Moral Authority

In condemning homosexuality Robert Knight, makes an interesting point.

This is no small disagreement. Conservatism, if it means anything, reflects the understanding that, as Russell Kirk said, "there exists a transcendent moral order, to which we ought to try to conform the ways of society ... such convictions may take the form of belief in 'natural law' or may assume some other expression; but with few exceptions conservatives recognize the need for enduring moral authority."
Assume for a minute that fighting homosexuality has some useful purpose (I don't think so) where is this moral authority to be found? In government? The most corruptible and corrupt of our institutions? I don't think so.

And yet my conservative friends are quick to wield the fasces (the power of government) against what ever violates their rigid sense of order. Forgetting altogether that Liberty is a rather disorderly place to live.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. - Thomas Jefferson

H/T Eric of Classical Values via e-mail.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 07.19.10 at 11:34 AM










Comments

Damn! You beat me by 23 minutes! And you talked about an issue I decided to keep in the closet!

Eric Scheie   ·  July 19, 2010 12:01 PM

Eric has further comments on Mr. Knight at:

http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2010/07/a_preference_in.html

M. Simon   ·  July 19, 2010 12:07 PM

This is pretty much the classic Kirkean/"trad" modus operandi. Don't offer any logical argument (that would be "defecated reason"!) but invoke some mystical "enduring moral authority."

Bilwick   ·  July 19, 2010 2:52 PM


MSimon writes:

Assume for a minute that fighting homosexuality has some useful purpose (I don't think so) where is this moral authority to be found? In government? The most corruptible and corrupt of our institutions? I don't think so.


I've covered this before. Morality is not the result of God handing down a set of rules. It is a set of lessons learned from previous hard knocks that enterprising men welded onto a religious handle.

The rules themselves are actually objective,
(created by nature) and their goal is to maximize living and to minimize dying.As Margaret Thatcher so aptly put it "The Facts of Life Are Conservative."

Religion is needed to make people take the rules seriously by scaring them into following them.

You say you don't understand any useful purpose to fighting homosexuality. If you had studied the subject objectively and at length you would realize that the vast bulk of the reservoir of sexually transmitted diseases reside in this community. It would be reasonable to believe that this has always been so throughout history. Nowadays, with the advent of various medications, the consequences are no longer so dire as they once were. but prior to this, people noticed that this conduct brought disease and death into the community of those who practiced it, and as a result, people believed this behavior was not only unnatural, but a threat to their existence. (it was.)

Another aspect of this conflict is philosophy and principle. You can in principle have no lines, or you can draw lines at natural and well defined boundaries. As nature draws the actual lines, those that disagree are weeded out through attrition, and the majority shifts to the natural boundaries.

Diogenes   ·  July 19, 2010 3:44 PM

I get it. Life itself is not enough to teach people to do right. We need to apply the fasces to the malefactors so they do the right thing.

Laws will surely solve any social problem known to man if there are sufficient guns backing it. That works pretty good until you run out of guns. Which like other people's money is not in infinite supply.

Once upon a time we had Peace Officers. Now a days we mostly get Enforcers. Different job.

The lines are changing. Social liberalism gains ground every day. As does Economic Conservatism. I applaud both trends.

M. Simon   ·  July 19, 2010 4:13 PM

You're responses never resemble replies to what I write. They seem to be just a bunch of slogans you wish to cite. You seem to think it is of me you are making light, But I say that nature will always force things back to right.


Seriously, out of everything I wrote you get "Fascism?"

Economics has it's invisible hand, Morality has another. You are foolish to think you can heed the one without heeding the other.

Diogenes   ·  July 19, 2010 4:53 PM

Assume for a minute that fighting homosexuality has some useful purpose
- - - - - - - - - - -
The legitimizing of homosexuality is one lynchpin in a program to undercut Western sexual morality, and to disrupt the legal and social constraints that give weight, strength, and stability to the family unit.

Well, not just Western morality - continuing Diogenes' point, we can talk of natural sexual morality.

There has never been a mainstream, successful human culture that treated exclusive homosexuals as anything but deviants.

Ben David   ·  July 19, 2010 7:09 PM

The legitimizing of homosexuality is one lynchpin in a program to undercut Western sexual morality, and to disrupt the legal and social constraints that give weight, strength, and stability to the family unit.

Dude,

You are not going to get that toothpaste back into the tube. The horse has left the barn. The culture has changed.

Western sexual morality as you think you remember it (I saw a study once that in the US in the 1700s about 1/3 of the brides were already knocked up - true? I haven't cross checked) is gone.

You want to do something about Western morality? Forget gays. The bigger hole is adultery and divorce. If we could bring back stoning for adultery and 40 lashes for fornication we might get somewhere.

M. Simon   ·  July 19, 2010 9:56 PM

There has never been a mainstream, successful human culture

I think as quoted above I have fashioned a true statement. All cultures are temporary.

BTW I think Sparta was pretty mainstream for the time. And Julius Caesar was known as every woman's husband and every man's wife. Does it get any more mainstream than the Roman Empire?

M. Simon   ·  July 19, 2010 10:01 PM

Let me add that Iranians and Palestinians hang homosexuals. Is that enough intolerance for deviancy for you?

America could learn a thing or two from sharia, eh?

M. Simon   ·  July 19, 2010 10:05 PM

You have your fasces facing the wrong way.

The problem with homosexuality is not tolerance, but rather the need of homosexual extremists to wield the full weight of government against all who disapprove.

In 1957 and again in 1964, we made an exception, and put racial equality ahead of the right of association. Probably necessary to end finally the evils of slavery and subsequent Jim Crow.

But by opening "protected status" to a whole host of follow on special pleaders, we have embedded several terrible problems.

First is the reduction of the nation to brute tribalism.

Second, we lose forever the right of association.

Third and most crippling is the fact that if government is involved, then it's all or nothing. If homosexuality is not forbidden, then it is necessary. Necessary with the full weight of government.

Not just tolerance, but 3% of all kindergarten storybook characters, and 3% of all show and tell...

Not just tolerance, but stifling and suppression of all criticism and dissent.

Out with the right of association. And now out with the First Amendment part A (the part about freedom of religion, which actually precedes the bit about free speech).

There is no slippery slope, just a precipice.

Robert Arvanitis   ·  July 19, 2010 10:55 PM

Robert,

Generally you don't get these over reactions unless something was bad wrong in the first place.

You know how it goes: we spent decades chasing them and now they are chasing us. It is the normal course of events. In time we will find a workable balance.

Which is another way of saying we are being punished for our sins and the sins of our fathers. I dunno. I think I read something about that in the Bible. So this would not be the first time.

M. Simon   ·  July 20, 2010 12:30 AM

You might also like my latest on the subject:

http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2010/07/a_decline_in_mo.html

M. Simon   ·  July 20, 2010 12:31 AM

Diogenes:
Your reference to disease and homosexuality reminds me of specious racist arguments raised in the good old days of the KKK about blacks and syphilis. You should like this:

The 1980's Republican leader of the California State Senate, Jim Nielsen, lost an election saying: "Aids is God's revenge for the sin of homosexuality". After 20 years wandering in the wilderness, 10 of which he served as chairman of the state prison and parole board, he parked a trailer in the 2nd Assembly District pretending it was his home, and got re-elected to state government where he now presides as elder statesman in the Republican caucus.

He is a shirt-tail relative that I had the pleasure of not shaking hands with at a family wedding - wouldn't want the bastard contaminated by his queer cousin.

Frank   ·  July 20, 2010 1:31 AM

Simon:

You talk about redress and pendulums swinging.

That works for things like National League pitching versus American League batting.

BUT once we shift the ground out from unders fundamental rights, they are lost forever.

AND once we set an arguably justifiable exception on race, the floodgates are opened for all sorts of specious follow-ons and the embedding of special-interests groups, which subsume the individual.

That is not a pendulum, but the one way ratchet of the leftist agenda.

Robert Arvanitis   ·  July 20, 2010 8:22 AM


MSimon writes:
Dude,

You are not going to get that toothpaste back into the tube. The horse has left the barn. The culture has changed.

Western sexual morality as you think you remember it (I saw a study once that in the US in the 1700s about 1/3 of the brides were already knocked up - true? I haven't cross checked) is gone.

You want to do something about Western morality? Forget gays. The bigger hole is adultery and divorce. If we could bring back stoning for adultery and 40 lashes for fornication we might get somewhere.


It is not toothpaste, and it's not a tube. The Victorian era followed the Georgian era. The Georgian era was a period of rampant sexual license and libertinism which culminated in widespread death from the explosion of venereal diseases brought on by such behavior. The Victorian era was a forceful pushback against the attitudes of the Gregorian era, and Queen Victoria presided over the greatest period of English wealth and power in that nation's history.


The Moral system oscillates, just like the economic system. (they are actually correlated.) If you think the pendulum cannot swing back the other way, you are not comprehending the big picture.

Diogenes   ·  July 20, 2010 9:40 AM


M. Simon July 19, 2010 09:56 PM

There has never been a mainstream, successful human culture

I think as quoted above I have fashioned a true statement. All cultures are temporary.

BTW I think Sparta was pretty mainstream for the time. And Julius Caesar was known as every woman's husband and every man's wife. Does it get any more mainstream than the Roman Empire?


Sparta practiced boy child molestation. They considered adult homosexuality to be sick and perverted. Rome died. It only lasted as long as it did on the strength of it's wealth, power and reputation, but never mistake what killed it. The same sort of behavior that is killing us now.

Diogenes   ·  July 20, 2010 9:43 AM

Diogenes:
Your reference to disease and homosexuality reminds me of specious racist arguments raised in the good old days of the KKK about blacks and syphilis. You should like this:

The 1980's Republican leader of the California State Senate, Jim Nielsen, lost an election saying: "Aids is God's revenge for the sin of homosexuality". After 20 years wandering in the wilderness, 10 of which he served as chairman of the state prison and parole board, he parked a trailer in the 2nd Assembly District pretending it was his home, and got re-elected to state government where he now presides as elder statesman in the Republican caucus.

He is a shirt-tail relative that I had the pleasure of not shaking hands with at a family wedding - wouldn't want the bastard contaminated by his queer cousin.

What passed for conventional wisdom at the time, is of course controversial in California. When the first cases of AIDS became known to medical people in California, they initially dubbed it WOGS. (Wrath of God Syndrome. Stupid Bigoted trained medical people.) The homosexuals resented this term, and demanded something less judgmental. The new term was AIDS.

The fact of the matter is, for those people who believe in God, it certainly looked like God's punishment for forbidden behavior. (Widely taught for 3000 years or so.)

Naturally, the majority of voters in freewheeling California couldn't tolerate someone questioning their behavior, so they shouted down the man who would tell them something unpleasant. Your story is merely proof that voters are much like spoiled little children, but there is already ample evidence for that.


I said a long time ago, Had we not entered an era of Modern Medicine (to realize that a disease was being passed) and Modern Communication (giving the means of widely distributing the knowledge) the AIDS epidemic would likely have killed most homosexuals world wide.

To repeat, AIDS would have wiped them out, but for modern medicine and modern communications. In years past, it or something like it, probably did.

Now you can tell me this artificially created state of affairs is natural and normal and permanent, but i'm pretty sure you don't even believe that yourself. Not if you understand what I have written anyway.

Diogenes   ·  July 20, 2010 9:59 AM

People will have to separate their comments from mine. Apparently the Itallics HTML tags only work till the next whitespace. I'll remember that in the future, but for the previous messages it's too late.

Diogenes   ·  July 20, 2010 10:04 AM

AIDS would have wiped them out, but for modern medicine and modern communications.

Really? Not only are there number of people who are immune to the AIDS virus, but AIDS is overwhelmingly caused by unprotected passive anal intercourse -- something that a minority of gay men do. While "modern medicine and modern communications" has certainly prolonged the lives of those who contracted HIV that way, to say that AIDS would have wiped out all homosexuals is errant nonsense.

And if homosexuality includes lesbianism, the argument becomes even more ridiculous, for that population has one of the lowest HIV infection rates in the world.

(BTW, I'd love to see the evidence for the claim that the Roman Empire fell because of homosexuality. Who knew?)

Eric Scheie   ·  July 20, 2010 10:15 AM


Eric Scheie writes:
"Really? Not only are there number of people who are immune to the AIDS virus, but AIDS is overwhelmingly caused by unprotected passive anal intercourse -- something that a minority of gay men do."

You would know this how? (that this is something a minority of gay men do.) Even if true, why would it be the case? Is there something wrong with it? (I bet you don't answer THAT question.)


While "modern medicine and modern communications" has certainly prolonged the lives of those who contracted HIV that way, to say that AIDS would have wiped out all homosexuals is errant nonsense.

Just how much do you know about this subject? I'm beginning to think I am discussing this with someone who hasn't done due diligence in informing themselves. Extreme promiscuity is the norm. (and why not? What's wrong with breaking another social taboo if you've already broken a bigger one?) According to one study at San Francisco bath houses prior to the development of the AIDS epidemic, it was determined that the Average Homosexual male participated in 10 sexual encounters per night. Even at the lower incidence of transmission through oral sex, ten sexual encounters in one night greatly enhances the odds. (of AIDS and other diseases as well.) And I didn't say "All" I said most. If the genetic argument is correct, there will always be homosexuals.

And if homosexuality includes lesbianism, the argument becomes even more ridiculous, for that population has one of the lowest HIV infection rates in the world.


Lesbianism is a distinctly different condition than is male homosexuality. It has different causes and different manifestations, and it is far less common than is male homosexuality. It is also far less bent on pushing it's agenda in your face.

(BTW, I'd love to see the evidence for the claim that the Roman Empire fell because of homosexuality. Who knew?)


I don't think anyone made that claim. The claim would be more accurately described as "the Roman empire fell because of decadence." Of which sexual excess and deviancy is but one symptom.


It is far more reasonable for me to argue on behalf of claims I actually make rather than the ones you try to put in my mouth.

Diogenes   ·  July 20, 2010 11:49 AM

Just how much do you know about this subject? I'm beginning to think I am discussing this with someone who hasn't done due diligence in informing themselves.

Diogenes, you don't have a clue. I can't speak for Eric, but I can tell you that gay men who lived through the epidemic of the '80s & '90s like I did, informed themselves. We read everything, from Randy Shilts And The Band Played On to Peter Duesbergs Inventing The Aids Virus. We lived the nightmare. Please don't question our knowledge of either Aids or gay sex.

As to your facile explanations which seem to come from Natural Law theory, I would only point out that in the history of epidemics sex is a minor contributor. Care to discuss the Black Plague? How about Small Pox?

Lesbianism is a distinctly different condition than is male homosexuality. It has different causes and different manifestations, and it is far less common than is male homosexuality. It is also far less bent on pushing it's agenda in your face. (emphasis added)

Do you actually KNOW any lesbians?

Frank   ·  July 20, 2010 3:35 PM

The #1 decadence of the Roman Empire was buying off the lower classes with taxes. Bread and circuses.

Now I do believe our modern day equivalents will kill our system faster than 10 million gay guys having sex in the streets from noon to 12:30 PM every day. (need some time for lunch and to get back to work.)

Let me put it to you simple like: If we are going to defeat the tax and spend crooks we are going to need every body we can get. Including all the "deviants" willing to join in.

I welcome all deviants into the cause. Including the deviants who are convinced they are normal. What ever that is.

M. Simon   ·  July 20, 2010 5:04 PM

Diogenes, you don't have a clue. I can't speak for Eric, but I can tell you that gay men who lived through the epidemic of the '80s & '90s like I did, informed themselves.


You informed yourselves after the disease was discovered by medical people who looked at the data and concluded something was going on beyond the normal sexual diseases, and whatever it was, was attacking mainly male homosexuals. I reiterate. Were it not for modern medicine, you wouldn't have anything to read to educate yourselves with. The probable result is that the infection would have spread wider and deeper, and only the most celibate homosexuals (a virtual oxymoron) would have been spared.



We read everything, from Randy Shilts And The Band Played On to Peter Duesbergs Inventing The Aids Virus. We lived the nightmare. Please don't question our knowledge of either Aids or gay sex.


Do you know what felching is? :)


As to your facile explanations which seem to come from Natural Law theory, I would only point out that in the history of epidemics sex is a minor contributor. Care to discuss the Black Plague? How about Small Pox?


The difference is these plagues were black swan events. Given the understanding of the time, no one could have stopped them, but diseases spread by sex have been well known for thousands of years, hence all the admonitions against promiscuity for all that time.



Lesbianism is a distinctly different condition than is male homosexuality. It has different causes and different manifestations, and it is far less common than is male homosexuality. It is also far less bent on pushing it's agenda in your face. (emphasis added)

Do you actually KNOW any lesbians?
Frank July 20, 2010 03:35 PM


Not any more, but I used to. Most of them appear to be "sour grapes" lesbians. There are several examples of prominent Lesbians that later discovered they preferred men. Ann Heche comes to mind.

Diogenes   ·  July 21, 2010 4:07 PM

The #1 decadence of the Roman Empire was buying off the lower classes with taxes. Bread and circuses.


That appears to be the case, but what breakdown in morality led those doing this to believe it was acceptable?


Now I do believe our modern day equivalents will kill our system faster than 10 million gay guys having sex in the streets from noon to 12:30 PM every day. (need some time for lunch and to get back to work.)


Maybe, but something similar destroyed the city of Benjamin, and very nearly made extinct the tribe of Benjamin.(that is if the Old Testament is historically accurate.)



Let me put it to you simple like: If we are going to defeat the tax and spend crooks we are going to need every body we can get. Including all the "deviants" willing to join in.

I welcome all deviants into the cause. Including the deviants who are convinced they are normal. What ever that is.
M. Simon July 20, 2010 05:04 PM


I would prefer to see it as being deviant does not necessarily make one a complete fool,(actually, there is evidence to indicate that homosexuals are a lot smarter than average.) and if we precipitate the death of us all, then the deviants will be affected too.

Diogenes   ·  July 21, 2010 4:20 PM

Diogenes:
You may have the last word. I think you've said quite enough to hang yourself here. (As to the felching jibe - this isn't the place to discuss the esoteric, but you're welcome to elaborate on common heterosexual practices like cunnilingus, if you wish.)

Frank   ·  July 21, 2010 8:23 PM

That appears to be the case, but what breakdown in morality led those doing this to believe it was acceptable?

That is simple and had nothing to do with sex. It was the idea that theft by government was different. It had nothing to do with where Caesar was putting his wang or whose wang was going into him.

Now if we could just get our conservative friends to spend less time thinking about drugs and sex and more time thinking about money we might actually have a viable system.

We got into this mess by this kind of thinking: "He is OK on gays, abortion, and the drug war. [anti-gay, anti-abortion, pro drug war] So what if his economics is a little shoddy?" But this sort of thinking is not unusual in people ruled by emotion. Left and right. i.e. as long as my hot buttons are covered economics takes a back seat. That is backwards.

M. Simon   ·  July 21, 2010 9:43 PM

That is simple and had nothing to do with sex. It was the idea that theft by government was different. It had nothing to do with where Caesar was putting his wang or whose wang was going into him.

Now if we could just get our conservative friends to spend less time thinking about drugs and sex and more time thinking about money we might actually have a viable system.

We got into this mess by this kind of thinking: "He is OK on gays, abortion, and the drug war. [anti-gay, anti-abortion, pro drug war] So what if his economics is a little shoddy?" But this sort of thinking is not unusual in people ruled by emotion. Left and right. i.e. as long as my hot buttons are covered economics takes a back seat. That is backwards.
M. Simon July 21, 2010 09:43 PM


The ARGUMENT is that you cannot separate the one thing from the other. You are saying you can.

A functional long term economic system disconnected from a moral foundation is a false idea. The people who are arguing from emotion are the ones who want to believe that they can have their cake and eat it to.

But you know what? It doesn't matter. Reality will trump whatever either of us think. It does me no good whatsoever to be correct when the time comes to tell you "I told you so."

The moral issues are the canary in the coal mine. You're solution is to kill the canary before the gas does.

Diogenes   ·  July 22, 2010 9:08 PM

Oh, by the way MSimon, Do you know what "Felching" is? (Without looking it up.)

See, this is the thing I find irritating. We never get to the details in these sort of discussions, and especially the part where someone is put face to face with them and is willing to say, "There is nothing wrong with that."

I am not squeamish about the details, but apparently the people who are arguing that there is nothing wrong with that seem to insist on not talking about the details. Same thing with partial birth abortion.

There's nothing wrong with it, but we don't want to talk about that thing that there is nothing wrong with.

Interesting dichotomy no?

Diogenes   ·  July 22, 2010 9:17 PM

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