The J Edgar Hoover syndrome continues

The Spokane Washington mayor James West is a Republican, former Washington State Senate leader, and staunch opponent of gay rights. And he is a closeted homosexual and pedophile.

It has been found that in the late 1970s and early 1980s, while he was a Sherriff’s Deputy and a Boy Scout Leader, West was accused of molesting boys. The Spokane newspaper recently conducted a sting operation, which resulted in West trying to seduce what he thought was an 18-year-old man in a chat room with autographed sports memorabilia and a City Hall internship. West has since allowed that he regularly visits gay chat rooms. Apparently hurt by the public revelations and eager to strategize a way to rescue his reputation, West has taken a leave of absence from his mayoral position (New York Times 5/10/05: A16).

What we can learn from West’s example appears to be that authoritarian, right-wing politics are fundamentally about preserving a world of deceit in which privileged, belligerent men can enjoy clandestine sexual arousal. Perversity is about getting off on exercising domination over other people so that so-designated social inferiors are compelled to accept whatever stories you make up about the world–your exalted, pure-hearted self, their inferiority, etc.–including your fairytales about sexual propriety. Perversity is about setting up arbitrary social rules (gay people bad) and then violating the rules clandestinely. The rush of power of violating a rule you domineeringly enforce on others turns authoritarian people on. You knew it in elementary school; it’s time to remember–the bullies are the perverts.

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