The liberal mind and the leftist mind

Here’s a long rant on liberalism and Leftism, considered as two clusters of traits that I don’t like.  This post is a mess.  After taking it down a few days ago in the hopes of cleaning it up and shortening it, I realize I’m just not going to have the time to do that, so here it is again, nearly unmodified.

First, definitions.

  • The liberal mind is rationalist.  Its characteristic attitude toward nonliberals is contempt.  It considers society a machine for the maximization and equalization of personal preference satisfaction (autonomy) and considers itself, by virtue of its freedom from “prejudice” and “superstition”, the perfect operator for this machine.  It is irreverent, regarding flippancy in matters of religion and group identity a sign of high intelligence and freedom from “prejudice”.  The outrage this provokes among those with more pious sensibilities is taken as proof that these others are guided by emotion rather than reason.  Because the liberal’s beliefs are so self-evidently co-extensive with rationality itself, because they express in themselves the most perfect open-mindedness, he sees no need to understand anything about rival belief systems or nonliberal cultures.  These, after all, could only be “hate” or “ignorance”.  He does not consider that liberalism is one creed among many, even if the only true one.  Other creeds he reinterprets as personal preferences, as idiosyncratic personality accessories.  The liberal affirms their right to exist as such, demanding only that they make no public normative statements which would constrict others’ lifestyles.  You can hold any beliefs you want; you just aren’t allowed to actually believe them.
  • The Leftist mind is passionate.  Its characteristic attitude toward non-Leftists is outrage.  It sees anger as meritorious, as a sign of moral authenticity.  It always divides the world into oppressor and oppressed.  On any public question, its only concern is to identify which party is which.  The oppressed must be defended.  The oppressor must be crushed; he has no legitimate interests.  While the liberal holds that mockery is a virtuous act–at least when aimed at religion, tradition, or lower-class whites–the Leftist holds that certain classes of people may not be legitimately criticized at all.  Criticism is itself a form of oppression when the target belongs to an oppressed class, and it is liberating when directed at oppressors.  In neither case does the truth or fairness of the criticism matter.

Why divide the two attitudes, when they are so often combined in the same soul?  First, because they are very different intellectual styles, and they lead to very different rules of discourse.  For example, outbursts of indignation are a sign of thin-skinned stupidity in one set of rules but a sign of refined moral seriousness in the other.  One says that nothing is sacred, and that hurt feelings are irrelevant where issues of truth are concerned.  The other insists that we abase ourselves before the Other, that truth is a scam of the ruling class, and that redressing feelings of exclusion is the ultimate imperative.  Second, we do see the two attitudes, apparently so different and incompatible, coexisting in many of the same people. Certainly, we see that some members of the Left-liberal coalition lean more heavily toward one pole than the other.  The New Atheists, whose modus operandi is mockery and deliberate mischaracterization, clearly lean toward the liberal end.  Liberation theologians and postmodernist literature professors, with their logic-scorning “structures of oppression” obsessions, are clearly more Leftist.  Among Democratic client groups, irony-craving gay men and upper-class whites belong to the liberal wing, while angry lesbians and blacks belong to the Leftist wing.

If it were just a case of two groups with incompatible beliefs working together toward some limited objective, there would be nothing remarkable about this.  Neither side would be caught in any sort of contradiction.  However, we have all seen many times the same person utilizing both modes of thought.  How do they deal with the contradictions?  Since most of the high-intelligence members of society are committed Leftists, one would think they would put a lot of work into reformulating the two sets of claims so that they at least appear to be consistent.  Certainly there are Left-liberal political philosophers who try to reconcile the whole movement into a coherent body of thought, but most educated Left-liberals don’t seem to feel the need for these philosophers’ services, and they happily go along condemning conservatives on flatly contradictory general principles.

Apparently, these two conflicting modes of thought are able to serve each other, and they actually serve each other better when they are allowed to remain contradictory.  One would think contradictions would be a major weakness when debating opponents, but in fact it can be a great strength when–as in this case–the contradictory beliefs are tied to contradictory rules of discourse.  For example, suppose a Left-liberal and a conservative are debating gay marriage.  The Left-liberal can attack complementarian marriage on liberal grounds (mocking the sacramental understanding of marriage as “superstition”, making libertarian or utilitarian “who could it hurt?” arguments, accusing opponents of “ignorance”) or on Leftist grounds (calling heteronormativity “oppressive”, establishing sodomites as a victim group, accusing opponents of “hate”).  The conservative can himself respond either calmly or emotionally.  He may think that a carefully-reasoned argument on the importance of gender roles or the telos of sex will serve best.  In this case, his opponent can adopt a Leftist frame and accusing him of caring only about “abstract rules” and “institutions” instead of “real people” and say that he would not see things so calmly if it was him or his loved ones who were being “oppressed”.  However, the conservative had better not think that he can gain credibility with an emotional outburst of his own, accusing his opponent of trying to promote perversion, corrupt his children, and persecute his religion (accusations that would all be true, by the way).  Then the Left-liberal can adopt a liberal frame, roll his eyes about how agitated Christians get when people question the commands of their “angry sky god” and lecture the audience on the history of the “paranoid style in American politics”.  Having contradictory beliefs means that the Left can always switch the rules of the debate in whichever way serves it best at the moment.  There is always some reason–either liberal or Leftist–why a conservative’s arguments can be dismissed out of hand.

Aside from practical issues, liberalism and Leftism need each other–or at least, each needs something like the other–because each is incomplete on its own.  Liberalism–public nihilism in service of private autonomy–is contradictory, even self-contradictory, when taken at face value.  Consider the ravings of Left-liberal hack writer Wendell Berry.  Here’s a summary of the argument:

  1. Condemnation of a category of people is evil.  It is the most noxious form of hatred.
  2. The class of people who are active homosexuals is a category of people.
  3. Disapproval (or even disagreement with granting official approval) of a behavior constitutes condemnation.
  4. Conservative Christians disapprove of gay marriage.  Therefore…
  5. Conservative Christians are behaving wickedly and are basically the same as all the villains in liberalism’s version of history.

Seriously, that’s it.  Now, on it’s face, this is an absurd bit of reasoning, because it is obviously self-refuting.  Berry himself just condemned a group of people based on their behavior.  The point is so obvious, I don’t want to waste time on it.  The thing that I do wonder is how a member of the cognitive elite could go around making an argument and not notice that it’s self-refuting.  In fact, this is a common argument among progressive (meaning, for the most part, cognitive elite) Christians.  This isn’t even a particularly egregious example.  Most liberal claims are self-refuting–the claim that liberalism should be publicly established to prevent any belief system from forcing itself on people, to mention just one other.

Abstractly, liberalism is certainly self-refuting.  However, that can’t be the whole story, since many people are able to independently reason from liberalism to the same set of conclusions.  From contradictory premises, one should be able to reach any conclusion, so something else must be going on.  What happens is that people don’t apply liberalism abstractly.  They only apply it within the narrative of Leftism, and it is the narrative that tells liberals how to apply their beliefs.  To make Berry’s reasoning work and not self-refute, we must supply the missing, Leftist, qualifications.  First, homosexuals are an oppressed group; therefore, liberalism’s open-ended personal-autonomy imperative applies to them with full force.  Second, conservative Christians are an oppressor group.  The fact that they have less private wealth, education, and public clout than homosexuals doesn’t change this; these are just other signs of conservative Christians’ intrinsic inferiority.  Therefore, applying autonomy guarantees (e.g. to not have to violate their consciences to keep their jobs, or to not have their children taught a hostile ideology) and freedom from group condemnation would be inappropriate.  Once we work within Berry’s Manichean mental universe, everything makes sense.  The man is still a bully and an ignoramus, but there is nothing inexplicable about his reasoning.

Demanding that everyone approve of sodomy is a rather recent Left-liberal innovation, but earlier liberal victories, so complete that they are now uncontroversial, are no different.  For example, no one in public life would dispute the conclusion of Brown vs the Board of Education that it is unjust to have separate public schools for whites and blacks.  Since then, the principle has expanded, so that it is now universally regarded as wrong for whites (but only whites) to set aside any space, even purely private, for themselves.  Since we were children, we’ve heard that segregation is an egregious evil, so that the principle is taken to be obvious, even though the reasons given–e.g. “separate is inherently unequal”–are obviously absurd.  How would a visitor from Mars, knowing nothing of our culture, respond to the idea of putting children of different races in different schools?  He might think it pointless and silly, but a sin crying out to heaven?  In fact, when told that the different races formed distinct subcultures, the Martian would probably think the arrangement natural.  After all, how surprised would you be to hear that two tribes on the other side of the world living in close proximity educate their children separately?  I realize that most of my readers are outraged by what I’ve just written, and I know what your objections are.  First, segregation was unfair because the black schools weren’t as good as the white schools.  True, and this was indeed in many cases unjust, but both the Supreme Court then and public consensus today reject the idea that equally provisioned but still separate schools would be acceptable.  It is they who insist that segregation in itself is unjust; if so, we should be able to establish its immorality in isolation from any other injustice.  For the same reason, one cannot invoke the Leftist narrative, in this case the “shameful history” of white oppression of negroes.  The liberal principle involved claims to be an abstract truth of moral reasoning (“separate is inherently unequal”); if so, one should be able to justify it without a history lesson.  Will you say that I wouldn’t talk this way if I were a disadvantaged black child?  Probably I wouldn’t, but why should that perspective be privileged over the non-elite southern white perspective, according to which segregation was okay?  We need an abstract principle, such as liberalism claims to provide; it must be something accessible to all reasonable parties and not depend on inhabiting the perspective of any one of them.  Lastly, you will protest that I was dishonest in ascribing a respectable-sounding motive to white southerners–preservation of their ethnic subculture–when what really motivated them was naked, unprovoked hatred of blacks.  Now we come to it, the real rationale:  demonization of the white race.  If you heard that the aforementioned hypothetical tribe on the other side of the world educated their children separately and taught them to revere only their own ancestors, if it forbade its women to marry out of the tribe, and if it forbade foreigners from settling inside its own territory, you wouldn’t have any trouble understanding that these are cultural adaptations serving to preserve the tribe.  But when whites do exactly the same things, you feel certain that an entirely different, purely malevolent, motive must be at work.  The point here is not that school segregation was a good idea–due to its potential for abuse, it probably wasn’t–but that conflicting liberal and Leftist modes of reasoning are combined to justify the civil rights/multiculturalism regime.  The ultimate rationale–the desire to socially obliterate the white race–is Leftist, but liberalism is needed to provide a veneer of disinterested moral principle.

A final example from today’s universally accepted moral principles.  An employer decides that, because it is a man’s job to provide for his family, he will pay his married male employees more than his female employees.  Quite noble of him, isn’t it, to voluntarily pay above the market wage so that his employees with special familial duties can meet those duties?  “Of course not”, you’ll say.  What that man is doing is the most evil thing ever:  there should be “equal pay for equal work” (unless the female employees need to spend more time with the kids, in which case there should be equal pay for any work).  But how do we justify this principle of “equal pay”?  Why not “to each according to his needs”?  The justification, of course, is the Leftist narrative.  Men are an oppressor class, women an oppressed class.  Therefore, a man who slaves away 13 hours per day in an office in a job he hates in order to provide for the family he loves is actually a sinister oppressor, a part of the patriarchal conspiracy that allows him, but not his wife, to “actualize himself” by having a career.  And the employer?  Leftists will insist that I lied when I said that he might have high-minded reasons for paying men more; in the real world, men do that because they hate women.  Here again we see a characteristic feature of the Leftist mind:  The reason an act is supposed to be immoral is because it is motivated by hatred, and if one points out a benevolent motive for the act–even an obvious one, even one that the actors themselves give–the Leftist will deny that people really act for that other motive.  Leftists are entirely confident in their ability to know the underlying wicked motives of every white, heterosexual gentile man on Earth.

That Leftism needs liberalism is less clear.  In fact, it is not quite true.  One can view the world from an oppressor-oppressed viewpoint without subscribing to the goal of private autonomy by public nihilism.  As an example, I remember reading some years ago that the television news network Al Jazeera colors its reporting quite strongly with an oppressor-oppressed lens.  Although clearly Leftist, Al Jazeera cannot offend Muslim sensibilities too strongly, so it cannot be liberal without qualification.  One might ask whether this is really a case of Leftism at all, or if it is just Muslims feeling sorry for themselves.  After all, it is perfectly natural at all times and places for a group of people–whether defined by race, culture, or religion–to be interested in the past and current sufferings of their own kind.  Doesn’t the Babylonian exile figure more largely in the Jewish imagination than the conquest of Canaan?  Certainly.  Didn’t the memory of the Roman martyrs remain central to the Christian imagination long after Constantine?  Indeed, it did, but there is a clear difference between things like this and Leftism, even Leftism applied to one’s own putative victimhood.  Traditionally, cultures have liked to remember times of hardship so that they could be inspired either by the courage of their ancestors (clearer and more beautiful in defeat than in victory) or the evidence of divine providence (also somehow more visible when preserving us from absolute ruin than when delivering us glory).  The focus is on the holiness of the martyrs (and, thus, the power of grace) rather than on the cruelty of the Romans.  In fact, it is a point of some martyr stories how inflexible the saint was in resisting idolatry, indicating that the Romans really weren’t hoping to kill a lot of people.  Leftist stories of oppression aren’t like this.  The focus is not on the heroism of the sufferer but on the wickedness of the oppressor–his past cruelty and his current guilt.  This is how we tell apart the Leftist Muslims from the merely ethnocentric ones:  their pride is in the wickedness of the Christians and the Jews, not in their own steadfastness.

So Leftism doesn’t need liberalism, but it does need something else.  Suppose one took the Leftist perspective in isolation.  One would see the world as a ceaseless saga of groups oppressing each other or being oppressed.  There would be no universal principle above the groups to say who is right, or what sort of arrangement between groups would not be oppressive.  Life would be a tragedy, with the cycle of oppression destined to continue until the extinction of humanity.  Each man would stand with his own tribe out of personal loyalty and would fight to make sure his group became an oppressor rather than an oppressed.  While fighting the warriors of other groups, he could yet respect his enemies and realize that they too are following the same imperative and that they too are caught in the same cycle.  This would be a much more humane and broad-minded worldview than Leftism as we know it.  Leftism as we know it is unique in its complete inability to empathize with its enemies.  It needs some sort of moral principle to justify such overbearing self-righteousness.  This principle must be something to which enemy groups will be unable to appeal when defending themselves from Leftist attacks.  This can be ensured if the principle is something entirely individualistic, so that groups have no right to preserve themselves.  Applied consistently, such a principle would also condemn oppressed groups, but there is no intention of applying it consistently, so that’s not a problem.  Now, there are two great individualist ideologies in the Occidental world today: liberalism and Islam.

In the end, liberalism and leftism produce extreme forms of the vices they claim to eliminate.  Liberalism gives us complete closed-mindedness:  atheism without free thought, dogmatism without piety, thoughtless condemnation of all other peoples and eras without any corresponding loyalty toward one’s own kind.  Leftism creates a rigid caste hierarchy:  self-righteous, self-pitying “oppressed” groups at the top with no sense of duty toward those beneath them, and powerless, demonized “oppressor” groups at the bottom who may not defend even their most basic interests.

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135 thoughts on “The liberal mind and the leftist mind

  1. In the end, liberalism and leftism produce extreme forms of the vices they claim to eliminate. Liberalism gives us complete closed-mindedness: atheism without free thought, dogmatism without piety, thoughtless condemnation of all other peoples and eras without any corresponding loyalty toward one’s own kind. Leftism creates a rigid caste hierarchy: self-righteous, self-pitying “oppressed” groups at the top with no sense of duty toward those beneath them, and powerless, demonized “oppressor” groups at the bottom who may not defend even their most basic interests.

    A most excellent summary of the ironic and total failure of modernism.

    I would quote this to every liberal I know if it wouldn’t result in me being exiled into a jungle.

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  3. Well, I don’t think it was a mess to read, and I’m grateful to have read it. I’m only left wondering whether there is a part two. You had me sitting on the edge of my seat when you mentioned in the closing paragraph that “Leftism doesn’t need liberalism, but it does need something else..some sort of moral principle to justify such overbearing self-righteousness…” as I could anticipate the great cadence imminently approaching, when it would be revealed what that “something else” is that Leftism needs, but…it seems like you left things hanging there. Maybe I am to actually do some work myself and figure out more of what that “principle” is myself from the clues you’ve given? Of course you did indicate that it might not be complete.

    Could you give a hint, or is there actually a part two coming?

      • Maybe so, but I don’t think that’s what bonald was getting at near the end. Or why does he say “So Leftism doesn’t need liberalism, but it does need something else”?

    • Leftism must be complemented by some individualistic universalist moral creed. Any will do. The two I mentioned in my post are liberalism and Islam. Buddhism would be a third.

      • I find it odd, and intriguing, that you would include Buddhism as an “individualistic universalist moral creed.” As an Orthodox Buddhist, I lurk in a number of conservative Catholic and Orthodox Christian blogs because they are largely the only places to find rational conversation about ethics and politics. I’ve always believed that the Western idea of Natural Law closely parallels the Buddhist doctrine of Dharma, the objective, eternal Norm or ordering principle of reality. And, to be honest, I’m rather horrified to find myself grouped with liberalism and Islam, the two great destroyers of integral, traditional civilizations.

      • Hello Nilakantha,

        You no doubt know a lot more about Buddhism than I do. If you say it supports authoritative moral communities, I’ll believe you. (I would also be interested in learning more if you have some quick reading to recommend to me.) That liberalism is individualistic will be obvious to everyone here. The case of Islam is less obvious; I recommend the article I linked on the subject.

      • Buddhism is a version of liberalism that arose 2500 years ago. The Buddha urged young men to give up their responsibilities to society and family in order to renounce the world, meditate under a tree and become beggar-monks, because he said the path to bliss and liberation lay there. Not very different from the modern idea that young people ought to do whatever made them happy, give up on their traditions and be radical individualists. Buddhism was also accused at various points by competing philosophies to be essentially nihilist at its core, just like Liberalism. It got beaten down by Confucianism/neoconfucianism in China, and by Brahminical Hinduism in India – both of which were very conservative philosophies.
        Over the years institutionalized Buddhism acquired conservative characteristics in the countries it spread to. But the core remains liberal.

      • I follow now. I think I found it difficult to understand because Islam does not immediately strike me as a radically individualistic creed, probably because some of the first images that come to mind when I think of Islam have countless men kneeling in perfect unison in corporate prayer.

        Will read the link you provided.

      • Leaving the world in order to become a monk is, I would think, the opposite of liberalism. You give up your own will in order to live according to the Rule. Your entire external life is ordered by someone else, so that you have the time to conform the inner life to the transcendent reality. In this way, a person can become a conduit of the holy, can function as a living embodiment of the truth, calling the world to repentance. I don’t see how this is equivalent to dropping out and living according to your whims.

      • You need to place Buddhism in its historical context within Indian society to understand its liberal origins. It was born out of a group of ascetic movements that existed in ancient India, which ranged from extreme self mortification to extreme hedonism. The only things they shared in common was rejection of the duties of the householder, following social mores and rearing the next generation. Several of those ascetic orders died out, some survived. Buddhism was the most prominent since it got a great boost from Ashoka, an emperor of India.

        The early reaction against Buddhism in India was not because of its doctrines, but because the wider society panicked at having its young men drop out of society in droves to don the ochre robe. Over the centuries, as Buddhism became institutionalized, conservative elements appeared in it, and the criticism began to be more about its core nihilism and atheism.

        Reading Hindu texts like the Bhagavad Gita and the Manu Smriti (which were probably written for the explicit reactionary purpose of counteracting the attractiveness of Buddhist liberalism) allows you to see the interplay of these philosophical ideas in the early centuries of the 1st millennium AD. The conservatives of that time emphasized duty over rights, society over the individual, biological inherentism over unlimited human potential, tradition over progress, just as most conservatives do today (at least European conservatives, not American Republicans).

    • I prefer to look at Buddhism in its metaphysical context. As Plato tells us in the Theaetetus 176e, “My friend, there are two patterns set up in reality. One is divine and supremely happy; the other has nothing of God in it, and is the pattern of the deepest unhappiness.” When an individual or society no longer models itself on the former, it is in need of reform. The Brahmins of the Lord Śākyamuni’s time had turned religion, the uniting of the world of eternal truths with the world of change, into a mercantile relationship between patron and priest, priest and God. Buddha taught that divine justice was not venal, i.e. could not be bought off by sacrifice or other offerings; and that the true Brahmin was the one who had renounced evil and conformed himself to the transcendent Good. For only the pure man is a true priest, as Plato tells us in Phaedo 67b “it is not permitted to the impure to attain the pure.” I will again assert that by conforming your life to the demands of the eternal you are not engaged in a liberal exercise in which the individual whims are to become the guide of life, as St. Paul tells us, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

      • Peace be with you all brethren,

        There is an excellent e-book you can download called: “Common Ground between Islam and Buddhism”. . . and also the e-book: ” A Common Word between us and you” w.r.t. the Christian-Muslim dialogue.

        For those of you who are “new” to Islam you must know that much of the social “Islamic” phenomena we witness today are manifestations of deviant teachings rooted in radical Saudi-Wahhabi beliefs which denigrates the orthodox Ahl Sunnah wal Jamaah creed (such as represented by the “common ground ” essay above), and holds a strong disdain for the tradition of the saints (wilayah). The sad thing about this is that providence has given them tons of black oil money with which to spread their chauvinistic ideas – particularly among poor rural folks – which also gives them real political clout among western nations.

        The other causal factor for the “Islamic” phenomena today is rooted in the liberal and modernist movement which aims to secularize the religion. Your present article discerns the “stuff” of these “muslim” progenitors of islamic reformation.

        Here in Malaysia the official position is that of the classical middle-way (wasatiyah) understanding and practice of Islam, which is being constantly harassed by those twin “wayward” forces even as the nation moves ahead with its modernization programs and is respected by most of the Islamic countries worldwide. You can download the seminal book by Prof Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas entitled: “Islam and Secularism”, or watch the many YOUTUBE presentations of Yusuf Hamza Hanson to judge things for yourself . . .

  4. Also couldn’t help noticing the accusation that leftists employ “deliberate mischaracterization” while you do exactly that to Berry’s argument.

    • I’m inclined to agree with onecertain. I don’t think Bonald’s summary of Berry’s argument is accurate, and it’s missing a great deal of context.

      Here is a link to the video of Berry’s speech:

      I haven’t done a detailed analysis of the argument, but it appears (on first hearing at least) to be a lot more subtle than Bonald lets on.

      It might disqualify me as an ortho, but I still hold Wendell Berry in high regard. Unless I’ve misunderstood him, his position on gay marriage is very similar to the one I’ve taken on my own blog.

      • FYI, if you want to skip past his interlocutor’s opening speech, Berry’s statement begins at around the 28 minute mark.

      • Right. What kind of “context” could make the quotes in the article I link any less loathsome?

      • That was embarrassing to watch Wendell Berry try and justify homosexual “marriage.”

        Anyone who asserts the existence of “gay marriage” is, by definition, a radical liberal.

        How exactly do self-annihilators form marriage unions?

    • The only rational and moral life that a homosexual can live is one of chaste celibacy. Being homosexual myself, I adopted such a life in 1994. I’ve always been able to ignore the incomprehension and whispers of “self-hating gay” from my nonreligious contemporaries; what I have a much harder time understanding is how traditional religious believers can counsel me and others in my position that we should continue in a depraved and sub-human form of life in this world and face certain damnation in the next.

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  6. How exactly do self-annihilators form marriage unions?

    Against your opposition, I guess.

    In other words, they have a relationship they would like to make more stable, permanent, and legal, and recognized, while you want to “annihilate” it.

    • Interesting that one the one hand, a self-professed homosexual should recognize that the only “rational and moral” choice he has regarding his deviancy is to live chastely and celibately; while the presumably heterosexual leftist/liberal is in favor of same-sex pseudo-marriage.

      The latter’s position follows from a complete rejection of every societal norm and the rejection of the once-commonplace understanding that the purpose of marriage is, after glorifying God, to create and raise the next generation. It ignores the facts that families are the core of society, and that no matter how they burlesque, homosexual couplings can never create a family.

    • Onecertain, you’re going to have to use a different word than “marriage.” Use the word Buddhists use. Or Muslims. Or Japanese. Or make up some new gay word. Mater (mother) -monium (condition of), matermonium; matrimony; marriage; belongs to the living. Shall mortrumonium suffice?

      Ha! Unholy Mortumony!

      • For the most part, I haven’t found the postings on this topic to be uncharitable.The few that were uncharitable were those that condoned a form of life guaranteed to damn me and many others. In a case of obvious sexual sin, charity consists of warning the sinner about the results of his sinful acts and a call for him to repent. The most charitable thing I’ve ever read concerning my own predilection to homosexuality was Master Hsüan Hua: Regardless of whether you are male or female, you must remember not to practice homosexual behavior. Neither monastics nor laity can engage in these acts. If so, you will definitely enter the hells in the future. Regardless of how much education or status you may have, engaging in homosexual behavior is intolerable to the world. Why? It is because you have flouted the natural order of creation, the laws of yin and yang, the norm. Regardless of who it is, you must change quickly. If you do not change, you will fall into the hells.

      • onecertain,

        Do you have “data” on homosexuals that form “stable pair-bonds?”

        Does this even make sense?

        And do you have the “data” that this “stable pair-bond[ing]” is due to one’s homosexual “nature?”

        That doesn’t seem to be coherent either?

        A homosexual is a male with a sexual aversion to the female. This sexual aversion has a logical consequence. It is SELF-annihilating. As in, the REAL homosexual DECIDES to be the last link in his chain of life that literally extends to the beginning.

        Think of that for a second.

        Virtually the entire universe unraveled to bring you into existence AND YOU CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE to be THE LAST LINK.

        What do we call this type of psychology?

        And why do you think you can smother it in “happiness” and think none of us can see the turd underneath the icing?

        To “preach” this is evil and criminal.

        To “preach” that consciously seeking to be the last link IS the essence of “happiness” is vile and nauseating.

        No one would choose to be homosexual so no one could claim to be “happy” because of their homosexuality and be telling the truth.

        Is that the law of noncontradiction or what?

        Remember, this is not about the self-annihilators and their self-annihilating ways BUT that the self-annihilators “preach, teach and screech” their self-annihilating ways to the masses starting with MY CHILDREN as targets!!!

      • Mr. Certain opined that Catholic priests are self-annihilating because they are celibate in the wake of Thor Daddy’s assertion that homosexuality is self-annihilating.

        Surely even an ideologue like Mr. Certain can see the difference between celibacy, the state that God commands us to be in outside of wedlock, and fornication, which is sex outside of marriage. Also, the roles that each play in society are fundamentally different: a priest serves God and his fellow man, and in so doing helps to sustain society, while the majority of homosexuals are engaged in anti-social activities and, in our time, often seek to destroy the very society they are ostensibly a part of.

        You seem to be mostly just raving, so I think we are done talking.

        Kindly act like an adult, Mr. Certain. While your arrogant waving away of dissenting points of view and pejoration of those who express them might fly in most of the blogosphere, it is not acceptable behavior here.

      • My apologies for the poor wording. It should have been,

        “In the wake of Thor Daddy’s assertion that homosexuality is self-annihilating, Mr. Certain opined that Catholic priests are self-annihilating because they are celibate.”

      • @onecertain: I didn’t insult you; I merely stated a rather apparent truth: you are simply incapable of participating in rational conversation, or at least you work hard at appearing so. If you want to be taken seriously, learn traditional logic. Good arguments teach you as much about the weaknesses of your own positions as they do about your opponent’s and allow you to develop into a more mature thinker.

        And it should be, “If I were to do the same to you …”

    • Oncertain is enthusiastic about the legitimization of homosexuality, same-sex marriage included. He thinks it is good.

      Some people are not intelligent enough to grasp the dark side of legitimizing homosexuality, some grasp it but don’t care, and some eagerly support the darkness. I don’t know which category onecertain belongs to.

      Just for the record, here is just some of the dark side of legitimizing homosexuality:

      • The public expression of contrary beliefs will have to be suppressed because when the emperor is naked, nobody must be allowed to say it openly. Homosexual liberation leads to a sort of tyranny.

      • The authorities will lie to the young (and other impressionable people) about one of the most important topics, namely sex. The authorities will have to tell people that it doesn’t matter what type of adult you marry, and it doesn’t matter whether or not you form a family and raise children. The young will be further demoralized by seeing the Masters of Society telling an obvious lie.

      • Children adopted by same-sex couples will be denied either a father or a mother. Since sex differences are real and deep, this is a great deprivation, a form of child abuse.

      • Certain psychologically disturbed individuals will be denied the help they need, and will be encouraged to remain in their disturbed state.

      • God tells us that homosexuality is a sin. Therefore it is, and calling God a liar, as liberals do, is darkness indeed.

      The phenomenon of homosexuality should be met with tough love, not with lies. When you are in a state of sin, people are not doing you any good by telling you that it’s ok.

      • I think our working premises are too different to have anything like a productive conversation on this topic. Most of your points seem to me to be obvious nonsense, but obviously they aren’t to you, and I cannot imagine either of us changing our minds.

        But I must note that I know a great many same-sex couples raising children (mostly lesbians) and their overall rate of sanity and happiness, and that of their children, seems roughly the same as heterosexual couples.

      • The data are already in on the damage that same-sex couples do to the children they raise. We already know that children do best when raised by both biological parents; we already know that children who lose a parent, whether by death or divorce, have worse outcomes than those from intact families (remember when unhappy couples stayed together “for the sake of the children”? Remember the term “broken home”?). By depriving children of at least one of their natural parents, homosexual couples are intentionally, narcissistically, inflicting damage on those children. Lesbian couples are saying “fathers don’t matter”; male homosexual couples are saying “mothers don’t matter.” Yet is it axiomatic that both fathers and mothers do matter.

        So rather than loftily waving away our differences, Mr. Certain, how about actually engaging in ideas? How about showing how any of the premises Prof. Roebuck listed are false?

      • @BillLewis: “data”? So, I assume you have some references to the peer-reviewed literature to supply? Or something?

        I am not “waving away” our differences. I am suggesting that they are unresolvable by argument. So these issues will have to be decided politically. Fortunately for me, my side is winning. Fortunately for you, that will give you another excuse to feed your sense of persecution.

      • Data are prior to analysis, and therefore to such bureaucratic evaluations of such analyses as are ostensively carried out via peer review. Peer review, i.e., is a derivative procedure, and is furthermore susceptible to politicization, and therefore corruption. Epistemologically, it guarantees nothing. It has no philosophical cash value.

        Bill is adducing data – facts – that do not pass the threshold of your review. This does not make them, or him, wrong. You have not shown either that the facts he adduces did not occur, or that they do not mean what he asserts that they do mean. All you have done is wave your hands at them dismissively.

        It begins to look as though the reason you see no way to discuss these things in such a way as to arrive together with your interlocutors at an agreement about the truth of the situation is that you have no way of addressing the facts that we adduce, or the arguments that we make, other than by waving them away.

        But because such agreements are always possible in principle – this being the reason humans find it advantageous to converse in the first place – this rhetorical defect on your part suggests that you are not interested so much in understanding the truth and doing the good as in gaining power for its own sake, like Thrasymachus, the Sophists, and their modern, nihilist heirs.

        Indeed, this is more or less exactly what you say in your last statement.

        Do you find this assessment accurate? If so, do you think that your position is quite right? Why? If not, then what are your best arguments? Those would be interesting.

      • Onecertain writes “I am suggesting that they are unresolvable by argument.” What an odd thing to say. Do you mean that your statements have no truth value, which would mean that they’re not statements to begin with; or do you mean that for some reason the rules of deduction cannot be applied in discussions of homosexuality? Do you deny the intelligibility of all normative statements, or only those that deal with sodomy? Having left aside rationality, are you prepared to simply affirm that the idea of homosexual marriage makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside and that the idea of objective sexual morality gives you gas? How far are you suggesting the power of the mob be used to instill these warm and fuzzy feelings in those of us inclined to live virtuous lives?


      • Oncertain is enthusiastic about the legitimization of homosexuality, same-sex marriage included. He thinks it is good.

        I can’t speak for onecertain, but this statement is over-broad. We must distinguish, I think, between same-sex marriage and things like promiscuity, public displays of debauchery or in-your-face transgressiveness. One can support the idea of same-sex marriage, as I do, without condoning all of those other things.


        Some people are not intelligent enough to grasp the dark side of legitimizing homosexuality, some grasp it but don’t care, and some eagerly support the darkness. I don’t know which category onecertain belongs to.

        This is not only an egregious ad hominem, it ignores the other possibilities and thus commits the fallacy of false alternatives. It is also possible, for example, that the “dark side” is not as dire as has been suggested, and it might not exist at all.


        Just for the record, here is just some of the dark side of legitimizing homosexuality:

        The first of these four bulleted items present what is fairly described as a slippery slope argument. As with all such arguments, the question to ask is whether the slope really is so slippery that the predicted outcome is inevitable. I’m not convinced that it is.

        • The public expression of contrary beliefs will have to be suppressed because when the emperor is naked, nobody must be allowed to say it openly. Homosexual liberation leads to a sort of tyranny.

        A policy of extending civil rights and privileges to same-sex couples is logically compatible with a policy of toleration and free speech. Nor do I see any *practical* requirement for the government to suppress anyone’s speech in order to extend those rights and privileges.

        It might in fact be the policy of a government to suppress some such speech opposing same-sex marriage, and I would join you in opposing any such policy, because I would consider both unwise and unnecessary.


        • The authorities will lie to the young (and other impressionable people) about one of the most important topics, namely sex. The authorities will have to tell people that it doesn’t matter what type of adult you marry, and it doesn’t matter whether or not you form a family and raise children. The young will be further demoralized by seeing the Masters of Society telling an obvious lie.

        I don’t see why the “authorities” (i.e. the government) should have to say anything whatsoever on the topic of whom we should marry.

        There’s an equivocation here in the use of the word “matters”. As far as the legal standing of a marriage is concerned, with respect to those rights and privileges mentioned above, the government’s position *should* be that it doesn’t matter whether it’s a homosexual or a heterosexual marriage. But in the broader context of your own life, it obviously does matter whether and whom you marry and whether you have children (of your own or adopted).


        • Children adopted by same-sex couples will be denied either a father or a mother. Since sex differences are real and deep, this is a great deprivation, a form of child abuse.

        Despite what others have asserted here, the impact of same-sex parents on their children is still an open question. Calling it a “deprivation” or “child abuse” is mere pejorative rhetoric and settles nothing.


        • Certain psychologically disturbed individuals will be denied the help they need, and will be encouraged to remain in their disturbed state.

        Again, I don’t see how or why this would be an inevitable consequence. As with free speech, caring for the mentally ill is perfectly compatible with support for same-sex marriage.


        • God tells us that homosexuality is a sin. Therefore it is, and calling God a liar, as liberals do, is darkness indeed.


        The phenomenon of homosexuality should be met with tough love, not with lies. When you are in a state of sin, people are not doing you any good by telling you that it’s ok.

        And yet, when Wendell Berry undertakes that same Christian duty to chastise his brethren and calls them to consider the beam in their own eyes, he is accused of hypocrisy, self-contradiction and worse.

        ***

        This thread, and the uncharitable opinions expressed in it, have left me saddened and wondering if I should continue any association with this site. I appreciate the fact that a link to my obscure little blog was recently added to the blogroll, since it has led to a slight increase in my audience. But I’m thinking it might be better to have the link to “Si man i yulma nin enquantuva?” removed. I agree with many of the ideas that have been expressed here in the past, but now I find that my disagreement on this one issue has branded me as a “radical liberal”. I expected to find a nuanced discussion here, but I fear I was mistaken.

      • Corky,

        I encourage you to retain communion with the Orthosphere. I, for one, am not branding you a “radical liberal.” But you are significantly mistaken about this subject.

        About my bullet points:

        The first one: The logic of liberalism requires the forceful suppression of contrary views here. As I said in a reply to onecertain, in order for the individual to define happiness, the individual must also define morality, because nobody can be happy unless he believes himself to be morally acceptable. And the individual must also define part of the social order, for nobody can be happy if the rules of society define his happiness as sin. The logic of contemporary liberalism requires that dissenters here be silenced if possible.

        The second point: The authorities are not only, or primarily, the government. They are primarily the ones who have the highest authority to tell people what is true, such as the professors, the teachers and the journalists. But the government is involved in the sense that it sets the rules for how society operates, and rule one today is nondiscrimination, according to which it is a sin to criticize homosexuality.

        Third point: If children need both male and female parents, then same-sex parenting is child abuse by definition. Obviously it is possible for a same-sex couple otherwise to do an adequate job of raising a child (possible, but statistically unlikely given that homosexuality is a disorder of the soul), but even in this best-case scenario, the child is being deprived of something profound.

        As for point four, Bill Lewis has given an adequate reply.

      • Corky,

        What is your exact “fear?”

        And should the right to self-annihilate be a part of our collective societal education?

        Don’t we have the right to hate and demonize those that openly, aggressively and maliciously advocate self-annihilation through the exaltation (equalization) of homosexuality?

      • For the most part, I haven’t found the postings on this topic to be uncharitable.The few that were uncharitable were those that condoned a form of life guaranteed to damn me and many others. In a case of obvious sexual sin, charity consists of warning the sinner about the results of his sinful acts and a call for him to repent. The most charitable thing I’ve ever read concerning my own predilection to homosexuality was Master Hsüan Hua: Regardless of whether you are male or female, you must remember not to practice homosexual behavior. Neither monastics nor laity can engage in these acts. If so, you will definitely enter the hells in the future. Regardless of how much education or status you may have, engaging in homosexual behavior is intolerable to the world. Why? It is because you have flouted the natural order of creation, the laws of yin and yang, the norm. Regardless of who it is, you must change quickly. If you do not change, you will fall into the hells.

      • @Kristor – Bill is adducing data – facts – that do not pass the threshold of your review. This does not make them, or him, wrong.

        I must have missed something, because I haven’t seen anything from Bill that resembles what we English speakers know as “data”. Forget peer-review, let’s see a number or two.

        you have no way of addressing the facts that we adduce

        “Adduced” must be a fancy word for “pulled out of thin air” (to use the politer version of the phrase that first came to mind). So yes, I have no way of addressing these so-called facts.

        @nilakantha108 “I am suggesting that they are unresolvable by argument.” What an odd thing to say.

        What’s so odd about it? Is it so hard to accept that people can have different and irreconcilable values? You are a Christian, I assume – do you think you can convince a Hindu or Buddhist to change their views by arguing with them

      • “Data” does not mean “numbers,” it means “that which is given.” Included in the category of that which is given are facts and those axioms without which thought cannot proceed, such as the Law of Noncontradiction. Numbers are a way to specify facts, but that is all. Words may be used for the same purpose. E.g., Bill’s adduction of the plain fact that Bing Crosby made an award winning movie about a virtuous priest, and that today such a movie would not be made in Hollywood.

        If the only sort of evidence you are willing to credit is the sort that derives from empirical studies, how do you credit the adequacy of your comptence to comprehend empirical studies? Has it been empirically demonstrated in the last minute? If not, what good is your mind right now?

        You see where this leads. If you limit yourself to empirical studies, you can’t properly *think.*

        Onecertain, you are resorting more and more quickly to more and more snark. Snark is not argumentation. It is a demonstration of weakness: of philosophical bankruptcy, or of rhetorical haplessness. You still have done nothing more than handwaving, heaping scorn, spewing sarcasm, and the like. What is your argument? Do you have one? If you find that the answer is, “no,” consider the possibility that the position you have espoused is simply false. There would be no shame in that. Indeed, there would be very great honor.

        Do you have an argument, or just bile? If you have an argument, make it. If all you have is bile, then I ask you: what kind of a man are you, that has nothing more than bile and spite? Surely you are better than that, sir?

      • Onecertain, actually I’m a chaste homosexual Buddhist. At this point in the discussion, I’m not interested in changing your mind; I’m only interested in understanding why you hold the positions you do. Unless your positions sprang full formed from your mind like Athena from Zeus’ forehead, you should know why you believe the way you do. If you’re able to present the metaphysical basis on which your ethics is based, we could actually have a fruitful discussion. If your not able to present a coherent metaphysics and ethics, it would be a rewarding exercise to think through your Weltanschauung and see if it is rational.

      • @kristor “Data” does not mean “numbers,” it means “that which is given.”

        Not in English it doesn’t.

        Here’s the statement that kicked off this little discussion:

        The data are already in on the damage that same-sex couples do to the children they raise.

        So this data, whatever it may be, words or numbers, peer reviewed or not, is presumably at least concrete enough to be “in” now where at some earlier time it wasn’t. So, let’s see it.

        Or if, as you seem to be hinting, it is supposed ot be some kind of axiom, then it proves my other point, since I don’t accept it as axiomiatic. If we have different sets of axioms then there is not much point to arguing.

      • According to the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, “Datum: what is given. A piece of evidence considered as fixed for the purpose in hand. What is taken as a datum may change as changes of theory and evidence arise. Something would be absolutely a datum if it were incorrigible …”

        The Principle of Noncontradiction, being incorrigible, is an absolute datum, as are the other necessary truths of math, logic and metaphysics.

        That you do not accept a necessary axiom of thought does not mean it is not axiomatic, it means your thinking is disordered. But that may not be the case; you have not yet told us which of our presuppositions (axiomatic or derivative) you find incredible.

      • I’m a chaste homosexual Buddhist.

        Well, a chaste homosexual Buddhist who hangs out on reactionary Christian blogs is at least novel.

        I’m only interested in understanding why you hold the positions you do….If you’re able to present the metaphysical basis on which your ethics is based…

        Why in the world would you expect ethics to have a metaphysical basis? To me, that sounds like going down the wrong path at the very beginning. I find it especially odd coming from a Buddhist.

        My ethics is based on Hillel’s one-liner version of the Torah: what is hateful to you, do not do to another (aka The Golden Rule). This in turn is grounded, not on reasoning from metaphysical princiiples, but on innate human compassion, which itself seems to be grounded in biology. I have some interest in understanding the naturalistic basis of compassion (eg, maybe it involves mirror neurons) but that is incidental to its role in ethics.

        This meshes quite well with the basic liberal political belief that individuals ought to be maximally free to seek their own happiness (and the quite important seconday belief that if someone else’s happiness happens to cause me discomfort, that is my problem, not theirs – aka tolerance).

        So, in the case of homosexuals, as I said I know many personally, which makes it pretty natural to take a compassionate view of them rather than view them as monsters of corruption. They are people whose nature or tastes happen to be different from mine, and I fully support them searching for happiness however they see fit. Some of them want to form stable pair-bonds and families, so they should be able to do that as well.

        If there was any indication that this was causing harm to others (such as children raised by same-sex couples), maybe it would be a different story. But my own observation doesn’t indicate that happening, and we haven’t seen the purported “data” claimed here that would show that it is happening.

      • @Kristor — you people are incredible. You claim to have “data” showing a particular harm; when challenged to produce this data, you try to play games with the definition of the word and throw up chaff about unrelated stuff like the principle of noncontradiction. I’m not sure who you think you are fooling with such tactics.

        Even your philosopher’s definition (which is not the same as that of a standard dictionary or common usage) says that data is a “piece of evidence”. So, let’s see this piece of evidence.

      • I’m not playing games with the definition of “datum,” I’m showing you that you are simply wrong about it. Don’t want to resort to a dictionary of philosophy, where terms are defined precisely, preferring instead the looser vernacular? OK, “Datum” according to:

        The American Heritage Dictionary:

        1. a single piece of information, as a fact, statistic, or code; an item of data.
        2. Philosophy: any fact assumed to be a matter of direct observation; any proposition assumed or given, from which conclusions may be drawn.

        The Merriam Webster Dictionary:

        1. something given or admitted especially as a basis for reasoning or inference

        The Free Dictionary:

        1. A fact or proposition used to draw a conclusion or make a decision.

        There. Is that settled, then?

        Our disagreement over the definition of “datum” was admittedly a tangent. All I intended when I started it was to point out that statistics arising from empirical sociological studies are not the only sort of data that is pertinent. For example, it is datum that the offspring of normal families have survived the scythe of natural selection, and have constituted, not just the norm of our species, but its overwhelming majority, for the last several hundred millennia, at least. This single datum represents many, many billions of samples, many billions of experiments that tested various social forms against the structure of reality, and that pared away the less proper forms in favor of the more proper, thus discovering to us the way that, in our system of nature, we *ought* to arrange our families. Any assertion that abnormal families do not constitute a potentially lethal defect to the proper social order of our species bears the burden of proof.

        It is growing tiresome to repeat this, but the Gedanken Policy Test is the only experiment we need to run here. Take two societies, each completely equivalent in every respect but one: in society A, all the children are raised by homosexual couples, while in society B, all the children are raised by heterosexual couples. Ask yourself honestly: in which society will children grow up less confused about what it means to behave as a man or as a woman – will, that is to say, produce children who are better prepared to form stable, healthy families that can produce children, and thus reproduce the society? Doesn’t this question simply answer itself?

        Social engineering consists of two phases:

        1. What could possibly go wrong?
        2. How were we supposed to know?

        Mike Flynn

      • Corky,

        You seem not to have followed the logic of Prof. Roebuck’s penultimate bullet point:

        Certain psychologically disturbed individuals will be denied the help they need, and will be encouraged to remain in their disturbed state.

        We take the traditional, pre-DSM-IV view that homosexual behavior is indicative of mental illness. The shift was due not to any change in the science; rather, it was due to homosexual “activism” in the form of a program of disruption of meetings and harassment of psychologists. This is documented, but I am away from my home computer and cannot easily find the links that show this.

        As it turns out, homosexuals worldwide suffer from a variety of maladaptive behaviors, including self-destructive behaviors such as unprotected sex with strangers even when the threat of a deadly disease looms large; drug abuse; alcohol abuse; and a statistically higher-than-normal suicide rate. Homosexual couplings tend to be significantly more transient than heterosexual ones, meaning (amongst other things) that when homosexual couples adopt, the child is placed not only in an unnatural setting but also faces a higher-than-average chance of eventually being raised by a single parent.

        In short, what we are saying is that acceptance of homosexual behavior does positive harm to the mentally ill who suffer from this deviancy, as well as to any children they may have charge of.

        Mr. Certain,

        I think that Kristor has done a far better job than I could have in dealing with you, though you are right to want more than my assertions. You seem to be ignorant of the most basic facts regarding the impact of family structure on children’s welfare; this is not surprising if you are too young to remember when social issues such as divorce were actually dealt with in the newspapers and news magazines. I suggest you read through the archives of The Thinking Housewife for information about this. Look particularly for Jesse Powell’s statistic-heavy posts on the topic.

      • onecertain,

        Could you supply the “data” that evidences the individual’s happiness because the individual engages in homosexual acts?

        I’ve been told my entire life that no one would actually choose to be homosexual. So it seems that this “happiness” that you speak of is nothing more than a sort of self-brainwashing. One would never choose to be homosexual but because one somehow engages in homosexuality then one must be happy about it. That’s weird.

        And when you talk of your fundamental belief as being that which grants another maximal happiness in exchange for your own maximal happiness then how is this measured?

        If a person tells you that being homosexual maximizes their happiness, HOW DO YOU KNOW that this is actually true?

        Do you just take their word for it and totally dismiss the self-evident truth of their self-annihilating “nature?” What’s the data on this claim of happiness because one can embrace the self-annihilating “nature?”

        We have at least one chaste homosexual Buddhist that has asserted his homosexuality as minimizing his happiness and certainly not maximizing it.

      • Onecertain, being a reactionary, I lurk on a lot of Traditionalist blogs. Believe it or not, men of good will can work for the common good even across confessional boundaries. Buddhism has a consistent philosophy that includes metaphysics, epistemology/logic, and ethics — everything you need to present a coherent world view — as does Christianity. I’m afraid our discussion must come to an end. If you ever are able to give a rational coherent account of your liberal assertions, I would truly like to hear them.

      • @nilakantha108 – I’m afraid our discussion must come to an end. If you ever are able to give a rational coherent account of your liberal assertions, I would truly like to hear them.

        Why? You asked, I gave you a rather lengthy answer, which you have apparently ignored. To me, that is a violation of conversational ethics (pretty minor as ethical violations go, but still).

      • @ Onecertain: I can see why you were a bit confused by nilakantha108’s statement that his discussion with you would have to be at an end, when you had just posted a comment explaining your ethics. But really it makes perfect sense. He had asked you to explain the metaphysical basis of your ethics, and you began your response with a rejection of the notion that the question was relevant. So while you responded with an explanation of your ethics, your response was not responsive.

        By your own account, your ethics do not have a metaphysical basis, and are therefore ultimately unfounded, and thus essentially capricious. I don’t mean to say that you are not a serious person, but only that with no metaphysical basis for your ethics, they boil down in the end to nothing more than your personal preference. You believe that individuals ought to be maximally free to seek their own happiness, but unless you can derive your ethics from metaphysical principles, you cannot say why this should be so. So you have no way to mount a rational argument that others should adopt your ethics.

        It won’t work to suggest that society would be better if it were organized so as to maximize individual freedom to pursue happiness. “Better” according to what standard? If you can’t point to an absolute standard of goodness and justice, the only standard you can offer is the standard of your own likes and dislikes.

      • @thordaddy: Could you supply the “data” that evidences the individual’s happiness because the individual engages in homosexual acts?…If a person tells you that being homosexual maximizes their happiness, HOW DO YOU KNOW that this is actually true?

        That is all quite beside the point, which is that the individual is in charge of managing their own happiness. Homosexuals are free to be chaste as nilakantha108 is, or be promiscuous, or form stable pair-bonds. It’s not for me or you to say which of these produces more happiness. The optimal way of life is likely to be different for different people, just as it is for heterosexuals.

      • That is all quite beside the point, which is that the individual is in charge of managing their own happiness. Homosexuals are free to be chaste as nilakantha108 is, or be promiscuous, or form stable pair-bonds. It’s not for me or you to say which of these produces more happiness. The optimal way of life is likely to be different for different people, just as it is for heterosexuals.

        With this paragraph, onecertain reveals his philosophy. I was pretty sure that was his philosophy, because everything he’s said is consistent with it, but it is good to have confirmation.

        According to onecertain, happiness is defined by the individual. Therefore, if a homosexual says that his homosexuality makes him happy, then it does, and we have to honor his choices and not tell him he is a sinner.

        I would presume that onecertain does have some “unprincipled exceptions” to this nihilistic view. I presume, for example, that he would not accept a child-rapist saying that raping girls makes him happy and so we have to honor his choices.

        But aside from blindingly obvious cases such as these, onecertain’s view is nihilistic: the individual defines human happiness.

        But in order for the individual to define happiness, the individual must also define morality, because nobody can be happy unless he believes himself to be morally acceptable. And the individual must also define part of the social order, for nobody can be happy if the rules of society define his happiness as sin.

        Onecertain acts like the typical liberal in that he sees his view as nothing more than common sense and common decency: C’mon, Americans, say onecertain and his type, let’s stop being mean to the homosexuals (and the illegal aliens, and the homeless, and the feminists, et al.). Let’s just affirm them all, so we can all join hang and sing Kumbaya.

        But the world does not work that way. Morality, society and human nature are not infinitely elastic. Some systems don’t work. And when a social system doesn’t work, it causes massive suffering.

      • Originally posted in wrong order…

        Do you have “data” on homosexuals that form “stable pair-bonds?”

        Does this even make sense?

        And do you have the “data” that this “stable pair-bond[ing]” is due to one’s homosexual “nature?”

        That doesn’t seem to be coherent either?

        A homosexual is a male with a sexual aversion to the female. This sexual aversion has a logical consequence. It is SELF-annihilating. As in, the REAL homosexual DECIDES to be the last link in his chain of life that literally extends to the beginning.

        Think of that for a second.

        Virtually the entire universe unraveled to bring you into existence AND YOU CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE to be THE LAST LINK.

        What do we call this type of psychology?

        And why do you think you can smother it in “happiness” and think none of us can see the turd underneath the icing?

        To “preach” this is evil and criminal.

        To “preach” that consciously seeking to be the last link IS the essence of “happiness” is vile and nauseating.

        No one would choose to be homosexual so no one could claim to be “happy” because of their homosexuality and be telling the truth.

        Is that the law of noncontradiction or what?

        Remember, this is not about the self-annihilators and their self-annihilating ways BUT that the self-annihilators “preach, teach and screech” their self-annihilating ways to the masses starting with MY CHILDREN as targets!!!

      • Onecertain,

        If maximizing one’s happiness is one’s highest value then this can only be “by any means necessary.”

        Anything less and it puts a lie to your fundamental belief.

        But this really goes to the heart of the matter…

        Do you simply “preach, teach and screech” this SELF-annihilating ethos BUT NOT ACTUALLY PRACTICE IT so that you may come out on top as most “free” in the end?

        Are you really just a murderer who’s method is advocating the “right” to SELF-annihilate?

        [Editor: Watch it, Thordaddy. Your "murderer" hypothetical is near the boundary of the civil discourse we enforce here.]

      • A “radical liberal” is one who seeks absolute autonomy within a self-imposed strictly material (finite) “playing field.”

        The logic of Liberalism is SELF-annihilation and genuine “radical autonomy,” i.e., Hell… Conscious in Oblivion, or absolute rejection in the belief of total liberation.

        The homosexual is, by definition, a self-annihilator BY nature or nurture or both. It does not matter HOW this came to be but that it is.

        Those who exalt homosexuality by way of homosexuals to “equal” societal status are exalting self-annihilators to the status of pro-creators.

        This is diabolical and mark of the “radical liberal.”

      • @Alan Roebuck

        I would presume that onecertain does have some “unprincipled exceptions” to this nihilistic view. I presume, for example, that he would not accept a child-rapist saying that raping girls makes him happy and so we have honor his choices.

        Please don’t pretend to be stupid. I am sure you are smart enough to know that the freedom to pursue ones happiness does not extend to interfering with the well-being of others, in all versions of liberal ethics.

        But aside from blindingly obvious cases such as these, onecertain’s view is nihilistic: the individual defines human happiness.

        Why is that nihilistic?

        But in order for the individual to define happiness, the individual must also define morality, because nobody can be happy unless he believes himself to be morally acceptable. And the individual must also define part of the social order, for nobody can be happy if the rules of society define his happiness as sin.

        This, I actually more or less agree with. Reality is more complicated than my statement that “individauls are in charge of their own happiness” allows for. Humans are social beings, and their happiness and lives are deeply intertwined with each other.

        We seem to differ on how that is to be managed. You folks think that in order to have society work, everybody must be pretty much the same. So not only will differences from sexual norms not be tolerated, you aren’t comfortable with ethnic or religious differences and are constantly fantasizing about starting your own country where everyone will be the same.

        I think, on the contrary, that people should be allowed (even encouraged) to be different, and we need to learn to respect and tolerate differences.

        But the world does not work that way. Morality, society and human nature are not infinitely elastic. Some systems don’t work. And when a social system doesn’t work, it causes massive suffering.

        Indeed, they are not infinitely elastic, but they are a good deal more elastic than you seem to believe (I suggest studying some anthropology if you want to actually understand this).

        Repression of homosexuality is known to cause massive suffering. Acceptance of homosexuality could conceivably cause suffering, but despite the alleged “data” being bandied about, there is no evidence of that yet.

      • Why is that nihilistic?

        According to dictionary.com, “Nihilism is extreme skepticism about existence and about religious or moral principles.” According to Wikipedia, nihilism is

        the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life.

        Those who say that the individual defines happiness are denying the existence of any objective principle of happiness. If the individual decides, then no principle constrains us. That’s nihilism, even if some don’t wish to acknowledge it.

        And if no principle constrains us, from whence comes the principle that it is wrong to interfere with the well-being of others? It doesn’t come from anywhere; it just feels right.

        But if it doesn’t come from anywhere, then it can be rejected if the subject feels strongly enough.

        I think, on the contrary, that people should be allowed (even encouraged) to be different, and we need to learn to respect and tolerate differences.

        And so do we. Everybody, including you, places boundaries on what is acceptable. The only question is where the boundaries ought to lie, and how one can know it.

        Repression of homosexuality is known to cause massive suffering.

        But not always. And the fundamental question is, What is good for society?, not What is good for the individual at the expense of society?

      • @thordaddy A homosexual is a male with a sexual aversion to the female. This sexual aversion has a logical consequence. It is SELF-annihilating. As in, the REAL homosexual DECIDES to be the last link in his chain of life that literally extends to the beginning.

        As do Catholic priests — are they “self-annihilating” as well?

        You seem to be mostly just raving, so I think we are done talking.

      • I respectfully disagree.

        If murder is the shedding of innocent blood then advocating the “right” to self-annihilate by exalting homosexuals in the eyes of children because of their homosexuality is tantamount to murder.

        And not just murder… But the potential annihilation of an entire unique chain of life.

      • @Kristor: By your own account, your ethics do not have a metaphysical basis, and are therefore ultimately unfounded, and thus essentially capricious.

        I already stated what I thought they were founded on. Feel free to disagree, but please don’t pretend not to have heard.

        To me, it seems both bizarre and dangerous to found ethics on metaphysics. Metaphysics is a difficult area; many wise men have devoted thought to it througought the ages and we are no closer to a definite understanding of its mysteries. Ethics, on the other hand, is a very pragmatic subject, something that every person, wise or foolish, needs to have a theory about, and those theories are tested in practice every day.

      • Onecertain, your ethics does not have any foundation. That is, it has no authority. “Don’t harm others,” or something like that, is what you claim to be its basis. But this is an assertion, not a foundation. And since it is only an assertion, those who disagree are free to ignore your ethics. At least if they can avoid the posse of those who agree with you.

        Real ethics can only come from an authority. Such as God. Otherwise, ethics is just a set of suggestions.

      • onecertain,

        The others don’t seem to understand that you come here to maximize your happiness by being a most radical liberal. You are literally free to say and write anything you desire having no discernible existential imperative in which to critique.

        “We” seemingly don’t know why you are here and neither do you.

        All you know is that being radically liberal in a place that rejects radical liberation is simply a way to know that you actually exist as something more than nothing. This is you maximizing your “happiness” the only way you know how.

      • onecertain, Wikipedia has an excellent entry on meta ethics. In context, prescriptive (normative) ethics include such items as deontology, utilitarianism, consequentialism, and virtue ethics. There are all systems that describe HOW we ought to do what we BELIEVE we ought to do.

        Meta ethics are systems that describe WHAT we BELIEVE and why we believe it is true. As was stated, one says how, the other says why. When people argue ethics, they often get caught up arguing about their team’s HOW-TOs and completely missing the WHY-FORs. I See this most often in economics, where people from two separate camps like to cite one model after another to bash it out- when it is often much more fruitful to go straight to the philosophical foundations of human action and interaction.

        So with this in mind I like to say that naked utilitarianism is an ethical nightmare. It prescribes how we ought to go about maximizing happiness for homosexuals, but it never stops to question what happiness/goodness TRULY means.

        Just because you are averse to meta ethics does not mean you can just ignore it!

      • I found the link I referred to above, about the organized campaign of intimidation and harassment that homosexual activists engaged in against psychiatrists.

        Two choice quotes from activists:

        “It was never a medical decision—and that’s why I think the action came so fast…It was a political move.”

        “This vote [to remove homosexuality] was not the result of scientific analysis after years of painstaking research. Neither was it a purely objective choice following the accumulation of incontrovertible data. The very fact that the vote was taken reveals the nature of the process involved, since the existence of an orthodoxy in itself, contradicts the essence of science”

        The article details the tactics of the homosexual activists, and the APA’s response. In the end, less than 1/3 of the APA’s membership voted to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

        Not a consensus, and not based on science.

        Truly, the broad acceptance of homosexual as “innate” has been one of the greatest PR campaigns in history, as it has zero basis in fact—yet this truth is virtually unspeakable in polite society today.

      • The indefatigable Mrs. Wood at The Thinking Housewife has provided another excellent article for our perusal, that bears directly on this topic: When Children Have No Natural Rights. The discussion is, as always, excellent, and touches on leftist dishonesty regarding scientific studies and the interpretation thereof; the negative impact of homosexual couples on the children they raise; the centrality of the family; and more.

      • @BillLewis: Well, that page you linked to actually has something close to what I’ve been asking you for, namely a reference to an academic study of whether there’s anything wrong with same-sex parenting. Unfortunately, the author of the study, Mark Regnerus, has been forced to admit that his study does not prove all the nonsensical conclusions that the wingnuts have been claiming. Oh well, still waiting on that “data”.

      • I guess you missed that part about the left’s dishonesty regarding academic studies: a priori, any study which claims to refute any tenet of leftism is “unscientific” and rejected out-of-hand.

        Not to mention the long experience, backed by the kind of data you deem acceptable, that children from broken homes of any configuration, including homosexual ones, fare worse in a wide variety of adult standards of success than children from traditional families. However, it seems that what was once the norm—the father gaining custody of his children in the event of divorce—has little ill effect on children. Once again, our ancestors got it right.

        Here are a couple of links to keep you going: Presumptive Custody for Fathers; Father Absence and the Welfare of Children; Where is the Harm from Single-Father Homes?; and, saving the best for last, Why You Should Ignore Studies of Same-Sex Households.

        We already know, from common sense, from experience, and from our God-given intuition, that the natural family is the ideal, the gold standard—and the norm. We don’t need studies and commissions and research to tell us what is inscribed in our hearts.

        I can’t say I look forward to how this might be misconstrued, but I anticipate it will.

      • And there are other problems with thinking that academic studies can determine whether same-sex parenting is valid.

        For one, “studies” can only establish correlation or cause-and-effect, but they can never establish whether a thing is morally right or wrong. If homosexuality is a sinful condition, and if children need both fathers and mothers, then same-sex parenting is wrong regardless of what science tells us, and regardless of the virtues possessed by the same-sex couple who is doing the “parenting.”

        Onecertain, like all liberals, believes as a fundamental moral axiom, not subject to proof or disproof, that homosexuality is morally benign, and no studies will convince him otherwise.

        And, in form although not in content, his thinking is correct: “Studies” will never establish the morality of same-sex pseudo-marriage or same-sex parenting.

        As I have said before, this issue is not determined by what oncertain thinks it is: science, “democracy,” or individuals freely choosing. It is determined by something else, something that oncertain ignores.

      • As for Mark Regnerus and his study, do you suppose that there could have been political pressure on him to at least partially recant his views? Could political interference in scientific matters even happen in our modern age of enlightenment?

        His study might not mean what many people have interpreted it to mean—but, as Prof. Roebuck pointed out, that doesn’t even matter.

      • @Roebuck And there are other problems with thinking that academic studies can determine whether same-sex parenting is valid….As I have said before, this issue is not determined by what oncertain thinks it is: science, “democracy,” or individuals freely choosing.

        This whole lengthy thread was triggered by one of you (BillLewis I think) claiming to have “data” that showed conclusively that same-sex couples caused harm to children. I tried to get him to produce this data, and after a very lengthy debate about what “data” means, we actually have some – not very good data, but at least something worthy of the name. Note that it was not me who took the discussion in that direction.

        But you aren’t actually interested in data. I’m not that interested either, in truth. For one thing, any such studies are likely to have statistical problems like the Regnerus one. For another, just as you think your moral principles trump anything these studies show, I too think my principles (that people should be allowed to do what they want, absent causing severe and obvious harm) trump them.

        Consider that it is almost certainly the case that poor (heterosexual) couples have far more problems with their children than do rich couples. They are causing harm! Does that mean we should prohibit poor couples from marrying and raising children?

      • It’s not that I have no interest in the scientific data, it’s that I understand that the scientific data does not settle the issue. Apparently you also understand this.

        OK, your basic moral principle is to allow anything that does not cause severe and obvious harm. But the problem is, what constitutes harm? Allowing one to sin is severe harm, if the concept of sin is real. And depriving someone of a good they need is also severe harm. So the real questions here are, Is sin real and if so, what constitutes sin? and, What are the real goods that man needs? Absent some sort of answers to these questions, your moral principle is useless.

        Also, is the deciding factor harm to individuals or to societies? What may harm the individual (such as executing certain convicts) can often be good for society, and allowing and legitimizing homosexuality does harm to society in that depresses fertility, encourages selfishness, and so on.

        You speak as if our moral principles are obviously wrong. But in this, you are misguided.

        And about your comment about poor couples: Since poor couples do not necessarily deprive their children of a good that they need, and since poverty is not a sin, it is wrong to outlaw “poor parents.” The point of re-illegitimating same-sex parenting is that it is intrinsically wrong, regardless of the particulars.

      • @Roebuck: Allowing one to sin is severe harm, if the concept of sin is real.

        I don’t really understand this, even given your framework. Isn’t freedom to sin extremely important to the Christian worldview? Isn’t it the case that God gave man freedom of choice, to choose sin or virtue? If God gives people the freedom to sin, what business is it of yours to try to take that freedom away?

        The answer to your other questions (what exactly counts as harm, how do you balance harm to individuals with harm to society, etc) is that there are no simple answers and we have to work those questions out, both individually and collectively, using science, law, politics, and debate. Sorry if you find that unsatisfying; but it is how things are.

        The point of re-illegitimating same-sex parenting is that it is intrinsically wrong, regardless of the particulars.

        If you are going to take that position, then there is no room for argument and we should simply drop the discussion.

      • Onecertain, you are speaking like a naïf.

        About sin of homosexuality, the question is whether to legitimize it, not whether to make it formally illegal. And besides, some sins are made illegal, such as murder.

        And you say that we just have to “work out” how morality operates without having any “simple answers.” But you have not given any answers, simple or otherwise. Your “do-no-harm” rule has no value at all at deciding the fundamental nature of what is moral, and you refuse to consider any other source of morality.

        There is another source of morality, the true source of morality, but you either are incapable of seeing it or you don’t like what you see.

      • @Roebuck, you are speaking like a naïf.

        How so? I asked you a perfectly reasonable questions, which you are dodging.

        About sin of homosexuality, the question is whether to legitimize it, not whether to make it formally illegal.

        I quoted your own words, which were: Allowing one to sin is severe harm, if the concept of sin is real.

        And besides, some sins are made illegal, such as murder.

        Yes, sins that cause harm to others need to be illegal. “Sins” that only cause harm to oneself should not be, in general.

      • What would be the question that you say I am dodging?

        About allowing sin, there are two basic questions here: One, should we legitimize homosexuality? And two, should we not only permit same-sex marriage as part of legitimizing homosexuality, but also permit same-sex couples to adopt children?

        Since homosexual activity is sin [and it does harm the individual, even if he "can't help himself"], we should not encourage it by declaring that it is legitimate. This is separate from the question of whether we should formally outlaw homosexual acts. But actively approving of sin and requiring the public generally to act as if they do also–which is what the homosexual-rights lobby wants formally enacted into law–is also sin.

        As for same-sex couples rearing children, this is a matter of the sin of homosexuality harming someone else, namely the child, who is deprived of either a father or a mother, and who is raised in an environment in which homosexual acts are treated as normal and good, when they are neither.

        I said that you were speaking naively because you were not acknowledging these points (even to deny them), but seemed to be looking for loopholes, such as your “not all sins need be illegal” and “no simple answers” comments.

      • (Since miss ‘certain never answers me, I would like to just use her technique of snarking away from the snipers hide while serious discussion continues around me.)

        Onecertain insists “using science, law, politics, and debate” will yield moral truth between us and within any given society. Whether this moral truth is universal, immutable, and/or objective to onecertain is up in the air, but I have my suspicion she stongly advises against having such views of morality. Despite “using science, law, politics, and debate” Miss ‘certain is repeatedly apt to conclude that there is no room for debate between us, which leaves us (many former liberals and atheists) at the Orthosphere with the realization and wisdom which we have over Miss ‘certain: she believes in nothing more than vilolence to settle the matter, even though there is no real “matter” to settle since morals are not objectively “matter” or energy or substance to her. Although I stongly doubt she has the personal strength to use violence to settle the matter in any way, it is likely that she fully supports whichever “scientist, lawyer, politician, and debater” rouses the strongest emotional loyalties in her. Let us pray that these leaders of hers remain non-violent as long as possible :-)

      • @Earl

        Sorry you feel ignored. Not sure what you really want me to say. We are talking (for the most part) about state recognition of homosexual relationships. The state is definitionally an institution that holds a monopoly on the legitimized use of violence, and even its minor acts (such as recognizing or not recognizing a marriage) have a tinge of violence or a threat of violence to them. We are fortunate to live in a somewhat democratic society where the people have some voice in deciding how the violence of the state is to be deployed. So, what’s your point?

      • I want you to tell us what your meta-ethical views are so that we can get back to “working premises” and address the question of which of your values are rationally grounded, and which are mere enculturation/impulse. Having a discussion about ethical prescriptions is useles across meta-ethical boundaries, so the only way to debate is to get to our core beliefs. Once you do this I am confident you will see that your own meta-ethical views do not support your ethical prescriptions (such as “allow homosexual marriage” but “disallow xyz marriage”).

        I am glad that you have returned so many times to continue the discussion, and your hateful snark has definitely diminished lately.

        You do realize that to deny someone a special social privilige is not to commit violence against them? In our view guys with guns and badges do not beat up gays when they show up in front of the justice of the peace. But please don’t respond to this para, respond to the first. What is your meta-ethical foundation for the arguments you post on the Orthosphere?

      • “I think our working premises are too different to have anything like a productive conversation on this topic. Most of your points seem to me to be obvious nonsense, but obviously they aren’t to you” ~onecertain

        If you still won’t admit that meta-ethics are vital to ethical debate then I hope you will at least begin to understand our own ethical views and see that they are not nonsense.

      • @Roebuck
        What would be the question that you say I am dodging?

        To repeat: Isn’t freedom to sin extremely important to the Christian worldview? Isn’t it the case that God gave man freedom of choice, to choose sin or virtue? If God gives people the freedom to sin, what business is it of yours to try to take that freedom away?

        Since homosexual activity is sin [and it does harm the individual, even if he "can't help himself"], we should not encourage it by declaring that it is legitimate.

        I don’t consider it a sin, and obviously the homosexuals themselves (most of them) don’t consider it a sin. I doubt you or I will be able to convince the other of our respective positions, so the only question is what to do about this conflict.

      • Freedom isn’t something superfluous to actuality that God might have withheld from his creatures. Freedom, power and actuality are a package deal, metaphysically. That’s why they call it “act-uality.” So God didn’t need to say, “I’ll make some creatures, and to keep it interesting I’ll give them freedom, so I can see whether they sin.” He couldn’t have made unfree creatures any more than he could have made square circles.

        As to whether we can reach agreement – perhaps not. But it would be interesting to hear your answer to Earl’s question. *Why* should individuals be free to pursue their own happiness ad libitum? Not that I support tyranny; I’m just interested in the fundamental principles that ground your moral thinking, so that I can understand what it is that enables you to evaluate x as good and y as bad.

      • I must have written over a dozen comments on this post, and almost all of them are about meta-ethics as you seem to be using the term — that is, they are about the nature of ethics, rather than any particular ethical rule such as whether homosexuality is good or bad. If none of that registered, I don’t see much point in repeating myself, you can always go back and read what I’ve already written.

        Or here, I’ll save you the trouble:

        My ethics is based on Hillel’s one-liner version of the Torah: what is hateful to you, do not do to another (aka The Golden Rule). This in turn is grounded, not on reasoning from metaphysical princiiples, but on innate human compassion, which itself seems to be grounded in biology. I have some interest in understanding the naturalistic basis of compassion (eg, maybe it involves mirror neurons) but that is incidental to its role in ethics.

        This meshes quite well with the basic liberal political belief that individuals ought to be maximally free to seek their own happiness (and the quite important seconday belief that if someone else’s happiness happens to cause me discomfort, that is my problem, not theirs – aka tolerance).

      • Mr. Certain says,

        My ethics is based on Hillel’s one-liner version of the Torah: what is hateful to you, do not do to another (aka The Golden Rule).

        On what basis do you believe this to be true? If it is no more than personal preference or feelings, then you have no basis to reject the ethics of another, and you have no justification for why your ethics are better than some other choice.

        We would like to hear the reasons for your belief that your view is correct.

      • Just to sharpen the question:

        Oncertain has never (to my recollection) even acknowledged, let alone attempted to answer, two basic objections:

        One, as Mr. Lewis asks above, How does oncertain know that Rabbi Hillel is correct? After all, there are many opinions about morality; what gives Hillel more authority than someone else?

        Two, Hillel’s rule is literally meaningless unless we already know that what is “hateful to you” is really bad. Many people hate what is good, and opinions differ on what is good. Unless oncertain can identify what really is bad, his rule is meaningless, not simply vague.

        Of course, we are not asking onecertain to give a detailed account of the theory of his ethics. We are just looking for some indication that he is aware of these difficulties, and that he can point to an authority higher than Rabbi Hillel. Because if there is no higher authority, then we are not required to do as Hillel says.

      • Onecertain,

        I don’t think your main problem is a lack of meta-ethic. Your problem is that your conception of “homosexuality” is entirely self-serving and allows you to have no meta-ethic.

        You actually “believe” that homosexuality is the sexual attraction between males.

        But you can’t prove this. This is purely subjective. You are simply taking the homosexual’s word for it and then claiming some kind of objectivity.

        In REALITY, homosexuality is self-annihilating BECAUSE it is a male’s sexual aversion for the female that defines the phenomenon.

        So in essence, your whole argument stands as nothing more than advocacy for self-annihilators.

        You aim to exalt self-annihilators and having no meta-ethic is required to reach your conclusions.

        You are advocating on behalf of those that consciously sin and purposely invite degradation, early death and conscious Oblivion.

        You seek this for ALL.

      • Oh lord, are we going to play the favorite game of 4-year-olds, repeatedly asking “why?” until their exasperated parents tell them “because I said so, that’s why.”?

        Or in your case I guess, “because God says so, that’s why.”

        In my case, my philosophy bottoms out on my lived experience, my observations of how the world works, and my communion with others who share these to varying degrees. And so, that’s why I say so.

        If that’s not enough for you, and you need to invent an invisible sky-daddy to ground your ethics, well, that makes me sad but I’m not sure what I can do about it.

      • My observation of children is that they stop asking “why?” when they hear a satisfactory answer. You have not provided a satisfactory answer.

        You referred to your observations of how the world works. Do the workings of the world include moral laws that are fixed, that is, that man cannot change? If so, how does man know these laws?

      • onecertain,

        That homosexuality is a male’s sexual aversion for female which then leads to self-annihilation is entirely empirical. What does the “skydaddy” have to do with the empirically verified fact that homosexuality is deleterious to the human self, ie, its practice CAUSES degradation and early death.

      • I think I’ve explained myself. Translating my views into your own impoverished vocabulary is your problem, not mine.

        @Thordaddy — Well, either “empirical” has been redefined away from its normal meaning (like “data”), or you have a lot more intimate experience with homosexuality than I would have guessed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

      • onecertain,

        That’s funny because it is your absolute intent to make us “intimate” with homosexuality to the point that you simply propagate the homosexual’s definition of homosexuality. It’s ALL love and you really believe that. Thus, you show us that heterosexuality is under relentless attack from radical liberationists such as yourself and you use “love” as your cover for this attack.

      • See onecertain, the homosexual desires self-annihilation and you “love” him by advocating his right to do so. This is not morality, though. To publicly exalt homosexuality is to publicly exalt self-annihilation. And to cloak this exaltation of homosexuality by dressing it up in the organically derived civilizing byproducts of heterosexuality is plain evil.

      • “I think our working premises are too different to have anything like a productive conversation on this topic. Most of your points seem to me to be obvious nonsense, but obviously they aren’t to you, and I cannot imagine either of us changing our minds… Oh lord, are we going to play the favorite game of 4-year-olds, repeatedly asking “why?” until their exasperated parents tell them “because I said so, that’s why.”?… If that’s not enough for you, and you need to invent an invisible sky-daddy to ground your ethics, well,… that makes me sad but I’m not sure what I can do about it.”

        Right. You’re so sad. I’m sure.

        Let it be remembered: your fear for an intellectual socratic dialogue (dismissed as “4-year old talk”) and your ultimate admission that your ethical premises are totally equal to ours (invented whole cloth; we call our invention sky daddy, you call your invention “Hillel.”) We too speak of experience, observation, and communion with others- the same as in your religion. Let it be known that as far as you have any idea about your own premises, we also understand yours- perhaps more than you- in addition to our own thorough knowledge of our own premises– while you simply can’t be bothered to understand ours any deeper than what’s required to mock it. Who is the intellectually superior open minded one now?

        Perhaps you ought to be banned here. I’m starting to wonder if you’re just a performance act to generate dialogue.

      • @Earl — your fear for an intellectual socratic dialogue…

        I’d love an intellectual socratic dialog, if I get to be Socrates, at least some of the time.

        your ultimate admission that your ethical premises are totally equal to ours (invented whole cloth; we call our invention sky daddy, you call your invention “Hillel.”)

        I’m not sure what you mean by “totally equal”. Obviously I don’t think our ethics are equal in all senses. Whether the difference is in premises or elsewhere is an interesting question. I don’t think Hillel has the equivalent in my scheme as God has in yours, or even close.

        That is, I don’t take his ethical postulate as true because Hillel said it; I take Hillel as a sage because he uttered such a manifestly elegant statement. In fact, it resembles the axioms of Euclid in its simplicity, in how it appears to be an obvious truth, something that practically compels you to believe it, even though it cannot be deduced from anything else. We don’t believe in Euclid’s axioms because of the strength of Euclid’s name.

        I’m starting to wonder if you’re just a performance act to generate dialogue.

        Just a few sentences back you said I was afraid of dialog, now you are accusing me of trying to generate it…make up your mind.

      • Onecertain,

        A Euclidian axiom is a proposition about relationships that can be seen, but a moral judgment is more abstract. It is not about relationships that can be seen.

        Until just a few years ago, human civilization acknowledged that homosexuality was self-evidently sinful. Now your team says that it is self-evidently not sinful.

        Since nothing in the physical world has changed, why has your moral axiom changed?

        So far, you do not have an answer to this question, except to say that your ethics seems correct to you.

        We have been asking you repeatedly to identify why your ethics is correct. You give no answer, except to say that it seems correct to you. But you are not the Supreme Being, and you are just as error-prone and sinful as any of us. Therefore your moral sense is of no value, unless you can point to something valid outside of yourself that vindicates your morality.

        We’re waiting.

      • No, Hillel’s postulate is not exactly the same as a Euclidean axiom, but it is suggestively similar in some ways. Is that so hard to understand?

        You have a very limited notion of what “human civilization” consists of. To cure that, you could start here.

        I already said quite a bit about what I thought ethics was grounded in, and it isn’t merely my personal opinion. If you really can’t grasp it, try reading what I already wrote, so we aren’t both wasting our time.

      • Onecertain,

        I have read what you have written. Your moral authority is yourself.

        Obviously you refer to other persons and ideas when you discuss morality, but they do not have ultimate authority. Ultimately, for you, something is right if, and only if, it seems right to you.

        Therefore we are free to ignore your moral suggestions, and pay attention to authorities that really have authority.

        About the book you linked: The ancient authorities (the real authorities that is, not a few lone writers) always identified homosexuality for what it is: a vice or a sin. Homosexuality was widely practiced in some ancient societies, but it was officially regarded, at best, as something like wife-beating or public drunkenness: widely practiced, and even possessing a sort of folklore of its own, but a vice nonetheless.

      • Onecertain, you really need to avoid certain logical fallacies if you want to be taken seriously as an interlocutor. You should look at three in particular, since they seem to comprise the entirety of your intellectual ammunition: invincible ignorance, argumentum ad lapidem, and proof by assertion. I refuse to argue with you, because you have shown no evidence of being rational, and in such cases I rely on Thomas Paine’s wise counsel: “To argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead,” i.e. a waste of time.

      • Yes, you’re right, I’m wrong: when I said you’re “generating dialogue” I was speaking of trolling, whereas the troll generates dialogue without ever engaging in real conversation. What I meant is that you’re either a troll or a sock puppet. Or you’re some kind of idiot savant with a low IQ but a remarkable ability to parrot random philosophers and mathematicians your professors told you about.

      • @nilakantha108: Wait a minute – you are accusing me of proof by assertion? As far as I can tell, argument by assertion is all your side has offered up. What else are all the flat declarations that homosexuality is just plain wrong? References to nonexistent “data” don’t count.

      • @onecertain: At least you’ve added another logical fallacy to your repertoire, the tu quoque. How can we have a fruitful discussion if you won’t bother to learn the basics of rational thought? A system of morality is an integral part of any comprehensive worldview; it cannot be understood in isolation from metaphysics and epistemology. Can you at least explain why sexual perversion is a good, and how you might know your position is true?

      • @nilakantha108: Just because you know a bunch of fancy Latin phrases doesn’t mean you know how to deploy them to further thought. Your remark is a case in point. The tu quoque is a fallacy if its deployed in as a step in an inferential process, but it’s a perfectly acceptable and normal in everyday debate and discourse. If it is not used as a tool to prove a statement, then it can’t be a fallacy.

        Can you at least explain why sexual perversion is a good, and how you might know your position is true?

        I don’t think I ever claimed that “sexual perversion is a good” (although as Woody Allen almost said, it is if you’re doing it right). So maybe you should stop putting words in my mouth. Maybe there is a Latin phrase for why that is wrong, but it seems a simple matter of conversational ethics to not distort your opponent’s position.

        So, tell you what – if you can explain why homosexuality is bad, and from my standpoint the burden of proof is with those who want to interfere with other’s business, then I will attempt to show why it isn’t. And you must do it without starting with the assumption that it is a “perversion”, because that would be the logical fallacy known as begging the question, which I’m sure you would want to avoid.

      • @onecertain: So we’re having a debate sans inference? Will wonders never cease? If you could manage to put your thoughts into a valid argument form, perhaps I could figure out what you’re talking about. Prima facia, homosexual acts are perverse, i.e. they are acts whose ends deviate from the final cause of sexual intercourse, viz. reproduction. All sexual acts that deviate from this final cause, e.g. oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, contraception, are sexual perversions. Since you’ve posted to a Christian Traditionalist blog where it would be a given that homosexual acts are violations of natural law, I’m afraid the onus is on you to prove that the traditional judgment on homosexual acts is mistaken.

      • @nilakantha108:

        Prima facia, homosexual acts are perverse, i.e. they are acts whose ends deviate from the final cause of sexual intercourse, viz. reproduction.

        Well, it is prima facia obvious that it is not obvious that homosexual acts are “perverse”, or that perversity is a useful moral concept, or that natural law is anything other than archaic nonsense. That is to say, many people don’t agree with those precepts, and while perhaps they are all wrong, you at least have to argue the case, not simply assume that it is obvious that you are right.

        Since you’ve posted to a Christian Traditionalist blog where it would be a given that homosexual acts are violations of natural law, I’m afraid the onus is on you to prove that the traditional judgment on homosexual acts is mistaken.

        If there’s not a fancy Latin name for that — the idea that truth varies according to whatever blog or other venue of writing you happen to be in. and people are excused from making actual arguments for their views, and can take whatever their group takes as given without challenge — there should be.

        And to think a couple of comments ago you were accusing me of argument by assertion. There actually is a name for what you are doing, it’s called projection. Not Latin, but at least it has Latin roots.

      • This sounds like an issue that can only be resolved in a formal debate. Onecertain asks to host a socratic dialogue further up this page. What a wonderful idea. I wouldn’t mind taking up this challenge. Name the forum and the issue. Is there a chat room or message forum where this can be done? Perhaps two separate socratic dialogues in two separate threads, where each has a chance to host & answer. Since I don’t speak latin and I am sure my IQ is just average, perhaps we are on at least a level playing field; nothing to fear from little ol’ me. Perhaps it would be helpful to have someone in our corners– whatever– I don’t care.

      • @nilakantha108: IOW, you can’t come up with a single non-question-begging reason homosexuality is bad, and when challenged to do so you resort to personal insult (if I was to do that to you, it would be a “fallacy” I presume). Pretty lame. Oh well, this thread is way too long already.

    • onecertain,

      How exactly does a radical liberationist form a union of any sort other than to first dispense with his liberated “nature?”

      If the homosexual “nature” is a self-annihilating “nature” then where, when AND especially HOW can a “union” of any sort be formed?

      What exactly is a union of self-annihilating “natures?”

      You call that marriage?

      • Perhaps your characterization of homosexuals as having “self-annihilating “natures” “, whatever that might mean, is incorrect?

      • The self-annihilating “nature” is the “nature” in which the biological imperative is subdued and buried by a desire for Final Liberation via the total annihilation of the SELF. Which is to say, the self-annihilating “nature” IS the homosexual “nature.”

        Of course, you will argue that there is no real homosexual “nature.” But then you will be arguing homosexuality as personal preference. Nature or nurture. It doesn’t change a thing.

        Liberalism is the exaltation of the self-annihilating “nature.” Liberalism is the ideological expression of the homosexual.

      • If homosexuals are bent on self-annihilation, why don’t you leave them alone to self-destruct? Should be a self-solving problem and no concern of yours.

      • We do, and whether or not we do, they will certainly self-destruct. It’s the homosexualists who are not leaving us alone. They are trying to get us to cooperate in their self-destruction. They are trying to force everyone to pretend that the failure to form stable fertile families and so reproduce the species is a perfectly good option for us all. It’s nuts. It’s like trying to get everyone to pretend that amputation as an unforced lifestyle option is perfectly normal and healthy, and we ought all to be forced to pay for such voluntary self-mutialtion. Crazy, right? That would never happen.

      • Onecertain,

        The problem is that just like the jihadists the homosexual activists are hell bent on perpetuating their self-annihilating “nature” and none of us is entirely safe from these evil machinations.

      • @Roebuck: Real ethics can only come from an authority. Such as God. Otherwise, ethics is just a set of suggestions.

        On the contrary, real ethics must come from within, not without. At least for adults – children need external authority, grown persons should not.

        those who disagree are free to ignore your ethics.

        Indeed they are! And I am free to ignore yours, and vice-versa. That’s what freedom is. The alternative is that those who disagree with me are somehow compelled to follow my ethics.

        And before you start, yes, living together in a society means that there does need to be some agreed-upon ethical standards and coercion to enforce them. That’s what government is for. We live in a democracy, which is government for adults who are capable of making and enforcing their own laws, rather than the kind you seem to prefer, which is for children who must be ordered about and compelled by external authority.

      • If ethics comes only from within it is worthless. This is a basic point that you do not acknowledge.

        Saying that “adults” are properly self-governing whereas “children” need to be told what to do is entirely to miss the point: What we should do is not decided by individuals, or else we have anarchy. Ethics is about what people should do, and to say they should decide for themselves is a worthless theory.

        You think you solve the problem by saying that the government coordinates ethics, through some sort of democratic process. But this is a worthless solution. If the majority votes to kill the rich and seize their property, this is obviously invalid. Democracy does not decide what we should do, and neither do individuals. Something else does.

        In other words, saying “be an adult and decide for yourself” is worthless as morality. Decide for yourself in accordance with what principles? If there are principles, then these are outside of and above the individual, as we traditionalists describe morality. And if there are no principles, then the decision is nothing but ego assertion.

        Oncertain, if you’re still reading this, what principles do you base your morality on?

      • Unless it is founded ultimately upon some objective standard of right and wrong, a code of conduct arising from wheresoever amounts in the final analysis only to “what I like and dislike,” and is not therefore a morality, properly speaking, because in no sense is it binding upon anyone regardless of their inclinations, and because it does not in any sense reliably produce true goodness or righteousness.

        It is the agreement of a code of conduct with an objective standard of value that qualifies it as moral, rather than merely adventitious, and that agreement is the source of its authority. Adulthood consists in part in the recognition that morality holds moral sway over merely private wishes, and an acceptance of the obligations it imposes upon us as our private duties.

        Such moral authority as the rulers of society enjoy, or exercise – as distinct from their simple power to compel – derives entirely from their agreement with and evident enaction of the moral law implicit in their society, both in their persons and in their judgements. It is their personal righteousness and political justice that earn them the love and loyalty of their subjects, and embue them with glamour and charisma.

      • Alan, he (or she?) already answered that question. As I said long before you guys bloviated (word not used in disrespect), he doesn’t even know his own premises.

        He is dutifully studying Wikipedia’s meta ethics right now. Expect it to take a while to work through that :-) When he figures out there is really only non-sense and God-sense, he might be back. I know he admits there there is no sense in ethics– “just act like an adult” suffices for him in his intellectual de rigueur; I know he admits there is nothing but violent force behind his ethics– and no rational reasoning behind his positions; he does not yet understand what he admits. He’s more like a child than he would have us believe.

  7. Let me make a counter-contribution.

    As someone who follows several radical traditionalist blogs, the thing I find most annoying about the Trad-catholic mindset is that they seem to view the world of liberalism as simultaneously a contemptible cesspit and an all-powerful totalitarian state. In essence, they are both proud champions of truth and brave, martyr-like victims.

    It makes honest opposition much less fun than it otherwise would be. There is enjoyment to be had in overcoming a powerful adversary, but no one respects someone who whines when they lose.

  8. I would be surprised by your question, but I’m well aware of how my religion has been presented in the West. Just think how you would feel if the population of China believed that the Christianity taught by the left wing of the Episcopal Church was what Christianity really is. As an orthodox (or perhaps Orthodox) Christian you would be caught somewhere between derision and despair. That’s pretty much my position regarding what is taught as Buddhism in Europe and the United States.

    I reject homosexual practices because my religion explicitly teaches that they are sinful. Among the moral commitments made by a Buddhist, the third prohibits sexual misconduct. Among other things, sex between members of the same sex is explicitly prohibited, as well as any sexual activity using “inappropriate body parts,” i.e. the mouth, the anus, the calves or thighs pressed together, and the hand in motion. So, since I’m by no means clever enough to find a way around the teachings, and since casuistry gives me gas, I remain chaste.

    • To be fair: Buddhism isn’t presented much at all in the west– not from my experience living in several parts of the U.S. as a working class gen-X. A few people here and there talk about it, but in the West it perhaps gets lumped in with common conceptions about new-age religion-y stuff.

    • By the way, what school of Buddhism do you follow? Given the link I assume it is Theravada but I am not sure. I always had an easier time believing in Theravada than the other sects.

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