Thursday, August 13, 2009

Don't Define Yourself By One Issue

This morning I figured something out. In private conversations about homosexuality, I've expressed my own opinion that I feel it's immoral. As a result, I was called homophobic, intolerant, old-fashioned and a variety of other terms (I don't really mind old-fashioned). Now, I've known a decent number of homosexual people, and liked some of them. I realized the ones that I've liked, don't define themselves by their sexuality and put it in everyone else's face. I don't share what goes on in my bedroom with my wife, and I don't expect other should either.

Phobic means and irrational fear. My judgment that homosexuality is immoral is neither irrational nor a fear-it's an opinion founded in my core values. I don't treat others badly because I disagree with their morality or lack thereof (homosexual or otherwise), so I shouldn't receive snap judgments from those who disagree-it's hypocrisy.

I also realized that I also dislike when others who define themselves by one issue pounce on me when I show the slightest disagreement. Vegans and extreme environmentalists come to mind. Instead of thoughtful debate or even respectful disagreement, you get demagoguery. Folks like this don't worry about offending people who disagree with them, but lambaste whomever opens his mouth in the slightest dissension.


Fredo said...

I'm very interested in your post and certainly share in some of your frustration. Being derided as intolerant, when you voice opposition to something that you have rejected from both an intellectual and moral standpoint, is a defense mechanism that people use to avoid the reasons behind your feelings. Rather than engage in discourse (that MAY result in the other person feeling that they have a moral imperative to change their path if there is logic to your argument), it's easier to simply call you a bigot and keep on keepin' on.

It's interesting that you bring up the vegan and the environmentalist as two other examples, b/c those are situations when the shoe is on the foot. These are folks who have their own strongly based moral convictions and feel YOU (and I) are doing something immoral. And yet the situation, to your point, is somewhat different, in that you do not define your person by your status as a "meat eater" or a "gas guzzler." Fun things to do, for sure, but there are probably other values that lie closer to your heart.

The main question that was left in my mind after reading your post was this: is your bigger problem the fact that some homosexuals seem to define their existence around their sexual orientation; or is it that those people deride you as a bigot?

The first question is a complex one. Who's to say that the weight these folks apply to their orientation, as a component of their "personhood," is incorrect? That they should, in fact, care less about it? I actually feel that it should be less, but I'm interested in your reasons for thinking so, b/c you didn't lay that out in your post.

The second question is, IMHO, a no brainer. The "bigot" angle, like the "you're a fascist" tagline that liberals like to sprinkle around in political arguments, is simply an ad hominem approach to avoiding conversation. It's ignorance dressed up as courage.

dark commenteer said...

Apparently, they cut you off at 4,096 characters so this comment will be in multiple parts (and makes it longer than almost anything I wrote in college...):

In today's society, anyone that does not fully embrace any and all minority views is labeled a bigot. It's an easy label to throw on someone that I feel is highly offensive but does not carry the same stigma as what are referred to as "slurs," whether ethnic, racial, or belief-based.

It's a "safe" word because it's used by minorities that are "persecuted" by the majority. "Bigot" is used almost as a shield or crutch in an arguement, debate, or confrontation. It shows a true lack of imagination or understanding when used haphazardly.

Getting back to Beast's post, I have known many gays and lesbians (never met a transgendered individual so I must lead a closed, segregated life that does not thrive on diversity and freedom of expression--sorry, sidetracked...). Anyways, I have found them to be like most other people I know: generally nice, concerned with themselves, and with specific ideas regarding different people and beliefs. Some are very up-front about their orientation (as MB noted) but I know many people that are as combative about their primary self-identifing trait and I find all of them to be annoying and closed-minded. These people are very hard to have any discourse with because they are always pushing their agenda so I try to avoid interacting with them as much as possible.

Brace yourself 'cause I'm about to drop some statements that would probably get me lynched in certain areas or by certain groups.

I actually have pity for homosexuals because they are mistakes. I can back this up with basic biology: the primary function of any organism is to pass its genetic material to the next generation. It is a primal necessity that manifests itself in animals as a sex drive. We are attracted to members of the opposite sex so that we will be urged to procreate and complete our genetic mission (which opens up the Pandora's Box of fidelity and promiscuity debates). Homosexuals do not have this drive and therefore would be selected out by nature.

This carries over to either side of the choice vs. nature debate of the roots of homosexuality. Some argue that they were "born gay" and have no choice in their atrraction. Okay, fine--I'll buy that. But it means accepting that nature has also decided that they should not pass on their genes (for whatever reason). Remember, this is science talking here and not any judgement or condemnation. If you want to say that homosexuality is a choice, then it is a conscious decision to ignore the prime biological directive of all life.

dark commenteer said...

Part 2:

The counter-arguements are numerous but flawed. The anti-biology points usually focus on the fact that humans can now reproduce through artifical insemination so gays and lesbians can pass their DNA on to their children. This actually proves the point further because it points out the need for the genetic material of the opposite sex. And, yes, straight couples sometimes need the aid of fertility medicine to have kids but sometimes that fails as well--usually because there is a genetic problem that interferes with viable pregnancy (again proving the point that genetic problems weed themselves out of the genepool).

"But there are plenty of animals that have shown well-documented homosexual behavior so clearly it's a natural occurence!" Very true, but those animals either exhibit bi-sexual behavior or their genetic line ends with them, making them biologic failures (haven't seen any bonobo fertility clinics where they do their own artiicial insemination in the jungle--maybe I just haven't watched enough Animal Planet...). That argument also demeans humans by saying we are on the same mental level as animals. Yes, we are all susceptible to biological drives (need to eat and drink, seek shelter, have sex) but we also have free will and make choices to behave like higher beings.

Another arguement states that when gays do have children the percentange of incidence of homosexuality is the same as the general population. Again, this is backed by biology because not all traits are passed on to every generation--otherwise, straight parents would never have a gay child.

As for the anti-choice arguements, they also tend to go back to the fact that science has overcome these potential hurdles. Again, you still need the other sex to create a viable fetus. No matter how hard you try, two sperm or two eggs will never fertilize--sorry. The other arguement is "Priests, nuns, and other religious figures as well as many ordinary people choose not to have children. Does that mean that they are 'flawed' since they are not beholden to the 'great biological imperative?'" Not at all. Many people opt to not have children (or sex) for numerous reasons but they also have the option to change their mind at any moment. Plenty of priests and nuns have left the faith to raise families and many other people decide later in life to have kids. And those that do not often struggle with maintaining their celibacy.

I'm sure I've missed points over the length of this disorganized, rambling missive but the important point is this: from a strictly scientific standpoint, homosexuals are broken (or at least flawed) and cannot reproduce. And for that reason, I feel bad for them. Sorry that you got dealt a lousy hand...

ManBeast said...

Part of it is I've heard the argument that "I was born this way" or "I can't change my base feelings." It's interesting how those same arguments don't apply the other way. If I express deep-rooted distaste for sex between two men, I'm expected to change the way I feel.

I define myself in many ways: a Christian, a man, a father, a husband, an American. My sexuality is only a small part of who I am. It's also a private part of my life that I don't feel the need to share, promote or defend. I'd much rather concern myself with other things.

You make an interesting point about the vegan/environmentalist aspect. Those folks express righteous outrage, which I can at least logically understand, as they feel their cause is morally founded. What I don't get is the righteous outrage from groups whose cause is not morally founded. It's also true that meat-eaters and gus guzzlers don't generally don't get all up in arms about their side of the issue.

ManBeast said...

D.C.- I understand your reasoning, but I wouldn't go so far as to call people mistakes. We're all flawed in many ways.

ManBeast said...

Oh, I forgot to mention, I have the same beef with people who define themselves only by their race. Except, this gets even worse because of the brutality of the past. Guys like Al Sharpton get legitimized by the self-reinforcing logic that everything bad that happens to a black person is because he is black, and if you question it, it's because your a racist. This then is pointed out to be another bad thing that has happened to a black person because he is black. I'm not saying there is no racism. There is. We should try to eliminate it. But, the existence of racism doesn't mean everything bad that happens to a minority is because of it.

dark commenteer said...

MB--I'm not saying that a person is a mistake, per se.

My point is that their "condition," if that's how they want to refer to it, is--from a strictly biological standpoint.

As far as racism goes, it really is a double-standard perpetrated by the media.

A few months ago, a Columbia University professor found a noose outside his office and it was front page news for a few days because of the racial implications.

The other day, four black marines broke into the house of one of their commanding officers, a white sergeant who was married to a black woman. They robbed the couple then hog-tied the sergeant and made him watch as they assaulted his wife with a vibrator. The assailants then attempted to set the couple on fire by setting a shirt on fire using the stove. When that failed, they shot the couple execution style.

This story was buried on page 20 of the Daily News yesterday. What if it was a black sergeant married to a white woman and the attackers were white? You can bet it would be a "hate crime" and would be national front page news.


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