Making A Statement By NOT Making A Statement – Chris Nuttall

*Okay, just to catch you up — the great move of 2015 is still going on, though we’ve moved to cleaning and staging the other house.  The goal is to have two books delivered and the other house up for sale by the time I have surgery on the 16th of next month, so I can rest/recover in peace.  In the meantime the editing on Elf Blood, so I can rush to the finish is proceeding at a glacial pace because painting walls tuckers me out and there’s books to finish, other than those.  Very grateful to Chris Nuttall for giving us this excellent piece, and also would like to say I agree with him.  I’m not making a statement on gays in the military in A Few Good Men and the novella And Not To Yield in Five by Five 3, either.  I’m making a statement on Nat Remy in the military (good) and Lucius Keeva in the military (who in heck thought this was a good idea???)  And though from the outside it might seem like Luce’s troubles come from being gay, they actually come from his putative father being a monster.  In fact, were Luce straight or able to pass, he would be dead, so… So much for victimhood.  The characters are what they are because that’s who they are.  Period.  And now I’ll get out of the way — at long last — and let Chris talk. – Sarah A. Hoyt*

Making A Statement By Not Making A Statement – Chris Nuttall

Every so often, I get asked a question that prompts an essay. This one was prompted by a person who asked if my decision to make the captain of HMS Warspite homosexual was an attempt to make a statement about homosexuals in the military. I bit down my instinctive response – not everything has to be a statement, certainly not amongst those who write to entertain – and considered the matter seriously.

If you read the book, you will notice that no one makes an issue of John’s sexuality. Ever.

Consider this; no one calls him any nasty name reserved for a homosexual. But, at the same time, no one treats him any differently for being a homosexual. He is not the beneficially/victim of any form of affirmative action or positive discrimination. John had an unusual career path, but – if you read the first three books in the series – you’ll notice that most of the officers who did have a conventional career path were killed off in the war. The Royal Navy accepts John transferring from starfighter piloting to command track, at least in part, because it is desperate for manpower. It didn’t make him a token homosexual or a token anything. All that mattered was that he could do the job he was being given.

I think, in the future, society will evolve to become more conservative and, at the same time, more liberal. This is certainly true of the fictional Ark Royal universe.


Certain issues and activities, and homosexuality is among them, are largely immaterial from society’s point of view. It does not matter to society if two adult men, both old enough to know what they’re getting into, decide to start a homosexual relationship. Nor does it really matter if they want to call themselves ‘husband and husband,’ or declare each other to be their next-of-kin. The government should not be involved in monitoring the activities of consenting adults. It constantly astonishes me that conservatives and libertarians, people I agree with more often than not, will make a fuss about gay marriage. Do you really want to give the government, any government, the power to determine what does and what doesn’t make a marriage?

Social Justice Warriors think otherwise. They want, as a general rule, to define homosexuals as something separate from mainstream society, even – at the same time – as they want homosexuality to be accepted in mainstream society. This contradiction effectively pours fuel on the fire; straight people wind up defining themselves in opposition to homosexuals, even though most of them – if pressed – will admit they have no problem with homosexuals personally. I have a feeling the SJWs are far more insecure than they care to admit. One doesn’t sue a bakery into the ground if one is secure in one’s power and position. Instead, they refuse to tolerate dissent.

This can have baleful effects on writing.

An interesting piece of advice from Heinlein can be altered to fit this situation. ‘Don’t be a gay character. Be a character who happens to be gay.’ Heinlein – who was originally talking about female politicians – was pointing out the danger of tribalism in politics. For writers, having a character whose sole purpose is to be a positive, uplifting model of a homosexual person not only verges on cliché, it veers into the territory of message fiction. Such writers forget the ultimate purpose of writing fiction is to entertain people. Worse, if one writes a situation where the gay/female/black character is clearly superior to everyone else (normally a WASP), it very often becomes completely tedious.

In many ways, this is a form of soft homophobia, what George W Bush called ‘the soft bigotry of lowered expectations’. It suggests that the homosexual is incapable of achieving anything without help from the Social Justice Warriors. Think about that for a moment. How can anyone claim to be against discrimination when, at the same time, they practice a form of discrimination that is far more corrosive than outright homophobia? What value is an achievement if it came through having the starting lines redrawn for your benefit?

I think, in the future, we will all be accepted as individuals.

John being homosexual is just part of his character. There’s no reason for it to be all-consuming. He doesn’t have to fight against discrimination because there isn’t any discrimination.   All he has to do is be the best captain he can be.

So … I suppose, by not making a statement, I actually did make a statement. Oops.


  1. Excellent. Perhaps the best way to make a point is to just write a good story with good characters. And if it takes place in a situation the shows either or both the best and worst of futures, that’s all to the good.

  2. “Hey Listen Pal, I’m a Super-Hero! I don’t want to stop Crime. I just want to fight it!” — The Tick (Issue #6) (Finally tracked down a source)

    SJW’s don’t want to SOLVE any of the problems they claim to be against, they just want to fight, because being angry and having marches and protests and such gives them a feeling of power and meaning, and they think they can “Change the world”. The world changes, but in spite of them, not because of them.

    In Kiwi, the main character, Alex Sanderson is a bigot, through and through, and a human supremacist, and all around asshole. But I deliberately left out any physical description of him. It would have actually been detrimental to the story. If I had pointed out he was White, well, what’s another white bigot, eh? And if I had made him Black, or Hispanic, or mixed or anything, it would have come off as “Oh, how silly, you’re trying to ham-handedly subvert the Trope. Too obvious.” So in that way, I made the statement by not saying anything. He could be anybody. He doesn’t HAVE to fit anyone’s stereotypes. It’s more of a Rorschach test on the reader.

    Which means everybody’s going to assume he’s white. 😦

    1. I’m just curious: I have a story where the main character is discriminated against because of his race. He is the main character, and although I am not trying to be all SJW, I do want to make a world where racial discrimination happens. It’s a fantasy novel, and although not really medieval in nature, it’s still not really modern, and I think that people naturally segregate by physical traits. It’s not about fixing the problem in this world either, it’s just a feature of it. So my question is, what should I avoid so I don’t turn into something to be hurled at the wall?

      1. One of the great things about Fantasy and Science Fiction is you can use allegories. That way you can tackle an issue in the abstract, rather than using the real world set-up and all the baggage that goes with it. (SJW’s are way too enamored of their baggage to ever get rid of it, despite their claims to the contrary.)

        So your character needs to be discriminated against. Fine. Say he is a Gnardopolian, and everybody hates them. You don’t even have to get into how they can tell. Unless you want to, whether it’s something he could disguise, like his style of dress, or the color of his hair, or something he can’t hide, like horns or tusks, maybe it’s his accent that gives him away.

        1. He looks different. His race is minority, and hated because of things that happened three hundred years before he was born. It’s not meant to be allegorical, just a part of being human.

      2. If it’s normal, then have him act like it’s normal. Don’t have him constantly mooning over the unfairness of it all, or… well, pretty much anything where he thinks and acts like a normal, modern person suddenly faced with this different thing.

          1. He should also have a “same as it ever was” — I was once ordered out of a bus in Lisbon because of my Northern accent. The bus driver wouldn’t have no damn hicks in his bus. I’m sure written by an SJW this would be oh, mortification. For me? “Same as it ever was.” I MIGHT have given back as good as I got and descended to Northern gutter dialect to do so, much to the startled surprise of my (then) British boyfriend.

              1. Yeah, post a few chapters for feedback and make sure we know where to find it.
                Point or two, based on my own experience: is the discrimination written into the law, or is it just a common practice? Is your character OBVIOUSLY of the type discriminated against, or is it possible to pass? Is the thing that happened three hundred years ago possibly a subject for revisionist historians?

                1. Let’s see… common practice, can’t pass, and the history has definitely been revised. I’ll try and post it on my site later, and put a link to it in Sarah’s diner, if that’s okay with her.

                    1. Thank you. I might not get to it until next week, because I’m on vacation with the family this week, but I will get to it, I promise. It would be nice to get some feedback, especially since I started the story before I was even aware of the SJW issue.

  3. In my novel Bloody Eden, there is a significant character who is gay. The thing is, no one realizes it.

    I know several gay folks. For most of them, their homosexuality isn’t a defining trait. It’s simply a part of who they are…kind of like straight folks. I don’t introduce myself as a straight man. When people ask me to tell them about myself, my sexuality doesn’t factor in either. The same is true for most of my gay friends.

    So, I wrote a character who, at some point, it will come out that he’s gay. However, it’ll be organically to the story, and I suspect few people will figure out who is gay from that one book. Of course, I could be surprised.

    1. No. The only reason it matters in A Few Good Men are that Ben’s memory and Nat pull Luce towards the Usaians. Otherwise he would still have to fight, but would never join the cause.

      1. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing central characters who are gay and where it comes out. My character is significant, but not a POV character, so there’s zero reason for it to come up. For a main character, it’s kind of hard not to hide.

    2. All my favorite religious characters are like that– you find out they’re religious organically, not because they introduce themselves “Hi, I’m so and so, and I’m the Token Religious Character.”
      Nightcrawler being Catholic, Kitty being Jewish… contrast with, oh, my kids’ current obsession with Bubble Guppies, where there’s a vegetarian. You know, because she MENTIONS IT at every opportunity. They can’t even talk about roast hot dogs without adding in “and soy dogs!” or something. I know it’s aimed at kids, but oy!

        1. I considered if it might be Fridge Brilliance, but… they’re mer-kids that were swimming along the sea floor on their “march” and roasting tofu dogs over an open fire.

          1. Something I re0tweeted a long time ago:

            “A Vegan, an Athiest and a CrossFitter walked into a bar. I know this because they told everyone within two minutes.”

      1. We found out Kurt was Catholic when the X-Men tried to prevent Count Dracula from making out with Ororo.

        *disappears back into the nerd vortex*

        1. See, I’m a dang kid– we found out Kurt was Catholic when he had a heart-to-heart with Wolverine, who’d assumed he was hiding with the monks just because they’d accept him. (cartoon)

          1. The comic book version of Kurt’s religion reveal was pretty awesome. Logan was all like “I’ve seen the movies, I know what to do,” and made a cross with his claws.

            And Dracula just rolled his eyes and wuss-slapped Wolvie away. “That doesn’t work for atheists, foo’!”

            Nightcrawler: “IN YO’ FACE, DRAK! I BELIEVE!!!”

            Dracula: “OMG a sincere faith it BURRRRRRRNSSSSSS!”

            ….I might be paraphrasing. 😉

            But it was interesting. The demonic looking, humorous, swash-buckling and romantically inclined character was also revealed to be devoutly, unironically religious, not a hint of him being evil, stupid, crazy, or a bigot.

            It’s sad to think that these days, that just doesn’t happen in super-hero comics unless said character is a Muslim. Or continually apologizing for his residual attachment to the Evil That Is Christianity. 😛

            (The Crusades! The CRUSAAAAAAAADES!)

  4. This is what I was aiming for in the Colplatschki books. Some people happen to be gay or bisexual, and this is OK so long as family needs are taken into account. (Because they are attempting to rebuild a population, the law states that a person’s family can require them to sire/bear offspring if their siblings do not have enough to ensure another generation, or if property transfer is a concern.) Otherwise? It is between them, their deity, and their spouse/partner/lover. The church leans toward favoring heterosexual marriage, but again, the church also tends to support the state’s and society’s position regarding the need for more people – for example, you cannot take holy orders unless your family agrees and (if female) you have already had at least two children who lived to age 12.

  5. My Muse sometimes demands a character be gay. No, she won’t ever give me an answer why.

    1. Bastage Muse. This is what mine did with Nat in Darkship Thieves. Turned out she had plans. (Kicks rock. Bastage muse.) I suspect she has plans for Fuse too. heaven alone knows what.

      1. Exactly. I had no idea Aquila Starland was bisexual until I started the 4th book. I just assumed he had a dynastic marriage and that he’d blown his top about Elizabeth and Lazlo marrying because he wanted her to marry his son. Boy was I in for a surprise, and I’m the flippin author, for crying out loud!

      2. Muses: they mug you with ideas and leave you dazed in the alleyway, mourning the loss of your free time.

  6. Do you really want to give the government, any government, the power to determine what does and what doesn’t make a marriage?

    Loved the rest of the article, but wanted to comment on the above. I think we already did, a couple hundred years ago, when we took the sacrament away from the church and made it a legal document that the government could monitor. And design tax codes around. We need to back them out of the entire business.

      1. As do I while knowing full well it will never happen.
        Government is all about power and control, and the ugly truth is the powers that be like it just the way it is, twisted labyrinthian tax codes that can be used to crush any in opposition to those currently in charge.
        Should be interesting the day that those who fought so hard for gay marriage realize that all they did was place their private personal relationships under direct government control and supervision.

    1. I could not possibly disagree with this statement more strongly.
      The government recognizing that something exists does not give the government power over it.
      The government can no more legitimately decide to redefine marriage than it can declare rain to be sunshine.

      Marriage predates the existence of government by uncounted millennia.
      It will continue to endure (and be the basis for civil society) long after our current government fails.

      1. The government recognizing marriage gave the government power to tax with reference to it, In this case, the the tax burden is greater on those NOT married, and on married filing separately.
        There’s the insurance thing to deal with as well, which is where I first started hearing furious advocacy for and against gay marriage. It was a case where a long-time companion with AIDS wanted to get medical coverage based on his partner’s employment, which has potentially enormous economic consequences.

        1. In this case, the the tax burden is greater on those NOT married, and on married filing separately.

          That drastically depends on the combined incomes of the married couple. Many couples find themselves in the position that their combined income raises them to a new tax bracket, where they wind up paying far more taxes on one income than that income would be taxed for a single person. Have you never heard of the “Marriage penalty”?

    2. Government involvement in marriage is quite a bit older than that, because of the issue of property and, well, humans tend to be jerks when given a chance.

      Amusingly, you’ll probably find the most information that you can trust by looking into the supporting stuff from libertarian leaning folks who are claiming that religious involvement in marriage is rather new. 😀 (Evidence for both religious and secular leadership involvement in marriage is given by looking at the rather famously well preserved Jewish laws. 😀 )

      The illusion that it’s something new is easy to achieve because our modern idea that faith and country are different is, well, rather new itself, so we try to classify stuff as Blue or Yellow when they’re more shades of Green.
      (if anyone would like to take that and work it into a metaphor for power with power/money/green, go for it; I have no use for it, was just thinking about something I’d read recently about some languages not having words for various colors, and green and blue being involved in one.)

  7. I understand where you’re all coming from, but when the government gave benefits based on the existence of a marriage, they had two choices. They could have made the benefits available to any couple with the intent to remain monogamous during the relationship, picking up unmarried heterosexual coupes as well as gays. That is an invitation to fraud. And at the time they made the decision, that was really not their concern. They wanted to support the institution of marriage. But by putting marriage as the ideal, they started the ball rolling to our current conundrum. They still like the word marriage, because of the fraud issue, but it disenfranchises a large community who are prohibited to marry.
    You can rail all you want about getting government to get out of our personal lives, and I tend to agree. But you cannot let the government prefer one class of people over another, when the only difference between the classes is something none of the members of the classes has any control over. Instead of gay, insert black, or red-heads or Japanese immigrants. We tried it once with Japanese citizens, locking them up in internment camps. It’s something to look back on in shame.
    Hopefully we’ll get there with gay marriage.

    1. Male people of any sexual preference could always get married to female people of any sexual preference. Preferential treatment of married people was supposed to be an incentive towards having kids, and then staying together to help with the kids and grandkids and so forth.

      But today, US and state government incentives to have kids are mostly unavailable to married couples anyway.

    2. The government enforced benefits of marriage have to do with two things… the assumption that a man was supporting children and a wife who faced legal hurdles to full participation in the economy. The biggest reason for the government to care is that marriage defines financial obligations to children and inheritance.

      Women are no longer legally kept from supporting themselves and paternity can be determined with a test. The real reasons for the state to manage family relationships is pretty much gone.

      1. Paternity can be determined with a test… and the results can be and often are disregarded by the family court system.

        1. True. Because the legal standard has a long history of assigning paternity to the male married to the mother.

          1. ” Because the legal standard has a long history of assigning paternity to the male married to claimed as the father by the mother.”

            Which usually has way more to do with his perceived bank account.

            1. Since we just added #6 a few months ago, the birth certificate paperwork is fresh on my mind. Husband is presumed to be the father. If so, only one parent is required to fill out paperwork. If not married, then both must sign the birth certificate. If mother is married and father is not husband, all three parties must sign the paperwork. There is no option for mother is married, father is not husband, and father declines to sign: if that happens husband is automatically assigned paternity even though he knows the kid is not his.

              Your state may vary. (We need to officialize that as an acronym: I use it all the time with home school folks. YSMV.)

              1. You left out the most likely scenario: biologicals not married, multiple possible fatherhood candidates. Mom is asked and makes the claim on one. In a number of jurisdictions, he doesn’t get a turn down and courts can’t / don’t allow paternity tests to be admitted.

                My roommate right after college walked into precisely that scenario, magnified by her claiming she was on birth control while she was with him so he didn’t use his own.

  8. I would wager that anyone reading “Necessity” would expect there to be a lesbian relationship between Benita and the Succubus Cisi. There’s not. That’s just the way Cisi is – overtly sexual and physically affectionate, and Benita is pretty much immune to it.

  9. “It constantly astonishes me that conservatives and libertarians, people I agree with more often than not, will make a fuss about gay marriage.”

    Would it astonish you less if you recognized that it isn’t nearly so much about the gay as it is about the marriage? You know, the successful institution for raising children for millennia. Destruction of that institution has produced nothing but bad things.

    And before anyone wants to mention divorce, affairs, etc., as having worse effects, I’m gently going to ask if that means we should all embrace socialism to the fullest just because some people have succeeded in corrupting our governing institutions with it?

    1. “…the successful institution for raising children for millennia.”

      Should non-heterosexual people be allowed that advantage as well?

      Or…. is it only for the “right people”?

      1. Let’s not get into this debate again. IMO there can be plenty of “blue on blue” hits here. Note, I’m biting my tongue to prevent my response to “right people”.

      2. The Spartans believed that Romantic love was only possible between men and boys. They also practiced male-female marriage.

        As in a boy’s older male ‘lover’ would often enough arrange which woman he would marry.

              1. I remember when first watching 300 and thinking “Dude you’re not even close to what Spartans were like.”

                1. I seem to remember one reviewer responding to another who pointed that out by saying something like “Dude, it’s a fantasy movie based on a comic book. Nobody is going to this for a history lesson.”

            1. True, but I’ve heard that one of the reasons that Sparta’s culture failed was that they didn’t reproduce enough people to continue their culture. They spent more time in other pleasures than raising children.

              1. IIRC, Kratman had an argument that blamed it on the women.

                The Spartans were supported by slavery. The proceeds were distributed to Spartans in various ways.

                The buggery, the murder, the black broth and so forth seem to have given the men a strong sense of communal identity.

                The women seem to have identified more as family. This may have resulted in empire building, and collecting larger shares, making it impossible to support as many Spartans.

                Maybe that was the driver.

                The Spartans did try to make single men and women pair up in the dark, so they considered it something worth attempting to fix.

                Good riddance to them.

                1. See, what they really needed were some stereotypically gay interior designers to make their bedrooms simply fabulous.

                  After all, their homes were so Spartan.

      3. I’ll answer your question with a question. Given that the amount of money available is finite and actually rather small, and that the long-term purpose, (from both government and society’s point of view, not mummy or daddy) of children is provide a tax base to keep government and society going in a distant future -20 + years on- which is particularly relevant to people in government and society who are looking at funded retirement… where should government and indeed society put those very limited resources? Who should they support? Who are the ‘right people’ that you want to support and encourage with preferential treatment? Take emotion and SJ out and just look at it clinically, please. Whose children have the largest chance to: stay in school, get reasonable grades, not greatly abuse drugs/alcohol (costs the society), stay out of jail, stay out of mental institutions, not commit suicide, get jobs, give and physically support charities which support society in general not some narrow cause and of course, pay taxes? Actual verifiable, quality stats please, not mere assertions. Personally I don’t deeply care what that ‘right people’ is, so long as it is money wisely spent to see that I don’t end up starving as an old age pensioner.

        If you’re not part of that ‘right group’ perhaps the answer – to your and my old age and future as well as everyone else, is to work hard as an individual/couple/whatever to raise kids that do best at the above ‘right’ and to encourage your group (whether that is single parents or two daddies or daddy and three mummies) to produce children who are the ‘right’ ones or close to that for the future. Then there really is no valid argument that such support is not equally deserved.

        1. An additional aspect is that the division should be as simple as possible, so resources aren’t spent on that, and so that our so-called “knowledge” doesn’t end up screwing things up in the long run.

  10. What actually seems likely is that the de-incentives toward marriage with children, combined with all the taxes against inheritance and disincentives to save and invest, are designed to permit maximum taxation and maximum expenditure, while discouraging people from keeping the money in the family and developing family wealth for future generations.

    At least for the lower and middle class, anyway.

  11. I regard myself as middle class, mostly because I’m educated and have almost finished paying for my house, and there is NO WAY I’m gonna be able to accumulate enough wealth in the time left to me (I’m 61, so say two decades) for inheritance tax to significantly impact my family. I’m on a fixed income, for one thing, and for another, I’m giving it away in advance by setting up (tiny but regular) savings plans for my kids and grandkids.

    And good writing MAY have a message, but if the message outweighs the good writing, it’s not for me.

  12. It constantly astonishes me that conservatives and libertarians, people I agree with more often than not, will make a fuss about gay marriage. Do you really want to give the government, any government, the power to determine what does and what doesn’t make a marriage?

    No, but that isn’t what they’re promoting, either.

    I knew several couples who were “married” without government involvement– other than them getting pissy because some folks wouldn’t come to the wedding because of moral objections, nobody cared. They made a legal document that gave them exactly the abilities they wanted the other to have.

    I object to getting the government involved in folks’ sex life for no good reason– gov’t involvement is easily justifiable by looking at all the court junk involved in common law marriages. Having a standard setup greatly removes gov’t power to meddle, and limiting it to the categories that naturally produce children does likewise.

    1. For every well meaning person wanting to reduce Government involvement, there are at least 5 bureaucrats that want to make your business their business as they re-regulate laws and mission-creep their mission statements to make their group/department/agency have more power/money than the bureaucrats next door. The US government was meddling in the morals of marriage long before same-sex marriage became a hot topic.

      I am reminded of an event at least 15 years ago with our local Credit Union. Our CEO was ‘co-habitating’ with a former Board Director. One of the current Board members wondered if this was ‘proper’. My response was the Government defines morality and forces us to accept their definition. Specifically, the CEO was the widow of a Government Civil Service employee who had died at a young age. The way Government retirement works, she was entitled to a reduced percentage of his ‘annuity’, with the provision that it would be eliminated if she re-married before the age of 55. Same deal as all those Florida ‘snow birds’ that live together instead of marrying as it would reduce their Social Security benefits.

      One wonders if the same-sex marriage crowd is aware of the Catch-22s rules that were created not to wisely invest in society, but rather to build up one bean-counter’s empire over another one.

      I thought Mr. Nuttall hit the sweet-spot very well in Bookworm III, that I finished earlier today. Sub-protagonist Johan is offered a room with a woman. When he declines, he is offered a room with a man. The message here is that this society wants to be accommodating and inclusive; who you sleep with is your business. Unfortunately, for the SJWs this is a #FAIL. First, Johan is not gay. Second, he isn’t being denied his cake by a baker that refuses to cook it.

      1. I rather agree with the person who wonder if it was proper to have a CEO that you know was gaming the system.

        Someone who cheats in one area has a higher chance of cheating in another.

        1. Foxfier, interesting point; however, the person questioning the arrangement was doing so from a moral perspective of ‘living-in-sin’.
          As for gaming the system, I don’t personally consider that cheating. I try to be like Heinlein’s rational anarchist. People demand ‘rules’ and if I am expected to follow said rules, I am not morally obligated to ignore the unintended consequences of their rule.

          1. As for gaming the system, I don’t personally consider that cheating.

            That would be very important information for anyone who was going into business with you; it is important to know who feels justified in violating the spirit of the law because they can’t get punished.

            And believe it or not, the “living in sin” angle is also relevant. I am frequently surprised by how many people don’t actually want to be able to make choices when other people are allowed to draw conclusions from those choices.

            1. I know of people in my community who get married—a religious ceremony, to which the government has not been invited. This leaves eligible for government benefits which they would lose if they registered their marriage.
               Is this wrong? I dunno.

  13. While I’m less sanguine about the impact of sexual relationships in a military environment, male or female, het or not, than as portrayed in your books given the impact even the impression of favoritism can have on the life-or-death world if the military, I’ve enjoyed the Ark and Empires Corps books I’ve read so far, and intend to read more. (Also, the first Ark book took time to detail the regs and customs that were supposed to minimize such issues – so you at least hung a lampshade on it)

    Finally – overall – I agree with your essay. Especially when it comes to character building, regardless of the environment.

    1. I’ve been intrigued why separate facilities for men and women in the military is proper but separate facilities for gay men and gay women is ‘homophobia’.

      1. That was my favorite part of Starship Troopers (the movie): Just throw out all the complications and have one. Not sure it would work in real life.

        I think our existing system (general US culture) has worked because gay men are expected to keep their mouths shut (verbally and otherwise) in such situations. If that stops and gay men start hitting on straight men in bathrooms, I think change will be coming. Unisex, probably – gay men in the women’s bathroom would basically turn into the same thing as straight men lied to get into the women’s bathroom.

        1. Kinda like how women are getting teed-off because some places are passing laws saying that transvestites can go into the room they’re dressed as.

  14. What cheeses me off about homosexuality and marriage isn’t what kind of ‘contract’ two consenting adults want to enter, it’s the duplicity of it all. I’m old enough to remember when gay activists considered marriage a quaint arrangement for ‘breeders’. They had utter contempt for marriage and all it stood for.
    Latter when the same gay activists started demanding marriage ‘rights’, it wasn’t because they suddenly had an about face about the institution, it was a strategy to mainstream gay lifestyle. That’s all it has ever been about.

    1. ” …it was a strategy to mainstream gay lifestyle. That’s all it has ever been about.”
      Maybe so, but relatively few of the gay people I’ve known over the years were all that interested in getting mainstreamed. They were mostly just people like me, pragmatic about financial stuff, and that’s why I think getting insurance coverage has been a bigger factor than anything else.

      1. Which is rather interesting in the context of mandatory collectively funded health-care. Which is a political neighbor to the other issue.

        One way to prepare for old age and infirmity is to have kids, on the order of three or more daughters and daughters-in-law.

        Another is to be productive, to salt away enough wealth in a form that retains value well enough to be the equivalent of three daughters or daughters-in-law some decades down the line.

        We’ve all known for some time that the Ponzi scheme won’t work, being dependent on a population growing at a greater rate than it is.

        The younger cohort, sons and daughters of those who had kids, is being encouraged to buy policies they don’t need in order to fund the policies of the older cohort, including those who didn’t have kids.

        Food for thought.

      2. No.

        There has been much more support for for ‘civil unions’ than for ‘gay marriage.’ If all “they” wanted was being pragmatic about financial stuff and insurance, etc… Then “they” could have that now. Civil Unions with all the rights and inheritance and hospital visitations and insurance and everything else that married people get has been offered to ‘”them” as a compromise and is still within easy political reach. But “they” say ‘No… It has to come with the word “marraige” or no deal.’… Why don’t people have the ‘What does god need with a starship?’ realization about this!! “They” say they want certain stuff… But when offered that exact stuff “they” won’t take it unless it also comes with the title “marriage”… Oh. Then obviously “they” don’t give a crap about the stuff. The stuff is an excuse. A smokescreen. What “they” really want is the title. “They” want the word “marriage”.

        Now ask yourself. What do “they” want with a word “marriage”? The answer is obviously that “they” want it so they can use it as a weapon in lawfare… to go around and shove it in everyone’s face that “they” don’t like: christianists, small towns, the south, Chik-fil-A, etc. And then every time someone flinches and says ‘no… that’s not a marriage’ “they” bankrupt them with lawsuits, hound them out of their job, destroy their businesses, and strut around for a while showing off their latest victory… and then move on to the next person or organization “they” dislike and try again. “They” want the word as a legal weapon. Those of us who are not blind oppose handing them a weapon “they” will then immediately turn on liberty and Western Civilization and civil society. Think that couldn’t possibly be what “they” really want? Look around, they’re doing it already. “They” are already ruining people’s livelihoods and bankrupting them and are gleeful about it:

        LOOK AT IT. Go look at the faces of the people’s who are being bankrupted and losing their homes to these evil people already. And you want to just hand these evil bastards another weapon to hurt more people with?!

        “Oh…” you say, “The gay people I know are not evil. They are all nice people and would never, ever do that. You are WRONG to be so close minded and paranoid.” Yes. That’s why the word “They” is in quotes above. “They” aren’t all gay people. “They” aren’t even most gay people. Most gay people, and I hope all your friends, would never sue to force a Christian baker to make them a cake against their will or face be bankrupted by The State. Most of them would not stage a fake hate crime against themselves and then spread the news of it as far and wide as they could. Most don’t organize protests and boycotts, or bundle big donations to political candidates, or plant stories in the media, or run non-profits or political pacs that rely on LGBTQC4ISR grievances for their cashflow. But guess what… MOST gays won’t be the ones running the Lawfare machine; “They” will. The LGBTQC4ISR hustlers and professional political manipulators will be the ones making these decisions. And “they” are the ones who want the word ‘Marriage’ more than they want the rights of civil unions, and “they” will be the ones wielding it as a club to bankrupt and ruin good people and tear apart good communities and organizations as soon as they get that weapon. Well… obviously they’ve already started, but you know what I mean. Do you want to hand those monsters (not your nice friends, co-workers, and neighbors) another weapon? Why would you?

        Are you right now wondering if perhaps destroying a few hundred or thousand good people’s lives and businesses and churches might just have to be the price that society pays to for your friends to have their financial and legal status on par with everyone else and finally get to that wonderful dream world where no one cares if the ship Captain is queer or not? HA! What in the world make’s you think your friends will get the rights for their “gay marriage” to be the same as marriage or even the civil unions that have been offered in compromise?? Why would “they” want your friends and neighbors to have equal rights? The BEST outcome for “them” would be to get the name “marriage” so they can immediately start moving to small-town, red-state, bible-belt America (probably the small town they hate that they grew up in) , put their adopted kid in some rural school district with shallow pockets and sue the town to the brink of bankruptcy because 1/3 of the married couples in the 1st grade reading book aren’t lesbians and 1/3 aren’t buggerers (following a strategy other lawfare culture war groups have done)… but for that name to NOT come with equality. That way all your still-unequal friends can be fooled into still sending checks to and agitating on behalf of the LGBTQC4ISR grievance mongers. And as much as you might wish those grievance mongers and revenge-seekers would vanish and be replaced in their position by people like your nice gay friends who actually care about being fair and building civil society… well… they haven’t. Don’t call a bigot until they are. Some of us have figured out what this game really is. Don’t listen to what they say; watch what really happens. Don’t believe the excuse; look for the reason. Don’t assume the culture and legal war being waged against Western Civilization is being run by people as nice as you and your neighbors.
        Maybe I’m paranoid. Maybe all the organizations blackmailed and businesses ruined and careers of decent people destroyed by the racial grievance mongers was a small price to pay for the society of racial harmony and equality before the law… Oh, wait. It didn’t happen that way did it?

        1. TRUST ME ON THIS, you don’t want “civil unions” No, I’m serious. Already ditsy liberal couples are doing that instead of marriage, but TRUST me if it’s available it will become THE preference. See France and the rest of Europe for the progression. And “civil union” doesn’t have the same meaning. It’s more “open marriage with shared finances.”
          They want marriage because it is marriage — the question is why are you fighting so hard over a word? Marriage has not ALWAYS been religious, and no, it hasn’t always had the same meaning. It’s JUST a word.
          Now on the lawfare — that’s what you should be fighting. And for the record, my gay friends (mostly libertarian and conservative) hate that crap more than you do. But that needs to be legally tamped down. It’s already a violation of our constitution. The word — bah.
          I’m a conservative libertarian. I want to preserve marriage with its at least 200 year old freight of fidelity and exclusivity. Gays won’t destroy it, not even silly celebrity gays (hollywood hasn’t managed to destroy it, yet) BUT providing an alternative such as “civil unions” which are free form except for economic union WILL destroy it. Within fifty years. I’ve seen it in Europe. Mark my words. If you’re alive in fifty years, you maybe buy me whatever they let me drink at a 100. Probably water.

          1. Two responses:
            1. Generally I am NOT fighting so hard over a word. I don’t care much about it myself, and wonder why you assume I do. Did I write something that said I did? Just as I may not care about any particular square on a chess board, but if suddenly I realize that the reason my opponent wants to put his rook there is so that he can pin my king… I become very concerned about not giving up that particular square to him. Am I fighting for the square? No, I am fighting to keep my opponent from having a position to defeat me from. (I don’t hate that smokestack, I just don’t want the Soviets to have an observation post for their artilery spotters, etc.) “They” (again, not your average gay person, but the political players) have ALREADY started trying to ruin people who are Christian, anti-gay marriage, and provide wedding services. Think about what these people are like. You KNOW I’m right when I say that if they put their rook on that square, then one of the next moves will be to start instigating ‘test cases’ in small rural school-districts that don’t have deep enough pockets to handle a big lawsuit. Then they’ll demand the school show 2/3 of all ‘married’ couples in the school literature are gay and have safe anal sex classes start in the 1st grade. No, that isn’t fair or sensible or sane. They will WANT it to be over the top, because… and you should know this… to these particular damaged people it isn’t about fair. It is about punishing thier enemies and the more outrageous and obvious and the less believable the lies they can force them to mouth the better in their opinion. Look into your heart. You know it is true.
            Okay, so if you are convinced that gay marriage HAS to be called marriage… then you (or perhaps more effectively, your conservative and liberatrian outraged gay friends) need to first tear down the grievence industry that would use the legal term of art “marriage” to do all manner of destruction (while probably also preventing actual equality, btw, as was done by the racial grievence industry). Just as we would be fools to trade a tax now for spending cuts later, or a fixed immigration enforcement system later for open borders now… we’d be stupid to say “okay” to gay marriage without first legal protections for freedom of concience and freedom of association (which a conservative or libertarian should want too).

            2. Okay, you got me… I do care about changing the word too. The other day I was reading The Cat of Bubastes to my son and he wanted to know what a faggot was. “It’s a bundle of sticks tied together. The Egyptian footmen throw them on the swampy ground in a long line to make a causeway for the chariots to cross the bog without having to disassemble the chariots and reassemble them under fire on the other side. ” Then he wanted to know what a causeway was. Now he knows what a faggot REALLY is (and a causeway) and I’m just waiting for a call from his elementary school. You can’t play the Christmas carol or watch a damn episode of the Flintstones without middle schoolers giggling over ‘gay’. Libraries want to ban Twain because of ‘nigger Jim.’ Yes, i know English evolves… but one of the nice things about it is that I can read Shakespear or the King James Bible (or our founding documents) and still understand it. While I’m not for saving the word “marriage” for religious reasons, I do despise changing words all the time just to appease the latest PC fad in general. Words evolve enough on their own without people coming along and doing it deliberately… but that is a general grumpy old man complaint about not wanting change for changes sake, not one specific to the word “marriage.” Yet thse same people still say “taping” instead of “video-recording”… ‘Hey! There’s no tape… you’re not ‘taping’ anything anymore!’ But I’ll let them keep ‘taping’ if we can keep AD/BC. Fair?

            You should know better than to drink dihydrogen monoxide! Don’t you know that stuff will kill you?

  15. It suggests that the homosexual is incapable of achieving anything without help from the Social Justice Warriors.

    That pretty well covers why the SJWs treat LGBTs, women, minorities, etc differently. It guarantees them employment, power, and a place at the center.

    As the old saying goes, if you can’t solve a problem, you can profit nicely by being a part of it.

  16. The SJWs are fully aware that “no-message message” is more effective than message-fic. They only want their message getting out, and the only way to make sure of that is if the message is obvious, so…

  17. As persons we are far more than our gonads or “sexual identity” – and that complexity is what gives our lives richness and fullness. What the SWJs and their ilk are trying to do is to reduce each person to fit into a particular tribe among a set of sexual identity groups, and then force each to center their lives around that tribal identity. This is a reductionism that impoverishes us as people and a civilization, and by intention breeds tribal conflict, returning us to the Hobbesian mire.

  18. It constantly astonishes me that conservatives and libertarians, people I agree with more often than not, will make a fuss about gay marriage. Do you really want to give the government, any government, the power to determine what does and what doesn’t make a marriage?

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but there are two things that have angered me about “gay marriage”. The first is it’s largely been imposed on use by the courts, who have no business getting involved. As a policy matter I’m ambivalent – if the voters of a state decide to recognize homosexual unions I’ll go along. But the federal judiciary has no business deciding we’ve been doing it wrong for thousands of years.

    The second is the way these people are using the power of the state to force individuals and businesses to go along. If I have a bakery and I don’t want to make a cake for gay couples that’s between me and my customers.

  19. So when & why did race, gender & sexual orientation become such a necessary part of SF? I’m old enough to remember when SF was just SF.

    1. In about the last twenty to thirty years. I started noticing every man in SF was an abuser when my kids were little and stopped reading it for a long while, because I was tired of every woman being an “Heroic victim.”

      1. Any organization that embodies potential power — all that takes is collective decision-making — will eventually be targeted by persons who desire power above all other things. Such persons will inevitably gain control of such organizations, pace Hayek. (See also Robert Conquest’s Second Law of Politics.) Publishing houses and writers’ organizations such as SFWA are definitely of that sort. Publishing houses, which for a long time had the power to control what’s offered to the reading public, were early targets, and were quickly overcome by persons with political agendas. Leftist control of the big houses is now all but insurmountable.

  20. — I think, in the future, society will evolve to become more conservative and, at the same time, more liberal. –

    This is a pleasant vision, one that I would very much like to see realized. The major obstruction to it is the “individual crank” problem: i.e., the way advocates of specific aspects of freedom fight one another, rather than allying at least to the extent of not slurring one another’s pro-freedom agendas.

    “The facts of life are conservative,” said Margaret Thatcher, and so they are. When not countervailed by political interference, hewing to that lesson gives us the greatest probability of prosperity and happiness. But one of those “conservative facts,” which too many “conservatives” are unwilling to acknowledge, is that the great majority of other people’s decisions and actions are their own business and no one else’s. That certainly applies to bedroom preferences. Religious convictions notwithstanding — and mine are quite strong; I’m a practicing Catholic — what one’s sexual behavior means for one’s afterlife is no one else’s concern.

    Well said, Mr. Nuttall.

  21. ” It constantly astonishes me that conservatives and libertarians, people I agree with more often than not, will make a fuss about gay marriage. Do you really want to give the government, any government, the power to determine what does and what doesn’t make a marriage?”

    Bless your heart. I’m not against gay marriage because I want to give power to the gov’t. I am against it because I know how the game is played now. Excuses are not reasons. The reason they want gay marriage is so one of them can move to some rural school district (probably in the small town they hate that they grew up in) with shallow pockets and sue the town to the brink of bankruptcy because 1/3 of the married couples in the 1st grade reading book aren’t lesbians and 1/3 aren’t buggerers. Then the town will have to relent and daddy will pay attention to them. ‘They’ aren’t all queers, btw, ‘they’ here is the political activists driving the movement. It doesn’t matter that some gay friend of yours is a great person and would never do that. She’s not going to be the one making the decision.

    Your statement is like saying I must hate rooks on black squares because I don’t want That took able to move where it can put my king in check. Or that I think people shouldn’t have gasoline because I won’t loan a known arsonist my gas can and some road flares. Or ask those bakers who were bankrupted by a $100,000 fine because they would bake a cake for a queer couple… They just won’t bake a gaymarraige cake for them if you don’t believe that’s the game. I am again giving the opponents of liberty and Western Civ. any unforced errors.

    The ‘rules’ and idealistic polite society you obviously think your still living I is sadly gone. And we won’t get it back by loaning gas cans and road flares to someone we know has ill intent just because they say It’s not fair’ and you grew up in a time and place where your daddy would loan his out to his neighbors… It’s gone. This is a political gambit. Don’t be a fool.

  22. Is there any way to change my options so that I don’t get an email when comments by specified individuals post?
    And then is there any way to change my options so that comments by specified individuals are hidden?
    And is there any way to request that specified individuals start their own blog, instead of posting on this one?

    1. On the last one you could just request that the that specified individuals start their own blog, instead of posting on this one?

  23. Read this when it was published, and there’s something about the entire thesis, and a lot of what y’all are expressing here that I find subtly disturbing and wrong. The essence of what is being expressed here is, I am afraid, quite delusional.

    I’ve got no brief, either for or against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, zoophilists, or whatever sexual minority you might want to place yourself in. I am, however, a practical man who has observed his fellow monkeys with a jaundiced eye for many years.

    And, what I’ve learned about the rest of you, in general? You’re lying, conniving, backstabbing, petty little bitches, as a species. Human beings are fundamentally nasty creatures, and there are only a few of us who have managed to overcome the genetic input and cultural programming to transcend that. Unfortunately, many of the people who have managed that feat are also utterly blind to the facts of life as lived by the other 90% of the human race, and what the hell the rest of species really thinks, when at home alone and making decisions for themselves. I don’t worry about business conducted out in the bright light of day, but I do fear what goes on in the shadows and darkness, amongst which most of our fellows live.

    The other issue is, as so ably put by the writers of “Men in Black”, is that while individual humans may well be decent sentients, any time you get them together in groups, you’re not dealing with the individual any more. And, the “mass mind” that results is not something I’d want to show someone as a “good example of humanity”. I’ve been around more than a few groups whose individual members I liked and respected, yet whose group dynamic and behavior I found utterly reprehensible.

    Here’s a truth, people: Human beings are, at root, nasty creatures. Go take a look out at any pre-school class, where the kids have passed that point where they’re not aware of any differences between themselves and others. It’s damn near a standard development point for childhood, when they find and decide on one of their own to be the designated “goat” for the play group. Every single group of humans I’ve ever had the misfortune to work around does this, whether it’s a pre-school, a high-school class, a squad in the Army, or a football team. There will always, always be someone the group picks out unconsciously as the “goat”, and then proceeds to harass and peck to death, if they can. I swear to God, half of my time in the Army was spent in dealing with the stupidities arising from this crap, and I never, ever saw a situation in small group dynamics where it wasn’t present to some degree or another. Officer or enlisted, highly educated or not educated, the same dynamic takes place whenever you create a group.

    Now, the question is, how does the unconcious, unthinking “group mind” pick these poor bastards out? Here’s a clue: That “mind”, if it may be termed as such, seeks out the different, the odd, and the vulnerable. Whether it’s that shy girl with big feet whose parents can’t afford to dress her “a la mode”, or the weird kid that doesn’t “act right”, the group always finds someone to use as what I presume is some sort of anodyne for group tensions. Put the group under stress, and that stress grounds itself out through nasty comments, bullying, thefts from the victim, or just “entertainment harassment”. And, the sad fact of life is that the kid or young adult who is “sexually unsure/ambivalent” usually winds up marking themselves as the ideal choice for this. They don’t bond with the others, sometimes deliberately, in an attempt to be “different, special”, thinking that the Army or other adult working group is like school, where there are teachers to befriend by being the much-pitied “other”.

    You really don’t see too many cases where there are groups that don’t do this, and the few that I’ve observed generally just have very low levels of stress, or the members just don’t give a rip about what the group is for or about. Something with the intensity of a football team, or infantry squad? This happens, and it happens big.

    Let me tell you another little secret, here, one that is going to horrify you. Gays are never going to be mainstreamed and/or acceptable, in any recognizably human society contiguous with ours. The fact that they have the place that they did in traditional society is precisely because of the inherent natures of the syndromes that produce what I’ll shorthand as “gay behavior”, including all the various different flavors of lesbianism, bisexuality, and all that. There are likely multiple and various causes of these things, but they have a couple of near-universal common features–One, that they do not manifest in great numbers, and two, that they generally accompany some other rather severe personality disorders, like narcissism.

    Statisticians lie, but the best guess we have is that the general population has no more than about three to five percent of “teh gay” in it. Likelihood is, three percent. This is a minority, but not enough of one to allow mainstreaming or general, long-term acceptance. Were it as high as the mass media had it, and consisted of up to one-third of the population, I’d be a bit more accepting of the idea that the integration of gays into general society might become a “thing”. The real numbers, however? It won’t, and the artificial pressure we’ve created to try to make it so will inevitably result in a counter-reaction the magnitude of which I won’t even predict, and one I don’t like thinking about.

    So, my delusional friends: Two factors, here. One, gays are doomed to being a very small minority, simply because of their nature. Two, the group dynamic among humans is nearly always going to pick a minority member to make their “goat”, and they’re always going to have one. So… Mainstream gays, in culture and future military formations? Ain’t happening, and if it does happen in a military environment, that’s going to be a military organization that is likely to go down to defeat in the first engagement, for oh-so-many-reasons. Mostly related to dysfunctional primary group formation, and poor internal group dynamics.

    Most of y’all just do not get this: Successful command happens only because of the commander’s ability to gather in the trust and loyalty of his subordinates. As such, the commander is best selected from the same sort of background as his likely subordinates, or a background that the subordinate can somehow extend himself from to establish that trust. You would have a very hard time establishing yourself as an American Army officer put into command over Gurkhas, because the Nepalese don’t see an American the same way as they perceive the British product of public schools and Sandhurst.

    Extraordinary individuals can overcome these limitations. Institutions can not. There may be one or two gays out there who could easily make the issues of “not trusting the other” go away, in their individual cases. These are, I repeat, extraordinary individuals. The general run of people, who we must build our institutions from, cannot, and will not function effectively in those roles.

    Yes, there are perfectly normal, rational gays that just do their jobs everyday, without drama, and who want to live just like anyone else does. The problem is not them–The problems, especially in a military context, come from the Bradley Mannings, who took his sexual identity issues and behaviors that stemmed from them and then turned them into his motivation to betray the trust put in him by the system. His mental instability, stemming from his failure to integrate his sexuality with his biology, led to what happened. There are enough out there like him that every other gay is automatically going to be stigmatized with the same prejudicial eye by the rest of the “normals”. And, much as I hate to say it, there is some good common sense at work there–If someone is so confused about such a basic issue as their sexuality, then the idea of putting them into positions of responsibility is inherently foolish. You don’t entrust a Top Secret Clearance and full access to the Top Secret network to someone who has the personal history Bradley Manning brought to the game, and not expect disaster. The political correctness that forced that to happen will be remembered, and be a huge component of the eventual and inevitable backlash.

    Care to imagine the results of another Bradley Manning, someone with access to more destructive capacity, and who chooses to enable a really major breach, a digital Pearl Harbor? God forbid that that person would be gay, but the odds are pretty good that they will be. One of the really striking things about the majority of the people who have betrayed positions of trust in the US has been the prevalence of sexual deviancy, for more reasons than just the fact that they’re easily blackmailed. Everywhere you look, you find the unfortunate fact that sexual deviancy from the norm is a general feature found in those who chose to betray the institutions–John Walker, for example, he of the Naval spy ring that would have killed so many of our fellows in case of a shooting war–What was he? A self-described “swinger”, who made use of the money he was given to create a lifestyle of sexual self-gratification. Sexually deviant behavior is a clear marker, when it comes to assessing people for trust-based positions. Denial of that in the name of political correctness is sheerest madness.

    So, yeah–Tell me again how these issues are going to be overcome, without making fundamental changes to human nature, changes that would make the general run of humanity basically unrecognizable? All too many of us have made the same mistakes the Jews made, in Central Europe–“I’m a reasonable man, and I wouldn’t exterminate the Germans; why should they exterminate me and mine?”.

    Other humans may well be rational actors, and treat you decently. Place all your bets that way, however, and you’re going to be in for a very ugly surprise. Precisely as all these idiot activists are, who’ve forced their views down the public’s throat via lawsuit and legerdemaine–They really haven’t managed to change the fundamentals, and when the system resets itself, there are going to be a bunch of very unpleasantly surprised people left hanging.

    Y’all can maintain these delusional fantasies, and go right on ahead in encouraging the sexual minorities, telling them that things will ever be significantly different. You’re setting all of yourselves up for massive disappointment and failure. And, I don’t see that changing, until and unless the fundamentals that are based in inherent human nature are changed first.

    1. Who are you talking to? If you’re talking to the SJW, we agree with you but it sound like you’re talking “at” the majority of posters here. Unfortunately, I don’t think your words apply to us.

  24. Paul, if you’re reading that as me agreeing with the general thrust of “enlightened future integration of gays into mainstream and particularly military culture”, you’ve misread me to a huge degree.

    The “acceptance uber alles” folks are as delusional as the SJW types, I fear. Mr. Nuttall’s idea that some future society is going to magic away the issues of human nature, and make it so that the fantasy view that sexual identity issues “simply won’t matter” is the main thing I’m arguing against. It ain’t happening. No military organization with an eye on actually working is going to be able to do this, and still be effective. You’re either going to be forced to tune down the internal pressures that force strong primary group formation, or you’re going to have to accept that there are going to be member of your organization who are internal social outcasts. It’s a one-or-the-other proposition, and all the fantasy-island “sexuality don’t mean a thing” thinking in the world isn’t going to change that.

    Gays are probably almost always going to be the “other”. It’s an inherent issue, and one that happens no matter how carefully the parents and adults around try to reduce the effects as a child grows up. As an example of what goes wrong, no matter how tolerant and accepting the parents and other adults are, there’s the son of family friends. This is a kid whose parents and teachers all identified as being “off” at about age 4-5, as far as sexual identity goes. They did what they could, protected him from the other kids when appropriate, and generally tried to help him come to terms with his internal issues. He never did, and the primary reasons were all internal. Today, his life is a train wreck, and he blames everyone but himself for the choices he’s made, when the reality is, he had all the support and nurturing you could want for his choices.

    Now, I look at him, and he’s typical of many of the gay men I served with, and you tell me that he and his fellows are ever going to successfully integrate into mainstream society, or a military organization? Not only no, but hell no. It won’t work, and if you “adjust” the institution to enable them fitting in, you’ll have to break some very important parts of it.

    That’s what people aren’t grasping here, and what I’m trying to get across: There is no golden plain where all this is going to blossom into a paradise of tolerance and understanding. It ain’t happening, and the reason it ain’t happening boils down to the very nature of people in groups. Along with the inherent characteristics of many people demonstrating the typical behavior that we have come to term the “gay identity”. There are people who are gay that pass unremarked in general society, and who nobody even notices as being gay. Those people are generally closeted, and do not present the slightest sign to the rest of their fellows that they are different–They are the ones who are usually best able to adapt and fit into an organization where they absolutely must be able to integrate into small groups on an ad-hoc and constant basis, without issues. And, I’ll be the first to grant that it’s a hellish life, lived in denial of your very nature. It’s also very unfair to expect this of anyone that doesn’t make that decision by choice.

    The root point that I’m making here is that the whole is not the sum of the parts; if you were to interview the individual members of a mob, and ask for their real opinions on matters, and then compare what they did as a mob to how they lived their lives day-to-day, you would learn some frightening realities. This is something I was forced into, having been brought in to clean up after a small unit “went wrong”, and had a horrendous spate of issues with regards to harassment and hazing. The individual is not the group, and the group is not a sum of the individuals.

    I spoke with the majority of the participants, and while the worst offenders were either in jail or on their way there, not a one of the people I talked with had one damn clue why or how they’d let things get as bad as they did. It was a group thing, an almost separate consciousness, guided to a degree by the prejudices of some of the members, but still a separate creature entirely. Those guys had done things together that they’d have never done as individuals, and which they later looked back on with shame and embarrassment. But, the fact remains: They did them, together, and as a group.

    You want to create centers of dissension and conflict within small primary groups? Then, by all means, let us force the incorporation of people into those groups who possess major differences with their likely fellows. The Japanese have an expression for it–“The nail that sticks out gets hit the most”. That’s an unfortunate truism that I’ve observed causing problems, time and time again, especially in the high-stress situations that are prevalent in the military. It’s a feature of human nature that I don’t see changing, and Mr. Nuttall’s books where he’s made that a part of his reality without accounting for the necessary changes that would be required? Quite of a piece with what I’m trying to tell the rest of the folks who post here–You’re mistaken in your basic premises in this regard. Utterly so.

  25. To elaborate on what I’m getting at–The idea here is that you should “write characters that are true to themselves”, yes? Inarguable.

    The larger issue that’s not discussed is whether or not the society those characters fit into is “true to itself”. I can posit a character who is perfectly at ease with himself, and at home within his own skin. Great. Now, does that character fit into any recognizably human society, and can I put that character into any slot in that society, and still maintain self-truth in that larger context?

    A military officer, whether enlisted or commissioned, is a product of experience. By the time you put someone into a position of command over a large ship, that officer will have had to have been a successful member of literally dozens of small, impromptu groups, from secondary-school sports teams to cadet units to running divisions on board a ship. You don’t get to “Z” without having done “A, B, C, …” first. Participation in, and establishing leadership over these small groups is a key component to learning how to lead larger groups at higher levels. You cannot posit someone being thrust into command without them having gone through the process successfully, as “natural commanders” don’t ‘effing exist. Especially ones that succeed as leaders at that level.

    You posit someone who has managed this, while being a member of a small, very limited out group, and I’m going to tell you that you’re playing fantasy Mary-Sue games, period. As a product stemming from the dynamics of small groups, it ain’t happening. Not in any current human society, at least.

    Career-track for an officer means that before he even hits his fleet assignment, he’s been an evaluated participant in dozens of small group situations. You don’t fit in, quickly, and make yourself successful, you’re not going to progress to higher levels of training, let alone graduate.

    Be that “special, different flower” in Ranger School, and you’re going to get dumped from the course in short order. Hell, even if you do everything right, and there’s “just something about that dude” that the rest of the group doesn’t like, you’re going to get dropped from the course. In minor instances of this, you just won’t get help, and there will be “silent mutinies” by your fellows when it’s your turn to run things. It doesn’t take a hell of a lot for your peers to destroy your chances of passing the course, when all they have to do is just follow your instructions to the letter. And, if you think this doesn’t happen on a consistent basis in every high-stress training course, you’re delusional. Put people into those situations, and you’ll see things you’d never expect to see from them, having known them in day-to-day life. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and predict that in the near future, someone in the US Army is going to have to deal with the fact that graduation rates from these sorts of high-stress training courses is demonstrably lower for the openly gay. How they choose to handle that will probably be disastrous, just as forcing women through will be.

    The only way to force this sort of thing through the system is to vastly degrade the pressures put upon people in these training evolutions. Which then leads to the issues that create entire dysfunctional military organizations.

    You can posit a fully-closeted gay senior leader, one who never demonstrated any sexuality at all. We’ve had those. Openly gay leaders, at that level? The only way they’re happening is if the supporting civilian structure forces it, and I’m going to predict an imminent contact with reality for that organization, because having forced those people through the system as special little flowers, the civilians will have destroyed the basis for their “leadership authority”, and will have failed to impart the necessary leadership lessons to those individuals that they’d need to successfully lead an organization within which they represent an aberrant minority. That’s the facts of the situation, as I see them implied by my experiences dealing with small group formation and leadership situations. The odd have a place, in many situations, but that place is almost never going to be in command.

    You want an openly gay character in your works, keep what I’m saying in mind: They’re not going to make it up the ranks to conventional command, in a military structure based on a normal human society. They will, instead, wind up in situations where they’re filling roles as idiosyncratic experts in varying specialties. Openly gay logistics genius? Sure. Openly gay medical specialist? Absolutely. Openly gay combat leader in a mainstream force structure? Forget it. Nobody is going to take the risk of putting someone like that there. Maybe if we’re talking about something like a sideline combat force, the way subs were back in the pre-WWII navies. No senior commander is going to select a guy for an “important command”, or keep him there, that has that “Errr… Yeah… About Fred, y’know… There’s that thing…” going on with his personal life.

    People who’ve never been around these sorts of people make the mistake of thinking that they’re just like everyone else. Senior military leaders are emphatically not “like everyone else”, no matter what branch they’re in. They are the product of experiences they’ve picked up over a course of years, and the idea that they’re not going to be cognizant of how difficult it is to gain leadership primacy in any group when you’re already a member of an out-group is risible. And, status as a member of an out-group is an inevitability when you’re gay, I’m afraid–There just are not enough of them in the population, despite propaganda to the contrary.

      1. Paul seemed to ask for clarification, that in my mind didn’t seem necessary. Kirk clarified.

        Two issues.

        First, does enough of the audience have so intuitive grasp of this for this to be a significant problem?

        Second, Kirk seems to use a ‘random throw of the developmental dice’ or similar model that tends to treat fraction of gays as a constant.

        The example of the Spartans suggests that practicing homosexual pederasty on young boys increases the number of them that grow up to be interested in practicing homosexual pederasty. Either that, or there is something genetic to the Greeks, which would mean that every time you open the sexual preference can of worms, you also open the race can of worms.

        1. If I were understanding him correctly, I didn’t want to deal with him.

        2. Paul asked a simple question, one that appears to be mostly rhetorical. Who was he speaking to? That was it.

          Kirk responded two two massive diatribes that really just clarified that I have no interest in engaging him in this discussion.

        3. It could be in cases like the Spartans that the percentage of purely homosexuals and bisexuals is about the same, but the bisexuals engage in homosexual relationships more frequently when it is easily available.

          Also, is it proper to consider pederasty the same thing as homosexuals (I mean those who are attracted to men with developed sexual characteristics). In some cultures buggering boys doesn’t make one gay, only being buggered. We certainly don’t think being attracted to sexy young ladies and being attracted to prepubescent girls is the same at all.

      2. After having spent a bunch of money buying books I couldn’t even finish once the impossibilities in their world-building made themselves clear, yes.

        We can keep patting ourselves on our backs, telling each other how sensitive and understanding we are, but the raw facts remain. Ignoring those facts in storytelling is a sin, unless we make it abundantly clear that we are writing the ideal, the aspirational. Why? Because the confused young kid who reads these things is going to internalize the lies we are telling ourselves, and then in turn, make him or herself miserable trying to live them.

        You don’t get the pain associated with people who are desperately trying to do what their reading has led them to believe is possible, and fit into a sub-culture that really has no place for them. I’ve heard these kids, time and time again: “Sergeant K… Why don’t they like me? Why can’t I fit in…?”. Fact is, son, the people you listened to, who told you all these great stories, either flat-out lied to you, or they neglected to mention a bunch of other considerations. Real life isn’t like it is in the storybooks.

        And, for that, I have to blame a bunch of self-deluding authors who have very little concept of how things really work, in the military. Or, for that matter, in a lot of society outside their limited experiences.

        I can think back over a bunch of man-hours I didn’t need to spend, dealing with the results of this stuff, and a couple of lives that were seriously damaged by the side-effects. No, Johnny, you really can’t be whatever you want to be, in life. Some limitations come into play, based on who you are and what you are–It ain’t fair, but those are the facts.

        That’s why this particular issue set me off, yesterday and today. And, I’m afraid I am not clearly explaining what I’m getting at. Spinners of tales have a responsibility, to a degree, in that people are going to listen to those tales, and try to learn from them, putting them into effect in their own lives. In cases like this, the end results can be very damaging. I didn’t like having to pick up the pieces, and I really didn’t like basically having to perform triage on human personalities, and push them back out the door to civilian life because they were simply incapable of fitting in or adapting to the prevalent majority culture in the service. Aspirational tales are great, but I think they need to come with a clear warning built into the structure of the story–“If things were like X, this might be what life could be like…”. It goes far beyond saying “Well, people are unenlightened, nowadays, and if we just wish that away…”, which is what I get from all too many of these sorts of stories, these days.

        The reality is, you’re writing for that confused kid out there who is miserable in his or her day-to-day life, and who picks up your book for a bit of escapism. They read it, see that something you wrote which is not quite true to life solves a problem for them, or that there is some milieu which you have created where their problem isn’t a problem, and hey, presto… They think that if they join the military, they’ll find a place where there are no bullies, and there is nothing but acceptance for their differences. Sad fact is, having bought the fantasy the storyteller told them, they’re setting themselves up for even more misery.

        I don’t like misery. I don’t like cleaning up after it, and I don’t like things like this where it’s caused all unknowingly and by sheer inadvertent fantasizing. You want to include openly gay characters with your stories of them fitting into traditional command and control institutions like the military, then you need to also include that by which it became possible, and make damn sure you’ve emphasized the fact that it is there.

        I spent a lot of years dealing with dysfunctional kids that joined the services thinking it was going to solve all their problems. A disproportionate number of them had sexual identity issues, and were people that never quite fit in, anywhere they were. And, the tragedy of it was, they really, really wanted to fit in. Some of them quite literally killed themselves trying to do so, over the years, seeking community where there really wasn’t such a thing possible. The bright, smart, sensitive kid who is into community theater is probably not ever going to be a good fit in a combat engineer unit where the vast majority of people are more concerned with their cars, girlfriends, and where the next party is at. And, who, oh-by-the-way, instinctively identify any confusion about sexual role and identity as weakness, weakness as a threat to the unit, a threat to the unit as a threat to personal survival, and then take the appropriate instinctive action.

        That’s the essence of what I’m railing against, here. All I want is to suggest that people detach their idealized views of “How things should be…” from their writing, and make it abundantly clear that they’re not writing “true to life”, and thus encouraging these confused kids to do things that they really oughtn’t be doing. You have no idea how many easily-influenced, confused young men and women wind up joining the military, seeking community, to somehow “prove themselves a man”, or because they want to change their own nature. Cleaning up afterwards isn’t something I’d describe as “fun”, either.

        One of the more painful things to look back on is the fact that I simply didn’t have the time to do right by a lot of these folks, and simply had to usher them out the door to civilian life without really doing much more than saying “Yeah. You. You have issues. I don’t have time for this, so you need to go away…”. It’s painful to hear of one of those kids having spiraled into the ground, years later, and realize that you played a role in their self-destruction. Especially when you had no other choice.

        1. Oh, and it’s really a lot of fun to go digging through what’s left behind when they do something drastic, and you start finding books you’ve read yourself, and quite can then clearly trace through a path to how they got to where they are. That can be horrendously painful.

          In the end, I’m afraid that storytellers have responsibilities, because the effects of what they tell go a lot further than you’d think.

        2. I find your post very educational and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

          What do you think of CS Forester’s Hornblower books. Hornblower is clearly an Odd (not a homosexual, but queer in other ways by the traditional meaning of the word), but winds up as a beloved commanding officer with fiercely loyal crewmen. Is that unbelievable? Hornblower is practically the original sci-fi ship captain (there is a lot of sci in the fi, especially when he got the mortar ship but really all throughout). Is it the lash and the rum? Then again Forester DOES have Hornblower go through that ‘getting hammered down’ bit when he was a young midshipman. And now that I think about it there are lots of Odd great commanders, but they were often Odd in romantic, over-the-top ways that accentuated martial attributes…. like the guy who went ashore on Normandy beach with a sword in hand. But not all, Stonewall Jackson seemed to be a hypochondriac but brought his men through things no other commander could have. Hmmm… are some more class aware cultures more tolerant of eccentric leaders? Or is it something of the “he got us through Manassas, who cares if he eats lemons.”

  26. I’m a little late to this party. Price I pay for being at sea. 🙂

    So I’m an active duty Naval Officer. Submariner, to be precise, though I’m not on a submarine right now. Since Chris brought it up, this whole gays in the military as a political issue thing burns me up, for exactly the reason he stated in his post.

    On both of the boats I’ve served on to date (both prior to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell going away), everyone knew who the gay guys were in the crew. Everyone knew and no one cared. Why? Because it didn’t freaking matter. What matters on a submarine is do you do your job, or are you a slug who breathes the oxygen, fills the san tanks, and doesn’t contribute? That’s true on any ship, but especially a submarine (for obvious reasons).

    Everyone I’ve ever talked to in the Navy about the issue has concurred with me. It just doesn’t matter. Maybe the other branches were different, but I doubt it. The only reason it was an issue at all is because of the jacked-up, typically Clintonian bit of dishonest jackassery of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Thank God that’s gone (one of the few things I give the current CinC props for) – the idea that you have to lie about yourself to serve is totally contrary to every principle of military life.

    Know who it matters to? People who aren’t in the military and people with an axe to grind. I’ve got a couple stories about that…but they would take too long.

    Same with women on submarines. The Navy started doing that a couple years ago (took us long enough – Aussies and Norwegians had been doing it for decades), and I got to take part in some of the training for the first cadre of ladies who came into the force.

    Know who objected to that, and made a stink about it?

    FORMER submariners. And submarine wives. NOT the people actually manning the boats. Again, to the guys on the boats, what matters is that you do your job, nada mas. Sure, there was an adjustment to make onboard. But we’re professionals. And we don’t make policy – we execute it.

    Which is of course the worst part about ignorant douchebags who feel the need to “make a statement” about this sort of thing. It’s bad enough that they have no clue what the hell they’re actually talking about. But then they target their idiotic statement at the wrong people. “The military’s ban on gay members.” No, dumbass, it was Congress’, and the President’s – or at least it was until they pulled their heads out.

    I suppose in their sanctimonious little frame of mind, “making a statement” makes them feel good about themselves (spoken – makes them feel superior to other people). But in reality, it just makes them look like pretentious a-holes.

    Ok, enough from me.

    TL;DR Nice post, Chris. I concur.

    1. Wasn’t there recently a scandal where some waste of oxygen set up a camera to peep on female crewmen on a submarine?

      Thank you for your service in what must be one of the hairier duties in the sea. My grandfather served on a WWI submarine, the L-01. I only learned about it after his death.

      1. Yeah I heard something about that. And I guess one of the lady JOs got into some trouble over some business with one of the enlisted sailors, or something. I don’t know the details.

        1. He was also a Tool and Die maker for the Waltham Watch company. (I thought I had mentioned he was a Machinist’s Mate on the sub). All I know about his service was that they patrolled the Irish Sea during the war. I do wish I had known more about him. Unfortunately my Dad is getting to the point where he doesn’t know much about himself any more.
          “Grampa Chandler” lived to 95. My Dad is in his mid 80’s now. I’m thinking longevity runs in the family.

          Apparently a lot of his naval records were lost in a fire.

          (My Dad’s accomplishments were more in Defense contracting. He was a Software program manager on AEGIS for RCA/GE).

    2. Now I wonder why the submarine wives would object. Surely incidences of divorces and broken families didn’t increase after the boat was integrated did it?

      “Everyone I’ve ever talked to in the Navy about the issue has concurred with me. It just doesn’t matter. Maybe the other branches were different…”
      Maybe….. Okay, I’m going to post this for an ex-Army friend of mine:

      Just out of curiosity, what percentage of the ladies on the submarine were pregnant by the end of the deployment. No, I’m not poking fun; that’s a serious question. Were they issued birth control? Because I imagine that there might be some hesitance to order that pregnant ensign into the flooding compartment to help with damage control, even if they’d have been given that order in a nanosecond if they were a guy. That’s just human nature and you’re not going to change that… I hope.

      1. Yeah, can’t imagine why the wives would object either. But then, most didn’t, just an outspoken few. Of course, it’s always been that way. I remember coming back from my first deployment, we didn’t get the standard traditional Hawaiian greeting when we returned to Pearl Harbor because two – TWO – wives got in a huff about not wanting their husbands to look at a bunch of hula dancers on the pier, and never mind that most of the boat was single. So instead, we got Barney. No kidding, Barney. It actually made me glad to have duty that first night.

        It still pains me to think of that.

        Re: pregnancy. To date it’s only female officers who have been put aboard the boats. And historically, that’s been FAR less of a problem on the officer side than the enlisted. Nothing against enlisted sailors, but it’s true. Of course they’d get issued the pill if requested. But there is damn little space on the boat to find the privacy for that sort of thing. If someone was bound and determined, I’m sure they could manage, but… *shrug*

    3. Michael, how did the standards get changed on how much upper body strength it takes to shore up a bulkhead in a flooding compartment? or carry a 200 pound crewman out of the same?

      Those are just a couple of examples. Physics don’t know about Women’s Lib.

      1. Shore up a bulkhead? Seriously?

        Dude, if you’re needing to rebuild a bulkhead on a submarine, you’re screwed pretty much no matter what. Freaking Colossus could be down there and it wouldn’t matter. There’s not all that much reserve buoyancy in those boats, and we don’t really have that sort of DC gear anyway. repairing small holes and patches? Sure. But an entire bulkhead, in a flooding situation? Fugetaboutit.

        1. When I was in “A” School, we had a striker from the fleet who had come from the submariner community. He was pretty upfront with us about life on a sub (what he could say, anyways), and it was enough to convince me that I’d rather go into a firefight with the Marines than be a bubblehead. 😀

          1. My son in law wore the dolphins. The school he went to first was Basic Enlisted Submarine School (B E S S). It wasn’t until he married my daughter that I discovered that. The significance is that my daughter’s name is Bess. HMMM….anyway, he was a nuclear tech, and he said that there were exactly TWO positions in his career path if he had stayed in the Navy: nuclear tech, and nuclear tech supervisor. So, he got out, took the college courses to become an elementary school teacher, but prior to graduating, took a job with GEICO as an adjuster, and is in their career track. And no, Sam and Bess’ son Joshua, 9 months, does NOT have two heads nor glow in the dark.

            1. *shudder*

              All submarine officers have to qualify and maintain proficiency as Nukes, so I feel your son-in-law’s pain. Honestly, I have no idea how any enlisted nuke ever re-enlists. I mean, they’ve got THE highest re-enlistment bonuses out there, but holy cow do they get rode hard and put away wet, constantly. That’s a really, really hard and mostly thankless job, and as you pointed out, they can pretty much forget about a lot of the cool opportunities out there in the Navy – Nukes need not apply. Hats off to him for doing it. Not sure I could have, and stayed sane. 🙂

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