GAYS, CUCKOLDS, AND NORMATIVE HETEROSEXUALITY IN THE WESTERN CANON, PART 2 OF 3

Part one of this essay examined the twisted mores of homosexuality, the Left's weaponized sexual practice. Part two delves into the background of the alt-right's great rhetorical coup, the derisive term 'cuckservative'. Mainstream conservatives equate this epithet with the 'teabagger' insult leveled at Tea Party protesters, but unlike the projected degeneracy of the Left's insult, cuckold is an apt description of at least American conservatives of the past 50 years. Dust off your codpiece, because before the alt-right no one got more milage out of 'cuckold' than the Elizabethans.

CUCKOLDRY

Cuckoldry is a social ill with an ancient pedigree, but apart from the alt-right the concept of cuckoldry has been effectively banished from the modern mind. The monumental simple truth at the heart of cuckoldry is that paternity and lineage determine the future, as Oswald Spengler observed.

“In the first instance, their [man’s] destiny is determined by the fact that the bodily succession of parents and children, the bond of blood, forms natural groups, which disclose a definite tendency to take root in a landscape.” Decline of the West vol. II ch V

For mere survival, we need a young generation to prop up the old. But more than that, fulfillment and meaning arise when our actions reach out toward eternity and escape the temporal constraints of the world. The closest thing to immortality is the endless links of generations with their children. Niall Ferguson ignited a minor crisis when he noted that John Maynard Keynes's famous dismissal of taking the long view in economics, "in the long run we are all dead", was the opinion of a childless homosexual. The people with all the right opinions were just gobsmacked that a Harvard historian could believe sexuality and progeny might influence anyone's opinions or actions. The last thing we want in the current year is anyone thinking that gays are any different from the rest of us. And we certainly cannot have the blue pilled masses voting or demanding economic policies based on the interests of their families and children at the expense of someone else's babies.

There is the main thrust of Steve King's infamous tweet; whatever rationalizations are concocted, other people's babies just do not inspire the same visceral reaction as our own flesh and blood. Shakespeare explores the value of other people's babies in Macbeth, in which the title character receives a prophecy that he will become king.1 Macbeth murders King Duncan and assumes the throne, but as soon as he is king he fears his old ally Banquo, who is also part of the prophecy.

THIRD WITCH All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!

FIRST WITCH [Hail,] Lesser than Macbeth and greater.

SECOND WITCH Not so happy, yet much happier.

THIRD WITCH Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.
So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

FIRST WITCH Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!
Macbeth 1.3.65

Which is better, to be king for one generation or to be father of many generations of kings? The cradle to grave welfare states and falling birth rates of the West show that we have collectively chosen the former. This choice, coupled with a lack of belief in eternal reward and punishment, ensures that many modern readers cannot really feel the weight of Macbeth's plight. Once Macbeth has his prize he finds that upon reflection his murderous intrigues are futile; he cannot enjoy what he has won.

There is none but he [Banquo]
Whose being I do fear; and under him
My genius is rebuked, as it is said
Mark Antony’s was by Caesar. He chid the sisters
When first they put the name of king upon me
And bade them speak to him. Then, prophet-like,
They hailed him father to a line of kings.
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown
And put a barren scepter in my grip,
Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding. If ’t be so,
For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind;
For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered,
Put rancors in the vessel of my peace
Only for them, and mine eternal jewel
Given to the common enemy of man
To make them kings, the seeds of Banquo kings.
Macbeth 3.1.55

The irony of this plight is particularly strong for Lady Macbeth. When Macbeth wavers before murdering Duncan, arguing that manly virtue should overrule a rash vow, she convinces him to follow through. In her famous speech, Lady Macbeth says she would even kill her own child if she had vowed to do so.

MACBETH We will proceed no further in this business...
I dare do all that may become a man.
Who dares do more is none.
LADY MACBETH
I have given suck, and know
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me.
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums
And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.
Macbeth 1.7.60

Perhaps in the current year Lady Macbeth would be a libertarian autiste, monomaniacally committed to the abstract principle of enforcing contracts no matter how detrimental their provisions. Her unnatural attitude and lack of concern for her own descendants is magnified in Macbeth's plight as king. If Lady Macbeth had not used her own willingness to destroy her child's future to shame Macbeth into murder Duncan, Macbeth would not have to fear for his child's future or worry about the prophecy that Banquo's children would be kings. Men conquer kingdoms for themselves and their posterity, but without these goals and incentives they sink into meaningless and despair despite their temporary victories, as Macbeth did.

America's Founding Fathers understood the importance of legitimate paternity for the welfare of a nation, and they defined the limits of the historic American nation in the Preamble to the Constitution.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

As written this description is exclusively about White Europeans. The Preamble does not apply to blacks because the blacks in the United States in the 18th century were manifestly present not to enjoy the blessings of liberty, but to provide coerced farm labor. So those Africans and their posterity have always been and continue to be alien to the historic American nation despite being in America from very early days of settlement. The Preamble also does not apply to Indian tribes, which were treated as separate nations with their own governments. Modern arguments that illegal immigrants or refugees merit protection under the bill of rights have no basis in the Constitution. Immigrants are only welcome if they help secure the blessings of liberty for the descendants of the European Founders, which, as the last half-century has taught us, excludes almost all non-Europeans.

Lacking the concept of cuckoldry or a focus on who constitutes the legitimate heirs of the Founders, the implications of the Preamble are invisible, quite literally unthinkable, to modern conservatives. The Left repeats the mantra that diversity is our strength so they can claim that non-Western immigrants would strengthen the nation and should thus be included in the legacy of the Founders. Cuckservatives ignore the simple biological and genetic element in the Preamble and convince themselves that the only problematic immigrants are illegal ones who do not believe in American values. Glenn Beck recently stumbled upon the ethno-nationalism of the Constitution by accident and didn’t even realize that he was parroting the exact argument Vox Day deploys against the proposition nation that Beck and so many other civic nationalists believe in. Unlike modern civic nationalists, the Founders had a solid understanding of European history and Classical literature, which began in ancient Greece with a tale of cuckoldry.

Homer's Iliad is still the gold standard by which epic poetry and literature are judged. The Trojan War began to avenge a cuckolded husband. Menelaus does all the work of wooing Helen and outlasting other suitors, but Paris enters under pretense of friendship and steals his prize. In Shakespeare's retelling the Trojans acknowledge the sanctity of marital vows in their debate over returning Helen to Menelaus, though they ultimately refuse to do so.

What nearer debt in all humanity Than wife is to the husband? If this law
Of nature be corrupted through affection,
And that great minds, of partial indulgence
To their benumbèd wills, resist the same,
There is a law in each well-ordered nation
To curb those raging appetites that are
Most disobedient and refractory.
If Helen, then, be wife to Sparta’s king,
As it is known she is, these moral laws
Of nature and of nations speak aloud
To have her back returned. Thus to persist
In doing wrong extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more heavy.
Troilus and Cressida 2.2.185

In the Trojan War the cuckold ultimately regains his wife and the interloper Paris is destroyed along with his city and almost all of his people. Avenging the wrong took ten years, killed many Greek heroes, and cast Greek kingdoms into chaos. Homer's Odyssey, Aeschylus's Oresteia trilogy, and Virgil's Aeneid all recount adventures arising out of the wreckage of the Trojan War. In the literature of the ancients, one act of cuckoldry set in motion the events that established Athenian law courts, founded the city of Rome, and inspired the greatest epic poets. But what do they know? Last week I saw a TV commercial where an interracial couple cooks spaghetti together and lives happily ever after.

Interracial marriage is a form of national cuckoldry, though aversion to interracial relationships is mistaken for that modern parody racism, hating someone for the color of their skin. In reality skin color is a convenient rhetorical handle for expressing deeper concerns, as Shakespeare does in Othello. The play opens with Iago warning Brabantio that his daughter Desdemona has slipped out of the house to marry the Moor Othello.

Zounds, sir, you’re robbed. For shame, put on your gown!
Your heart is burst. You have lost half your soul.
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is tupping your white ewe.
Othello 1.1.95

Brabantio cannot believe that his daughter would willingly make such a foolish choice; he believes she must have been bewitched or drugged.

Whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy, So opposite to marriage that she shunned
The wealthy curlèd darlings of our nation,
Would ever have, t’ incur a general mock,
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom
Of such a thing as thou—to fear, not to delight!
Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense
That thou hast practiced on her with foul charms,
Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals
That weakens motion.
Othello 1.2.85

And she, in spite of nature, Of years, of country, credit, everything,
To fall in love with what she feared to look on!
It is a judgment maimed and most imperfect
That will confess perfection so could err
Against all rules of nature
Othello 1.3.115

The skin color of Desdemona and Othello is merely an outward sign that they are mismatched. Desdemona's true errors are first, that she declines to marry a man of her own nation, and second, that she makes an unnatural marriage. Othello and Desdemona would not have met in the course of natural life; only the exceptional circumstance of fighting the Turks brought Othello the foreigner into the service of Venice. Finally, Desdemona dishonors her lineage by marrying without her father's knowledge or consent. Brabantio's futile protests to the Venetian Senate are all the more tragic considering Desdemona's ultimate death at the hands of Othello. Greater social respect for a father's rights could have saved Desdemona from her own foolish choices.

The rights of a father are undeniable in the play built entirely around suspicion of cuckoldry, Shakespeare's Winter's Tale. The Winter's Tale is a valuable corrective to modern attitudes about the family because both King Leontes and King Polixenes make errors of judgment, but their right to lead and command their families is never in doubt. The action of the Winter's Tale is initiated because Leontes, king of Sicilia, fears that he has been cuckolded by Polixenes, king of Bohemia.

There have been, Or I am much deceived, cuckolds ere now;
And many a man there is, even at this present,
Now while I speak this, holds his wife by th’ arm,
That little thinks she has been sluiced in ’s absence,
And his pond fished by his next neighbor, by
Sir Smile, his neighbor. Nay, there’s comfort in ’t
Whiles other men have gates and those gates
opened,
As mine, against their will. Should all despair
That have revolted wives, the tenth of mankind
Would hang themselves.
Winter's Tale 1.2.240

Leontes imprisons his wife and orders the daughter she bears in prison to be carried into the wild and left to die. It takes the intervention of the Oracle of Apollo, the divine equivalent of a paternity test, to convince the king he is mistaken, but by then it is too late for Leontes to stop the events he has set in motion. The king loses his daughter for years, his wife and his true son and heir both die, and he spends decades in mourning. Critically, though advisors challenge the king's decisions, they do so only by protesting that they believe him to be wrong about the facts of the case. Every character accepts the legitimacy of the king's anger if the queen has in fact been unfaithful. The queen herself tells her followers that wrongful imprisonment under suspicion of unfaithfulness is preferable to actually being an unfaithful wife.

Do not weep, good fools; There is no cause. When you shall know your
mistress
Has deserved prison, then abound in tears
As I come out. This action I now go on
Is for my better grace.
Winter's Tale 2.1.142

Years later Florizell, son of Polixenes, falls in love with Leontes's daughter Perdita, who has been raised by a Bohemian shepherd. Polixenes then makes the second kingly error of the play when he assumes that Perdita really is a shepherdess and refuses to allow the lovers to marry. Polixenes bases his veto on the fatherly concern for future generations. Though he was once falsely accused of cuckolding Leontes, Polixenes fundamentally agrees with Leontes that a father has the right to guide the destiny of his own family.

Methinks a father Is at the nuptial of his son a guest
That best becomes the table. Pray you once more,
Is not your father grown incapable
Of reasonable affairs? Is he not stupid
With age and alt’ring rheums? Can he speak? Hear?
Know man from man? Dispute his own estate?
Lies he not bedrid, and again does nothing
But what he did being childish?
By my white beard,
You offer him, if this be so, a wrong
Something unfilial. Reason my son
Should choose himself a wife, but as good reason
The father, all whose joy is nothing else
But fair posterity, should hold some counsel
In such a business.
Winter's Tale 4.4.460

When the lovers flee to Leontes and seek his blessing to be married, the king agrees to present their case to Polixenes himself, but does not condone their rebellion against a father's will.

I am sorry, Most sorry, you have broken from his liking,
Where you were tied in duty, and as sorry
Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty,
That you might well enjoy her.
Winter's Tale 5.1.260

The joyful conclusion of the Winter's Tale comes when the two kings and their children are reunited and all the errors of the past are forgiven. The betrothal of Perdita and Florizell takes place with the knowledge and blessing of their fathers. Leontes and Polixenes are honored by the family members that they injured because of their position within the family. The same offenses would be avenged, not forgiven, if committed by strangers. The inherent value of blood ties and kinship that was accepted in the 16th century has been turned on its head in the 21st.

Every age is oversensitive to certain vices and insensible of others, but the reasoning behind these conventions is opaque to succeeding generations. Suffice it to say that for a host of reasons beyond the scope of this essay the overarching concern of the current year in every situation is for the outgroup, the minority. President Obama succinctly articulated a version of this philosophy in his push for gun control. The smaller the minority and the smaller the perceived slight against them, the better.

Meanwhile, championing the rights of the ingroup is treated as a sin of pride and selfishness, as we see in the Muslim rape epidemics across Europe. Feminists are more willing to expose their own women to rape than to risk offending or injuring a 3rd world asylum seeker. The entire nation of Sweden is being literally cuckolded as the government allows convicted rapists to live at taxpayer expense rather than deporting them. Most people treat these crimes as isolated incidents because the concept of cuckoldry is no longer available to categorize what is happening.

In an age of DNA tests, divorce, and Tinder it is easy to forget how critical the laws and customs that guarded legitimacy of offspring used to be. The Islamic world, being premodern, still knows that producing babies and giving them a strong sense of identity is the path to victory. It is no coincidence that Muslims, despite any degenerate sexual behaviors they indulge in, still hold up normative heterosexuality as their ideal and use law and custom to support it. The Turkish prime minister can unironically urge expatriates living in Europe to have five children each in an era when Western Millennials are having less sex than their grandparents and being childfree is an accepted lifestyle choice.

NOTES
  1. All Shakespeare line notes from Folger Digital Library