No less an authority than the NY Times opines this weekend (H/T: Mom) on the prospect of a almost-certainly-gay contestant (Adam Lambert) winning American Idol, and what it means for gays in America.
While the Times tries to draw parallels between Adam's success and gay marriage being ratified in Vermont and Iowa, I find the whole idea that it matters pretty preposterous. I mean, anyone who has watched the show can plainly see that there is one great performer and singer (Adam) and then there is everyone else.
Whether Adam wins or loses (and, it is his to lose right now), it is pretty clear to me that this boils down to who performs best each week. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be in America?
Since the Times has broached the subject, I'll get it out there. My political (and personal) belief is that the government and society at large has an interest in the furtherance of the traditional nuclear family. I think there is a Conservative approach to this, and a Libertarian one. I can understand arguments for both, which are rational (as opposed to the Liberal argument, which I find irrational).
Libertarians and conservatives alike would agree that there is importance attached to a cultural identity and that the United States should maintain some sense of what it means to be American. In that respect, I would expect both to favor policies that promote child bearing, and child rearing. This has the practical benefit of raising children who's parents are already assimilated, ensuring the children themselves are assimilated. I expect both sides would favor policies that promote this.
Where we diverge is that conservatives will argue that the traditional (tradition being important to conservatives) nuclear family provides the absolute best chance for children to be raised and end up as productive, useful citizens. I expect libertarians would make the same argument for stable, gay couples - that they are just as capable of rearing good citizens. Of course, bearing them is an issue, but, were I libertarian, I would argue that of course, lesbian couples can take advantage of plenty of medical options to bear children, and gay male couples can surely adopt, were adoption made easier and more available to gay male couples. I think it's an open question whether gay couples are more stable than traditional families, but, in an era where we have massive illegitimacy rates, and a divorce rate about 50%, well, we don't look so good in the straight community, do we? Regardless of what your religious beliefs are, I think this is an important public policy debate to have.
Because without some kind of renewed focus on the birth rate in this country, we are doomed to the fate of Western Europe and Japan, who are now in negative population growth situations among the native population. This means, the only way to maintain their economic growth is through immigration. In Europe's case, they have chosen to do this with largely Muslim immigrants from Northern Africa, and other points in the Middle East. These groups are largely resistant to assimilation, and, we have seen the results throughout Europe. I've got news for Liberals - you're not going to like the states these people try to create.
In the United States, I have discussed this before, but, we have a better fate ahead, perhaps, given that the vast majority of our immigration is coming from Mexico, a 90% Roman Catholic country. Of course, Liberals won' t much like where this group takes the country either, but, I think they feel they can co-opt them into becoming another victim group, dependent upon politicians (mostly Democrats) for their well being.
Here, I think W was mostly right in recognizing that this group held tremendous potential for the GOP, and Conservatism in general. Of course, you might have thought the same thing about the black community 50 years ago, too, until their leaders sold out to the Liberal establishment. Both these groups have in common generally higher devotions to their Churches than the white community, and tend to be more conservative in their personal beliefs because of their generally stronger, and more tightly-held, faiths.
Anyway, what does this have to do with Adam Lambert's sexual orientation?
Not much, but, from a public policy perspective, gay marriage is a sideshow. The real question is our survival as a country, and how we define marriage is not nearly as important as how we manage the growth of this country and the continuation of our unique American culture (which, I might point out, has always included gays and lesbians).
So, let's have a debate about immigration and how to incent families to have more, and better-raised children, and to reduce the illegitimacy rate in all areas of the population.