The sixth sick gay sheikh's sixth gay sick sheep's straight!

Much as I hate to dwell on things like the interplay between what we call "science" and what we call "morality," sometimes it seems that duty calls. Whether in this case it's a duty to science or a duty to morality, I do not know.

To back up, in a post last week, I complained about what I saw the manufacture of morality in the context of global warming. I thought I'd made my point, and amazing though it might be, I managed not to mention homosexuality. Not that I don't believe morality has been -- and continues to be -- manufactured in that context, but I just didn't think it was closely tied to global warming. Well, in a general sense, I suppose you could say that I commented on the irony of climate morality vis-a-vis sexual morality. I did conclude by saying this:

I've reached the point where I actually think that some moral evils are worse than other moral evils.

My reactionary moral relativism has now reached the point where I think I should feel more guilty about letting people starve than about letting them breathe.

At this rate, I'll soon be a nihilist.

(Almost makes me wish for good old days, when you were immoral if you screwed but it was still OK to breathe. Now that everything has become immoral, nothing is immoral.)

Damn it, I hate it when people bring up the gay issue, as it's so emotionally charged that it often makes rational discussion uncomfortable. But a commenter brought it up, and he accused me of ignoring the manufacture of morality by gay activists -- something that apparently made it inconsistent for me to criticize manufactured global warming morality. I thought this was illogical, irrelevant, and even unfair as I distrust manufactured morality wherever it occurs, and I have often criticized gay activism for precisely this reason. But if we assume the commenter was right on the merits of his complaint about gay activism, why would the manufacture of a new "gay morality" defeat my complaint about the manufacture of global warming morality?

I'll take this a step further. Suppose I engage in a little Maoist "criticism/self criticism," and plead guilty to the manufacture of morality, here and now! Let's take a look at my last comment (written yesterday):

While I think the effort to "normalize" homosexuality certainly has been characterized by a process of manufactured morality, my concern is whether there is any rational reason to care about another person's sex life, and I don't think there is. This is my opinion, not an effort to manufacture morality. As to the "admissibility" of "further moral changes that [I] happen to favor" I think we're arguing apples and oranges here as I am not arguing for a new morality vis-a-vis homosexuality. Saying homosexuality is good or bad makes about as much sense to me as saying snakes are good or bad. While I would criticize not thinking logically about these things, I don't consider myself responsible for the way other people think or how they are influenced. Here, I criticized the manufacture of morality in the global warming context, but the fact that people use that technique in other contexts is simply irrelevant to my argument. I think you may be confusing my "not caring" with a moralistic desire for "normalization" -- and thus missing my point.
I'm thinking that perhaps by not caring I am engaged in amorality. In logic, is not amorality a form of morality? If I don't think homosexuality is good or bad in itself, is that not a refusal to judge? And is not a refusal to judge something a form of judgment? If it is, then I stand convicted of being judgmental. If we assume this is true, then why would it preclude me from making further judgments? Isn't that a little like saying that no one who has ever exceeded the speed limit has a right to accuse another of speeding?

The problem for me is that morality is a feeling thing. You either feel it or you don't. I can get really outraged over terrorism, murder, robbery, rape, disloyalty, dishonesty -- but this business of worrying where someone sticks his dick, it really is a matter of indifference to me, and I cannot help it. Unless someone else's sexual conduct is directed towards me, I just don't have feelings about it. While I admit that the novelty of hearing about new and really kinky or particularly unusual behaviors triggers a certain intellectual curiosity, whether someone has homosexual or heterosexual impulses bores me. I hesitate to say "bored stiff," but if boredom is a moral response, I guess I am strangely moralistic, and if I admit truthfully to what I think, I could at least be said to be promoting (if not manufacturing), my form of bored morality.

(All I can say to that is "yawn.....")

Anyway, if I don't worry about human homosexuality, how can I be expected to worry about homosexuality in sheep?

No, seriously.

Apparently, a new coalition of gay activists and animal rights activists think I should do just that, and (via Glenn Reynolds), Ann Althouse has a post about it. I'm going to quote the whole post because it's so good -- starting with a quote from a noted tennis player who seems to have become a dabbler in scientific morality:

"The more we play God or try to improve on Mother Nature, the more damage we are doing with all kinds of experiments that... turn into nightmares."

That sounds like the alarmism of a religious fundamentalist, but hostility to scientific research comes from the progressive side when the question is the source of sexual preference.

That quote is from Martina Navratilova, who is one of the many critics of Charles Roselli, a researcher who is studying why some male sheep have a sexual preference for other males. Roselli tells his critics that he hates the idea of trying to manipulate the sexuality of human beings and claims that his real interest is in fact sheep.

Don't we accept the idea of sheep breeders doing what they can to get sheep who will in fact breed? Should someone who objects to efforts to cure human beings of homosexuality resist efforts to manipulate sheep? Assuming you don't care about the individuality and personal fulfillment of sheep -- and note that PETA started the campaign against Roselli -- don't you have to admit that any learning about sexual orientation will be applied to thinking about human beings?

But that's the whole problem. Some learnings shouldn't be learned, and some thoughts shouldn't be thunk!

Dr. Zeus couldn't have put it better.

We should not learn about anything about sexual behavior if that might be applied to human beings.

Ann Althouse concludes by asking a rather excellent question.

Shouldn't gay rights advocates care when they sound like the religious fundamentalists they usually deride?
Um, the question has occurred to me.

As a matter of fact, I think it's one of the reasons I started this blog -- in May of 2002:

The Problem With Anti-Gay Bigots

...is that they want to find out what it is that other people do sexually, and then they want to claim them in some sort of brotherhood, or else disown them as unfit people to associate with. They demand the right to tell other people how to raise their children, particularly as to their definition of human sexuality. Once they identify a person as heterosexual, they encourage, even demand, a liturgy of constant self-affirmation of heterosexuality as the best measuring stick of a human being's worth. As if such peer pressure isn't bad enough in itself, one's sexual desires are now considered a litmus test of one's politics!


The Problem With Gay Bigots

...is that they want to find out what it is that other people do sexually, and then they want to claim them in some sort of brotherhood, or else disown them as unfit people to associate with. They demand the right to tell other people how to raise their children, particularly as to their definition of human sexuality. Once they identify a person as homosexual, they encourage, even demand, a liturgy of constant self-affirmation of homosexuality as the best measuring stick of a human being's worth. As if such peer pressure isn't bad enough in itself, one's sexual desires are now considered a litmus test of one's politics!

I can't believe I wrote that nearly five years ago (before I'd really started blogging in earnest), but there it is.

Manufactured morality, by gay activists! My commenter certainly had a point, and I think it's fair to acknowledge it.

(BTW, my opinion is that both sides have manufactured morality. Much of the argument involves whether moral beliefs which are said to be older are controlling, and while I have postulated that morality which is said to be in the classical tradition -- "values" -- if I must use that word again -- is older than morality said to be traditional, I realize that if morality is manufactured, the date of manufacture should not be controlling. There's a fine line between logic and satire, and I'm not always sure I know where it is!)

Anyway, gay activism is laden with schmaltzy, syrupy, morality. What a man does with his penis is thought by activists to be almost analogous to skin color -- and therefore of utmost importance. At least as important as it is to the moralists on the other side, and I have long believed that a dirty little secret is that this mutual moral antagonism is mutually symbiotic. While both sides would probably hate me for saying this, I think both sides need each other. And desperately.

Not being content with their preoccupation with making moral judgments about what humans do with their penises, they're now being judgmental about sheep!

I saw Brokeback Mountain, but it was just a movie. (Bah!)

Do these poor sheep have to be dragooned into a gay political morality pageant? It's one thing for them to be herded around, sheered, guarded, slaughtered, and it's another to care about whether their shepherds are gay or straight, but really!

Politicizing sheep genitalia?

Sorry, but that's carrying manufactured morality too far.

Why, it's not even morality; it's nonsense!

And if I have the right to object to manufactured morality, I think I have just as much right to object to nonsense -- even though I acknowledge that the mere discussion of nonsense can be construed as manufacturing more.

If I could offer a nonsensical conclusion by way of advice to the gay sheep it might be along the lines of "RAM EWE!"

But that might be construed as countancing heteronormative immorality!

(What? Should I have said "RAM BUTT"? There. Is that better?)

posted by Eric on 01.28.07 at 11:50 AM










Comments

This is an awesome post.

I think the problem with our society is not that we don't have enough morality -- rather it's that we have too much (manufactured) morality.

j.d.   ·  January 28, 2007 3:55 PM

Whenever anything is under siege, there will be a pushback. If stamp collecting were considered a wicked evil that damned people to hell; if it were the cause of beatings and even killings; if stamp collecting could get you fired for most of the 20th century, then you'd see the same kind of moral zeal for stamp collection.

But that didn't occur to you, because you apparently live in some kind of ahistorical bubble.

jpe   ·  January 29, 2007 6:44 AM

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