Sexual shame should have died with Roy Cohn!

Here's more (via InstaPundit) from Gay Patriot:

I agree wholeheartedly, and I'm reminded of a recent email exchange with a noted practitioner of "outing." Even though he didn't request anonymity, I decided to go out of my way to respect his privacy as a gentle way of arguing that invading people's privacy because you don't like what they think simply isn't nice.

Here's my last email to him, which includes the previous threads:

Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 19:34:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Eric Scheie" Add to Address Book
Subject: RE: Classical Values - correction


O'Reilly? Fair and balanced? I "must" think that?

I happen to think very poorly of O'Reilly (which you'd
have seen if you took the time to read my blog). I
didn't put words in your mouth, and I'd appreciate it
if you didn't put words into mine.

It borders on incivility (something I honestly try to

Tell you what; send me the link showing that O'Reilly
lied and I'll be glad to add the post. I'm really not
sure what's upsetting you, as I already added an
UPDATE mentioning your email.



P.S. Looked at your blog, but I just don't care for
outing people, because I think that attacks the
underpinnings of sexual freedom.

--- xxxxXXXXXX Comments Box

> There is absolutely no proof whatsoever to
> O'Reilly's assertion. The Chicago
> Tribune even ran an article about how he was a fraud
> on this episode of his
> show.
> It's ok tough, I am sure someone who refers to
> O'Reilly's Talking Points as
> an "article" must also think he is "fair an
> balanced" and probably out of
> reach for our campaign.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Eric Scheie []
> Sent: Monday, July 19, 2004 1:42 PM
> To: Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
> Subject: Re: Classical Values - correction
> The story speaks for itself; obviously I can't vouch
> for the truth of what someone else says.
> The URL calls it a story:
> Perhaps it's a story about O'Reilly's commentary,
> but
> there's no effort to mislead. I'm not interested in
> whether it's called a commentary or a story, but if
> you have any information showing that what O'Reilly
> says is untrue, I'll be glad to update the post.
> --- Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
> wrote:
> > the Fox News story you quote about Sosman is in
> fact
> > not a story at all, but
> > a list of Bill's talking points which, on screen,
> > are clearly marked
> >
> > Is this an error on your blog or a deliberate
> effort
> > to mislead?

If you've gotten this far (I wouldn't blame you if you hadn't bothered....), you may have noticed that the emailer was indignant because he didn't like the "misleading" way I quoted Bill O'Reilly (a man I neither like nor respect). I visited his blog, and saw that he specializes in "outing" people. This puzzled me, because if he thinks it's a good thing to shame people's sexuality because of their political opinions, well, O'Reilly is doing his work for him. So why doesn't he like O'Reilly? Does he think that only he and not O'Reilly is allowed to out people? Did someone annoint the former to be the Outing Czar?

In any event, I have always taken a very dim view of outing, because it's based on shaming another human being based on what he does in private with his genitals. From what I can see these days, the two primary groups of people who most believe in sexual shame are religious fundamentalists and gay activists. The former do it in the hope of "saving" people from homosexuality, while the latter do it primarily to induce conformity to their political opinions. Apparently, it is felt that what one does with one's genitalia creates a requirement that one conform to certain political goals; i.e. if one is homosexual, one is not allowed to hold opinions that differ from those of self-appointed "gay leaders." It's errant nonsense, and as tyrannical as it is profoundly illogical.

Sexual freedom, to my way of thinking, is based not on conformity to group rules or identity politics, but precisely the opposite. You'd think homosexuals would be the first to understand that, but I guess there's always the tyranny of the oppressed. It's bad enough to be a victim of such tyranny; it's worse not to even know it.

I think those who practice "outing" are behaving more like blackmailers and shakedown artists than as advocates of sexual freedom.

Perhaps they don't like sexual freedom after all. If that is the case, then I think it is they who honor the true spirit Roy Cohn.

(Not their victims.)

posted by Eric on 09.05.04 at 12:39 PM


Excellent, once again. I totally agree. I oppose all such invasions of our sacred privacy, whether it is in the form of "outing" or of "sodomy" laws.

Roy Cohn? I admire him both for being a homosexual and an anti-Communist conservative. Too bad he did not hold his sexuality proudly.

(By "proudly", I do not mean in an exhibitionist manner but, rather, with dignity.)

I disagree. Politicians who vote to discriminate against gay people, and the staffers who aid and abett them, have made my sexual orientation and my sexual activities a public issue. It strikes me as fair game to make their sexual orientations and their sexual activities public issues, as well. And let the chips fall where they may.

That is not to suggest that individuals should be outed merely because they are gay. Or merely because--in, for example, Andrew Sullivan's case--he did not live up to his rhetoric. But for those who are in a position to actually affect government policy in a significant way, yes, they are fair game.

BTW, it strikes me as a bit silly for you not to identify the emailer (unless you didn't get his permission to reproduce the emails) or the blog you are referring to. I don't know for sure the particular blog you are referring to, but I have a pretty good idea. And if I am correct, the blog is hardly obscure.

raj   ·  September 6, 2004 7:53 AM

Agree Steven.

Raj, I'm having trouble understanding how your "sexual orientation" and "sexual activities" can be made "a public issue" by people you have never met and who have never met you.

Unless you believe in sexual collectivism or something.....

Eric Scheie   ·  September 6, 2004 10:02 AM

Come, come, Eric, you're a bright guy. I'm surprised that you apparently don't know what "public issues" refer to, but I guess I'll have to tell you. People like Schrock have made sexual orientation and sexual behavior "public issues" by voting in favor of measures that would discriminate against gay people. They would enshrine state discrimination against gay people in stone. Particularly in regards marriage. People like Schrock would also support discrimination against gay people when it comes to hate-crimes legislation--while hate crimes legislation regarding religion remains protected. People like Schrock would support homo-only sodomy laws--just look at your pResident's support for Texas's homo-only sodomy laws. And that ignores issues regarding anti-discrimination laws--and anti-discrimination laws in all jurisdictions already forbid gay people from discriminating against conservative christians while allowing conservative christians free rein to discriminate against gay people. It should be clear that people like Schrock have made both sexual orientation/behavior AND religion public issues. So it should be no surprise that others might see fit to out people like Schrock to people, the majority of whom are beholden to a RELIGION that would find his SEXUAL BEHAVIOR abhorent.

Let's get something straight. Schrock chose to resign. You might very well ask yourself why he chose to resign. Because he thought he couldn't win? Because his friends in the Republican party wouldn't support him? Regardless, HE made sexual orientation/behavior an issue, and it came back to bite him.

raj   ·  September 6, 2004 12:55 PM

There's no getting around the fact that outing is tyranny, and against sexual freedom. Whether or not someone is a moralizing hypocrite is totally beside the point. I have no sympathy for Shrock (and I couldn't care less whether he resigned), but his opinions do not make outing him right. If it's wrong to out some low-level bureaucrat, it's just as wrong to out a Senator or Congressman.

What I'm fascinated by is the contention that people who don't know you are making YOUR sexuality a public issue. That would be like saying that supporters of drug laws make an individual's drug use a public issue; it doesn't make sense. I could see a general (if vague) connection if Shrock supported sodomy laws and then broke them, but in logic I cannot grasp how a homosexual who fails to support same sex marriage is makes someone else's sexuality a public issue. The argument that Shrock's religion makes someone else's sexuality a public issue is even more incomprehensible to me.

I think outing is just sexual blackmail in politically correct drag.

Eric Scheie   ·  September 6, 2004 4:58 PM

"So it should be no surprise that others might see fit to out people like Schrock to people, the majority of whom are beholden to a RELIGION that would find his SEXUAL BEHAVIOR abhorrent."

No, honey, you're right that it's not a surprise these days. But that doesn't establish it as a good thing. I haven't seen anything to suggest, let alone establish, that Schrock was breaking laws that he endorsed or voted for. And there are no other circumstances under which any consistent liberty-loving person could countenance outing, however disgustingly hypocritical the target's behavior may or may not be.

BTW, I can't help noting that I don't see you yourself using your full name or what appears to be an actual e-mail address. Whatever your orientation, if you're going to come down on the side of bringing other people's private lives out into the open by name, it seems to me that the least you can do is have the brass to put your real identity behind it.

Sean Kinsell   ·  September 7, 2004 11:43 AM

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