the Navy! Feel a man!

An interesting question is homosexuality in the armed forces. As male-dominated organisations, the armed forces are, like the church, a historic focus of homosexual employment. Homosexual activity between sailors is nothing new. What should the official policy on homosexual employment in the armed forces be?

Firstly, I think it important to state that, in extreme situations, such as wartime, all members of society have to be prepared to defend that society. That is what membership of society means. Maybe some libertarians would claim that conscription should not be implemented in a free society. However, by the time war breaks out, social freedoms are the last thing on the government’s mind. Warfare, especially when the nation is under attack, and not attacking other countries, is an extreme event, and many of the social niceties disappear overnight. Consequently, I am opposed to allowing conscientious objectors to absent themselves from the armed forces while others are being conscripted. But, by the same token, homosexuality cannot be a sufficient reason to avoid the draft either. It is absurd for any society to hold that gay man cannot fight for the country: in wartime, there may be little choice.

However, I see no reason why military discipline should not require decorum of members of the armed forces, and “camp” behaviour or constant ribald discussion of gay sex in army barracks in a way likely to give rise to offence, should be deemed to contravene military discipline. Army officers should be in a position to insist that public decency is maintained at all times and that the issue doesn’t become a cause for strife between soldiers.

I will address ecclesiastical homosexuality in passing here. As the church, if it is to be a church, and not just a conveyor belt for political propaganda, has to be faithful to its teachings dating back millennia, I see no why priests should publicly proclaim their homosexuality without being defrocked—if they are gay, why are they trying to subvert the church by joining it in order to flout its commands? The preaching of homosexual rights from the pulpit should lead to the rapid defenestration of the vicar. Nonetheless, a realistic acceptance that many priests are gay is appropriate in the context where many of the church’s teachings are no longer sustainable as historic or scientific truth. This means we shouldn’t poke around in a vicar’s private life to find out if he is gay, and if it becomes known that he is gay without his seeking to flaunt himself, then a logical approach would be to ignore it. As with the armed forces, if public decorum is maintained, there is little reason to launch witch-hunts.

Metrosexual lads

Interestingly, as sexuality becomes politicised, it has also become more fluid. The women of England seem to be getting less feminine as the men of England become less masculine. One example of this is the metrosexual phenomenon, of which the football player, David Beckham, is one example. Young “straight” men today worry about their appearance more than before, have more creams and potions in their bathroom cabinets, and even engage in what I regard as the unmanly habit of shaving their body hair. When I was a teenager, such things would have been seen as effeminate. Looking around my local gym, it is clear that many of the younger men are rather feminine, or even effeminate, in appearance.

The days when heterosexuality meant raw masculinity are long gone. One could argue that a supine population that allows the state to determine their views on race, culture and sexuality is less manly that what went before. For this reason alone, I think libertarians could lament the decline of masculinity. Would “real men” have allowed their primary-school-age children to be bombarded with propaganda on anal sex?

Intriguingly, and with an eye on ancient Greece where homosexual relationships were not seen as diminishing one’s masculinity, this opens up the prospect of a redefinition of masculinity. If many of the “straight” lads are a good deal more effeminate than some of the gay men, then who are the real pansies? It was while I was thinking along these lines that I came across Jack Donovan’s website, where his books on “androphilia” and masculinity are listed. Apparently, Jack Donovan is an American androphile—a man who likes men—who does not identify with the “gay” culture. The “gay” word is problematic for me, as it is politically loaded as an earlier attempt to “rebrand” homosexuality, and the gay culture that has been created around it seems to categorise gay men as soft, soppy, sissyish, something that homosexual acts were not associated with in ancient Greece.

But a glance at the gay club scene also turns up dungeons, leather and chains, and one could also question whether anal sex (not the only form of gay sex, it should be added) is really sissyish at all: arguably, it is sex at its most primeval, sex in the animal sense; not really effeminate at all. Jack Donovan explained his ideas thus:

The word gay has never described mere homosexuality. Gay is a subculture, a slur, a set of gestures, a slang, a look, a posture, a parade, a rainbow flag, a film genre, a taste in music, a hairstyle, a marketing demographic, a bumper sticker, a political agenda and philosophical viewpoint. Gay is a pre-packaged, superficial persona—a lifestyle. It’s a sexual identity that has almost nothing to do with sexuality. Androphilia is a rejection of the overloaded gay identity and a return to a discussion of homosexuality in terms of desire. The gay sensibility is a near-oblivious embrace of a castrating slur, the non-stop celebration of an age-old, emasculating stigma applied to men who engaged in homosexual acts. Gays and radical queers imagine that they challenge the status quo, but in appropriating the stigma of effeminacy, they merely conform to and confirm long-established expectations. Homosexual men have been paradoxically cast as the enemies of masculinity—slaves to the feminist pipe dream of a ‘gender-neutral’ (read: anti-male, pro-female) world. Androphilia is a manifesto full of truly dangerous ideas: that men can have sex with men and retain their manhood, that homosexuality can be about championing a masculine ideal rather than attacking it, and that the “oppressive construct of masculinity” despised by the gay community could actually enrich and improve the lives of homosexual and bisexual men. Androphilia is for those men who never really bought what the gay community was selling. It is a challenge to leave the gay world completely behind and to rejoin the world of men, unapologetically, as androphiles, but more importantly, as men.

I don’t know how far Jack Donovan’s ideas on masculinity and androphilia will spread, but I think it is at least possible that the relationship between homosexuality and effeminacy (or, conversely, between heterosexuality and masculinity) is breaking down, and it would be interesting to see the outcome. As sexuality seems more fluid—I could well believe that 46% of men have felt attraction to a man at some point (the unattractiveness of the average British female may play a role in this)—more young men may be interested in an androphile alternative than in becoming gay per se. And a resurgence of masculinity in society would be a good thing. I haven’t yet had chance to buy Donovan’s book, so I don’t know if AIDS is mentioned therein. But I would argue that turning the gay “community” into a vehicle for AIDS propaganda and the distribution of condoms represents part of the effeminate culture of gayness. Real sex, whether between men and women or between two men, is without intervention of rubber.

Another point I don’t know whether Donovan makes is that in order to become masculine, gay men must stop sliding into a kind of gingerbread group for political correctness. Real masculinity includes applauding the expression of real views by real people. Calling on the state to solve your battles is unmanly, and it would tend to paint all gay men as a group of extremists lobbying for more intervention by the technocracy. In fact, prejudice against homosexuality would appear to be largely justified in England today on political grounds, given the way that leading gay activists appear on our television screens calling for more laws against discrimination and for sterner punishment of dissenters. Libertarians may well feel inclined, if not to support criminalisation of homosexuality, then to see the official gay movement and its spokesmen are enemies of a free country. Yet, curiously, most gay men I have ever met have opposed gay marriage and the adoption of children by homosexuals. Jack Donovan has also spoken out against gay marriage in an interesting article on the Alternative Right website:

Same-sex marriage, however good its proponents believe it might be for homosexuals, is essentially an attempt to subvert the cultural primacy of the reproductive family. Gays will not allow themselves to consider the fact that this spells death for civilizations, and that society has a rational interest in promoting big, patriarchal families above all other arrangements. The idea that somehow, without any cultural apparatus to encourage or foster it, men and women will naturally take on the burden of raising a large family at any cost is simply absurd and proven wrong by below-replacement-level birth rates in Europe. Cultures that don’t place the highest value on reproductive families die out, and their numbers are replaced by cultures that do. It’s happening in Europe, and it’s happening in the US. While alternative relationships need not be openly scorned, and they may deserve some sort of reasonable accommodation, it isn’t in the best interest of Western Civilization—or any civilization—to morally or institutionally equate reproductive and non-reproductive sexuality. Reproductive sexuality is an indispensable building block of civilization; it serves society as a whole. Non-reproductive sexuality is, in the big picture, basically a “feel-good”.

A libertarian response

There is some truth in the idea that homosexuality was symptomatic of the downfall of ancient Rome. There is no direct connection between the two, but Romans lolling about in bath-houses engaged in sex were leading too soft a life, and unsurprisingly fell at the hands of the barbarians. Bread and circuses—and sex—created an image of debauchery that Christians have down the centuries condemned. Arguably, our societies today have fallen victim to the same effete, effeminate social trends. Welfarism, family breakdown and divorce, the compensation culture and the sexualisation of mainstream culture all form part of our social decline and I don’t see how libertarianism can accomplish any of its goals by supporting these trends. These trends all lead to greater social intervention to repair the inevitable social problems thrown up.

One could argue that homosexuality has degraded the wider culture, by creating the goal of no-strings-attached sex. Now nightclubs are full of men and women in their 30s and 40s trying to play the field still, where once they would have been looking after their children at home. Clearly, this is an option for gay men, with no children, but for men and women with children to attempt to behave in the same libertine manner has many negative social consequences. I would respond by removing all government subsidies for family breakdown, including welfare for unmarried mothers. If people have children, they must accept the responsibility that entails.

However, just as Roman debauchery was only a problem in the closing days of the Empire—sex between men was hardly the direct cause of the fall of the Empire, and was at one point a factor in strengthening society by promoting relationships between older and younger members of the warrior class—so it would be inaccurate to see homosexuality as always leading to the decline of a society. Our societies are too soft. The decline of masculinity has many causes, but homosexuality per se is not emasculating.

So libertarians should broadly support the right to gay sex, while focusing their condemnation on the illiberal attempts to close down dissent and enforce acceptance of homosexuality. I have made clear my distaste for gay marriage, and indeed my preference for abolition of divorce and other policies designed to prevent family breakdown. However, there is always a hierarchy of policies of greater or lesser importance to political movements, and laws that impinge on 1.5% of the population, with the numbers taking up the chance to “marry” in registry offices likely to be only in the hundreds, need to be seen in perspective. Consequently, libertarians need to adopt a strategic approach. The really big issue for libertarianism is the panoply of multi-culturalism that is the real driver behind the loss of our freedoms. There is a distinct possibility that appearing obsessed on the gay issue would prevent a wider hearing for our ideas on social freedom. For this reason, while libertarians will have a range of opinions on the subject of gay marriage, the libertarian movement itself should adopt a neutral stance on the issue.

Oddly enough, just as many gays, feeling, as they are in many ways, like social outsiders, became a Trojan Horse for political correctness, there are a number of well-known homosexuals, including the British historian, David Starkey, who will push the boundaries of what can be said on the race issue. Homosexuality, until the late 1980s at least, used to have a considerable aura of daring about it, bringing down social taboos and transgressing social norms. The reinvention of homosexuality as just another strand of the state’s attempt to create a cowed population has taken the audaciousness out of the homosexual experience: is it any wonder that men who like men sometimes take the lead in a politically correct society by saying the unsayable in other areas?

Clearly people like David Starkey have something to contribute to the advance of the libertarian movement in the UK, and so the contours of masculinity and support for state intervention have become confused and could become even more so in the future. Let’s have fewer young men depilating their groins and putting gel on their hair, and more young men of all sexual orientations insisting on their right to say and think what they like. A free country would be a country for real men!