National Review Defends Santorum on Gays

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Hoover Institution fellow Stanley Kurtz defends Senator Rick Santorum by pointing to the rise of divorce rates and adultery since the 1960s and suggests that the growing tolerance of homosexuality is undermining marriage. That as may be, but Kurtz completely ignores THE elephant in the room–the pill. Surely, effective contraception had far more effect on things like divorce rates and adultery than a growing tolerance for homosexuality. I wonder what Kurtz' position on Griswold v. Connecticut is?

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  1. Diana-

    I believe Mr. Bailey is referenceing the Pill as the spark that started the Sexual Revolution. The correlation is definitely there, but the causation is a little iffier (coming as it did around Women’s Liberation). That said, it’s a much stronger argument than the Kurtz argument, who goes traipsing into hypothetical group marriages and Gay “open marriages” to make his absurd point. From what I could glean, he was saying he would leave his wife for a man if sodomy were legal- I would hope other marriages are stronger than that.

    PS: This blog has been the most honest exchange I’ve seen on this subject so far-

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take a shower in Lysol…

  2. Well, I was going to abandon my wife and children for some hot gay sex, but I see it’s still illegal. 🙁

    Oh well.

    The idea that the strength of a marriage or lack thereof depends on some obscure, archaic, rarely enforced law is pretty amusing.

    Always funny to watch people try to reason their way through irrational prejudices. Sort of reminds me of White Aryan Christian types who insist Jesus wasn’t jewish, but rather was born in Germany and flown down to Palestine by angels. He had blond hair, you know.

  3. So Kurtz says “The real danger of gay marriage is that it will undermine the taboo on adultery, thereby destroying the final bastion protecting marriage: the ethos of monogamy.”

    So somehow, it’s just taken for granted that a gay marriage is not monogamous?

    Huh?

    And how come the “taboo” of sodomy is worse for gay people? With perhaps the exception of Santorum, I don’t think many people want to make a blowjob from the wife an arrestable offense. So if a gay person does it, it’s somehow an assualt on monogamy and marriage, but if heterosexual people do it, no worries.

    And I really don’t think you can blame homosexuals for heterosexual adultery. There’s always been plenty of that, and I agree that birth control probably has a larger influence on sexual freedom than any “taboos”.

    I’d love to see some stats comparing divorce, abortion and teenage pregnancies between nations, as well as the laws, rights and policies as regard to sexuality of those nations. I actually think the more freedoms, education and rights people have regarding their sexuality, the more stable the society, but I’d love some data.

    People who are scared of sexuality want to blame the boogeyman of “perversion” for undermining civilization, when it just ain’t so.

    The more ignorant a person is, the more things that person tends to be disgusted and afraid of. This is true about more things than sexuality…

  4. . Bailey is referenceing the Pill as the spark that started the Sexual Revolution.

    I don’t agree with that “fact” although I know that a lot of people believe in it. I don’t think there’s a shred of real evidence that the Pill sparked the Sexual Revolution. I think that this belief is historically facile.

    As you say, correlation isn’t causation.

    My problem with the incest=sodomy=birth control equation is that birth control, while relieving the burden of constant pregnancy, doesn’t fundamentally alter the institution of marriage as a procreative act. In fact, the element of choice strengthens it. How many families broke apart under the burden of poverty back in the so-called good old days. How many children were put into orphanages? How much infanticide went on that we don’t know about? Think of it.

    Now, if the libertarians are saying that incest doesn’t equal sodomy, then why are they claiming that sodomy and birth control are? Somebody please clarify that one.

    Last, the whole libertarian (“two guys next door isn’t gonna make me leave my wife”) argument rests upon the flimsy notion that sexual mores are completely a matter of genes. Take a look at classical literature and anthropological literature, and you’ll see that both incest and homosexuality are fairly widespread phenomena. Institutionalized male homosexuality is common in intensely patriarchal, misogynistic societies. You may not want to leave your wife for the guy next door, but if your sons are raised in a society where it’s just fine and dandy, they might. That would leave your daughters with severely lowered marriage prospects. So, in order to deal with that problem, we could always legalize polygamy, and create a society in which a small amount of high-status guys marries a large number of needy women, and leave the rest of you to shtup each other while snorting as much coke as you please.

    Don’t laugh–my example is just as possible as your vision of a stable society comprising a small minority of contented gay couples co-existing amicably with a heterosexual majority.

    It’s already happened in classical Islam.

  5. As I understand Kurtz’s argument, he’s claiming that even if laws against consensual incest, adultery and sodomy are completely unenforceable (and, indeed, unenforced), they are good to have on the books because they reinforce, in symbolic manner, the cultural taboos against adultery, non-marital sex, and non-reproductive sex.

    I bet I could get Kurtz to turn around on this one quickly, by using his precise wording to argue that hate-crime laws, even if unenforced, are good to have on the books because they reinforce cultural taboos against judging on the basis of skin color, religion or sexual orientation.

  6. B/C, not afraid of a little penis-to-penis action are you? Boise just wanna play swords!

  7. The people who want us to return to traditional family values are the ones who had it good in the 1950s: white, male, married, Christian heterosexuals, all abstinent, understanding and non-violent. Just like on Beaver. Fact is, though, the traditional family in that sense is, and always has been, a rarity.

    The ’50s were a very bad time for women, minorities, homosexuals, political dissidents, and anyone who was in any way different from the “ideal”. We don’t need to return there.

  8. I wasn’t going to contribute anything to this discussion, but since Diana has stepped onto my turf, I have to come out swinging:

    “Take a look at classical literature and anthropological literature, and you’ll see that both incest and homosexuality are fairly widespread phenomena. Institutionalized male homosexuality is common in intensely patriarchal, misogynistic societies. You may not want to leave your wife for the guy next door, but if your sons are raised in a society where it’s just fine and dandy, they might. That would leave your daughters with severely lowered marriage prospects. So, in order to deal with that problem, we could always legalize polygamy, and create a society in which a small amount of high-status guys marries a large number of needy women, and leave the rest of you to shtup each other while snorting as much coke as you please.”

    The fallacy at work here is that Diana is assuming all else is equal, plus pervasive homosexuality, which is absurd. I can’t speak towards other civilizations, but in occidental Classical times, male homoeroticism and marriage were pervasively coexistent. I don’t want to get too deeply into the subject, since it’s quite complex and there were considerable differences between Greeks and Romans, and I don’t have much time to spend on this, but in general ancient people did not conceive of sexual orientation in hetero/homo terms. The vast majority of men in both Greece and Rome married — into, as you say, highly patriarchal relationships — and had children, while very many of them had homoerotic relationships (and heterosexual affairs) outside it.

    Particularly in Rome, family life was a matter of intense social responsibility, as much so as the Christian Right would like it to be now. Emperors such as Augustus passed laws mandating large families, and childless bachelors (the orbi) were objects of social scorn for their frivolity and irresponsibility. At the same time, homoerotic relationships outside the home were perfectly normal. In Rome, men generally practitioned such relationships primarily as younger men, generally with slightly younger teenage boys, generally slaves or freedmen, and then gradually lost interest as they matured. In Greece, men often continued such relationships into old age, again generally with young men and teenagers, but always free-born citizens (the Greeks believed this had paedagogical benefit). At the same time, same-age sexual relationships were not uncommon; as I say, although there was no word for gay, there was a recognition that some people were more inclined in this direction than others — and it was generally contemned. The poet Virgil, for instance, a bachelor, was the object of some degree of society ridicule and well-meaning attempts by his friends to hook him up with a nice wife. (They didn’t take.)

    Anyway, nearly everyone was still married, mostly, and yet there was certainly still plenty of “institutionalized homosexuality.” The polygamy suggestion is just absurd.

    What bearing does all this have on the modern question? Since the nature of homosexuality as conceived in modern times is so at variance with the ancient practice — and marriage then and now even more different — I’d not be willing to draw any conclusions on the basis of history (which is a reckless thing to do in any event).

    But (a) the Classical evidence offers no support per se for Diana’s claim, and (b) Diana’s claims for modernity (if we “allow” homosexuality, men are going to be running out on their wives willy nilly) seem highly dubious simply as a matter of common sense, but that’s another question entirely.

  9. I am surprised that NR ran this piece. There are hardly any facts stated in the entire article and those that are stated do not relate to his thesis. Basically he says blah blah incest, blah blah homos, blah blah divorce, therefore the laws have symbolic value that outweighs the very tangible limits on freedom that they impose. No studies, not even anecdotes, just his personal observations, with footnotes to other essays written by him! No rational relationship that I can see.

  10. And one more thing, where did he get the idea that gay people don’t have monogamous relationships? The lie.

  11. Thanks for posting this. It really answered a lot of my questions about sodomy.

    Not to change the subject, but I read an interesting article yesterday that said that
    monogramming is back in style and I thought
    that was interesting as well.

  12. Berto,
    The new trend for white supremicists is to become Odenists. Rather that worshiping a Jew, they resurected some long forgotten Nordic gods. Oh, and for all the white supremicist feminists, there’s Odessa. The heathen Odenists actually get along quite well with all the Christian white supremicists at all the picnics they like to have together.

  13. A return to Rome then, great. Have at it fags.

  14. Diana-

    “birth control, while relieving the burden of constant pregnancy, doesn’t fundamentally alter the institution of marriage as a procreative act.”

    I would say preventing procreation “fundamentally alters” any “procreative act”. Of course, your equation of MODERN marriage with a “procreative act” is specious anyway, resembling a rationalization more than a thesis. I suppose women over child-bearing age shouldn’t be allowed to get married- don’t they know it’s a “procreative act”?

    And then we get the reference to Classical Islam (you shouldn’t bash Mr. Bailey for being “historically facile”- you’re living a glass house, love.) This is disengenous in the extreme, neglecting the difference between rigidly stratified society and America’s class mobility. It also neglects the fact that neither women nor poor men in classical Islam had many CHOICES (arranged marriages, love- one would think you’d have read about them). If you’re going to critique a libertarian approach, try alluding to relevant examples.

  15. Evan: you seem to be worked up. In fact, so worked up, that you seem not to notice that you and I are agreeing about more than we disagree.

    Classical homosexuality was mostly practiced by what we would today call heterosexual men. Married men. So, in answer to the naive question, “why would the two gay guys next door make me run out on my wife,” you’ve given the perfect answer. You wouldn’t have to run out on your wife. You could keep the wife and have a relationship with one of the guys next door.

    How fulfulled do you think that the wives of those married homosexuals were?

    Did you address the issue of whether institutionalized male homosexuality (or bisexuality) relates to misogyny? Patriarchy? No, you did not.

    The polygamy suggestion is not absurd. Male bisexuality and polygamy characterize classical Islam.

  16. Male bisexuality and polygamy characterize classical Islam.

    Really? That sure isn’t the case with contemporary Islamic states (gays are routinely exectued in Iran) or the Koran itself (“When a man mounts another man, the throne of God shakes. Kill the one that is doing it and also kill the one that it is being done to.”)

    Diana, can you provide us with links to some books or articles to back up your claim?

  17. Diana, you’re trying awfully hard to agree with everyone, but no one seems to want to agree with you.

    “How fulfulled do you think that the wives of those married homosexuals were?”

    The answer to that question bears on so many factors of Graeco-Roman marriage life and social hierarchy that reference to their hubbies’ homo predilictions is almost irrelevant to answering it. All Greek and Roman men could have been straight as phone poles, and their relationships with their wives would have been about 99% the same, which is the point that I was (apparently unsuccessfully) trying to impart. At any rate, calling these guys “married homosexuals” is a pretty grievous misapprehension, as I think I pointed out. These were not sham marriages, as your term suggests; Graeco-Roman people were simply not conditioned to see a binary split between homo- and hetero- sexuality — quite possibly because no such split inherently exists independent of social context.

  18. A large segment of the gay community looks forward to gay marriage for precisely this reason. Many thoughtful gay activists see same-sex marriage as a chance to redefine marriage itself ? stripping marriage of what they see as its outdated and constricting connection to monogamy.

    It seems that Mr. Kurtz is assuming everyone else is as interested in “defining” marriage as he and Mr. Santorum are.

  19. Diana, you’re trying awfully hard to agree with everyone, but no one seems to want to agree with you.

    I don’t think so, Evan.

    You seem to be peeved that I agree with you on a salient point which underlies this entire discussion:

    human sexuality isn’t a binary split and that the expression of sexuality depends upon many external variables.

    Other than you, not one arguer in favor of gay rights here admits that. I salute your honesty, even as I disagree with you that this is a Good Thing. I clearly do not. I think it’s bad for women, in the long run, because I think there is a relationship between legitimized, institutionalized male homosexuality and misogyny.

    You continue to evade the relationship between patriarchy, misogyny and classical homosexuality. I’d love to hear you expatiate upon that. Have you heard of Abu Nuwas? Are you familiar with his poem, “A Boy is Worth More than a Girl”?

  20. One points here, made in a round about way by others: modern marriage is different, because we are in a different culture and place in history. Divorce rates are higher because of women’s liberation, enabled by their economic and political freedom. Basically modern women are not trapped by economics or law to stay in unhappy marriages. ‘Modern’ women therefore expect a lot more respect and equality from their spouses than they were allowed in previous times. Thus, I doubt the situation Diana envisions would arrise: would most women tolerate men who buggered other men on the side, or share one with other women? I think not. Adultery and homosexuality have been constants throughout history – it’s just now that the women have the option of leaving men who practice either.

    Some divorces are caused by homosexuality, to be sure, but in a society more tolerant of it these marriages would not have happened in the first place if the gay person involved felt more free to act on their desires. I’m sure the vast majority of divorces are due to other causes and the freedom of both men and women to initiate it (for better or worse).

    High divorce rates are not a good thing, to be sure, but neither are unhappy marriages. Given that there are tangible benefits to being married, the possibility of divorce actually provides an incentive to treating your spouse well, an incentive that was lacking in times where it was not an economically viable, legally allowable or socially acceptable option.

  21. In any case, no one has explained how birth control is in the same category as incest or sodomy.

    Or defended the proposition that the pill “caused” the Sexual Revolution.

    Quaker: the literature on Islamic homosexuality is extensive. Islamic Homosexualities by Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe, NYU Press.

  22. Oops, meant to write, Islamic Homosexualities is a good start, but I clicked too fast.

    Jim,

    At the risk of being tiresome?Sexuality is a matter of genes and environment. There have been many societies in which male homosexuality has been institutionalized and in which virtually all men were married but had sex with other men. If that became the case in the West, women would have no choice but to put up with it. I?m not saying that would necessarily happen, but I think it?s a distinct possibility. That?s not a good thing, because there is a correlation between institutionalized male homosexuality and misogyny. I?m not extrapolating from the past, but I?m suggesting that it is a distinct possibility.

  23. Again, I clicked too fast. Last point and I’ll bow out.

    Why don’t the pro-gay men here simply say, “Well so what, Diana? What *if* guys wanna have sex with other guys and be married? What’s so bad about the idea that when gay rights are completely enshrined and when homosexuality finally becomes equated with heterosexuality men can be as functionally bisexual as they like?”

    Wanna respond to that one, Evan?

    I’m not saying that this *will* happen, I am asking, “what’s wrong with it?”

  24. As someone who enjoys yet often remains unconvinced by much of Mr. Bailey’s “don’t worry be happy” environmental writing, it is delicious to see Diana use the same argument against Mr. Bailey’s statement about contraception that Mr. Bailey often uses to dismiss environmental fears: if we don’t have absolute proof of a causal relationship, there’s no reason to even consider it!

    Diana, whether or not any studies exist to prove the Pill contributed to the Sexual Revolution, it’s only common sense to consider such a causal relationship likely. As a libertarian, you should be aware that when one eliminates a major disincentive for a particular behavior, one gets more of it. Combine that with the temporal correlation that you admit yourself, and what more evidence do you need that the causation is at least likely enough to talk about as if it were likely, which is all Mr. Bailey did. Do you know of any contrary evidence other than the lack of stronger supporting evidence?

    As for homosexuality leading to polygamy, I’m surprised no one here is giving the gals a little more credit. I’m talking about the other side of the equation! I’m talking about Grrrrrl Power!! You Go, Girl!!! Need I be any more obvious? Sure, there’s no guarantee that male homosexuality and lesbianism would perfectly balance each other out, but guarantees are in short supply in life no matter what. As a libertarian, I would hope you’d have a little faith that freedom would ultimately result in an equilibrium that would provide more overall gratification than does a system that restricts people for fear of imagined side effects.

  25. Fyodor,

    I’m not a libertarian.

    As for the rest of your rant, yadda, yadda.

    The burden of proof about what caused the SR isn’t on me.

  26. Hey! While were getting upset about Santorum saying about rude things about Gays He’s attempting to end academic freedom. Check this out and fight back.
    http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j042803.html

  27. Kurtz, as usual, confuses chronological order with with a high level of correlation. Simply because one act, trend, etc. follows another does not mean that the one has caused the other. Of course what else do you expect from the National Review. 🙂

  28. Thanks, Diana.

    And I’ll go on the record as saying I got no problem with dudes doing dudes. The more the better. As a young, healthy heterosexual man, such an outcome is very much in my interests. (“I agree! You’re proving my argument!!” she’ll scream…)

    One flaw I see in much of the logic here is the notion that homosexuality and parenting are mutually exclusive. Diana and others seem to suggest that once all these men “turn gay” their interest in raising kids will be replaced by endless “shtuping,” snorting coke, and other ludicrously “gay” activities. This logic is clearly at odd with the facts. Many gay parents are good parents (their own kids, in uetero fertilzation, adoption), and gays have been pushing for and getting expanded parental rights for a while now.

    So, while this End of the Family is possible hypothetically, I think it’s unlikely. Those gay couples who want a child will never have trouble finding kids to adopt.

    Also, the misogeny argument. From what I’ve seen in my travels, many cultures exist where homosexuality is tolerated amidst a much weaker “patriarchy” than we have here in the US. The Netherlands comes to mind. Denmark. England. Sweden. (Yes, this is an adecdotal opinion, but there it is anyway.)

    One last thing–prosperity does a lot more to “threaten” the family than homosexuality. Many recent studies have suggested that as a nation’s GDP increases its birth rate decreases. Look at Italy–a Catholic country with a very strong patriarchy, where homosexuality is definitely not tolerated, yet their birth rate has collapsed in recent years.

  29. Diana,

    Okay, you’re not a libertarian. But you *should* be! 🙂

    As for burden of proof, what is this, a courtroom? Look, I gave what I think is a convincing argument. Read it again if you like. If it doesn’t convince you, well there’s nothing I can do about that, is there? But if your only response to my argument is that you don’t have to prove yourself (BTW, I didn’t ask for proof, only ANY evidence), you’re sure not doing much to convince me or Bailey or anyone else who agrees with me on this point either, are you? If that’s the way you want it, fine.

  30. Diana, you commented that “There have been many societies in which male homosexuality has been institutionalized and in which virtually all men were married but had sex with other men. If that became the case in the West, women would have no choice but to put up with it.”

    Why wouldn’t women have a choice? You seem to be arguing that if we as a society allow it to become socially acceptable for men to be bisexual or gay, then we will necessarily become a patriarchal, misogynist society and women will have no choice. But in American society today, a woman who doesn’t want to put up with a husband who has an eye for the next door neighbor does have choices — primarily she can divorce him or she can make various (probably illegal) threats.
    Even if a woman is somehow helpless to stop her man from straying, would it really be so much worse if he’s straying with the guy next door then if it was the girl next door?

    Why exactly is “gay adultery” worse than adultery?

  31. I think quaker120 is right target concerning prosperity. After all, it has apparently undermined so many other, seemingly “eternal” social institutions, practices, etc. For example, think about society as it was predominantly viewed (even in the colonies/US) in the 18th and 19th centuries, as being one of “natural orders” ordained by God (read some 18th century apologias for the French social order prior to the revolution if you don’t believe me), and how this was undermined by the social and economic mobility that came with a free market system. This development at one time was considered to be development which would bring about the end of civilized society, etc.

  32. Thanks, guys.

    You’ve all pretty much proved my (and Kurtz’) point. Which is that legalizing gay marriage is a slippery slope, because that it isn’t an innocuous adjustment of one small injustice. It would be a profound societal change, whose consequences we can’t even begin to predict.

    And Fyodor, I don’t have to prove something that I think is absurd. But try these keywords: prosperity, universal education, reaction to Depression and WWII, and so on. You get my point.

    Jen: learn to read. If we became a society in which male bisexuality were institutionalized (which HAS happened, and more than once, in the past), then women would not be able to choose a man who is strictly heterosexual. She would only be able to marry a man who bisexual–because that would be the norm. It has happened in the past, and could again.

    No one in this thread has addressed that possibility, or has been honest enough to explain why that would be such a bad thing. Would you like to live in a society where your husband/boyfriend slept with other men as a matter of course?

    At this point, I’ll retire from the discussion, because I consider my point proven.

  33. But your point isn’t proven, not in today’s America. So a woman can’t marry a “strictly heterosexual man” because bisexuality is “institutionalized.” So what? If a man wants to marry a woman, and she tells him she’ll only agree to marry him if he agrees to be strictly monogamous, if he cheats, she walks.

    You’re working from the assumption that if we allow gay rights, we will necessarily find ourselves in a sexually amoral society (but only in terms of male freedom), where women have no power. Guess what? If a guy wants to have kids, he’s got to get a woman to agree.

    I can’t see America descending into a situation where a woman has no control, no power. I have the right to birth control, and the right to manage my own relationships. If I find that my only choice is to marry a wandering man (whether he prefers male or female), I have a right not to marry. Actually, I always have the right not to marry.

    The fact that I have that right — to sleep around, to live monogamously outside marriage, to live a virgin all my life, or to have a traditional marriage, whichever I choose — to me that means there will not be “institutionalized” male bisexuality as you describe it any time soon.

  34. women would not be able to choose a man who is strictly heterosexual. She would only be able to marry a man who bisexual–because that would be the norm.

    This is too good. Please don’t retire yet, Diana!

    Hetero marriage is “institutionalized,” in the US–it’s the “norm” (by which I guess you mean the “majority”?).

    So, did you have any trouble finding someone to marry who wasn’t already married (assuming you are)?

    (BTW, I was sincere when I thanked you for the book reccomendation, I really do want to learn more about this.)

  35. Anyone else here think that either Diana had a hubby who left her for another man or Diana is a psudonym for a guy who left his wife for another man and is now feeling guilty about it?
    😉

  36. Diana,

    “Why don’t the pro-gay men here simply say, “Well so what, Diana? What *if* guys wanna have sex with other guys and be married?”

    Well, speaking for myself, becuase that wasn’t really what I was talking about at all. I’m not upset or peeved, just pedantic; I thought you were misusing historical evidence in an area I know something about, and felt I had to pounce on it. I don’t think I’ve really offered much of an opinion on homosexuality per se, just pointed out that your historical comparison is no basis for the opinion you seem to hold yourself.

    As far as going into the connection with patriarchy and misogyny, in the Greek and Roman experience, these issues are too complex and intermixed to admit of much useful discussion in a blog comment. (And I don’t know enough of the Islamic examples you cite to contribute anything useful.) I think I’ve been longwinded enough already, frankly. I will, however, simply observe that threre have been a plentiude of patriarchial, misogynistic societies without as much (or any) homoeroticism as was common in the ancient Mediterranean.

    In any event, whatever case can be made about the historical connection between homosexuality and patriarchy, the prevalence of gays vs. straights in women’s studies classes at universities suggests the obvious: that the connection between the two is not axiomatic in any historical age. Raging misogyny is not the description that first comes to mind when reflecting on the various gays of my acquaintance.

  37. Hey Mr. Rick Barton

    You have an ally in Miss Diana M. She seems to be saying that homos caused the down fall of classical islam AKA “the golden age”. What do you think ? Does this need careful study ? An even better excuse than the state, what !!!

    “Islamic Homosexualities by Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe
    “Homosexualities” – a perfectly good word pluralized. The clanging you hear is the Foucault Bizzaro-world meter sounding off the charts.

  38. SM
    That goofy idea wouldn’t make her an ally of mine.
    (Master control:Invoke humor receptors) I know,I know, you are just kidding. Ha Ha

  39. Diana,

    I don’t care what gets institutionalized; I’m not going to go off with a guy, and I’m not going to cheat on my wife.

    BTW, while we’re talking about the impact on society, don’t you think there would be benefits to society if it recognized a moral difference between picking up a different guy at a gay bar every night, and living a monogamous life with a spouse?

  40. Diana,

    What you, and Mr. Kurtz, are struggling to argue for is social control based upon your mores. Its the agenda of all tinpot tyrants and victorian moralists.

    BTW, putting forth fallacious slippery slope theories isn’t the best way to win arguments.

  41. If we became a society in which male bisexuality were institutionalized (which HAS happened, and more than once, in the past), then women would not be able to choose a man who is strictly heterosexual. She would only be able to marry a man who bisexual–because that would be the norm. It has happened in the past, and could again.

    Some points on the nature of same-sex relations in the past:

    1. It seems that people in Greco-Roman and traditional Islamic societies had sex with other people–with women, with younger men–simply because they could. Their choice of partners wasn’t directly linked to gender although some preferences do seem to have existed; the choice of partners was predicated primarily on power relationships.

    2. People in Greco-Roman and traditional Islamic societies tended to be very misogynistic. The story of the rape of Lucrece–who nobly killed herself after her violation by the foreigners–pretty much tells the whole story. It was practically impossible for women to aspire to any sort of equality; equal relationships between man and wife, rare as they were, would be impossible.

    3. It could be theoretically possible for men of equal status to have a relationship of equals, but that isn’t how same-sex relations worked: The older, more experienced and mature partner picked a younger, inexperience and immature partner. Power relations between weaker and stronger dominated even then.

    None of those three conditions apply in modern Western societies.

    1. People don’t think of sex, by and large, as representing a power relationship, as a way of enforcing dominance. There are minorities on both sides of the sexual division which think otherwise, but some of these (straight and non-) fetishize the idea. It’s not an issue.

    2. Women are equal and no one wants to change that. In fact, non-heterosexual men tend to be relatively more feminist than their heterosexual counterpart, if only because they’re of necessity less wedded to traditional gender roles. The average gay or bisexual man isn’t likely to yearn for a reversion to traditional gender roles.

    3. The ideal of romantic love–something which has to exist between equals, almost by definition–is common enough among heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals. Marriage for reasons of property, or social power, isn’t very common (and when it exists is usually hidden by the language of romantic love).

    So:

    “Well so what, Diana? What *if* guys wanna have sex with other guys and be married? What’s so bad about the idea that when gay rights are completely enshrined and when homosexuality finally becomes equated with heterosexuality men can be as functionally bisexual as they like?”

  42. continued

    If their wives want that, why not? Though I don’t watch the show, Queer as Folk is apparently popular among a significant subset of straight women. It seems entirely possible that, just as some straight/bisexual men might be quite interested in their wives/girlfriends getting it on with another woman, so much some straight/bisexual women be interested in their husbands/boyfriends getting it on with another man.

    And if their wives don’t want that but they do it anyway, separation and divorce are always options.

  43. Randy McDonald,

    I heart the heart of Kurtz & Diana’s argument is the old troll – society (or at least “our type” of society) cannot exist without monogamous heterosexual marraiges being the norm. Without it Western Civilization would collapse, etc. What’s absolutely hilarious about this position is that it is so fantastically ahistorical.

  44. Surely, effective contraception had far more effect on things like divorce rates and adultery than a growing tolerance for homosexuality…

    Surely?

    Explain.

  45. Kurtz wastes time trying to make the case logically.
    The fact of the matter is that I, and most people, find homos to be sick and repulsive. It’s not logical, but it is our true feeling that we all naturally arrived to. Do they affect or harm me? Not in a physical way, but it’s sick anyway.
    So, I say, the hell with ’em.

  46. B, nice work, you plunged the intelligence level here to sub-cro-magnon levels with just one comment – that must be some kind of record.

  47. Todd, B hit the nail right on the head. His analysis, crude and repulsive as it is, cuts like a laser to the real issue at play. The intelligence level working in the popular culture mirrors that of the Republican leadership, and sub-cro-magnon is as good a description as any.

    I encourage you to skip the excerpts of Santorum’s remarks that focus on homosexuality and read the entire AP transcript. He’s clearly describing an anti-privacy position across the board, with respect to abortion, birth control and any human desire he personally finds repulsive (which is most of them). His vision of the state involves strict policing of personal happiness, which is incompatible with privacy. And his vision is that of the Republican party leadership.

  48. They’re just a bunch of fags, who gives a shit? I hate all this sensitivity crap on Reason. Fuck ’em.

  49. B

    I find people who think like you sick and repulsive. I think your intolerance is sick, even though it doesn’t harm my physically.

    But you know what? I don’t think the police should crash into your home, drag you to jail in chains, and ruin your life, even though you are an asshole. – because the way I feel about you doesn’t make you a criminal.

  50. Santorum would be quite home in an Islamic state – busily looking for sins to outlaw, bursting into people’s bedrooms to see if they are not in the missionary position etc.

    It is quite uncanny how the religious right, the Likud party in Israel and the Islamic fundamentalists all seem to have the same views.

  51. Kurtz ??and B ??forgot to mention that the homos are also responsible for 9/11.

  52. Could it be, in a modern society with very near equality for women, that marriage has become an anachronism?

    For that matter, could it be that the religious right is an anachronism? I’m shocked and awed that anyone would still waste breathe worrying about homosexuality or adultery these days. Christ. Its freedom, baby! Yeah!

  53. How is the growing tolerance of homosexuality undermining marriage? Seems to me that homosexuality would be a completely irrelevant factor when it comes to heterosexual unions, unless the marriages are breaking apart because hordes of husbands are suddenly running off with other men.

    More to the point, instead of blaming homosexuality for a rise of divorce and adultery rates, wouldn’t it make more sense to blame the rise in adultery for the rise in divorce?

  54. Mr. Nosuch said,

    “And how come the “taboo” of sodomy is worse for gay people?”

    Uh, that’s because according to most dictionaries it is only possible for gay people…

    See http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=sodomy

    Or my handy dandy Funk & Wagnalls says “Carnal copulation between male persons or with beasts”

    While some, newer and revised, definitions expand the meaning to include fellatio (blow jobs), I have not found a single dictionary that used such a definition that was dated over 20 years ago. So when the laws were made, they were specifically referrering to homosexual acts.

    I’m not getting involved in this debate – I don’t think anyone has an open mind on the issue, so why bother? However, let us be honest with the terminology.

    If you think homosexuality (or bestiality, or polygamy, or whatever) should be legal, that is up to you. But quit messing with the English language!!!!

  55. Daniel Lam,

    THANK YOU. Although you’ve basically just elaborated on part of what I previously said in brief myself. But evidently, this reasoning combined with a reasonable temporal correlation does not constitute “a shred of evidence” in the mind of Ms. “I don’t have to prove anything” Diana. Now, technically she may be right, it’s an interpretation based on the reasoning you (and I) described combined with said temporal correlation, the latter of which does not by itself demonstrate causality. But when an expected outcome correlates in time with its stimulus, isn’t it reasonable to assume causality? Not if you don’t want to, I suppose.

    And to Diana directly, if you’re still reading this thread, please note that I never claimed that the Pill caused the Sexual Revolution BY ITSELF. I specifically said it “contributed” to the SR. For his part, Bailey said it surely had more effect than a growing toleration for homosexuality. Maybe “surely” is a bit strong if you want to nitpick, but it’s still a reasonable interpretation which you have done nothing to refute except to claim lack of “evidence” and to cite your right not to have to “prove anything.” What evidence *could* there be? This was real life, not a laboratory experiment! Is there evidence for the other factors you cited (which I don’t deny are factors, but which do not rule out The Pill as a major factor as well)? If you were to cite historical correlations in the past, I would reply that I’m sure there are plenty of examples of social change resulting from technological advances, which is what The Pill was.

    But anyway, you’re right that you don’t have to prove anything. And I’ll fault myself for, eh, coming on a bit strong and perhaps alienating you rather than using some of the rules of persuasive argument. But whether or not you’ll listen to a word I say, I’ll stand by my arguments for why there is plenty of good reason to see The Pill as a major CONTRIBUTING FACTOR to the Sexual Revolution, and why it’s most most likely a greater factor than tolerance for homosexuality. As far as the latter goes, I think *that’s* a good example of getting the causality reversed!!

  56. Mr. Dictionary, a good dictionary should describe what a word actually means. Language drifts. Fact of life. And whatever the people meant when they wrote the laws, it’s being interpreted with today’s language on both sides.

  57. Well, those who think that institutionalized homosexuality is a thing from the PAST of Islam haven’t been to the Middle East lately.

    Living very close to an Air Force base I’ve heard many tells of the rampant homosexuality amoung men, in coutries where it isn’t “legal”, such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

    This is due to the continuing pressure of polygamy, and the desirability in the Arab world to marry cousins, to keep resources within the tribe.

  58. I heart the heart of Kurtz & Diana’s argument is the old troll – society (or at least “our type” of society) cannot exist without monogamous heterosexual marraiges being the norm. Without it Western Civilization would collapse, etc. What’s absolutely hilarious about this position is that it is so fantastically ahistorical

    Rather. I myself have never wanted to destroy Western civilization; I actually consider myself a fairly conservative guy by some standards (and in relation to my peers). I just want to be able to enjoy the same life chances (gay-leaning bi is my current orientation as best as I know without experience) as my heterosexual peers.

    (A question: Might Western civilization as currently constituted require a fairly broad view of marriage and its applicability for the concept to survive? As I wrote here, it seems that the choice at present is between marriage’s continued survival and its terminal collapse, and I don’t want that latter outcome.)

  59. [Didn’t know where else to respond to Ronald Bailey’s interview with Daniel Dennett. Anyway…]

    I just thought Dennett, nominally a philsopher of science I would imagine, needed to read up on Gregory Chaitin’s work on mathematical randomness and perhaps David Deutsch’s work on multiverse theory in regard to his views on determinism. Otherwise, to me at least, he’s just appealing to any other a priori (and arbitrary) belief system that he would like people to adhere. His concept of “a degree of determinism” is getting there, but paradoxical on the face of it.

    He’d be better of calling the world a “probabilistic” one and be done with it, I think. Rather than have to contort through tortured logical hoops to defend human “determinism,” he might better spend his time on interpretations of probability, quantum logic and probability theory or probabilistic causation.

  60. Let me flush out the reasoning behind the “common sense” that the advent of contraception can be expected to lead to more non-marital sex.

    Sex between a fertile man and a fertile women may lead to pregnancy. The human brain has the cognitive ability to know this fact. When offspring is not consciously desired from the contemplated union, this risk represents a rather large cost of having sex, to be balanced against the benefits of physical and emotional pleasure.

    If this cost is drastically removed or eliminated by contraception, people will be more ready to have sex even when they don’t want children, other things being equal. This is the same intuition that says that a lower price for widgets leads to higher demand for widgets.

    Now I don’t see how anyone can disagree with this reasoning. There is plenty of room for disputes above the size of the effect relative to other confounding factors, but its existence and direction is as well-established as it can be.

    I get very annoyed when people assert propostions that are palpably false in order to bolster some ulterior position. For example, protectionists will deny that free trade increases welfare in the face of all theoretical demonstrations and empirical evidence when, in fact, their opposition to free trade does not actually rest on a belief that it is welfare-reducing, but rather on an emotional attachment to something (local artisans, small farmers, mom-and-pop stores, whatever) whose existence they believe to be threatened by free trade.

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