Australia's "marriage equality" campaign triumphed in this month's referendum under the slogan "Let's Get It Done". In other words, it's inevitable, so why waste another five years arguing about it? Let's get it done, and over, and move on to transgender bathrooms or whatever's next.
That's how "progressives" think about progress. As a certain author wrote long ago in a certain bestselling book:
We assume that social progress is like technological progress: it can't be reversed. Just as you can't disinvent the internal combustion engine, so you can't disinvent women's rights. Just as the horse and buggy yielded to the steam train and the Ford Model T and the passenger jet so the advanced social democratic society will march onward to state daycare and 30-hour work weeks and gay marriage and ever greater ethnic diversity – and nothing can turn it back.
So let's get it done!
In fact, social progress is less gay than bi: It swings both ways. After the vote, many of our Aussie readers wrote to draw my attention to the fact that the areas most fiercely opposed to the joys of same-sex marriage were not the dusty rural backwaters but the western half of Sydney. In Blaxland, for example, 73.9 per cent voted against "marriage equality".
How could that be? In The Sydney Morning Herald, Western Sydney University professor Andy Marks decided to examine the question:
What makes their attitude so different to that of the rest of the nation? Census data goes some way to addressing that question.
Marriage rates in Blaxland are higher but so is the proportion of couples separated.
Okay. So a lot of marriage in the area. Anything else?
The proportion of the electorate's residents enrolled in university or tertiary education is higher than the NSW and national average but the level of qualification attained lags, slightly.
Gotcha. Slightly reduced rate of university degrees. Fascinating. What else?
Religion is a point of significant divergence. Only 13.4 per cent of Blaxland residents describe themselves as having "no religion" compared to 25.1 and 29.1 per cent at the state and national levels.
Ah. Religion. Care to explore that point? Whoops, sorry, time to move on:
Linguistically, the difference is similarly pointed with 25.5 per cent of the electorate's households speaking "English only" at home contrasting with NSW and Australian averages of over 68 per cent.
Interesting. Do all these married, moderately under-qualified non-anglophones have any other distinguishing characteristics? Say, the number of cars parked in the driveway?
Household income levels are low as are rates of home and motor vehicle ownership. Unemployment is well above state and national levels.
At which point Professor Marks gives up and says something about "an incredibly complex debate" before signing off and going back to his day job.
Can you spot the missing word, boys and girls? It begins with "Mus-" and ends with "-lim". Officially, one in three residents of Blaxland are Muslim - which you might think is a more relevant statistic than, say, low rates of motor vehicle ownership. But no. The trick with "engaging in an incredibly complex debate" is to eschew the word "Muslim" in favor of words like "complicated". ABC reporter Nadia Daly:
Many of these electorates are very religiously, ethnically, culturally diverse areas and that makes it complicated to pinpoint why it was so strong.
If you want something less "complicated", here's me talking about the demographic changes in western Sydney last year:
Mr Steyn said the cultural changes that come with Muslim migration should be acknowledged and discussed.
One of those entirely obvious "cultural changes" manifested itself in the gay-marriage vote, but apparently to the total befuddlement of the Australian media.
This is not a phenomenon confined to Oz. Me again, from earlier this year:
Just to spell it out even more plainly, last year YouGov polled Britons in general on their attitudes to the aforementioned sodomites. Seventeen per cent thought homosexuality was "morally wrong". If that sounds unnervingly high to you, what's the reason? Over-sampling in East Belfast? A few rural backwaters not quite up to speed on the new gayer-than-thou Britain? No. In most parts of the country about 15 per cent declined to get with the beat. But in diverse, multicultural London, 29 per cent of the population regarded homosexuality as "morally wrong".
So all those ninnies in the streets of London protesting 300,000 Ulster haters they'd never heard of twenty minutes earlier are surrounded by two-and-a-half million haters every day of their lives - in the Tube, in the restaurants, in the shops and offices of their supposedly vibrant, progressive metropolis.
So London is the most "homophobic" part of Britain just as Sydney is the most "homophobic" part of Australia. Gosh, you'd almost get the idea that diversity=homophobia. As in the imperial metropolis, all these recalcitrant constituencies Down Under vote Labour - and they all have significantly higher fertility rates. Which means that, an election cycle or two down the road, Britain and Australia's principal left-of-center parties will be attempting to reconcile their commitment to gay rights with their electoral viability. Me one last time, from the Speccie in 2004:
A few weeks back I was strolling along the Boulevard de Maisonneuve in Montreal when I saw a Muslim woman across the street, all in black, covered head to toe, the full hejab. She was passing a condom boutique, its window filled with various revolting novelty prophylactics, 'c*m rags', etc. It was a perfect snapshot of the internal contradictions of multicultural diversity. In 30 years' time, either the Arab lady will still be there, or the condom store, but not both. Which would you bet on?
In Sydney it's the west, in London it's the East End, where, compared with the Seventies and Eighties, the orientational cleansing is already palpable:
It's not quite the "Gay-Free Zone" promised by the posters of the Sharia Patrols, but it's getting there.
Social progress ebbs and flows, in Britain and Australia as in Egypt and Afghanistan. And, as their numbers increase, members of the, er, Complicated community will one day decide: Let's get it undone.
~I hope all our American readers had a good Thanksgiving. We had a busy 15th birthday weekend here at SteynOnline with a trio of moustaches on the Orient Express, and an affirmative send-off for the late Jon Hendricks. I also made a rare Friday appearance with Brian Kilmeade on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" to discuss the Democrats' semi-Ceausescu moment with the Clintons. If you were face down in the pumpkin pie the last couple of days, I hope you'll check out one or two of those items.
I'll be back on Fox live tonight at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific - and don't forget, in honor of our 15th anniversary, there's 15 per cent off all books, CDs and other products at the SteynOnline store through the end of Cyber Monday. Later this week for Mark Steyn Club members I'll be reading the second half of our Scott Fitzgerald double-bill in Tales for Our Time. Don't miss it! And, if you've got some kith or kin who might like the sound of all that and more, for this holiday season only we have a special Christmas Gift Membership that includes a welcome gift of a handsome Steyn hardback or a CD set personally autographed by yours truly. More details here.