Two decades ago, the gay Left wanted to smash the bourgeois prisons of monogamy, capitalistic enterprise, and patriotic values and bask in the warm sun of bohemian “free love” and avant-garde values. In this, they were simply picking up the torch from the straight Left of the 1960s and 1970s, who had sought to throw off the sexual hang-ups of their parents’ generation along with their gray flannel suits.Goldberg was born, serendipitously enough, in '69, so I am at a bit of a loss regarding the source of this little Martian time-slip. Two decades ago it was 1990, which Goldberg seems to have confused with pre-AIDS San Francisco. The advent of that little bug shocked most of the remaining free-love types into line, or, you know, killed them. Bathhouse culture had long since become a cautionary tale, and in any case, the "gay Left", as Goldberg calls the gay rights movement, has pretty much always sought bourgeois respectability; it is, after all, bourgeois. This is neither a criticism nor an apology, but a plain statement of fact. This avant-garde movement contra capitalism and patriotism had been advocating gay military service for well over a decade already. DADT did not erupt fully formed from Bill Clinton's high forehead.
Indeed, the main advocates of gay military service and same-sex marriage have, for an entire generation now, been making explicitly the same case as Jonah Goldberg and using the Dionysian libertines of some kind of imaginary Attic, pederastic underground as their conspicuous foils. Extend to us the institutions of middle-class respectability, goes the argument, in order that we may domesticate ourselves.