John C. Wright (johncwright) wrote,
John C. Wright
johncwright

APOLOGIA PRO OPERE SUI part VI (conclusion)

8.      CLOSING REMARKS

8.1.   WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SCIENCE FICTION??

You may be wondering, dear reader, at this point what this argument given above has to do with Science Fiction, or the Sci-Fi Channel?

The short answer is nothing. My objection to the Sci-Fi Channel is that by caving to political pressure, they made my life harder as a science fiction writer, since this would embolden the partisans.

Do I object to gay, lesbian, etc. characters in science fiction? My answer is a qualified no: not if the character is integral to the story. You can have deviant as well as wholesome characters in stories, because you have to tell the story as honestly as you may.

For that matter, I seem to recall at least one story of mine which had one of the deviations mentioned above: but it was part of the character, and a useful metaphor for the theme. Was it tasteless? That is a separate question and one I will duck for the nonce.

I did not put that character in the story because my political masters, or a screaming mob, had commanded me to make that particular perversion seem palatable and normal to the hoi polloi. I was not engaged in propaganda or selling my own personal brand of soap from a soapbox.

The Sci-Fi channel said they were engaged in social engineering, if only in their own small way. They admitted their mission was to mold public opinion, not just serve public entertainment.

Fie on that. If I want to mold public opinion, I will write an editorial. It is not my job to mold public opinion by sneaking messages into books: for one thing, my readers are as smart as I am, or smarter, so I have no right to appoint myself their tutor, do I?

But apparently there is many a man who takes up his pen who wants to be my tutor, and on a topic where I have thought the implications through, and he has not.

Beside, as a science fiction writer, if I am going to stop my story to give a lecture, let it be a lecture on something science fiction people come to such books to find: astronomy, rocketry, physics, speculation, the play of ideas, the weird and wonderful universe around us!

Let the Democratic National Committee do their own work and their own advertising if you want to mold public political opinion. In science fiction, if you are going to lecture me, lecture me on science.

8.2.   A PERSONAL NOTE TO MR. CHARLES STROSS

Here above I have outlined the argument, for good or ill, which pried my loyalties away from the Libertine Position (of which I was then a supporter) and drove me step by step into the arms of the Matrimonial Position (of which I am now). Whatever words you might use to describe these coldhearted and unsympathetic conclusions, they cannot be called prejudice. I did not make any decision before the evidence was in, and there was no evidence I disregarded or dismissed until after sober consideration of it.

Believe me, I understand your position. For the wide majority of you, I daresay I could argue it better than you could, with more logic and less heat than you could.

Those of you who attribute these conclusion to a weakness of my moral character, and foolishness in my brain, or an unacknowledged subconscious prejudice—to you who are addicted to ad hominem, in other words—I merely ask where these same weaknesses, foolishness, and prejudice were back when I was on your side? Hm?

Mr. Charles Stross says that there is no logic to my position, because I adopted it because, and only because, I have defective personality type: an authoritarian personality.

Come now, Charles. You say that my conclusions are because and only because I have an authoritarian personality. You are a mind reader, evidently. Read my mind here and now, and tell me why it was that my authoritarian personality used to support the Sexual Revolution, and now it does not?

Myself, I would say my judgment changed because my experiences life brought to my attention the defects and shortcomings of the Sexual Revolution position. He says not: it is merely an epiphenomenon of my personality defects. Are you telling me my personality changed, but my experience stayed the same? If so, I would like to hear you say that I used to have a non-Authoritarian personality back when I was young: the sound will amuse me to no end. Friend, you did not know me when I was young. I was not nice and kind-hearted like I am now.

Actually, I doubt the good Mr. Stross will ever have occasion to read these words, and his comment was nowhere near as rude or wild as the vast majority of what I heard. I am picking on him because I like him. I would rather he take the time to write another of his very imaginative scientifiction books than take the time to answer me. I would rather he and I be friends on the things were we agree than become enemies on the points where we do not, so I will not actually put my question above to him. Think of this as a rhetorical question only.

8.3.   A GENERAL CHALLENGE

But those of you who do not have books to write, you have the spare time to answer me, or else be condemned by your silence, do you not?

Not just Mr. Stross, but the overwhelming majority of critics made the claim that my change of mind was due and was only due to my conversion to Christianity. This is an error in fact: but one which I have yet to see anyone retract or correct. I converted to Christianity long after I suffered the change of mind I outline above.

It is very important to the partisans of the Sexual Revolution to support the idea that religious sentiment AND NO OTHER CAUSE can impel and opposition to their program. I would go so far as to say this is a myth, or dogma of theirs. This myth allows them to rally support from atheists and agnostics and intellectuals in general who otherwise would have no harmony of interests with them. Most Leftists are happily married and do not cheat on their wives: why would they throw in with the Sexual Revolutionaries, pornographers, and so on? This myth allows them the excuse: anything that offends religion and undermines moral authority makes a common cause with the Progressive movement, who must uproot all traditional authorities before their new Progressive scheme (whatever it happens to be this season) is put in place.

It is simply a lie. If you are someone who says that the only opposition to the sexual revolution comes from and only from religious sentiment, I here and now call you a liar and a craven and I hurl down my gauntlet at you. Do you have an argument, evidence, or a line of reasoning to give to support the claim? Your choices are to produce the evidence or chain of reasoning; to retract the claim; or allow a cowardly and dishonorable silence to retract the claim for you.  

8.4.   CHRISTIAN MODIFICATIONS TO THIS POSITION

The majority of comments directed scorn upon my religion, thinking that by so doing they would strike the target of my support of matrimony. Of course, I doubt they knew (or cared to know) what the actual roots of my support of matrimony were: not Christ, but common sense; not religion, but romance.

As a public service, and in the interests of total honesty, I have to say where and how my position was modified when I was converted.

First, Christ commands that I not judge other men, lest I be judged. This means I cannot criticize or condemn the persons who fall into temptations, sexual or otherwise. I can criticize the sin, of course, or warn the unwary against it.

Second, Christ commands love, not merely toleration. While my chain of reasoning above led to the conclusion that sodomy laws should be enforced, my Christian sentiment tells me that this position lacks love and charity, and so I cannot in good conscience support anti-sodomy laws. Homosexuals suffer hard lives, and cannot walk down the street without being surrounded by hostility. Every man of good will must be tenderhearted toward them, no matter what the laws say.

Third, Christ bled and died for my enemies, the Leftists and the Sexual Revolutionaries, as well as for those tempted by sexual sins and lures. Not only must I pray for my enemies, I must do so even though that praying holds me up to their derision. Since Christ died for them, I cannot hold these people up to the scorn they deserve, or mock their weaknesses, since those things are of secondary or even of no importance in the grand scheme of things.

Let us see what the Catechism says on this matter, shall we? One advantage of being a Roman Catholic is that everything my conscience is bound to believe is written down in a fair and lawyerly fashion:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

This language is certainly more temperate than when I called them perverts. I was wrong to use such hurtful words: I freely admit this in public and humbly beg for your pardon and forgiveness, but if I were not a Christian, nothing could have planted the seed of doubt or self-doubt in my iron heart, and not even a team of wild horses could have dragged that admission from my stubborn teeth. Someday Christianity may make me fit company for human beings, my brothers, and you are vastly deceived if you think this religion is making me more irrational, rather than less.

Shall we look at another quote?

"It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law."

- "On The Pastoral Care Of Homosexual Persons", by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Sins of love, or so the poet Dante says, is the least of offenses against heaven, and pride is the worst. Who am I, who indulge in the worst of sins, to use harsh and mocking language against those who indulge in the least? The love a homosexual feels toward his lover may be disordered—but it is still love, and love is still divine, and that love can draw that man to heaven certainly quicker than my pride may drag me to hell.

We are made for mercy. We must be merciful to each other. We must ask mercy and show mercy, lest we die the death.

So, there is the modification of my position, for what it is worth. I hope it comes as a surprise and an embarrassment to those of you who, in your ignorance, shot off your mouths and said it was due to my religion that I believed what I did. No, if anything, the mere opposite is the case. Back when I was an atheist, my scorn for those who were vicious and weak and prey to their emotions was clear and sharp as a drawn sword. Now that I am a Christian, I must put that sword away. Christianity has softened and ameliorated my position from stern opposition to a more tender concern—if I can live up to the Christian standards involved, which I doubt, without the grace of heaven, any man can do. 

 

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