The Institute, which publishes the right-wing Claremont Review of Books, was founded in 1979 by students of Harry Jaffa, a philosophy professor who studied under neocon patriarch Leo Strauss and the author of Barry Goldwater’s famous call for “extremism in defense of liberty.” The institute praises extremism in its own right, this year bestowing its Statesmanship Award on Dick Cheney.
But it’s Jaffa who has shaped the culture of the Institute—so much so that Institute followers are nicknamed “Jaffanese Americans”—and one of the core values he’s inculcated is a venomous homophobia.
In a series of similar essays stretching over decades, Jaffa’s chief mode is using Lincoln or other founding fathers to further antigay arguments, charging… that the same natural understanding of morality that declares slavery wrong, because of the natural understanding of shared humanity, also must declare homosexuality wrong, because of the natural understanding of differences between the sexes. If sodomy is not condemned as unnatural, Jaffa wrote in a 1993 debate over a book review, then nothing is unnatural, and nothing is wrong.
Sounds like O’Donnell could have been headmistress at Claremont. Perhaps people are right about O’Donnell’s fellow Tea Party member, Carl Paladino: he’s part of a broader anti-gay movement hiding behind fiscal conservatism.