The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Great Debates

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-07-2012, 03:19 AM
dorsk188 dorsk188 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Acceptance of Homosexuality leads to the Collapse of Civilization?

When I was in college, a friend of mine alluded to the idea that "the Romans accepted homosexuality and it resulted in the Empire's collapse". I quickly and derisively told her that the Roman Empire actually collapsed after making Christianity the compulsory faith of the state. That certainly shut her up, and it's mostly true, but I was just using her flawed logic to shut her down. Ever since then I've wondered where her idea came from.

I've done some limited research and found the story of homosexual mores in Rome is fairly complicated, but it seems that the culture became more puritanical as it was in decline. Is there anything that supports her idea that gayer empires will prematurely fall while straight ones last longer? Or is it, as I suspect, a just-so impromptu argument developed by fundamental Christians to support their basic bigotry? If the latter, any idea where such a wrong idea originated?

Last edited by dorsk188; 01-07-2012 at 03:20 AM..
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 01-07-2012, 03:38 AM
UFC Is Sux UFC Is Sux is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by dorsk188 View Post
Is there anything that supports her idea that gayer empires will prematurely fall while straight ones last longer?
There's always the whole "homosexuals don't breed so our Empire won't have a steady influx of warrior children from them" idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dorsk188 View Post
Or is it, as I suspect, a just-so impromptu argument developed by fundamental Christians to support their basic bigotry? If the latter, any idea where such a wrong idea originated?
Probably somewhere in Leviticus (the same place where the consumption of shellfish is similarly prohibited yet you can't stir the good Christian folk with a stick at Lobsterfest).
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-07-2012, 04:03 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Gibbon in "History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" does make the claim that roman citizens became effeminate and unwilling to live harsh military lifestyles to maintain the empire. But then he also blames the adoption of Christianity : "Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire."

Fundamentalist Christians cherry picking to support their arguments and ignoring the bits they don't like? Unpossible.

Last edited by coremelt; 01-07-2012 at 04:03 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-07-2012, 04:15 AM
Paralogic Paralogic is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by dorsk188 View Post
When I was in college, ...
First of all, homosexuality did not exist as a concept in Roman times. You can tell your friend to "shove it".

Second, the social rejection of male homosexuality in Western culture is mainly a result of the 18'th Century Victorian era mentally disturbed moral rules code, values that modern era Christianity has adopted --- for many reasons that are not apt to discuss here.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-07-2012, 04:32 AM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: California
Posts: 36,427
I always thought it based on the "reasoning" that acceptance of homosexuality = decadence, decadence brought on the decline of the Roman Empire, therefore homosexuality destroys societies.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-07-2012, 04:57 AM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Absolutely. The later declining Roman empire was definitely marked by far less acceptance of Homosexuality (and other aspects of culture accepted in classical pagan Greco-Roman culture, but considered taboo in Christianity).

The Massacre of Thessalonica was on example of this (though there was plenty more involved than attitudes to homosexuality). Basically the massacre was triggered when the Christian Garrison tried to arrest a popular charioteer for a homosexual offence (actually attempted rape, but the contemporary accounts make clear it was homosexual nature of it that was so offensive to the Christian garrison), and were in turn lynched by the Greek populace (many of who were either pagan, or still had more classical attitudes to such things).
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-07-2012, 04:58 AM
dorsk188 dorsk188 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
As I was reading your responses, I was reminded of the modern anti-gay revisionist history that the high-up Nazi's were all gay because basically gay men are less compassionate and more brutal, or something like that. I think there was a book called the Pink Swastika. It's funny how, apparently, gays make the Roman Empire weak and decadent, but make the Nazis horrible viscous monsters. I guess it's like the mask from Mask, it brings out the worst in you, huh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
I always thought it based on the "reasoning" that acceptance of homosexuality = decadence, decadence brought on the decline of the Roman Empire, therefore homosexuality destroys societies.
That's a good catch. "Gay men would rather have fun," essentially.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paralogic View Post
First of all, homosexuality did not exist as a concept in Roman times. You can tell your friend to "shove it".
First of all, homosexuality (in terms of behavior) certainly did exist as a concept, as there were, at times, laws against men engaging in sexual behavior with other men within the Roman Empire, though they were enforced to varying degrees over time. It's true that the modern concept of "being a homosexual" didn't exist then. I didn't mean to imply otherwise.

Second of all, she would have loved nothing more than to be persecuted by the "evil atheist" who told her to shut up, just as she was making a good point. I prefer to put someone in their place by argument rather than invective, because it doesn't give them a chance to climb up on a cross.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-07-2012, 07:45 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by dorsk188 View Post
As I was reading your responses, I was reminded of the modern anti-gay revisionist history that the high-up Nazi's were all gay because basically gay men are less compassionate and more brutal, or something like that. I think there was a book called the Pink Swastika. It's funny how, apparently, gays make the Roman Empire weak and decadent, but make the Nazis horrible viscous monsters. I guess it's like the mask from Mask, it brings out the worst in you, huh?


That's a good catch. "Gay men would rather have fun," essentially.
You're misreading what people are writing. The idea, such as it is, was that decadence brought down Rome, and that acceptance of homosexual acts is one aspect or indicator of that decadence.


Quote:
First of all, homosexuality (in terms of behavior) certainly did exist as a concept, as there were, at times, laws against men engaging in sexual behavior with other men within the Roman Empire, though they were enforced to varying degrees over time. It's true that the modern concept of "being a homosexual" didn't exist then. I didn't mean to imply otherwise.
Again you're missing the point here. Homosexuality, as a sexual orientation, is a modern concept. There is the sex act and the orientation of the person, which are two different things. The latter did not exist in Roman times. And the former is not necessarily tied to the latter as heterosexual men often have sex with other men without being what we call "gay" today.

Last edited by John Mace; 01-07-2012 at 07:46 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-07-2012, 08:42 AM
SanVito SanVito is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Again you're missing the point here. Homosexuality, as a sexual orientation, is a modern concept. There is the sex act and the orientation of the person, which are two different things. The latter did not exist in Roman times. And the former is not necessarily tied to the latter as heterosexual men often have sex with other men without being what we call "gay" today.
Bolding mine, I know this probably isn't what you meant, but whilst the 'idea' of sexual orientation didn't exist, it doesn't mean there weren't gay people. They just didn't carry a label.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-07-2012, 08:45 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
Bolding mine, I know this probably isn't what you meant, but whilst the 'idea' of sexual orientation didn't exist, it doesn't mean there weren't gay people. They just didn't carry a label.
Good point. Of course, people haven't changed since then, just our understanding. The concept of "sexual orientation" as we understand it today did not exist in Roman times. Or at least we don't think it did.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01-07-2012, 08:52 AM
Paralogic Paralogic is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by dorsk188 View Post
[...]It's true that the modern concept of "being a homosexual" didn't exist then. I didn't mean to imply otherwise.[...]
Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-07-2012, 08:55 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
The concept of "sexual orientation" as we understand it today did not exist in Roman times. Or at least we don't think it did.
I challenge this. What was different in Roman times is that it was not considered to be an indicator of homosexuality to have sex with a social inferior of the same gender as long as you were the dominant male.

There were male individuals in Rome who by preference sought out contact with other men in preference to women, but they just didn't have one word for them, they had two words based on whether they were dominant or submissive. Also they were likely to marry and bear children from social duty regardless of their preference. But still for all intents and purposes they had a concept for men that preferred sexual contact with other men.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-07-2012, 08:57 AM
Odesio Odesio is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by UFC Is Sux View Post
Probably somewhere in Leviticus (the same place where the consumption of shellfish is similarly prohibited yet you can't stir the good Christian folk with a stick at Lobsterfest).
I used to wonder the same thing myself and the answer is that the new testament changed the dietary laws. Christ makes it clear in Matthew 15 that it isn't what we eat that makes us unclean but what we think and say. In Acts 10 Peter finds out that God has made all meat good to eat. There's also a section of the bible where two people argue over whether or not you have to have followed the laws of Moses to become a Christian. Ultimately, no. So the food thing was likely a good way to get more converts.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-07-2012, 09:00 AM
Paralogic Paralogic is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
[...]But still for all intents and purposes they had a concept for men that preferred sexual contact with other men.
They didn't. Cite your claim. You can't because there isn't any.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-07-2012, 09:17 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paralogic View Post
Cite your claim.
There does seem to be a high degree of correlation between the conduct of men identified as cinaedi and that of some men now labeled 'homosexuals,' though it must be appreciated that the modern term is clinical while the ancient one is emotional and even hostile, and that both have been imposed from outside."
- Richard W. Hooper's Bryn Mawr Classical Review of The Priapus Poems
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 01-07-2012, 09:33 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Heres another cite:
Cinaedus: A man "whose most salient feature was a supposedly "feminine" love of being sexually penetrated by other men." (Winkler, 1990).
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 01-07-2012, 09:39 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Posts: 31,610
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paralogic View Post
Second, the social rejection of male homosexuality in Western culture is mainly a result of the 18'th Century Victorian era mentally disturbed moral rules code, values that modern era Christianity has adopted --- for many reasons that are not apt to discuss here.
This is preposterous. Aside from the fact that "18th century Victorian" is like saying "17th century Star Wars fans," social rejection of homosexuality was pretty well set a long time before then. Homosexuality in the England of William Shakepeare, two centuries before Victorian times, carried the death penalty.

This "Blame all repressive attitudes on the Victorians" thing is common, I guess, but it's silly.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 01-07-2012, 09:59 AM
dorsk188 dorsk188 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
You're misreading what people are writing. The idea, such as it is, was that decadence brought down Rome, and that acceptance of homosexual acts is one aspect or indicator of that decadence.
I was actually using "gay" in it's earlier "hedonistic pleasure-seeking" meaning, as well as it's reference to homosexuality. The term came to be identified with homosexuals precisely because it indicated a (supposed) decadence that Der Trihs was referring to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Again you're missing the point here. Homosexuality, as a sexual orientation, is a modern concept. There is the sex act and the orientation of the person, which are two different things. The latter did not exist in Roman times. And the former is not necessarily tied to the latter as heterosexual men often have sex with other men without being what we call "gay" today.
You just said I was missing the point, then more or less repeated exactly what I wrote.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 01-07-2012, 10:17 AM
dorsk188 dorsk188 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
There were male individuals in Rome who by preference sought out contact with other men in preference to women, but they just didn't have one word for them, they had two words based on whether they were dominant or submissive. Also they were likely to marry and bear children from social duty regardless of their preference. But still for all intents and purposes they had a concept for men that preferred sexual contact with other men.
I think this is true. My understanding is these people were thought odd, and possibly distasteful. I think it's safe to say that the modern concept of a bifurcated gay/straight orientation (where you're one or the other) is really the oddity, anyway. True, we're more accepting of people's natural predispositions (and that's a good thing), but we feel this need to put everyone in a category, regardless of the fit. Maybe we could learn from the ancients in that respect. People are just what they are and leave it at that.

Last edited by dorsk188; 01-07-2012 at 10:19 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 01-07-2012, 10:34 AM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Houston
Posts: 6,838
Suetonius, that old gossip monger, passed on this spicy tidbit about Julius Caesar--from back before there was an Empire:

Quote:
...But to remove all doubt that he had an evil reputation both for shameless vice and for adultery (impudicitae et adulteriorum), I have only to add that the elder Curio in one of his speeches calls him "every woman's man and every man's woman"
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 01-07-2012, 10:55 AM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
Gibbon in "History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" does make the claim that roman citizens became effeminate and unwilling to live harsh military lifestyles to maintain the empire. But then he also blames the adoption of Christianity : "Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire."
Which is nonsense as Christian Emperors were just as eager to fight as the Pagan Emperors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin1977 View Post
Absolutely. The later declining Roman empire was definitely marked by far less acceptance of Homosexuality (and other aspects of culture accepted in classical pagan Greco-Roman culture, but considered taboo in Christianity).
It also incidentally included far less acceptance of gladiator battles and infanticide both of which were banned by the Christian Emperors.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 01-07-2012, 11:00 AM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: San Juan, PR
Posts: 10,275
Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
Gibbon in "History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" does make the claim that roman citizens became effeminate and unwilling to live harsh military lifestyles to maintain the empire.
The thing is, that term by itself is not a denunciation of homosexuality, but of "decadence"; it could be best transposed to modern colloquialism in the phrase "girlie man" - it isn't usually said to mean he's gay, but to mean he's weak or cowardly. The accusation of "effeminacy" used to be not so much about sexual conduct per se but about a preference for lounging around in comfort and seeking luxury, and has been a recurring theme in denouncing that society is going down the tubes in culture after culture.


Quote:
But then he also blames the adoption of Christianity : "Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire."
Funny how it has failed to be so demotivational ever since. Or even right then. People who would die for Diva Roma will die in the name of Domine Iesu.


But yes, the meme that Rome fell in part because of a loss of "Roman values" and social moral decadence, whatever you may want that to mean, has been a long reiterated one. I guess for many people it's kind of uncomfortable to think that a hegemonic world power may just inevitably weaken and retreat after a few centuries. Or it serves them well to be able to say: "Look what happened to Rome! Stick to the Old Values! Get off your couch and be a man!". But really, how long is any nation dominant or even stable? Why should Rome NOT have fallen?

However butch and willing to sacrifice the citizen may be, if your currency is being repeatedly debased, your agricultural soils are getting exhausted, your institutions of government corrupted, rulership become based not on legitimate legal accession but on one military coup after another by an army motivated not by duty but by patronage, your state is going down.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 01-07-2012 at 11:02 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 01-07-2012, 11:07 AM
dorsk188 dorsk188 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRDelirious View Post
However butch and willing to sacrifice the citizen may be, if your currency is being repeatedly debased, your agricultural soils are getting exhausted, your institutions of government corrupted, rulership become based not on legitimate legal accession but on one military coup after another by an army motivated not by duty but by patronage, your state is going down.
Oh, crap, the USA really is boned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qin Shi Huangdi View Post
It also incidentally included far less acceptance of gladiator battles...
They were probably just sore about the whole lion thing...
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 01-07-2012, 02:46 PM
Illuminatiprimus Illuminatiprimus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRDelirious View Post
However butch and willing to sacrifice the citizen may be, if your currency is being repeatedly debased, your agricultural soils are getting exhausted, your institutions of government corrupted, rulership become based not on legitimate legal accession but on one military coup after another by an army motivated not by duty but by patronage, your state is going down.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dorsk188 View Post
Oh, crap, the USA really is boned.
I'm glad it wasn't just me thinking "why has JRDelirious changed the topic to the US in the middle of a discussion about ancient Rome?"

For what it's worth this viewpoint about homosexuality bringing down the Roman empire seems to have quite a lot of currency as a google search throws up quite a few cites, including one from from an academic only last year. What I don't understand according to that theory is why homosexuality, which as far as I know was an acceptable sexual practice in the Republic/Empire for the majority of its existence, took over 1000 years to bring it down. Surely if it was the cause of its fall it would have happened pretty quickly, otherwise it's an extremely weak cause.

The good news, of course, is if those propagating this theory are actually right then that means the US has roughly 900 years left before it collapses due to acceptance of homosexual practices. Good eh?
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 01-07-2012, 02:55 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by dorsk188 View Post
You just said I was missing the point, then more or less repeated exactly what I wrote.
I didn't read the last sentence in your post. My bad.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 01-07-2012, 03:53 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 68,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paralogic View Post
First of all, homosexuality did not exist as a concept in Roman times. You can tell your friend to "shove it".

Second, the social rejection of male homosexuality in Western culture is mainly a result of the 18'th Century Victorian era mentally disturbed moral rules code, values that modern era Christianity has adopted --- for many reasons that are not apt to discuss here.
If not here, then where?!
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 01-07-2012, 05:26 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: San Juan, PR
Posts: 10,275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Illuminatiprimus View Post
I'm glad it wasn't just me thinking "why has JRDelirious changed the topic to the US in the middle of a discussion about ancient Rome?"
Call me after the Marine Corps imposes and deposes a few presidents in a row in exchange for promises of pay raises.

But we know that a lot of the people saying those things are trying to say "if WE tolerate gays we'll fall like Rome!!!111". Well, no, (a) lot of the things that brought Rome down have yet to happen here and (b) we WILL "fall" some day with or without gays.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 01-07-2012 at 05:30 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 01-07-2012, 05:28 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 57,482
Alexander the Great was gay and that led to the collapse of civilization.

Of course, it was the collapse of the Persian civilization.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 01-07-2012, 05:32 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 68,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRDelirious View Post
Call me after the Marine Corps imposes and deposes a few presidents in a row in exchange for promises of pay raises.

But we know that a lot of the people saying those things are trying to say "if WE tolerate gays we'll fall like Rome!!!111". Well, no, (a) lot of the things that brought Rome down have yet to happen here and (b) we WILL "fall" some day with or without gays.
Depends on what you mean by "fall." American might turn out to be, not like Rome, but like China -- enduring for millennia, going through multiple periods of regime change and foreign conquest, but remaining the same national civilization.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 01-07-2012, 07:38 PM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Alexander the Great was gay and that led to the collapse of civilization.
You can't really say the ancients were gay or not. Practically all of them were bisexual in practice.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 01-07-2012, 07:43 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
Depends on what you mean by "fall." American might turn out to be, not like Rome, but like China -- enduring for millennia, going through multiple periods of regime change and foreign conquest, but remaining the same national civilization.
So, you're saying we might get those jobs making cheap, plastic crap back after all?
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 01-07-2012, 08:15 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 68,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
So, you're saying we might get those jobs making cheap, plastic crap back after all?
And lose them the century after, and so on.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 01-07-2012, 08:23 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by dorsk188 View Post
As I was reading your responses, I was reminded of the modern anti-gay revisionist history that the high-up Nazi's were all gay because basically gay men are less compassionate and more brutal, or something like that. I think there was a book called the Pink Swastika. It's funny how, apparently, gays make the Roman Empire weak and decadent, but make the Nazis horrible viscous monsters. I guess it's like the mask from Mask, it brings out the worst in you, huh?
A bit off-topic, but I've read the "Hitler was secretly gay" thing more frequently than before on revisionist/ultra-right sites as well and have wondered where it's coming from. In truth he had at least three major romances with women (Maria Reiter, his niece Geli Raubal [only rumor, but rumor with some evidence], and of course Eva Braun) and none, major or minor with men.

Ernst Röhm and several other SA leaders were homosexual- that's not even up for debate- but the Nazis were anything but cool with it. Röhm was also vicious and brutal, which earned him many enemies within the party (especially Göring and Himmler, whose phone conversations he tapped). He was arrested and killed during the 1934 purge, mostly because of a power struggle and suspected treason against Hitler (many believed, probably with some validity, he had eyes on taking Hitler's place as head of the party) rather than homosexuality, BUT most of the known homosexual officers in the SA were killed during the same purge, many because they were gay. Afterwards no open homosexuality was permitted in the Nazi party or later in Germany. Of the high ups, Göring was sometimes accused of homosexuality because of his flamboyance (he liked bling) but a cursory glance at his bio shows how he went from a hetero horndog youth to a head-over-heels first marriage that could only have been love (his first wife was a countess who lost everything [custody of her child, her money, her title] to be with him) and after her he and his second wife had a very conventional marriage. Nobody could look at Goebbels, Himmler, and Borrmann and think they were gay- all were not only married with children but so notorious in their womanizing that they drew Hitler's disapproval because they weren't being the perfect German family men. (Goebbels probably used the casting couch more than any movie producer in history due to his power in both the film and political communities.)

Paragraph 175 existed for generations before and generations after the Nazis, but they were the most rigid enforcers. Berlin and Vienna (and most other major cities, but those two especially) had large homosexual communities before the Nazis whose members were arrested, killed, or went underground after the Nazi takeover. As with the last generations of Romans the Nazis actively suppressed any form of social decadence or sexual abnormality. (One of the books I read on the topic gave some statistics for the number of middled aged and older bachelors suddenly getting married for the first time after the anti-homosexuality laws started being carried out and people were being sent to the concentration camps in the thousands; I can't remember the numbers other than they were way way more than the usual number of 40-70 year old men suddenly getting married for the first time, and in the richer families it was even more pronounced since they were likely to be arrested so the Nazis could confiscate their estate.)
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 01-07-2012, 08:42 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 57,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qin Shi Huangdi View Post
You can't really say the ancients were gay or not. Practically all of them were bisexual in practice.
Alexander had sex with other men. By homophobic standards, that makes you gay. They're not into nuance.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 01-07-2012, 09:10 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 68,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
A bit off-topic, but I've read the "Hitler was secretly gay" thing more frequently than before on revisionist/ultra-right sites as well and have wondered where it's coming from. In truth he had at least three major romances with women (Maria Reiter, his niece Geli Raubal [only rumor, but rumor with some evidence], and of course Eva Braun) and none, major or minor with men.
I believe the prevailing theory is that Hitler was actually asexual.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 01-08-2012, 12:06 AM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
I believe the prevailing theory is that Hitler was actually asexual.
When I was a kid lots of historical trivia books said his remains indicated he only had one testicle. To my knowledge this has never been proven, nor has it been proven the Soviets really verified his remains. There's also a very old rumor he fathered a son, Jean-Marie, in France during WW1, also unsubstantiated.

I've read the asexual theory also, but everything detailed I've read implies he had a sex drive and it was hetero, but he also had a strong desire not to marry and/or have children for many reasons, not least the number of great rulers succeeded by idiot sons and his own far less than remarkable family. His affection (such as it was) for Eva was in part because she did not pressure him to marry her and was content with being shoved in the pantry when photographers came by. (All of the inner circle and most of the outer circle at Berchtesgaden and in Berlin knew about her but she was a secret to most of Germany.)

Last edited by Sampiro; 01-08-2012 at 12:09 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 01-08-2012, 12:15 AM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: California
Posts: 36,427
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
When I was a kid lots of historical trivia books said his remains indicated he only had one testicle.
"Among conspiracy buffs, this is what is known as the lone-nut theory."
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 01-08-2012, 12:59 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 68,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
When I was a kid lots of historical trivia books said his remains indicated he only had one testicle.
That would not make a man asexual. They're like kidneys, one's all you really need.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 01-08-2012, 07:07 AM
Theophane Theophane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Quote:
Acceptance of Homosexuality leads to the Collapse of Civilization?
If the (nuclear) family goes, civilization goes. But is acceptance of homosexuality really fatal to the (nuclear) family?
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 01-08-2012, 07:11 AM
Theophane Theophane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
That would not make a man asexual. They're like kidneys, one's all you really need.
Yeah, but then you're just half a man.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 01-08-2012, 09:00 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 68,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theophane View Post
If the (nuclear) family goes, civilization goes.
No civilization in history has ever collapsed from the lack of the (nuclear) family. Nor any other form.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 01-08-2012, 11:09 AM
Illuminatiprimus Illuminatiprimus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theophane View Post
If the (nuclear) family goes, civilization goes. But is acceptance of homosexuality really fatal to the (nuclear) family?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theophane View Post
Yeah, but then you're just half a man.
Are you for real or just trolling for lulz?
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:49 PM
Theophane Theophane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
No civilization in history has ever collapsed from the lack of the (nuclear) family. Nor any other form.
I strongly disagree.

Erosion of the family unit is what kills a civilization, since the family is the building-block of society.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:50 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Using the starting premise that we are made to be sexual beings, I can see a case for the OP.

This would also assume we learn to be heterosexual as the normal and other forms of sexuality as other possible outcomes.

A concept for modern society is monogamy, a married m/f pairing producing children. This goes against our nature of being sexual beings and forces us to select a mate and stay faithful. A problem with this is jealousy, that if a person hangs out with other people the mate may become jealous and suspect infidelity. This leaves a married couple with no one either can see on their own, but each person has to be chaperoned or they must be with each other. That would cause a very isolated existence.

But if you stigmatized homosexuality, men can hang out with other men and women with other women, because there is no perceived threat to the marriage.

So hetero marriage need stigmatized homosexuality to be viable. Without a stable hetero marriage society as we know it, the structure to raise children, collapses, and without something else to take it's place, yes the OP is possible.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:55 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 57,482
If infidelity is the problem, wouldn't a taboo against adultery be more useful then a taboo against homosexuality? And if you have a society were it's "safe" for men to socialize with men and women to socialize with women, who do couples socialize with? You end up with both partners having to lead separate social lives - hardly a situation which fosters strong pair bonding.
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:58 PM
Theophane Theophane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Quote:
So hetero marriage need stigmatized homosexuality to be viable.
What do you mean by "stigmatized?" I don't understand how the viability of hetero marriage is in any way connected to homosexuality, stigmatized or otherwise. If I have an ignorant view, please correct me.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 01-08-2012, 02:05 PM
phouka phouka is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theophane View Post
I strongly disagree.

Erosion of the family unit is what kills a civilization, since the family is the building-block of society.
Family has had hundreds of variations over the centuries, and the nuclear family only exists because the wealth of the 20th century allowed new couples to move away from their parents and set up completely separate households.

Families can be the clans we're born into, the ones we create through marriage, or the close bonding of life friends in a wider circle. What matters are that individuals are bound to one another through something strong than, say, an employer/employee relationship.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 01-08-2012, 02:15 PM
Theophane Theophane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Illuminatiprimus View Post
Are you for real or just trolling for lulz?
That last one was just a joke, but I'm serious about the importance of the traditional family unit. Is the part where SD wolf-packs me again?

Last edited by Theophane; 01-08-2012 at 02:16 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 01-08-2012, 02:57 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
If infidelity is the problem, wouldn't a taboo against adultery be more useful then a taboo against homosexuality? And if you have a society were it's "safe" for men to socialize with men and women to socialize with women, who do couples socialize with? You end up with both partners having to lead separate social lives - hardly a situation which fosters strong pair bonding.
The penalty for adultery is often death in early societies. Either by civil authority religious authority or by right of revenge of the spouse. So yes taboo also.

Together the spouses can hang out with anyone, but if they are on their own hanging out with the opposite gender is suspect.

The reason needed for stigmatizing homosexuality would allow the spouses social contacts with other people. The stigma makes it OK for men to have men friends and women to have women friends. It also divides the genders, traditionally men work together, women raise children together.

Yes the system is isolating and not ideal, but far better then a system where you could not see anyone without your spouse present. It is the cost of allowing marriage in my above proposed reason.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 01-08-2012, 03:13 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theophane View Post
What do you mean by "stigmatized?" I don't understand how the viability of hetero marriage is in any way connected to homosexuality, stigmatized or otherwise. If I have an ignorant view, please correct me.
stigmatizing in this context: defining homosexuals as not worth considering part of the human family, a lower class of defective people.

---

We all need friends, but monogamy + jealousy lead to isolation. Isolation is a destructive state for humanity. By creating a system where it is safe for like genders to get together you get rid of the isolation.

Normalizing homosexuality means spouses now can't see anyone, even if the intentions are non-sexual, so the spouses become isolated, have no friends.

Also if our natural state is that we are sexual beings, and that is only suppressed that is our learned monogamy, normalizing homosexulaity may re-ignite us as sexual beings, which may cause more infidelity.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:54 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.