Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Sexual and Non-Sexual Moralities and Mandates
We'll look at two sets of thought experiments here. The first will focus on the potential hypothetical morality of homosexual, with the challenge being to come up with a reason why it is wrong. The second will deal with the potential hypothetical morality of mandatory association, with the challenge being to come up with a line to draw.
If you know the proper answer to both of these scenarios already--and outside of the context of this place, they are very, very easy answers--the true value of considering them side by side will be, as it often is, to consider the similarities, both latent and actualized, in the ways that modern western evil is being expressed. Through different pretentious terminologies and mutual hatred, western civilization is doing what it always does: being pretentious, hateful, and very, very smug.
On The Morality of Homosexuality
This first example will hypothesize a homosexual act occurring in controlled circumstances, e.g., an environment bereft of any of the negative correlations to homosexuality that are typically employed in arguing against it. What we tend to see in anti-homosexual arguments is--just as in the totalitarian arguments of so-called Social Justice Warriors--that the "correlating factors" are not actually important to the people who use them as self-justification or verbal leverage, because what is really driving them is their desire for power. Bigots want to control others' behavior, so they take their "ick factor" at homosexuality or exclusive socializing, and allow it to motivate them to act like jerks, even though they are only really able to express their ick factor by falsely correlating the ick they feel with partial arguments (arguments treated as though they are the origins of the belief, rather than window-dressing).
Having employed this elsewhere and been resultingly censored and banned, I've had the parameters of the experiment confirmed, namely, that it is impossible to raise a non-subjectively-supernatural objection. But I'd be interested to be proved wrong, so here's the example:
Frank goes to high school, marries his high school sweetheart, and they have three sons together. Frank goes through ROTC, gets his commission and assignment, and moves his family to Ramstein. His wife lives at home and devotes herself to the children and to building strong relationships with the other officers' wives. A few years later, Frank is promoted and transferred to Colorado. A couple years later, he leaves the service, starts a technical publishing house, and lavishes attention on his wife and children when he is not working. When his sons get a little older, they all volunteer together at the local homeless shelter, and for Christmas, the family donates ten grand to the same shelter, forgoing all but small gifts for members of the household.
In his early thirties, Frank's wife introduces him to Eugene, and Frank feels a strange stirring of physical attraction to Eugene, the likes of which he has never felt before, nor wanted to feel. His wife thinks Eugene is great for some reason, so she keeps having Eugene over for supper. She has been reading gay fanfic erotica passed around by some of the other ladies in her book club, and confesses to Frank that she thinks it would be really hawt if he and Eugene got together. Her fantasizing about it creates a weird improvement in their sex life, which had been diminishing of late as they aged and grew ever more familiar with each other.
One night, after landing a major account and helping his older son with his calculus homework, Frank has a drink with Eugene, and they begin considering having sex. Frank, who always thought he was religious, conservative, and straight, realizes that he is going to go through with his urge. He realizes his wife set it up, from the way she winked at him before leaving brandy on the counter and rushing to bed. However, he isn't willing to risk illness, so he and Eugene travel to a 24 hour medical facility and are tested for being clean of all known STDs. They then return home, whereupon they each use antibacterial enemas, shower in separate showers with harsh antibacterial soap, put on three condoms each, and have an anal quickie.
Frank and Eugene embrace, talk about how great Frank's wife is, and part ways. When Frank goes up to bed, his wife is awake and perky, and so turned on by the playing-out of her fantasies that she fingers herself until 1 in the morning. They fall asleep arm in arm.
A week later, Eugene is hit by a drunk driver on the way to work. Frank and his wife attend the funeral, give each other pained looks, then agree not to mention Eugene ever again. They raise their sons, enjoy their grandchildren, and die happily in their 80s.
And the question is, Why was what Frank and Eugene did that one night wrong?
Analyzing the Frank/Eugene Experiment
It's easy to answer the question, "Why is homosexuality wrong?" without really answering it. You simply need to use partial arguments as fetishes to represent your own ick. Some of these can even be true. For example, if homosexuality is wrong because of coprophagia, then is homosexuality right if there is no coprophagia involved? No? Okay, then coprophagia isn't relevant to the case at hand. Then, if homosexuality is wrong because of pedophilia, is it right if there is no pedophilia involved? No? Okay, then pedophilia isn't relevant to the case at hand. If homosexuality is wrong because it prevents the formation of wholesome families and community structures, is it right if it only occurs as a completely private matter between consenting adults within a context of nuclear families dwelling in a homogeneous community free of other problems? No? Et cetera.
Ultimately, we are left with nothing except, "It's wrong for supernatural reasons we can't understand, and we should blindly condemn it even if our consciences speak otherwise," or, "It's wrong because the example is impossible, and it's impossible that Frank and Eugene could only do it once, responsibly and cleanly, and that no one else would mind, and that it wouldn't otherwise destroy someone's life, or at least a little part of it." The latter response is invalid, because even if it's impossible, the correct logical response to the thought experiment would be to answer, "There is nothing wrong with that scenario, were it to happen." Then, you can discuss impossibilities separately--but you have already admitted that, morally-hypothetically, the act itself is not wrong, and would be completely acceptable if it were possible to dissociate it from various sources of collateral damage.
On The Morality of Forcing
I want the raspberry-lemon... discussed another guise of western tyranny, namely, forced association. Just as using armed police forces to raid and punish gay businesses in twentieth century America--and to fine, license, re-zone, harass, and otherwise destroy them--was justified by standards of community morality, the 2015 movement to use armed police forces to raid and punish non-gay businesses justifies itself identically.
(If you're not up on American gay history, there is a rich tradition of the predecessors to today's state and city governments, and police agencies, of using all of those tactics--fines, fees, zoning, overt and subtle harassment, and of course, deadly police raids--to brutalize and destroy gay businesses throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Murdering or raping homosexual prostitutes, murdering or raping transvestites and transsexuals, or just breaking into a bathhouse and brutalizing a bunch of gay men for the crime of trying to "create their own safe space" in violation of community norms, were mundane enough activities for American cops even after the American Civil Rights Movement.)
One of the problems with tyrannies by the majority is that they're always so popular. And the demented, backward holdouts--be they gays using a secret knock and word-of-mouth-only policy to try to hide their gay gym in Little Italy from the fiercely homophobic police sergeants of old Manhattan, or the little family bakery in Topeka that doesn't want to put two plastic grooms on a single cake--are always, of course, perverted Others whom everybody hates because those dummies just don't understand how valid today's public morals are.
The Scientistic faith in "progression" (whatever the hell that is...I guess it has something to do with how many ounces they'll shave off my iPhone next year) makes NeoDark Scientism, like Dark Ages Christianity, utterly convincing to its adherent conquistadores, such that they are always convinced, each stage of the way, that they're liberators, not conquerors, bringing the shining light of truth and justice by forcing their gospel on a bunch of unwilling flyover morons.
With that in mind, I propose a set of thought experiments asking those who believe in armed intervention to force social justice to specify the degree to which they're currently willing, or not willing, to go. We'll run the whole spectrum, from "Obviously!" to "Obviously not!" Then, we'll try to reconcile how moving from just one step to just the next step can seem so natural, just, and obvious to a person living on a step that has already been established. More importantly, we'll tease out the underlying nature of what is happening in both this set of examples and the last set (the Frank/Eugene homosexual act one), and examine how they are merely different forms of the same drive for the bad kind of power.
The set will be subdivided into the following categories: The Mortal, concerned with physical/mental existence; The Strictly Personal, concerned with non-mortal mental and bodily affairs; The Strictly Business, concerned with trade which leans toward the "need" side of the economic spectrum; The Entertaining, concerned with trade that lies completely within the "optional" side of the economic spectrum; and, The Strictly Esteem, which moves back out of the economic spectrum and into the personal, yet seemingly non-existential areas of concern.
(Travelers, note how the overall spectrum set forms an infinite loop, in the sense that one seems to be moving away from ultimate internal concerns, even though the continued logical progression of concern-types leads right back into the ultimately intimate. Keep an eye out on yourselves, also, because subjective thoughtform distortions will run high at any point during which one tries to rationalize the imposition of an absolute boundary at any point along the spectrum, which spectrum is itself actually quite sinuous.)
The Mortal: is it just, proper, and moral to use government power to force:
1) People to die when their visual appearance offends others?
2) People to die when their unspoken beliefs offend others?
3) People to die when their spoken/written/communicated, but not acted upon, beliefs offend others?
4) People's bodies to be altered when their visual appearance offends others?
5) People's minds to be altered when their unspoken beliefs offend others?
6) People's minds to be altered when their spoken/written/communicated, but not acted upon, beliefs offend others?
The Strictly Personal: is it just, proper, and moral to use government power to force:
1) A woman to have sex with anyone who wants to have sex with her, even when she doesn't feel like having sex right then?
2) A woman to have sex with anyone who wants to have sex with her, so long as she is otherwise ready to have sex (perhaps with a partner she personally chose)?
3) A woman to have sex with a member of a different racial or ethnic group than she would otherwise want to have sex with?
4) A woman to have sex with a person older than she would otherwise want to have sex with?
5) A woman to have sex with a person weighing more than she would otherwise want to have sex with?
6) A woman to have sex with a member of a different sex than that she would otherwise want to have sex with?
7) A woman to have protected sex with someone who has a nasty STD with a 0% chance of transfer when proper protection is used, even though the woman still feels squeamish about the idea?
8) A woman to have sex with, have children with, marry, join finances with, or grow old together with a person who is of a different race/sex/sexuality than she'd prefer, and/or a person shorter, fatter, balder, less intelligent, less funny, or less interesting than her personal bigotry would otherwise cause her to pursue/accede to?
9) A woman to prove, through extensive written records and supporting outside documentation which appeals to community standards and legal precedent, that her decision to have sex or not have sex with a particular person is based on acceptable non-discriminatory variables? And, 10) should any such discriminatory variables be considered acceptable?
Pretty easy to say "No" throughout all of these, isn't it? The sacred, untouchable spaces of current mores are as obviously, logically inviolable as different ones were to, say, twelfth-century Brahmin. Does it matter if it's a democracy requiring a fit 24-year-old black woman to have sex with a bald, corpulent, 5'1" 66-year-old white man from Georgia who has severe facial scarring and breath that smells like old boots? What if it's a hereditary monarch doing the deciding? A representative counsel of the most learned matriarchs in her district?
Really, does it matter? Well, are you ageist? Do you support fat shaming? Are you some kind of totalitarian?
Does it matter if it's the woman's "first time"? What about if it's the man's first time, and he's going to die untouched and unloved without it? What if the woman has slept with everyone else in town except that one nasty old fat dude with the breath, but she and the rest of the town have systematically discriminated against that man because of his genetic breath condition (which isn't his fault) and his genetic weight condition (same) and his age (same), etc.?
What is the principle which forbids you to compel the woman to associate the inside of her vagina with that man? Does it matter how many other partners she's let in there? Does it matter if she once put a cucumber up there on a dare? Does it matter if she's always incredibly clean and careful with her vagina, or if she works as a stripper and regularly lets strange men fondle it? What about if she works as a prostitute and regularly lets strange men penetrate it? What makes her vagina sacrosanct, such that you feel it must be free of government interference? Whatever that principle is, keep it in mind.
The Strictly Business: is it just, proper, and moral to use government power to force:
1) Proctologists to manually inspect, study, and diagnose the anal and rectal conditions of patients who, for any reason, appear gross to them?
2) Proctologists to prove, through extensive written records and supporting outside documentation which appeals to community standards and legal precedent, that the reason they didn't choose to see any given patient was because of scheduling issues or assumed unfamiliarity with the presenting symptoms, rather than because they just couldn't stand to look at Patient X's ass for some personal gross-out discriminatory reason they don't feel like talking about?
3) Grocers to permit unclothed people to handle and sniff and lean over produce in their markets?
4) Grocers to permit people with open sores or bleeding wounds to handle and sniff and lean over produce in their markets?
5) Grocers to permit people who sneakily pick their noses to handle and sniff and lean over produce in their markets?
6) Grocers to permit people who don't wash their hands after using the bathroom to handle and sniff and lean over produce in their markets?
7) Grocers to prove, through extensive written records and supporting outside documentation which appeals to community standards and legal precedent, that the reason they asked someone to leave their markets was because of a cleanliness issue, and not for some other reason?
8) Grocers to prove, through extensive written records and supporting outside documentation which appeals to community standards and legal precedent, that their own instincts regarding customer cleanliness are accurate all the time? Or 9) a majority of the time?
The Entertaining: is it just, proper, and moral to use government power to force:
1) Therapists who were abused as children to counsel people who abuse others and who are attempting to learn how to stop being abusers?
2) Therapists who were abused as children to counsel people of the same assumed sex, race, height, weight, or character traits as the person(s) who abused them as children?
3) Therapists to prove to a government panel that they were actually abused as children, and severely "enough" according to that panel's opinion, before they are allowed to discriminate against potential patients?
4) Therapists to conform to a more stringent standard of patient selection than a grocer does customer selection?
5) Restaurateurs who were abused as children to admit and serve people of the same assumed sex, race, height, weight, or character traits as the person(s) who abused them as children?
6) Restaurateurs to prove to a government panel that they were actually abused as children, and severely "enough" according to that panel's opinion, before they are allowed to discriminate against potential patients?
7) Athletic coaches to provide picture(s) of their abuser(s) to a government panel in order that the panel may adjudge whether or not potential trainees resemble the abuser(s) enough to justify allowing the coach to refuse to coach them?
8) Restaurateurs who feel threatened by someone, though without childhood abuse by someone sharing that person's assumed characteristics, to serve that someone?
9) A community of Shakespeare aficionados and business partners to open a nightclub which only allows in people in Shakespearean dress as they define Shakespearean dress?
10) A community of Shakespeare aficionados and business partners to prove to a government panel, through extensive written records and supporting outside documentation which appeals to community standards and legal precedent, that their definition of "acceptable Shakespearean period or modern Shakespearean aficionado-style garb" is historically or culturally correct?
11) A community of steampunk aficionados and business partners to have to do the same, but with "steampunk" substituted for "Shakespearean"?
12) The taxpayers of any given community to pay $7.85 from each one of their paychecks in order to fund a government panel of previously-unemployed humanities majors and faux-counter counter-culture experts (budgetary plus notes from the city council meeting: "Nominees' skill sets seem to overlap") to regularly evaluate all theme nightclubs located within the vicinity of their community to ensure that such nightclubs' interpretations of acceptable sub-culture garb are appropriate and non-discriminatory?
(Can you imagine the process of international news media focusing in on a small community testing out such a law in court for the first time? The voir muta during the dimpaneling process alone would be staggering! Not to mention the three-day-long precedent-citing battle between the steampunk club's and the barred zeppelin pilot team's expert witnesses. "Your honor, may I have a sidebar to discuss the declining appeal and current inappropriateness of flyboy-monoggles during a standard train robbery campaign in the Neo-Prussian wastelands?")
13) Stupid, uncreative people, or congenitally honest though bigoted people, to be targeted by a law for which their stupidity or honesty causes them to be the only people unable to easily avoid it by citing unverifiable childhood abuse?
The Strictly Esteem: is it just, proper, and moral to use government power to force:
1) People to smile at those at whom they would not otherwise smile?
2) People to compliment those whom they would not otherwise compliment?
3) People to give "at least one date" to those whom they would not otherwise date?
4) People to laugh at jokes delivered in a volume quieter or louder or differently-timed than that of speech which they are normally comfortable at hearing close-up, if it can be proven by a government panel that different subgroups (as defined by different government panels) of people tend to speak, or to be perceived as speaking, in different ways?
The Closed Loop
Down here at the end, we see the ways that milder and milder impositions upon a person's freedom start to look sillier and sillier--and yet, more and more personal. By the time we're at "The Strictly Esteem," we're touching upon the most intimate territory of a person's mind and self, bringing us closer around the infinity symbol to the sacrosanct issue of a woman being forced to have sex by that same government panel.
Where, then, do we draw the line? By posing any series of questions like this one, we handily destroy the rationalizations for modern society. It's completely, totally, and obviously wrong, of course--lightning from the heavens--to permit a deli owner to serve people he thinks are white, but to not serve people he thinks are black. And yet, it's also completely, totally, and obviously wrong--earthquakes roil the land, mountains are in upheaval, and heads roll--to require a white woman to sleep with a black man.
But, but, whine, there's a difference, right? Okay, so one is "commercial." Then...what if the woman is a prostitute? Should she be required to accept black clients? (That's not a hypothetical issue, as plenty of white escorts, including boys, screen out black men because of their anecdotal or communal experience of a rougher penetration and an objectifying cultural attitude.) Is it, then, acceptable to force the woman's vagina open?
If you're dissuaded by the idea of considering anything in a sexual context, change it to a woman who offers private tutoring. Maybe she's a math teacher at a community college, and on the side, she makes a few bucks by privately tutoring high school students for their college entrance exams. Does she do it at the public library? No, let's make it even more interesting: she does it in her home. Let's say that one day, she turns down a session with a 6'5" 300 lbs. black football player because he scares the hell out of her. Or an aboriginal American gentleman of similar size. Or a white one who is really nice and gentle but who is big and has a stupid hick accent that makes her nervous because she's seen on the teevee about people from the rust belt.
Her tutoring is commercial, because she gets paid and is a professional, but it's also intimate, because she does it in her home (and also because Woman, but the example works either way). And yet, little Miss Violet, who weighs 97 lbs. dripping wet, is about to be served papers by the big dude she wouldn't tutor. She's going to lose her teaching license and her job, never get rehired again, and by the time the local PTA finishes discussing the lawsuit at meetings, she'll never tutor in the tri-state area again.
Fair? Just? Reasonable? And what's the difference between that and restaurant service? Does it matter how many other customers are in the restaurant at the time? Does it matter how physically strong or confident the manager/servers are? The potential customers?
Sacred cows come out here in force, because no one wants to let some idiot Klansman refuse to serve blacks, but at the same time, we wouldn't think of requiring a Chinese masseuse to accept black clients that scared the crap out of her...or would we? Okay, then we should also force gay men to date middle class white women who think that gay men are way hawt and stylish. And attractive lesbians to date and sleep with as many men as they do women in order to avoid discriminating sexually against said men. "Open up, girls--it's quota day, and there sure are a lot of them out there!"
And yet, we don't want to do that. So there is a sacred cow in there somewhere--that magical point where we cross the line between, "Send in the police! That person must be forced to associate because he's discriminating wrongly!" and "How dare you take away someone's ability to discriminate! The police will protect that ability with deadly force if necessary!"
If Bigotry is Illegal, Only Criminals will have Bigotry!
If you're really clever, you figured out that conundrum long ago. Most westerners reflexively crow in favor of wherever the sacred line arbitrarily was, and are shocked at your stupidity for questioning the position and rationale of the line. For clever liars, the "economic transaction" idea was once used to justify the line, but the "economic interference only" promise was a lie in the service of social injustice. Since then, the lie has moved consistently around the spectrum, they murdered MLK for noticing the lie's irrelevance in the face of endless bankers' war, and our resultant confusion has allowed only the most evil and clever of the bigots to thrive. Nazis, to use the obvious example, occupy an exorbitantly disproportionate position in finance, government, media, law, and medicine, but while critically analyzing African American employment disparities relative to population share is mandatory, critically analyzing Nazi preponderance in those same areas is mockable suicide--whether it be fiscal, social, or via an unfortunate car accident, prescription drug overdose, or something similar that, whatever the case may be, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Mossad.
We're not going to cure anyone with a chart in the Socratic style, because, like the approach of all cognitive dissonance by rhetoric, the one reading the spectrum lists above will use laughter and mockery to prevent the encounter of thought and antithought. The actual bigot desperately needs her categories to make sense of the world, whether those categories represent an inability to judge black diners, white restaurateurs, or potential sexual partners as individuals.