Rebirth of Reason

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Post 0

Sunday, June 30, 2002 - 11:12pmSanction this postReply
“The growing signs of change…” could that be? Did I not, just ten years ago, have an ashtray on every table? (For those too young to know, this was a small dish with cigarette shaped rests in which to place ashes and cigarette butts. These were sold in every store.) And now do I not open the door for the offending addict, through rain, sleet or heat of sun, and boot him out to smoke alone and friendless. The smoke bothered me not when I sat with six friends who were all ‘lit’ up. Now, ten years later, I can’t bear the smell on someone’s clothes. What could have changed the majority’s (my) attitude from full ‘arms out’ acceptance to narrow ‘boot out the door’ intolerance? Good question, and can the same be used to change the majority view, of homosexuality as a perversion, to sexuality as a ‘free expression’ of sex in any form?
The seventeen year old son of one of my best friends ‘came out of the closet’ a few months ago. My friend cried for weeks, not in judgment of her son, but in fear of what life would deal her ‘baby boy’, and though she never said, I believe she cried for her own lost dreams. She’s better now, though still sad, and is in the process of changing her dreams for him…one day at a time.
I believe the greatest warriors in the battle of change are the families that, brought up to be prejudiced, suddenly find themselves the parents of a retarded child, the grandparents of a child of another race, the moms of a homosexual child. These families through their own empathy take on the war. Like a mother bear, protecting her cub, these are fierce fighters. Big problem! Each fights their own individual war when the real war is huge and encompasses the whole of prejudice.
How can a homosexual that has known the backlash of prejudice still ‘hate blacks’? How can the black man look down on the homosexual? How can they both be repulsed by the mentally ill man screaming on the street corner? Why should society change their views if the oppressed become the oppressors?
Is it humanly possible to eradicate prejudice? My mind says ‘no’ but my heart says ‘yes’. One day at a time

Note: I am just a beginner as far as knowing what Objectivism is about. I had never heard of it a year ago, and now because my son is attempting to live by this philosophy, I am keeping an open mind, and taking baby steps, one day at a time.

Post 1

Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 6:05amSanction this postReply
I can't abide this division of people into "gay" and "straight". I don't feel these categories are honest. Why do people create roles for themselves? Honesty is what attracted me to Objectivism in the first place. The feeling of many Objectivists that homosexuality is, somehow, "not right" stems, I believe, from the dishonesty of homosexual role-playing, including the imitation of heterosexual romantic love, which is itself a created construct. Nowadays this insistence on the normality of homosexuality goes so far as to make demands on the government to subsidize and sanctify a form of marriage that doesn't take account of the real differences between the homosexual and heterosexual life as practiced today.

In ancient Greece, homosexuality was seen as a subset of human desires, not as an identity. A man could have a wife and family and have an attachment to - usually younger - men. Today, that situation would be seen as dishonest. Just the opposite, I believe, is true. Until people stop pretending that homosexuality is just inverted heterosexuality, suspicions will attach to any declarations of "gay" identity.

Post 2

Wednesday, September 18, 2002 - 9:27pmSanction this postReply
Robert: Can you clarify what you mean by this statement:

'The feeling of Objectivists that homosexuality is, somehow, "not right" stems, I believe, from the dishonesty of homosexual role-playing, including the imitation of heterosexual romantic love, which is itself a created construct.'

What "dishonesty" are you referring to? What do you mean when you say that heterosexual romantic love is "a created construct"?

The impression I get from your comments is that you believe it is wrong for homosexuals to live together in a monogamous relationship, but OK for a married man to have a homosexual lover on the side!

Post 3

Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 10:00amSanction this postReply
Hi Derek!

I think I know what he means because I have seen this debate alot. There are many who view the Ancient Greeks as a model for modern homosexuals to imitate or to uphold. The Ancient Greeks, as Speirs correctly points out, did not have the same dichotomies we have. Notice how in the nineteenth century men like Oscar Wilde (and quite a few of his circle) called themselves "Uranians", were deeply influenced by the Greeks and were usually immersed in Hellenic Studies, i.e. Oxford. BTW: "Uranian" was one of the terms they used to describe themselves, and it was taken from the Greek God Uranus who had children without a female being involved. I mention that only to show how indebted they were to the Greek "sense of life".

Aristotle is famous for his observations on human habits, and one of special interest here is his assessment of the difference between mating habits (which is natural) and habits that are not natural (such as same-sex). HMMM Could Aristotle be the originator of the modern notion that homosexuality is not natural? Possibly, the PARTICULAR DIFFERENCE is that he did not associate any moral judgment to natural facts. IOW he did not say that because men have sex with one another (and he even described what gays recognize as "tops and bottoms") they are immoral! He said that reproduction was the more natural because it produces life. Notice Aristotle does not say that straight people are MORAL, NORMAL, or anything like that. He said that a particular kind of sex was natural in that it led to reproduction.

NOW it wasn't until much later that the descendents of Greek thought began to add moral categories to sexuality. The discourse about "nature" that the Emperor Justinian included in the new Codex outlawed homosexual practice BECAUSE it was not natural THEREFORE immoral. They had come along way from Aristotle and the Ancient Greeks, they were Christians.

The idea of romantic love is not Greek. It is an heritage of Latin tradition. Although you have Greek stories like Pyramus and Thisbe or Hero and Leander, they are not quite as intense as Romeo and Juliet. They are myths. Notice the root of "romantic" is derived from Latin. The idea that the Objectivists have (or at least N Branden had in his earlier book on Romantic Love) is that it is superior because it brings all kinds of "advanced" human capacities into a relationship, a unique bond between two people (usually male-female) and a glorification of that relation as superior and profoundly moral. The Ancient Greeks would say HOGWASH. They didn't even treat women with respect. OOH this is going to bring up all kinds of questions:) It was not until after the fall of the Roman Empire that Western culture (now I mean Northern Europe) began developing what we call "romantic love" or a meeting and mating of two souls, i.e. Abelard and Heloise. Branden would go beyond even that and really get so intense with Rand that love almost reverted back to Platonic love. Imagine that.

Finally, why SHOULD modern gay people adopt the strange customs of "romantic love" when they feel more comfortable using the pattern(s) of Ancient Greece like Eros, "Platonic love", etc.? If "romantic love" is a pattern set by and for straight marriages (notice how all of the traditional symbols include male-female never or at least rarely same-sex) why should gay people adopt such forms and concepts? And why should the form of "romantic love" be viewed as a higher species of the genus love? I am sorry I agree with my favorite Maened Camille Paglia, that is, I side with the pagans. BTW: I have Greek blood too LOL

Post 4

Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 10:04amSanction this postReply
Btw Derek I side with you on other things, and I love your articles, but I find Speirs argument in his comment intense and very provocative. Hopefully we mere mortals will one day know more about these wonderful things.

Post 5

Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 10:20amSanction this postReply

Speirs, why should gay people not adopt some of the aspects of Ancient Greek love and integrate them with elements of modern "romantic love"? I do not wish for anyone to think that N Branden himself has not evolved his earlier arguments, Just for the record, I have read various forums where he has come out clearly on posts as a completely benevolent and supportive gentleman. He was at one time a major voice in Objectivism but it would not be benevolent of us to say that an Objectivist can NEVER evolve because they all bound, like Athena, directly from the head of Zeus. HMM isn't that a Greek myth?

Post 6

Friday, September 20, 2002 - 1:06amSanction this postReply
Thanks, Anthony! It'll be interesting to see whether the redoubtable Mr Spiers returns to answer our questions.

BTW, I'm most flattered that you like my articles. :-) Feel free to e-mail me if the mood takes you.

Post 7

Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 3:12amSanction this postReply

Interesting stuff. Am I right that when you talk about "platonic love" and "romantic love", you're talking about the forms of the relationships? Or are you also saying there's a difference in the emotion.

As I think anyone who's ever had a crush on someone would know, the feelings you can have for someone can be extremely intense. It tends to block out other potential relationships. The other person is constantly on your mind, and you lose your desire for other people. I don't know how long this phase can last, but this kind of intensely directed emotion is powerful stuff. I can't imagine emotions have changed since the Greeks, so I have to assume that it existed then. It seems odd that this wouldn't have SOME impact on their relationships.

In this sense, "romantic love" (if I understand your terminology right) fits in well with these kind of feelings, because the love is so personal and intense. I can't see this kind of feeling in a society of "platonic love". Maybe I'm not creative enough. Or maybe the emotion wasn't considered important? Or maybe you're using it in a very different sense then I'm aware?

Of course, when you talk about "romantic love", I get the impression you're adding a lot of baggage on that idea. Specifically, you say romantic love "is a pattern set by and for straight marriages". I can't imagine what you're referring to here, but I wonder if it's an essential? Sounds almost like saying Capitalism is whatever the US practices. Maybe you can clarify what you mean by romantic and platonic love, and then describe why romantic love seems to bias "straight marriages".

Post 8

Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 9:52amSanction this postReply
Hi Joe!

These are very good questions that you ask and I certainly don't want to sound like the last word on an area that comprises so much contention and variance. I do however know that the concepts that evolved over time with regard to Greek (hereafter Gk.=Greek) myths have been in fact highly "modernized" by which I mean they have been stylized to meet the needs of modern social constructs. This is in fact quite readliy demonstrable of many modern concepts, if we take for example, your own use of the term capitalism. There is quite a mythology surrounding IT and you know if you study it historically, that it has undergone quite an evolution as entertained by economists and mythologizers alike. Look at the way capitalism has been distorted by its enemies and supporters.

The idea of Gk love that I was referring to has a very elaborate background. I say that "romantic love" is certainly not a Gk concept. They had a concept called "hieros gamos", sacred marriage (whence our hierogomay). In mythology there are many examples of hieros gamos of which one in particular, the marriage of Zeus and Hera, demonstrates the union of CREATIVE PRINCIPLES. Hera is the protector of house and hearth (the primordial myth of the woman's place) while Zeus is the paterfamilias, in the sense that he is protector of something like an extended family. There is no reference here to "romantic love" in the modern sense. In the hieros gamos, the Gks celebrated a ritual in which a male and female principle would be chosen to represent this union of creative forces. It was (in modern parlance) a one night stand in which the community celebrated the principle of a sacred marriage. To mention "romantic love" in the context of Gk studies would be an anachronism. The foundations of Gk male/female unions are fertility, sexual compatibility, suitibility, and even economics (cf. Xenophon's ch. on "Vice" in Oeconomics). I would think emotion is somewhere in there but not the exclusive force.

In the fifth century, when much of Gk culture was unified, there was a great variety of forms (or what you referred to as forms)of love. Aristophanes poked fun at the idea of same sex unions. Why? Because Gk males could engage in the male/male act but, they were expected to reproduce. The union of two males in a relationship was not at all what we today would call a "gay relationship". It constituted a highly prevalent form of relationship, but it had MANY varieties. The concept of "Platonic love" is found in its philosophic form in Plato's "Symposium" and is deemed, in the end, the highest form of love by Plato. Again it was not a "romantic love" at all, it would be a misprision to even consider it in this light.

Also if you consider a society such as that of the Gks., it is so different from Christian (Northern European) society, that at times it hardly appears related. One of the central concepts that underlies "romantic love" is the presence of a SOUL, and perhaps even a concept of CONSCIOUSNESS (which possibly came into philosophy in the modern sense, through St. Augustine). Rand speaks of this in ITOE and was very reluctant to attribute it to previous history. I would think that a modern concept of consciousness would have some importance in "romantic love" of the Objectivist kind. Without a strictly circumscribed area of precise dilineation and concept formation you cannot come up with the concept of "romantic love" that Rand's philosophy promotes. In fact I would challenge anyone to even find an explicit treatment of same sex ROMANTIC LOVE anywhere in Rand's writings. We are treading on new ground when we speak of an Objectivist version of same sex romantic love.

In 1994, the late John Boswell, a scholar of same-sex unions in the ancient world attempted to show (Same-Sex Unions In Premodern Europe) that in the Middle Ages both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches sanctioned and sanctified same-sex unions. This is a very controversial topic. Camille Paglia criticized the study for reasons including Boswell's scholarly methods. It is very possible that some degree of Ancient Greek love and Christian notions of the union of souls was present in these same-sex marriages. Branden defines romantic love as "a passionate spiritual-emotional-sexual attachment between a man and a woman that reflects a high regard for the value of each other's person." But how can you have a concept of value without a concept of consciousness? By introducing "values", "mutual outlook", "sense of life", and "individualism" into the discourse, Branden moves away from the set notions of love in Western traditions. I think that there is some legitimate case for understanding adulterous relationships in his concept of romantic love because it is SO individualist. Would you call Romeo and Juliet individualists in the Objectivist sense?

Branden's book (The Psychology of Romantic Love, 1980) almost reads like an unspoken apology for adultery if you know the full context and then approach it from a traditional "romantic" point of view. I am almost tempted to say that Rand and Branden represented (for a brief period of time) the highest category of romantic love. HA imagine that! In my opinion Branden wrote a great apology (in the formal sense), but he should have reflected a great deal longer on what he meant by it. The enormous fluidity in his notion attempts to subsume the entire history of Western tradition WHEW. You can even see Gk concepts integrated into it, but who was Zeus and who was Hera? Rand may have played both roles at one time, as well as Branden. That is why I think that homosexual love or gay love COULD be included in Objectivism because it involves an enormous amount of CREATIVITY and a statement of INDIVIDUALISM vs TRADITION. Perhaps even an act of defiance ("coming out")In fact I think that Stonewall flows naturally from the tradition of LIBERTY. I view it as an evolution not a revolution. A series of events with contracts as well as some violence. As you will see I am very defiant and resist handing over GAY LIBERTY to Marxist Liberationists who want to appropriate GAY for the collectivist movement(s). They tend to see GAY exclusively as a revolution, or a series of acts of violence that ignores contractuality completely. You will see what I think of that in my forthcoming article on Richard Goldstein's "Attack Queers".

As far as casting modern gay relationships into a traditional concept of "romantic love" I agree with Speirs that it is far too constricting. "Romantic love" minus the heavy tradition, possibly. Joe, you and Derek are pushing ME in that direction:) I like the idea, but it has to be evolved carefully and consistently. Again I do not wish to appear as an authority on it (yet), and I know that it is a groundbreaking area of research. Five years ago could you have imagined an article like what Sciabarra wrote appearing in an Objectivist context? An installment? This site is exploring a new universe in my opinion. A giant step for mankind. I think I will write article on it. There are two levels in which this can be examined. First, it is important as you and Derek stress, to analyze same-sex, same-sex unions, gay relationships, etc. within the larger CONTEXT of human experience(s). Secondly, it is valid to isolate it scientifically (empirically if you like) in order to determine its constiuents or essential components. Please allow me your further thoughts and reflections, I value your ideas very much!

Post 9

Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 10:40pmSanction this postReply
As long as I have been around objectivist circles (and that began in the mid-1960's listening to NBI lectures in the Los Angeles area), there have been gays involved. Rosalie Nichols was a burgeoning objectivist intellectual (I have to admit that I was attracted to her before I was aware that she was gay and was a friend of hers for many years thereafter--I lost contact with her around the late 1970's) wrote several pathbreaking essays at the time on Indian rights to land (she was a Miwok Indian) and the contradictions within objectivist and Rothbardian property theory regarding American Indians.

She wrote quite a bit of excellent poetry and authored a number of essays on homosexuality from an objectivist standpoint, largely in the periodical edited by her called LESBIAN VOICES. I think that there is a lot more that was in the undercurrents in objectivist circles than was openly admitted. Certainly in objectivist circles in the Los Angeles area, there were bisexuals and gays who were pretty much open about their orientation. Perhaps the most prominent of the objectivist gays was Roy Childs, Jr.

Just a thought.
Just Ken

Post 10

Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 9:38amSanction this postReply
Wow! Interesting reading here and lots to think about.

Anthony, I'm looking forward to your promised articles on this topic! *grin*

One intriguing point that was brought up, by Robert Spiers I believe, is that a sexual orientation isn't an identity as such. I'm not sure what he meant by what he wrote, but I am interpreting it as the fact that humans all have the potential and will in their lifetime probably enjoy many different kinds of sexual, romantic, and platonic love with partners of either sex. I don't think there is this strict line of gay or heterosexual and I don't think a sexual orientation defines who we are personally. There is a function and reason for all the forms of love that we recognize today. They are all different and serve different purposes in our lives at various times.

I'm probably grossly oversimplifying the entire issue, but it's always seemed simple to me. LOL!

Anthony, you brought up another interesting point I haven't considered -- I'll quote two bits of what you wrote:

" To mention "romantic love" in the context of Gk studies would be an anachronism. The foundations of Gk male/female unions are fertility, sexual compatibility, suitibility, and even economics (cf. Xenophon's ch. on "Vice" in Oeconomics). I would think emotion is somewhere in there but not the exclusive force."

My first thought was that the foundations you bring up in fact do bring up powerful emotions. Those items you mention -- fertility, sexual compatibility, economics bring about the emotion, and it can be very strong, even highly exclusive force!

Later on, you went on to say that:

"Also if you consider a society such as that of the Gks., it is so different from Christian (Northern European) society, that at times it hardly appears related. One of the central concepts that underlies "romantic love" is the presence of a SOUL, and perhaps even a concept of CONSCIOUSNESS (which possibly came into philosophy in the modern sense, through St. Augustine)."

Here we get to why those forces bring about such strong emotion -- the ability to place value judgments on the relationship. I think I'm not saying this well. LOL!

Because we are conscious, reasoning creatures (okay, some of us are :), we get postive feedback from our emotions when we adhere to reason, seek and pursue our own highest values and this includes in personal relationships. The sexual attraction, compatibility, happiness come about from seeing (valuing) what we see in a potential partner which can include their fertility, looks, economics, way of dealing with the world.

I'm definitely looking forward to more on this subject! :)

Joy :)

Post 11

Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 10:41pmSanction this postReply
Hi Anthony,

I'm getting the impression that when you talk about "romantic love" vs. "greek love", you're referring to the type of relationship that was promoted as good. Sound about right?

So you can think of marriage as a bringing together of two souls in love, or you can think of it as an arrangement where two people can raise children, share resources, and cooperate intimately in life. Or maybe, should we marry for love or money?

It's interesting that you think the greek love is more compatible with being gay. I say that because we can see two views of marriage even in our culture. One is the romantic view, where you should do anything for love, and if the love dries up, you get out. And then there's the traditional marriage, where you must stay together even if you don't like each other, for the sake of the chidren, propriety, security, or whatever. Of these two, the traditional seems to be more closely linked with the greek style of marriage. The marriage isn't mainly an end in itself, but a means towards other ends. It's also similiar to arranged marriages in some countries.

As an aside, it's interesting that the "traditional" forms of marriage often have a duty-based ethic backing them up. Yes, you may not like the person you're with, but live with it anyway!

So why would same-sex relationships now be more like this greek version of love? It seems if anything, the romantic style of relationship is the one that would be most compatible with a same-sex marriage. It says love is the end, and nothing else really matters in comparison. There are no duties, no "proper" roles, etc. Although I guess there are relationships halfway inbetween.

The only thing I can think of is your point about the concept of consciousness or soul. The whole "soul-mate" thing. Are you suggesting that homosexuals don't generally accept that belief?

As you can see, I'm still not sure what the baggage attached to romantic love is that's incompatible with same-sex relationships.

Post 12

Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 3:53pmSanction this postReply

Thank you for asking so many questions. I do realize that I have not yet defined what I mean about "romantic love" and I want to go back there. You brought up the question of emotion and whether or not it is the same today as it was for the Greeks. Now you are getting closer to what I originally meant by understanding the way Greeks thought of marriage. Bisexuality was more the norm in Greece. Greek men took boys in their care and nurtured their minds. They also had sex with them. Scenes of intercrural and anal sex are found in Greek painting. These activities did not in any way prevent these men from engaging in sex with their wives as well. Today this would be considered horrible by many. In fact we are not too far beyond the ideas of the Victorians. Oscar Wilde was a "Greek" in this sense. He was married and had two children by his wife Constance, and yet he was drawn to a young student at Oxford (Lord Alfred Douglas) with whom he had a relationship. I suppose that some of Oscar's notoriety is due to this "Greek" pattern which modern people (especially Victorians) find uncomfortable or conflicting. It would seem quite contradictory from the point of view of romantic love as well. One of the characteristics of romantic love is exclusivity.

It is no good to speak of emotion in the abstract. If emotions are not directed toward something then it is hard to measure them and gage their intensity. When someone asks you if you are a passionate person, you may be right to ask "passionate about what?" In romantic love, the intensity of the emotion is much stronger because the love is directed at a single individual. If someone were to say that they love everybody the same way, aside from being a Mother Teresa, you might think that this person's claims were untrue, certainly not romantic. Now if these things are true and the emotion is more intense in romantic love, then it may be stated that the Greeks did not share this degree of emotion in love. This is not to say that the Greeks were not passionate or did not have emotions, but because they were differently aportioned, they were probably less intense.

Now I still stick to my idea that romantic love came into western society at a much later time. It did come AFTER Justinian's Codex outlawing same sex as a Greek vice of ancient pagan times. Those laws remained in place for the majority of Western history. I would assume that in general all forms of romantic love and union up to modern times were coded by heterosexuals. I am not saying that there was never a same sex union with passionate intensity, I am saying that most same sex unions in Western societies were closeted because they were illegal. When Rand wrote about romantic love she did not consider the homosociality of her male characters as latently homosexual. In fact I think in her journals she explicitly denies this kind of relationship as a valid inference. In this sense I think she was very wrong and even ignorant (unaware) of the intensity of homosexual monogamy. In fact I find Ken's comment (above) about gays in Objectivism very interesting.

Again I stress the idea that romantic love (which includes the sharing of values) needs some concept of the unity of consciousness. In Homer's Iliad you find he had no single word to characterize consciousness. He uses psyche, thymos, and noos indiscriminately. You can see this in Aristotle's writing as well. It may very well be the case that Christianity (St. Augustine's "Si fallor sum") laid the foundation for a modern sense of love (that soul-mate thing you spoke of).

Now when I speak of Greek forms of love, I am conscious that I am treating it as a historical group of facts. I think Speirs was right to say that the Greeks did not view their same sex activities as exclusively identity forming. I do not agree with his idea that all modern gay relationships merely ape heterosexual relationships. The heaviest "role playing" was in Greek man-boy love, which incidentally was very identifiable. Modern gays who self-identify in fact present a huge range of creative relationships. Gays do not receive a manual on how to be gay when they are born. If some of them rely on heterosexual relationships as a model, there is nothing wrong with that.

Speirs seems to think that because gays "role play" and ape heterosexual relationships, that they should not be sanctified by the government. He also said subsidized by the government, which I don't think should happen anyway. In Athens man-boy love was crucial to the formation of young men into citizens and thus played a great role in their society. It did then have some identity and I would not share Speir's view that it had NO identity. I do agree with you Joe that gay relationships have the potential for romantic love and I guess you're right about the baggage compartment being overweighted. The baggage is tradition, the law, and social prejudice.

I'll say one more thing. Before the abolition of slavery, any given white man and any given black man could have considered each other as equals by nature. They may have felt like brothers, identical in their sense of life and recognizing that the only difference was a bit of hemoglobin. It was law, custom, tradition, and social prejudice that bound one of them in chains. Today the law has gays chained up as well. A straight man can be my friend, my equal, and share my sense of life, even my bed, but one of us is not completely legal.

Post 13

Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 9:52amSanction this postReply
All of this information was very interesting. Thanks for posting it, it has helped me with my law project about whether homosexuals should be a able to marry. A lot of incite and information. I hope on day homosexuals will be more excepted throughtout the world

Post 14

Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 10:09pmSanction this postReply
"How can the black man look down on the homosexual?"

I ask myself (as a bisexual) this question every day. It makes no sense to me how black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans can be against homosexuality--as they often are. It's irrational for anyone, but for someone who has experienced prejudice, first-hand to later use it against another category of people is absolutely absurd.

Post 15

Sunday, January 18, 2004 - 9:30pmSanction this postReply
Thanks for the article Chris. I'll see you down at the gay bar next week. Don't forget to bring the KY jelly ;)

Post 16

Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 4:31amSanction this postReply
Lorna, Robert, Derek, Anthony, Ken, Joy:

How can the black man look down on the homosexual?

Because the black man is black by nature. It is not a chosen state, and, therefore morally irrelevant. Homosexual behavior is chosen, as all human behavior is chosen. It also happens to be contrary to human nature, and since it is chosen, it is also morally relevant.

When a person decides to live rationally, avoiding self-destructive behavior, choosing not to be controlled by their desires but to be in control their desires, like those for drugs, or sex, or any of the other passions men use as excuses to behave irrationally, they have a right to look down on those who do not.


Post 17

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 3:32pmSanction this postReply
Regi, that's just short-sighted and sloppy. I'm usually apt to give you the benefit of the doubt when you come up with stuff like that, but THIS one is just sad.
Here's why:

1. Homosexuality is manifestly NOT "contrary to human nature" or it would not occur in every culture, time-period, and religious/ideological segment, that has ever been studied. Homosexuality can no more be 'contrary to human nature" than it can be to ANIMAL nature. (same-sex 'mating' occurs quite frequently among many animals, as has been amply studied. I'm NOT trying to draw a direct parallel bewteen human and animal 'sexuality' -- but YOU seem to be:

What I assume you are referencing, by your short-sighted 'contrary to human nature' idea, is the notion that human 'sexuality' is innately REPRODUCTIVE in function, or purpose. False. Reproduction is (at most) a 'potential side-effect' of the human sex act. Observe that humans are fundamentally different from most other animals, in that we do not have a definite "breeding-season". OUR females and males CAN (and do!) have sex even during their "non-fertile" times. Humans (unlike most other animals), are "sexual" in a qualitatively different way: we are not stimulus-response 'breeding machines'. What we are, instead, are beings possessing a volitional consiousness.
Thinking Rationally is (in case you yourself have forgotten), acknowledging -- AND acting in accord with -- the facts of Reality. As such, your provincial "homosexuality is contrary to human nature' argument is more befitting the delusions of a fundamentalist Christian (who accepts the idea of "celibacy' as a human ideal, and tolerates the sex act ONLY in the confines of a church-sanctioned marriage, and SOLELY for the purpose of breeding the next generation of slaves.)

I can tolerate many things: but sloppy argumentation is NOT one of them. Come on, Regi, attempt to make the claim (implicit in your stance on homosexuality) that the sex act itself should only 'rationally' be undertaken for the purposes of BREEDING (and just debase us to the level of the lower animals, while you're at it.)

Ah, I feel better now.

Post 18

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 3:50pmSanction this postReply
The idea (coming from Aristotle, sadly), that homosexuality is somehow "un-natural" because it doesn't produce life -- is pretty stupid. Aristotle was mistaken about very many things, but he DID give us a decent ground-work (and we should all remember that.)
Here's a few examples of where Aristotle went disastrously wrong:

1. defense of slavery, on the grounds that some humans had "lesser natures" and were therefore not to be allowed 'full citizenship".

2. The notion that the Ideal State must act POSITIVELY to 'help' it's citizens achieve the "good life". (This idea has been REALLY influential in Leftist circles. can you say "welfare state?")

3. Aristotle (like most ancients, sadly), looked down on 'men of commerce". He saw traders and other 'businessmen' as somehow lower/less noble than (say) warriors or "statesmen" (government functionaries.)
Now, you can pretty much see how Objectivism and Aristotelianism are diametrically opposed on certain topics. Let's just all admit that Rand's opposition to homosexuality was a bout of uninformed/misinformed irrationality (probably stemming from bad information.) Rand's sexual premises seem to consist of "dominance of the man" who "conquers a woman worthy of being possessed". She talks WAY TOO OFTEN about "ownership" of one party by another (albeit in a metaphorical sense.) This is a disgustingly priggish notion, and is unworthy of somebody as consistently lucid as she way. (Of course, there were other gaffes, as well.)

Homosexuality is no more "un-natural", than any other human act. (I am, of course, using "nature" in it's correct -- broad -- sense...the sense that Francis Bacon intended when he said "nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
A false dichotomy between the "natural" and the "artificial" is the basis of the Environmentalist delusion.

We need to be REALLY careful, lest we repeat the disgusting mistakes of others. ARI is already too close to Christian Fundamentalism, in it's actions, for my taste.

Post 19

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 4:04pmSanction this postReply
Quote: "Homosexuality is no more "un-natural", than any other human act."

Is it morally good, though? If not, why choose it?

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