For those who haven’t heard, American conservatives have decided to put together their own version of Wikipedia, Conservapedia, to counter its leftwing bias. Here’s a list of the most frequently viewed pages and their number of hits:
1. Homosexuality [2,011,173]
2. Main Page [1,974,521]
3. Homosexuality and Hepatitis [518,847]
4. Homosexuality and Parasites [479,807]
5. Gay Bowel Syndrome [445,848]
6. Homosexuality and Promiscuity [423,159]
7. Homosexual Couples and Domestic Violence [374,753]
8. Homosexuality and Gonorrhea [332,659]
9. Homosexuality and Anal Cancer [295,222]
10. Homosexuality and Mental Health [294,872]
I kid you not, really, go to the site. I make it a policy not to link to such sites, but you will find this list under site “statistics” on the left of the screen. This seems like an appropriate time to quote a passage from Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding on association:
IT is evident that there is a principle of connexion between the different thoughts or ideas of the mind, and that, in their appearance to the memory or imagination, they introduce each other with a certain degree of method and regularity. In our more serious thinking or discourse this is so observable that any particular thought, which breaks in upon the regular tract or chain of ideas, is immediately remarked and rejected. And even in our wildest and most wandering reveries, nay in our very dreams, we shall find, if we reflect, that the imagination ran not altogether at adventures, but that there was still a connexion upheld among the different ideas, which succeeded each other. Were the loosest and freest conversation to be transcribed, there would immediately be observed something which connected it in all its transitions. Or where this is wanting, the person who broke the thread of discourse might still inform you, that there had secretly revolved in his mind a succession of thought, which had gradually led him from the subject of conversation.
The key point for Hume (and Freud), of course, is that if one idea occurs to you in relation to another idea, it was your mind that drew that connection. I wonder if there’s any particular reason these conservatives are thinking of homosexuality so much, and in particular of these sex acts? On the one hand, there is the sad obsession with particular sex acts. On the other hand, there is the hair-raising association of these sexual orientations immediately with disease, insects, parasites, etc. Such metaphorics to describe another group turned out real well in Rwanda and Germany.