July 11, 2014

Nixon: "Let me say something before we get off the gay thing. I don’t want my views misunderstood."

"I am the most tolerant person on that of anybody in this shop. They have a problem. They’re born that way. You know that. That’s all. I think they are."
Anyway, my point is, though, when I say they’re born that way, the tendency is there. [But] my point is that Boy Scout leaders, YMCA leaders, and others bring them in that direction, and teachers. And if you look over the history of societies, you will find, of course, that some of the highly intelligent people . . . Oscar Wilde, Aristotle, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, were all homosexuals. Nero, of course, was, in a public way, in with a boy in Rome.

Haldeman: There’s a whole bunch of Roman emperors. . . .

Nixon: But the point is, look at that, once a society moves in that direction, the vitality goes out of that society. Now, isn’t that right, Henry?

Kissinger: Well—

Nixon: Do you see any other change, anywhere where it doesn’t fit?

Kissinger: That’s certainly been the case in antiquity. The Romans were notorious—

Haldeman: The Greeks.

Kissinger: —homosexuals. . . .

Nixon: The Greeks. And they had plenty of it. . . . By God, I am not going to have a situation where we pass along a law indicating, “Well, now, kids, just go out and be gay.” They can do it. Just leave them alone. That’s a lifestyle I don't want to touch. . . .

Kissinger: It’s one thing for people to, you know, like some people we know, who would do it discreetly, but to make that a national policy . . .


Wince said...

Proving Nixon did speak for the "silent majority"?

Anonymous said...

Just leave them alone? What a monster.

SJ said...

For what it is worth, the cultural concept of "gay" as in "man belonging to a sub-culture of exclusively male-with-male sex" does not date back to ancient Greek culture.

Socrates had a wife, but any sexual liaison with a young boy (perhaps even his student Plato) would have been understood and accepted by his peers.

In the poem The Iliad, the question of whether Achilles and Patroclus were sexually intimate is never mentioned. When Plato wrote Symposium, he thought that Achilles and Patroclus were a couple, as well as being comrades-in-arms.

But Achilles had a dispute with Agamemnon over a captured slave-girl. Whose position as slave likely included sexual services for her master.

This reminds me: the ancient Roman and Greek cultures thought it acceptable for rich or powerful men to own slaves...And use them sexually.

Which is another incredibly large difference between the Classical world and the modern world.

Peter said...

Asserting that homosexuality, like any complex human behavior, is the result of both nature and nurture should be defensible, even today.

Although I wasn't aware that Aristotle and Oscar Wilde were Roman emperors.

Shouting Thomas said...

Kissinger was quite right. Gays belong in the closet.

Coming out of the closet killed tens of thousands of gay men, along with millions of innocent people who were not in on the orgy.

Rationalizing this catastrophe demanded that the blame be shifted to straight men. So, the myth of gay persecution became an artistic propaganda genre, exemplified by "Brokeback Mountain." The kids think all those gay guys died at the hands of roving bands of homophobes.

To satisfy the demand that the behavior that caused the epidemic be dumped on somebody else, the myth of homophobia was invented. The homophobe that homosexuals fear is, in fact, their parents, who want grandchildren of their own blood.

Then the Orwellian lie of "gay marriage" had to be forced down our throats.

You are a principal figure in forcing this lie on us, Althouse.

And, in this instance, Crack was entirely right. You are dancing hysterically around the Golden Calf, worshipping Baal, deluding yourself into believing that this time the outcome will be different.

The temptation of Eve is all about deja vu, professor. And, you fell for it. Hubris, as usual, is the culprit. Hubris over intellect in your case.

Try listening to Dylan for once, prof, as if you are the ignorant target of his lectures.

You are the oppressor. I'm retired professor. I don't have to salute the lies any more. That is quite liberating.

Fernandinande said...

But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good:
Oh Lord! Please don't let me be misunderstood ...

Bob said...

Nixon in this passage seems to be speaking of an orientation vs. behavior dichotomy, which is, of course, still the position of the Catholic Church on the subject.

Michael said...

Ah, another one of those stupid conservative presidents spouting out the names of ancient philosophers and Roman emperors. They are all such dimwits.

Michael K said...

"When Plato wrote Symposium, he thought that Achilles and Patroclus were a couple, as well as being comrades-in-arms."

When considering the sexual practices of ancient Greece, especially Athens, it is important to realize that women were kept in harem-like seclusion. It was a saying that "the honor of an Athenian woman was in never having her name mentioned." The absence of available women led to sexual relations between men, especially between young men and older men. The same phenomenon is seen in prison.

The Ephebe was a post puberty young man beginning his military training usual under the supervision of an older, mature male. The sexual relationship was most common in Thebes where The Sacred Band was the most famous. Philip of Macedon was said to have acquired his taste for young men while a hostage in Thebes as a boy.

Most male Greeks married and had families as older adults and few remained permanent homosexuals.

Bruce Hayden said...

It has been many decades since reading The Symposium in a philosophy class, but, my memory is that a lot of it revolved around different definitions of love, and one of them was the love of a spouse. But, also, the love of other men was seen by some to be of a higher order. So, yes, there seemed to be a bit of swinging both ways going on.

But, I also think that one of the mostly unreported aspects of ancient Greece, somewhat Rome, and, yes, modern Islam in places, is the acceptance of pederasty. (And, Harry Reid's office has still not denied long term accusations that he is a pederast). There seems to have been a lot of young boys and girls used as sex toys, as well as, in Rome, but esp. in Greece, older males with good looking young male paramours. Often not as slaves, but rather the young men trading sexual favors for mentoring.

Of course, as our drone pilots found to their amusement, modern Islam, esp. in backwards places like Afghanistan, seems to accept a bit of bestiality too. (Apparently, it is quite common to catch them doing their sheep, etc. under cover of darkness, not realizing that American drones can see them just fine).

Anonymous said...

Phoning-it-in Betamax says:

Nixon, binge-watching season after season of 'Will & Grace.' Maybe sitting next to him on the couch is Kissinger; G. Gordon Liddy could be in the kitchen grabbing a beer. Everyone is lovable and cranky. G. Gordon Liddy, eventually: "pretty soon you guys will be watching gay porn." Laugh Track.

The Crack Emcee said...

"They have a problem. They’re born that way."

So what's the problem?

Caroline said...

I'm wondering if the combox references to homosexuality in antiquity is meant to reassure us that civilized cultures have tread this path before, so "no biggie."
Abortion and infantacide were also widely practiced and accepted in pagan Rome, as well as adultery and polygamy.
Christianity put an end to these practices, eagerly embraced by the victims of this sexual smorgasbord--the women whose infants were not considered fit to live by their aristocratic "sires;" the young "boy toys" who were usually slaves...Monagamy was a definite upgrade for your average first century woman, from chattel to human person.
That we find ourselves flogging the same ol' pagan practices is something to think about on this, the Feastday of St. Benedict, who fled pagan Rome for the solitude of MonteCassino, where he composed a Rule of Life that served as the antidote to decadent hedonism. Pray for us, St. Benedict!

Darrell said...

You need a "Like" button, Althouse. Notice I didn't say "Ann." Wait. . .

Anonymous said...

Until conservatives & liberals finally come to a universal understanding that homosexuality has existed since the dawn of man; discussion & stereotyping of it all will indicate ignorance & a flawed intellect.
Nixon was espousing an average view, of his day. Contrary to what a lot of people would like to believe, the "idea" that sexual orientation was a decision or choice wasn't the first notion of consideration.
Nixon was a canny politician & actually was quite tolerant of others from the perspective of his perceived position in a mainstream. However; he didn't subscribe to political correctness.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

alright so people say that you don't care
but you've got nicer legs than Hitler
and bigger tits than Cher
Henry Kissinger
How I'm missing yer
and wishing you were here

-Monty Python

Mrs. X said...

Jonathan Culler on Foucault: "One illustration of the way sex was made the secret of the individual’s being, a key source of the individual’s identity, is the creation in the nineteenth century of ‘the homosexual’ as a type, almost a ‘species’. Earlier periods had stigmatized acts of sexual intercourse between individuals of the same sex (such as sodomy), but now it became a question not of acts but of identity, not of whether someone had performed forbidden actions but of whether he ‘was’ a homosexual."

I don't know that we've done ourselves any favors by categorizing in this way.

Paul said...

"Ah, another one of those stupid conservative presidents spouting out the names of ancient philosophers and Roman emperors. They are all such dimwits."

You're the dimwit. Nixon was hardly conservative. EPA, OSHA, wage and price controls(!!!), opening the door to the Red Chinese, ending the war in Vietnam...and on and on.

Secondly, for all his faults he was highly intelligent. I'd wager good money that he was far more intelligent and learned than you, for instance.

The Crack Emcee said...

Watch this and you can assume why he'd know - watch the hands during the first minute:

He's as effeminate as they get,...

jr565 said...

Leave them alone means you don't beat them up or arrest them for being gay. Saying, I'm here I'm queer get used to it is actually them inserting themselves.

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

"They have a problem. They’re born that way."

"So what's the problem?" asks the Crack Emcee.

The federal government thinks it’s a problem, Crack. Homosexuality fits the definition of a disability because it interferes with a major life activity, specifically, reproduction (that’s the language that the ADA uses). I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not aware of any case law on this topic (Prof. Althouse???), but for any living thing, being unable or less likely to reproduce is a problem. Being homosexual is a disability. That’s the problem.

jaed said...

(Psst, Paul. Your sarcasm meter may need a tuneup and oil change.)

The Godfather said...

Thanks, Crack for the Paar-Nixon video (although no thanks for the crack about Nixon being Gay, which is insulting to Gay people as well as to the late Nixon).

In this video, after his defeat for the Presidency, but before his defeat for the California governorship, Nixon seems at ease with himself, uses self-deprecating humor, is actually likeable. If he had really given up on politics as a career, and been satisfied to be a writer and commentator, I bet he would have been a much happier man.

I don't like Hillary!, but just as one human being to another, I wish she'd forget politics and enjoy her wealth and her grandchildren. But she won't, poor thing.

William said...

His views on homosexuality sound innocuous, perhaps even liberal for the period. At the end of the piece, there's a tag that Nixon also discussed Ted Kennedy's bad behavior. There's nothing more, just that. Would you rather hear about Nixon's views on homosexuality or Nixon's views on Ted Kennedy's bad behavior? So it goes with the MSM.