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Objectivism and homosexuality dont mix

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Jason Stotts could be right or wrong in his attempt to explain Rand, but even if he's right, it doesn't explain why Rand considered masculine-masculine attraction as immoral. "My morality,"-she said- "the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists—and in a single choice: to live. The rest proceeds from these. To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason—Purpose—Self-esteem." (GS). For Rand every thing which promotes and better man's life qua man is moral, every thing detrimental to man's life is immoral, evil. In this context man-man attraction cannot be considered as detrimental and therefore immoral. It's highly debatable whether or not such an attraction is not natural-for example over 1500 different animal species engage in some sex relations. Besides, in some sex relations one side acts as a man and another as a woman, so Rand's criteria could be sustained.

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Ayn Rand has stated explicitly that homosexuality was not normal homo sapien behavior. I support that view. It appears as though, in terms of morality, too many proclaimed Objectivists of this generat

If homosexuality is permissible then why not relations with animals?-or machines?-or plastic yard flamingos? Ayn Rand was against the moral anarchy of anything goes relationships. She understood that

Except that each person's highest value is his or her own life. Attempting to claim that the highest value is some abstract "life" and therefore homosexuality, because it does not result in children,

I'm an Objectivist. One of my sons is gay. I don't view him as being immoral, first because it was never a choice for him. Morality is based on the chosen, not some arbitrary attribute. Second, even if he did choose his sexual preferences, as long as no one is forced or coerced, it's a free choice, and as such if it makes him happy, then it's still moral.

Having said that, I think some Objectivists don't care for homosexuality, and may even by repulsed by it. I don't think that's immoral, either, as long as they don't end up using force as a result of that view. In fact, in my son's case, he finds women to be sexually repulsive. So what? Really.

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I'm an Objectivist. One of my sons is gay. I don't view him as being immoral, first because it was never a choice for him. Morality is based on the chosen, not some arbitrary attribute. Second, even if he did choose his sexual preferences, as long as no one is forced or coerced, it's a free choice, and as such if it makes him happy, then it's still moral.

Having said that, I think some Objectivists don't care for homosexuality, and may even by repulsed by it. I don't think that's immoral, either, as long as they don't end up using force as a result of that view. In fact, in my son's case, he finds women to be sexually repulsive. So what? Really.

That's it, in a nutshell - honest and true.

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In fact, in my son's case, he finds women to be sexually repulsive. So what? Really.

The difference between most homos finding women sexually repulsive and most other people finding homo sex repulsive is a giant cultural stigma along with a negative moral judgement toward the homos.

I doubt most homos find women sexually repulsive, just not... interesting. Homos have had a lifetime of influence by attitudes of normalcy toward heterosexuals, and I doubt anything about heterosexual sex to them seems odd, or gross, or immoral. Not so the other way around, where not only have heterosexuals not thought about homo sex much, when they have, it was, "Bad! Gross! Ew!"

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LovesLife, are you saying that you do not believe that homosexuality is a choice? Are you familiar with Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism?

"The law of identity does not permit you to have your cake and eat it, too. The law of causality does not permit you to eat your cake before you have it. . . .

The law of causality is the law of identity applied to action. All actions are caused by entities. The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature."-----Ayn Rand

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LovesLife, are you saying that you do not believe that homosexuality is a choice? Are you familiar with Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism?

This response is terrible. If homosexuality is a choice, the individual making the choice is not harmed in any way whatsoever, so even then, it's still plenty moral. You stated the law of causality. So what? You provided no argument. Your post is closer to trolling than anything; there's no content to speak of that I can respond to.

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LovesLife, are you saying that you do not believe that homosexuality is a choice? Are you familiar with Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism?

If you think the philosophy of Objectivism has anything to say on the issue of whether homosexuality is a choice or not, you are deeply misinformed. Peddle your homophobic drivel if you like, but don't call it Objectivism.

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LovesLife, are you saying that you do not believe that homosexuality is a choice?

Yes, for some people it's not a choice, just as spinach tasting terrible to you isn't a choice.

Are you familiar with Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism?

"The law of identity does not permit you to have your cake and eat it, too. The law of causality does not permit you to eat your cake before you have it. . . .

The law of causality is the law of identity applied to action. All actions are caused by entities. The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature."-----Ayn Rand

Your quote makes my point: "... a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature."

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LovesLife, are you saying that you do not believe that homosexuality is a choice? Are you familiar with Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism?

Are you familiar with how to identify irrelevant concepts?

"The law of identity does not permit you to have your cake and eat it, too. The law of causality does not permit you to eat your cake before you have it. . . .

The law of causality is the law of identity applied to action. All actions are caused by entities. The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature."-----Ayn Rand

Ah, no...I guess not.

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It's fascinating how a reverse in hierarchy can actually lead to collectivism, and to the ethics of altruism.

If one takes 'Man's life' as a floating abstraction, then anything goes.

In my way of thinking, Life, all life, is of immeasurably high value - because from it evolved the existence of Man, the even higher value.

Without the life of Man, the existence of one man (i.e. myself), my supreme value, would not have been possible.

Then, and only this way, is the floating abstraction grounded in reality, I believe.

With the reversed hierarchy, Life, qua Life, followed by Mankind, become the pinnacles, and every individual subservient to them.

As in:- it is one's duty to propogate our species; we are carriers of precious DNA for the sake of future generations: our 'nature' demands this - etc, etc. Slaves to a vague concept of the future.

Or, to get back to the implications heard in this debate, homosexuals have made an 'immoral' "lifestyle choice," and 'selfishly' renounced their obligations to Life.

Irrational premises derived from a floating abstraction.

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Ayn Rand had a better relationship with her father, more of her friends were men, she said she was a male chauvinist, housewives bored her.. I think her 'off the cuff' comment was an emotional reaction to the prospect of trading the men she loved for women, when she had no female equivalents in her life who could compare. She liked being a woman but she was a man worshiper. It seems like at the time she viewed lesbianism as a rejection of men, and she couldn't see herself doing that. There are collectivist groups who focus excessively on Ayn Rand's anti-gay statement without the context of her life at the time. The negative focus distracts people away from the power that defending individual rights has to remove government intervention from their lives.

Would Objectivism have developed the same if she had been a lesbian? How would her philosophy be consistent if she said she worshiped man, yet found him sexually repulsive/uninteresting?

If gay people are engaging in a collectivist kind of rejection against the opposite sex, it seems like it would be negative toward half of human life. If on the other hand it is chosen out of a strong connection with a particular person it doesn't have anything to do with anyone but the two people involved. Society and the government have no business in the bedroom of two adults... two 'consenting' adults. The only time it should matter is when you are looking for a partner, and desiring someone of your preference to prefer you.

When I meet someone their sexuality is not my first concern, I am more interested in their ideas. Each person has different comfort zones when talking about sex, with varying levels of discretion on how soon into a friendship it seems like the topic is approachable. Flirtation is an aspect of friendship I enjoy, and my level of flirtation depends on each individual involved. I admire men and women, both straight and gay. I am a woman who has chosen a man as my partner, he is a unique irreplaceable element in defining my sexuality.

Positive gay role models, (hero worship) will do more than anything in shaping public opinion about the issue. Objectivism is very good for inspiring each individual to confidently strive toward his or her potential.

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I have a couple of separate points:

1. There are two branches of Objectivism which relate to homosexuality:

One is Politics. In Capitalism, the state has no right to interfere with any kind of sex, or any kind of personal relationships, between consenting adults. End of story.

The other is Ethics. First off, there's the question of sexual orientation. Since it is very clear that homosexuality is not consciously chosen (but is determined from birth or during early childhood), it falls outside of the realm of Ethics. Beyond that, the morality of homosexuality depends on the particulars, just like in the case of straight sex and relationships. Sex and relationships based in people sharing the right values are good.

2. As for the opinions of self-proclaimed Objectivists, they shouldn't matter. Objectivism isn't a cult (or even a single "community"). At most, it's comprised of circles of friends, loosely connected or independent of each other. There is no reason why some self-proclaimed Objectivists' opinions should ever interfere with your life, or your choice of a philosophy, unless you expressly invite them to do so.

In my experience, most Objectivists are not anti-gay in any way. In fact there is an unusually high percentage of Objectivists who actually are gay. And if someone insults gay people, he is quickly refuted in Objectivist circles, just like any other bigot would be.

You shouldn't have any problem finding Objectivists who don't mind your sexuality to hang out with. So being gay should not keep you from seeking out Objectivism as a philosophy, or Objectivists to associate with.

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"I am more interested in their ideas"

Homosexuality IS part of that arena of idea's found in the laws of biological identity. It's not a separate metaphysical concept out of the perview of it. That's the beauty of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy; it is an integrated whole. Caring whether one is homosexual or not is different from WHY one is homosexual.

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I fail to see how Objectivism rejects or is in any way incompatible with homosexuality. Whoever told you this just doesn't understand the philosophy at all. The only way one could come to such a conclusion is to claim that reproduction is required for the attainment of personal happiness, and since gay people don't reproduce that would make homosexuality immoral (assuming homosexuality is a choice, which is not entirely true). But Rand never claimed that reproduction is necessesary for personal happiness and there is no evidence or reason to assume that one has to have children to be happy. Lots of people choose not to have children and that doesn't make them immoral.

I know that Rand said something along the lines of homosexuality being immoral but that is not something explicitly stated in Objectivism, nor can it be validated by Objectivist ethics. it's just one of a few unreasonable things she said at some point in her lifetime. I think she probably believed that homosexuality is a psychological disorder -- a belief that was commonly held by psychologists in her era. In fact, homosexuality was actually considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association up until the 1970's or 80's. So please don't let some offhand remark affect your opinion of her philosophy.

Edited by Reason_Being
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Tenderlysharp, once again you wrote such a thoughtful response. I really appreciate this.

I strongly do agree with you that you have to look at the context of Ayn Rand’s life. She did regard the essence of femininity as hero worship i.e. looking up to a man. “… seems like at the time she viewed lesbianism as a rejection of men, and she couldn't see herself doing that” Perfectly put Tenderlysharp.

Where I really get frustrated is how straight people compare their relationships with gay relationships. In gay relationships there is no male role and female role. You get a straight person looking at a gay couple and say, “He must be the ‘she’ in the relationship.” Gay relationships are completely different to straight relationships. “it is chosen out of a strong connection with a particular person it doesn't have anything to do with anyone but the two people involved” here again you show a lot of insight.

My experience of the gay relationships I have been in is that is a meeting of two equals. King meets King or Queen meets Queen. The rules have to be explored carefully, there is compromise but never, “I wear the pants in this household and so what I say goes.” I do not know enough about Objectivism to know if this would make it immoral according to objectivism but in my experience is that there is not *real* male and female roles in our relationships.

What is really funny is when a person thinks that if a man is very masculine he will take on the same sexual role. It is usually the opposite.

“Positive gay role models, (hero worship) will do more than anything in shaping public opinion about the issue. Objectivism is very good for inspiring each individual to confidently strive toward his or her potential.” This is what made me fall in love with Objectivism. There has been a need for more positive gay role models in the past. Slowly but surely we are finding them and they are making a huge difference.

Another problem has been the strong influence the left has had on gay cinema. There have been a lot of gay films collected and made by movie houses such as TLA releasing, Peccadillo Pictures and Here! Regent films. Most of them are full of tragic heroes making mistakes such as drugs, being promiscuous etc. I was so lucky this weekend to see a good gay film this weekend with a proper hero in it. http://www.tlareleasing.co.uk/details/product_details.cfm?id=215100 I plan to write a review of it on OO.

Also great post Tanaka. And Thank you for everyone that has been positive in their reply to my initial post.

Regards,

Superman

Edited by Superman123
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Homosexuality hurts no one. If it makes someone happy, whether because they were born that way or because nature somehow molded them that way, so be it.

This really doesn't need a deep philosophical analysis.

And anyone with a prejudice against gays is unjustified. My MIL who claims to be an Objectivist has a problem with homosexuality. It's her own personal bias clouding her objective reasoning. So Objectivists who are anti-gay are out there.

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If homosexuality is permissible then why not relations with animals?-or machines?-or plastic yard flamingos? Ayn Rand was against the moral anarchy of anything goes relationships. She understood that rational/moral happiness based upon objective criteria, and it's biological function (ie law of identity), were essential to rational happiness in an objectivist context. Sure, people can choose to live all sorts of lifestyles that they think can make them happy, but rational happiness must be defined within the context of reason or else you end up with hedonism and/or nihilism, which is prevelant in the libertarian/anarchist circles.

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Sure, people can choose to live all sorts of lifestyles that they think can make them happy, but rational happiness must be defined within the context of reason or else you end up with hedonism and/or nihilism, which is prevelant in the libertarian/anarchist circles.

Yup, and there exists no good argument that any sexuality other than heterosexual is necessarily harmful to one's life. So, that's all there is to it. The nature of sexuality IS an interesting topic to me, though.

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If homosexuality is permissible then why not relations with animals?-or machines?-or plastic yard flamingos? Ayn Rand was against the moral anarchy of anything goes relationships.

Yikes. Maybe because sex is the physical expression of romantic love, which is someone's response to his or her own highest values in the person of another, to paraphrase Ayn Rand (see here). And only people have the capacity to choose their own moral values, and thus be an object of romantic love and thus proper sexual desire. There is an essential difference between homosexuality and those other things you list, which is: other individuals are capable of rational thought, making moral choices, and building moral character, even if they are the same sex as I am. Plastic yard flamingos are not.

This type of feeble 'slippery slope' argumentation might crop up often in religious fundamentalist circles, where sex is derided as base and animal... but one would hope that it wouldn't in Objectivist circles, where the nature of sex is properly understood and appreciated as a deeply spiritual response to another individual.

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If homosexuality is permissible then why not relations with animals?-or machines?-or plastic yard flamingos? Ayn Rand was against the moral anarchy of anything goes relationships. She understood that rational/moral happiness based upon objective criteria, and it's biological function (ie law of identity), were essential to rational happiness in an objectivist context. Sure, people can choose to live all sorts of lifestyles that they think can make them happy, but rational happiness must be defined within the context of reason or else you end up with hedonism and/or nihilism, which is prevelant in the libertarian/anarchist circles.

You use the word "permissible" when addressing sexual orientation, in this case homosexuality. Why? Permissible by whom? By what standard? If heterosexuality is permissible then why not relations with animals?-or machines?-or plastic yard flamingos? Why does the difference between the definitions of homosexuality and heterosexuality somehow lead you to follow with bestial relations?

Edited by brianleepainter
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She understood that rational/moral happiness based upon objective criteria, and it's biological function (ie law of identity), were essential to rational happiness in an objectivist context.

So the purpose of sex is to make babies then, right? That is the biological function of sex. Any other exercise of sex must be immoral according to your position.

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Where I really get frustrated is how straight people compare their relationships with gay relationships. In gay relationships there is no male role and female role. You get a straight person looking at a gay couple and say, “He must be the ‘she’ in the relationship.” Gay relationships are completely different to straight relationships. “it is chosen out of a strong connection with a particular person it doesn't have anything to do with anyone but the two people involved” here again you show a lot of insight.

My experience of the gay relationships I have been in is that is a meeting of two equals. King meets King or Queen meets Queen. The rules have to be explored carefully, there is compromise but never, “I wear the pants in this household and so what I say goes.” I do not know enough about Objectivism to know if this would make it immoral according to objectivism but in my experience is that there is not *real* male and female roles in our relationships.

This might just be a little bit nitpicky but I do want to point out that in opposite-sex relationships, just because there is a male and a female involved, it does not mean there is a male "role" and a female "role". That form of relationship works for some hetero couples, but others make their own "roles" regardless of which sex takes them, and some just don't bother with roles at all. I am not trying to pick on you, Superman123. I guess I want to emphasize the point that while the traditional romantic narrative has left out same-sex relationships, it has also left out many kinds of healthy, happy opposite-sex relationships that work differently.

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