The melting of that great liberatory moment

I hate it when I agree with Brendan O’Neill, but it does happen sometimes. He’s dead-on with this one.

It’s Pride Month, all month because it’s the anniversary of Stonewall, which was a fine thing.

The gains made by gay-rights warriors over the past five decades have been amazing and important.

But the melting of that great liberatory moment into today’s bland and virtually mandatory forced Pride shenanigans is depressing. It tells a broader story about the demise of radical politics. The riotous counterculturalists of the Sixties and Seventies demanded freedom. They didn’t give a damn what the ‘moral majority’ thought of them  — they just wanted the moral majority to leave them alone.

(It’s not quite that simple. They wanted the moral majority to stop doing some things – bombing Vietnam into rubble, for instance – and to stop voting for people who ordered those things.)

Fast forward to 2019, and that historic human instinct to be left alone in liberty has been replaced by a needy and therapeutic politics of recognition. Now gay-rights activists don’t demand autonomy — they want validation.

I hate agreeing with Brendan, but those two sentences are gold. A needy and therapeutic politics of recognition is exactly right, and I detest it. That long needy bleat by the gender-whoopsie paleontologist yesterday – talk about needy. Needy isn’t political, needy is the opposite of political, needy is All About Me and that’s not politics but idiocy (in the Greek sense). The National Theatre blithering about making its staff feel supported is The Politics of Needy, and if it’s not stopped it will infantilize everyone and no one will be left to plant the crops.

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