Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ron Paul is no sodomechthriac

Update below the fold

Poor Ron Paul has been taking a lot of heat because of the former campaign staffer who claims that the candidate is not homophobic, even though he is afraid to shake hands with gay men, or to use their bathrooms.

Of course he clearly is a homophobe by any etymologically rational definition of the term--composed out of homo- (ὁμο) (short for the modern Greco-Roman bastard term homosexual) and phobos (φόβος) (Ancient Greek for "fear"). That is, he is scared to death of gay people. He may love them all personally, as his Savior commands, and respect their right to Do It any way they like, as a true libertarian must, but he fears that something really bad will happen to him if he touches one of them, or something that one of them has sat upon. Not the same thing at all. Similarly [see below the jump]...

 If you are chiefly worried about homophobia, you might find this song pretty offensive, with its rank stereotyping and reference to old spouses' tales. If it's sodomechthria that concerns you, you may like it anyway.

Similarly, I love polar bears, but I don't exactly cozy up to them. In polar bear company, I keep a certain distance. There is a difference, in that my fear is rational--you really can't trust a polar bear unless you know it very well--and Paul's is crazy. That's why it is called a phobia, because it is a fear without empirical foundation--a mental illness, and one which must be fairly inconveniencing for him, socially. So instead of hating on him, people ought to show a little understanding.

The real problem here is the lack of a proper word for what Ron Paul is not: a hater of gay people. It's a linguistic problem. We are accusing people of homophobia when we should be helping them with their affliction, and failing to deal with the wicked thing, which is--what? Homo-hating? Antiqueerianism? From a strictly formal standpoint there are two main difficulties.

One is that the usual homo- is not a very suitable element for making up new words referring to gay people: Greek for "like" or "same", it works just fine when the rest of the word takes care of the sex part, as in homosexual or homoerotic, referring to same-sex attractions and activities, but in combination with other elements doesn't manage to mean much at all: really, in an ideal English, wouldn't a homophobe merely be someone who is afraid of something like "that which is the same"? And what would that be? The same as what?

I figure that what our Conservative thinkers are really concerned with, what brings gay men and lesbians together in their minds, is above all the idea of sodomy--of Doing It in other than what one may call the Levitical Way. This of course may include objections to all sorts of behaviors enjoyed by many straight people, but I am sure that makes little difference to Ron Paul, say. And then sodomy has a long history in Greek, from the Septuagint onwards, giving it an etymological legitimacy that homo- cannot hope for.

The other problem is the hatred. The usual Greek compounding element for describing hatreds is miso- as in the familiar misoxeny (hatred of foreigners). Not famiiar? Oh, right--nobody ever uses them; English prefers the emotion to be the after-part of the compound, which is the reason for all the phobias (xenophobia) that don't refer to fears. The correct way to do this would be with the element -echthrī (ἔχθρη) meaning "hatred", as in the very rare theosechthria "hatred of gods".

So what Paul should have said: "Of courxe I'm a homophobe--I'm a small-minded, ill-bred, timorous small-town Texan with a medical degree that would have been outdated in 1884. What do you expect? But what I am not and never will be, gentlemen, is a sodomechthriac! Love 'em all, just as long as they don't get too close."

Update 12/28/2011
What else Ron Paul is: as much a nutcase as Michelle Bachmann could ever hope to be. Here is video of him in 1998, speaking for the John Birch Society against the UN's plans for world domination, throwing our constitution in the trash, establishing international churches following the UN theological line while independent pastors will all be jailed, etc. (from Digby, whose remarks as always should be read).


  1. A, rather, mediocre smear attempt at honorable Dr.Paul. I guess, you would prefer to live in a police state, as long as you can suck on a big government tit.

  2. Hey, I hope you don't think I didn't read this. I actually wrote a whole post about it. Great work.