Friday, January 14, 2005
Homosexuals shouldn't sign contracts they cannot honor
"I just don't care where they put their wing-wangs. I wish the Army didn't, either," says Glenn Reynolds.
Balloon Juice calls it bigotry.
Whether homosexuals should be in the military is by no means obvious and it has nothing to do with bigotry. By placing young men in an all-male environment, the military is forced to deal with a sexually unnatural situation. It is perfectly plausible that allowing homosexuals, or out-homosexuals, would be ruinous for morale. Anyone who thinks of this as catering to the bigotry of heterosexual enlisted men is being a bigot themselves. Being denied the normal expression of one's heterosexuality is bad enough without being surrounded by abnormal sexuality. Only a bigot is unwilling to account the real costs to heterosexuals of such a situation.
On the other side of the equation is the loss of homosexual talent. Which side of the equation is weightier is for the military to decide. There is no issue of rights here. Homosexuals don't have a right to be in the military any more than women or flatfoots. Anyone can be properly discriminated against for cause. That is why racial discrimination is properly barred. It is not a meaningful difference. Anyone who thinks it is can be seen to be morally irrational, refusing to value in members of one race what they value in another. But homosexuality is a meaningful difference. The costs that homosexuals impose do not spring from moral irrationality. The Clinton administration decided to split hairs and say that homosexual behavior matters while homosexuality itself does not, which is fine, though the broader discrimination is also perfectly tenable, as is discrimination against women in the military, if the military judges it to be important.
The loss of the translators is a significant concern, but the blame should not be placed all on the military's restrictions on homosexuals. If the homosexuals involved had honored their contracts, their training would not have been wasted. They should either have honored "don't ask, don't tell," or they should never have joined the military in the first place. The loss of talent is an unavoidable cost of restricting homosexuals in the military, but the loss of training is purely due to the failure of the homosexuals involved to live up to their contractual obligations.