As readers know, I don’t believe in forcibly outing other gay men and women. But I do strongly believe that those gay men and women now in powerful positions in the Republican party have a pressing moral responsibility to be out to their bosses and colleagues and public. The head of the Log Cabin Republicans, Patrick Guerrerio, has just written a stirring call for these people to realize that they have a unique responsibility at this point in history:

During this moment in the culture war, we face a fight that will determine how LGBT Americans are treated for decades to come. Those who choose to be missing in action are running from the most critical fight of our generation. During these historic times, the closet is not only a place which suffocates personal dignity, it is also a place which suffocates the powerful force of personal integrity that can change the hearts and minds of even the most conservative Americans and most conservative politicians. Coming out doesn’t have to mean putting a sticker on your car, flying a rainbow flag from your front porch, or marching in a parade. Coming out means different things to different people. It may be as simple as putting a picture of your partner on your desk at work, sharing your personal story with your boss, or speaking up when someone says something anti-gay. For others, it may be as difficult as offering a letter of resignation instead of implementing or assisting with an anti-gay campaign strategy.
For many conservatives, coming out will come with real and profound sacrifice.

Imagine that. Sacrifice for something more important than your own comfort level. No one should be forced into a decision he or she feels uncomfortable with. But that doesn’t mean and shouldn’t mean that the Republican gay closet is morally defensible. It is increasingly a failure to do what is simply right at a time when so many in the GOP are intent on doing wrong.

THE TROOP STRENGTH DEBATE: Striding Lion considers the past and present alternatives.

CHEER-UP TIME: Two emailers address my pre-apocalyptic gloom:

I think your analysis of flu-terrorism-technology-etc. is spot-on; and the only cheer I can offer is long, long term, and grows out of Robert Wright’s analysis (brilliant, I think) in “Non-Zero.” I think, as you suggest, terrorists will sooner or later succeed in exploiting ever-more-accessible and ever-more-sophisticated technology to inflict immense damage. This will, once repeated enough times, prompt most people and governments to recognize that the only effective counter (for management — cure is out of the question) is greater interdependence, greater trust, greater cooperation, greater devolution of power to ordinary people. “Flat” management a necessity for self-preservation. If ordinary folks are to be entrusted with more power, they will have to be given a stake in the mutual polity — i.e., they will have to be assured a decent standard of living and a real vote, even in developing countries. In short, we will have to choose between dying and becoming our brothers’ keepers.
Some governments will try Orwellian totalitarianism, but it won’t work — there will be too many Brownies in charge.
How soon? Dunno. Long, long time. Many, many people suffering and dying first.
Feel better now?

Thanks a lot. If you haven’t read Bob Wright’s book, “Non-Zero,” you really should. For some reason, it didn’t take off the way his first book did – but it’s a superb examination of, er, the whole of human history. Since I have a possibly even gloomier view of human nature than Bob, I’m unconvinced. Then along comes anther email-therapist:

I’ve thought about the problem of the escalating force multiplier for a long time now and haven’t been able to conceive of more than the obvious solution: the End of Privacy. I see a world where, in fifty years, everyone has the ability (and the right) to see what everyone else is doingx97physically, financially, whateverx97in real time. Computers will analyze everyonex92s behavior and identify those whose actions and transactions are suspicious, dangerous, or unapproved. It doesnx92t have to be as Orwellian as it sounds–government itself will be just as transparent.

Given how lttle privacy we already have, maybe the trade-off may not be so bad. either way, the golden age of freedom may be heading toward an eclipse.


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