As every American knows by now, we possess the astonishing power as a people to alter the course of world history, and to determine the rise and fall of civilizations, simply by how we Americans conduct our sex lives.
At least, that’s what America’s single richest human resource — i.e. our nation’s awe inspiring supply of village idiots — has been telling us for decades.
So far as I’ve heard, the village idiots in most other countries pretty much spend their lives happily competing against each other to see who will be the next among them to fall down their village’s well. Unfortunately most of the wells in America are protectively capped these days — not even an idiot can fall down them. And that has been the cause of untold frustration for America’s village idiots. With no wells to fall down, our idiots have understandably felt their lives were unfulfilled and meaningless.
So, in existential desperation, more and more of our village idiots have turned to politics and religion as their last and greatest hope to live true to themselves. That is, to live as the idiots they are.
This massive migration of our idiots into religion and politics has not only turned nearly every issue facing the American public into a political and religious issue, but it has also reduced the national discourse on those issues to unrelenting babble. Babble such as the notion — if it may be called a “notion” — that nations and civilizations rise and fall primarily based on the sexuality of their people. Who, but an idiot, could believe that?
Well, no less an esteemed American idiot than James Dobson could believe it. In a 2004 letter to his followers, Dobson wrote:
For more than 40 years, the homosexual activist movement has sought to implement a master plan that has had as its centerpiece the utter destruction of the family. The institution of marriage, along with an often weakened and impotent Church, is all that stands in the way of its achievement of every coveted aspiration.
True to himself, and with no uncapped wells around to distract him, Dobson managed in the letter to puff up his prophetic voice and take a shot at analyzing the consequences of the “utter destruction of the family” by homosexuals:
Barring a miracle, the family as it has been known for more than five millennia will crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself.
So, according to Dobson, nothing destroys civilization like a little homosexual love-making. Of course, reasonably insightful people might look at Dobson’s thinking and say to themselves, “The poor man’s fallen down an intellectual well. How can anyone be so unfortunate?” Yet, what else can idiots do but fall down wells?
Actually, the whole issue is quite perplexing to me. I realize that calling people village idiots does not actualy explain why they behave like village idiots. So really, the question still remains. How is it possible for anyone to believe that granting rights to homosexuals — such as the right to marry — will presage the fall of Western civilization?
The nearest I’ve come to finding an objective and accurate answer to that question has been when reading the Third Chapter (.pdf) of Bob Altemeyer’s work on authoritarianism. Altemeyer lays out seven ways in which authoritarian followers are more or less dysfunctional when attempting to reason. In other words, he explains what makes a village idiot a village idiot.
I suppose reading Altemeyer’s explanation should satisfy me, but it doesn’t. And it doesn’t because the stupidity involved in believing homosexuals will bring about the collapse of the West is so great in magnitude that you surely must think anyone stupid enough to believe in that notion would be quite unlikely to survive the normal challenges of life. Yet most of the village idiots do survive: At least, they survive long enough to get married, reproduce, and vote in our elections. It’s all very counter-intuitive.