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Author Topic: Natural Allies  (Read 2562 times)

Feral

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Natural Allies
« on: February 25, 2007, 09:10:32 PM »

Quote
Quote from: "Hephaestion"

Once again, we have no natural allies, only "tactical" ones -- who will promptly sell us out at the drop of a funny, pointed papal hat.


Hrrrmmm . . .
So, Heph, is that statement intended to extend to individuals?


What a very engaging question. It's far more interesting from the gay perspective than the straight one.

Can an individual person be accounted an "ally" of the gay people? Surely there are any number of "friendly" straight people... even what some have termed "righteous straight people." I shall have to think on this one. I'm not at all sure that individuals can be allies in such a context. Were individual people "allies" of the Warsaw Pact back in the day? How about the Axis powers -- did they count any individuals among their allies? Perhaps they did, perhaps they did not.

I would point out that, contrary to what a great many people seem to think, there is nothing wrong with being a "tactical ally." They are no more or less likely to sell anyone out for their being "tactical." It has been argued that lesbians are natural allies of gays and vice versa. Gays have certainly sold lesbians out on a number of issues where the interests of the two groups diverge. Lesbians have sold gays out a number of times as well. Now some people might suggest that the two groups are not properly separate at all -- you cannot be an ally of yourself (though at times you can be your own worst enemy). Others might suggest that, since gay and lesbian interests can (and do with remarkable regularity) diverge, they were never natural allies, only tactical ones. That question remains open.

You have to consider what a "natural ally" is.

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Proposition 10

We have no natural allies
and therefore cannot rely on
the assistance of any group.

We have only tactical allies用eople who do not want barbarous things done to us because they fear the same things may someday be done to them. Tactical allies come into being when there is a perceived convergence of self-interest between two groups. One can accomplish much in politics with tactical allies, as witness the long alliance between blacks and Jews, but there are limits that emerge when the group-interests diverge, as witness the split between blacks and Jews over school decentralization in New York City.

A natural ally would be someone who is happy we are here, rather than someone who is unhappy at the way we are being treated. It would seem that the most we can expect, at least in the immediate future, is a tolerance based on decency. No one, no matter how decent, seems glad that gays exist, even when they may be enjoying works inspired by our sensibility. As far as I can see, even our best straight friends will never be thankful that we are gay in the way we ourselves (in our better moments) are thankful we are gay. This is nothing to get maudlin over. It does, however, sometimes seem to limit communications葉he sharing that is the essence of friendship謡ith straights. It is a rare straight friend to whom one can say, 的知 so glad I知 gay because otherwise I never would have gotten the chance to love Ernie, and not draw a blank, if not bewildered and uncomfortable, reaction. It is understandable that they do not see it as something to celebrate傭ut we should.

On the personal level, it is generally unlikely that one痴 straight family or friends will easily learn genuine acceptance; luckily it would appear that they can, notwithstanding, often learn love. For our part, the paranoia that this situation tends naturally to generate should be rigorously controlled.


Times are different now than in 1982. I would no longer agree entirely that it is "generally unlikely that one痴 straight family or friends will easily learn genuine acceptance". In 1982 I would have said "Easily learn? Try substituting 'ever learn'." Today I will not only agree that it is possible, but would suggest that while it can hardly be "easy" for straight family or friends to learn genuine acceptance, it's hardly 'generally unlikely.' More like "usually unlikely." There are exceptions... I've met them. There just aren't so many exceptions to void the principle. So yes, Virginia, on an individual level the gay people may well have a few natural allies outside of the gay people.

I say "may" because I am puzzling a different framing of the question: We may well have no natural allies as Denneny suggests, but does anyone have natural allies? Is the fabled "natural ally" really just a mythical beast to which we sometimes compare our tactical allies (which we have in abundance, depending on the news cycle)?
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vanrozenheim

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Re: Natural Allies
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 07:30:41 PM »

Quote from: "Feral"
I say "may" because I am puzzling a different framing of the question: We may well have no natural allies as Denneny suggests, but does anyone have natural allies? Is the fabled "natural ally" really just a mythical beast to which we sometimes compare our tactical allies (which we have in abundance, depending on the news cycle)?


Hm, this is an interesting point. Generally, I would tend to the notion that there are indeed only tactical allies, but somehow I feel that this is not true. Maybe we have here a logical mistake by comparing groups which are too large in numbers and too different in their ideologies. It is indeed not very probable that "gays and lesbians" have another similarly large group which is their natural ally, but "gays in Russia" and "gays in Nigeria" are most certainly allies by nature.

Being a natural ally presupposes a certain likeness in ideology and interests, as well as some kind of "fatal mutual dependency". Groups which are interdependent, get used to support eachother through history. Those relationships, however, can change with the pace of time, because the interests of groups can change dramatically, and, frankly, the individuals involved are not immortal as well. The Germans of 2007 are very different from Germans in 1939, thus they have very different natural allies than before.

Being a natural ally often involves strong positive emotions, which causes groups/individuals to support eachother even if it contradicts their immediate well-being. Greeks revolting against Ottoman Empire had the enlightened Europe on their side not out of tactical considerations, but because of their glorious past. It was simply natural to support the cradle of European civilisation against the "vile moslems".

This being said, we must of course not assume that every group on this planet actually does have natural allies. It seems that Denneny was right and Gays (both lesbians and catamites) indeed do not have natural allies.
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