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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"If by natural sex acts you mean homosexual, I would say that all laws of that kind should certainly be repealed, which, but I do not mean that I approve of such practices or regard them as necessarily moral, but it is totally improper for the law to interfere in the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.

From Wikipedia:

In response to questions from the audience at the two Ford Hall Forum lectures she gave at Northeastern University, Rand explained her views in more detail. In her 1968 lecture, she said, "I do not approve of such practices or regard them as necessarily moral, but it is improper for the law to interfere with a relationship between consenting adults."[2] In 1971, Rand reiterated this position, then added that homosexuality "involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises", concluding that homosexuality "is immoral, and more than that; if you want my really sincere opinion, it's disgusting."[3]

So, by 1971 she had gone from saying that homosexuality was "not necessarily moral" to stating unequivocally that it is "immoral," not to mention "disgusting."

J

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In 1971, Rand reiterated this position, then added that homosexuality "involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises", concluding that homosexuality "is immoral, and more than that; if you want my really sincere opinion, it's disgusting."[3]

So, by 1971 she had gone from saying that homosexuality was "not necessarily moral" to stating unequivocally that it is "immoral," not to mention "disgusting."

J

Here's the problem with your argument, Jonathan13:

When she adjusted her views to state that it was immoral she qualified it with *why* it was immoral. Rand, like anyone, had to some extent to rely on what was "known" at the time. Most respected psychiatrists, psychologists and medical doctors at the time were in agreement that homosexuality was a mental disorder. When Rand made this statement homosexuality had recently, as a whole, been labelled as such by the DSM-II in 1968. (It was also listed as a deviation in DSM I). Rand, not being omnipotent was relying on the widely accepted science of her time. This science claimed (somewhat contradictory) that homosexuality was not only a mental disorder but also a choice.

From Atlas Shrugged " "a sin without volition is a slap at morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality" (938)".

Rand always maintained that morality presupposed choice. It was only reasonable and consistent for her to change her view to call homosexuality immoral given what data she had to work with.

That she viewed homosexuality as disgusting I take no issue with. Most people find something someone else does sexually offputting or disgusting. That is a matter of taste.

As to her finding it immoral based on what was known at the time I have no issue with either. We can only conjecture what she would have said if presented with what we know now about human sexuality. If one believes that Rand was most often internally consistent and rational one would tend to think that she would probably still find the idea offputting but- by her own definition of morality- change her mind on the morality issue. If one believes that Rand was often contradictory and inconsistent you'll probably choose to believe the worst.

Edited to add: that said, as far as "choice" comes in to play. One would have to also define what is being discussed. How do we know for sure if she was talking about homosexuality-as far as a person's innate tendencies or homosexuality-the physical acts? To me, the distinction would seem of some importance.

Edited by SapereAude

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If it was a matter of science, I would be interested to know just what the scientific evidence and criteria was for having held that homosexuality was a mental illness and what the scientific evidence and criteria was for the change of view.

Edited by Trebor

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If it was a matter of science, I would be interested to know just what the scientific evidence and criteria was for having held that homosexuality was a mental illness and what the scientific evidence and criteria was for the change of view.

Most of the DSM, past and current is available online. DSM I labelled it DSM II amplified it, DSM III adjusted it and by DSM IV it had been recategorised.

Here's a little historical background on how the DSM evolved in this manner: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html

Edited by SapereAude

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Okay, thank you, I'll look it up. Out of curiosity, can you say that it does answer my questions as to the criteria and evidence on homosexuality as/as not a mental illness?

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Okay, thank you, I'll look it up. Out of curiosity, can you say that it does answer my questions as to the criteria and evidence on homosexuality as/as not a mental illness?

I will go on record as saying that I am not on board 100% with the validity of the DSM. I am not in the field, my wife is, which is why I have them laying around. While she is legally obligated to adhere to the definitions they use it I know from our conversations that her considered opinion is that the DSM is flawed- much influenced by politics and political correctness and lobbying.

Whether the DSM is correct in removing homosexuality or was correct in defining homosexuality as an illness is to me beside the point in this matter though. My point was simply that the DSM was what all doctors used to diagnose & categorise mental illness. Inasfar as psychology was a young science at the time it was what people would have viewed as a reliable resource.

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If homosexuality were a choice, even then how would it be immoral?

Anyways, I don't know if this matters to anyone or not, but when I worked at ARI there were at least two openly homosexual employees there. Great guys both.

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If homosexuality were a choice, even then how would it be immoral?

I see one's sexuality as a choice, actually. Not to suggest that you wake up one day and decide your sexuality, I only mean that it is a sum of many choices over a very long period of time. A good comparison is sense of life. Your sense of life is a choice over a very long period of time. It can be altered in some sense and is affected by unique psychological aspects of yourself which you can't change any more than you can change your blood type. Any sense of life is fine, but not necessarily so. If a sense of life is built upon irrational premises and evasion, you can say the resulting sense of life is immoral, but only because the conclusion was reached by a sum of very irrational premises. I don't have a particular reason to say sexuality is a whole lot different, except that it strictly involves ways to have sex.

I know of *zero* ways homosexuality could be immoral, unless somehow you got to a sexuality by some irrational premise like "all men are evil, therefore women are the only people I'll have a sexual relationship with." Besides that, all that I've ever seen said is that it is some form of violating the law of identity if all people are naturally heterosexual, in the same way some people say transgender is a violation of the law of identity. You could also say a violation of nature. That's just a naturalistic fallacy of the sort where any change to how you naturally develop is immoral. In order to get to the idea that deviating from the norm is immoral, there has to be some kind of proof of objective harm to the individual, which there simply is not for a person who is homosexual. There isn't any kind of real world evidence that homosexuality itself may be harmful. I actually would even suggest that if were possible, it's better for a person to not have an attraction based on another person's sex. Of course, I don't know much about if that really is possible, but it seems like an awfully nice thing.

Sexuality can't really even be boiled down to just liking the same or the opposite sex. That's the simplest way to look at things, sure, but there are plenty of other aspects to consider. People could have a non-sexual emotional attraction in a different way than sexuality would indicate in addition to a sexual attraction. There are probably many ways to think of others in terms of your relationship with them where a single sense of sexuality is insufficient and friendship doesn't quite apply. Some asexual people don't have any sexual attraction, yet some do have a non-sexual type of attraction, as an example (prefix+romantic, like biromantic). Ultimately, what I'm getting at here is that discussion at regarding sexuality, is so much more involved than just which sex you like. Where does choice end and an unchosen sexuality begin? I'm not sure it makes sense to use the word "sexuality" in any sense other than a preference, which would make sexuality a fluid thing.

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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

Objectivism is a system of precise, objective abstract principles, not Ayn Rand's opinion on various issues.

Case and point, Rand's Ethics is not a long list of things Ayn Rand was asked about, and then proceeded to stamp with either her Approved or Rejected stamp. Objectivist Ethics is a method for determining what the moral and what the immoral choices are, given all available information about the person making the choice and the context he's making it in.

If you can apply that method to our current knowledge of homosexuality, and determine that it is immoral, then, and only then, homosexuality will be immoral according to Objectivism.

P.S. Let's say Newton got drunk one day, decided to calculate how long it would take for an apple to fall off a tree, and came up with ten minutes. Would you declare that Newtonian Physics holds that result true, or would you use his second law to prove him wrong? If it's the latter, why would you declare something Rand based on some obviously wrong information, to be above an objective application of her philosophy?

Edited by Nicky

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When she adjusted her views to state that it was immoral she qualified it with *why* it was immoral. Rand, like anyone, had to some extent to rely on what was "known" at the time. Most respected psychiatrists, psychologists and medical doctors at the time were in agreement that homosexuality was a mental disorder. When Rand made this statement homosexuality had recently, as a whole, been labelled as such by the DSM-II in 1968. (It was also listed as a deviation in DSM I). Rand, not being omnipotent was relying on the widely accepted science of her time. This science claimed (somewhat contradictory) that homosexuality was not only a mental disorder but also a choice.

...

As to her finding it immoral based on what was known at the time I have no issue with either. We can only conjecture what she would have said if presented with what we know now about human sexuality.

...

Whether the DSM is correct in removing homosexuality or was correct in defining homosexuality as an illness is to me beside the point in this matter though. My point was simply that the DSM was what all doctors used to diagnose & categorise mental illness. Inasfar as psychology was a young science at the time it was what people would have viewed as a reliable resource.

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that Miss Rand considered homosexuality to be immoral (your point as to whether she was referring to some innate sexual orientation or to some homosexual acts taken) most likely based upon the psychiatric view (science of the day) that homosexuality was a mental illness?

Mental illness equals immorality?

Edit: You say, which is perhaps significant to my question, "This science claimed (somewhat contradictory) that homosexuality was not only a mental disorder but also a choice."

What do you mean by "somewhat contradictory"? How is it contradictory, and how not, if you don't mind?

Edited by Trebor

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I see one's sexuality as a choice, actually. Not to suggest that you wake up one day and decide your sexuality, I only mean that it is a sum of many choices over a very long period of time. A good comparison is sense of life.

...

I basically agree with you on this. The same issue (and phenomena) is at play with all sorts of preferences, I believe, such as career choices, for instance, or sports activities that one enjoys, etc. An orientation (of personal preferences) that flows from one's positive and negative life experiences, especially while young, and especially one's thinking and conclusions (correct or not) drawn on those experiences, the significant ones.

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In 1971, Rand reiterated this position, then added that homosexuality "involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises", concluding that homosexuality "is immoral, and more than that; if you want my really sincere opinion, it's disgusting."[3]

So, by 1971 she had gone from saying that homosexuality was "not necessarily moral" to stating unequivocally that it is "immoral," not to mention "disgusting."

J

I think it's also obvious but worth pointing out the context of the 70's. Remember at that time the hippies were being mainstreamed with peace and free love garbage. I would think that the most visible homosexuality of that period was of that variety.

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Here's the problem with your argument, Jonathan13:

When she adjusted her views to state that it was immoral she qualified it with *why* it was immoral. Rand, like anyone, had to some extent to rely on what was "known" at the time. Most respected psychiatrists, psychologists and medical doctors at the time were in agreement that homosexuality was a mental disorder.

That's not true. The issue has always been controversial, and "most respected" doctors did not agree. There was nothing like a consensus, and the assertion that homosexuality was a mental disorder was always doubted by many "respected" professionals.

As Wikipedia reports:

In 1952, when the American Psychiatric Association published its first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, homosexuality was included as a disorder. Almost immediately, however, that classification began to be subjected to critical scrutiny in research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. That study and subsequent research consistently failed to produce any empirical or scientific basis for regarding homosexuality as a disorder or abnormality, rather than a normal and healthy sexual orientation. As results from such research accumulated, professionals in medicine, mental health, and the behavioral and social sciences reached the conclusion that it was inaccurate to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder and that the DSM classification reflected untested assumptions based on once-prevalent social norms and clinical impressions from unrepresentative samples comprising patients seeking therapy and individuals whose conduct brought them into the criminal justice system.

In recognition of the scientific evidence,[67] the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973, stating that "homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities." After thoroughly reviewing the scientific data, the American Psychological Association adopted the same position in 1975, and urged all mental health professionals "to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientations." The National Association of Social Workers has adopted a similar policy.

When Rand made this statement homosexuality had recently, as a whole, been labelled as such by the DSM-II in 1968. (It was also listed as a deviation in DSM I). Rand, not being omnipotent was relying on the widely accepted science of her time.

No. There was no "science" to support any of that. There were only empty assertions made by certain people in positions of authority, and their assertions were seen as controversial even back then, and they were challenged by others immediately.

This science claimed (somewhat contradictory) that homosexuality was not only a mental disorder but also a choice.

So, you're saying that Rand accepted a contradiction?

And how is something "somewhat" contradictory? Are you suggesting that you think that someone kind of chooses and kind of doesn't choose to have a mental disorder?

Rand always maintained that morality presupposed choice. It was only reasonable and consistent for her to change her view to call homosexuality immoral given what data she had to work with.

There was never any "data" to support the view that homosexuality was a mental disorder.

Why did Rand not change her views after 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association corrected its position and stated that there was no legitimate basis for categorizing homosexuality as a disorder?

As to her finding it immoral based on what was known at the time I have no issue with either. We can only conjecture what she would have said if presented with what we know now about human sexuality.

If she had been paying any attention at all to the issue in the 50s and 60s, and not just basing her opinion on her own personal distaste for homosexuality, then she would have been aware of the fact that it was widely known that there was no actual science to support the view that homosexuality was a disorder.

I'm curious as to why you're so eager to absolve Rand of the responsibility of her judgements. And why shouldn't we apply your same eagerness of absolution to people who think that, say, socialism is good? After all, they're just basing their opinions on what the majority of philosophers, politicians, economists and the population in general believe, no? They can't be held accountable for not studying the issues for themselves and for just trusting the authorities that they've emotionally decided to trust, no?

J

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I wrote:

If she had been paying any attention at all to the issue in the 50s and 60s, and not just basing her opinion on her own personal distaste for homosexuality, then she would have been aware of the fact that it was widely known that there was no actual science to support the view that homosexuality was a disorder.

I'm curious as to why you're so eager to absolve Rand of the responsibility of her judgements. And why shouldn't we apply your same eagerness of absolution to people who think that, say, socialism is good? After all, they're just basing their opinions on what the majority of philosophers, politicians, economists and the population in general believe, no? They can't be held accountable for not studying the issues for themselves and for just trusting the authorities that they've emotionally decided to trust, no?

It occurs to me that there's a better example than supporting socialism: Environmentalism.

There's a much larger percentage of "respected" scientists who believe in man made global warming than there were who believed that there was a valid scientific basis behind the view that homosexuality was a mental disorder. So, therefore, according to SapereAude's reasoning, people who accept man made global warming as a "fact," and who make erroneous ethical judgments based on that "fact," should be absolved of the responsibility of their judgments -- they are only relying on what is "known" at the time.

And therefore Rand was wrong to oppose environmentalism and the banning of things like DDT, since the scientists of her time were much closer to a consensus on those issues than doctors were on the issue of homosexuality being a disorder.

J

Edited by Jonathan13

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If she had been paying any attention at all to the issue in the 50s and 60s, and not just basing her opinion on her own personal distaste for homosexuality, then she would have been aware of the fact that it was widely known that there was no actual science to support the view that homosexuality was a disorder.

I'm curious as to why you're so eager to absolve Rand of the responsibility of her judgements. And why shouldn't we apply your same eagerness of absolution to people who think that, say, socialism is good? After all, they're just basing their opinions on what the majority of philosophers, politicians, economists and the population in general believe, no? They can't be held accountable for not studying the issues for themselves and for just trusting the authorities that they've emotionally decided to trust, no?

I don't know a whole lot about Rand's personal life, but it doesn't seem like the study of sexuality was her primary concern. Did she research the topic in-depth and make an informed decision based on the knowledge at hand? That would be a good question for Peikoff, but it seems unlikely since this wasn't her area of expertise. Even now in 2012, how much does the majority really know about homosexuality? Is it a choice, a sum of choices, a gene, a product of a traumatic event in childhood, a psychological issue? Almost everyone has an opinion on the matter, but I haven't seen any consensus (multiple studies that support the same conclusion).

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Even now in 2012, how much does the majority really know about homosexuality? Is it a choice, a sum of choices, a gene, a product of a traumatic event in childhood, a psychological issue? Almost everyone has an opinion on the matter, but I haven't seen any consensus (multiple studies that support the same conclusion).

From a philosophical standpoint, I'd certainly say that it is sensible to say sexuality is all of those, in the same way sense of life is all those. A gene can't really cause behavior given that people are volitional, but what it can affect is the way a person thinks or perceives. Genes alone don't make any animal or plant do anything, only how certain features are expressed. I don't see how sexuality would be any different. Now if attraction is strictly a chemical response, it's fine to say sexuality is outside of choice. But accepting that attraction is best compared to a value-response, I don't think anyone can say that sexuality is outside of choice entirely. Or perhaps we could say an initial response is gene-related, but we're talking about who a person chooses to have a sexual relationship with, which sometimes differs regarding who you want a romantic relationship with. Certainly not all the scientific research to be done is not all "in" yet. At the same time, it's still possible to come to solid philosophical conclusions about sexuality.

As for Rand, I doubt she cared about if the DSM classified homosexuality as a disorder. She was always adamant about saying anything outside of choice is outside of morality, so if she did believe that homosexuality was a disorder, she would most likely have said it's not up for moral evaluation. It's fair to say her viewpoint on sexuality was philosophical in nature. I do not know any good justification Rand had, just as I don't think she had any justification for her views on masculinity and femininity. My guess is that she thought of homosexuality as immoral *because* of her views on those two concepts, and nothing at all to do with psychological studies of the time.

Edited by Eiuol

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Seems I was wrong about Rand not having any personal knowledge of gays. I was told she did have gay friends (unspecified whom) and in her time in Hollywood may have met others.

But nothing really changes. Though I think the progression of 'DSM psych disorder' was very interesting, it probably turns out to be a red herring concerning the judgment Ayn Rand made..

Two over-riding reasons remain for her calling it immoral' in my mind. The Law of Identity: by which Man's metaphysical nature is a 'given'. Extended to its logical conclusion, this would encompass the sexual identity of individual man, and individual woman. Which would indicate a particular role each should play.

Except, we know now that while this remains true, primarily - it is not exclusively true. (Not even for heterosexual men, like myself.)

My conviction is that Rand went a step too far with the Law of Identity - but I'm open to argument.

Secondly, as I've said, homosexuality most definitely was considered a 'lifestyle choice' back then - predominantly.

As someone has pin-pointed it out already: without choice, there can be no morality.

The only real immorality in this case, is for a man or woman to resist and fight their individual nature. Whether one forces oneself to be homosexual, when one is not; or to endeavor to be straight, when he/she is gay.

Same irrationality involved.

Edited by whYNOT

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Edit: You say, which is perhaps significant to my question, "This science claimed (somewhat contradictory) that homosexuality was not only a mental disorder but also a choice."

What do you mean by "somewhat contradictory"?

He probably means that illness (mental or otherwise) is sometimes, but not always, the result of poor choices. I don't think any of this has to do with the subject of the thread, or homosexuality in general, but that is a correct statement.

Not sure why people are trying to defend Ayn Rand on this. She was wrong. Just leave it at that. Saying that context is enough to absolve her of being wrong would be a stretch, especially given her views about the state of Psychology as a science (she wasn't very approving).

If Jonathan wants to insult her, question her credibility, or indict Objectivism over a mistake, that should be left for the mods to deal with at this point. I think it's been made plenty clear that her opinion on homosexuals is not the Objectivist position, that plenty of Objectivists are gay, and that Objectivism is tolerant of homosexuality. That answers the OPs question.

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Not to sidetrack this discussion, but I do have a question addressed to the initial topic starter:

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?

QueerCapitalist, you use the term "homophobia" instead of simply "dislike". I'm wondering as to why?

Homophobia-irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against

If, an individual dislikes another simply because of their sexual orientation then this can be irrational, and if so, can be dismissed as such. A man being a sum of all the parts has his sexual orientation as simply a detail, integrated in the whole composition.

Phobia-an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation

But, if your use of homophobia implies discrimination then I would ask discrimination how? Infringing of rights? Do these "Objectivisits" discriminate by using force on a gay man, such as poisoning? Then they cannot be an Objectivist and use force in a non retaliatory way, the two are mutually exclusive. How about in terms of property rights, if in a small Texas town a business man displays a sign with the text: "no gays allowed" the property owner can do this, and should be allowed to. So what? But, if that property owner then drags the gay man behind his pickup truck one night, then that is a problem.

Also, why do you qualify rights with "gay"? As opposed to, straight rights, woman rights, men(gender) rights, black rights? I don't understand the distinction.

Not obvious to everyone, creating a concept when none is needed can do more harm than good. If a man is gay is he subsumed under some sort of "movement", simply because of his existence? I should hope not. If so, then choosing not to be identified as gay is maybe, behooving.

Interesting, that if a man is gay, other individuals(perhaps straight) will try to label him into a category that was created by other gay individuals who were none other than trying to do "the good".

Perhaps gay rights is a necessary concept in order to combat, in a war of ideology, irrationality, but only in that context.

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I first started hearing the words "homophobe" and "homophobia" in the early 80s (which, I believe, is when they were invented), and they never made much sense. They _should_ have meant "people who fear homosexuals/homosexuality" but clearly they were used to mean people "who hate homosexuals to the point of going around 'fag bashing'" As if the word they really wanted was 'mis-homoist' or something like that.

Of course the word makes some sense if one believes in the pop psychology trope that people who are hostile towards someone invariably are so out of hidden fear, and I am fairly confident that those who coined the word did believe this. Though it's possible the confusion was deliberate, to score propaganda points by belittling the opponents (calling them cowards, implicitly). Besides "homophobe" rolls off the tongue more easily than "mishomoist."

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If Jonathan wants to insult her, question her credibility, or indict Objectivism over a mistake, that should be left for the mods to deal with at this point.

Why do you find it insulting for me question Rand's judgments and the credibility of the reasoning behind them? Why do you think that it is an attempt to "indict Objectivism" if I expect Rand's errors to be judged as sternly as she judged others' errors? Why does it upset you that I demand consistency, and that I think that if Rand can be quickly forgiven for not studying the actual science but instead allowing her judgments to be swayed by personal emotional responses and/or her unwarranted trusting of authorities or majorities, then others should also be as quickly forgiven of their erroneous opinions on all other issues? I think that if anything is an insult to Rand and her ideas, it's the notion of cutting her slack and exempting her from the same manner of criticism and judgment that she applied to others.

I think it's been made plenty clear that her opinion on homosexuals is not the Objectivist position, that plenty of Objectivists are gay, and that Objectivism is tolerant of homosexuality. That answers the OPs question.

This discussion has convinced me that I was wrong to say that Objectivism holds that homosexuality is immoral. I'm now convinced that Rand was not practicing Objectivism when asserting that homosexuality was immoral.

J

Edited by Jonathan13

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I first started hearing the words "homophobe" and "homophobia" in the early 80s (which, I believe, is when they were invented), and they never made much sense. They _should_ have meant "people who fear homosexuals/homosexuality" but clearly they were used to mean people "who hate homosexuals to the point of going around 'fag bashing'" As if the word they really wanted was 'mis-homoist' or something like that.

Of course the word makes some sense if one believes in the pop psychology trope that people who are hostile towards someone invariably are so out of hidden fear, and I am fairly confident that those who coined the word did believe this. Though it's possible the confusion was deliberate, to score propaganda points by belittling the opponents (calling them cowards, implicitly). Besides "homophobe" rolls off the tongue more easily than "mishomoist."

I've always thought that the theory of latent homosexuality had some significance in choosing the word "homophobia." In other words, the "fear" part comes from the idea that people who show a violent reaction to homosexuality are fearful of what they themselves might be (and don't want to be) -- the rage is a secondary reaction to the initial reaction of fear.

J

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I've always thought that the theory of latent homosexuality had some significance in choosing the word "homophobia." In other words, the "fear" part comes from the idea that people who show a violent reaction to homosexuality are fearful of what they themselves might be (and don't want to be) -- the rage is a secondary reaction to the initial reaction of fear.

Yes, now that you mention it, I've heard that too. And the fact that the preachers who spend the most time screaming about homosexuality (*cough* Ted Haggard *cough*) seem to be the ones who get caught with their pants down (so to speak) the most often just adds more anecdotal "evidence" to that theory.

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