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A Tour of Sodomy in the Blogosphere

April 26th, 2003 · No Comments

Clayton Cramer’s claim to “libertarian sympathies” is becoming as embarassing as it is palpably false, following this post on sodomy laws, which is skewered by AgendaBender. There’s an even more noxious follow-up here.

There is a small object lesson here, though: when you socialize the costs of something, people will eventually demand that control over all sorts of associated behavior be socialized too. (Of course, the “associated behavior” is really unprotected sex, not gay sex…) These are precisely the arguments you get from some quarters for restricting immigration or keeping drugs illegal. If Cramer’s evident, visceral disapproval of homosexuality weren’t at least a partial motivator in the argument, of course, he’d be stressing the desirability of getting the state out of the business of subsidizing healthcare, or maybe even arguing for closing bathhouses on public health grounds, rather than defending the notion that we ought to lock up anyone who practices sex he dislikes. I hope it’s obvious why his argument that the former are politically impossible (while the latter, apparently, is not) because of the (cough) enormous power of the gay political lobby makes no sense.

Incidentally, if Cramer were correct (and as a historical matter, he’s probably not) to suppose that California’s repeal of sodomy laws played a part in encouraging gay men to concentrate in the Bay Area (giving rise to bathhouses, etc.), then wouldn’t it be just as legitimate to argue the converse? That is, that sodomy laws and bigotry in the rest of the country pushed people there? That seems, if anything, like a stronger argument (low though that bar is)… I wonder why Cramer didn’t make it? Well, no, actually, I don’t.

In other news, it seems that the turn from warblogging to domestic issues that has made it possible for me to enjoy reading Andrew Sullivan again has had the opposite effect on some of his newfound fans on the right. I’m actually a bit curious how this will play out, since it seems like Sully’s natural readership is folks like me—people who lean libertarian but may have been turned off by the focus on the war and regular attacks on the most venal fringe of the anti-war movement. How many of the folks who flocked to the Daily Dish for those very reasons are going to be comfortable with a shift back to the cultural issues that dominated the early days of the blog? (I suppose I might ask the same question… assuming the neocon master plan doesn’t kick off a war with Syria anytime soon, how many folks who started reading this site when Atrios linked it are going to be repelled when I start talking more about tax and regulatory policy?)

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