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Subject: Of backlash on the road to full equality rss

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Moshe Callen
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Politically, I can be and am viewed by some as strongly conservative and by others as strongly liberal. Fundamentally I do not believe that any government can be trusted to adequately safeguard the necessary rights and liberties of its citizens, especially individuals and minorities. Yet at the same time, a government becomes a necessary evil lest civil society entirely break down simply because individuals cannot be trusted to consistently avoid their baser or more selfish instincts. As bad as it may be, a government is the best solution to balancing the needs of society as a whole and the needs of individuals. Yet, the power of government should be severely and strictly limited and the restraints on the power and privileges of government need be regularly independently reviewed. If in doubt, the benefit of the doubt should be given to the promotion of the rights and liberties of individuals and minorities.

One of the things which I think has been best about the last couple of centuries across at least the Westernized wold is the growth of movements for equality for women, racial groups (Black people, people of Southern and Eastern Asian ancestry, etc.), religious groups and people other than ordinary heterosexuals. Without a doubt, granting everyone full equality societally and under law is and should be the ideal goal; it has not been achieved yet.

Yet the nature and role of a backlash against such equality is not always obvious. What to do about the backlash is even less obvious. To give an example, let us suppose that the question of whether or not US president James Buchanan was an active homosexual and that this was commonly known at the time is settled historically. (To my knowledge, it is not.) In this case, the man rose to the highest office of the land as a quasi-openly gay man. Yet he could do so because he was a white male Protestant and wealthy and because his homosexuality was never publicly nor officially acknowledged in any way. It was "tolerance" to a degree but of the sort associated with a second class citizen as opposed to a complete non-citizen.

That kind of quasi-tolerance could not happen today and the reason is fundamentally good; someone being gay is something one can acknowledge in polite society. Conversely though, it will be acknowledged one way or the other. In that sense, we have gone from one extreme to the other-- a lack of acknowledgement to compulsory acknowledgement.

What is needed ultimately is a balance. Extending the example-- and it is only one example-- of gay rights, within the public sphere people who are gay should neither live in fear of that fact's public exposure nor have that facet of their lives become the dominant characteristic of their lives. If a good reason exists for the fact to be talked about (including simply that the person wants it to be) then it should be; if not, it should not be because presumably the fact does not matter.

Frankly, I have no idea how to promote this kind of genuine tolerance except by trying my best to be personally tolerant, by teaching my children to be and encouraging others. Yet I hope and believe that this is how a society genuinely changes. This is not to say legislation is not needed; it is. Yet, legislation cannot be enough and without societal acceptance, legislation will in the end mean nothing. Why? Because government is a reflection of the collective will of the majority of a society. The collective power of the majority, expressed via government, if it can be abused, inevitably will be. Hence the price of liberty is eternal vigilance against the tyranny of the masses or equally of any single group or individual.
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Solid thoughts.

whac3 wrote:

That kind of quasi-tolerance could not happen today and the reason is fundamentally good; someone being gay is something one can acknowledge in polite society. Conversely though, it will be acknowledged one way or the other. In that sense, we have gone from one extreme to the other-- a lack of acknowledgement to compulsory acknowledgement.

This reminds me of women who are criticized for being housewives nowadays, or men called sexist for saying something as neutral as "I can't cook, my wive cooks for us."

If women have to work to be respected and to be considered a modern woman then they are no more free than when they were forced in the role of a housewife. If a husband has to know how to cook, even if his wife enjoys it more than him, we are just shifting the images of how people have to be, instead of tolerating them for who they are. We need free choice and equal opportunities, not obligations to follow.

I forgot who it was, but there was one famous author who has heavily criticized for never making homosexuality a topic in his books after he outed himself as a homosexual. It was argued that he could have used his books to promote equality, but this line of arguing would put homosexual authors in a horrible position, where they are obliged to talk about their personal sexuality in public.

Quote:

Frankly, I have no idea how to promote this kind of genuine tolerance except by trying my best to be personally tolerant, by teaching my children to be and encouraging others. Yet I hope and believe that this is how a society genuinely changes. This is not to say legislation is not needed; it is. Yet, legislation cannot be enough and without societal acceptance, legislation will in the end mean nothing. Why? Because government is a reflection of the collective will of the majority of a society. The collective power of the majority, expressed via government, if it can be abused, inevitably will be. Hence the price of liberty is eternal vigilance against the tyranny of the masses or equally of any single group or individual.

I also have no specific idea, but I agree with you that legislation is just a necessity, not a mean to advance. My hopes are with public discourse and better education (but especially the latter is easier said than done.)
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That was very well written and I agree.
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This may or may not be on topic, but what is your opinion of equality in this case?
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MWChapel wrote:
This may or may not be on topic, but what is your opinion of equality in this case?

There's an initiative that has tentatively been agreed to by all parties at the Kotel (Western Wall) which I hope will now be officially ratified. It gives a single point of access so that no one feels they're being relegated to second class status but there would be three sections: one for men only, one for women only and an egalitarian area for men and women (etc.) That way those who feel they need to be gender-segregated during prayers can do so and those who don't want t be don't have to be. Nobody really thinks the solution ideal but it seems to be something all parties can live with. So I'm positive.

As for the story, women pray at the Kotel with tefillin all the time. Yes, that's not the standard practice but as long as they are not purposely disruptive about it in a way that disturbs other people also trying to to their thing the policy is to just let people do their thing. I really only glanced at the headline but I imagine the people involved were trying to make a loud protest which disturbed other people. If I as a man either tried to go into the women's section or started being so loud I disturbed others I'd be escorted out as well.
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whac3 wrote:
What is needed ultimately is a balance. Extending the example-- and it is only one example-- of gay rights, within the public sphere people who are gay should neither live in fear of that fact's public exposure nor have that facet of their lives become the dominant characteristic of their lives. If a good reason exists for the fact to be talked about (including simply that the person wants it to be) then it should be; if not, it should not be because presumably the fact does not matter.


This reminds me of my best friend in business school. He's gay and had come out within the past five or so years (IIRC) but didn't come out at HBS until about halfway through the first year. It wasn't that he had any issues about coming out but that he didn't want homosexuality to be the defining characteristic in people's minds about him. As he put it, "I don't want people to think, 'George is the gay guy.' I want them to think, 'George is that smart McKinsey guy from Texas who happens to be gay.'"
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whac3 wrote:
Hence the price of liberty is eternal vigilance against the tyranny of the masses or equally of any single group or individual.


There are two games I want to publish, just for the names. The first is "Die Fluffy Bunnies". It would be a game about slaughtering cute rabbits, but some Germans would read it and think it was "The Fluffy Bunnies" and get a big surprise.

The other is "Liberty". Then in the little box where you print details the MSRP would be "eternal vigilance and the blood of patriots".
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Hence the price of liberty is eternal vigilance against the tyranny of the masses or equally of any single group or individual.


There are two games I want to publish, just for the names. The first is "Die Fluffy Bunnies". It would be a game about slaughtering cute rabbits, but some Germans would read it and think it was "The Fluffy Bunnies" and get a big surprise.

The other is "Liberty". Then in the little box where you print details the MSRP would be "eternal vigilance and the blood of patriots".

I hope it won't disappoint you too much, but when I (native German speaker) read "Die Fluffy Bunnies" I immediately had bloody dying rabbits a la Happy Tree Friends in mind and wouldn't have thought about any other interpretation (but maybe that's just me. whistle)

 
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captaincomic wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Hence the price of liberty is eternal vigilance against the tyranny of the masses or equally of any single group or individual.


There are two games I want to publish, just for the names. The first is "Die Fluffy Bunnies". It would be a game about slaughtering cute rabbits, but some Germans would read it and think it was "The Fluffy Bunnies" and get a big surprise.

The other is "Liberty". Then in the little box where you print details the MSRP would be "eternal vigilance and the blood of patriots".

I hope it won't disappoint you too much, but when I (native German speaker) read "Die Fluffy Bunnies" I immediately had bloody dying rabbits a la Happy Tree Friends in mind and wouldn't have thought about any other interpretation (but maybe that's just me. whistle)



Oh, it's mainly just a joke but it's not uncommon for people who are fluent in two languages to merge them, especially if a word in a secondary language is a very common one in their primary. So many games are Die something that I'm sure at least a few people would make that mistake. (Granted, the cover art might give it away...)
 
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Koldfoot wrote:
PomInNZ wrote:

The only stories of him having any sexual activity come from his youth, once he went into politics he was effectively asexual. It is extremely sad that such sacrifices ever need, or needed to be made.


Sad? Oddly enough, I think this is a good policy for any aspiring, unmarried politician.


Hmmm. Good point. We should probably be specifically looking for leaders willing to lead more ascetic lives, and leave normal human desires behind! Seems to be working out quite well for the Catholic Church - suppression of sexual activity doesn't seem to be causing any problem with their priests...
 
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Koldfoot wrote:
generally speaking, is the slut the one who you want to be the boss, or the one who is known as fairly moral?


That depends; am I single in this hypothetical?

More seriously, I'd say you've poisoned the well a bit by making the choice be "the slut" and "one who is known as fairly moral". I've known plenty of highly-moral sluts in my day.
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Koldfoot wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
More seriously, I'd say you've poisoned the well a bit by making the choice be "the slut" and "one who is known as fairly moral". I've known plenty of highly-moral sluts in my day.


And every republican politician who has had a sex scandal was given a pass here on RSP by people who consider themselves to be highly moral, but not in a religious context? Or did the politicians inspire confidence?


Someone cheating on a marriage is different from someone who is unmarried and has a number of sexual partners.
 
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Koldfoot wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
generally speaking, is the slut the one who you want to be the boss, or the one who is known as fairly moral?


That depends; am I single in this hypothetical?

More seriously, I'd say you've poisoned the well a bit by making the choice be "the slut" and "one who is known as fairly moral". I've known plenty of highly-moral sluts in my day.


And every republican politician who has had a sex scandal was given a pass here on RSP by people who consider themselves to be highly moral, but not in a religious context? Or did the politicians inspire confidence?

I am not very familiar with US sex scandals, but have there been major sex scandals with unmarried politicians who were having an active sexlife? I thought that sex scandals usualy were about people cheating on their spouse or having sex with underaged persons.
 
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Koldfoot wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
generally speaking, is the slut the one who you want to be the boss, or the one who is known as fairly moral?


That depends; am I single in this hypothetical?

More seriously, I'd say you've poisoned the well a bit by making the choice be "the slut" and "one who is known as fairly moral". I've known plenty of highly-moral sluts in my day.


And every republican politician who has had a sex scandal was given a pass here on RSP by people who consider themselves to be highly moral, but not in a religious context? Or did the politicians inspire confidence?


Scandals are usually about hypocrisy and lies. It isn't (or shouldn't be) just sex that brings them down.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
whac3 wrote:
What is needed ultimately is a balance. Extending the example-- and it is only one example-- of gay rights, within the public sphere people who are gay should neither live in fear of that fact's public exposure nor have that facet of their lives become the dominant characteristic of their lives. If a good reason exists for the fact to be talked about (including simply that the person wants it to be) then it should be; if not, it should not be because presumably the fact does not matter.


This reminds me of my best friend in business school. He's gay and had come out within the past five or so years (IIRC) but didn't come out at HBS until about halfway through the first year. It wasn't that he had any issues about coming out but that he didn't want homosexuality to be the defining characteristic in people's minds about him. As he put it, "I don't want people to think, 'George is the gay guy.' I want them to think, 'George is that smart McKinsey guy from Texas who happens to be gay.'"


Why not just, "George is that smart McKinsey guy from Texas."
 
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Koldfoot wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
Someone cheating on a marriage is different from someone who is unmarried and has a number of sexual partners.


In your internal moral code.

Many, many people who share your political tendencies went to the mat to defend Clinton.

In fact, many people who would normally thumb your comment will back Clinton to this day.



If your point is that people can be hypocrites, we're not going to disagree.

I think Clinton has some great qualities but on a personal level I will never trust him and no amount of good works he does now will erase his past.

You may disagree, but I think one reason that Republican politicians have bigger trouble with sex scandals than Democrats is that they've run on campaigns emphasizing family values and sexual morality. If a politician cheats on his wife, I think he's a cheater. That's bad enough. If a politician runs on a platform of opposing same-sex marriage and rails against the sexual immorality of the day and cheats then he's also a hypocrite.

This isn't just a right-left thing, either. If it turned out that Rick Santorum had an affair that would be different than if Rand Paul did. (For me, at least.)
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Jythier wrote:
Why not just, "George is that smart McKinsey guy from Texas."


That would be his first choice, most likely, but in our culture being gay isn't like being left-handed.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Jythier wrote:
Why not just, "George is that smart McKinsey guy from Texas."


That would be his first choice, most likely, but in our culture being gay isn't like being left-handed.


It's not?
 
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Jythier wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
Jythier wrote:
Why not just, "George is that smart McKinsey guy from Texas."


That would be his first choice, most likely, but in our culture being gay isn't like being left-handed.


It's not?


Well, in the sense that it's we have a history of trying to beat people into changing, they are kind of alike.

In terms of being (mis)used as the defining characteristic of a person... not so much.
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Golux13 wrote:
Jythier wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
Jythier wrote:
Why not just, "George is that smart McKinsey guy from Texas."


That would be his first choice, most likely, but in our culture being gay isn't like being left-handed.


It's not?


Well, in the sense that it's we have a history of trying to beat people into changing, they are kind of alike.

In terms of being (mis)used as the defining characteristic of a person... not so much.


What gets me is that other characteristics can be used to tell when someone is gay. I mean, they can't really, but if some guy has a high voice - gay. If he dresses well - gay. If he likes flowers instead of guns and ammo, gay.

All of which is stupid.
 
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Being camp is not the same as being gay.
 
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PomInNZ wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Being camp is not the same as being gay.


Case in point, David Walliams

ho is that? Too many options of wikipedia.
 
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