Latest David Horowitz trolling op-ed piece,
June 25, 2001 4:56 PM   Subscribe

Latest David Horowitz trolling op-ed piece, this time on gays in the military. With his usual obliviousness to irony, he presumes in this piece that anyone who disagrees with him must be the knee-jerk PC police. Question: does posting a link to a troll constitute trolling in and of itself? Discuss.
posted by hincandenza (31 comments total)
Trolling in the second degree? Accessory to trolling? Conspiracy to commit trolling? Troll by association?
posted by jjg at 5:12 PM on June 25, 2001

Darn you. I swore I was never going to give that man another hit.
posted by feckless at 5:26 PM on June 25, 2001

Actually he thinks that people who do not offer a valid counter-point are knee-jerk reactionary.

did you read the article or we're you just reacting?
(now that's what you call trolling ;)
posted by Mick at 5:28 PM on June 25, 2001

His core point (about unit cohesion) is well-taken, but without all the liberal-baiting his article would have been about half its length, and, you know, I'm sure Salon gives him a quota.
posted by kindall at 5:33 PM on June 25, 2001

This guy suffers from a writer's disease known as 'overintellectualism'. The works from such a writer quote other people way too often, witter on into pointless tangents, and are constantly trying to 'argue' a point, instead of just clearly presenting it.
posted by wackybrit at 5:40 PM on June 25, 2001

forgoing the gay thing for a moment (for which i am "ever-so-pissed")

"On one ship, the Aurora, 10 percent of the women en route to the war zone got pregnant. The military looked the other way. None was court-martialed for cowardice or dereliction of duty."

Wow... getting pregnant is an act of cowardice. Didn't know that. Apparently, having ovaries isn't acceptable. I don't have some personally, but know people who do. Many who are not cowards. "Private, did you have your hysterectomy yet?"

on the gay matter, its narrow mindedness like this that just pisses me off... its all i can say, it's just homophobic narrow mindedness.
posted by benjh at 5:40 PM on June 25, 2001

Well, what did you expect from David Horowitz? There's no pretense on his part that he's actually thought about anything he says or does. He gets his marching orders from whatever think tank in D.C. employs him. He's a mouthpiece, and a deliberately unintelligent one at that.
posted by solistrato at 5:59 PM on June 25, 2001

I think that Salon just keeps him around so that none of their readers need go off site to get their "the right wing sucks and is stupid" fix. They can just use him and his poorly written, sophomoric, poorly reasoned (once he gets past his one, decent point per column) tripe to make themselves feel better.

Of course, I love bashing him too.
posted by J. R. Hughto at 6:12 PM on June 25, 2001

What's really bizarre about this article is that Horowitz cites stuff about women in the military (OK) but completely ignores the studies & self-studies that have been done in countries where gays already are integrated into the military. Presumably because they contradict his point? There's nothing intellectual about wholly ignoring key reference materials, all of which have been discussed at length and some of which can be accessed via a simple Google search. (And since when did Andrew Sullivan become "politically correct"?)
posted by thomas j wise at 6:14 PM on June 25, 2001

I don't think it's the ovaries so much as what you do with them.

I recently saw a Late Night With Conan Obrien segment where Dick Cavet described when he was in the military there were two types of VD you could get. If you got it from your wife,(or presumably now from your husband) then that was "in the line of duty." If you got it in any other way then it was a violation of the military code of conduct and your pay was docked. I've heard a similar wrap that getting a tattoo is considered destruction of military property (though clearly the military often looks the other way).

I don't think it's going to far to expect that pregnancy would be a similar kind of thing. You give up your rights in the military.
posted by willnot at 6:17 PM on June 25, 2001

I notice a lot of people attacking the messenger (Horowitz), but providing no evidence that his message is incorrect.

The military exists for one purpose; to kill people and break things. Anything - anything - that gets in the way of this mission should not be allowed. That includes male/female integration, gays serving in the military - anything.

It is not a social experiment. Attempting to make it so will get people killed.

If having gays in the service has negative effects then you don't allow it. Period.

Now, I'm not convinced that this is necessarily the case. Mr. Horowitz will need to provide some more proof as well; the problems caused by having females on the front lines are well documented, as he mentions. It's not like a gay man simply can't fire a rifle or man a mortar - and it's not like I think that I'm simply so irresistable that my foxhole-mate wouldn't be able to keep his hands off of me.

But attacking the messenger is not the same as disproving the message.
posted by hadashi at 6:30 PM on June 25, 2001

He certainly doesn't miss a bloated beat with plugging his last act. Nevertheless, this issue seems to me (I don't have my hand on the nation's pulse. Rather I only know it's there) outdated and coming way out of left--err--right field.

He seems to think that serious men and women taking their serious jobs seriously aren't capable of doing so or invoking the unit into not doing so, should one of the rank's be gay. Besides the example of the all too obvious, stereotypical gay-man, I would be (even on Seattle's Capitol Hill, where I live) hard pressed to pick a gay man out from a group of what I know still, to be a largely gay population. I have no idea what most people who I don't know's sexual orientation is.

I would also submit that the Army and what have you are filled with a bunch of idiots. Not all idiots mind you! But a lot of idiots nonetheless. Why would you want a bunch of bloodthirsty 18 year old scamps from the rural deep south knowing you were gay, to begin with? And why would any sensible minded homosexual or heterosexual want to join the Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force anyway, if these are the folks you're to live/work/kill with incessantly. Stereotypes? What stereotypes? ; )

Besides the fags already have their own battalions whom war will one day be waged against. Weed out the traitors while there's still time!
posted by crasspastor at 6:35 PM on June 25, 2001

Horowitz is indeed right on with the "pregnancy = dereliction or cowardice" stance. If you become pregnant, you are unfit for duty (nobody would stand for pregnant women fighting, the military won't even go there). If you did this by accident, it is dereliction; if you did it on purpose, to avoid seeing action, then damn right it's cowardice, just like a man who shoots himself in the leg so he won't have to fight. Pregnancy is easily avoided. Sometimes contraception fails, true, but it does not have a 90% failure rate.

I would like to hear more about any studies that specifically address gays being integrated into straight units. I agree that the documented issues with women do not necessarily carry over to gays, as Horowitz claims, though I do not find it implausible either.
posted by kindall at 6:39 PM on June 25, 2001

Which units are the straight ones?
posted by rodii at 6:54 PM on June 25, 2001

what i do find funny is how a perfectly capable person can be denied the right to server his/her country if they want.


In Ohio, every student (every!) in public schools is required to take the military entrance exam in the 11th grade (they do this as sort of an 11th grade proficiency test, so they say.) Anywho, lets just say I scored really well (and no I am not trying to brag, just make my point and i have to say it to bring the point across) to the point where i had almost every branch of the military after me for recruitment. Well, I did not want to serve in the military, nor did I have any intention to do so. So I was able to utter 3 simple words that made them go away, "I am gay." Did this make me less qualified to be a soldier? Why is the assumption that I will be screwing around with my fellow soldiers just because I am gay is absolutely rediculous. But the fact is, it was those words that got everyone to stop calling.

Ok, so maybe the ban benefited me more than it hurt, but thats just me, and not the people who want to serve.
posted by benjh at 7:02 PM on June 25, 2001

I notice a lot of people attacking the messenger (Horowitz), but providing no evidence that his message is incorrect.

That's liberal SOP. Attack, attack, attack, demonize, demonize, demonize, until the desired result is achieved: The instantaneous knee-jerk rejection of anything the person has to say before anyone even bothers to check out what he's saying.
posted by aaron at 7:12 PM on June 25, 2001

I find that David Horowitz is probably the only reason I continue visiting Salon. Having said that, this wasn't one of his best articles. He makes more of a case again having women in the military than gays, and never comes out with one clear point which will convince the reader of his viewpoint.
posted by gyc at 7:20 PM on June 25, 2001

Horowitz grates, grates, grates. He annoys, annoys, annoys. He serves no greater purpose, purpose, purpose. On this issue, he's late, late, late. He and other conservatives look for their desired results too, too, too.
posted by crasspastor at 7:21 PM on June 25, 2001

I was coincidentally reading over the weekend about Greece in the centuries BCE and the army of the Spartan city-state which had entire legions whose members were men in homosexual relationships with their fellow legionnaires. The theory is that men with an emotional investment in their fellow soldiers would be more likely to fight and die for those fellows.
posted by m.polo at 7:25 PM on June 25, 2001

Holy cow, crasspastor lives on Capitol Hill! Always weird when the net community overlaps into everyday life... I wonder if I've seen him in line at the Espresso Vivace without realizing it...

m.polo: I'd heard the same theory, years ago, that basically it can even be a motivator to fight hard, just like in the Sargeant Rock comix when some grunt sees some army buddy die next to him and vows to fight harder. Or something like that... :)

I think the central tenet of Horowitz' argument is prejudiced, since it at heart supposes that gay men can't control their libidos (while presumably straight men can) in the face of more pressing concerns, namely going into battle. Whether he accepts it or not, or wants to accuse of PC mindlessness anyone who accuses him of this, that central tenet is a dehumanizing view of gay people. I used the phrase "oblivious irony" in my link description because Horowitz bashes the so-called Left as being knee-jerk quick to demonize and refuse all dissenting debate that doesn't fit a proscribed political correctness (just as Aaron did 4 posts ago, with his "liberal SOP" comment), yet Horowitz' own methods are precisely that. He repeatedly attacks the Left- or rather, his mythic notion that the whole of the Left is a single homogeneous mass of like thinking fascists- without chance for rebuttal, becoming precisely the knee-jerk dehumanizing troll that he paranoically supposes the whole of the "Left" embodies.
posted by hincandenza at 7:44 PM on June 25, 2001

This page provides links to various studies, debates, etc. in Canada, Europe, and Israel concerning gays in the military.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:47 PM on June 25, 2001

thanks, aaron, for your stunning sociopolitical insight there. I'd comment on the point you were making instead of feeling generally peeved at you and your 'tude but I can't seem to make *out* any point in your last post.---wait, am I demonizing?

anyway, an uncle of mine was in the Army for 20 years, and we've gotten into this debate more than once. His position was that letting gays into the military would undermine trust between the men and that---what?---it's harder to concentrate on fighting when you're worrying that the guy backing you up is really just checking out your ass? I'm not sure. While I love my uncle very much, I called bullshit a decade ago when we first had this argument and I'm calling bullshit now.

I'm sure there are guys in the military who don't like blacks, who wouldn't want to fight next to them, wouldn't trust them with their lives and sure as hell couldn't be bothered to risk their own for a black man's, but not even David Horowitz would argue that that's a reason to keep the military neatly segregated. i don't care if it makes you a more *comfortable* and *non-threatened* killing machine to hang out with Your Own Kind, it's bullshit prejudice just the same, and saying that it's all in the name of the boys feeling comfortable with one another so they can focus on the task at hand is just making self-righteous excuses for heterosexualism/ racism/ anythingdifferentisbadism.

If you're only willing to fight for your country if the guys you're fighting with are just like you, are you a soldier or just a good-old-boy redneck playing with bitchin' artillery toys?
posted by Sapphireblue at 9:37 PM on June 25, 2001

I think the central tenet of Horowitz' argument is prejudiced, since it at heart supposes that gay men can't control their libidos

Was he claiming that gay men, in particular, can't control their libidos, or that the risk of people failing to control their libidos is increased whenever there is any... er... potentially viable sexual coupling available? I thought he claimed similar risks for either gay men being allowed in the military or men and women being allowed in the military together. I found the argument at least strong enough to consider. (Perhaps the proper solution would be an only-one-homosexual-per-unit policy?)

On the other hand, all the junk about political correctness seemed designed purely to inflame his opponents. If he goes into discussions with that kind of attitude, of course people will dismiss him as a closed-minded ranter.
posted by moss at 10:30 PM on June 25, 2001

it at heart supposes that gay men can't control their libidos

Is there reason to think they'd be any more successful than heterosexual men?
posted by kindall at 10:41 PM on June 25, 2001

I think that's what scares `em, Kindall.
posted by dong_resin at 10:51 PM on June 25, 2001

Anybody who's willing to be in the army, I say more power to them - no matter their gender or sexual orientation. The more people who go in line before me the better, as long as they're qualified. I don't even think we should have selective service. Isn't it discrimination that men have to fill it out and women don't?
posted by owillis at 12:15 AM on June 26, 2001

Horovitz is a poisoned spring: he's come up with so much guff that he's really no longer worth listening to, which is a pity on the odd occasion every year or so that he comes up with a decent argument.

But anyway, if he's going to talk about military morale, I assume he's going to share his personal experiences of active service with us? No? Or a new line of argument? No? Ah well, good troll.

Interestingly, the British armed forces appear not to have imploded in the 18 months since the ban was lifted.
posted by holgate at 3:08 AM on June 26, 2001

The instantaneous knee-jerk rejection of anything the person has to say before anyone even bothers to check out what he's saying.

Yeah, that kind of thing never happens when conservatives are talking about Molly Ivins or Joe Conason. I'm happy to demonize Horowitz because the guy's an insipid demagogue who isn't worth paying attention to. I think Tim Cavanaugh got it right about him in a recent Suck:
"One thing you can say for David Horowitz: After almost 40 years of work as a political journalist, after a career in activism dating back to the civil rights struggle, after courting both Black Panther and Gopac tiger, after a miraculous conversion from the radical left to the woolly right, after writing books and columns beyond number, he is now capable of outwitting a bunch of college students."
posted by rcade at 5:54 AM on June 26, 2001

Well rcade, I'd say Mr. Cavanaugh is dead-on.

Horowitz has fallen to trolling and schilling for Scaife (his major funding source.) Not worth the time wasted in reading his current manifestations. Or, as my dad would have said, "he's not worth the bullet it would take to kill him."
Oops, sorry about that regression. How'd I manage two comments about death? Better check my background processes.....

Perhaps Murdoch will see Horowitz as a rising star and employ him on Faux News? "We troll, You decide."
posted by nofundy at 8:08 AM on June 26, 2001

Still no one has addressed Horowitz's main argument.

Assume a world in which there was no bias at all against homosexuals and no discrimination in the military: the military becomes 50% women and 10% gay (or 2% or whatever the actual representative number is).

It still seems like any sort of sexual or romantic relationship among soldiers male/female, male/male, or female/female would be bad for the cohesion of a unit. If you're fighting a war, you don't want members of your squad distracted with strong emotional attachments to each other, jealousy, break-ups, etc. Sure, you have some of that going on with people making friends and enemies in an all-straight-male group, but nothing like what you get when you add sex into the mix.

I don't think it's very realistic to think people can live together in close quarters without those kinds of relationships developing unless the units are all straight males or all straight females. Yes, there are already closeted gays in the military, but this policy is more about minimizing problems than totally eliminating them.

And yes, I realize that the majority of people who want to exclude gays from the military are probably motivated more by prejudice against homosexuals, but I still think this argument is valid.

Making fun of the "staring at my butt" complaint is kind of hypocritical too, btw. No one would complain about a woman who objected to sleeping, changing, and showering with a bunch of men, even if they were acting like gentlemen and not staring at her or anything. So what's so ridiculous about straight men who don't want to do the same in front of gay men? Or women?
posted by straight at 1:50 PM on June 26, 2001

Someone want to tell Horowitz that St. Bill solved this argument back in '93?

"Anyone DUMB enough to want to be in the military should be allowed in. End of fucking story."

You know why I think Horowitz is beating this dead horse? I think he just wants attention. Or a hug. He just wants someone to make those bad dreams about Daddy go away.

Oh, and Aaron, man...what the hell are you talking about? I mean, I usually disagree with you, but at least there's usually something to disagree about.
posted by solistrato at 2:23 PM on June 26, 2001

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