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Read "Sixteen Propositions" by Michael Denneny in our online-Library!

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  • Viktor Zimmermann
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Re: Denneny 16
« Reply #2 on: Tue, Jan 31, 2006, 05:35 »

The sole purpose of “gay liberation” and gay politics in general is defending and promoting the self-interests of the gay people.

And rightfully so! No one is prohibited, however, from using his time and ressources for other noble aims as well. Generally gay people should be more sensitive to other creature's problems, but unfortunately they are not more often of greater brains and considerate that other people.
"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right!" Salvor Hardin


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Denneny 16
« Reply #1 on: Mon, Jan 30, 2006, 21:56 »

Denneny’s sixteenth (and last) proposition is: “We gay people are the alchemists, the magicians, of our time. We take the toxins of a poisonous age, the nihilism that is given us, and turn it into a balm that heals. We heal ourselves and in that we are an object-lesson for the others.”

In the modern tradition, radical political theory has always assumed that society would be transformed by some group within that society which “carried” the revolutionary impulse. When Archimedes discovered the mathematical laws of leverage, he boasted that given a place to stand, he could move the entire earth. When modern political theorists thought they had discovered the laws of society, they assumed that with the proper lever the world could be transformed. The most persuasive scenario asserted that the proletariat, a class totally alienated — that is, outside society — with “nothing to lose but its chains,” would be the lever that would move the earth. But this theory forgot what Archimedes knew, that there was no such “Archimedean point” on which to stand: the voting of war credits by the German Social Democratic party in 1914 proved once and for all that the proletariat did not stand outside society: they were as jingoistic as any other group. The truly great vision of political transformation that had animated the West since the French Revolution died with that act.

But as always the debris of broken dreams lived on to confuse the minds of men. There is a constant tendency on the part of people involved in the struggle of their own group for liberation — blacks, feminists, the colonized, gays — to assume that their group is marked by history to be the liberators of all humanity, the class that carries the revolutionary impulse. It is an understandable error: since no group can be liberated unless the entire society is liberated (because of the simple fact that it is always the others who oppress the oppressed, therefore oppression will not cease until the oppressors cease being oppressive), it is easy enough to reverse the argument and say that the liberation of the oppressed group will liberate society. Unfortunately reality does not make such logical errors. Bertrand Russell’s witty explanation of Bolshevism—since the proletariat has throughout history always been oppressed by other classes, it is only fair that they now have the chance to oppress everyone else—seems more to the point, as we can see in the unpleasant instance of the Vietnamese actions in Cambodia.

At this point in time, it would be silly and tedious for gays to make the same erroneous assertions. Gay liberation has no chance in hell of liberating society sexually. (The reverse argument is, of course, valid, if tautological; the sexual liberation of society would indeed entail the liberation of gays. The problem is only: what will cause the sexual liberation of society, who will bring this about? You see how one could fall into thinking about the agent or carrier of historical change.) Gay liberation will not be the carrier of the revolutionary idea if for no other reason than the fact that by “revolutionary idea” is meant the revaluation of all values, and values are not “things” that can be “carried” like shoulder bags or diseases. A discussion of the nature of value, however, would take us too far afield.

If gay liberation is not going to liberate society, has it any meaning beyond that of promoting the self-interests of the individuals who make up this particular group? (I hasten to add that defending and promoting the self-interest of any oppressed group is in itself totally justifiable.) I think the answer is affirmative, if somewhat speculative at this point.

Here I must diverge from Denneny’s thinking. While anyone may be an “object lesson,” no one gets to choose whether they will become such a lesson — that choice is made by those who wish to learn. The sole purpose of “gay liberation” and gay politics in general is defending and promoting the self-interests of the gay people.
Stonewall was a riot.
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