Why should you learn about queer theory? For the same reason people in the 1930s should have been aware of Mein Kampf or Capital (Das Kapital). When you’re standing, dumbstruck, wondering, “How on earth did it come to this?”, it’s important to learn the why and the how. If you’re wondering why there are suddenly so many blokes with beards flouncing around in skirts, bulldykes in wedding dresses, and kiddies in drag, Queer Theory is the answer.
What the hell is “queer theory”, I hear you ask? Strap yourselves in, folks, it’s gonna get weird. If you think I’m making this stuff up, be assured that this is all based on the writings of queer theorists themselves.
Queer theory is the bastard great-grandchild of Marxism. As it happens, Marx actually wrote very little directly about gender, and nothing about homosexuality; Engels only once mentioned “the abominable practice of sodomy”. So, the road from Capital to RuPaul’s Drag Race mightn’t seem exactly clear, but that’s never bothered Marxists. As Thomas Sowell has said, a whole superstructure of interpretive literature which often “bears no relationship to the work of Marx or Engels” has been erected on their work.
With the logical clarity that Marxists are famous for, the road twists from cultural Marxism, through deconstruction, critical theory, and post-structuralism, to wind up at queer theory. One of the key concepts is the “Repressive State Apparatus” of the French Marxist, communist and literal lunatic, Louis Althusser. Marxism maintains that economic relations dictate social relations. These state apparatus of capitalism are the bourgeois institutions (governments, police, churches, schools) and ideologies (morality, religion, politics) used by capitalists to maintain their hegemonic power.
One of the key ideologies of capitalist state repression is gender and sexuality. Capitalism requires aggressive, virile men, to colonise other peoples and steal their land and resources and to produce more workers for the factories, and passive, fertile women, to stay home and raise the nascent wage-slaves.
It naturally follows, then, that the only way to break down the capitalist state is to overturn all its bourgeois institutions and ideas of “normality”. The cultural Marxists coined the “Long March through the institutions”, the strategy of stealthily infiltrating the institutions of capitalist society and subverting them from within; the queer theorists say, fuck capitalist society. Literally. Key queer theorists argue that gay sex is the key to capitalism’s destruction.
In contrast to the liberal tradition, Marxism regards people not as sovereign individuals but as members of classes. From this grew the modern intellectual cancer of intersectionality. Marxism also regards people as “blank slates”, meaning that “the human mind has no inherent structure and can be inscribed at will by society or ourselves”. Thus, queer theory’s main project is breaking down conventional norms of gender and sexuality, indeed all forms of identity, with the goal of destabilising identity categories.
Two ideas grow from this: that changing the structure of society will therefore rewrite the people in it, and that we are endlessly capable of “constructing” ourselves, right down to our very gender. That these two ideas are contradictory is of no matter.
But, beyond sex, queer theory also aims to break down all the norms and institutions of bourgeois society. Think gay marriage, transgender men in women’s sports and the Girl Guides, “rainbow” activism in schools. As one of the architects of the notorious “Safe Schools” program bluntly put it, it’s about teaching kids to be gay and communist.
Indeed, children are a particular obsession of queer theorists. It’s not just about paedophilia (although there is a disturbing pattern of paedophilia on the political left), nor about having the child so as to mould the man: once again, it’s about disrupting bourgeois society completely. As one queer theorist puts it, because queer sex is unreproductive it breaks the cycle of reproduction necessary to maintain capitalism. “Fuck those kids, and fuck their Disney Land”, as he so charmingly puts it.
Naturally, the queer theorists shoehorn the left’s favourite whipping-boys, colonialism and racism, into the whole mess. With typically ignorant chutzpah, the queer theorists ahistorically yoke Native Americans to their cause, claiming that the so-called “Two-Spirit” shamans were just drag queens in buckskin. From that blithe cultural appropriation, they then proceed to claim that overturning “heteronormative” “constructions” of sexuality somehow obliterates “whiteness”.
If none of that makes sense, don’t worry. This nonsense comes to us courtesy of the sort of Marxist ninnies who try and claim that there is no such thing as objective truth (again, either not comprehending or just ignoring their blatant self-contradiction). All you need to know is that that’s what these loons actually think, and why they’re doing what they do.