Putin does not like being lectured to, does he? I asked.
A smile returned to the spokesman’s lips. “Actually, I was coming here in the car listening to the radio,” he said. “Do you know what was the first item on the news? The State Department of the United States expressed its gravest concern about the policy in Russia toward gays!” Peskov was referring to proposed legislation in St. Petersburg that would prohibit “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism to minors.” He was in stitches now. “I thought, What is the State Department of the United States doing? With their national debt! With their collapsing economy! With a leak of industry in the country because everything is in a financial bubble! With a nightmare in Afghanistan! With a nightmare in Iraq! With a nightmare in the global economy! And they have a deep concern about gays in Russia. Ha! Ha! So I was really in a very good mood because of this!”
For some reason, this put me in mind of the stance against gay marriage taken by the peak-oil apocalypticist James Howard Kunstler, which he acknowledges is unusual for someone of his demographic (Democrat, Boomer, and, he might have said, ardent secularist and resident of New York State). Why has he taken this view? He explains, in part, here:
I don’t have empirical proof, but I suspect that unsettling such an age-old and fundamental social arrangement will produce strange unanticipated consequences that we are not prepared for. I don’t believe gay marriage is a genuine social justice issue. I think it is a bid for a kind of broad social approbation which does not require ritual enactment in law, and would be socially mischievous to pursue. Civil unions would cover the necessary legal issues. Otherwise, it is a case of unwarranted relativism, a Boomer weakness. Not all conditions or states of being in this world are the same. Some things are on the margins because they are marginal.What fascinates me in the debate is the narcissism of Boomers, males especially, who advocate so earnestly in favor of gay marriage. Is it really about the law and social relations, or is it about making yourself feel good? Is it just more posturing for moral brownie points, for approval? Is your job and social position or maybe even sense of yourself at stake if you have a differing view?