Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Roger Helmer – political philosopher or just ‘a right plonker’?

Forgive His Grace for the base headline (he could have chosen far worse from the penile invective directed at Mr Helmer), but such genetical ad hominem appears to be the prevailing (indeed, only) argument for the Prime Minister to ‘do something’ about the ‘stupid’, ‘offensive’ ‘ignorant’, ‘homophobe’ and ‘bigot’ Roger Helmer MEP.

They have flocked from the four corners of the country, the gay ‘clicktivists’, first mobilised by Stephen Fry against Jan Moir, and now standing as a ready-made, always-prepared rent-a-cybermob to blast anyone who dares to question the received orthodoxy with a note of jarring dissonance.

The horde against Mr Helmer coalesces (as ever) around a Brussels centre, obligingly provided by Labour MEP (and ‘gay rights’ chairman) Michael Cashman. He is of the opinion that David Cameron ‘must condemn’ Roger Helmer’s tweet, ‘or risk associating his party with highly offensive homophobic views’.

Highly offensive?


On Sunday 16 January, Roger Helmer tweeted: “Why is it OK for a surgeon to perform a sex-change operation, but not OK for a psychiatrist to try to “turn” a consenting homosexual?”

The reaction has been angry, to put it mildly, with a #sackhelmer hash tag beginning to be used by campaigners.

Jack of Kent took this up (briefly), and The Heresiarch also did so (at some length).

His Grace is not going to repeat the assertions or observations of either: please read them for yourselves.

Instead he wishes to focus on how a simple question about the way society views gender identity and sexual preference has become unutterable.

Roger Helmer has responded to his critics (and regrets the furore). But it must be observed that his question was posed in the context of a qualified psychotherapist of 20 years having suggested that homosexuals may be ‘turned’ from their inclination. A gay man sought her out, voluntarily, and enquired into her professional view. She now faces being stripped of her accreditation to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) for venturing her opinion.

The ‘patient’ was in fact a prominent homosexual rights campaigner and journalist, who secretly recorded two sessions with the therapist, Lesley Pilkington, before reporting her to the BACP.

It was blatant entrapment.

Referring to his tweet, Mr Helmer said, "I never cease to be amazed by the instant indignation and intolerance of this strident lobby group."

The fact that he is also a prominent climate-change sceptic only serves to confirm in the minds of this ‘strident lobby group’ that Mr Helmer is not fit for public office: his scepticism marks him out as an ‘extremist’ (right-winger) unworthy of a place in Mr Cameron’s new, soft, fluffy and pink Conservative Party.

It appears that merely by asking a question (which is, actually, an interesting point of ethical philosophy), the heterophobic hordes bay for blood and the politically-correct, anally-retentive intelligentsia extinguish rational discourse and reasoned debate.

Issues of gender identity and sexuality are complex, and may not be condensed to a 140-character tweet. But Mr Helmer simply posed a question. And that question is not merely concerned with private matters of sexuality (about which Mr Helmer does not care a fig) but of public policy involving taxpayers’ money.

Is there no tolerance in a liberal democracy which permits the reasoned questioning of the use of taxpayers’ money in matters of gender dysphoria, gender realignment and aversion therapy?

‘Gender’ was a term introduced by feminists in order that the social aspect of sexual difference should not be ignored. When the difference between male and female human beings is treated as one of ‘sex’, it may be thought to be accounted for biologically. Speaking of ‘gender’, one acknowledges the socio-cultural determination of the concepts of women and men, and admits a conception of women and men as distinguished primarily by a difference of social position.

When we come to the application of this to ‘homosexuality’ – that is, erotic interaction between people of the same sex – we juxtapose an ancient manifestation with a modern socio-political agenda. The orthodox Christian view emanates from Plato’s Laws (the ‘un-natural’ practice), through St Paul (‘against nature’) to Aquinas (violation of natural law). We are now in a post-Benthamite utilitarian era in which there is an on-going debate between the view that homosexuality is freely-chosen sin and the view that it is an imposed state of nature.

That, it appears, is not a debate the LGBT tweeting horde wish even to permit. And so the disciples of liberalism become manifestly illiberal: the homosexualist persecutes the philosopher in the same fashion that they perceive the Church to have done unto them over the centuries.

Foucault is of the view that homosexuality is a social construction invented and forced upon a minority by those seeking power, particularly those in the medical profession who label homosexuality a sickness and thus in need of cure. But while agreeing to the potentially healthy state of the mature homosexual, one suspects that Foucault’s thesis might itself be something of a construction, made plausible by a selective reading of the historical record, and backed by a confusion between the undoubted existence of people whose inclinations are exclusively homosexual and the fact that society picks out such people, labelling them and treating them in distinctive ways.

And so do medical professionals.

But that is not a discussion the political philosopher or ethical moralist may have.

Lest they be labelled ‘bigot’ by the self-righteous guardians of the socio-political narrative, and cast into outer darkness by the Leader of the Conservative Party.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear!

Don't these people realise that until the homosexualists start ranting unattractively few of us give a damn what they get up to.

It's when they force one another to 'come out' that they become trapped in their own stereotype - it must be awful for them, no wonder they rage so.

18 January 2011 at 11:04  
Anonymous Martin Sewell said...

Surely the question of homosexuality being a "problem" only arises if the individual concerned considers it to be so in their own case?

If he/she perceive it to be so and asks a direct question about how their perceived difficulty might be addressed, a considered answer is not improper. In all the social sciences there will be a wide band of opinion.

I have courted similar controversy by asking why it is lawful to change a persons sex but wrong and unlawful assist an adult muslim woman to voluntarily undergo a removal of the clitoris in safe hygenic conditions. It seems to me that no argument in favour of abortion does not apply to such circumstances ( safety - women's right to choose.etc) The only reason I can see is that it is an offence against feminism and equally the Helmer controversy is no more than an offence against gay activism.

I make these points without malice or ill will to anyone. It's just a funny old world - and seriously illogical.

18 January 2011 at 11:21  
Blogger Sean O'Hare said...

Having read the two posts Your Grace links to, along with all the comments, no one seems to have addressed what I thought was Roger Helmer's main issue.

It would appear that the therapist is under threat of being struck off for agreeing to attempt something that was being requested (i.e the chap volunteered). If the theraputic procedure involved in not illegal then I for one cannot understand why she is being targeted in this way by the gay lobby.

18 January 2011 at 11:21  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

This is just one more example to confirm my belief that the opposite of socialist is not rightwing, but normal. Mr Helmer sounds to be eminently normal. And, of course, the victim in all this is the poor therapist, who appears to have made the mistake of trying to help someone, who requested help.

18 January 2011 at 11:31  
Blogger KINGOFHIGHCS said...

Your Grace

Oh the intolerance of those who preach they are tolerant.

It appears even to hold a view or speak anything contrary to the 'Received knowledge of the Intelligensia' must be crushed through the most public humiliation of being portrayed as 'A Bigot' (In the stocks, tomatoes or worse thrown at the 'culprit') to silence any dissent or contrary opinion.

It is truly very depressing and speaks volume about where we are as a nation.


18 January 2011 at 11:42  
Blogger Gawain Towler said...

A magesterial expression of my own untutored thoughts YG

18 January 2011 at 11:59  
Blogger Cazzy Jones said...

Your Grace,

I venture onto your comment threads for the first time ever to pick up on the observation about "gender" and its feminist corruption.

The irritation felt here is all the more so when its affront to English grammar is taken into account too. We use "sex" to distinguish between male and female (as you have correctly pointed out), and "gender" to distinguish between masculine, feminine and neuter. It is of course not unusual for those who wish to police thought to set about their aims by corrupting the language. Whether there is any scope or realistic chance in practice to resist this is sadly debatable.

18 January 2011 at 13:39  
Blogger Richard Brown said...

Mary Portas, Bishop Gene Robinson. Two high-profile people who have lived in heterosexual and homosexual marriages, apparently. They can turn on whatever suits them at the time, but unlike people defined by the colour of their skin or their disability, homosexuals are a self-defining minority. Why does the law give then such protection?

18 January 2011 at 13:47  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

the opposite of socialist is not rightwing, but normal
Well said.

18 January 2011 at 13:48  
Blogger Pollik said...

The therapist claims, amongst other things, that people are born heterosexual but are made homosexual through upbringing.

If that is true, then the real victim is her son, although I suspect that the therapist is also dealing with issues of personal guilt.

It should also be noted that the qualified therapist is/was a member of the BACP. She will be, or should be, aware that the notion of trying to 'cure' homosexuals falls outside the BACP's Ethical Framework which member therapist are expected to adhere to.

The thing about entrapment is that it only works with those who are prepared to transgress. As someone who is also a qualified counsellor, I have turned away two clients seeking a 'cure' for being lesbians, explaining that not only would it be against my profession organisation, but that the evidence suggest that a change in sexual orientation cannot be imposed. It is what any ethical counsellor would do, under those circumstances. I believe that the BACP is perfectly correct to investigate the counsellor here.

As to Helmer, I don't believe he was really asking a question. Twitter is not a suitable medium for such a complex topic. This, coupled with previous views expressed by him, leads me to assume, therefore, that he was making "a point" and, in my view, in a derogatory and smug way. It is my view that he enjoys provoking the gay and trans lobby - surely he has better things to do on his inflated salary?

I agree that there is some intolerance within the gay and trans communities, and between them for that matter. However, on a day when a hotel is exposed for prejudice for refusing room to a gay couple, Helmer is on record as saying homophobia is not a problem.

I can tell you, with 100% certainty, that people are still being hounded out of jobs for no reason other than their sexual orientation. If anyone thinks that this is a good thing, then it unlikely we ever find middle ground and I feel sorry for you.

18 January 2011 at 13:53  
Anonymous David Wilson said...

What the homosexual activist cannot bear to hear uttered is that somone with homosexual attraction does not want to have them. Even "GAY Christians" shout-down the testimony of those who say they have seen a change or been healed - seemingly acquiring omniscience, able to perceive that none of then are healed, are deceivers - and thus presumably on the way to Hell. Though I hear of some who testify that they have been healed by Jesus ministering His love to them - that is certainly what I feel He says to me.

18 January 2011 at 14:02  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

… on-going debate between the view that homosexuality is freely-chosen sin and the view that it is an imposed state of nature.

Your Grace’s very own Church (which God preserve) held a Listening Exercise on Human Sexuality, which received this submission from the Royal College of Psychiatrists:

❛Despite almost a century of psychoanalytic and psychological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation. It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment.❜

18 January 2011 at 14:07  
OpenID scottspeig said...

There is a somewhat perceived inequality in which one can treat homosexuals versus a christian, for it is fair to mock, deride, and question someones firm belief in an omnipotent being yet one mocks, derides or questions the validity of someones homosexuality, then the full weight of the law is brought in. Hmm

And then, as David said at 14:02, there are those that claim that it is curable. To throw away someone's testimony and a dated (50yrs ago) scientific consensus that it was a mental illness without allowing proper debates is just not on.

18 January 2011 at 14:34  
Blogger Pollik said...

I apologise - it is not in the Ethical Framework, it is here - http://www.bacp.co.uk/media/index.php?newsId=1326&count=512&start=129&filter=&cat=&year=

18 January 2011 at 14:41  
Anonymous UK Fred said...

Your Grace, it seems to me that the problem is that David Cameron is leader of the so-called Conservative party and not Roger Helmer.

18 January 2011 at 14:48  
Blogger Pollik said...

"What the homosexual activist cannot bear to hear uttered is that somone with homosexual attraction does not want to have them"

Sadly, that might be true of some activists, but as a health worker, I know it to be true that some people express that they do not want to be gay.

The debates that you would like to see mainly took place back in the 1970's just prior to homosexuality being removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is one of the 2 main bibles of mental health. I cannot remember when it was removed from the other bible, International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.

Within the healthcare community, the arguments for and against have already been thrashed out decades ago.

I am trying here to keep healthcare issues separate from religious dogma on which I am not qualified to speak.

18 January 2011 at 14:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I apologise - it is not in the Ethical Framework, it is here

As I read it, that is just one 'Fellow's' opinion!

18 January 2011 at 15:12  
Anonymous Oswin said...

To a certain type of homosexual, alas the exhibitionist variety, be they sequined and plumed, or the fame-craving sober suits, they noneteheless demand attention.

Not only must they be seen, but they must be right too. They must be seen to be right, to be seen.

This is unfortunate for the rest of us, and I include those homosexuals who just want to get on with living their lives ordinarily, without excess or undue drama.

For most of us, including those homosexuals who embrace a general normality, 'we are held captive to a set of aberrant psychological needs that are virtually unquenchable. 'Everything and all' will never be enough to satiate their devouring momentum.

The truth is, they are seldom happy unless they discern some block, or oppression; they forever seek it out, to rail against, to impale themselves upon the spikes of opposition, supposed or otherwise.

If they were to inherit the world, it would not be nearly enough ... at their very heart of hearts, they demand to be controlled.

18 January 2011 at 15:34  
Anonymous Frank Sutton said...

I lost any respect I still had for Stonewall when, a few months ago, they put up huge roadside adverts proclaiming; "Some people are gay... Get over it".

I wanted to add: "Most people really don't mind a bit... get over it".

The way homophobia - and various other "phobias" and "isms" - works is by constantly raising the bar, so that the most enlightened and unprejudiced people suddenly discover that they are in fact raging bigots.

18 January 2011 at 17:42  
Blogger Geoff said...

Perhaps the ethical question is, should a psychiatrist take money from a patient to attempt a "cure" that is not possible by accepted wisdom? It would probably be considered unethical for a medical doctor to carry out a procedure when the accepted view was that there was no chance of a beneficial outcome. e.g. applying leeches for a cancer cure.

18 January 2011 at 18:30  
Blogger peggy38 said...

I think Helmer's tweet highlights the contradiction between those claiming that God doesnt make mistakes (this would be gays) and those who claim that, well, in some cases He does (the gender dysmorphic)

I think using the argument that one was born a certain way in order to argue that one's preferences are natural and wholesome stands on shaky ground. People are born with all kinds of disorders. Those who defend gay rights seem the draw the line rather arbitraily behind themselves in line.

Oh, all those people behind us are disordered, not us! Hurrah for sexual reassignment surgery to correct God's mistakes. Hurrah for denying polygamy and pedophilia equal rights under the law. Boo and hiss to anyone who even suggests that being gay is a mistake that can be cured. Outrageous!

18 January 2011 at 18:59  
Blogger LeucipottomySpoon82 said...

Here is an interesting quote:

"Much as I would love to go along with the fashionable "born gay" consensus (it would be very politically convenient), I can't. The evidence does not support the idea that sexuality is a fixed biological given."

And who said the above? Peter Tatchell in a Gruniad article several years ago:

Born Gay or Made Gay?

18 January 2011 at 23:26  
Anonymous David Wilson said...

Pollik - there is no universal consensus on the causes of homosexuality; nor is their universal consensus that sexuality is fixed - however as a Christian I believe Jesus promises to renew my mind. He is after-all the God of Easter and turned water into wine. I wonder to what extent the APA took their decisions for a quiet life, as they too faced the strident, aggressive homosexual activists, who snipe and deride the ex-gay movement. I understand that sexuality is often not a polarity but a spectrum (as it is in my case) - however I am sure it is easier to get gay affirmation therapy.

19 January 2011 at 12:32  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

In my view, it seems a perfectly reasonable question to ask. Perhaps I might ask another, "Would it be in order for a psychiatrist to try to “turn” a consenting heterosexual?".
Just a thought!

19 January 2011 at 13:07  
Anonymous len said...

If God had create'gayness'none of us would be here reading this Blog.In fact humanity would have disappeared off this Planet thousands of years ago.
The 'gay' gene theory goes against the Evolutionary Theory as it has no natural way of Evolving.

19 January 2011 at 17:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all need reminding of the Wolfenden Report, to which many eminent, sensible psychotherapists and others contributed in 1957. The general view, from the main British establishment, was that for many people, homosexual orientation was changeable. For others, this seemed not to be the case. At no point, however, did the report reach the facile and rather esoteric conclusion that homosexuality is genetically given. The contributors recommended open-mindedness and a moral middle ground between aggressive condemnation and self-righteous adulation of homosexuality. They considered the Great British Public capable of such subtlety of mind. When we study surveys from the 1960s, we find that the vast majority of the public supported decriminalising male homosexual acts in private for men over 21, precisely because they believed homosexuality to be a disorder that could be amenable to psychological treatment. More recent studies have shown that reparative therapy for UNWANTED homosexuality continues to be practiced on request by therapists and counsellors working both within the NHS and in the private sector. Indeed, it's also interesting that one major website recenlty set up for the task of highlighting harm done to individuals by reparative therapy never reported on successful cases of orientation change. The forum no longer exists on that site, but when it did, many former homosexual men and women wrote in with their own stories of change, showing gratitude that therapy was available to them through the British psychotherapeutic profession. I won't name the website for legal reasons.

Such censorship is truly pathetic, and suggests a huuuuuuge amount of chronic anxiety about the very existence of ex-gays and former lesbians. Are LGBT activists perhaps ex-gay-phobic?

21 January 2011 at 21:28  
Anonymous David Wilson said...

Johnny - you will notice that the reports issued by the Royal College of Psychiatry was actually prepared by a special interest group. It would be interesting to know who the individuals were that sat on the special interest group and are actual gay activists or run gave affirmation services. One wonders also how many are actually God haters and thus have an inbuild bias.

22 January 2011 at 20:54  

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