Sunday, July 13, 2008

Is the "freemale" a fiction?

What is it that liberalism asks of women? The aim of life in a liberal society is autonomy. Women maximise their autonomy by pursuing a single girl lifestyle of career, travel, shopping, casual relationships, partying and so on. With this lifestyle women have financial independence and no binding family commitments to impede their autonomy. They become, in the liberal sense of the word, free.

The Daily Mail ran an article recently titled "Rise of the Freemale". It heralded the increase in the number of single women in the UK as evidence of female liberation:

The number of single women has hit an all-time high, a study has shown - and most of them aren't looking for love.

They apparently choose to be alone, and rejoice in a life where they can spend their time and money as they wish.

This new breed of singleton has been dubbed a "freemale", because she chooses freedom over family ...

Paula Hall, a relationship psychotherapist with Relate, said many women had been put off relying on relationships for their happiness ...

"If you're busy and fulfilled with lots of close friends, then relationships may seem a bit irrelevant ...

"Basically, women feel comfortable doing whatever they want to do with their lives."


The article makes it sound as if the liberal theory is working out well in practice, and that there are growing numbers of single women happily liberated from serious relationships or motherhood.

But then the Daily Mail ran a follow-up article by Dr Pam Spurr, a relationships counsellor. She believes that many single women in their 30s are putting on a public act of being contented with their situation:

What's really going on behind the confident demeanour and fulfilled exterior is crushing loneliness and desperation.

Single women become adept at playing the isn't-life-grand game.

They have to do it around men so they don't appear desperate.

And they come to do it around other women, too, as I've discovered in the course of counselling hundreds of single women ...


She gives the example of Susie:

Susie, 38, a music industry lawyer, is a classic case of portraying the sunny single when inside she's utterly miserable ... Susie felt ashamed of living a lie - and finally confessed she always pretends to be cheerful about her single status.

"How would other people feel coming back to an empty flat after a long, hard day with no one to talk to or cuddle?

"They have no idea how good they've got it. Yet I've got too much pride to say: 'I desperately want to meet someone'".


Then there is the case of Jenny:

Take Jenny, 35, who e-mailed me about her profound regret over dumping a man she had dated at 29.

She said he had been a good and kind partner, but she'd felt there was something "more" to be had in a relationship, and also had wanted to focus on her TV production career while it was hurtling skywards.

Jenny's e-mail made pitiful reading. She blamed herself for her predicament: her damaging attitude towards her former boyfriend, her immaturity in wanting every aspect of her "needs" met and being blinkered about putting her career first.

She suffered insomnia as she fretted nights away about her choices.


So what went wrong? Dr Pam Spurr puts things this way:

Yes, outwardly women in 2008 are supposed to aspire to careers and self-fulfilment, but inwardly they also long to satisfy an urge that's been around as long as humankind: to connect with a partner - and if their biological clock is ticking - to fulfil it and produce children together.

It's absolute tosh to think it's any other way. The human species would die out if this weren't the case.


So autonomy can't always be the overriding aim. There are other important goods to consider as well if we wish to be fulfilled in life. If we always make autonomy the primary aim, we are likely to end up feeling alienated and disconnected rather than liberated and free.

Dr Pam Spurr tells us that the women she counsels:

come home to a sleek apartment, decorated to their taste, and surrounded by lots of lovely things - and they feel as empty as the rooms they paid so much for.


It's normal to want a period of independence from family commitments in our early adulthood. But to take autonomy as the main principle on which to build a life isn't likely to work in the longer run.

51 comments:

  1. I think of myself as a liberal. I value autonomy quite a bit. But, I don't feel responsible for women who have chosen a single lifestyle and are now unhappy with it. To be autonomous means to make your own choices; it means to be free. Autonomous, free beings can, and do, choose to enter into relationships with other people, including the typical male-female, romantic heterosexual relationship . These women have simply exercized their autonomy by choosing not to enter into a male-female relationship, and now they regret it. The problem as I see it, is not with autonomy (or, valuing autonomy), is with the exercize of that autonomy.

    If you're looking for some "ism" to blame for these bad choices, it seems to me that feminism is the real culprit. For decades, hardcore, "womanist" feminists preached to girls and young women that the option of finding a boyfriend, getting married, and being a wife and mother, was a bad choice, a choice that resulted from "false consciousness," a choice that meant you were choosing to be "less" than you could be and that tended to disempower your fellow women, too.

    A "liberal" says it's your choice--look at all the evidence, examine your own thoughts and feelings, and choose what's right for you. A "feminist" (at least since the end of the original, "equality" femininsm), says it's your choice, but, if you don't choose they way I say to, you are selling yourself short and betraying your sisters.

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  2. Autonomous, free beings can, and do, choose to enter into relationships with other people

    Right, but you lose a degree of autonomy when you do so. If you marry and have children, whether you are a man or a woman, you lose a significant amount of autonomy.

    This is one of the basic issues within liberalism (and feminism, which is liberalism applied to the lives of women). In theory, we can exercise autonomy by choosing a more traditional lifestyle. However, if we choose non-autonomous outcomes we seem to be acting against what liberalism deems important.

    Therefore, you get liberals like yourself who stick with the "choose for yourself and accept the consequences" side of the equation and liberals who emphasise the "choosing non-autonomous outcomes is illegitimate" side.

    In terms of feminism, this means in practice that you get feminists who are accepting of women who choose to stay at home with the kids, and feminists who are dismayed by it.

    Over time, the stay at home option has been rendered increasingly difficult to exercise, though to a varying degree from country to country.

    Imagine being an individual who takes autonomy to be the overriding good. Are you as likely to sacrifice autonomy in order to marry? Are you as likely to stay with a marriage when other attractive options present themselves to you?

    I'm not suggesting that autonomy shouldn't be valued. But it can't always trump the other goods and it certainly shouldn't define our status as humans.

    At times, we have to be able to say that it's right to sacrifice a measure of individual autonomy in order to uphold other important goods.

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  3. ". . .you get liberals like yourself who stick with the 'choose for yourself and accept the consequences' side of the equation and liberals who emphasise the 'choosing non-autonomous outcomes is illegitimate' side. In terms of feminism, this means in practice that you get feminists who are accepting of women who choose to stay at home with the kids, and feminists who are dismayed by it."

    To me, the first side in both of these dichotomies are the liberals, and the second side is. . .well, something else.

    As you say, autonomy is important, but it isn't everything. And, I agree, what makes us "human" is at least as much our relationships with others as it is our capacity for, and exercize, of autonomy. I think most liberals understand this.

    Somewhere else I think I read you saying something like "femininism is liberalism applied to women." I think that is true as far as the original, "equality" feminists were concerned, but not the "womanist" "gender" or "difference" feminists. To me, their kind of feminism is Marxism (and a particularly rigid and dogmatic Marxism at that) applied to women.

    These radical feminists simply substitute gender for class, and women for the proletariat, and let their analysis flow to ever more ridiculous extremes from there. To the dogmatic Marxist, the only aspect of life that really matters is the economic one, everything else is either subordinate to that or only seen as important because of "false consciousness." To the radical feminist, it is gender, and only gender, that really matters. To the dogmatic Marxist, the proletariat is always being screwed, and no evidence to the contrary can convince them otherwise. To the radical feminist, women are always being screwed, and no evidence to the contrary can convince them otherwise. To the dogmatic Marxist, all existing institutions are designed to oppress the working class, and to the radical feminist, all existing institutions are designed to oppress women. Again, with both groups, the facts themselves are irrelevant. The theory demands that this "must" be the state of affairs, so that's the way it "must" be.

    Liberals, to my way of thinking, wanted to extend access to the good things in life to, and to allow autonomy to, members of the working class. Thus, ending property requirements for office holding and voting, public education, public health, and so on. Similarly, liberals (and the "equality" feminists) wanted to extend access to the good things in life to, and to allow autonomy to, women. Thus, female sufferage and officeholding, equality of education, and equality of opportunity in general.

    But, just as the radical Marxist tells the working class that none of these reforms matter, that they are still oppressed and every institution is still designed to oppress them, and that to think otherwise is to be a sellout and a "class traitor," so the radical feminist tells women that none of these reforms matter either, and that every institution is still designed to oppress them, and that, to enter into such an institution, like marriage, means that you have "sold out" yourself, and your sisters, and become a traitor to your gender.

    Again, as a liberal, I do not feel responsible for the "illiberal" dictatorial, verging on totalitarin nature, of these "womanist" feminists. They come out of an intellectual tradition--dogmatic Marxism--that is decided not, and even anti-, liberal. They themselves do not call themselves "liberals," in fact, they scoff at liberalism.

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  4. -Paula Hall, a relationship psychotherapist with Relate, said many women had been put off relying on relationships for their happiness ...

    "If you're busy and fulfilled with lots of close friends, then relationships may seem a bit irrelevant ... (my emphasis)

    Meaning, these "Freemales" aren't just avoiding relationships with men, but by there own chosen lifestyle, truly friend-free.

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  5. "you get feminists who are accepting of women who choose to stay at home with the kids,"


    You will find feminists advocating for stay at home moms but you will not find feminists arguing in favor of young motherhood and marriage. They absolutely do not want young women to get the picture in their head of young, happily married parents. If you don't get married young, your chances of both finding a partner and being able to have kids at all go down significantly. So accepting stay at home motherhood does not cause them to lose footing.

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  6. Mr. Richardson,

    It seems that those most strident in regards to autonomy are those that have autonomous natures. These are the ones most likely to spread the ideology of autonomy. And this autonomous nature seems to imply most obviously a homosexual disposition. Therefore, it is not surprising to see women homosexuals (lesbians) at the forefront of liberal feminist movements.

    And what becomes evident is that calls for autonomy are then necessarily calls to abandon man and child. This again is representative of a homosexual disposition and its detachment from normal life.

    Further, autonomy has come to mean rampant promiscuity in many feminist circles. Again, such a meaning implies the differentiation of sex between procreation and pleasure. By definition, a homosexual can only seek sexual pleasure and has no desire for procreation.

    Lastly, autonomy has come to mean young woman getting obnoxiously drunk and disappearing only to be found dead sometime later. Is this the evil of homosexuality?

    This is why I say that autonomy theory and liberalism in general represent the political manifestation of the homosexual nature.

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  7. Thordaddy, I agree that autonomy theory fits well with certain aspects of homosexuality.

    Autonomy theory claims that we should not be restricted in our self-authorship by unchosen, fixed, biological aspects of our nature.

    It's therefore thought to be progressive to deny a fixed division of gender into male and female and to deny that there are any essential qualities to being a man or a woman.

    Similarly, "advanced" thinkers now claim that heterosexuality is not naturally preponderant, but that people fall somewhere along a continuum in their sexual identity.

    Nonetheless, even though autonomy theory works against the heterosexual majority, nearly everyone in the Western political class accepts it - even those who at a personal level live quite traditional family lives.

    So it doesn't seem sufficient to tie liberalism and feminism to a homosexual outlook.

    The sobering fact is that liberalism in countries like Australia has been promoted mostly by Anglo, middle-class, heterosexual males. It is this group which has stuck with liberalism, regardless of how detrimental it is in the long-run to their own interests.

    There have been remarkably few dissenters. It's difficult to identify individuals who have broken in a principled way with liberal orthodoxy.

    The question is whether the body blows now being taken will lead some to finally reject liberalism as a false and destructive politics.

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  8. I liked Ruddyturnstone's notion of "someone is getting screwed" as the unifying principle of Marxism. I would extend this out to meet modern liberalism as well. Much of the promise of liberalism is predicated upon the idea that the listener (voter) is the victim of something or someone, a virtually never-ending proposition so long as we refuse to become adults.

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  9. From an objective scientific perspective there is no such thing as essence in the sense of fixed, basic, fundamental natures. It follows that there is no such thing as essential masculinity or femininity. One form of life gives rise to another. Humans are primates that evolved culture. Primates evolved from other mammals and so on back to the single-celled organisms that started it all. Even male and female are ends of a spectrum.

    As for ideologies, as a species we have been shaped by the stories we tell ourselves. Ideologies are just a modern form of mythic narrative. It is evident how religions shaped human history. It is irrelevant whether the gods imagined by our ancestors had any objective reality. It's the same with ideologies. Just as with religions, ideologies only take hold in characters that are already predisposed to looking at the world in that way. Just as with religions, ideologies will die out if they don't have survival benefits. Extreme gnostic sects believed it was sinful to bring life into the world. Where are they today?
    Anyone who fears that all the young girls growing up will have their heads turned by extremist feminist ideology into becoming lesbians is prey to the same type of irrational fears as those who think there is a secret cabal manipulating the rest of mankind for their own nefarious ends.

    As for thordaddy's weird take on 'the evils of homosexuality', it's hard to read such paranoid drivel and not launch into an 'ad homininem'. All I can say is that while relative to men, women can be more sexually fluid, most women desire relationships with men. Maybe the men need to look to themselves rather that looking for scapegoats. If a man is a self-involved narcissist, who can blame a woman for looking elsewhere.

    The reason we value autonomy so much is because from the moment we learnt to clothe our bodies, use fire and build shelter we started on a journey of increasing autonomy. We never just accepted what 'nature' gave us. There are many 'goods' that drive us, autonomy being only one. Often these goods compete. Mostly they are complementary.
    History shows that those who try to deny others autonomy do so because they want to bend them to their will. I really get a sense from some of the comments that what is being mooted is the argument about giving up freedom for security. In this case, it is women who are being asked to give up the freedom to shape their own destinies for fear of destabilising the institutions that have served men so well up till now.
    As I see it, those women (the greater part) who are given the freedom to choose and do so in favour of motherhood are the women who will make the best mothers. The small proportion who choose not to, if forced to do so, would inevitably visit their frustrations upon their offspring. It's not hard to work out whose children will be the more well adjusted.
    Maybe I have more faith in women and I don't subscribe to the archaic paternalistic idea that women are like children who, being easily swayed by caprice, can't be trusted to make sensible decisions for themselves.
    Only time will tell.

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  10. Apashiol, your comment is contradictory. You seem to want to write from the standpoint of a detached, neutral scientific observer interested only in what works. Yet you have accepted to a remarkable degree the reigning orthodoxy - the one you were born into - and you have accepted it even when it runs against science and even when the evidence that it doesn't work is overwhelming.

    No essential difference between men and women? Science disproved this idea quite some years ago. The differences between men and women are hardwired - they are, at least in part, biological, involving differences in the structure of the brain, the level of hormones etc.

    Does autonomy theory work even in the Darwinian terms you accept? No, clearly not. Something like 35% of the professional women who are most influenced by it will never have children. Overall, the fertility rate is below replacement level.

    "Even male and female are ends of a spectrum". What is that supposed to mean? The overwhelming majority of people, all except a tiny percentage, are either biologically male or female. Again, your "scientific" view is non-scientific and ideological.

    "Ideologies will die out if they don't have survival benefits". Yes, but they will take their societies with them. If you love your tradition, and want it to survive, you will act against destructive ideologies, rather than pretending to be a neutral outsider observing the effects of Darwinian selection on societies.

    "History shows that those who try to deny others autonomy do so because they want to bend them to their will." Really? We're all just selfish individuals trying to enact our own will at the expense of others? You've picked up this idea from the left liberalism of the last few decades. It doesn't make sense, not even in your own Darwinian terms. Surely, those societies in which individuals put aside some of their own immediate desires for the good of the whole would have survival advantages compared to others.

    "Anyone who fears that all the young girls growing up will have their heads turned by extremist feminist ideology into becoming lesbians is prey to the same type of irrational fears as those who think there is a secret cabal manipulating the rest of mankind for their own nefarious ends."

    No one at this site claimed that feminists would persuade large numbers of young women into becoming lesbians. The point being made is that there are feminists preaching a radically anti-family doctrine to young women whilst themselves living in a relatively traditional family arrangement.

    "Most women desire relationships with men". Yes, and vice versa. But that's not the point. It was ridiculously easy for a man of my generation to "get" a woman for a casual relationship. Probably never easier since time began. But is was made unnecessarily difficult to form a family. My post was about women who have fallen through the gap. They desperately want a husband and children in order to be fulfilled in life, but can't get them? Why not? Don't you think this is worth thinking about?

    "it is women who are being asked to give up the freedom to shape their own destinies for fear of destabilising the institutions that have served men so well up till now."

    Well, thank you for setting out the left-wing version of autonomy theory so clearly for the readers of this site.

    Note some of the problems with your view:

    a) Do the women who followed autonomy theory in their 20s believe that it has brought them freedom and self-determination? No. They describe themselves as feeling empty, rather than liberated. They have become "desperate" exactly because they don't feel in control of their own life situation - they have not been brought a sense of self-determination.

    b) Do you really think that men are not asked to give up a measure of autonomy in family life? The sacrifice is more evenly balanced than you are willing to admit.

    c) If the family is a male institution serving male interests, then why is it men who are abandoning marriage in large numbers?

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  11. apashiol,

    Don't you find it peculiar that all over the Western World there is this impassioned defense of such a trifling insignificant sexual behavior?

    If one has a disposition that at its core is anti-heterosexual and then acts on that anti-heterosexual impulse to repel and reject all that derives from heterosexuality, would you not at least say this behavior was evil?

    Your major misconceptions are the notion of fluid what? and homosexuality being fundamentally about attraction as opposed to repulsion. From this understanding you essentially define homosexuality out of existence right along with heterosexuality. We are just self-gratifying animals that look at other animals and say, "Look, homosexuality!"

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  12. Mr. Richardson,

    You say,

    Nonetheless, even though autonomy theory works against the heterosexual majority, nearly everyone in the Western political class accepts it - even those who at a personal level live quite traditional family lives.

    And it is no coincidence that the acceptance of "autonomy" theory as highest good correlates well with the acceptance of homosexuality.

    But acceptance is something different than practice and on this we agree that only the most radical among us practice real autonomy. Who are these radicals and do they have something in common other than their insatiable appetite for "autonomy?"

    I say that what they have in common is their innate distaste for the "practice" of heterosexuality and all the good that may come forth from its embrace. I say they also have in common a perverse desire for cultures that pervert heterosexuality for breeding or pleasurable purposes and seek to invite those cultures into the Western World.

    Can we simply oppose "autonomy" theory and not its principle advocates?

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  13. Mark,

    If your website featured cogent quotes on the home page, as some do, I would nominate this inspiring sentence of yours:

    "If you love your tradition, and want it to survive, you will act against destructive ideologies, rather than pretending to be a neutral outsider observing the effects of Darwinian selection on societies."

    Another tenet of liberalism revealed: pseudo-neutralism.

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  14. Leadpb, thanks. It's an angle I intend to develop further in future posts.

    Thordaddy, I can only agree with your argument in part. Yes, a disproportionate number of the most radical exponents of autonomy theory are homosexuals. I wouldn't claim, though, that homosexuals are the principal advocates of destructive modernism.

    Furthermore, the individuals we most need to persuade are the white heterosexual males. If we cannot persuade this group to jettison a destructive liberalism, then we are not going to preserve our tradition.

    I don't want to tell white heterosexual males that it is some other group which needs to reform. It is the white heterosexual males who need to be self-critical if they are to finally cast off a damaging, but deeply entrenched, liberal thought system.

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  15. "No essential difference between men and women? Science disproved this idea quite some years ago."
    Science has not disproved this. The human foetus starts out in an undifferentiated form and depending on the relative hormonal balance will then (barring any syndromes) go on to differentiate into either male or female. If both male and female are modifications on a basic form then how do you support claims to essential differences. Essences hark back to Aristotelian philosophical ideas that don't hold up to scientific scrutiny.
    I don't deny there are differences. It is just that differences in degree can became differences in kind. The existence of intersex individuals shows that male and female fall at two ends of a spectrum of human form that includes some people who fall in the middle and partake of characteristics of both.
    We are not hard-wired in any way. This is an example of an analogy that is false but taken to be true.A lot of talk is going on about 'brain sex'. This is very tendentious. While differences exist in the brains of men and women they are often dwarfed by the variablility within each gender. Human brains are much more malleable than anything else.

    "If you love your tradition, and want it to survive, you will act against destructive ideologies, rather than pretending to be a neutral outsider observing the effects of Darwinian selection on societies."
    By all means do that. The competition to shape the world according to how we desire it to be is just another among the many forms of competing aims in the world. That amounts to saying that you are comfortable with a certain arrangement because it confirms and supports who you are and how you would like to be. However, I will challenge what I see as an ideological interpretation of science on your part in support of tradition.

    '"History shows that those who try to deny others autonomy do so because they want to bend them to their will." Really? We're all just selfish individuals trying to enact our own will at the expense of others? You've picked up this idea from the left liberalism of the last few decades. It doesn't make sense, not even in your own Darwinian terms. Surely, those societies in which individuals put aside some of their own immediate desires for the good of the whole would have survival advantages compared to others.'

    You read into my statement something that's not there. I was thinking of tyrants in the past who saw their will as being an expression of divine right and also the same tendency within communist regimes. We are a complex mix of selfish drives and altruistic impulses. It is precisely because of my empathy that I can support some of the aims of some feminists. It is because I come from a western background that cherishes universal values and self-critical reflection that I accord others equal rights to self-determination and personal authenticity. That includes the right to make their own mistakes and learn from them.

    "a) Do the women who followed autonomy theory in their 20s believe that it has brought them freedom and self-determination? No. They describe themselves as feeling empty, rather than liberated."
    You might cherry-pick examples of women who followed a certain path only to be disappointed. Naturally I can feel sympathy for someone who feels so. How is that any different from anyone else who might have pursued certain goals only to be disillusioned in the end? I know of plenty of examples who wouldn't have it any other way. In the end though, you are making a statement without any data to back it up.
    I could counter with Thoreau's 'Most men lead lives of quiet desperation'.Many people have spent their lives towing the line and doing what was expected of them and then felt they were just cogs in some vast impersonal machine. For me it is better to try and fail rather than never try at all.

    My comment about fears of young girls being converted to lesbians was in reference to this comment of thordaddy's -
    "And what becomes evident is that calls for autonomy are then necessarily calls to abandon man and child. This again is representative of a homosexual disposition and its detachment from normal life."
    I should have indicated to what I was referring. While I might not agree with you, what you say is worthy of consideration. I am not so arrogant as to say all your fears are groundless.
    Thordaddy, on the other hand, has a different axe to grind.

    I see Western society,like all others, as a work in progress. I also think it is fairly robust. I see it's ability to change as a symptom of vitality and not something to be feared. We can tolerate more plurality without everthing imploding. We are both products of that Western tradition. You might perceive me as being a leftie, but I would hold that, just as with men and women, we are more alike than we are different.

    To Thordaddy
    "Don't you find it peculiar that all over the Western World there is this impassioned defense of such a trifling insignificant sexual behavior?"
    I don't find it peculiar at all. As I have touched upon above, I believe that defence springs from the best values of the Western world which are its universalism, self-critical reflection and an ability to see that long held ideas can be rooted in unconscious bias that don't hold up under the light of reason.
    Just because someone might sexually prefer their own sex doesn't mean they are anti-heterosexual nor is there any evidence that it derives from an impulse to 'reject all that derives from heterosexuality'. I am unable to parse the rest of your comment and so can't respond to it. All I will say is that allowing people the freedom to act according to their own preferences is not the first step in some agenda to make homosexuality compulsory for all.

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  16. apashiol wrote: "While differences exist in the brains of men and women they are often dwarfed by the variablility within each gender."

    This statement and the assertion that sexual "intermediates" prove that human sexuality is just one big kettle of soup is false. Often the exception proves the rule, and even granting a limited 'cline' of sexuality, or an inverse bell curve, it pertains here also. Are you saying that infra-gender variation somehow neutralizes the differences between male and female? What is your reasoning? If the widespread saltwater crocodile exhibits impressive genetic variation while her sister species, the Nile crocodile, carries appreciably less such variation, does that necessarily argue for combining these animals into one species? No, it does not.

    "I see Western society,like all others, as a work in progress. I also think it is fairly robust. I see it's ability to change as a symptom of vitality and not something to be feared."

    The ability to change is not logically a source of fear. The thing to be feared in this case is the rate and scale and nature of changes that do occur. Change that is not too abrupt or dramatic is inevitable and it is healthy, but we have experienced paroxysms, in generational terms, since the 1960s in virtually every area of human life. The price we have paid for these 'emancipations' is only beginning to show. In recognizing these difficulties conservatives are branded as anti-progressive and worse.

    What is also frightening to an increasing number of the previously befuddled is the apparent lock-step global "vision" of those parties with the most political power, including government, mass media and educational institutions. The liberal push for inclusiveness, equality, feminism and all the rest that is predominant in these has been relentless-- and successful-- against the soft, enabling mind of the average citizen. Mainly via the Internet large numbers of people are waking up to the possibilities for humanity that exist outside the modern liberal paradigm.

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  17. To Leadpb
    My comment "While differences exist in the brains of men and women they are often dwarfed by the variablility within each gender."was to refute Mark Robinson's factoid that we are hard-wired.

    "This statement and the assertion that sexual "intermediates" prove that human sexuality is just one big kettle of soup is false."

    This is a strawman argument and not what I said at all.




    "Are you saying that infra-gender variation somehow neutralizes the differences between male and female?"
    This is not what I said. Try reading what I said and replying to that.

    As far as the two species of crocodile, that has no bearing on what I said.

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  18. apashiol-

    You are right that my attempt at an analogy by way of crocodiles was off the mark. Still I have heard people make a similar argument to yours on other topics and I fail to see how citing the variability within compared groups can then be used to infer something about the measure of difference between them. And how does this assertion refute the idea of "hard-wiring"?

    The implication I got from much of what you have written remains the same, e.g., that traditional gender differences have little or no defensible meaning today since they have supposedly been shown by science to be artificially exaggerated in most modern societies, or are artificial altogether. In any event your argumentation clearly aims at downplaying any such differences, which most of us still assume to be true and meaningful. So perhaps I am not understanding your view here correctly. Are you against any 'official' recognition of all humans as either male or female, replete with the challenges of those who defy these categories, or do you advocate we dispense with our age-old precepts altogether?

    I found your dismissal of "essentialism" to be interesting. I take this to mean, by extension, a subscription to the idea that we and all we know and experience is strictly the result of random molecules dancing under the stars. Sorry to leap into crass metaphysics but this seems to be the central theme in much of what you write. Humans are naturally curious and we may be particularly curious about the underlying philosophy of those whose thoughts have roused our attention. In the end, we want to know what matters to others and for my part it is hardly troubling that this essential consideration falls outside the bounds of science. In fact, quite the opposite.

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  19. apashiol,

    Please enlighten me as to the reason behind the elevation of homosexuality to the equivalent of heterosexuality? And explain that rationale outside of the liberal paradigm since reason predates modern liberalism.

    The last I heard, homosexual advocates claimed a biological causation for their disposition which seems to contradict your notion that homosexuality is merely a preference that can change like all other behaviors. Can you clarify your position because mine assumes homosexuality to be biologically innate and therefore it is defined by its repulsion of the opposite sex and not its attraction to same-sex.

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  20. Leadpb-

    I will try again. Let me first say that nowhere have I tried to say that there are no differences between between men and women. Obviously there are. In trying to think clearly about how those differences arise I tried to point out that 'essence' is a concept that originates in Greek philosophy with Aristotle and therefore when it comes to talking about the modern understanding of biology and gender it doesn't serve well. This is the basis of my dismissal of "essentialism".

    After trying to communicate this, Mark Richardson replied-

    "No essential difference between men and women? Science disproved this idea quite some years ago. The differences between men and women are hardwired"


    I then tried to refute that we are hard-wired.
    Here is why.
    As science has developed, analogies have been used to try and understand human biology and the mind. Depending on the technology of the period, different analogies were used. So, for example, Descartes took what was in his time the most complicated machinery, namely clockwork, and made the analogy that the human organism was like a clockwork mechanism and death was like a clock winding down. But it is obvious that the human organism is not clockwork. That analogy was abandoned as being too crude to explain anything.
    Similarly, when we invented the computer, it was used as an analogy. Hence the idea that the brain was somehow like a circuit board. That we were hard-wired.
    As our knowledge has advanced that analogy has been abandoned, too. It is too crude and misleading.

    Modern neurology shows that the brain is actually very malleable. The brain continues to grow and change throughout our lifetimes. It is this plasticity that makes it difficult to point to some structure in the brain and say, that is why men are men and women are women.
    The cultural environment you grow up in, the roles assigned to you, how you use your brain change it's structure.

    The fact is that any of the faculties that are used to differentiate between men and women, like verbal skills, empathy and spatial relations, aren't that different between the sexes. And they can all be improved through practice. You could pick any two women and find more difference between these abilities than you might find between a man and a woman.

    When it comes down to it, the science is not settled. Anyone who would have you believe other-wise is misrepresenting the science.

    At the very earliest stage of human life, before the sex hormones are activated, the default form is basically bisexual. Both sets of plumbing exist in a rudimentary form. Depending on the relative levels of hormones, one set will develop and you will retain traces of the other for the rest of your life. This is why I said that the male and female genders can be described as lying at two ends of a spectrum, with occasional humans falling somewhere in the middle. From that point of view, everything is constructed. From the one basic physical prototype two genders are constructed. Our experiences growing up in certain types of bodies within different environments shapes our cognition, psychologies and sense of who we are. Out of all that complexity you cannot reduce it down to some simple element and say this is what makes us what we are.

    Of course, two genders evolved because we reproduce sexually. That is the greatest obvious difference between male and female. Here is where I turn from biology to logic.

    It is a Naturalistic fallacy to go from what is a biological fact, the existence of two genders, to then try to say how things ought to be without a compelling and reasonable link.
    It is an unfounded logical leap.
    One thing is a statement of fact, the other is an ethical value. In order get from a fact to an ethical value you have to convince using a very compelling argument. It is only when you have agreed on something as being good and desirable that you can work out how to maintain what is good and look for ways to increase the good.

    And therein lies the rub. It's easy to get people to agree that the continuation of the species is a 'good' thing. The difficulty comes when you try to argue about the best method to achieve this.

    It's not good enough to make some appeal to tradition. If some women tell you that they find aspects of a tradition oppressive and they don't want to submit to it, you can't turn around and just say 'Well, it's served us well so far'. That is no argument for continuing on with it.
    Traditions become outmoded and are either modified or discarded. You won't convince them by using anecdotes about some women who tried things their own way and then came to regret it. People are individuals and what feels right for one will not suit another.

    And it's downright insulting to try to convince them they are victims of some delusional ideology that they just don't have the intelligence to see through. Not only is it patronising and self-serving, but you are dismissing their concerns and refusing to engage with them to try to find a better way that is mutually acceptable. This is especially true when the arguments you are using are based in ideology too.

    We live in a pluralistic democracy where everyone has the right to try to live their own life in as fulfilling and meaningful a way as possible. Personal autonomy is one of the more important values we share. That means tolerating others as long as they don't directly harm or hinder you. The rest is down to negotiation.

    You might try to dismiss all this as some kind of leftist dogma. That would just be caricaturing me. I have certain values that someone might focus on to pigeon-hole me on one side or another. That would only serve to obscure rather than illuminate what I believe. Life is not black and white, but shades of grey.It is only after years of trying to dispassionately understand the many complexities that I have come to understand things the way I do. I still keep my mind open and will revise my thinking if the evidence changes. My position is that all knowledge is provisional, and I try to go where the evidence takes me. I also try to eschew as much as possible all dogma. I hope I have explained myself well enough.

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  21. To Thordaddy-

    Human sexuality has been viewed in many different ways by different cultures throughout time. It is easy to understand why heterosexual sex was held in high regard because it is the sex that produces progeny. Obviously cultures desiring to perpetuate themselves would put a high value on heterosexual sex. Many cultures throughout history have never cared who had sex with whom as long as people fulfilled their duty to reproduce. Other cultures penalized homosexuality. How things were dealt with in the past by different cultures has no bearing on how we should act today.

    It is an historical accident that Judeo-Christianity had a strong influence on the development of social mores in the West. This created the perception of homosexuality as sinful. Consequently, Western societies had harsh punishments for those they perceived as perverting their god-given nature. Then after the Enlightenment, when the hold of religious dogma on the Western mind loosened, people dared to question what had been accepted as sacred truth. There were those among them who found their desires to be different from the majority. Their experience of themselves led them to feel that it was something constitutional and not something they just chose to do out of perversity. So during the 1800's they set about trying to change the conventional wisdom. This was just one among many of the currents towards greater freedom, like women's suffrage and the abolition of slavery. It is easy to see how only those who felt something very strongly would go against the consensus.

    As all change takes place within a political context, these people had to formulate an idea and invent a language to describe themselves. This was all part of the construction of a new social identity. There is evidence to show that once this 'gay' identity was created the heterosexual identity formed in contrast. Before this there had only been behaviours. Men whose attraction to the same sex was so strong that today they would identify as gay, then would have given in to society's expectations and married and had children. One good example would be Oscar Wilde, who married and had children, but instead of having mistresses on the side like most men of his time and class, had male lovers.

    Sexual preference arises out of a complex matrix, probably getting fixed in the womb. That preference can be so strong as to be overwhelming. That does not mean it can be changed like some behaviours that are under our conscious control. There is a big difference. Homosexual people do not choose to be homosexual, no more than you chose one day to be heterosexual.

    The propensity in humans to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same sex when they don't have access to the opposite sex, situational homosexuality like in prisons and the like, doesn't change their underlying sexual preference. As soon as the situation changes they will return to having sex according to their preference.

    Some homosexuals may be repulsed by the opposite sex. Most are probably just indifferent. If a gay man was ship-wrecked on an island with only a woman, I dare say that he might have sex with her rather than give up on sex altogether.

    Given all this, what could possibly be gained by forcing a man, who is at best indifferent to women, to marry. It would be unfair to him and even more so to the woman' who could never really expect to be loved by him as she might hope for.

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  22. Apashial:

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but, when you say this,

    "If some women tell you that they find aspects of a tradition oppressive and they don't want to submit to it, you can't turn around and just say 'Well, it's served us well so far'. . .And it's downright insulting to try to convince them they are victims of some delusional ideology that they just don't have the intelligence to see through. Not only is it patronising and self-serving. . ."

    I think you are missing the point.

    Most women, including the ones discussed in the article, don't find the institution of marriage to be "oppressive." Most women either are married, want to be married, or wish that they had married when it was still available to them. In its "traditional" form, marriage may have been "oppressive" to women, but the institution has been changed in so many ways, all of them at the insistence of women and for the benefit of women, that there is simply no reasonable argument that can now be made for describing it as "oppressive" to them. Again, this can be proven not only by litanizing those changes and describing the institution as it now exists, but by pointing to the overwhelming majority of women who, despite the endless progagandizing of official, semi-official, and popular "society" to the contrary, still desire marriage. Women are bombarded with the message that marriage, particularly stay-at-home-wife-and-mother marriage is the LEAST desirable option, but many, many women want it anyway.

    The problem described in the article and by the blogger is that many women have been convinced that they "can have it all," that's it's all about what they want and when they want it. But, men actually have some say in whether, and which, women get married too. Men, for the most part, want young, fertile women for wives. Not women who have led the "Sex in the City" lifestyle until they are 35 or 40 years old and then go looking for a husband. In addition, many men don't want to marry at all. Surely you've heard of the "marriage strike?" That's because marriage has now been "reformed" so much that, far from being "oppressive" to women, it is now obviously and grossly unfair to men.

    It's not that these young women are "delusional." It's that young women, just like young men, are subject to making mistakes by believing in what they are told, especially by older members of their gender. And, like all people, young women are more susceptable to false information that suggests that they are in control, can put off making the hard choices while they have fun, and still fulfill their long term goals in the end, when they are "ready" for it. Who wouldn't want to believe that? That is one of the lies that feminists tell them (the other lie being that marriage is "oppressive" to women and should be avoided altogether--this lie is even more pernicious, or, it would be, but most young women don't seem to buy it). . . "Don't get married and have kids when you're young," the feminists say. "Have fun, have a career. You can always get married and be a mother later." Young women hear this and think it sounds like a good deal. In addition, young women can sense all of the attention that men pay to them, all the implicit and explicit offers of marriage that are made to them, and it's not hard for them to believe that that will never change.

    But, it does change. These women wake up one day and find that they are no longer young and that men no longer desire them for wives. These women then have to desperately grab at whatever's available to fulfill their overlong deferred goal of being wives and mothers. Assuming they can get a husband, their fertility probably has decreased, the chances of birth defects are higher, pregnancy takes a higer toll on their health, and so on, compared to what would have been the case if they had married and had children when they were younger.

    I don't think it's "insulting" or "patronizing" to point all this out. These young women are not "delusional," but deluded.

    And, who is doing the deluding? Radical feminists. They know that marriage, as currently constituted, is not "oppressive" to women. Many of them are married themselves. But, their careers, their "Department of Wymyn's Studies," their long-held idealogical positions, their very raison d'etre, depend on the phony notion of a "patriarchy" which they "blame" for the "oppression" of women through institutions such as marriage. What would these professional victims do if they admitted the truth, that women no longer have very much to complain about in Western society?

    These feminists also know that it's not true that women, or anyone else, can, as a rule, "have it all." If a woman chooses to spend her 20's and 30's living like "Carrie Bradshaw," then there is a very good chance she will not also end up as a wife and mother. Yet, they continue to "delude" young women into thinking just the opposite. And, that's what I think many people object to.

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  23. apashiol,

    What is the logic behind the elevation of homosexuality to the equivalent of heterosexuality in the modern Western World?

    The logic is "autonomy" as highest good. Meaning, the elevation of homosexuality IS the elevation of "autonomy" as highest good. It is no coincidence that the practice of "autonomy" as highest good means a disinegrating or completely dissolved relationship and thus leads most to practice such a notion very sparingly including the many radical feminists.

    With this understanding, that the practice of "autonomy" as highest good is done sparingly, one can then recognize "autonomy" as highest good for what it is, namely, self-gratification. This is why "autonomy" as highest good is a false notion. But this also tells us that the advocacy of homosexuality is actually advocacy for self-gratification. And so it goes that there is NO LOGIC to the elevation of homosexuality as the equivalent to heterosexuality EXCEPT "autonomy" as highest good.

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  24. To Ruddyturnstone-
    To my understanding, The Enlightenment is the greatest achievement of Western civilisation. Logic and reason was refined over the centuries since the Greeks to become a powerful tool to help us reflect upon and understand ourselves and the world we live in. One of the understandings born of it was that man has the right of individual liberty and equality. No one should be subject to the will of any other man. We rejected the Divine Right of Kings and the power held over us by religious hierarchies. This is true Liberalism. It took time to extend those rights not just to men but to women, slaves and homosexuals.

    Basic freedom is normative and the onus of justification is on those who would limit it.
    As someone living in Europe I see those principles under attack from radical Muslims who would have us all submit ourselves to their holy book. So it disturbs me when I hear the same sort of thing suggested by those who should be natural allies. Surely from this perspective you would have common cause with women and homosexuals. Not look at any particular group and characterise them by the most extreme examples you can find among them.

    From my perspective, we haven't actually won true freedom and equality yet. In the West, power and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority. They have taken the place of monarchs and the aristocracy. Governments seem to serve the interests of these wealthy elites more so that the people. Corporate mass media has twisted the discourse of democracy so that freedom is the freedom to consume. The same thing has happened with feminism. You mention Carrie Bradshaw. It isn't radical feminists who have created this image. Since when was feminism about an obsession with expensive shoes and fancy restaurants?

    I see my married friends who have no choice but for both to work. Having a mother stay at home to manage the home is a luxury they can't afford. With their mortgages and the cost of raising children who demand designer clothes and x-boxes and the rest, they are virtual wage-slaves. All the while the world around us is being privatised. It's a new form of serfdom.
    Recently Bush told the American people to shop for freedom.

    I really don't see how taking away freedoms is going to change this.
    Please don't accuse me of being a Marxist because I'm not, nor never was. It's just that I see rampant Consumerism as the force that encourages the worst in human nature. What to speak of the effect it is having on our environment.

    I don't have any solutions to offer. I just want to point out that Liberalism isn't the problem. It is getting people to understand what the true meaning of Liberty is.

    To Thordaddy-
    The recognition of the rights of homosexuals is due to it not being justifiable to deny someone the same rights as other humans beings just because their sexuality is different. Just as you can't justify denying those same rights to someone because they are a woman or black or whatever the case may be.

    That is the logic as I see it.

    If you can't see that, there is no amount of arguments I could make that will change your mind. It strikes me that your problem with homosexuals is more emotional. You then try to use logic to rationalise it.

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  25. Apashiol:

    You say:

    "To my understanding, The Enlightenment is the greatest achievement of Western civilisation. . . I just want to point out that Liberalism isn't the problem. It is getting people to understand what the true meaning of Liberty is. . . "

    As, I said, I agree with a lot of what you say, including the above.

    "Surely from this perspective you would have common cause with women and homosexuals. Not look at any particular group and characterise them by the most extreme examples you can find among them."

    I make "common cause" with women and homosexuals, and any and every one else, when I think they have a valid argument. At one time, there was a valid argument that women were subordinated in Western society, that is why I say I am in agreement with the "equality" feminists. Now, however, there is no such valid argument, what there is instead is a half-baked idealogy that justifies what has been reduced to a pressure group, pure and simple. One that advocates for woman in every circumstance, and says let fairness be damned. Feminism is now like the farm lobby, or the gun lobby, or any kind of lobby. It advocates for women, not for equality. When it's in women's benefit to be treated as equals, they are all for that. When it's in women's interests to be treated as poor little victims who can't make up their own minds, the feminists are for that too. Their arguments have become ad hoc and inconsistent, and they don't care.

    As for "extreme examples," it is what has now become mainstream feminism that I am taking issue with. I don't see any more "equality" feminists out there.

    And, as fo homosexuals, that is whole different argument. I don't agree with Thordaddy; I don't think homosexuality has anyhing to do with this discussion. As a general rule, though, I will say that I believe that homosexuals do still have valid arguments in their favor, whereas the feminists do not.

    "From my perspective, we haven't actually won true freedom and equality yet. In the West, power and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority. They have taken the place of monarchs and the aristocracy. . ."

    Without even getting into the validity of these claims, my point was that woman qua woman have nothing to complain about in Western society. Not that no one does. Class issues are a whole different kettle of fish, and cut across gender.

    "Corporate. . .media has twisted the discourse. . .so that freedom is the freedom to consume. The same thing has happened with feminism. You mention Carrie Bradshaw. It isn't radical feminists who have created this image. Since when was feminism about an obsession with expensive shoes and fancy restaurants?"

    Feminists urge young women not to marry in their 20's and early 30's. The seemingly inevitable outcome of that choice is the leading of the Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle. I suppose the feminists might claim that they prefer that young women spend their time and energy going to "womanist" meetings, and so forth, rather than obsessing about shoes and restaurants. But how realistic is that?

    In any event, most feminists claim that marriage itself is "oppressive" to women, and should be either radically changed or abolished. The "put off marriage until 'later,' until 'you're ready'" spiel is only their backup, less preferred, position. If they can't convince young women to disavow marriage altogether, the next best thing is to have them defer it unitl it is no longer readily available.

    "I really don't see how taking away freedoms is going to change this. . .I don't have any solutions to offer."

    I have no desire to take away anyone's freedom.

    What I would like is for governments to be at least neutral to the feminists' message. And, for the rest of society to take the cue that the way the feminists see things is not necessisarily the way things are. As it stands, in most of the West, feminism is the "official" line of the government, the semi-official line of "public service announcements" and universities and so forth, and the line of popular culure, including examples like "Sex in the City."

    The only "solutions" I can see is to counter the feminists' lies with the truth, and, to force them to make their own way in the world, like every other "ism" and idealogy. There is no reason for the government or the university to fund feminism, just as their is no reason for them to fund the conservatism expressed by this blogger.

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  26. Ruddystone-

    I think our positions aren't all that different in the end. The radical feminists you describe for me are control freaks. I don't like control freaks of any stripe. Perhaps it is because of where I live that I don't perceive them as such a threat. I was aware that they do have an impact on American academic life but that's it. My female friends are all feminists as far as equality goes. Even they would agree that the other separatist type feminists are a lunatic fringe.

    I despair of young people of both sexes whose only interest is earning money to live hedonistic lifestyles with no sense of social consciousness. For me , they are slaves to their passions.

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  27. ruddy and ash,

    The heart of this discussion is the overt advocacy of the dissolution of the intimate relationship between man and woman. The strategy undertaken for this dissolution is the elevation of the notion of "autonomy" as highest good.

    This led Paula Hall to state:

    "If you're busy and fulfilled with lots of close friends, then relationships may seem a bit irrelevant ... (my emphasis)

    This was read as abandoning intimate man/woman relations when in actuality, and taking "autonomy" as highest good to its logical conclusion, it says true "autonomy" means being relationship-FREE. Either close friends are irrelevant or they AREN'T considered relationships, according to Ms. Hall.

    And so it is no surprise given the NATURE of the homosexual to see such sexually-oriented individuals at the forefront of causes and ideological positions that have as their practical effect both the dissolution of intimate man/woman relations but relationships in general.

    Why this is not important in the context of the rising political clout of those that self-indentify as homosexuals is interesting.

    Apashiol,

    Your logic is weak. It is countered in a number of instances (adults/children, felons/citizens, citizens/immigrants). Your take is that homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals because they are the same. Simple as that... The fallacy is obvious. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are not the same as they very much arise from opposite natures. If one were to embrace the essence of heterosexuality and another the essence of homosexuality, it would be the difference between life and death. Your take suggests this means nothing. There is no logic to support this stance.

    So the question becomes, why are some advocating for the equalization of homosexuality to heterosexuality when such a task inevitably leads to the elevation of "autonomy" as highest good (the ONLY rationale for such an overt power play) and the dissolution of intimate man/woman relations and all relationships in general?

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  28. Thordaddy-

    All of the groups you mention have their basic human rights protected. Then on top of that, there are rights such as the right to vote that are predicated upon the fact you are:

    1/ Legally an adult (not a minor)

    2/ not in prison (felons)

    3/ Legally resident (I assume this is what you mean talking about immigrants)

    It is you who are illogical.

    It is nothing to do with 'elevation of autonomy as highest good.'
    It is about consensual acts between adults and not discriminating against people on the basis of their sexuality.

    You seem to be saying that once homosexual acts are taken to be morally equivalent to heterosexual acts, that will inevitably lead to the dissolution of intimate male/female relationships and finally all relationships.
    That is a perfect example of the slippery slope fallacy.
    What evidence is there to show for this, outside of your own imagination?
    It's like saying that homosexuality must be prohibited in order to protect heterosexuality.
    I think you'll find that even with the acceptance of homosexuality, most men will still prefer relationships with women and vice versa.
    Do you fear that this won't be the case with you?

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  29. apashiol,

    Why can't we discriminate based on people's sexuality especially when defining marriage? You keep saying this discrimination is wrong, but don't say why exactly. You just repeat the mantra that we cannot discriminate. We must be equal. We must accede to the wants and desires of others no matter what the societal costs. Homosexuals should get what they want because they want it. This is your logic.

    You don't say homosexuality is good and therefore we must advocate it. You don't say homosexuality is healthy and therefore we should embrace it.
    You don't even say that marriage is a good thing, but insist that homosexuals must have it.

    Homosexuals can make vows to God and be "married." Homosexuals can even follow the same laws as the rest of us have to follow in order to marry. But you want to force special laws in order to accomodate those who think forced acceptance is a sign of deep commitment. Again, such a radical demand is a clear sign that "autonomy" as highest good is in play and that naked desire is the logic that dictates.

    What is the logic behind your advocacy of homosexuality and those that practice it? To just claim it's fair and equal is to say nothing at all. There is no logical reason to treat homosexuality fairly and equally to heterosexuality. There is only the moral requirement to refrain from violence against such sexually-oriented individuals. You are pretending that two different natures can be treated equally and nothing will change in those natures. Yet, you know that this desire to equate homosexuality to heterosexuality has created profound changes in our society and many see that it is not for the better.

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  30. Thordaddy-

    I believe that basic freedom is normative and the onus of justification is on those who would limit it. That is the guiding principle of Western democracy.

    A criminal's basic freedom is curtailed because he breaks the Law.

    People who are mentally ill or otherwise of unsound mind are not free to enter into contracts. If judged to be a danger to themselves or others they can also be restrained and lose their freedom.

    An elderly person who loses their eyesight will have their driving permits revoked.

    Until a person reaches an age when they are judged capable of responsible action their freedom is circumscribed.

    If you wish to deny homosexuals the same rights as others the onus is on you to prove why. You must show what the cost to society is. Otherwise you are just scapegoating.

    I don't say homosexuality is good. I say it's morally neutral. There is no relation between a person's sexual preference and their character or ability to abide by the law.
    Just because someone is heterosexual, that doesn't make him moral either.

    The last justification used to discriminate against homosexuals was that homosexuality was a mental disorder.
    Then a battery of tests were carried out on heterosexuals and homosexuals and psychiatrists looked at the results to see if they could tell the sexuality of those tested. They couldn't. In fact, the percentage within each group judged mentally sound was the same.
    The conclusion was that there was no objective basis to consider homosexuals mentally disordered.

    In other words it was prejudice.
    After that, the laws penalizing homosexuals were abrogated.

    The only way that heterosexuality is better for society would seem to be because it produces children.
    If you want to deny marriage to homosexuals because they don't have children, will you also deny an infertile couple the right to marry?
    In fact, in a world that is arguably reaching the limits of sustainable population, not having children could be seen as a good thing.

    Marriage in the end is a contract between two people recognised by law. If the law is changed to allow two same-sex couples that right I don't see how that affects heterosexuals. Personally, I don't feel threatened. I don't care in the least what the religious think either way.

    I can see no logical reason not to treat homosexuality fairly and equally to heterosexuality.

    The burden of proof rests on you. Just because you make a claim, that in itself doesn't constitute proof.

    As the saying goes, put up or shut up.

    Or, you could always drop the pretence of logic and admit yours is a prejudice rooted in emotion.

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  31. apashiol,

    You say,

    I believe that basic freedom is normative and the onus of justification is on those who would limit it. That is the guiding principle of Western democracy.

    Let's be specific. Homosexuals AREN'T limited from getting "married" as you state, but rather, limited on getting formal recognition of their union by the state.

    1. Homosexuals can make vows to God and get married.

    2. Homosexuals can abide by the marriage laws (as is EQUALLY required of all citizens) in order to gain marriage recognition by the state.

    What you want is something entirely different AND not justified by anything other than the reigning principles of modern liberalism, i.e., autonomy and nondiscrimination as highest goods.

    You must admit that the particular "right" that you assert is denied to homosexuals, namely, marriage, is ONLY denied in one manner and not necessary the most important one.

    I repeat:

    Homosexuals can get married (they have that right), but are not sanctioned by the state (the ONLY "right" that you claim is denied).

    The issue then becomes what is the rationalization for recognizing homosexual "marriage" and WHY THERE ISN'T ONE except for the reigning principles of modern liberalism? It's a circular argument.

    Then you say,

    If you wish to deny homosexuals the same rights as others the onus is on you to prove why. You must show what the cost to society is. Otherwise you are just scapegoating.

    Again, we've already shown that you exaggerate the "rights" being denied homosexuals and in fact they very much have the right to marry both in the Church and by the state.

    But you bring up a point about the cost to society. You've already conceded that the advocacy of homosexuality wasn't good or bad which is the same as saying it could have some real costs because it lacks any inherent good.

    And of course no one argues for the goodness of homosexuality outside of the goodness of the gratification it gives to the individual homosexual.

    So NO, the ONUS is not on me to show what costs to society the elevation of homosexuality will have because such costs are implied in your rationalizations for such exaltation. You know you are not promoting something that benefits society as a whole and that is why such a justification is NEVER used when explaining the logic of equalizing homosexuality to heterosexuality.

    Lastly you say,

    I can see no logical reason not to treat homosexuality fairly and equally to heterosexuality.

    The most obvious reason is that the nature of homosexuals and heterosexuals are NOT EQUAL and therefore there is no moral rationale for treating them fairly although this perception CHANGES if one places autonomy and nondiscrimination as their highest goods. But with such principles come the understanding that "progressives" can rationalize ANY behavior no matter how deleterious. The elevation of homosexuality being the prime example.

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  32. Thordaddy-

    The only sensible meaning for rights are those recognised, guaranteed and protected by a secular democracy.

    You say;

    "Let's be specific. Homosexuals AREN'T limited from getting "married" as you state, but rather, limited on getting formal recognition of their union by the state."

    You explicitly state the lack of formal recognition by the state therefore there is no right.

    You say;

    "1. Homosexuals can make vows to God and get married."

    This is irrelevant.

    You say;

    "2. Homosexuals can abide by the marriage laws... ... in order to gain marriage recognition by the state."

    So, they haven't yet gained that recognition.

    You also say;

    "So NO, the ONUS is not on me...."

    Here you just deny that you must provide any justification.



    Sophistry


    noun
    Definition:

    1. flawed method of argumentation: a method of argumentation that seems clever but is actually flawed or dishonest.

    You persist in repeating claims instead of providing any substantial arguments.

    Just because something seems evident to you doesn't mean it is.

    You wouldn't know an argument if it jumped up and bit you.

    Frankly, this is tiresome.

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  33. apashiol,

    So your basic argument goes like this:

    Homosexuals should get what normal people get because they are normal and it's fair and equal?

    And this is proved by homosexuals ACTING like heterosexuals in everyway EXCEPT their homosexuality.

    But of course this is a myopic view of the issue that goes beyond the individual homosexual trying to prove his/her normalness by doing what MOST heterosexuals find NATURAL.

    You are afraid to look at the NATURE of homosexuality for fear that such a truthful glimpse will change your view and instead you remain willfully transfixed by the stories of the media driven homosexuals WHO appear in everyway EXCEPT their homosexuality to be normal. Are these homosexuals really what they appear or representative of homosexuals as a whole?

    If gay "marriage" is so important then why say the vows to God are "irrelevant" and only forced acceptance by the state deemed important? You undermine your argument with such ill-considered remarks.

    When I said that homosexuals can't get "their" union recognised by the state it should have been understood that such recognition is NOT forthcoming to those that don't abide by the institutional rules of marriage. BUT THEY COULD and therefore the LAW APPLIES EQUALLY to all citizens.

    Your notion that homosexuals are denied the "right" to marriage is only TRUE if you are allowed to change the rules and pretend that such rules are retroactive.

    You think you can redefine marriage to mean what it has never meant before and then arrogantly act as if it has always had that meaning.

    Now that is sophistry.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thordaddy-

    While you have employed many logical fallacies, the mainstay of your approach has been the fallacy 'Argumentum ad Nauseam'. You repeat the same thing over and over again.

    You make nebulous accusations such as 'You are afraid to look at the NATURE of homosexuality for fear....'
    I don't even know what that means.

    I will try to be clear on what I actually think.

    For me the proposition of a 'highest good' has no meaning. Philosophers in the past have used it, as I understand, to mean an ultimate end, a goal or purpose.
    There always seems to be a teleological sense to it.

    I see absolutely no evidence that we have been created with a purpose or goal.
    Humans and all life are the result of evolution. There is no 'God'. Humans must create their own meaning.

    Those who believe in a god usually think they know the mind of god. God's purpose for mankind. They then spend their time trying to force everyone else to to serve that purpose. They are just projecting their own disposition unto an imaginary entity in order to give it an authority it wouldn't otherwise possess.

    I believe in the ideals of secular democracy. I believe in individual liberty and equality. Nobody has a god-given right to coerce or otherwise define what the meaning of life should be for anyone else. That doesn't preclude us coming together freely to create something worthy for the good of us all.

    Individual liberty and equality are not ends in themselves, but necessary preconditions from which people can endeavour to discover what is good in life and create their own meaning.

    All people are entitled to the same basic rights. They are not entitled due to belonging to a privileged race, class, gender, sexuality or whatever kind of category can be created to contain them.

    It makes no more sense to speak of the 'nature' of the homosexual than it does to speak of the 'nature' of the black man or the 'nature' of woman.

    All human beings should be judged on their character. Not on any incidental attribute.

    At times I have suspected you were a troll.

    I now think you believe that you are thinking clearly and making coherent arguments.

    It is an object lesson in how mistaken some beliefs can be.

    I wish I could say this has been instructive.

    I can't.

    Trying to unpack your statements and follow your lines of thought has left me dazed and bemused.

    In the event that this was you intention all along, congratulations.

    You have succeeded.

    ReplyDelete
  35. On the subject of marriage, I omitted to give my reasons why it should be open to homosexuals.

    Marriage evolved as a way for men to be sure that the children their wives bore were their own.
    In the absence of paternity tests, this was done by insisting the women remained faithful.
    In our society which didn't allow polygamy, the same was expected of the man.
    Presumably, this was to ensure that his resources supported his family and weren't spread too thinly.

    The fact that there have been men in the past who had concubines, whose children they supported also, could be argument for a de facto polygamy. It doesn't alter the central premise.

    Marriage has changed over time and also come to be felt as good for individuals and society by encouraging commitment and mutual support.
    As such, even for people who cannot or choose not to have children it is still worthwhile.

    If it can be a worthwhile enterprise even for child-less couples, there is no reason why it could not similarly be worthwhile for a same-sex couple.
    This, by the fact it can encourage constancy and responsibility towards one's partner.


    So I don't think it is just because heterosexuals have the right that homosexuals want it.
    They might want it for the benefits that accrue from entering into it.

    You might say ; 'why not just live together as if married? Why do you need legal recognition?'

    Would you question a heterosexual couple who won't have children and say they should just live together in that case?

    Would you say the same to an elderly couple who wanted to marry?

    This is on top of the issue of inheritance of property and finances when one person might die, along with cases of long-term partners denied access to loved ones who have been hospitalized because they aren't considered family.

    So you see. I do believe that marriage can be a good thing for those who believe in it.
    Both for the individuals and for society.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Apashiol, your comment of 10:50 tends to prove Thordaddy's point.

    You argue that there is no naturally existing life purpose or goal; that humans create their own meaning; that society is to be understood in terms of men exercising privilege and power over women; that gender is an incidental attribute; and that it makes no sense to talk about the 'nature' of women.

    There is no way that you can build a successful heterosexual culture on such beliefs.

    Why would men and women stick together in marriage if they really believed such assertions to be true?

    In a heterosexual culture, men and women believe that marriage and family are, in an objective sense, core goods.

    They are not goods simply because I happen to construct them as so at an individual level.

    In a heterosexual culture, men believe that the role they play as fathers and husbands is a necessary one motivated by love and a natural drive to fulfil a masculine office, and not by power and privilege.

    In a heterosexual culture, men and women are drawn to the higher gender attributes of the opposite sex and consider these attributes to be inseparable from individual identity.

    ReplyDelete
  37. apashiol,

    You have no business claiming there is no God. The best you can say is that you have no relationship with God because your god is autonomous. Hence, "autonomy" as highest good. And as the original article made clear, one who practices "autonomy" as highest good is relationship-FREE and has extreme difficulty in finding meaning in the world. Such a person is liable to embrace radical ideologies.

    So what we have learned from you is that you see nothing inherently good in homosexuality nor do you proclaim anything inherently good about the institution of marriage. Yet, you advocate for gay "marriage" which you imply is a good thing. But what becomes obvious is not that gay "marriage" is good, but rather, your adherence to an ideology that requires you to support gay "marriage" is good. The goodness of gay "marriage" is merely in the exercise of your ideological principles.

    This puts ALL traditions in danger of radical manipulation via the first principle of "autonomy" as highest good. It represents nothing more than a will to power.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Mark-

    I can believe that all life is the result of evolution without that affecting how deeply I feel about most of those same things that will be important to you.
    I don't believe I was created by a god, yet my love for my family is so strong as to sometimes almost overwhelm me. To the point where I know that if called upon to, I would give my life to protect them.
    I have a very strong sense of honour and fair-play.
    I will always be there for my friends. They trust me and I always try to act so as to be worthy of that trust.

    Because I can understand how empathy and compassion could have evolved, it doesn't in any way diminish my subjective experience of those emotions.

    For me, all the religions that have ever existed were 'Just So' stories. Human beings have always felt love and lust, anger and fear, as powerfully as we do. In trying to understand why we were the way we found ourselves, we created narratives of beings like us, only much more powerful who made us this way.

    There is a creative power within humans that is awesome. The whole of human history is testament to that. We just projected that creativity outside ourselves. The Greeks might have credited Pallas-Athena with the creation of Justice, Arts and Literature. But it was us all along.

    Bach, Beethoven, Leonardo and Michaelangelo. Every individual artist and inventor through time that has enriched the world. If you had asked them they might have said they were inspired or moved to create by something outside themselves. Artists describe it as something that happens to them or through them.

    I see all cultures as creations of mankind. It's just that the process of creation is open-ended.

    When you say there is no way that you can build a successful heterosexual culture on beliefs such as mine, respectfully, I say you are wrong.

    I'll give you an analogy. When teaching your kids to first cycle their bicycles has it happened that you are pushing them along and they say "Don't let me go!"
    So you wait and then when you see they are in control enough, you let them off by themselves.

    But you don't tell them.

    You let them continue to believe you are holding them. That belief helps them stay steady.
    Then they look around and realise that they are moving under their own power. There is a moment of fear, but mixed in there is also an elation. That sudden realisation that they are riding by themselves.
    They might lose it or wobble a bit but they have passed a threshold. Once they know what they are capable of they're away.

    That is how I see belief in god.

    That belief in a god gave a sense of security to mankind. Realising it's been us all along doesn't guarantee disaster.

    So, just as there are plenty of dead-beat dads and flakes who will believe in some form of god without it impacting their behaviour for the better, not believing that things were ordained to be as they are won't affect fathers and husbands who are motivated by love and duty.

    To say that character and identity are constructed doesn't imply something superficial. It's more like the manner in which your skeleton gets constructed. Once it has been laid down it's that way for life.
    The same goes for the human race. It has taken hundreds of thousands of years to make us who we are. Exchanging a 'Just So' story for one based in scientific understanding isn't necessarily going to change all that.

    That is my personal take on things.

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  39. Thordaddy-

    Now you are just funny.

    You are so entrenched in your beliefs that even when I explicitly state something as in;

    "So you see. I do believe that marriage can be a good thing for those who believe in it.
    Both for the individuals and for society."

    You respond with;

    "....nor do you proclaim anything inherently good about the institution of marriage."


    "But what becomes obvious is not that gay "marriage" is good,.."

    And;

    "The goodness of gay "marriage" is merely in the exercise of your ideological principles."

    Such obtuseness is kind of impressive in it's own way.

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  40. Apashiol, you're running a pretty difficult argument.

    You're trying to fit in three contradictory things. The first is the Darwinian one, in which we are as we are due to random mutations, which confer an evolutionary advantage and so are selected for.

    This is the deterministic, materialistic strand of your thought.

    Then you add on to this a liberal, humanistic, voluntaristic strand of thought which says that humans can construct for themselves what they are according to reason or will or desire. It's not easy to fit this view with the Darwinian deterministic one in which we are the product not of voluntaristic reason but of a blind materialistic process.

    Then you add on the idea that what we take to be goods are just as significant in modernistic as in traditional terms, even though you have previously stated that they are taken to be goods either as a result of random mutation and genetic selection, or else as a construct of our own will.

    Now I suppose it's possible to think of some ingenious way of fitting all this together, but it will struggle to be persuasive.

    Apashiol, a strict materialism is pretty difficult to live by. Not even Dawkins manages to do it.

    According to a strict materialism the music of Bach doesn't mean very much. He wasn't moved by anything mysterious as you imply. He didn't even have free will. He was just matter in motion like anything else, and everything he did could, in theory, have been predicted. His music could not possibly have inspired people to a sense of anything transcendent, as there cannot be in a strict materialism a transcendent. In fact, you have to wonder why in Darwinian terms music even exists, as it doesn't appear to confer a reproductive advantage.

    What I'm briefly trying to suggest to you is that the materialism you take to be scientific doesn't fit our ordinary experience and cannot easily explain it. So I'm not sure why you take it to be so self-evidently true.

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  41. Mark-

    I don't find it hard to see how the ability to evaluate possible options and choose which is most apt to give you the result you desire could be selected for. That kind of flexibility would have obvious survival value. Hence a certain amount of free will.

    Ditto for the ability to inhibit impulses and for that power of veto to be under conscious control. I don't say we can choose what thoughts we have and what emotions we feel. Rather we can choose whether to act on them.

    Nowhere have I said that we can decide what our natures could be and then remake ourselves according to our wills. If I believed that then it would be possible for a homosexual to decide to be heterosexual.

    I have a naturalistic understanding of the world. If even crows can solve problems and make tools then I don't see any problem regarding human creativity.

    I think the problem is your understanding of evolution.

    Because the creative side of us is spontaneous rather than initiated through an act of will it could very well appear transcendent. That, however, would just be an appearance. It is just as marvellous all the same.

    ReplyDelete
  42. apashiol,

    You said,

    So you see. I do believe that marriage can be a good thing for those who believe in it.
    Both for the individuals and for society.


    To which I retorted,

    [N]or do you proclaim anything inherently good about the institution of marriage.

    I don't see the problem. You think marriage is good if the people who are married think it's good. But this speaks nothing to the inherent goodness of institution of marriage.

    So my notion still stands. There is, in your belief system, nothing inherently good about homosexuality or the institution of marriage yet you advocate for the goodness of homosexual "marriage" because homosexuals believe it is good for them and society. The question is thus answered.

    How do you derive goodness from something that has no inherent good?

    Because you can't concede the inherent goodness of the institution of marriage, the "goodness" in homosexual "marriage" must come from an external source, namely, the IDEOLOGY that pushes this radical change.

    Your truth is the ideology of autonomy and nondiscrimination as highest goods. Why are you so afraid to take claim of your first principles?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Mr. Richardson,

    I think the contradiction between evolutionary theory and autonomy is not as important as its synergy with the nondiscrimination aspect of modern liberalism.

    In fact, the contradictory notion of MET and "autonomy" as highest good is instead replaced by the fascinating notion of the inexplicable transcending of evolution itself. Those who claim "autonomy" as highest good are proclaiming their ability to purposely evolve regardless of environment/culture.

    These individuals transcend the playing field while the rest of us are hopelessly stuck in lives of...?

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thordaddy-

    You talk about marriage as if it was discovered out there rather than see it for what it is.
    A Human creation.

    Obviously, marriage can only work for those who believe in it. It's not magic.
    People makes vows to each other. They give their word that they will stay faithful.
    If they aren't the type of people who, once they've given their word, really work hard to make it come true then what force will it have?

    It comes down to are you the type of person who doesn't give you word lightly?

    You said this to me, which shows your naiveté and lack of historical knowledge;

    "You think you can redefine marriage to mean what it has never meant before and then arrogantly act as if it has always had that meaning."

    For most of Western history marriage was arranged by families. The couple had no say and didn't choose to marry for romantic reasons. Marriage functioned to create economic liaisons and ties between families.

    It was in the 12th century that troubadours created the idea of courtly love. These poets sang about how the love for a woman could be ennobling and a force for moral good. If anything the church of the time was against this. Often because the people who practised it had married by arrangement of their families and felt nothing for their partners. It was seen as a threat to marriage.
    It was only as time went by that people started to marry for love, often against the wishes of their families.

    It still took centuries for marriage to evolve into what it is today. The union of two people who love each other, and not an economic arrangement.

    In fact, legally speaking, under the laws of coverture, a woman's rights were subsumed to the rights of her husband once married. This was the law in England and the United States. These laws were relatively recently overturned in the United States. By the original feminists.

    Check this:
    http://womenshistory.about.com/od/laws/g/coverture.htm

    So you see, if you're going to talk about marriage, you have to specify where and when you are talking about.

    So you see, society has been redefining what marriage is for centuries now.

    It is you who "....arrogantly act as if it has always had that meaning."

    Educate yourself man.

    Similarly, when you say to Mark;

    "Those who claim "autonomy" as highest good are proclaiming their ability to purposely evolve regardless of environment/culture."- You display your woeful lack of understanding of exactly what it is to be human.

    It is precisely the fact that humans have purposely changed our environment/culture. That is the defining characteristic of humanity. Why should we stop now?

    If it were down to people like you, we would still be roaming naked in the savannahs of Africa.

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  45. Thordaddy-

    I also notice that you you have vacillated between claiming mine is an ideology of;
    'autonomy as highest good'

    and

    'Your truth is the ideology of autonomy and non-discrimination as highest goods. Why are you so afraid to take claim of your first principles?'

    Let me be clear.

    My only problem is when you say 'ideology of highest good'.

    The definition of ideology is an organised collection of ideas. Not just one idea.

    My ideology is a belief in Individual rights, religious liberty and personal autonomy.
    All of these ideas are complimentary.

    Individual rights are based on the status of being a human being.

    Religious liberty is the freedom to practice whatever religion you choose and crucially the freedom to not practice any religion.

    Personal autonomy implicitly accepts that you can voluntarily give up some autonomy, as in marry someone.

    When you keep banging on about 'autonomy as highest good' you are tilting at windmills. You are fighting an imaginary enemy.

    Hard though it may be for you to fathom, some people are capable of nuance in their thought.

    Insisting that someone is elevating autonomy as the highest good is your assertion. As such you distort someone's position and then argue against it.

    This is a Straw Man Argument and as such a logical fallacy.

    One thing that is conspicuous by it's absence is a proposal by you of an alternative vision.

    What would you like to see?

    A Fascist dictatorship?

    A Theocracy?

    Would you like to see all homosexuals driven into the sea?

    What? What are you actually for?

    ReplyDelete
  46. apashiol,

    I am for homosexuals following the same rules as the rest of us (equal individual rights).

    I also accept the idea that some churches may allow homosexuals to exchange vows and purport to create a union with God (freedom of religion and autonomy).

    I also accept that the fundamental man/woman union in marriage IS NOT malleable (rock solid tradition). And it is upon those that claim such malleability to show where in the history of marriage has its essence every been changed in this regard until now?

    The first two are UNDENIABLE TRUTHS. The last one is what you believe can not only be debated, but radically changed.

    The question becomes by what thought process do you think this rock solid tradition of the man/woman union being the bedrock of marriage can be CHANGED?

    By what moral, scientific or legal argument can you claim that a he/he or she/she union should be treated equally and then fairly to that of a man/woman union? What is your logic outside the liberal paradigm?

    The man/woman union HAS NO EQUAL and therefore such is self-evidently NOT the SAME as a he/he or she/she union. With this acknowledged truth you must then justify why we are to act as though they are the same and treat such accordingly? Why would we treat the fundamental human ingredients in marriage (man/woman union) as though they could be modified and not change the entire flavor of the recipe?

    Your justification is one of simple LIBERAL assertion. You claim man and woman to be fundamentally the same ingredient. Voila, marriage can accept same-sex unions and NOTHING will change.

    Which makes me wonder why you are so adamant about pushing for homosexual "marriage" in the first place since nothing will really change?

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thordaddy-

    If the basis of your objection is the man /woman idea then you can find same-sex marriages in Africa, among the indigenous North Americans and the Chinese.

    Obviously these arrangements had nothing to do with the Liberal paradigm.

    See here for examples

    When it comes down to it, the marriage homosexuals want is more like the customary marriages in their own countries than those to be found among African peoples.

    Perhaps confronted with this you will insist upon what was traditional for your society.
    All I can say to that is tradition is custom.
    Customs change. All traditions had to start sometime.

    If homosexuals want to have legal recognition from the state for their unions it will depend upon the particular constitutions of their nation. Are those constitutions set up to protect and uphold one particular tradition or do they allow for a plurality of traditions?

    If the constitution allows for a plurality of traditions, then it becomes difficult to argue for the privileging of one tradition over the rest.
    It then becomes a matter of showing how state recognition of what would essentially be a new tradition could undermine the basic principles upon which that nation is founded.

    If this can't be shown then it seems the only alternative is to live and let live. Tolerance.

    If it does happen and you find it unbearable, you could always create your own community, perhaps along the lines of the Pennsylvania Dutch people who organize their communities around their traditions while still falling under the umbrella of the United States.

    I don't think however that such drastic measures would be warranted. If the tradition is attractive and viable it will survive. Heterosexual monogamous marriage strikes me as one such tradition.

    As to your question why I am so adamant about pushing for homosexual marriage, it's more that I do not see any reason why I should fight against the changes.
    I don't feel threatened by the proposed changes. I suppose on this matter tradition isn't important for me.

    The man/woman union is the obvious option for heterosexual men and women.

    Allowing homosexual men and women to create their own alternative seems perfectly compatible with pluralistic democratic principles to me.

    ReplyDelete
  48. apashiol,

    You say,

    As to your question why I am so adamant about pushing for homosexual marriage, it's more that I do not see any reason why I should fight against the changes.
    I don't feel threatened by the proposed changes. I suppose on this matter tradition isn't important for me.


    And that's the entire debate. You care not for one of the bedrock traditions of our civilization and hence neither do you care for the institution that perpetuates it and so you care not whether it is abolished.

    The question that arises is WHAT TRADITION is safe from your indifference? Seemingly no tradition is safe if the most legitimate and established tradition can be overturned through sheer force? Forces that are, at least in America, nondemocratic and tyrannical.

    And so it is not a stretch to see those that preach "autonomy" and nondiscrimination as highest goods as those who will suppress the freedoms that give the rest of us meaning in life.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thordaddy-

    Ultimately, it comes down to my realisation that heterosexual monogamy as evolved for good reason.

    It's not something really fragile but a system that arose because it did what was required of it and did it very well.
    There were certain aspects of the institution that were unfair to women, such as the loss of rights that happened when women married. Personally I feel that most of those inequalities have been dealt with.

    When you say;

    "Seemingly no tradition is safe if the most legitimate and established tradition can be overturned through sheer force?"

    Frankly, you're being somewhat hysterical now.
    The proposal is to extend an existing right, not abolish it.

    Homosexuals are basically saying;

    'Hey, we also think it's a good thing to find one person and make a commitment to them, and we want to be able to do that too!
    That is actually confirmation of the worth of the basic idea of marriage.

    Do you applaud their wish for stability and responsibility?

    No! Instead you indulge paranoid fantasies.

    You talk as if heterosexual marriage is like Tinkerbelle in 'Peter Pan'.
    If people stop saying 'I believe! I believe! I believe!' it is going to just fade away.

    You ask what tradition is safe from my indifference?

    The tradition of pluralistic democracy.

    I understand that the greatest danger in a democracy is what has been described as the 'Tyranny of the Majority'.

    You are a perfect example of that.

    You are part of that majority, heterosexuals. and in order to deny a right to a minority you try to whip up irrational fear and moral panic.

    This is obvious from your poor grasp of logic.

    I've taken the time to actually see if there is any empirical basis for your fears.

    One study from Scandinavia shows "....that, 15 years after Denmark had granted same-sex couples the rights of marriage, rates of heterosexual marriage in those countries had gone up, and rates of heterosexual divorce had gone down - contradicting the concept that same-sex marriage would have a negative effect on traditional marriage."

    Figures for Massachusetts show "In the first two years of same-sex marriage in the Bay State, the rate of divorce showed a steady decline making it likely that Massachusetts will continue to have the lowest divorce rate in the nation."

    "Among those U.S. states that are most opposed to same-sex marriage which have also provided divorce data for the time period — Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Texas — the average divorce rate (unadjusted for population changes) for 2004 and 2005 increased 1.75%. This group contains 4 of the 5 states with the highest divorce rate increases in the U.S. during 2004 and the first 11 months of 2005."

    If the states that are most opposed to same-sex marriage show increases in divorce rates, you can't blame that on homosexuals.

    If the states that are most tolerant to same-sex marriage also have the lowest divorce rates, I would counter that it is that tolerance that helps them make their marriages work.

    Vice versa, those states least tolerant to change have worse divorce rates because that intolerance in their characters it more difficult for them to make their marriages work.

    After all marriage entails the ability to give and take. Tolerance.

    My interpretation of the data is more logically consistent.

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  50. apashiol,

    I give you an A for effort.

    I would surmise that the divorce rate decline in liberal states has more to do with less marriage than same-sex marriage.

    Your argument for the stability and committment gay "marriage" would provide would be welcomed if that was the actual argument that homosexual advocates made, but it isn't.

    Instead, the argument goes something like this:

    "We want IT and it is only fair and equal for us to get it!."

    Then it follows:

    "And by the way, that institution of marriage is mighty bigoted and discriminatory, but we want in the club too. As for the other unions, that's just slippery-slope logical fallacies.

    So you see the homosexual's dilemma? They, like you, want something that is of no real value to themselves. Marriage and homosexuality are antithetical, but your ideology doesn't allow such limitation.

    And only now, 49 comments in, do you reluctantly acknowledge something significant and UNEQUAL in the man/woman union. But how could something so obvious escape your notice?

    And don't you think when you decide to radically change or perhaps abolish a unique and UNEQUALED tradition, you are required to have the intellectual responsibility to acknowledge the possible repercussions of such a change even though you stand indifferent?

    Will gay "marriage" enhance the institution of marriage? If so, how?

    If not, then gay "marriage" is glorified self-gratification.

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  51. Thordaddy-

    Basically, you continue to make assertions with absolutely no evidence.

    You come off as if you have some power to see into the future.

    If someone can't make their marriage work then perhaps they should try looking to themselves.
    You know, take some responsibility for their own lives. Not look for scapegoats for their failure.

    The impression I get from all your comments is that you're also the type who would come down on homosexuals for being promiscuous and unable to settle for being with one person.

    In other word, whichever way they turn they just can't win.

    You are impervious to logic. Any time a logical fallacy is pointed out to you, you never acknowledge any fault in your reasoning.
    You just continue to trot them out over and over.

    You can rant and rave all you like, the world is moving on.

    Suck it up.

    ReplyDelete

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