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Queer Capitalist

Objectivism and homosexuality?

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Every Objectivist I've met in real life has been rather homophobic. I was just wondering what (if anything) Ayn Rand said about homosexuality. What is Objectivism's views on gays/gay rights in general?

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There are a few threads here that touch base on the subject.

Objectivism views rights as belonging to individual, not to groups.

Edited by dream_weaver

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There are a few threads here that touch base on the subject.

Objectivism views rights as belonging to the individual, not to groups.

I did a search before I posted and found a thread titled "Homosexuality and Objectivism don't mix'", posted by a gay man who hosted similar concerns to what I do, the thread did not however answer my questions. I am also aware of Objectivist views on rights, thats not quite what I meant when I said gay rights, I meant for instance, what are your/the average Objectivists views on gay marriage? Wouldn't denying me the right to marry the person I love breach my rights as an individual?

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Indeed, there is no lawful reason for denying same-sex marriage. I don't see a world where a bonafide Objectivist could argue against homosexual consensual matrimony.

Edited by ilrein

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a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law

(2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage> (My comments: note that a distinction is even applied at a dictionary level.)

You are asking about establishing a legal, consensual, contractual relationship between two individual of the same sex being recognized by the state. As such, denying you the opportunity to enter into a consensual, contractual arrangement with another, I personally would view as denying you the freedom to act in accordance with your minds freedom to choose that course of action, Bear in mind, that the issue at hand seeks to resolve the issue of individual moral responsibility at the political level, using something other than the standard that the force of government should only be directed against individuals that initiate it.

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I did a search before I posted and found a thread titled "Homosexuality and Objectivism don't mix'", posted by a gay man who hosted similar concerns to what I do, the thread did not however answer my questions. I am also aware of Objectivist views on rights, thats not quite what I meant when I said gay rights, I meant for instance, what are your/the average Objectivists views on gay marriage? Wouldn't denying me the right to marry the person I love breach my rights as an individual?

Yes it would. The purpose of Government is to protect your rights, not violate them. Marriage, same sex or any other, doesn't violate anyone's rights therefor the government has not need to act. It is a non-issue politically. The fact it is a political issue today is just one of many examples of collectivist thinking run amok.

As for other Objectivists, I have yet to meet one personally that thinks otherwise. I’m sure they exist but I am also sure they are a minority. The full evasion of thinking that has to be conducted to go from objective thinking to accepting a religious or traditional idea on faith is anathema to Objectivists.

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There are a couple of homophobes on this forum, and I expect they'll be by shortly.

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There are a couple of homophobes on this forum, and I expect they'll be by shortly.

Give 'em a chance, Steve. Could be they've shifted their views since all the arguments

they have heard! It would be a pleasant surprise, anyhow...

Queer Capitalist, I always thought Rand's notions on homosexuality, you must have read by now, were strange.

I long put it down to lack of knowledge at that time, her personal taste, and so on.

It's one of few areas - like gender identity - where I don't agree with her, but it definitely is not

central to her philosophy. Ultimately, superfluous.

I'm not gay, but it interests me that many gays seem to be coming in to Objectivism.

To a friend who asked, I said that it might be because O'ism is not faith-and tradition-based judgmentalist, as are conservatives - nor is it "hey, man, it's all cool" hypocrisy, as with prog-liberals relativism.

Objectivism rejects both, at all levels. It's a radical philosophy, which offers the independence

I believe a lot of gays seek.

( A large generalization on my part here, with these political stereotypes, but I think there's some truth to it.)

Briefly: the ethics of rational egoism, together with individual rights, cover everything you ask, and more.

All (!) that remains is your choice, and your consent.

Edited by whYNOT
Superman123 likes this

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TheEgoist, I would be right then in assuming that you would accuse Ayn Rand of the same thing. Tsk tsk tsk, you moral anarchists who call yourselves Objectivists. You want to pick and choose which part of her philosophy you like. I hold Miss Rand and her ideas in a much higher regard than do you.

It's you who are doing her a disservice. Objectivism derives its principles from reality, which means

knowledge, which means facts.

Do you not think that in the light of further information about homosexuality, she would have - now -

rejected her earlier, and slightly rash (imo) position? No doubt, here. Grant her integrity some due.

Second, as I said, her extemporaneous remarks are superfluous to Objectivism. They represent an

application of a principle, not the principle itself. That she was nearly always spot-on, doesn't change that

we have each got to make our own applications, if we value independence.

bluecherry likes this

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Objectivists are not required to like homosexuality or homosexuals. As individuals, we have every right to our personal preferences. Attacking someone for not liking homosexuality (calling them homophobic) is anti-Objectivist - you're basically attempting to bully/guilt someone into endorsing a gender preference.

Personally, I am heterosexual but have no personal objection to homosexuality, its just not my thing.

What Objectivists are required to do with regard to homosexuality is determine whether the sexual preferences of others infringe in any way upon Man's rights.

That argument was settled by Rand herself. Despite her personal possibly homophobic loathing of homosexuality, she stated catagorically that it isn't really anyone's business but the person involved. (I'm not sure her exact words but that's the gist)

Erik Christensen likes this

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Is this 'presentism'? Judging past mores, standards by their modern equivalents and knowledge?

Seems likely.

it seemed self-evident to me at 19 when I arrived in a very conservative society in one of the most conservative

cities in South Africa, in the late 60's early 70's - that, homosexuals were born, not made.

In those days, the locals wouldn't talk to you if you didn't speak their language, and I found the only crowd I was accepted in and could hang out with were other 'rebels': the sons and daughters of farmers who'd come to the big city to study, away from their deeply religious, traditional families in tiny towns.

Arty, talented, articulate and fun - many were gay, and they always hated it. The repression and guilt they lived with daily - in fear of others, and especially of what their fathers would do if they found out, caused so much grief, that it wasn't that unusual to hear

of attempts at suicide.

Can anyone understand the deep self-loathing and alienation that happens here? I can only fully realise it now, looking back.

The 'received wisdom' of that time in the West and everywhere, with variations, I gather, was that homosexuality was "a lifestyle choice" - though I think the phrase only came later. Until neuroscience began catching up (when 80's, 90's?) this was how millions lived - feeling outcast by society, feeling 'wrong', and not understanding why.

Neuroscience provided the answer - as it did for the millions who had lived with ADHD, also not understanding their own tendencies, which I personally relate to. This had to be a life- changing revelation; the social problems remained, but the self-knowledge now gave the individual a chance to recover self-esteem.

So, maybe you 'had to be there', to know what gays know - that it's what they ARE.

What could Ayn Rand have known? Possibly her entire knowledge of homosexuality was based on the ancient Greeks, and maybe media reports of the American hippies. I don't know of course, just guessing. One thing, I do sometimes feel that in contrast to her incredible insight and understanding, she could be naive and credulous, at times. Another, that volitional consciousness is the pillar of her philosophy - not that neuroscience discovering some deterministic factors conflicts with this - and she umcompromisingly denied determinism.

Mainly, that she did not have the advantage I had, of really knowing gays. All she could go by, was that it was a 'lifestyle choice'.

Let's cut her some slack.

Superman123 likes this

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Every Objectivist I've met in real life has been rather homophobic. I was just wondering what (if anything) Ayn Rand said about homosexuality. What is Objectivism's views on gays/gay rights in general?

What Ayn Rand said, and Objectivism, are not interchangeable. Just because Ayn Rand liked cats, doesn't mean Objectivists have to like cats. Just because Ayn Rand didn't think gays were psychologically healthy, doesn't mean Objectivists hate gays, or can't be gay.

Why? Because Objectivism is not about cats, or psychology. It's about philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and aesthetics). There is one area of Objectivism that concerns homosexuality: politics. In her Politics, Ayn Rand said that being gay is your right, and as such it should be protected and never interfered with, by the government. That is the definitive, and only Objectivist position on the subject.

Oh, and ignore Erik Christensen. He has an agenda other than honest conversation about Objectivism. It's hard to tell what it is though, he's not coherent enough for that.

Edited by Nicky
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Objectivists are not required to like homosexuality or homosexuals. As individuals, we have every right to our personal preferences. Attacking someone for not liking homosexuality (calling them homophobic) is anti-Objectivist - you're basically attempting to bully/guilt someone into endorsing a gender preference.

However, those who treat sexual preference as a moral issue should be opposed, and homophobic is often an apt description of such people. To treat morally neutral characteristics like gender preferences as immoral distorts morality and incorrectly impugnes the moral character of groups of people.

ttime, Superman123 and mdegges like this

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However, those who treat sexual preference as a moral issue should be opposed, and homophobic is often an apt description of such people. To treat morally neutral characteristics like gender preferences as immoral distorts morality and incorrectly impugnes the moral character of groups of people.

Rand said that she does not "neccesarily approve of (homosexual) practices" but that all laws against homosexuality should be repealed. How could one be so intolerant as to require anyone to neccesarily approve" of homosexuality? Any individual is free to approve (or not) of any particular behavior, to oppose someone for not "approving" of your choices is ridiculous.

Rand bluntly stated that all laws regarding homosexuality should be repealed, which I agree with. You shouldnt be so intolerant as to require my approval for your private behavior, anymore than I will demand your approval for my sexual choices with consenting adults.

Edited by CapitalistFred

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Rand bluntly stated that all laws regarding homosexuality should be repealed, which I agree with. You shouldnt be so intolerant as to require my approval for your private behavior, anymore than I will demand your approval for my sexual choices with consenting adults.

Oh, I don't require a damn thing in the way of approval either way. I'm simply stating that if a person negatively judges others based on morally neutral characteristics like race, gender, or sexual orientation, they can and should be judged negatively by the rest of us as a result.

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Oh, I don't require a damn thing in the way of approval either way. I'm simply stating that if a person negatively judges others based on morally neutral characteristics like race, gender, or sexual orientation, they can and should be judged negatively by the rest of us as a result.

"Not neccesarily approving" is not equivalent to negatively judging. You have to read her comment in the context of the times and of the entire statement - had the newspapers put her statement on the front page in that era, the headline would NOT have been "Rand Doesnt Neccesarily Approve of Homosexuality", it would have been "Laws against Homosexuality are Immoral, says noted Author".

Rand supported gay rights in an era when that was NOT politically a popular stance. Trying to repackage that into Rand being homophobic is simply wrongheaded. In an era when it was generally accepted that sex was for procreation, Rand boldly stated that sex is about joy, pleasure, and values. This was a daring and unpopular stance at the time.

I know several Objectivists, and I've not met any who are homophobiIc, so my anecdotal experience with objectivists has been rather different than yours. My suspicion is that if one were to do a poll of objectivists worldwide, one would find that they are rather less prone to being judgemental about personal sexual choices than is common in society as a whole.

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"Not neccesarily approving" is not equivalent to negatively judging. You have to read her comment in the context of the times and of the entire statement - had the newspapers put her statement on the front page in that era, the headline would NOT have been "Rand Doesnt Neccesarily Approve of Homosexuality", it would have been "Laws against Homosexuality are Immoral, says noted Author".

Rand supported gay rights in an era when that was NOT politically a popular stance. Trying to repackage that into Rand being homophobic is simply wrongheaded. In an era when it was generally accepted that sex was for procreation, Rand boldly stated that sex is about joy, pleasure, and values. This was a daring and unpopular stance at the time.

I know several Objectivists, and I've not met any who are homophobiIc, so my anecdotal experience with objectivists has been rather different than yours. My suspicion is that if one were to do a poll of objectivists worldwide, one would find that they are rather less prone to being judgemental about personal sexual choices than is common in society as a whole.

"Not neccesarily approving" is not equivalent to negatively judging.

...

I know several Objectivists, and I've not met any who are homophobiIc, so my anecdotal experience with objectivists has been rather different than yours. My suspicion is that if one were to do a poll of objectivists worldwide, one would find that they are rather less prone to being judgemental about personal sexual choices than is common in society as a whole.

Not knowing many Objectivists, I'd still come to the same conclusion as you.

I believe the reason is the irrationality of collectivism - which hasn't been mentioned yet.

There IS morality involved, in all this, and once one gets past conservative 'moralizing'', it is the same morality

Rand used in scorning racism, I think.

Homophobia is a collectivist prejudice applying to an entire group - no different, essentially, from anti-semitism, etc.

A collectivist may say (with equal irrationality) "I approve of Jews" or "I don't approve of Jews."

Therefore, Objectivists, moreso than any, will understand the immorality, and oppose it.

On rights, everybody agrees; but I'll add that I consider it a great pity that gays have been so polarized in society,

that they should demand 'gay rights'. Granted, without staunchly protected individual rights, as exists now, this may be

necessary. In fact in some parts of the world homosexuals are repressed - and far worse - by their States.

However, objectively speaking, gay rights are collectivist, too. Just as much as any of us, it is only individual rights that will

protect our freedom, and that's what they should seek with us.

secondhander likes this

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Yes, and fighting collectivism with collectivism will come back to haunt those who do so.

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Enter homophobe number 1

Erik posted a clip of Rand, and you responded, "Enter homophobe number 1." I'm not clear on whom you're accusing of homophobia. Are you calling Rand a "homophobe," or are you calling Erik a "homophobe"?

J

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What Ayn Rand said, and Objectivism, are not interchangeable. Just because Ayn Rand liked cats, doesn't mean Objectivists have to like cats. Just because Ayn Rand didn't think gays were psychologically healthy, doesn't mean Objectivists hate gays, or can't be gay.

Why? Because Objectivism is not about cats, or psychology. It's about philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and aesthetics). There is one area of Objectivism that concerns homosexuality: politics. In her Politics, Ayn Rand said that being gay is your right, and as such it should be protected and never interfered with, by the government. That is the definitive, and only Objectivist position on the subject.

But that's not true. Rand didn't just say that she personally found homosexuality to be disgusting. She also clearly stated that it was immoral. That brings it into the realm of philosophy, and, specifically, ethics. Rand was the author of Objectivism, and her pronouncements of what is or is not moral represent what Objectivism as a philosophy stands for. Rand's Objectivism therefore holds that homosexuality is immoral.

J

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If I have transcribed it correctly, Miss Rand said (in that video clip which Erik Christensen posted, above):

"If by natural sex acts you mean homosexual, I would say that all laws of that kind should certainly be repealed, which, but I do not mean that I approve of such practices or regard them as necessarily moral, but it is totally improper for the law to interfere in the personal relationship between two adults. So long as it is done adults with mutual consent, it is not the province of the law."

"but I do not mean that I approve of such practices or regard them as necessarily moral...." [my bold]

That "necessarily" seems relevant and significant. If I remember correctly, somewhere Miss Rand did say that she thought that homosexuality was disgusting (toward which "approve" is relevant, but not morality, not necessarily), but even that is not the same as saying that it's necessarily immoral. Also, if I remember correctly, she had friends who were homosexuals.

As others have pointed out, importantly, she thought that the government had no business getting involved in personal relations between consenting adults.

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