Pride is, of course, the distinguishing quality of the homosexual. Indeed, the very word “pride” has become synonymous with homosexuality. When I was young, “school pride” meant pride in one’s school. Now “pride events” at any institution exist to celebrate its homosexuals. It is a remarkable thing to take pride in one’s sexual appetites. I find it difficult to imagine, even though I’ve never been as ashamed of some of my sexual appetites as I probably ought to be. And yet pride is what gays say they feel toward their inclination and what friends and relatives say of one who “comes out”. Nor is the self-exaltation of the homosexual a new thing, as one can see from homosexuality through the ages. From ancient Greek and modern Afghan pederasts to the Bloomsbury Group, homosexuals have seen their relations as more sublime and spiritual than those of the breeding masses. Given how openly heterosexuality is ordered to biological continuation, how could they not despise it as such with gnostic scorn?
Heterosexuality, the drive to biological continuation, extends outwards in time, in piety toward ancestors, and in space, to love of country. Not coincidentally, impiety and cosmopolitanism strike one as “gay” attitudes, however unjust the association may be in some cases. It was Bloomsbury Group member E. M. Forster who famously wrote “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.”
[The group’s leader, Lytton Stachey, wrote to John Meynard Keynes in 1906, in the most remarkably precise and accurate prediction in social history, “It’s madness for us to dream of making dowagers understand that feelings are good, when we say in the same breath that the best ones are sodomitical…our time will come about a hundred years hence.” (Quoted in Paul Johnson’s Modern Times)]
Plato’s Phaedrus is regarded as one of the Western canon’s great meditations on erotic love. Phaedrus argues to Socrates that a boy should allow himself to be sexually molested by a dirty old man who doesn’t really love him, the better to extract favors. Socrates thinks this blasphemous. The lust of a filthy old pederast toward a boy is a divine madness, an intimation of transcendent beauty itself. A pederast who loves will consider his beloved’s true good. Socrates then suggests that it would be better for the pederast not to actually indulge his depraved lust (although the gods won’t punish him if he does), thus earning Plato the reputation as a killjoy akin to the Christians. The point remains: the boast of the heterosexual is that what he does is natural; the boast of the homosexual is that what he does is divine.
The homosexual identifies himself with his sexual desires in a way that heterosexuals do not. He calls it “who I am”. Heterosexuals experience lust as something distinct from our essence. This is, I think, why “sin” and “sexual sin” are so tied together in the minds of so many heterosexuals. Greed, dishonesty, pride, and anger seem to exist in a seamless continuum with our official, presumed-legitimate life plans, and so they feel more intrinsic to ourselves. For example, my duties to my family, the appeal of my hobbies, and the natural desire for comfort and security, all encourage me to be at least somewhat greedy. Sexual desire, by contrast–even for someone I love, even for someone I plan to impregnate–stands on its own as the desire for an immediate pleasure, and so it does feel more like something foreign imposing itself upon my will. Men and women who succumb to their sexual urges are called “weak” as if an outside force overpowers them, which is something we do not say of the power-hungry or vengeful.
Pride and coordination are the keys to power and status. Homosexuals form powerful cliques in many organizations. I have heard that girls in some schools are ashamed to admit to being attracted only to boys, the designation “straight” now so firmly associated with that of dullard.
I’ve stumbled through life in various degrees of embarrassment and have never known pride. We Catholics are taught that pride is a sin and that we are to cultivate the contrary virtue of humility. Heterosexuality is indeed the humble disposition. Its ecstasy is not an escape from nature into some supranatural love but an escape into nature, out of the contingencies of one’s individual selves and into the eternal mystery of the archetypal male and female principles, of their duality and creative union.
C. S. Lewis interprets humility moderately, not as putting oneself down, but simply as ceasing to think about oneself and worry about one’s status and accomplishments. In fact, even this is more difficult than it may sound. Perhaps you genuinely don’t crave renown and glory. Would it bother you at all not to have the respect of your co-workers and neighbors, indeed to be actively despised by them? And not only you, but also your children, your grandchildren, and all your co-religionists, with no hope of social advancement. Can you give up even the hope of thinking well of yourself or of God thinking well of you? Can you abandon even the hope of a vindication in heaven, but be content that those who despise your people on Earth will continue to do so from their place of social advantage for all eternity?
(As I’ve said elsewhere, I think the idea of shaking up the social status hierarchy–“the last shall be first”–has historically been one of the main appeals of the idea of heaven. Alas, today’s social hierarchy is based on ostentatiously virtuous sentiments, and so it is natural to think that our obnoxiously holy social elite will maintain their place in any afterlife.)
This seems foreign to human nature as I know it. See how people will sacrifice their lives and their children’s lives rather than suffer the reproach of their fellows. To disregard status is to break from the communal mind. Scipio had to be physically removed from the solar system to learn to see beyond the renown of men. This is why I have thought it important, if Catholicism is to survive, for us to create social contexts, at least among ourselves, where our group is high-status and we can take pride in our heritage, someplace free from the poison of reformers and progressives. Then again, Catholics have already endured without complaint more affronts to their dignity (at the hands of reformers, Elder Brothers, many of our own clergy, etc) than I had thought possible. Nevertheless, Catholics are deserting the Church, abandoning their people–my tribe–at around 10% per decade, largely because they have internalized the anti-Catholicism both outside and inside the Church, and they want to be part of a group they can take pride and satisfaction in. If it really is possible for the Church to engineer a humble people, one content with permanent pariah status, that really could be the key to long-term survival. Indeed, one could say that the whole post-Vatican II experience of Catholicism–the stripping of the liturgy, groveling to the Jews, praising and apologizing to our most implacable enemies, the guilty-until-proven innocent procedures on sexual abuse, demon worship in the Vatican itself–constitutes a sort of school for teaching a people to live without dignity.