*Pic: Torbakhopper Flickr
The common use of the word ‘homophobe’ is not just about ad hominem attack, or bad manners, or unwarranted stereotyping, but about how the present regime and its acolytes bolster themselves and deprive opponents of oxygen.
Being referred to as a ‘homophobe’ is always an effective put-down that inevitably diminishes the target because it has been turned into such a potent and demeaning general term. Its use does maximum damage for almost no effort or thought.
I like to refer to the term as a medicalized social, cultural, ideological and political ‘condition’ with powerful roots into the way the economic system works, in much the same way as say ‘gender dysphoria’ (confusion) is.
An economy that runs on indulgence economics and consumer fantasies will produce cultural/ideological forces that will attack and destroy any ‘barriers’, ‘constraints’ and/or ‘boundaries’ that get in the way of that, because if it feels good, it is good. That is the fundamental message emanating out of the marketing and social libertarian establishments of the consumer society of our day.
We can’t allow ‘repressive’ moral and behavioural restraint to get in the way of desire and we can’t allow the dysfunctional negative effects of having no restraints/boundaries to be identified in a broader political/ideological context. We discredit the former and swaddle the latter in therapy and/or a welter of regime exculpating sacred site excuses.
First we alienate sexuality and gender from fixed notions of ‘nature’ and life giving into social ‘constructs’. Then we conflate gender (and gender politics) into ‘sexuality’. Then we systematically deconstruct said sexuality into ever more ‘plastic’ and open-ended libertarian indefinition, such that any attempt to ‘constrain’ it is delegitimized as ‘authoritarian’, ‘conservative’ and ‘reactionary’.
But that is only the beginning. The next step is to deprive regime non-conformity and dissonance of political standing, by converting and reducing that presence to ‘insecure’, ‘irrational’ and ‘mindless’ subjectivity, by turning it into a medical condition that can only be managed in the privacy of the psychiatric ‘confessional’, where sexually confused ‘victims’ and/or ‘phobic’ ‘perpetrators’ are therapeutically resolved by ‘constructively embracing’ or more easily tolerating regime approved deregulatory practice, about which said victim/perpetrator has uncontrolled repressed sexual confusion/desire/fear.
The whole agenda is to fit ‘patients’ into the deregulatory regime by ‘empowering’ them to yield to its dictates as comfortably as may be, much in the same way as priests did for a regime in a bygone era.
This step therefore defines concern (or any adverse emotion of any degree) about ‘gender plasticity’ as an apolitical medicalized ‘condition’ in need of therapy. And it defines the gender confusion that emerges from that ‘plasticity’ similarly. It cuts off counter-hegemonic challenges by channelling a public disquiet into a private sphere where the individual is the problem, not the regime.
All this is deeply political, where psychiatry becomes a regime instrumentality in exactly the same sense as the marketing system, where desire and giving in to it is the only thing that matters.
What is really interesting about this is the collective amnesia about the anti-psychiatry movement in the 1960s, that identified the field as a highly ideological and political one. And the reason for that amnesia is because it was the social libertarians of the time who were running that agenda; but not any more.
The ideological corporate market and social libertarianisms-without-responsibibility of the 1960s and 70s that infected university economics and humanities faculties of that time then corrupted the corporate governance of both our economic and social welfare institutions a generation later, as the odious intellectual product rose through the system…like the ideological scum on the top of a badly polluted ‘river’ of economic/cultural mismanagement and consumer junk!
Today these wretches are the ones running the psychiatric/health science industry, as the then Chairman of ‘Beyond Blue’, Jeff Kennett found to his cost in 2011, when he had the foolish temerity to suggest that marriage was purely a man/woman thing. He was ‘scientifically’ demonstrably and ‘irresponsibly’ causing additional ‘anxiety and depression’ among the already depressed homosexual ‘fragile-poor-thing ‘n vulnerable preciouses’ in his care (and possibly could be sued for breach of that duty of care downstream). The strategically positioned and authoritative ‘professional’ industry mouthpieces shut him down faster than you can say ‘intimidatory ideological malarkey’.
“So psychiatry isn’t political/ideological any more, is it children?!”
“No Miss….Very scientific…”
‘Homophobia’ is a blatant piece of ideologically and socially derived pseudo-scientific jargon that leverages the authoritative sounding medico-ancient Greek terminology one would normally expect in the much larger and genuinely scientific body of scientifically derived medical terminology.
Psychiatry is unavoidably part science and part ideological social construct, by its very nature and thus subject to its historical tides. Homophobia sits squarely in the latter category, for the same reasons that social ‘science’ is an oxymoron and the subject of constant ideological update and fashion statement. And when the obviously unsustainable is no longer sustainable as an economic underpin, the fate of all the institutional incumbents that hang of it will suddenly seem so very unpleasantly ‘yesterday’, as will their treasured ideas and assumptions.
By definition, ‘homophobia’ identifies and ‘proves’ that negative attitudes to homosexuals emanates from deep seated and irrational fears that have no real substance except in the overwrought imaginations of the ‘sufferer’. This stands the old definition of homosexuality as ‘a perversion’ of sexuality on its head, where it was the homosexual who was ‘the sufferer’.
This isn’t science so much as a political role reversal, dressed up as ‘science’.
“The ordinary instincts of a bully to pick on people who show some kind of otherness/weakness that negatively distinguishes them from the tribe/group is magically converted into an attack on the ‘self hating’ homosexual within, because in a gender plastic world, everyone who isn’t ‘liberated’ (regime compliant) nurses one of those, don’t they children?”
But nowadays the bullies go after the ‘homophobes’, or anyone else they don’t like who might fit the bill…as having those ‘tendencies’, like anyone who has some doubts about the new regime…You have to question their attitude…their legitimacy…
But it isn’t just the fakery of ‘the science’ which makes the use of the word ‘homophobe’ a particularly noxious put down by ideological bullies, so much as the really dirty tactics it encapsulates.
My first exposure to these miserable ideological practice was the use of the not so medicalized term of ‘nigger lover’ which was applied to political activists by mainly southern racists for anyone who stood up for African-American civil rights during the 1960s.
The name was used as a means of denying the political agenda of the activists by suggesting that it wasn’t so much political as an unnatural sexual attraction, or irrationally emotional ethnic attachment.
Social libertarians routinely do the same sort of depoliticisation and grotesque stereotyping across a lot of issues. Their favourite word is ‘haters’ (rather than lovers), whose discourse is magically converted into Orwellian ‘hatespeech’ (instead of criticism) whose agenda is ‘vilification’ (adverse judgement). Very nice…and no analysis required. The wretched victim denies the accusation and no further analysis is required either, because all we are debating now is the extent of the ‘guilt’. The accusation, trial and condemnation are one and the same thing and economically packaged into a single word.
When ideological discourse degenerates into categorization according to ‘hating’ or ‘loving’, it is really scraping the bottom of the barrel, no matter whose side you are on.
If the rednecks had been a bit more sophisticated and enterprising, they would have used the word ‘Negrophiliacs’, to give their political views a bit more ‘scientifically’ derived Greco-psychiatric authority. And if they had been even more far sighted, they would have invested in some southern university ‘research’ into the negrophiliac ‘condition’.....experienced by northerners, particularly in university precinct ‘hotspots’...in the same way cholera was pinpointed around certain wells during the industrial revolution.
The other, perhaps most egregious use of psychiatry to deny political intent was by the KGB in the latter years of the Soviet period, when the regime no longer had the political capital left to accuse people of political crimes. Dissidents were accused of psychopathic ‘conditions’ that would require closed ‘hospitalization’ in psychiatric wards…and off they went, only to be let out when they were ‘cured’ or the regime itself fell. You can imagine what the ‘hospitals’ were like…and the ‘therapy’….
The social libertarian humanists are regime apparatchiks for indulgence capitalism and they behave just like any other regime apparatus when challenged. Denying ‘the other’ political intent/agenda is one of the most beautifully elegant mechanisms for destroying opposition without having to politically justify the status quo.
It is a double whammy of slander and denial in ‘scientific’ drag.
Just like any other political establishment, it thrives on this sort of political bastardization, until the day its bluff gets called. Don’t expect any mercy.
By way of addendum, I think one could apply something of this sort of analysis across a range of medicalized ‘conditions’, like ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). You can bet your last dollar that very likely, Chinese kids hardly ever ‘suffer’ from the former for the same sort of reasons that the Taliban hardly ever ‘suffer’ from the latter. They know with absolute clarity who and what they are and what they stand for; success and victory at any price and the devil take the hindmost….you know; the political, cultural, ideological and economic context. It isn’t rocket science.