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The Bright Side of Homosexuality!

 
 
Reply Sun 15 May, 2005 10:50 pm
Homosexuality! Woo-hoo! ?

Is there A Bright Side to Homosexuality?

I've heard that many scientists, artists, geniuses, and famous people of the past were homosexuals or bisexuals. A much higher proportion than the general population, per capita.

Is there a Bright Side to Homosexuality?

Well I heard one Bright Side of Bisexuality is that it immediately doubles your potential number of sexual partners out there?

I feel quite hetero. I've never had a homosexual experience nor desired it. But I feel people have a right to do what they want in the privacy of their home in this area. I can't really understand why the homosexual lifestyle would bother anyone that isn't a homophobe?

It seems the homosexuals have more to fear from the heterosexuals that want to harm them, than the heteros have to fear from the gays?

Heck, I'm heterosexual and these heteros who are so worried about getting rid of gays, these heteros kind of creep me out! Why are they so obsessed about someone else's sexuality?

Who has the time or energy to go busybodying about the sex lives of strangers?

This seems almost sick? --> To be overly concerned about the sexual orientation of others--isn't that some kind of sickness in itself? I mean who really cares?
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 May, 2005 11:03 pm
Extra Medium, homosexuality has the bright side that when it works, that is to say when two men or two women are in love, there is happiness. The dark side of homosexuality is the suffering gays endure because of the limited consciousness of homophobes.
0 Replies
 
extra medium
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 May, 2005 11:08 pm
JLN,

Yes, that is difficult to argue with.
What could be wrong with two people loving one another?

Surely there are much worse problems on earth for us to solve.
I move that we focus on doing things like ending world hunger and wars.

Then, later on if we have time, perhaps we could make it wrong for people to love one another and other terrible stuff like that. Twisted Evil
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 May, 2005 11:10 pm
Smile
0 Replies
 
val
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 May, 2005 01:34 am
Since you are talking about bright and dark side of homosexuality, don't forget the raising violence between homosexuals couples. Now, for my experience as jurist, "domestic" violence between homossexual couples is not very far from violence between hetero couples.
0 Replies
 
Marquis de Carabas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 May, 2005 03:33 am
val wrote:
don't forget the raising violence between homosexuals couples.


Don't be naive, the violence has always been there. Now that the couples are being recognised more and more however it transforms magically from "assault" to "domestic violence". Or the cases would simply go unreported for fear of the relationship coming to light.

As sad as it is to admit, no group in society can claim perfect relationships. Homosexual relationships suffer the same difficulties and sorrows as any other (except I suppose accidental pregnancy).

I'm surprised you didn't realise this yourself.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 May, 2005 04:48 am
Re: The Bright Side of Homosexuality!
extra medium wrote:
This seems almost sick? --> To be overly concerned about the sexual orientation of others--isn't that some kind of sickness in itself? I mean who really cares?



Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

-- H. L. Mencken
0 Replies
 
Sanctuary
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 May, 2005 05:01 am
Re: The Bright Side of Homosexuality!
Setanta wrote:
extra medium wrote:
This seems almost sick? --> To be overly concerned about the sexual orientation of others--isn't that some kind of sickness in itself? I mean who really cares?



Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

-- H. L. Mencken


Nice.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 May, 2005 12:17 pm
I would think that society as a whole would benefit from the legalization of homosexual marriage. I think that the world-wide universality of marriage in all its forms results from its function of minimizing the violence between men for women. Imagine what society would be like without marriage, without an institution that gives men and women a legal "monopoly" over the sexual capacity of certain others. Men would certainly fight for women much more than they do now (I'm ignoring for now the paternity rights over children defined by marriage).
I would think that the nihilistic environment of homosexual predatory sex as seen in public plases (rest rooms, parks, bath houses, bars) with its accompanying violence would be greatly reduced by the institution of homosexual marriage. I know a number of male and female homosexual couples whose long-term relationships could serve as models for heterosexual society.
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extra medium
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 May, 2005 12:40 pm
val wrote:
Since you are talking about bright and dark side of homosexuality, don't forget the raising violence between homosexuals couples. Now, for my experience as jurist, "domestic" violence between homossexual couples is not very far from violence between hetero couples.


No problem. Actually I think your quote re: '"domestic" violence between homossexual couples is not very far from violence between hetero couples.' is just another reason to allow homosexual marriage.

I mean, we're saying they're "not very far" from heterosexual relationships, right? Great. So what's the problem? They are almost the same! Thank you!

I like the line: "Yes, I think we should legalize homosexual marriage. Let them be miserable like the rest of us."
0 Replies
 
Discreet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 05:29 pm
Heres a really good post that i don't think is biased but brings up some good points see what you think

A really, really, really long post about gay marriage that does not, in the end, support one side or the other
Unlike most libertarians, I don't have an opinion on gay marriage, and I'm not going to have an opinion no matter how much you bait me. However, I had an interesting discussion last night with another libertarian about it, which devolved into an argument about a certain kind of liberal/libertarian argument about gay marriage that I find really unconvincing.

Social conservatives of a more moderate stripe are essentially saying that marriage is an ancient institution, which has been carefully selected for throughout human history. It is a bedrock of our society; if it is destroyed, we will all be much worse off. (See what happened to the inner cities between 1960 and 1990 if you do not believe this.) For some reason, marriage always and everywhere, in every culture we know about, is between a man and a woman; this seems to be an important feature of the institution. We should not go mucking around and changing this extremely important institution, because if we make a bad change, the institution will fall apart.

A very common response to this is essentially to mock this as ridiculous. "Why on earth would it make any difference to me whether gay people are getting married? Why would that change my behavior as a heterosexual"

To which social conservatives reply that institutions have a number of complex ways in which they fulfill their roles, and one of the very important ways in which the institution of marriage perpetuates itself is by creating a romantic vision of oneself in marriage that is intrinsically tied into expressing one's masculinity or femininity in relation to a person of the opposite sex; stepping into an explicitly gendered role. This may not be true of every single marriage, and indeed undoubtedly it is untrue in some cases. But it is true of the culture-wide institution. By changing the explicitly gendered nature of marriage we might be accidentally cutting away something that turns out to be a crucial underpinning.

To which, again, the other side replies "That's ridiculous! I would never change my willingness to get married based on whether or not gay people were getting married!"

Now, economists hear this sort of argument all the time. "That's ridiculous! I would never start working fewer hours because my taxes went up!" This ignores the fact that you may not be the marginal case. The marginal case may be some consultant who just can't justify sacrificing valuable leisure for a new project when he's only making 60 cents on the dollar. The result will nonetheless be the same: less economic activity. Similarly, you--highly educated, firmly socialised, upper middle class you--may not be the marginal marriage candidate; it may be some high school dropout in Tuscaloosa. That doesn't mean that the institution of marriage won't be weakened in America just the same.

This should not be taken as an endorsement of the idea that gay marriage will weaken the current institution. I can tell a plausible story where it does; I can tell a plausible story where it doesn't. I have no idea which one is true. That is why I have no opinion on gay marriage, and am not planning to develop one. Marriage is a big institution; too big for me to feel I have a successful handle on it.

However, I am bothered by this specific argument, which I have heard over and over from the people I know who favor gay marriage laws. I mean, literally over and over; when they get into arguments, they just repeat it, again and again. "I will get married even if marriage is expanded to include gay people; I cannot imagine anyone up and deciding not to get married because gay people are getting married; therefore, the whole idea is ridiculous and bigoted."

They may well be right. Nonetheless, libertarians should know better. The limits of your imagination are not the limits of reality. Every government programme that libertarians have argued against has been defended at its inception with exactly this argument.

Let me take three major legal innovations, one of them general, two specific to marriage.

The first, the general one, is well known to most hard-core libertarians, but let me reprise it anyway. When the income tax was initially being debated, there was a suggestion to put in a mandatory cap; I believe the level was 10 percent.

Don't be ridiculous, the Senator's colleagues told him. Americans would never allow an income tax rate as high as ten percent. They would revolt! It is an outrage to even suggest it!

Many actually fought the cap on the grounds that it would encourage taxes to grow too high, towards the cap. The American people, they asserted, could be well counted on to keep income taxes in the range of a few percentage points.

Oops.

Now, I'm not a tax-crazy libertarian; I don't expect you to be horrified that we have income taxes higher than ten percent, as I'm not. But the point is that the Senators were completely right--at that time. However, the existance of the income tax allowed for a slow creep that eroded the American resistance to income taxation. External changes--from the Great Depression, to the technical ability to manage withholding rather than lump payments, also facilitated the rise, but they could not have without a cultural sea change in feelings about taxation. That "ridiculous" cap would have done a much, much better job holding down tax rates than the culture these Senators erroneously relied upon. Changing the law can, and does, change the culture of the thing regulated.

Another example is welfare. To sketch a brief history of welfare, it emerged in the nineteenth century as "Widows and orphans pensions", which were paid by the state to destitute families whose breadwinner had passed away. They were often not available to blacks; they were never available to unwed mothers. Though public services expanded in the first half of the twentieth century, that mentality was very much the same: public services were about supporting unfortunate families, not unwed mothers. Unwed mothers could not, in most cases, obtain welfare; they were not allowed in public housing (which was supposed to be--and was--a way station for young, struggling families on the way to homeownership, not a permanent abode); they were otherwise discriminated against by social services. The help you could expect from society was a home for wayward girls, in which you would give birth and then put the baby up for adoption.

The description of public housing in the fifties is shocking to anyone who's spent any time in modern public housing. Big item on the agenda at the tenant's meeting: housewives, don't shake your dustcloths out of the windows--other wives don't want your dirt in their apartment! Men, if you wear heavy work boots, please don't walk on the lawns until you can change into lighter shoes, as it damages the grass! (Descriptions taken from the invaluable book, The Inheritance, about the transition of the white working class from Democrat to Republican.) Needless to say, if those same housing projects could today find a majority of tenants who reliably dusted, or worked, they would be thrilled.

Public housing was, in short, a place full of functioning families.

Now, in the late fifties, a debate began over whether to extend benefits to the unmarried. It was unfair to stigmatise unwed mothers. Why shouldn't they be able to avail themselves of the benefits available to other citizens? The brutal societal prejudice against illegitimacy was old fashioned, bigoted, irrational.

But if you give unmarried mothers money, said the critics, you will get more unmarried mothers.

Ridiculous, said the proponents of the change. Being an unmarried mother is a brutal, thankless task. What kind of idiot would have a baby out of wedlock just because the state was willing to give her paltry welfare benefits?

People do all sorts of idiotic things, said the critics. If you pay for something, you usually get more of it.

C'mon said the activists. That's just silly. I just can't imagine anyone deciding to get pregnant out of wedlock simply because there are welfare benefits available.

Oooops.

Of course, change didn't happen overnight. But the marginal cases did have children out of wedlock, which made it more acceptable for the next marginal case to do so. Meanwhile, women who wanted to get married essentially found themselves in competition for young men with women who were willing to have sex, and bear children, without forcing the men to take any responsibility. This is a pretty attractive proposition for most young men. So despite the fact that the sixties brought us the biggest advance in birth control ever, illegitimacy exploded. In the early 1960s, a black illegitimacy rate of roughly 25 percent caused Daniel Patrick Moynihan to write a tract warning of a crisis in "the negro family" (a tract for which he was eviscerated by many of those selfsame activists.)

By 1990, that rate was over 70 percent. This, despite the fact that the inner city, where the illegitimacy problem was biggest, only accounts for a fraction of the black population.

But in that inner city, marriage had been destroyed. It had literally ceased to exist in any meaningful way. Possibly one of the most moving moments in Jason de Parle's absolutely wonderful book, American Dream, which follows three welfare mothers through welfare reform, is when he reveals that none of these three women, all in their late thirties, had ever been to a wedding.

Marriage matters. It is better for the kids; it is better for the adults raising those kids; and it is better for the childless people in the communities where those kids and adults live. Marriage reduces poverty, improves kids outcomes in all measurable ways, makes men live longer and both spouses happier. Marriage, it turns out, is an incredibly important institution. It also turns out to be a lot more fragile than we thought back then. It looked, to those extremely smart and well-meaning welfare reformers, practically unshakeable; the idea that it could be undone by something as simple as enabling women to have children without husbands, seemed ludicrous. Its cultural underpinnings were far too firm. Why would a woman choose such a hard road? It seemed self-evident that the only unwed mothers claiming benefits would be the ones pushed there by terrible circumstance.

This argument is compelling and logical. I would never become an unwed welfare mother, even if benefits were a great deal higher than they are now. It seems crazy to even suggest that one would bear a child out of wedlock for $567 a month. Indeed, to this day, I find the reformist side much more persuasive than the conservative side, except for one thing, which is that the conservatives turned out to be right. In fact, they turned out to be even more right than they suspected; they were predicting upticks in illegitimacy that were much more modest than what actually occurred--they expected marriage rates to suffer, not collapse.

How did people go so badly wrong? Well, to start with, they fell into the basic fallacy that economists are so well acquainted with: they thought about themselves instead of the marginal case. For another, they completely failed to realise that each additional illegitimate birth would, in effect, slightly destigmatise the next one. They assigned men very little agency, failing to predict that women willing to forgo marriage would essentially become unwelcome competition for women who weren't, and that as the numbers changed, that competition might push the marriage market towards unwelcome outcomes. They failed to forsee the confounding effect that the birth control pill would have on sexual mores.

But I think the core problems are two. The first is that they looked only at individuals, and took instititutions as a given. That is, they looked at all the cultural pressure to marry, and assumed that that would be a countervailing force powerful enough to overcome the new financial incentives for out-of-wedlock births. They failed to see the institution as dynamic. It wasn't a simple matter of two forces: cultural pressure to marry, financial freedom not to, arrayed against eachother; those forces had a complex interplay, and when you changed one, you changed the other.

The second is that they didn't assign any cultural reason for, or value to, the stigma on illegitimacy. They saw it as an outmoded vestige of a repressive Victorial values system, based on an unnatural fear of sexuality. But the stigma attached to unwed motherhood has quite logical, and important, foundations: having a child without a husband is bad for children, and bad for mothers, and thus bad for the rest of us. So our culture made it very costly for the mother to do. Lower the cost, and you raise the incidence. As an economist would say, incentives matter.

(Now, I am not arguing in favor of stigmatising unwed mothers the way the Victorians did. I'm just pointing out that the stigma did not exist merely, as many mid-century reformers seem to have believed, because of some dark Freudian excesses on the part of our ancestors.)

But all the reformers saw was the terrible pain--and it was terrible--inflicted on unwed mothers. They saw the terrible unfairness--and it was terribly unfair--of punishing the mother, and not the father. They saw the inherent injustice--and need I add, it was indeed unjust--of treating American citizens differently because of their marital status.

But as G.K. Chesterton points out, people who don't see the use of a social institution are the last people who should be allowed to reform it:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."

This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.

Now, of course, this can turn into a sort of precautionary principle that prevents reform from ever happening. That would be bad; all sorts of things need changing all the time, because society and our environment change. But as a matter of principle, it is probably a bad idea to let someone go mucking around with social arrangements, such as the way we treat unwed parenthood, if their idea about that institution is that "it just growed". You don't have to be a rock-ribbed conservative to recognise that there is something of an evolutionary process in society: institutional features are not necessarily the best possible arrangement, but they have been selected for a certain amount of fitness.

It might also be, of course, that the feature is what evolutionary biologists call a spandrel. It's a term taken from architecture; spandrels are the pretty little spaces between vaulted arches. They are not designed for; they are a useless, but pretty, side effect of the physical properties of arches. In evolutionary biology, spandrel is some feature which is not selected for, but appears as a byproduct of other traits that are selected for. Belly buttons are a neat place to put piercings, but they're not there because of that; they're a byproduct of mammalian reproduction.

However, and architect will be happy to tell you that if you try to rip out the spandrel, you might easily bring down the building.

The third example I'll give is of changes to the marriage laws, specifically the radical relaxation of divorce statutes during the twentieth century.

Divorce, in the nineteenth century, was unbelievably hard to get. It took years, was expensive, and required proving that your spouse had abandonned you for an extended period with no financial support; was (if male) not merely discreetly dallying but flagrantly carrying on; or was not just belting you one now and again when you got mouthy, but routinely pummeling you within an inch of your life. After you got divorced, you were a pariah in all but the largest cities. If you were a desperately wronged woman you might change your name, taking your maiden name as your first name and continuing to use your husband's last name to indicate that you expected to continue living as if you were married (i.e. chastely) and expect to have some limited intercourse with your neighbours, though of course you would not be invited to events held in a church, or evening affairs. Financially secure women generally (I am not making this up) moved to Europe; Edith Wharton, who moved to Paris when she got divorced, wrote moving stories about the way divorced women were shunned at home. Men, meanwhile (who were usually the respondants) could expect to see more than half their assets and income settled on their spouse and children.

There were, critics observed, a number of unhappy marriages in which people stuck together. Young people, who shouldn't have gotten married; older people, whose spouses were not physically abusive nor absent, nor flagrantly adulterous, but whose spouse was, for reasons of financial irresponsibility, mental viciousness, or some other major flaw, destroying their life. Why not make divorce easier to get? Rather than requiring people to show that there was an unforgiveable, physically visible, cause that the marriage should be dissolved, why not let people who wanted to get divorced agree to do so?

Because if you make divorce easier, said the critics, you will get much more of it, and divorce is bad for society.

That's ridiculous! said the reformers. (Can we sing it all together now?) People stay married because marriage is a bedrock institution of our society, not because of some law! The only people who get divorced will be people who have terrible problems! A few percentage points at most!

Oops. When the law changed, the institution changed. The marginal divorce made the next one easier. Again, the magnitude of the change swamped the dire predictions of the anti-reformist wing; no one could have imagined, in their wildest dreams, a day when half of all marriages ended in divorce.

There were actually two big changes; the first, when divorce laws were amended in most states to make it easier to get a divorce; and the second, when "no fault" divorce allowed one spouse to unilaterally end the marriage. The second change produced another huge surge in the divorce rate, and a nice decline in the incomes of divorced women; it seems advocates had failed to anticipate that removing the leverage of the financially weaker party to hold out for a good settlement would result in men keeping more of their earnings to themselves.

What's more, easy divorce didn't only change the divorce rate; it made drastic changes to the institution of marriage itself. David Brooks makes an argument I find convincing: that the proliferation of the kind of extravagent weddings that used to only be the province of high society (rented venue, extravagent flowers and food, hundreds of guests, a band with dancing, dresses that cost the same as a good used car) is because the event itself doesn't mean nearly as much as it used to, so we have to turn it into a three-ring circus to feel like we're really doing something.

A couple in 1940 (and even more so in 1910) could go to a minister's parlor, or a justice of the peace, and in five minutes totally change their lives. Unless you are a member of certain highly religious subcultures, this is simply no longer true. That is, of course, partly because of the sexual revolution and the emancipation of women; but it is also because you aren't really making a lifetime committment; you're making a lifetime committment unless you find something better to do. There is no way, psychologically, to make the latter as big an event as the former, and when you lost that committment, you lose, on the margin, some willingness to make the marriage work. Again, this doesn't mean I think divorce law should be toughened up; only that changes in law that affect marriage affect the cultural institution, not just the legal practice.

Three laws. Three well-meaning reformers who were genuinely, sincerely incapable of imagining that their changes would wreak such institutional havoc. Three sets of utterly logical and convincing, and wrong arguments about how people would behave after a major change.

So what does this mean? That we shouldn't enact gay marriage because of some sort of social Precautionary Principle

No. I have no such grand advice.

My only request is that people try to be a leeetle more humble about their ability to imagine the subtle results of big policy changes. The argument that gay marriage will not change the institution of marriage because you can't imagine it changing your personal reaction is pretty arrogant. It imagines, first of all, that your behavior is a guide for the behavior of everyone else in society, when in fact, as you may have noticed, all sorts of different people react to all sorts of different things in all sorts of different ways, which is why we have to have elections and stuff. And second, the unwavering belief that the only reason that marriage, always and everywhere, is a male-female institution (I exclude rare ritual behaviors), is just some sort of bizarre historical coincidence, and that you know better, needs examining. If you think you know why marriage is male-female, and why that's either outdated because of all the ways in which reproduction has lately changed, or was a bad reason to start with, then you are in a good place to advocate reform. If you think that marriage is just that way because our ancestors were all a bunch of repressed bastards with dark Freudian complexes that made them homophobic bigots, I'm a little leery of letting you muck around with it.

Is this post going to convince anyone? I doubt it; everyone but me seems to already know all the answers, so why listen to such a hedging, doubting bore? I myself am trying to draw a very fine line between being humble about making big changes to big social institutions, and telling people (which I am not trying to do) that they can't make those changes because other people have been wrong in the past. In the end, our judgement is all we have; everyone will have to rely on their judgement of whether gay marriage is, on net, a good or a bad idea. All I'm asking for is for people to think more deeply than a quick consultation of their imaginations to make that decision. I realise that this probably falls on the side of supporting the anti-gay-marriage forces, and I'm sorry, but I can't help that. This humility is what I want from liberals when approaching market changes; now I'm asking it from my side too, in approaching social ones. I think the approach is consistent, if not exactly popular.

Update A number of libertarians are, as I predicted, making the "Why don't we just privatise marriage?" argument. I don't find that useful in the context of the debate about gay marriage in America, where marriage is simply not going to be privatised in any foreseeable near-term future. I wrote an immediate follow up saying just that, but of course, I got a lot of readers from an Instalanche, which I didn't expect (no one expects an Instalanche!), and they just read the one post. So the second post is here; if you are thinking of making the argument that we should just get the state out of the marriage business, please read it.

Also, a lot of readers are saying that I'm wrong about marriage always being between a man and a woman, citing polygamy. I have been told this is a "basic factual error."

No, it's not. Polygamous societies do not (at least in any society I have ever heard about) have group marriages. Men with more than one wife have multiple marriages with multiple women, not a single marriage with several wives. In fact, they generally take pains to separate the women, preferably in different houses. Whether or not you allow men to contract for more than one marriage (and for all sorts of reasons, this seems to me to be a bad idea unless you're in an era of permanent war), each marriage remains the union of a man and a woman.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 05:45 pm
(Marquis, do you realize that you can just have the name on the old account changed? Watchmaker's guidedog --> Marquis de Carabas? You don't have to start a whole new account.)
0 Replies
 
extra medium
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 05:57 pm
how about a new angle:

Outlaw ALL MARRIAGE!!!

hetero, homo, bi, poly....

Who needs it??? Twisted Evil
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 09:02 pm
Discreet, I couldn't get through your entire post...I'll finish later. But when I scrolled to the end I found a factual error, well not an error. You're right as a generalization that polygynous marriages are best defined as multiple marriages between one man and more than one woman, rather than a single marriage between a man and multiple wives. Your principle holds as a generalization. But it is not a valid universalization. I can think of an exception, a place in rural India (name forgotten) where brothers practice fraternal polyandry. A shortage of women (due to female infanticide, as I recall) compels men to cooperate in the maintenance of a single wife. These are almost always brothers (for keeping the paternity rights within the kinship line (lineage or clan, I don't recall). The eldest brother stands with the bride at the ceremony and has certain priority rights, but all the brothers cohabit with her, and in the same house. A mirror image of this institution is soloral polygyny where sisters marry a single man (because of a lack of men).

The shortage of men is managed by means of another Indian form of marriage whereom a woman marries a man she most likely never sleeps with; he does not support her, that is the task of a maternal uncle or cousin; she reproduces with men who are not considered the pater (legal father) of her children (the pater is the man she married at puberty in order that her future children be of the correct caste), and these lovers have no obligations in the children's upbringing. This group is the Nayar (I just remembered), a military caste in which the women cannot count of having a long-living man to perform all the above functions: legitimization, reproduction, financial support are performed by diffferent men. You are right: the world is much larger than our imagination.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 10:13 pm
Discreet, I couldn't get through your entire post...I'll finish later. But when I scrolled to the end I found a factual error, well not an error. You're right as a generalization that polygynous marriages are best defined as multiple marriages between one man and more than one woman, rather than a single marriage between a man and multiple wives. Your principle holds as a generalization. But it is not a valid universalization. I can think of an exception, a place in rural India (name forgotten) where brothers practice fraternal polyandry. A shortage of women (due to female infanticide, as I recall) compels men to cooperate in the maintenance of a single wife. These are almost always brothers (for keeping the paternity rights within the kinship line (lineage or clan, I don't recall). The eldest brother stands with the bride at the ceremony and has certain priority rights, but all the brothers cohabit with her, and in the same house. A mirror image of this institution is soloral polygyny where sisters marry a single man (because of a lack of men).

The shortage of men is managed by means of another Indian form of marriage whereom a woman marries a man she most likely never sleeps with; he does not support her, that is the task of a maternal uncle or cousin; she reproduces with men who are not considered the pater (legal father) of her children (the pater is the man she married at puberty in order that her future children be of the correct caste), and these lovers have no obligations in the children's upbringing. This group is the Nayar (I just remembered), a military caste in which the women cannot count of having a long-living man to perform all the above functions: legitimization, reproduction, financial support are performed by diffferent men. You are right: the world is much larger than our imagination.
0 Replies
 
hyper426
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 10:51 pm
wow, i am really glad I clicked on this post (somehow I actually got through ALL of it, it was so enlightening). Discreet, question, since this doesn't seem to be your own post, but it does in a way advocate that changes to the institution of marriage have "corrupted" it, or, loosened it, do you agree with that? I mean, I do, but, being a heterosexual gay-rights activist (in my own mind, at least), I do not see a way to rationalize refusing marriage to couples that love each other. As has already been posted, homo couples and hetero couples are the same in many aspects. The question was posed in your post: can you show me a REASON why homosexual marriages should be allowed, and maybe love is truely the answer. I don't know, I will have to contemplate some more on this one......
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 11:18 pm
A tangent - JL, the situation you describe in India is being mentioned as exacerbating the passage of aids in Africa (sorry, I forget the spot that the article I read was highlighting) re the widow of a fellow who died from aids would be nearly instantly subjected to sex with his brother in order to mollify spirits. I'll be back with a link if I can remember where I just saw an article about this.

On homosexual marriage, 'tis a fine idea to me.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 06:20 am
You all know as well as I do that Hetero's are the only one's capable of perfect marriages.

With the divorce rate at 53% for first time marriages - hetero's are doing a bang up job of showing the homo's of the world just the definition of perfection.

I think there are two main reasons that the hatred of homosexuality is rampant:

1) The people that are hating on homo's are homo's themselves and are terrified of it. It is a matter of self loathing (See Jim West the mayor of Spokane)

2) Poor logic. The Christian right is attacking homosexuality. It falls as punishible by death in the Mosaic laws of Duteronomy (which - oddly enough was obliterated by the concept of a Christ) and in Paul's letters to the Corinthians (which the last time I checked - Paul - was not God).

The God of Christianity preached love, forgiveness, and the lack of judgement to the lowest dregs of society. Even if you allow the comment that gay's are lower casts - the Christ figure favored them.

Chrsitianity want's to hold two contradictory concepts in thier hands and hope that by yelling loud enough they can make them work.

a) The belief that we all live in sin, that we all are created sinful, that all sins are created equal in the eyes of God, and that Christs sacrifice is needed to save us.

b) That homo's sin is worse than thiers, unfogivable by an omnibenevolent and omnipoent God that stated he would forgive any that asked.

This is IF you accept the argument that homosexuality is a sin. I love the hetero's that lived thier life just like they wanted - nailed whomever they wanted in college - cheat on thier wives - beat thier spouses - download porn at an alarming rate - and all thier transgressions are covered. But the frickin homo's - look what they are DOING to our society. I say we kill them. I say I can stand in judgement! Yeah! BURN THEM!

My God - No wonder there are so many athiests. With that kind of Godly love - some choose to pass.

TF
0 Replies
 
Marquis de Carabas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 07:53 am
Thankyou for your lengthy post Discreet, as food for thought goes it was quite the bufet. Here are the thoughts I had reading it.

Quote:
For some reason, marriage always and everywhere, in every culture we know about, is between a man and a woman;


Step 1. Research
Step 2. Open mouth
Step 3. Never make broad-sweeping generalisations unless you are exceptionally knowledgable about the field. Even then, think twice.

Had you followed these steps or even remembered the old saying "nothing new under the sun" you would not have made such a patently incorrect generalisation.

Firstly there is evidence that the catholic church performed gay marriages through to the fourteenth century.

Or the entombed two men Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep who were buried together and pictured on the wall embracing in Ancient Egypt.

Or the lesbian relationships known as "Golden Orchid Assosciations" in the Qing dynasty which had a great deal of official aknowledgement or recorded transexual gay marriage in 16th century China.

Native American cultures had a rather unusual approach to gender-identity in which a child would chose their gender. While known generally by the name Berdache this term (from the Persian language) is considered derogatory. Modern indians prefer the term "two-spirit" but it is known by the names Winkte, Nadle, Kwedo, Hwame, Dubuds and Ihamana dependant upon the tribe.

While marriages within the cultures would be heterosexual pairings based upon genetic gender, rather than cultural roles this is an example of two people occupying female gender roles (and rarely two people occupying male gender roles) marrying without any negative side-effects.

This is completely leaving aside the polyandrous marriages of Nepal, polygynous marriages of far too numerous cultures to name and pretty much every conceivable gender combination that could occur in marriage which dots our history.

Quote:
this seems to be an important feature of the institution. We should not go mucking around and changing this extremely important institution, because if we make a bad change, the institution will fall apart.


Forgive me as I laugh at this idea.

"Whoops, the cultural tradition that has weaved through all of recorded history as a universal amongst all human behaviour got broken, no chance of us fixing it."

Don't be foolish.

Quote:
A very common response to this is essentially to mock this as ridiculous. "Why on earth would it make any difference to me whether gay people are getting married? Why would that change my behavior as a heterosexual"


A valid question. Do you have an answer?

Quote:
I can tell a plausible story where it does;


Odd that you don't then. Please, describe it. I'm all ears for this plausible story of yours.

Quote:
Marriage is a big institution; too big for me to feel I have a successful handle on it.


It's a sad fact that some of us have capacities beyond yours.

Quote:
However, I am bothered by this specific argument, which I have heard over and over from the people I know who favor gay marriage laws.


It's another sad fact that we will frequently be confronted with the same argument in a philosophical debate on a given topic. This is why the more common arguments are usually given a name and then refered to by that name amongst professional debaters or scholars. This is frequently seen in religious debates where by saying "the metaphysical argument" one knows exactly what you mean.

Quote:
They may well be right. Nonetheless, libertarians should know better.


Again, researching first might be good.

"The government should get out of the business of deciding who can fall in love and get married -- and should eliminate all laws that prohibit same-sex marriages" - Libertarian party (quoted from the Libertarian Party news).

Quote:
The limits of your imagination are not the limits of reality.


A valid point, the falacy of lack of imagination is well established in logical debate. Yet if YOU wish to propose a potential result (the destabilisation of heterosexual marriage) as a reaction to a new law (the legalisation of homosexual marriage) then YOU have to establish the possibility of it occurring.

Whining saying "well it could happen, how could we know" neither qualifies nor gets us anywhere. If you have an argument to establish you're going to have to proove it like everyone else.

Editor's note: Ignored irrelevant examples. I don't care about your precious libertarian party. Sorry. Your point that people make stupid arguments is noted. I'm afraid you're going to have to PROVE that this debate is stupid.

Humans have made stupid arguments.
This is an argument made by humans.
Ergo this argument could be stupid.

Just won't cut it. Sorry.


Quote:
But in that inner city, marriage had been destroyed.


If it's been destroyed then what are we arguing about? Protecting something that no longer exists? If it does still exist then logically your argument is incorrect. If it doesn't exist then your current argument is incorrect.

Quote:
Marriage matters. It is better for the kids;


Source.

Quote:
it is better for the adults raising those kids;


Source.

Quote:
and it is better for the childless people in the communities where those kids and adults live.


Source (or at least a logical argument here, I mean come on).

Quote:
Marriage reduces poverty, improves kids outcomes in all measurable ways, makes men live longer and both spouses happier.


Source.

Quote:
The idea that it could be undone by something as simple as enabling women to have children without husbands, seemed ludicrous.


One could easily then have proposed a logical argument demonstrating cause and eventual effect. As you yourself said. "But if you give unmarried mothers money, said the critics, you will get more unmarried mothers." There, done. Easy, huh?

If you wish to give a similar logical argument against gay marriage be my guest. If you can't and no other opponent thereof can, then you have only yourself to blame when you are ignored.

Smart people respect logic. This is not a sad fact, it is quite a wonderful fact.

Quote:
"If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."


Thankyou for bringing up this wonderful point. A modified version of this statement "Understand the rules and then you'll know when to break them" has been one of the guiding principles of my life.

Quote:
Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody.


Most likely themselves.

Once more we are back to a sad fact. People generally set up social structures to support themselves and people like them. Tragic, cynical, yet for the most part true.

Quote:
The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."


And the most intelligent type of reformer (notice how everyone always expresses their viewpoint in that matter... interesting tendency huh?) says,

"I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away."

and then waits, measures the response and sees if any logical arguments are brought up in its defence. If out of the six billion large population of the earth, no single person is capable of creating a logical defence nor providing the original justification, it's safe to assume that it can be destroyed.

Let me give you an example.

A man buys a coffee drinks half of it at a cafe and then leaves with the coffee cup sitting there. Twenty minutes later one of the serving staff comes up and goes to clean it away.

They could leave it there, assume that "he may have had a good reason for putting it there that will benefit me and society." or they could assume that the person acted on selfish interest or on matters which were crucial at the time and that the statistical probability of that is far more likely then him returning some half an hour later and wanting his near-empty cup.

Quote:
There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease.


Some fool said "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants", imagining that each generation sees a bit further and clearer than its predecessors. I wonder what foolish chap said that.

Quote:
But as a matter of principle, it is probably a bad idea to let someone go mucking around with social arrangements, such as the way we treat unwed parenthood, if their idea about that institution is that "it just growed".


Thankyou for successfully proving that ending apartheid was a bad move. Hang on, what was our debate again? :wink:

(Yes I know, that was low class of me, I couldn't resist though. Please forgive me.)

Quote:
(Can we sing it all together now?)


Anyone who needs to say this is clearly belabouring the point... I hope you never wonder why your post was so long.

Quote:
David Brooks makes an argument I find convincing: that the proliferation of the kind of extravagent weddings that used to only be the province of high society is because the event itself doesn't mean nearly as much as it used to.


The problem with David Brooks is that he doesn't seem capable of seeing the big picture. If he were a tad better at doing so he might have noticed that childrens birthday parties, funerals and jewish barmitzvahs have experienced an identical (if not more exorbitant) tendency towards growth and could have suspected culture-wide shifts in the notions of socio-economic purchasing power.

This is the kind of argument that is only convincing viewed in a vacuum through tunnel-vision, the notion itself seems plausible considered on its own but doesn't fit in with evidence from other topics.

Quote:
A couple in 1940 (and even more so in 1910) could go to a minister's parlor, or a justice of the peace, and in five minutes totally change their lives.


So could you or I... well, you could anyway. What is your point?

Quote:
Unless you are a member of certain highly religious subcultures, this is simply no longer true. That is, of course, partly because of the sexual revolution and the emancipation of women;


Yes, this is why in 1975 when my parents married they did so in five minutes at a justice of the peace. This is why I can walk out my door right now and do the exact same thing. What precisely has changed?

Quote:
My only request is that people try to be a leeetle more humble about their ability to imagine the subtle results of big policy changes.


I make it a point never to be humble, a failing of mine perhaps.

Quote:
The argument that gay marriage will not change the institution of marriage because you can't imagine it changing your personal reaction is pretty arrogant.


Firstly, I am not merely pretty arrogant but rather very arrogant.

Secondly no one said change... they said destroy. The whole idea is to change it, not much point otherwise.

Quote:
It imagines, first of all, that your behavior is a guide for the behavior of everyone else in society,


I wish. In such a case the world would be vastly improved.

Quote:
which is why we have to have elections and stuff.


Why we choose to have elections... small point but rather crucial.

Quote:
If you think you know why marriage is male-female, and why that's either outdated because of all the ways in which reproduction has lately changed, or was a bad reason to start with, then you are in a good place to advocate reform.


Thankyou for your liscence and approval. I appreciate it and intend to take full advantage.

Quote:
Is this post going to convince anyone? I doubt it;


You generally have to advocate a point of view to be able to convince people... just a tip.

Quote:
everyone but me seems to already know all the answers,


Most of them.

I can't speak for anyone else, but probably more than my fair share.

Quote:
so why listen to such a hedging, doubting bore?


Nothing wrong with either hedging or doubting. As for bore, perhaps if you worked on your length and got it a bit snappier then I'm sure that would work wonders.

Quote:
All I'm asking for is for people to think more deeply than a quick consultation of their imaginations to make that decision.


By saying that I think you fail to appreciate the depth and insight of a quick consultation of my imagination. However I appreciate your point.

Quote:
(at least in any society I have ever heard about)


Speaking of arrogance have you ever considered that that's because you're not familiar with enough history or culture?

Quote:
Men with more than one wife have multiple marriages with multiple women, not a single marriage with several wives.


Except for Nepal where polyandrous women marry a man and his brothers simultaneously...

Quote:
In fact, they generally take pains to separate the women, preferably in different houses.


Well except for in ancient China where the multiple wives/concubines were known for their lesbian activity with one another... or in middle-eastern harems.

Quote:
each marriage remains the union of a man and a woman.


Step 1: Research
Step 2: Open mouth.
Step 3: Never make broad speaking generalisations unless you are an expert in the field, even then think twice.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 02:20 pm
Osso, as I recall, that African (east Africa?) custom is referred to by anthorpologists as "ghost marriage." Here the widow marries a brother of the deceased and the brother becomes the ceremonial "father" of all the men she produces after the death of her husband. The brother may never have sex with her; her true husband, the sociological father (pater) of her children, is dead. This is to maintain the lineage membership of all her children with men who are not of her dead husband's lineage.
Most often such marriages are to unite lineages, political alliances, as it were. The ideology to justify such "cemetary marriages," where the widow immediately marries a brother or cousin of her deceased husband (e.g., to appease the ghost of the dead husband) is designed to uphold the alliance upon the husband's death.
I forget the details of such customs, but I think this is essentially correct.
0 Replies
 
 

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