Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why politics?

Believe it or not, I was pretty hesitant to discuss anything political on my blog at first. Not that I have much of a readership, but still, I'm very well aware that the moment you start getting into politics you're starting to wade into controversial waters that may further divide theists. For a while I thought it would be possible to avoid that altogether, save for the more unavoidably political topics (gay marriage, etc.)

But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a bad idea. I don't think the left wing and right wing divide among Christians can really be ignored, but at the same time I'd like to transcend it. It's a challenge, but hell, what's wrong with trying to meet a challenge? And, oddly enough, no one else seems to be trying to meet it. I don't see many conservatives trying to talk to liberals (except to condemn them) or liberals trying to talk to conservatives (except trying to belittle or talk down to them). That needs to change, and it's a tricky thing to change it.

39 comments:

Lothar Lorraine said...

"I don't see many conservatives trying to talk to liberals (except to condemn them) or liberals trying to talk to conservatives (except trying to belittle or talk down to them). That needs to change, and it's a tricky thing to change it."

Yeah it's entirely true! Both liberals and conservative believe they are more moral (and rational) than the other side and fail to recognize there are strength and weaknesses everywhere.

That said, there are some political ideas (such as fascism, racism and discrimination) which ought to be rejected from the get-go.

Cheers.

malcolmthecynic said...

I disagree with one thing you said, Lothar. I don't think discrimination must be eliminated at all. We discriminate against people all the time - like prisoners, for example, or even against racists. It's a tool that can be used positively or negatively. For example, I'm all in favor of discriminating against gays an lesbians being allowed to use the same locker rooms as people of the same sex. It's unfair to them, but sometimes life isn't fair.

Crude said...

Lothar,

Working off what Malcolm said - one serious reservation I have is that 'fascism, racism and discrimination' tend to be yelled, often, without just cause. Hell, 'fascism' is socialism, but the word's been applied to conservatives for so long that people seem to think nazis were real big on the free market and small government.

Lothar Lorraine said...

Well I meant discriminations due to factors people have no influence upon.

Queer folks would definitely fall within that category.
I don't see any reason not letting them get maried and having a love relationships.

That said, I understand your concern. If men and women go to different shower rooms in order to avoid sexual harassment, then it is not that far-fetched to expect that from gay people.

Crude said...

Well I meant discriminations due to factors people have no influence upon.

Queer folks would definitely fall within that category.


See, this is where things get dicey. I can agree provisionally that currently people have no influence on their fundamental sexual preferences. I would not support discrimination based on those terms.

Acts however? Acts are entirely under their influence. So does that mean I can discriminate against someone based on their sexual *behavior*? What about bisexuals? The list goes on.

I don't see any reason not letting them get maried and having a love relationships.

Okay. I disagree with you, but I want to stress something here - I'm not aiming for a liberal v conservative fight here. I am specifically trying to figure out how to get liberal and conservative Christians to find they have common ground. Sincere Christians, which I believe exists on both sides of the political divide.

malcolmthecynic said...

I don't even agree with you about that. Women can't, and shouldn't, take showers with men, even though they have no choice to be women. Similarly, if you're a man attracted to other men, sorry - you shouldn't be able to shower with men. The sexual attraction is the whole point of separate showers.

Life isn't fair sometimes. I'm not black. I can never join the NAACP. Guess what? That's discrimination, and based on race no less. And I don't think it's unreasonable (though I find it fairly awful that if white people tried to start such an organization they'd be vilified).

Crude said...

I'm actually not sure what Lothar was saying re: the showers.

I can never join the NAACP.

I'm pretty sure white people can join the NAACP. I imagine joining the congressional black caucus is another issue.

malcolmthecynic said...

Regarding the NAACP - well, either way. The point being that it's certainly not designed for me.

Crude said...

I get what you mean. And there are areas of exclusion and 'discrimination' in all sorts of areas. A complicated issue, not exactly clear-cut.

lotharlorraine said...

Malcom: I also expose this asymetry between white and black racism:
http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/category/anti-white-racism/

Cheers.

BenYachov said...

As I write this the the left wing scum at the ACLU is suing all Catholic Hospitals for not advising a woman who had a miscarriage to abort her baby ahead of time.

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/ACLU-Lawsuit-Catholic-Bishops/2013/12/02/id/539583

Of course you still have the arseholes on the right attacking the Pope can calling him a Marxist because they are too stupid to learn the difference between Capitalism Vs Consumerism(the later the Pope condemns).

If I was an End of Days wonk I would say the Tribulation is beginning.

Mercifully I am not.

But this is one reason why we have to stop backbiting the Pope and get behind him.

My gut tells me Darkness is coming and it won't end well.

I hope I am wrong.

Gyan said...

Discrimination can be good or bad, depending upon what authority is making it.
Individual discriminating is one thing; an institution doing so is another thing; the state doing so is yet another thing.

Re: showering and locker rooms in general, I don't get why institutional discrimination should exist. The lockers and showers are sex-wise segregated as right and customary. But to discriminate against gays there does not appear to be institutionally justified.

There is no fundamental requirement to co-shower and be immodest, even in a same-sex locker. Surely a flamboyant gay can be discouraged by individual discrimination but generally I don't think it is wise to bring institutions here.
These matters are best resolved by individual initiative and discrimination and attempts to bring in politics can backfire.

Crude said...

These matters are best resolved by individual initiative and discrimination and attempts to bring in politics can backfire.

I'm always game for individual initiative. But how would you think the individual should solve it?

Gyan said...

I do not agree with the libertarians that aggression is always wrong.
And I think CS Lewis had a point when he remarked on the curious lack of rioting in modern West. There seems to be nothing between acquiescence and a revolution.

But, the policy of individual attention is really not often going to be necessary. A male should be able to take a degree of obnoxiousness (that is the problem, not sexual attraction per se.). If the other person is not bothering you directly, his mental states (of attraction perhaps) are hardly your concern.

malcolmthecynic said...

Okay, why are locker rooms separated by sex? Wouldn't you agree that it's because men and women tend to be turned on by the others' genitals?

And if this is the reason men and women are in separate locker rooms, and I can't think of any other reason, it makes absolutely no sense for gays and lesbians to be able to shower with everybody else. The logic is basic and unavoidable. The "best" arguments so far I've heard against that line of thought is foot-stamping and shouting "UNFAIR!!!".

Gyan, your logic works fine, so why aren't you willing to extend it to locker rooms and bathrooms in general? Why should institutions, or governments, mandate that boys and girls have to be separated at all, via your reasoning?

malcolmthecynic said...

Basically Gyan, here's where I think your problem is:

Re: showering and locker rooms in general, I don't get why institutional discrimination should exist. The lockers and showers are sex-wise segregated as right and customary.

Wait, you just said you don't get why institutional discrimination should exist. Then immediately after that you point to a case of "right and customary" institutional discrimination. So you obviously believe it should exist.

But to discriminate against gays there does not appear to be institutionally justified.

Sure it is. Just extrapolate out the logic of why we separate male and female locker rooms. It's because we find it uncomfortable, and unfair, to have to shower around people who are sexually attracted to our genitalia. So if we agree that it's not only allowable but even right to separate male and female locker rooms, then we should also conclude, as I do, that gays and lesbians will have to shower separately. The logic is exactly the same.

Gyan said...

malcolmthecynic,
I do not think that gays are or should be a well-defined and settled category such as male or female.


"we find it uncomfortable, and unfair, to have to shower around people who are sexually attracted to our genitalia."
It may be uncomfortable but why unfair?

I do think you are over-reducing sexual attraction to privates. Men and women are mutually attracted but it is going too far to say that they are attracted to the privates of the opposite sex.

Crude said...

I do think you are over-reducing sexual attraction to privates. Men and women are mutually attracted but it is going too far to say that they are attracted to the privates of the opposite sex.

You can eliminate the talk of 'privates' and just say 'sexual attraction' is the operative issue here, or even the thought of being sexually evaluated while naked. Basically I think what may be reasonable here is, 'Explain why co-ed changing rooms and showers are acceptable, but hetero + homosexual showering areas are non-problematic.'

malcolmthecynic said...

Crude's nailed it, and I don't think there's a good way to respond to that.

Gyan said...

But I have replied:
I do not think that gays are or should be a well-defined and settled category such as male or female.
--------------
Simply put, if someone is being obnoxious, then deal with it. Everything can not be and should not be matter of laws and legal rights.

That being uncomfortable etc is not a very manly language. Isn't "even the thought of being sexually evaluated while naked" rather hyper-sensitive on the level of micro-aggression?

Crude said...

Simply put, if someone is being obnoxious, then deal with it.

Sure. How? I already said I agree that not everything should be a matter of laws and legal rights. But I want to know how it is dealt with in your view.

That being uncomfortable etc is not a very manly language. Isn't "even the thought of being sexually evaluated while naked" rather hyper-sensitive on the level of micro-aggression?

What is 'micro-aggression'? And does that mean you support co-ed changing rooms? If anyone behaves obnoxiously, then deal with it. And if women complain, well - hyper-sensitivity on the level of micro-aggression, I suppose.

Gyan said...

Well, you are persist in making wrong analogy of homo-hetero as male-female.
with homo as male (why not as female?).

I simply do not accept the analogy. Male and female are fundamental biological and social realities while homo-hetero are not, being at best late 20C Western hype.

One deals with obnoxious as in daily life--first ignore, then warn, then take some collective action--getting neighbors together etc. Men may shorten the procedure in certain situations.

But, this talk of unfairness and making uncomfortable is absurd.
Isn't it your own choice to be immodest in a locker room?. If it makes you so uncomfortable, then don't be immodest in front of strangers. It is anyway not a global custom. Muslims and Hindus are modest, even in same-sex situation.

Tell me, what great purpose is going to be served by making homosexuals a separate category like male or female?

Crude said...

Gyan,

Before we go on, I just want to know where you're coming from on this. Gay marriage: do you think this should be legal or illegal?

Gyan said...

Indeed, what is there to prevent a homosexual from declaring himself a hetero and then making you uncomfortable in your hetero locker?

"I just want to know where you're coming from on this. Gay marriage"

I wonder you did not pick it up from my posts. I did write
"Male and female are fundamental biological and social realities while homo-hetero are not, being at best late 20C Western hype."

My position is that homosexuality belongs to the closet. I would withhold any social recognition. That's why I say No to separate lockers.

Crude said...

Gyan,

Pardon my repeating this, but there's a particular reason I'm going for total clarity here. So you're opposing to legalizing gay marriage, correct?

Gyan said...

Correct.
"I would withhold any social recognition."

Crude said...

Alright. That at least lets me know where you're coming from. So, on we move.

Can you tell me more about your views that homosexuality belongs in the closet? In what sense? No one should ever admit in public they have same-sex attraction? Something else?

malcolmthecynic said...

Okay, you reject the analogy. Fair enough. So WHY do you think male and female locker rooms are separated, if it doesn't have to do with who is sexually attracted to you? I didn't even mention obnoxiousness or anything silly like that.

Forget this manly/unmanly talk, this is what I, at least, am boiling it down to.

malcolmthecynic said...

My position is that homosexuality belongs to the closet. I would withhold any social recognition. That's why I say No to separate lockers.

Okay, now this is going somewhere - now your views make a lot more sense to me.

I once again will just throw in my lot with Crude and echo his questions.

Gyan said...

"homosexuality belongs in the closet"--nothing mysterious. It was the situation prior to the sexual revolution.
For the greater good of heteronormativity, thus one should bear some temporary discomfort.

It is good for the homosexuals themselves, basing upon the psychology of transgressive behavior. If the norms are tight, the one that seeks to transgress does not wander too far. But when the norms are loosened, persons can go astray far.

Gyan said...

"WHY do you think male and female locker rooms are separated"

I don't have, I guess, good reply, but have you considered the male sexual aggression? The masculinity is naturally aggressive, femininity is naturally reticent.

But basically, it is unseemly. And perhaps that should be sufficient.

It reminds me of a puzzle posed by Jonah Goldberg of National Review as why men's urinals are sheltered from public eye. He wondered that neither men nor women would be interested in looking at urinating men. Then why the sheltering?
It did not occur to him that the sight of men urinating is unseemly.
The sheltering is not protecting urinating men from public eye but public eye from urinating men.

Gyan said...

Let me also remind you at it is rather silly to discuss these questions in abstract. One must always put them into the context of a particular society. That means respecting the traditions of that society.

It is the custom that does not have to justify itself but the innovation.

Eg should shops be closed on a Catholic feast day or should non-Catholics be exempt?
The answer can not be given in abstract. One must consider a particular town with its particular history.

Crude said...

For the greater good of heteronormativity, thus one should bear some temporary discomfort.

You and I may have different understandings of 'closet'. I have no problem with someone admitting they have SSA - and making it clear that this is something they are trying to resist, to deal with, etc. Embracing celibacy or the like.

I am not convinced that it is short-term possible or even wise to try and closet it in quite the way you're describing.

I don't have, I guess, good reply, but have you considered the male sexual aggression? The masculinity is naturally aggressive, femininity is naturally reticent.

I think you've just invited the reply I thought you'd invite by trying to argue this - there are aggressive gays as well.

Gyan said...

"there are aggressive gays as well."
For the greater good of heteronormativity, thus one should bear some temporary discomfort.

(this I meant in reference to the discomfort of the straight man showering with a gay).

I have no problem with SSA individuals. But, socially speaking, heteronormativity must be insisted upon. It is the questions of norms, not of particular individuals. There are always individuals that transgress the norms.

Gyan said...

"there are aggressive gays as well"

Beating the retreat may be the best option if you find yourself in Sodom.

Crude said...

For the greater good of heteronormativity, thus one should bear some temporary discomfort.

You're talking about an ideal, Gyan, not the reality. Right now, being 'out' is normal. Even if I agreed with your prescription - and to say I have hesitations about it is underplaying things to say the least - the fact remains that it's not the situation we find ourselves in.

But, socially speaking, heteronormativity must be insisted upon.

If you're saying they can't even publicly admit their SSA, even if they choose to resist it and even seek help for it, I think this is a mistake. In fact, I think this mistake is part of what landed us in our current mess.

To put it another way, I do not think what I am saying is necessarily opposed to actual 'heteronormativity'.

Gyan said...

Heteronormativity does not mean nobody can eve admit their SSA or even active SSA. Only, the norms are hetero, Any normal society will have wide variations from normal.

This requires that straight people assume and treat as straight even SSA-suspected people and thus bear some discomfort in lockers.

Crude said...

Right, but what I mean is that you're talking about 'heteronormativity' in a world that, to put it mildly, does not currently operate by the rules you describe.

Maybe that's a good question to ask. What do we do, -now-? What should we do in our day to day life with people who are 'out and proud' and even those who are A-OK with sodomy? Which isn't only a homosexual problem of course.

Gyan said...

Depends, naturally, on the precise situation we find ourselves in.
Fight may be required in one place, retreat in another place, keeping quiet in yet another place.

Currently reading Unconditional Surrender, the final volume of Sword of Honor trilogy. One can see and learn how to live in a wrecking society from the Crouchbacks