Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Lincoln as gay

Ken Masugi brought this New York Times article to my attention on a new book about to come out arguing that Lincoln was a homosexual.
This accusation is not new, yet it recurs, despite the evidence to the contrary, and despite all serious Lincoln scholars saying the contrary, including David Herbert Donald. This most recent example is made ever more questionable because C.A. Tripp, the author--a psychologist who is gay as well as a former sex reseracher for Kinsey--is contradicted by the writer he worked with. He calls Tripp’s book "a fraud" and charged that Tripp plagiarized material written by him and fabricated evidence of Lincoln’s homosexuality. The NY Times quotes someone named Larry Kramer, whom they identify as "the author and AIDS activist." Kramer "said that Mr. Tripp’s book ’will change history. It’s a revolutionary book because the most important president in the history of the United States was gay,’ he said. ’Now maybe they’ll leave us alone, all those people in the party he founded.’" Scholarhsip is what we have here, real scholarship.

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To keep in mind here is that Tripp’s co-author, leftist writer Philip Nobile, has a history of outing plagiarists, including Doris Kearns Goodwin. (Google him.) One wonders what he was doing co-authoring a book with the likes of Tripp, though.

This is from a John Derbyshire review of Louis Crompton’s "Homosexuality and Civilization" (Spring 2004, Claremont Review of Books): We are, as everyone knows, living in the, or a, "gay moment." One of the consequences is that we have to put up with a great deal of homosexualist propaganda. (I favor the usage "homosexualist" for people who are activist about their sexual orientation, versus "homosexual" for people who are merely, and privately, homosexual. I admit, though, that my attempts to promote this—it seems to me, useful and non-insulting—usage have fallen mostly on stony ground.) Among homosexualists there are many whose devotion to what Christopher Isherwood famously called "my kind" is as intense as anything that can be shown by the followers of any religion or political ideology.

One aspect of this devotion is the urge to recruit long-dead historical names to the Cause—to comb through history seeking out gayness. Since history is, much more often than not, a very ambiguous affair, an explorer of this inclination can return with many trophies, which he will then display triumphantly to us dull-witted, unimaginative breeders, revealing to us that the human race is, contrary to our narrow brutish prejudices, a very ocean of gayness. Julius Caesar? Gay! Jesus of Nazareth? Gay! Leonardo? Gay! Frederick the Great? Gay! All of them-gay, gay, gay! I do not recall having seen it argued that George Washington was gay, but I have not the slightest doubt that the argument has been made by somebody, somewhere.

If ever there was a social construct, it is the "gay" identity. The only meaningful question we can ask about Lincoln’s "sexual orientation" is "was he a sodomite?" There is not a shred of evidence that he committed the crime of sodomy.

This is a patently ridiculous topic. As a matter of historical fact, there’s no evidence of sexual acts beyond Lincoln’s children. We know he was married and we have pictures of his family. I suppose we could DNA test them all to see if they are biological. But there is a sense in which the outrage of many of the discussion of this issue parallels what I saw some time ago regarding Thomas Jefferson’s possible fathering of a child of Sally Hemmings. It is now clear that one of Sally Hemmings’ sons, Eston, was fathered by a Jefferson (when Thomas was 65 years old). I think it possible Jefferson fathered Eston, and I think he clearly was affectionate toward his "slave" Sally Hemmings. But what a waste of time. We know what we know at this point, and the consequences are absolutely de minimus or trivial. I guess we can test Lincoln’s children, and make sure he was the father. Yet, there is no way to uncover whether as a matter of scientific or historical fact Lincoln was gay. In his presidential years, I doubt he had much thought at his age for such goings-on, since I can barely now keep up.

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