Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thinking "in Stereo" on Gay Marriage

I have a whole philosophy of what the process of sound thinking requires. It requires that one is certain and uncertain simultaneously. Specifically it means that a thinking person allows himself to be confident that his initial hunches and hypothesis contain substance, that they represent a “pre-articulate” understanding of something real. It also means that a thinking person is continually evaluating counter-arguments in order to understand the domain of his pre-articulate wisdom: in other words, in what realm the original hunch proves to be true and in what realm it gives way to another idea.

This realm, this cross section of reality that is best understood by a particular idea is that idea’s “domain”/“jurisdiction”. This jurisdiction may be simply academic or it may also affect social and legal jurisdictions.

A thinking person does not have the obligation to chuck his hunches out the window and let his opinion drift whenever he’s presented with a contrary opinion. A thinking person does, however, have the obligation to continually refine his opinion. He has the obligation to better and better understand the contours and boundaries of where his idea’s jurisdiction begins and ends.

With our human vision, we have a “dominant eye” and a passive eye. Our dominant eye goes squarely in the direction where we wish to look, while the passive eye follows. As a result, the passive eye sees what the dominant eye sees at a slightly different angle, giving us depth perception.

This principle of vision applies to actively thinking. My hunch/my sense that I am developing from a hypothesis into a thesis is the “dominant eye” of my thought. My willingness to allow myself to consider contrary views is my “passive eye”. Together, the two bring the intellectual equivalent of depth perception, which in the case of ideas, is having a correct understanding of how the jurisdiction of one idea fits with the jurisdiction of another. As we see in stereo, this is what it means to “think in stereo”.

So I have been applying this principle of “thinking in stereo” to my thoughts on gay marriage. This is a debate I’ve had with myself, imagining myself talking to a tough opponent. So as to have intellectual honesty I have held nothing back in imaging the best and most articulate and intellectually honest advocate of gay marriage I can think of as an opponent. Here it is:


ME – “If gay is the new black”, do you believe that gender is as superficial as skin? Do you intend to have the raising of the American flag symbolize the end of the meaning gender as it now symbolizes on Martin Luther King Day the end of the meaning of skin color. If so, why isn’t this statement of human design “gender is as superficial as skin” put forward front and center? I think you don’t make this bold of a statement because it makes you face a wide body of naturalistic, commonly available evidence for the value and meaning of gender.

IMAGINARY OPPONENT Gayness is no better or worse than hetero from a natural perspective. They are both naturally occurring realities that both have a place in a human ecosystem as they do in the animal ecosystem.

ME – But human society doesn’t function by mere instincts. We create the conceptual, social and physical tools to survive. You can’t look to an animal ecosystem of pure instinct as a moral compass for human society.

IMAGINARY OPPONENT If you’re going to look to naturalistic evidence to put hetero unions on a moral pinnacle above a gay union, you open the door to all of what is contained in nature.

ME –Any idea of what is “good” is selective about nature, subdividing nature into “raw natural” and “archnatural”. It is OK to look at nature for evidence from nature that there is an archnatural aspect of nature that suits us best, that is good. A hetero-union is archnatural and good, and there is plenty of naturalistic evidence that points in this direction. On the other extreme, there are less idea expressions of nature such as naturally occurring diseases.

IMAGINARY OPPONENTIf you’re going to look to nature at all as the basis of any division between “archnatural” and “natural”, you need to look at this way: human’s tendency to oppress and constrain his fellow man with prejudice is “raw natural”/bad and tolerance of his fellow man is “archnatural”/good. Therefore, the only concept of the good that is relevant for the organizing of human society is maximum freedom and minimum intolerance.

Humans require freedom unless they are doing something that directly hurts the freedom of others. Any attempt to extrapolate harm beyond what is imminently hurtful to another’s freedom will lead to people imposing their moral views on others. We should be blind to the question of marriage, and we should raise our American flag to symbolize this idea of “moral minimalism”: that whatever is not an imminent harm to others is a justly entitled privilege to myself.

As for understanding nature, we move beyond fears and prejudice of others when we appreciate the broad endowment of diverse human instincts that aren’t imminently harmful to others.

ME –The flaw in a “moral minimalist” approach is that you are blind to a host of moral hazards that are real while at the same time being diffuse and slow to mature. If you were to destroy the original color of the Declaration and replace the museum that houses it with low income housing, there would not be imminent harm. The harm would be hard to pinpoint other than the fact that it is a sacred document of our founding and meaning as a people.

Not all harms are imminent and “spreadsheetable”. There is a cost to re-interpreting the American flag as backing a sacred moral idea that gender is irrelevant in order to make the law blind: it uses the American flag to make gender meaninglessness into a sacred moral truth.

Furthermore, you don’t merely believe that the harm of gay marriage is simply not imminent. You believe there is no harm at all by any yardstick of measuring harm.

IMAGINARY OPPONENTThe sacredness of the meaning of gender is sacred only to religious people and people of a certain worldview. If I am not religious why should I have sacredness imposed on me and at my expense of being able to marry? Gay marriage will not stop hetero marriage but your moral vision will stop me.

When too much sacredness with vague harms comes at the expense of imminent and tangible limitations on others, that parochial view of sacredness must give way to freedom. The Declaration is not standing in anyone’s freedom. If it were, perhaps we should do something about it. On the other hand, your “hetero exceptionalism” as the law of the land is standing squarely in the way of my freedom.

ME – We are blind to skin color because we have a sacred moral truth that skin, like bloodlines is irrelevant. In the name of advancing freedom, you are trading one idea of sacredness and replacing it with another: the sacredness of gender meaning with the sacredness of gender blindness. It is a realm of conflicting impositions. This is a moral pivot point in the law that is not merely a legal adjustment on par with adjusting a speed limit. You are replacing one moral imposition with another. If you are intellectually honest, you say that you believe that your moral imposition is a better trade-off for our society.

IMAGINARY OPPONENTLet’s say that we, gay marriage advocates, wish to define gender blindness as an American principle on par with “skin blindness” that by default will result in certain legal, cultural and moral impositions; an advancement of a “sacred” moral idea to use your term. The end result will be more tolerance, less prejudice and a wider and broader tent for a greater cross section of experiences, orientations and personal goals. It is necessary for a nation to be “blind” to the sacred meaning that you wish to invest in gender for a nation where it is possible for the maximum number of people to pursue the maximum happiness.

ME –Human sexuality is a complicated “both/and”. There is a dimension of sexual orientation that is fixed and there is a dimension of flexibility to human sexuality. To the extent that there is any dimension of flexibility it should be encouraged toward committed one man-one woman unions. This encouragement is enhanced by putting man-woman unions on a legal and moral pinnacle.

There have been societies where the flexible dimension of sexuality has been directed away from man-woman committed unions, where gay and pederasty behavior became normative.

IMAGINARY OPPONENTSocieties where men turned to a certain degree of gay and pederasty behavior are societies were men were kept away from women for long and extreme periods of time and space. It was a consequence of less freedom not more freedom. Furthermore this happened in societies that still only recognized marriage as a man-woman union on an institutional level. Therefore, in those societies, the institutional recognition of “hetero-exceptionalism” by way of only honoring male-female marriages was obviously not enough to offset the problem you are concerned about.

There is fluidity to sexuality in a free gender-mixed society, but it is whether one is promiscuous within one’s orientation, not whether one has one orientation or another. It is whether you are a committed gay person or a promiscuous gay person, whether you are a committed hetero or a promiscuous hetero person.

A free society will not cause someone to “flip a script”. People should be encouraged to commit in marriage. It is commitment, and commitment period, that should be encouraged in the institution of marriage, not just hetero commitment.

ME As I said, we humans do not act soley act out of instincts but must guide our instincts with good conceptual tools that we have a hand in creating. Healthy committed sexuality is one seeing a part of one’s humanity that is both alien and familiar in the other sex. In a committed hetero sexual union one is nurturing that alien aspect of ones own humanity by caring for another, allowing the other to live out that part of ones own humanity as an extension of oneself. Our sexual orientations give us the raw material to begin this process, but it must be consummated by good choices, good concepts and good conditioning in our society and environment. A society that has made gender meaningless in order to make gender blindness a sacred social truth will sow confusion into this process.

That is the moral hazard to denying meaning to gender that will take long to mature. The harm is not “spreadsheetable” but real. Of course having hetero-exceptionalism on a legal pinnacle is not the only part of this healthy gender conditioning process but it does matter, and it is a necessary part of a social matrix for encouraging people into healthy man-woman unions over the long term.

I agree that a gay committed relationship is better than a promiscuous one, but the gender nullity required for a legal and social blindness of gender for gay/hetero marriage equality is based on a worldview that borrows too heavily from “raw natural”/animal and instinct ecosystems in order to construct its moral compass for managing our sexuality.

While it is true that not all gay marriage advocates are pro-promiscuity. In the end the advancement of the gender nullity worldview contributes to and justifies promiscuity because it is fruit from the same tree if not the same branch of the tree. Promiscuity operates in the animal ecosystem as does a lot of not ideal things as “natural endowments of instinct”. The civil religion of a gay marriage worldview is a civil religion that is oriented to an animalistic/desire-based raw natural view of the world.

In terms of flipping scripts, a society of enforced gender nullity will, over time, create new forms of peer pressure and “experimentation”. This will occur as people operate with their natural instincts to bond and follow each other while adopting a "times change" and "who's to say?" philosophy in order to avoid the sin of being intolerant.

(This debate could go on and on, but I’ll stop it for now)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Here is a blog site where I got into a debate with the "Science Avenger" on gay marriage.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Gay marriage - When Gay is the new Black part 2

I'll say one thing about the gay marriage debate. Generally speaking, Christian Evangelicals have not been good at arguing their point. To the extent that they have argued "…Judeo-Christian values…" and "…5000 years of marriage as the backbone of civilization…", these points may contain truth but they make poor arguments when presented as talking points. As talking points they only state the opinions of those who already agree and speak nothing to those who disagree.

Not every one agrees on the “5000 years” analysis and the patent importance of Judeo-Christian values, but no one wants to be “hater”. Questions of truth aside, the gay marriage advocates have succeeded in putting Evangelicals on their heels. In my opinion, Dennis Prager, a Jewish commentator has made the best and clearest public arguments. So if here, along with my Part 1 post, is my attempt to explain the concerns of those now opposing the legal sameness of gay unions and hetero unions. My ideas are an elaboration on things that Dennis Prager has said. Here is one Prager article on this topic and here is another.

As I’ve said before many gay marriage advocates put forward the position that they are merely widening the umbrella of freedom, expanding marriage from something that hetero people enjoy to something that gay people will be able to enjoy. The gay marriage crowd say that they only wants to expand a freedom that straight people have. On the face of it, gay marriage advocates don’t seem to want to impose anything. But there is a much larger and more total imposition that can be redacted from other aspects of their rhetoric.

Allow to explain. If I were to say that I was OK with the law being blind to the question of gay marriage but I still wanted,

A) Christian adoption agencies allowed to prefer hetero couples
B) Churches that only married hetero couples
C) Churches that only allowed hetero people into positions of leadership
D) Evangelism into my church
E) The public expression on a university campus of an idea that a hetero union is uniquely special

Would I have crossed completely into the realm of non-hatred? Or would I still be hating except only in a more limited sphere and therefore represent an unfinished revolution? On the one hand I would be allowing legal freedom to marry. On the other hand I would be working against some of the essential gay marriage moral ideas through other means.

After the legalization of gay marriage, the unfinished revolution of those who allowed gay marriage “despite their personal beliefs” will be finished with more lawsuits against discrimination and hate speech and for affirmative action. Why? because that is what “gay is the new black” means:

The law not to make someone royalty is not merely a law like a speed limit. It is a law that is backed by everything that it means to be an American – backed by every resource that the country has to symbolize the moral importance of that law. Every time you see the U.S. flag, see a coin, see the name of street or city named after a Founder, every memorial carved in granite on the mall of D.C. you are reminded that we as a people are founded on a moral idea that it is fundamentally repugnant to see specialness in a family that would require that they be made royal.

If you actually believed in your heart of hearts that a particular family should be the royal family, you would have the right to your conscience as an American citizen. But for all practical purposes, this would be an exceedingly difficult country for you to practice your belief – it would be profoundly un-American.

We in 2009 recognize that the civil war was an extension of the War of American Independence. The Black civil rights movement of the 60’s is an extension of the Civil war, being Part 2 of the reconstruction that was begun after the civil war. When we celebrate Martin Luther King day, we raise the American flag and retro-actively assign the blood of patriots on Bunker Hill to the cause of the Black civil rights movement. We recognize that holidays, street names, city names, monuments in granite, flags, currency and textbooks all attest to our moral narrative as a people that we now see repugnancy in seeing specialness in a skin color as we do to seeing specialness in a particular blood line. This is at the core of what it means to be an American and we use every public resource that we have to symbolize this meaning.

If you actually believed in the specialness in a skin color, you would have the right to that belief in the deep recesses of your conscience, but for all practical purposes it would be hard to practice. While defacto segregation is still real, every national symbol is designed to point to a different moral narrative, very much including what children are taught in school. Furthermore, you would be barred from practicing your belief in any sphere of life other than clandestine meetings in the woods. Even uttering your belief in the wrong place would be the end of your career and possibly illegal under hate and discrimination laws.

If “gay is the new black”, we have adjusted the moral narrative of our people to a narrative where seeing specialness in a man-woman union is now as morally repugnant in seeing specialness in a skin color as seeing specialiness in a blood line. If gay is the new black, we now back this new moral narrative with our flag, currency, national monuments, street names, city names, holidays, etc… In addition to all symbolical resources, we will now use every available legal resource to marginalize those who still believe that there is specialness to a man-woman union, as we marginize those who oppose other sacred moral ideas that we have as a people.

So I want to be clear even if the gay marriage activists are not always so clear: if "gay is the new black", the movement does not merely want the legality of gay marriage, it wants the raising of the American flag to represent the day when we as a country vanquished the idea of the specialness of a man-woman union into the dust-bin of history.


As a Christian I am very careful about how I defend “Judeo-Christian Values” from my personal practice of Christianity. I am not happy when Christians elide from one into the other without making careful distinctions. I'm also mindful of pantheists (worshippers of natural forces) who elide from a civic argument for maximum freedom of personal expression into the evangelism of a pantheistic worldview.

As I've said before I define a "morality" as an idea of right and wrong that flows from an essential idea of design. A "moral narrative" is a moral idea that is seen through the lens of past, present and future.

A country is more than a set of laws: it has places and objects of public and even sacred importance that identify it as a people. It is these symbols – whether a coin or a monument – whereby a country indicates its moral narrative and in which it invests moral meaning. And where there is a moral narrative there is a hint at that the "design source"; the source from which the moral design derives from that makes the right right and the wrong wrong.

Any publically owned item, such as the design of a coin or national monument, that is capable of containing symbolic meaning has the potential to communicate symbolically the moral narrative of a people and the design idea behind the narrative. In this way, every public symbol is in some way a “sacrament” has invested in symbolical importance indicating the ultimate source of its moral narrative. This sacrament of moral ideas invested in public symbols is a society’s “civil religion”.

All societies have a moral narrative and all societies have some sort of a civil religion even if it is very minimal in its presentation and does not require that you attend a church on Sunday. Even a country that said that it did not have a narrative would have the moral narrative of nihilism.

Discussing the “separation of church and state” in all of its forms from the verbatim text of the First Amendment to its modern interpretation would other writings. Suffice to say that his idea was designed so that the government cannot press you into going to a church. However, we do not and have never had a complete separation from an idea of a God above nature that resembles the Judeo Christian God. What we have is a moral narrative that is consistent with a God-belief in a God above nature vaguely reminiscent of the Judeo Christian God. We have some minimal references to this God in our symbols.

As a result we have a country that generally allows the easier and fuller expression of conscience to those who believe in a Judeo Christian God, especially so than those who belief in a god that requires human sacrifice, allegiance to a blood line or a skin color. You and I both agree that we don't want to grant largess to the conscience of one who believes in a God that requires regular child sacrifice. But as a nation we are at a pivot point between a society that will either give largess to those who believe in a God above nature or those who do not believe in a God above nature. One party will be the loser.

Many argue that the representations of and references to God in our country national symbols represent an unfinished revolution in the separation of church and state. But if you were to remove every reference to this God above nature from anything that is touched by the government you would not actually separate government from religion. This is true especially in a modern world were government touches everything from sidewalks we walk on the school ciriculum requirements established by the government. For better or for worse the modern government touches almost everything.

Now if you treat a force in nature with the same allegiance that god-believers treat God, then you have a religion of a different form. And if you significantly alter the moral narrative of a country, you alter the idea of the "design source" behind the moral narrative.

If gay is the new black in all the ramifications that I have described above, we now have a moral narrative that is not consistent with a design source being a God above nature. Rather we would have a moral narrative that is inconsistent with a God above nature but that is thoroughly consistent with a god-like force of Nature expressing its wisdom in the warp and woof of human opinion and desire. All public granite, silver, holidays and flags would now point to this form of god.

This is the same god-like force that is revered when a certain cross-section of emerging opinion is taken as the ultimate and final source of all moral wisdom. As George Will pointed out in his column on Jerry Brown, Brown takes this view of Natural Law expressed as the god-force of the emergence of libertine opinion as the ultimate source of all moral truth that judges can use to over-ride any other moral idea.

So if you removed the reference to the Judeo-Christian God with a moral narrative that vanquished the idea of man-woman specialness into the dustbin of history, you would not separate government from religion: you would simply be replacing one civil religion with another.

This is what is behind the gay marriage debate are conflicting impositions rising from conflicting ideas of moral fundamentals. Many Evangelicals, me included, would impose on gay people a legal position of a union that is inferior to a hetero union—even if it’s a slight distinction: this so that the symbolism of freedom and the blood of patriots is not used to make repugnant the idea that there is something special in a man-woman union. This specialness of a man-woman union can be seen from certain evidence in nature but is seen most completely in the light of a God above nature. We want to have a land where it easy to express conscience that is consistent with a Judeo Christian God.

The hardcore gay marriage advocates are seeking to impose a moral vision that re-interprets the moral narrative of our country and orients it toward a "god as nature" civil religion. This imposition is not stated boldly but can be redacted from the rhetoric of the gay marriage movement. This imposition in its full form will make it harder to express a conscience that is consistent with a Judeo-Christian idea of God

If this imposition occurs I will accept it and face whatever marginalization / persecution follows, but that does not mean that I will not attempt to articulate what is at stake.

Gay Marriage -- When Gay is the new Black part 1

In the Gay marriage debate there are important shades of distinction to be explored. There are those who A) demand that gay marriage be legal and those that are B) OK with it being legal. Gay is the new black represents one aspect of the rhetoric that represents the group A. Despite your personal opinion, (gay) marriage is a fundamental right is an appeal from those in Group A to those on the fence to join group B.

“Gay is the new black” is a summation of a gay marriage argument that makes a direct comparison to banning mixed skin marriages as gay marriage, saying that the ban of the latter is as morally repugnant as the ban on the former in the era of segregation. Gay is the new black is a way of saying that gender is as unsubstantial a human reality as skin color. “Gender is as superficial as skin” is not stated in so many exact words but it can be redacted from of the rhetoric gay is the new black. For a Group A person “gender is as superficial as skin” is what they mean when they say that gay marriage is a "fundamental right" as a "right of design": that the moral imperative flows to view a gay union as the same as a hetero union and that seeing difference is as bigoted in seeing difference in race. I will explore this more depth a little later.

A person in Group B may or not believe in a complete one-to-one comparison of the black movement to the gay movement. The common belief of Group B is “that which cannot be compellingly made illegal by imminent and easily measurable harm needs to be left in the realm of choice”. For a Group B person, gay marriage is a "fundamental right" as a "right of utility" only in the sense that a certain privilege of choice is fundamental even if the choice is not necessarily ideal.

There is another way to describe the relationship between groups A and B – is that "gays are the new feminists". As in feminism the same debate occurs as to the meaning or lack thereof of gender. In Christina Hoff-Sommers book, Who Stole Feminism: How Women Have Betrayed Women, she delineates a “equity feminism” from “gender feminism”. Equity feminism is feminism that seeks to advance the cause of women without attempting to remove the idea of gender differences. Gender feminism sees it necessary to advance the cause of women by denying consequential gender differences and denying meaning to gender.

Gender feminism has a deeper worldview agenda than equity feminism. In the gay marriage debate, Group A is an extension of the gender feminist position, seeking to advance the cause of gays by denying meaning to gender. Group B is an extension of an equity feminist position that seeks mere equity under the law without regard to the question of sameness.

I am definitely not in the Group A but I have seriously considered the B position. Let’s explore the validity of the B position, most of our laws are very eye for an eye and are based on easy ethical questions of imminent harm, “if everyone did it there would be a problem…” Gender, though is a complex reality. Whether one sees the harm of denying meaning to gender depends largely on whether one has a worldview that requires that gender have meaning. The harm of gay marriage is not imminent as allowing people to steal from each other. Jerry Brown, a gay marriage supporter, has made the point regarding that there is not enough compelling imminent harm to a gay marriage to make it illegal.

Why am I still not supporting the gay marriage movement? Because I'm convinced that the gay marriage movement – including Group A with Jerry Brown included— will use every available means of the law to advance a package of moral views and intentions from the "gender is as insubstantial and superficial in its meaning to human existence as skin color" worldview. This is not a matter of those who have a parochial narrow worldview who see meaning in gender vs. those who have the broad interest of maximum freedom for the common good. Rather this is a matter of one worldview vs. another competing worldview.

My interest in this debate is to explain why this debate is not between those who would impose their moral vision on other vs. those who want maximum freedom. Rather it is a battle between competing moral impositions based on competing moral visions.


If gay is the new black, why have you not seen “gender is as superficial as skin” in a billboard? As a sheer design question, the statement on its face is easy to attack with science. You don’t need a Bible to see profundity to gender as a part of human design. If I examine the topic from an evolutionary standpoint I can find copious evidence for the meaning of gender and I can make a naturalistic argument for the specialness of a man-woman union.

Race is genetically insiginificant and gender is pre-human. We could have been designed by nature to reproduce as where each individual is “bi-gender” like certain amphibious animals that can switch genders as needed, but we reproduce with male and female genders that largely set. Nature has selected us according to a benefit to male and female and nature rewards that union with reproduction, something that the two together create that is not duplicated in the union of two gay people

Many of those with a naturalistic/evolutionary worldview believe that our needs that were forged in evolution are hold-overs/relics from our times surviving on the Savanah of Africa etc… There is an idea that we can take mastery over our evolution to suit the modern world shaping our evolution in the direction of minimum carnage and maximum harmony. This is only possible to a point. However we came to be, we were stamped. Even looked at from an evolutionary perspective, base needs were a crucible in which something more than base needs came about. We do not "need" art to survive but we nevertheless need art and we need it for needs far beyond impressing the chicks in order to reproduce.

In regard to gender, men and women do not simply need each other in the primitive sense of men being physically strong biological organisms needing to reproduce and women needing providers. It is not true that modern technology has freed us from essential emotional needs. We have been designed to get our emotion needs met with a sexual union across male and female and to have that be of benefit to kids.

Sexual attraction exists to attact the other, and the pleasure of sexuality is vicarious experience of a part of ones own humanity that one sees in the other that is both alien and familiar. The bond of sexuality in its full power is explained only as complementary needs being met, where the palate of human experience, the different aspects of what it is to be human are brought together for the best nourishment of each other and of children. No other view does justice to the awesome power of the sexual appetite than to recognize that there is a relational nutrition across male and female that the sexual appetite was made for.

Not all of life is a dispensation of perfect sameness and being gay is not the same as being hetero. In a gay person, the appetite for the experience of the other gone askew due to having a portion of a gender dis-order. Being gay leads to gay sexual experiences that do not join body parts in their best union of design and do not join people across the full spectrum of otherness that exists across male and female. Yes gay people can lead rich lives but their condition is not the best exression of human sexuality; it is not the same as being heterosexual.

Even if being gay is entirely naturally occuring as result of pre-natal exposure to hormones in the womb, it is the occurance of a partial version of what in its full form is a gender disorder. In a similar manner that Asperger’s syndrome is a lesser form of Autism, being gay is a lesser version of what in its full form would make one feel like a man in a womans body or vice versa. The latest science indicates that a gay mans brain has more female characteristics than a hetero man’s brain and that a gay woman’s brain has more male characteristics than a hetero woman’s brain.

The reason why this issue boils down to the meaning of gender is that if there is meaning to gender than there is a complementary union in a man woman union that isn't duplicated in a gay relationship. I have not given an exhaustive naturalistic argument for the superiority of hetero committed unions. I recognize that there are naturalistic counter-arguments. I'm not saying these things because I think it will convince those who disagree. I am certainly not saying them with the intent to inflict hurt and hatred on gay people, but to explain that there is commonly available naturalistic evidence for the profundity of gender cannot be dismissed as ridiculous, and there are consequences to this meaning.


How superficial and insubstantial is gender? Whether it is true in every dimension of truth the gay marriage hardcore absolutely believe is that we must “act” and operate as though the statement is true in every dimension. “Gender is as superficial as skin” may be a fiction from a purely objective standpoint but it is considered necessary to believe. In other words, if not a total “design truth” it is a total “social truth” that everyone must remove gay difference from one's moral vision of the world as one removed black difference. It is in the crack between objective truth and "social truth" that we get the idea of "politically correct". If it is socially true but not necessarily objectively true, then it is "correct", in the sense of being a "correct social orientation".

Here’s the problem with the gay is the new black rhetoric in regard to the question of design. The black civil rights movement made clear unequivocal statements of design. There is famous picture of black marching in the streets with “I am a man”. A clear four word statement of design that black men were every inch men that white men were men. “I am a man” was not merely a "social truth" or "necessary objective fiction" or "PC". Rather, the black movement was advancing clear unequivocal statement of objectively true design, and they were absolutely right. “I am a man" is a total social truth and a total "design truth." You would never hear Martin Luther King prefacing a speech with "despite your personal beliefs…” as in "despite your personal beliefs, all racial equality is a fundamental right" or "despite your personal beliefs, all men are created equal". Either they are all equal or they aren't, and you either believe it or your don't.

If Group A in the gay marriage debate wanted intellectual honesty in their comparison the black movement, they would need to clarify their social truth and how it relates to design truths. I have attempted to redact it, which can be stated as follows, "Gender is as superficial as skin. Is this a total design truth? We won't say. What we will say is that the question of whether there are or aren't design aspects of gender is irrelevant to any examination of human relationships and is irrelevant to any moral question involving human relationships. Therefore all decent people must operate with "gender is as superficial as skin" as a total social truth, as much as we now treat the black sameness with white as both a total social truth and total design truth."

The closest that the gay marriage advocates have come to this statement is making their movement co-equal to the black movement by harnessing the sympathy to that movement (“gay is the new black”) while also seeking the partnership of people who may find some narrow meaning to gender but who are willing to allow the law to be blind (“despite your personal beliefs…”). So how do you harness the same interest that was harnessed for the black movement without making as clear statements of design as the black movement made? Aside from calling people to bracket their "personal beliefs”, many in the gay marriage movement have compensated by labeling those who disagree as “haters”.

It is the charge of hatred that colors how one is to interpret Group A's appeal to Group B: that appealing to the "right of utility" crowd has current tactical value to a movement that seeks to advance "gender is as superficial as skin" as a total social truth. For Group A the “despite your personal beliefs, gay marriage is a fundamental right" slogan is a way of saying, “If you do have a personal belief that is contrary to this it is to be vacuumed sealed in the container of your thoughts, while the narrative of our culture and law goes squarely in the direction of "gender is as superficial as skin". If Group A is intellectually honest, it is not enough that the law is blind, for the total social truth, all pubic conversation must be "blind" and all discourse in school and universities must be "blind".

If you take the personal belief out of the vacuum container of your thoughts you are a hater. This is true even if you would stand up for a gay person in the street who was being bullied. In regard to the gay marriage debate it doesn’t' matter: having the opinion that a hetero union is superior to a gay union is tantamount to the bullying. The position opposing total sameness of gay marriage and hetero marriage is thus a pre-crime for all violence done to gays, and is violence of a different form.

The Group A tactic of identifying a position contrary to gay marriage is "hate" is penultimate to making it illegal as "hate speech". With this, any point of view that questions "gender is as superficial as skin" can be labeled as fundamentally harmful to society. In the name of stopping harm, the imposition of moral thought has already begun, as on can see here in this article.

So how will Adam and Steve getting married affect your marriage? In the context of the current debate, it is intellectually dishonest to put a microscope on a couple of individuals named Adam and Steve in order to make a "right of utility argument". The legal and social apparatus of Group A to advance the "gay is as superficial as skin" worldview for the collective "Adams and Steve's" to be married will have a profound effect on what forces one must counter to raise one's kids according to a belief that gender has meaning.

I don't like the law "sheparding people into goodness". There is a part of me that is sympathetic to a "right of utility" argument. On the other hand, there are aspects of law that are pivot points where people will either be sheparded into one view of goodness or another view of goodness in an alternate moral paradigm. I see this gay marriage debate as a realm that goes far beyond mere utility: it is a crossroads of conflicting impositions where the law will either shepard people into the "gender is as superficial as skin" worldview or the "gender has some degree of meaning" worldview.

Most all of us in this debate are equity feminists in the sense that we all agree that gender should be largely blind in the human resource departments. Those opposing and/or questioning the total legal sameness of gay unions and hetero unions say that the degree of gender blindess that is being asked of society is gender blindness gone too far; that it requires too much non-acknowledgement of something real in human reality; that marriage cuts closer to the bone of sexual meaning than the human resource department – and has implications that radiate beyond the privacy of marriage beds ; that enough imposition of gender blindness is an imposition not of a more generous legal vision but of an alternate moral vision.

If you believe that there is any substance to gender, the Group A agenda within the gay marriage movement is the imposition of "gender nihilism" in the face of evidence of profound meaning to gender.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

On a very different note than my posts on philosphy and culture, from time to time I am going to post different random ideas that I have. Among my other areas of interest are developing non-profits and green/eco/fair trade. Here is an e-mail that I sent to a local commercial bank in Pasadena, CA.

--My name is Greg Wertime. I am a resident of Pasadena and I have an idea that I wanted to share with a local commercial bank.

I decided that if I’m going to invest anything that I wanted to have as much involvement as possible in what I'm investing in. There is an idea that I am promoting for my own interest as an investor and perhaps as an organizer too.

Lots of people are interested in green investing, but green investing for “small time” investors is limited to certain mutual funds and publically traded companies. Local green investing is limited to larger venture capital. I’m convinced that there is a lot of under-tapped interest in green investing among common “small time” local people that could be pooled together for green venture capital.

What if one of the local commercial banks had a “green banking” division where local residents could invest in local green/sustainable/and fair trade businesses.

Imagine a website where you could purchase CD’s at a minimum of $500 which would be pooled to make loans for local green start-up or green renovations. On this site you would see the local businesses featured that were receiving these green loans. Also imagine if on the site there would be an invitation for “green meets” every month that would be hosted by different loan recipients. “Green networking” among people interested in investing and promoting green business is a hot thing right now.

In this way local investing, advertising and green-networking would all be wrapped up with each other. This would a very innovative, banking concept – where the bank is the catalyst for the advancement of the green movement and thus for the benefit of those businesses that it is lending to. It would be a new vehicle for people who wanted to marry their investing with their interests.

I would be grateful to know your thoughts.


Greg Wertime