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This thread is a revealing display of the utter lack of intellectual justification for the position that homosexuality is immoral.  It doesn't get more rationalistic than this:

 

I don't regard oral stimulation of a penis as sex. Using one's own anal cavity to stimulate a penis, I do not regard as sex. I do not regard such oral or anal activity as sex, regardless if its occurring between same-sex or opposite gender. Human sex only can take place between a man and a woman. Human sexuality is heterosexual in nature, human biology evidences this.

What is so rational and moral about it?
How is one able to have sexual desire towards someone they cannot even physically have sex with?
Sexual desire, sexual attraction, sexual orientation, romantic love, are only possible between opposite genders. All the rest are hedonism, psychological issues.

 

'I define sex as only between a man and a woman... so how could same-sex couples possibly have sexual desire for one another? I've defined it away!'

 

The best part is pretending to cite evidence by simply referencing 'human biology.'  Quality, in-depth support that.

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Rand:

" Romantic love, in the full sense of the term, is an emotion possible only to the man (or woman) of unbreached self-esteem: it is his response to his own highest values in the person of another—an integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire. Such a man (or woman) is incapable of experiencing a sexual desire divorced from spiritual values."

Or divorced from gender, may I add. Only a man and a woman are capable of experiencing this together, not same-sex.

Edited by intellectualammo

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Rand:

" Romantic love, in the full sense of the term, is an emotion possible only to the man (or woman) of unbreached self-esteem: it is his response to his own highest values in the person of another—an integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire. Such a man (or woman) is incapable of experiencing a sexual desire divorced from spiritual values."

Or divorced from gender, may I add. Only a man and a woman are capable of experiencing this together, not same-sex.

An appeal to authority on one subject, to rationalize a different topic.

IntellectualAmmo, if you have not listened to the "Understanding Objectivism" lectures, I strongly recommend them. I would say, drop everything else Objectivism-related and study those.

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Nicky wrote: "homosexuality can in fact be a rational, moral choice"

What is so rational and moral about it?

 

Wasn't it Rand who said that moral issues presuppose a choice? That's relevant here because if sexual orientation is not a choice, it cannot be considered moral or immoral- it just is. So that is the first question to answer, before making any moral judgments: is homosexuality a choice? From what I've read, sexual orientation has a genetic and hormonal basis. (Maybe others who have researched this more will be able to provide individual research links.) If this assertion is true, there can be no debate about the morality of sexual orientation- but what we can discuss is the morality of acting on these feelings.

 

If sexual orientation is not a choice, it's not a moral issue- meaning, 'heterosexuality' and 'homosexuality' are not equivalent to 'right' and 'wrong.' However, the choices you make about your sexual partners is a moral issue, and is context dependent. To me, it makes sense to act according to your nature and do what makes you happy. If you're only attracted to people of the same gender, why would you force yourself to sleep with someone of the opposite sex? Similarly, if you're only attracted to people of the opposite gender, why would you sleep with someone of the same sex? There's no reason for either one- no reason to force yourself to be a square when you are, in fact, a circle. It's in this sense that we can make moral judgments: is pursuing X or Y moral? If so, why? If not, why not? It should be done on a case by case basis, and context will always matter.

 

It's in these case by case situations that moral judgments can be made- and Rand's texts about romantic love and sex can be very valuable.

Edited by mdegges

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Wasn't it Rand who said that moral issues presuppose a choice? That's relevant here because if sexual orientation is not a choice, it cannot be considered moral or immoral- it just is. So that is the first question to answer, before making any moral judgments: is homosexuality a choice? From what I've read, sexual orientation has a genetic and hormonal basis. (Maybe others who have researched this more will be able to provide individual research links.) If this assertion is true, there can be no debate about the morality of sexual orientation- but what we can discuss is the morality of acting on these feelings.

Well, personally I would say any psychological matter has choice involved. So, to that extent, sexuality of any kind is a choice, just a great many choices involved to end up as one sexuality or the other. Genetics and hormones probably have a notable impact on the psychology of sexuality, but that won't mean there is no choice whatsoever. The more important point is that it isn't immoral anyway. In fact, to look at history. the ancient Greeks didn't have a word for homosexuality, and love between the same sex wasn't seen as abnormal at least. Sexuality as a subject is not so simple as to even talk about what is biologically normal or typical, because sexuality is only really relevant to who you choose to have a relationship with. Sexuality simply doesn't apply to frogs, or insects, or birds, sex for them is only a function of procreation even if sex can and does happen outside of that for any animal. Humans too. But add in conceptual thought and human emotion, there is even less reason to suggest sexual relationships are immoral or bad. Stated another way, sexuality doesn't have to be connected to procreation, even if it does have implications on procreation.

 

I also thought of IA's post suggesting non-vaginal sex isn't "really" sex. That's basically making sex between, say, two men by definition is immoral and faking reality before even defining our terms and reasoning. The conclusion has been made, and any evidence is ad-hoc rationalism. I was listening to Peikoff's "Unity in Ethics and Epistemology" and he discussed anyone who may say altruist morality isn't "really" morality. You know how the idea goes - if morality is acting in your self-interest, then a altruism can't be morality in any sense! But this totally ignores how one reaches a concept of morality. Your inductive material has to include any means or belief to be good, even altruism. Later though, you can figure out what is a proper morality, yet that doesn't mean altruism ceases to be a morality. If anything, any argument of "it's not really X" is an epistemological nightmare. All it does is suggest a dogmatism of declaring your definitions to be the only ones that should be discussed, everyone else is simply wrong and pursuing "fake" morality. Just change it to "fake" sexuality, and you've got the same thing. The issue is there is not even a half-decent argument to suggest there is a proper sexuality in the first place. 

 

But jeez, I'm glad writer1972's post was deleted. That was just... wildly over the top.

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Rand:

"Intellectually and morally, I.e, as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity"

"Her worship is an abstract emotion for the metaphysical concept of masculinity itself"

His gender, his maleness, his masculinity, his manhood - a man!

Not another woman, not womanness, not femininity, not womanhood - a man!

Not another species' male- not big thick horse cock, not dog dick, but a man's dick!

To a female a woman qua woman whose essence is femininity, a male a man qua man, him being a male his masculinity, is of such value significance to her it's indispensable in romantic love and of course sex.

Female with male, woman qua woman with man qua man - is normal, natural, and proper for Man. Same-sex together and different species together are both psychologically improper, immoral. And if its hedonism, it's immoral.

Human sexuality has a biological basis as evidenced by the gender specific sex organs and their purpose and function in human sexual reproduction, copulation. This does not change on the conceptual level. Masculinity is "male" writ large and femininity is "female" writ large. Male should want female, a man qua man should want a woman qua woman. Gender/Sex/sexual identity of a human does not "disappear" on the conceptual level, it's writ large, it's a higher view of the biologically given the metaphysically given, not a disposing of it altogether. But even more demanding of it. Never losing awareness of one's sex and the sex of others.

Rands novels all had such human sexuality in them. Man and woman, male and female.

Leo:

[…]he glanced at a woman his eyes told her that he was a man and she was a woman and he remembered it.

Edited by intellectualammo

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Eiul wrote: " I also thought of IA's post suggesting non-vaginal sex isn't "really" sex."

Only men and women are sexually compatible. Their sex organs, their gender were biologically made for one another, not for same-sex. Just because you can put a mouth around a penis, or cram it up a poop chute, or use one's tongue on clit/vulva, etc does not mean that that is sex. It should not be considered that. I think it would be a stolen concept. A mouth, a tongue, hand, ass, etc are not technically sexually compatible. Only a penis and vagina are. Sex is short for sexual intercourse. Calling anything else that is fallacy of the stolen concept. Stimulating a penis by hand, mouth, ass is not sex.

Peikoff regards masturbation as sex.

I think we need to look at that more closely epistemologically, define terms correctly.

Edited by intellectualammo

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You haven't shown the steps, sir. You've repeated the assertions of an authority along with your own. I will grant you that Rand's descriptions of this type of relationship jive perfectly with the idea that proper human sexuality is about reifying respect and admiration. Her example of masculinity/femininity serves as a concrete example. She has not, to my knowledge, shown why she thinks this is the only way to do that. Your task, then, is still to show your work. You're not getting credit for this assignment without it.
 

And I didn't want to have to get this personal, but goddammit, I've accomplished this type of reification without strict biological intercourse. Sometimes you just don't have protection at hand, and the result can be just as satisfying - physically, hormonally, emotionally, spiritually.

 

Edit2: PS: Rand never herself went as far as saying you needed the papa bits to enter the mama bits.

Edited by FeatherFall
grammar

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I admittedly have had my dick up two women's poop chutes before, and the best sex I ever had was with a married female from Myanmar (who I was having sex with over a period of weeks) because of how sweet and petite her sexy little body was and had a pretty face and best kisser I have ever had the pleasure of being with, she'd latch on, and... anyways, that was in my 20's and it didn't have much to do with her as a person, just her body. One can be in romantic love and not have good sex. It's an integration of mind and body. But it makes sense that the best sex I had body wise could have been even more pleasurable if I would have taken The Selfish Path to Romance with her, instead of the path that led to it initially. I guess that would mean it was disintegrated then. No wonder it didn't work.

Mdegges: Peikoff said in a podcast on homosexuality that he thinks sexuality was formed subconsciously during early childhood. Not sure of just how much of a choice then he thinks a person has in the matter.

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No, just sharing personal experience. I shared personal experience in the other thread as well.

I have been looking at what Peikoff talks about with the subconscious in OPAR and its relation to value-judgments.

"Ones value judgments, like one's past knowledge, are present in the subconscious - meaning by this term a store of the mental contents one has acquired by conscious means, but which are not in conscious awareness at a given time. Under the appropriate conditions, the mind applies such contents to a new object automatically and instantaneously, without the need of further conscious consideration. To many people, as a result, it seems a if men perceive and then feel, with no intervening factor. The truth is that a chain of ideas and value-judgments intervened."

Said "value-judgments do not exist in a vacuum. Value-judgments are formed ultimately on the basis of a philosophic view of man and of life - of oneself of others, of the universe; such a view, therefore, conditions one's emotions"

"The fact that a man has a certain feeling means merely that, through some kind of process, he earlier reached a certain idea, which is now stored in his subconscious; this leaves completely open the question of the ideas relationship to reality"

So just how does it apply to human sexuality?

Edited by intellectualammo

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Intellectualammo, are you going to answer any of the points raised against your vague arguments? Are you going to clarify your arguments in your own words? Or are you just going to copy-and-paste Objectivist quotes...

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Yes, well, several people have pointed out that you're just rationalizing instead of providing logical basis, and they've even quoted examples of you doing this. That would be what I mean when I say you haven't responded with anything but quotes. A quote alone is no argument if objections have been raised which need explaining.

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Rand:

" Romantic love, in the full sense of the term, is an emotion possible only to the man (or woman) of unbreached self-esteem: it is his response to his own highest values in the person of another—an integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire. Such a man (or woman) is incapable of experiencing a sexual desire divorced from spiritual values."

Or divorced from gender, may I add. Only a man and a woman are capable of experiencing this together, not same-sex.

 

Argh.

 

I find all of these floating topics on gender and sexuality so very frustrating.  But listen, IA, to you or anyone else -- if you'd like to establish that homosexuality is morally wrong, I don't think it should be very hard to do.  All that I'd ask is that you take the following and run with it:

 

"Homosexuality is morally wrong, because for a man to have sex with other men will necessarily destroy his life in the following ways..."

 

Ideally you complete that sentence with all of the ways in which such behavior will destroy the man, and then offer proof for your claims (or at least plausible-sounding argumentation).  And this is the pattern for anything else, as well.  If a claim is being made for "masculinity" vs. "femininity," then I'd like to see how acting in masculine fashion is necessarily better for a man -- how it benefits his life in the same way that, say, being productive does -- and how to act contrary to this is a self-destructive course.

 

Because that is the point to the Objectivist Ethics.  It is not a game whereby we all strive to tell one another how to live (let alone to tell someone that he is somehow using his penis incorrectly).  It is rather a tool that a man uses to try to live the happiest, best life possible.  A homosexual Objectivist would also like to be as happy as possible.  And if you can make the case that his homosexuality is getting in his way, and is courting pain, unhappiness, death, I am sure that such a man would listen to your well-meaning suggestions on how he can live better.

 

But if you cannot offer that?  If it seems like you're just making pronouncements on how "things ought to be," not to improve anybody's life exactly, or specifically, but just because you've come to some general conclusions based on the shape of the vagina, or the proportion of man's musculature, or something?  If it seems like you have no specifics to offer by way of proof or reasoning?  If you can offer no actual roadmap by which a homosexual Objectivist can improve his life?  And if it seems as though to take you seriously would make such men much less happy and fulfilled in their actual lives?

 

Then the best course is to treat you (or anyone else making similar presentations) as someone who does not actually understand the Objectivist Ethics, but who instead tries to use it to smuggle in his own vision of "how things ought to be" without regard to actual human happiness, or reason, or reality.

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Please comment on this article and what the Objectivist answer to this will be:

http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2013/04/01/op-ed-guess-what-—-were-oppressors

Face value, Christians are using bad laws to their advantage just as gays and countless other people do. Ideally, there wouldn't be laws restricting employers' business decisions about employment incentives like healthcare. Ideally, government wouldn't have a big, heavy hand in the healthcare industry creating false incentives for employers to offer healthcare packages -- then prompting yet more bad laws and restrictions. But reality is currently not ideal, so the best course of action is blurred.

The same goes for hate crime laws and civil rights laws and anti-descrimination laws. Law should be limited and precise and based on promoting freedom of individuals, no matter how nice or terrible the individuals may be. But laws aren't always like that currently, and religion has a strong influence on government, and for those reasons I am tentatively for laws which protect gays in particular and which keep church out of government. So, I would side against the religious group in this case. And if the choice is to support a less than ideal law, an Objectivist would provide his reasons and also make it clear that he is actually for the strict protection of individual rights, and nothing more.

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I find understanding things very important.  So important that I do not care so much that I agree or disagree with something as long as I can understand it. I sincerely appreciate your posts softwareNerd & Nicky. I had the experience similar to a lens which were out of focus but then suddenly the picture came into view.

 

Very interesting post JASKN. I sometime imagine the experience that I can almost taste words. Odd experience really. And you always use the most delightful words.  In this case I rather enjoyed the words 'Ideally', 'tentatively' and 'strict' which had the most peculiar taste, very peculiar. But thank you for the reply and I enjoyed the understanding.

Edited by Superman123

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The article uses the example of a business owner refusing service and treats the refusal as wrong on the face of it. I would support his right to operate his business, even if he refused myself or people like me. The refusal of services is not a rights violation. Equality before the law should be a fundamental principle in a civilised society. When the article speaks to equality I wholeheartedly agree, but service refusal is being smuggled in as a rights violation, those who argue on principles of recognising and protecting individual rights have my full support and agreement but this article blurs that distinction. I doubt the author sees the distinction but blurs in nonetheless.

I didn't read it but on the top of the page the link directs you to is an article about a florist being sued for a similar sounding action.

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Wikipedia for the rescue - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_and_homosexuality - namely, as I recalled, Ayn Rand personally considered homosexuality as "disgusting", but did not condone taking government action against homesexual intercourse between two consenting adults.

 

Regarding gay marriage - I think the main issue here is the fact that the law treats married couples differently than non-married ones (as someone told me in a chat I had on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freenode ), and that in countries such as Denmark the number of children born among non-married couples has exceeded the number of children born under an oath of marriage (and life there happily goes on). The law should not care whether two adults are married or not, or just living together and having a relationship, and marriage can be just a standard civil and/or religious ceremony which only symbolises a couple's long-term commitment for one another.

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That's not all marriage is; it's also an enforceable contract for sexual exclusivity, the pooling of financial resources, inheritance rights, responsibility for children and more; it grants the partners privilege in court.  Thus, like the formalization of any contract, it's the state's business.

 

(How much that contract ought to look like the one couples make today is a separate question.)

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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?

 

Queen Capitalist,

 

While I can’t speak to what may have shaped the views of the unknown number of “rather homophobic” Objectivists you met in ‘real live’, I have an idea about what might have heavily influenced Ayn Rand’s view on the topic as well as the views of many from her generation.

 

While the dynamics of heterosexual relationships have been continuously written about, in one form or another, since the beginning of human history, homosexual relationships, and opinions about them, were largely “closeted” since Classical Greco-Roman times.  This is likely the cause of any perceived conflict people from AR’s generation would have seen between homosexuality and Objectivism.

 

Specifically, Greco-Roman philosophers tended to describe ALL sexual relationships in terms of power, which one partner dominating the other and expressing his (always his) power over the other.  In many cases sex was not even described as being enjoyable for either party, but merely as a way for the “dominant” party to express his power over the submissive man or woman.

 

Following the Greco-Roman period, more enlightened views on relationships emerged which were more in line with the ‘relationship between equals, done for mutual enjoyment’ that Dagny Taggart and other Objectivist heroines engaged in.

 

Unfortunately, Homosexuality became “closeted” shortly after the end of the Greco-Roman period and remained so until after Ayn Rand’s death.  Therefore, the only philosophy Ayn Rand, and others from her generation would have been exposed to on the subject of homosexuality would have been coming from the Greeks and Romans and would have involved such things as philosophical justifications for essentially raping male subordinates to maintain the masters dominance.  As this is completely incompatible with Enlightenment Morality, Western thought, and Objectivism, it’s no wonder that many from Rand’s generation formed negative opinions of homosexuality.

 

Hopefully, now that homosexuality is no longer “closeted”, more modern thoughts can be formed on these relationships and the perception regarding them will change.

 

BTW; I’m a heterosexual who’s engaged to the love of his life…

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Unfortunately, Homosexuality became “closeted” shortly after the end of the Greco-Roman period and remained so until after Ayn Rand’s death.  Therefore, the only philosophy Ayn Rand, and others from her generation would have been exposed to on the subject of homosexuality would have been coming from the Greeks and Romans and would have involved such things as philosophical justifications for essentially raping male subordinates to maintain the masters dominance.  As this is completely incompatible with Enlightenment Morality, Western thought, and Objectivism, it’s no wonder that many from Rand’s generation formed negative opinions of homosexuality.

Rand has a reputation for "cutting the crap" to get to the heart of ideas. She meticulously dissects and proves, followed by refuting any objections with hard fast reason. This is why people give her the benefit of the doubt on the subject of sexuality. Unfortunately, rationalism tends to trump the recognition that she, too, was only human and capable of overlooking something, or capable of just plain error in thinking. It's unfortunate that she didn't live long enough to develop an interest in homosexuality, so as to later go on the record opposing her few comments on it -- or to even later throw out her whole "masculine/feminine" theory altogether. Still, this is a single error in a mountain of excellent thinking output for all to benefit for generations.

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Rand has a reputation for "cutting the crap" to get to the heart of ideas.

 

Jaskn,

 

Regardless of her ability to "get to the heart of ideas", Rand, her generation, and every other thinking person needs information upon which to formulate those ideas/philosophies.

 

Unfortunately, at the time AR was composing her ideas, the last acknowledged homosexuals were contemporaries of Caligula and, like Caligula himself, these men had some truly disgusting and predatory sexual habits, such as the desire to essentially rape their male and female subordinates as a way to assert their "power".

 

Of course Caligula, and his contemporaries treated women (including their own relatives) just as poorly as they did subordinate men.  However, because homosexuals became closeted after the Greco-Roman period during which men like Caligula stood out, men like Caligula remained the archetype upon which public perception of homosexuals was based, while heterosexuals remained in public view and produced more chivalrous examples of heterosexual behavior to counter any negative mark men like Caligula might have left on the image of heterosexuality.

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