Sunday, June 30, 2013

A cryptic, pretentious comment before I slumber

Opus 131 is the mystery of Being.

Also, if there is no God, no ultimate meaning in this benign indifference of the universe, then why the deuce should we want to disturb our dogmatic slumbers?  Good night.

The only reason why I would marry

I am never going to get married.  I am too old.  Too fat.  And I've been living alone for so long that I just could not get accustomed to a wife nagging me about where I should put my cigarette ashes, empty beer bottles, dirty socks, etc.  Bachelorhood has become my immutable orientation, and although I am still not quite old enough to be immune to feminine blandishments, my libido has slowed to the point that I can now (finally) understand their costs.  And the costs of being yelled at every time I might track mud on a freshly mopped kitchen floor or forget an anniversary or the proper answer to, "Do I look fat?" are just to high for a romance that will only live on in a photo album.

But if some miracle happens and I meet a woman who for a reason known only to God falls for me, I would consider marrying just so we could have kid who cries so loud as to drown out all the stupid homilies that Priests try to inflict on me during Sunday Mass.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

As thick as...

I've re-considered my stance on same-sex marriage (Look, Ma, no scare quotes!). See, I was at Pomme Café earlier this evening and had a cup of chilled mint pea soup. It was so yummy that I could only wish that all the outlandish slippery slopes that reactionary assholes like me feverishly warn will attend same-sex marriage would come true. For I really want to marry that pea soup.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Unintended Consequences of the DOMA Ruling for Christian Missionaries

According to Justice Kennedy, Ancient Sparta defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman simply to re-inforce particularly Judeo-Christian values and to demean, degrade, and humiliate homosexuals. According to Justice Kennedy Bertrand Russell was just as much a spiteful Bible-Thumping know-nothing bigot as, say, Fred Phelps or Anita Bryant. According to Justice Kennedy, the Hindus are really Christians. Well, according to me, Justice Kennedy is a twit demonstrably ignorant of history and an asshole who substitutes outright slander for legal argument. But, alas, I am not a Supreme Court Justice.

But if Kennedy is right, and I am horribly mistaken (and I probably am for after all I am an irrational bigot), then the DOMA ruling will save Christian missionaries a lot of trouble: They will no longer have to evangelize in India, China, or in any of the Muslim Countries anymore for according to Justice Kennedy, almost everyone there--even though he may think he is a Muslim, Hindu, or Communist Atheist--is already a Christian just for thinking marriage is the erotic union of a man and a woman. Kennedy makes Rahner look like a piker.

Infallibilty


So, a child has no right whatsoever (not even a presumptive one) to know his natural parents and be raised by them. Otherwise, the law would have to recognize heterosexual relationships as normative in regard to the rights of the child, and that by Justice Kennedy's particular reasoning would only serve to demean the many gay and Lesbian couples who happen to be raising children. But a gay or Lesbian has a right to have a child even though they do not want to engage in the activity that Nature hath designated as the one that creates new human life. How the deuce does that work? I have said it before, and I'll say it again, the "logic" of same-sex "marriage" makes children into property.

A child has no right to know his natural parents and be raised by them, but a gay or a lesbian has a right to have a child? How the deuce does that work? And how the deuce is that NOT putting the interest of adults before the interests of children? And how the deuce is that not just absurd, but profoundly SICK and DEPRAVED as well? Oh, yes, I know, I am an irrational bigot. You don't have to talk to me. SCOTUS locuta est, causa finita est.

Gay is the New Black, Part II

The Old Bigotry: Niggers are shiftless. Niggers are sexually promiscuous. Niggers don't give a shit 'bout their children. Niggers will knife you. Niggers will rape your wives and your daughters. Niggers never should have left the plantation.

The New Bigotry: Marriage is the erotic union of a man and a woman. Being raised by a mother and a father is normal. Men and women were made for each other. Coitus is socially necessary in a way that other acts of intimacy, be they frottage, holding hands, or an intense, soul-baring conversation about great art, are not. The use of gendered pronouns.

Yeah, I can now see how the two are analogous and EQUALLY hateful.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I read the News today, Oh, Boy!

So, traditionally the federal government has left it to the states to define marriage.  Therefore, the federal attempt to define marriage is a violation of states' rights.  Utah responds, "Say what, Mr. Kennedy?!" 

Also, I must point out how odd it is that activists who explicitly fancy themselves as the inheritors of the 1960s Civil Rights movement would now be ecstatic about what a white man had to say about States' Rights.

An Apology to Mr. D.

I would like to apologize to Mr. D. publicly. He told me that his daughter is getting married to her partner Sally this Dezember, and instead of congratulating him as old friends are supposed to do on such occasions, I just couldn't let politics go and dismissed this upcoming wedding as absurd. Where oh where are my manners? Where is my sense of decency? One should never let politics sour what are supposed to be joyous moments, such as the wedding of an old friend's daughter. I have acted like a veritable asshole, and I am abjectly and humbly sorry.

Well, I am going to make it up to you, Mr. D., and offer my heartfelt congratulations. And to show you that my well wishes are indeed sincere, Mr. D., I shall not just offer you generic platitudes that one reads on a mass-produced greeting card. My well wishes will be very specific and detailed, just to show you how much I really care.

I sincerely hope that your daughter's marriage to Sally beats the odds and lasts. After all, Lesbian marriages are far more likely to fall apart than gay marriages and heterosexual marriages. In Sweden, where the only reliably scholarly study comparing break-up rates among Lesbian, gay, and straight couples has been done, the rate of dissolution among Lesbian partnerships is almost twice that as among gay couples and nearly a whopping three times the rate among heterosexual couples. Even the gay-friendly Atlantic Magazine admits as much, and not even reluctantly. But I trust your daughter and Sally, not being Swedes, will live happily ever after.

And, Mr. D., I do hope that the loving couple do choose to make you a grand dad. I just hope that if they do so, that the turkey baster they use is sterile. Hey, that'll be my wedding gift. A nice, sterile turkey baster that can shoot lots and lots of sperm.

If the loving couple decide to go to an IVF clinic to acquire your grandson, I hope all the best, that they be good eugenicists and find an anonymous sperm donor with the best genes at the most affordable price. I also hope that the donor does not scatter his seed too prolifically, lest your grandchild unwittingly mates with his sister or her brother.

And if your daughter decides that she wants to carry the child, then I hope you have no qualms about daddy's little girl being impregnated by a complete stranger. Ah, qualms, schwarms! Who cares who impregnates her! You'll be a grand dad, and that's all that matters.

And I hope your grandchild doesn't ever pester her two mommies with annoying questions about who his father was or is and why he abandoned him. Origins, Schmorigins, I say! The brat should be lucky that he's alive at all and that two precious lovebirds decided to acquire him for their cozy little love nest.

And one last thing, Mr. D., I do hope your daughter and daughter-in-law are environmentally conscious and use only recyclable strap-ons. Our landfills are overflowing already.

Once again, Mr. D., Mazel Tov! And I mean that. Sincerely. Even though I am not Jewish.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Hint for the CIA

Edward Snowden is now living under the name Joseph Anton.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Forgive me, Parent, for I have committed the sin of Homophobic Bigotry


I really want to know how to avoid the charge of homophobic bigotry. Eric Brown, can you help me? You will no doubt say, after making some snarky comment about my aggressive stupidity, that all I have to do is drop my hopelessly silly opposition to same-sex "marriage", and I shall no longer be called a bigot. But it's more complicated than that, right? I also have to acknowledge that sex doesn't matter at all with regard to raising children. For if I still hold on to the religiously extremist notion that it is normal for a child to be brought up by a mother and a father, I am necessarily implying that it is abnormal to have two mothers or two fathers and am, thereby demeaning Lesbian and Gay households. In other words, unless I acknowledge that parenting is an entirely asexual activity, I am a vile homophobic bigot.

So, let me see if I get this even with my aggressive stupidity. I must accept same-sex "marriage" (and, I know, drop those meany scare quotes) and acknowledge that parenting is utterly asexual, and then I shall no longer be a bigot. Is that all there is, Dr. Brown? No, that would still be too simple. That can't be all there is to it. For if sex or, more precisely, gender really doesn't matter with regard to the socially most fundamental concept of parenting, it really does not matter anywhere at least not as far as public policy is concerned. It matters, of course, with regard to everyone's sexual preference, but that is an entirely private matter--like religion (should be). So, the very concept of gender should be erased from the public sphere lest anyone entertain the theocratic notion that a person's sex matters for anything more than another's wholly private kink. For allowing gender rôles any public or social significance at all can only lead to a public endorsement of heteronormativity which, as you know, is the radix omniarum homophobiarum. So, does that mean I must renounce all gender constructs in the public sphere, Dr. Brown, including gendered pronouns? Should I, to clean myself of all bigotry, now refer to you as an "it"? Will that finally give me a spotless soul, My Father Confessor, the Right Reverend of the Church of Eric?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

As slippery as weasels

When talking to us, gay activists dismiss our slippery slope arguments as mere know-nothing bigotry and uneducated, irrational religious zealotry, but when talking amongst themselves on the HuffPo, there just isn't enough lube to make the slope slippery enough!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thanks, Iran...

...for electing a President with a name that is easy to pronounce.

Monday, June 17, 2013

In their op-ed piece "Taming the hate"Ali and Adil Nizamuddin make the startling claim the "Islam is the only religion that makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus Christ."  The two basic creeds for the great majority of Christians, The Apostles' and the Nicene, both make belief in Jesus Christ an article of faith for the Christian Religion. While Muslims and Christians both believe in Christ, they disagree as to His identity.  The former believe He is a prophet and nothing more, the latter that He is God Incarnate, a belief the Koran denounces as “something hideous”.  To be sure, the Koran does esteem Christians as "people of the Book", but this does not mean, as the Nizamuddins seem to imply, all Christians.  Far from it.  As Rezla Aslan points out in his book on Islam No God but God, the Koran could mean only those Christians who deny Christ as God Incarnate because those who do not, according to the Koran, are infidels and cannot as such be "people of the book".   But for the overwhelming majority of Christians to deny the Incarnation is itself “something hideous”.  It's very hard for religions that disagree over core beliefs to be friendly to one another.  That said, this fundamental disagreement between Muslims and Christians is utterly irrelevant to whether or no the Park51 Mosque should be built.  All that matters is whether we have Religious Freedom in this country, and we most certainly do.   

An actual exchange with a telemarketer

"Paul?" 

"Yes."

"This is Vera, I am calling about your 2005 Pontiac Vibe." 

"I have cerebral palsy. I don't drive. Therefore, I don't own a car. If you knew me, you would know this, but you don't know me. We are strangers, and, yet, you have the temerity to address me by my first name as if we were friends. I want you to apologize for this rudeness."

"I apologize." 

"Bye."

A facebook exchange from August of 2010

Claim:   the denial of normal parents' unique ability to raise children will lead inevitably to the BRAVE NEW WORLD. Judge Walker is a very dangerous idiot.

D:  good point. I must have missed the part where Judge Walker starts ranting about the wonders of soma.

E: I think that Paul's been experiencing the wonders of trappist ale.

Π: And what brew was Judge Walker enjoying when he asserted that the ability of homosexual parents to raise children is IDENTICAL to that of heterosexual (i.e. normal) parents?

D: The same ale Plato was enjoying when he asserted that the ability to give birth is irrelevant to a persons ability to govern the polis (i.e. common sense ale).

E: Dude, that seems to be the case. There's nothing intrinsic to sexual orientation to render one a more fit parent. There are no doubt good and bad parents of every orientation. 

The *only* advantages heterosexual parents enjoy over homosexual parents are these: the law offers them extra privileges, and there are less likely to be bigots teasing the kids. Fortunately, the laws can be changed, and there is reason to hope that the bigots will someday see the light or at least be shamed into silence.


Π: Yeah, well, Dave, mentioning Plato is probably NOT the best idea if your intent is to show that my worries that we're moving toward Huxley's dystopia are entirely warrantless. Does Book Five of the Republic ring a bell?

Π: By the way, I have been out of Chimay since Tuesday.

Π: By the way, Dave, Judge Walker need not rant about the wonders of soma. Soma has already been entrenched in our society for a very long time, but it has various names, such as Prozac, Valium, et cetera. Such is the case, too, with hypnopaedia, only we call it commercials or subliminal messages or, perhaps, even facebook. Feelies have just come on the market and go by the name of anatomically correct porn dolls. All that is left to bring Huxley's world of Der letzte Mensch to its complete and utter banality is the severing of the link between the ability to conceive and give birth and the ability to rear. Huxley, of course, thought this had been achieved with the advent of modern birth control, and he may have been right. But if he wasn't, and modern birth control only served to weaken this link, Judge Vaugn Walker has certainly destroyed it once and for all. If normal parenting is not the normative way to rear children, then why must we look to the natural family as the model for Erziehung? If nature provides no unique guide for the care and nurture of our young, then what is to stop us from looking to our modern technologies for more efficient and convenient ways to raise children. Huxley's answer is exactly the same as mine: NOTHING!

D: You're right, soma has been around for a very long time. Huxley describes it as having "all the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects." Anyhow, jokes aside, you seem to be assuming that once we 'sever the link between the ability to conceive and give birth and the ability to rear' we will be left with no standards for child rearing at all, or at least none that prevent us from declining into a distopian nightmare. But you are clearly wrong. I can think of a thousand reasons NOT to take Brave New World as a model for child rearing, and not one of them has anything to do with deviance from the 'natural family' model. In any case, you haven't defended the superiority of the natural family model, you've just pushed some alarmist buttons by deploying a slippery non sequitor (combination of non sequitor and (bad) slippery slope argument). I'm not convinced.

Π: Dave, I had written a very long tract on Huxley's dystopia and Modern Liberalism, but it has suddenly dawned on me that for this discussion/debate to be fruitful, I need to understand your understanding of the novel. Otherwise, we shall be talking past eachother. I understand the novel to be a reductio ad absurdum of the Modern Liberal Project. I suspect that you do not share this interpretation. If you do not, then how do you interpret Huxley's Novel?

D: Honestly, I don't think I can give an intelligent answer to your question. I would either have to re-read the book or dust off my 10th grade english notes (which, in all honesty, probably never existed in the first place). Here's a vague answer based on my vague memory of the novel: no, I don't think Huxley's novel is a critique of the modern liberal project. I think it's a critique of instrumental rationality, which I understand roughly as the belief that scientific/quantitative reasoning can solve all of humanity's problems. And I don't think instrumental rationality is part of 'the modern liberal project' as much as it is part of the enlightenment in general (which includes modern liberalism, of course, so you can find strains of instrumental rationality in most forms of liberalism). Anyway, fascism and soviet style totalitarianism were both imbued with the spirit of instrumental rationality, so I think the target of Huxley's critique is something broader than modern liberalism. Also, isn't there an element of authoritarianism in the Brave New World (like the ranking of people into castes). Certainly a caste system is incompatible with the modern liberal project. The wikipedia entry for Brave New World claims that Huxley's distopia is based on the principle of futurism. That sounds about right to me.

Π: A caste system is wholly compatible with modern liberalism, especially the 19th Century variety. It is even now, unless you think formal equality is the same thing as material equality, and I know you've read enough Marx to know that that cannot be true. Also, instrumental rationality is crucial to the entire modern liberal project, the aim of which is to ease man's estate. Hobbes, therefore, was the first Modern Liberal, whose artificial and rationalized Leviathan allows men to escape the taraxic vicissitudes of the state of nature, where life is nasty, brutish, and short.

Now, how can I make such an outrageous claim? Isn't Liberalism all about rights, and isn't Hobbes' Leviathan all about abandoning rights for the sake of security? Aren't the two polar opposites? Not really. According to Hobbes men surrender most of their rights to the Leviathan to safeguard the ultimate right, the right to a life free of violent death. Thus, Hobbes' predicates his entire theory of the state upon a self-interested and, hence, liberal theory of right. The state exists not to help people to get to heaven or to glorify the king or to achieve any other putatively lofty telos. The state exists simply to safeguard a right. 

It is very important to emphasize that the state is needed to safeguard the right to a life free from violent death because it is only in the state that technology can be used effectively to beat back the nasty state of nature. The right to a secure life may be natural insofar as it is universal to desire such a life, but it can only be realized in the conquering and subduing of nature. This right is natural, but its exercise is, shall we say, unnatural. 

But safeguarding the right to life free of violent death does not necessarily bring protection against misery or nastiness. And so Locke came around and added the right to enjoy the fruit of one's labor, and ever since then Liberals have been adding rights that they think are constitutive of a life that has escaped the nasty Hobbesian State of Nature. In every case the right must be safeguarded by the power of the state against the intrusions of that nasty and brutish Hobbesian State of Nature. And technology plays a crucial rôle in all of this, of course, from a well-armed police force, securing property rights, to sophisticated medicine, securing the right to healthcare (in states that acknowledge such a right, that is). 

The Modern Liberal state exists, therefore, not so much to safeguard equality but a way of life that is free from the unpredictable disturbances of a hostile nature. In other words, the Modern Liberal State is Epicurean and its goal is ataraxia. Sometimes this goal must be achieved by equality for inequality often causes state-of-nature-like-strife, obviously. But there can be a modern liberal state with overt and legally enshrined inequality. If everyone, regardless of his station or caste, gets his share of ataraxia, then the purpose of the Modern Liberal State is fulfilled, and notions of equality be damned. Who cares if Bill Gates has more money than several third world countries combined or that rich fucks like Phil Spector get away with murder? As long as I can enjoy the game while guzzling down Bud Lite, I really don't care. This is the point of Huxley's Brave New World.

This is why I understand Huxley's novel as a reductio ad absurdum of the Modern Liberal State. 

It is telling that no liberals appear in the novel to offer a credible alternative to the Brave New World. If this novel were an attack on Fascism or Totalitarianism, as you suggest, you'd expect otherwise, but the only character in Brave New World that offered an alternative to the Brave New World was none other than John Savage, a man who does not want to escape nature but to embrace it and all its attendant suffering. John Savage represents the feral rejection of Modern Liberalism's Hobbesian assumptions. Because Huxley offers no other alternative to the Brave New World, it is fair to conclude that he thought that Modern Liberalism could not prevent it. On the contrary, because the Modern Liberal Project has as its goal a carefree life unmolested by natural consequence, the Brave New World is, in fact, its logical destiny.


Π:  Nota Bene: Phil Spector did not get away with murder. I was ignorant of the second trial. Oops.

D:  1. I'm not convinced by your reading of the modern liberal tradition, but that's beside the point. I don't see how Huxley's failure to present liberalism as an alternative the Brave New World undermines my reading. I never said Huxley's book was a critique of fascism or totolitarianism, I said it was a critique of instrumental rationality, which I take to be a common feature of many aspects of modernity. One can find it in forms of liberalism, but one can also find it in fascism and soviet style totalitarianism. So the fact that Huxley doesn't present liberalism as an alternative to the Brave New World is not evidence that the book isn't a critique of instrumental rationality. 

2. What does all of this have to do with gay people raising children? Remember that Hobbes's understanding of nature is a far cry for the catholic understanding of nature. So, arguing that Brave New World is the inevitable consequence of modern liberalism's flight from the former is no proof that gay marriage/gay child rearing (understood as a violation of the latter) will inevitably lead to Huxley's distopia. To make that argument stick you would have to show that gay couples are attempting to make their lives easier and more placid by adopting children (or finding a willing female carrier). But you won't be able to show this because it's shear rubbish, as anyone who has ever tried to sleep in the same house as an infant well knows. So, your whole attempt to link gay marriage to the Brave New World appears to be based on an equivocation. 


Π: To say the link between the ability to birth and to rear is NOT unique or normative is to say that the natural family is not necessary and, thus, dispensable. I know that just because a thing can be dispensed does not mean it will be, but my point is that in a society that prizes convenience and comfort above everything else, to note that the natural family is dispensable is to mark it for eventual destruction for no family is without strife and pain and as such is an obstruction to Modern Liberalism's relentless pursuit after its hedonistic heaven on earth.

D: Ok, but I don't think our society is as crassly hedonistic as you suggest. One sign that it isn't is the fact that gay couples want to get married and raise children. There's just no way to paint the desire to settle down and have kids as a sign of egoistic hedonism. 
I also think you are wrong about liberalism being inherently hedonistic. Liberalism is just a formal framework of individual rights combined with equality before the law and the right to vote. Liberal society is as compatible with asceticism as it is with hedonism. Rawls didn't even think that a capitalist economy was essential to liberalism. 

Finally, even if we have opened up the possibility of dispensing with the natural family, we have not thereby opened up the possibility of ALL other child-rearing options. All we have done is add one aditional possibility to the mix (namely, the 'non-natural,' homosexual family). At best you can argue that Judge Walker has opened up the legal possibility of a future society in which women voluntarilly decide to put their children up for adoption by gay couples. Clearly, then, there is nothing in judge Walker's decision that makes the Brave New World inevitable. Of course, you seem to think that liberalism in general puts us on a course towards Huxley's distopia, so I'm not sure why you have decided to direct your ire at the good judge. As you well know, there is nothing in classical liberalism about the link between the ability to birth and to rear being unique and normative (classical liberalism is decidedly neutral on the issue--actually, if you are right about liberalism's hedonistic nature, then liberalism has always been anti-family at its core). So why waste your energy fighting some small fish like judge Walker if his decision was historically inevitable? Just write a book about why liberalism leads inexorably to huxlian distopia. Then I can read your book and write a review explaining why it is full of shit. 


Π:  What is the basis for those individual rights?

Π: And I must admit to take some offense at your scare quotes around the qualifier non-natural. Isn't it bloody obvious that a homosexual couple with a child is NOT natural?! Homosexual couples CANNOT produce children on their own. PERIOD. Thus, there is no need for scare quotes around the qualifier non-natural when talking about a homosexual "family".

D:  It depends who you ask. There's no single answer within the modern liberal tradition. Certainly not all liberals have argued that individual rights are based in hedonistic self-interest. Locke thought they were endowed by god, Mill thought they were grounded in utilitarianism, and Nussbaum argues that they are based in a proper understanding of human flourishing.

D: No, it isn't bloody obvious. It's obvious that it's not natural for a gay man to give birth or for a gay woman to impregnate her lover. I'm using the term 'natural' to mean 'in accordance with the laws of nature.' It is in violation of the laws of nature for a gay couple to procreate. It is not in violation of the laws of nature for a gay couple to raise a child. I use the scare quotes to indicate to any readers that I do not subscribe to your conception of nature. It was not meant to be offensive (well, maybe a little bit).

Π: Fine, and it also not against the laws of nature for an uncle to raise his nephew or a grandfather to raise his granddaughter or a woman to raise her baby sister, but in each case the child is not considered the offspring of the guardian and, I might add, each case is an irregular situation. The NORMAL situation is for a child to be raised by his biological parents. I really resent having to argue such an OBVIOUS point. I do NOT deny that adoption is frequently necessary. What I DO deny VEHEMENTLY and EMPHATICALLY is what Judge Wanker necessarily implies with his denial of the normative link between the ability to conceive and birth and the ability to rear, namely that being raised as an adopted kid or as someone conceived by IVF or some other brave-new-world-like procedure is just as normal as being raised by one's NATURAL parents. It obviously isn't, and to say otherwise is to replace basic sense with an INSANE LGBT Ideology.

D: There are two issues here that are being run together:
1. The claim that it is normal (in a sense of the term that packs in all sorts of grand ethical implications--i.e. not just a statistical sense of 'normal,' which I will gladly grant as obvious) for kids to be raised by their biological parents, and
2. The claim that their is a normative connection between the ABILITY to birth and the ABILITY to rear.

1, if correct, is the basis for an argument against adoption.
2, if correct, is the basis for an argument against gays adopting.

I see absolutely no grounds for (2). All the evidence I know of points to gay couples being every bit as good at raising adopted children as heterosexual couples. And if you are against adoption in general, but grant that it is necessary at times, I can see nothing but bigotry in the decision not to let gays adopt. 
There may be evolutionary grounds for (1) (e.g. a natural tendency to care slightly more for a kid with your own DNA), though I am skeptical. In any case I am not willing to accept as 'obvious' anything other than the interpretation of (1) that reads the term 'normal' in a purely statistical sense. If you want to go further and argue for ethical superiority you will have to present an argument. I won't assume that statistical normality automatically confers ethical superiority. In any case, if there is any legitimacy to an ethical reading of (1), it is based on a connection between ACTUALLY birthing and ACTUALLY rearing, not some mythical connection between abilities, for which there is zero evidence.


Π: Answer me this, Dave. Why do you think the unloved stepchild is such a staple in world literature? Why do you think the search of an adopted child for his biological parents is a cliché? Why do you think the establishment of paternity is SO very important, especially in the positive law? Do you really think that the child of "married" gay men will not wonder where he came from and that this will NOT cause his guardians any difficulties?

Π: And, Dave, why praytell is the raising of children by their natural parents statistically normal? Am I committing a heinous logical fallacy if I give this answer? It is PERFECTLY NATURAL to raise the children you have conceived and birthed. Even the anti-Family Plato acknowledged this instinctive love of one's own for heaven's sakes!

D: I acknowledged the instinctive love of one's own as well, or did you miss that part of my post? I also acknowledge that biological parents are sometimes bad parents and stepfathers/mothers are sometimes great. Anyhow, it's for precisely the reasons you mentioned that I distinguished between 1) and 2) above. Your argument against gay child rearing is at bottom little more than an argument against adoption in general, so I'm still wondering what any of this has to do with gay marriage. At best you have given reasons to be skeptical of alternative birthing procedures, something which is not (as far as I know) an essential part of gay marriage. 

Besides, I think it is safe to say that the phenomena you have mentioned are as much cultural as they are biological. Why do you think the cliche of the adopted child looking for his parents always ends with the adopted child realizing that her real parents are the ones that raised her and cared about her? My guess is that the search for biological parents has as much to do with feeling different as with biological urges. I think similar things could be said about the unloved stepchild (a phenomenon which varies quiete a bit depending on how old the stepchild is upon entering the picture). Establishment of paternity is important for various reasons, but the main one has little to do with the natural connection between father and child. To put it bluntly, often times it's a matter of making sure that the man responsible sends a check once a month.


Π: Yes, yes, yes. There are bad natural parents, and there are some wonderful step parents. I acknowledge that freely. My sole point is that adoption is a deviation from the norm. It becomes necessary when the norm for one reason or another tanks. Adoption is the back-up plan and as such should not be granted equal status with the main plan. Otherwise, the former can no longer be evaluated in the light of the former, but both must be judged in the light of another norm that has nothing whatsoever to do with the natural family. So, if there is no normative link between the ability to conceive and birth and the ability to rear, then should we make all new parents take a test to see if they are fit parents? I mean, people who want to adopt or be foster parents have to go through interviews, submit financial statements, etc. to demonstrate their capacity to raise children. Natural parents have to do none of these things. Yes, it is true that the state does take kids away from their natural parents, but not because they did not acquit themselves well during an interview with a social worker at the maternity ward. Why is this? Because we naturally assume that the parents who have conceived and gave birth to a child will also want to raise him precisely because of the instinctive love of one's own. Natural parents have a special incentive to raise their children that adoptive parents obviously lack. The difference between our positions, Dave, is that you discount the instinctive love of one's own when considering the ability to raise children, and I do not. And if you discount this, then we might as well submit natural parents to the same battery of tests that adoptive parents have to go through right now. 

You might, of course, say that a couple who obtains a baby through a paid surrogate or a Lesbian couple who go through artificial insemination to have a baby are not submitted to such tests. True, but bringing that up hardly will assuage my fears about Huxley's Dystopia. 

And, yes, I know very well that the question of paternity is primarily one about responsibility. I brought that up precisely because I wanted you to admit that the natural father is expected at least to help raise the child he sired. Fathers are responsible for their children, and that IS indeed a natural and necessary connection. In the Brave New World where all natural connections between parents and progeny have been destroyed, John Savage's father is not expected to take any responsibility for John Savage at all. His fatherhood is simply laughed at.

Yes, I know that I am not giving reasons why gay people should not be parents. I want to establish first the point that if the natural family is not the norm for childrearing, then there is no choice but to look to artificial standards such as the ones in the Brave New World. Let me ask you this, Dave: Do you think it arbitrary that our society generally allows the 
men and women who conceive and bare children to raise them as well?


D: 1. I do not discount the instinctive love of one's own, I just don't think it determines good parenting. It is clearly neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition. At best it is one factor among many. You clearly acknowledge this much. As for the battery of interviews adoptive parents have to pass, I think this has to do primarilly with a) the fact that the state has taken over responsibility for orphans, and b) the fact there is often times more supply than demand in this area. The liberal state generally tries not to interfere in private life except in extreme situations. This, and not the love of one's own, is what primarily drives the decision to give natural parents the benefit of the doubt. It is also the reason why the state does not interfere excessively in gay couples that use surrogates or artificial insemination. It is assumed that they will take responsibility for what they have created. 

2. Yes, fathers are responsible for their children, but this has nothing to do with the love of one's own. The father is the efficient cause of a defenseless being that can't take care of itself. That is what makes him responsible. Accordingly, when the kid is old enough to take care of himself, the father's responsibility ceases. 


3. So...the main point is that we DON'T take the natural family as the norm. We simply assume that parents will take responsibility for what they have created. If they don't, THEN we interfere. If there is a norm it is simply 'don't interfere in private life unless things get really bad, and then apply a standard that has nothing to do with natural procreation.' This is the norm our society actually follows.

D: The bottom line is that the liberal state only has negative guidelines for childrearing (i.e. don't beat your kids, don't neglect their physical health, etc...). The only real positive standard is mandatory education. Beyond that, our main standard is 'you create it, you take care of it.' Fortunately, this sort of hands-off approach guarantees that the state won't force a Brave New World upon us.

Π: Privacy is a very vague concept and is not the bulwark you seem to think it is.

Π:  Hands-off? Really? Unlike heterosexual couples, homosexual couples are dependent upon the state if they want children. If they want to adopt, then they are dependent upon the adoption laws. If they choose the surrogate route, then they are dependent upon contract law. If a Lesbian couple choose artificial insemination, then they must trust that the state has properly licensed their chosen clinic. And if one woman of that Lesbian couple chooses to get pregnant the old-fashioned, yes, NORMATIVE way, then she will probably need the state to issue a restraining order against her drone afterwards. If the hallmark of the liberal state is non-interference in the private life of the family, then the heterosexual family must be the norm insofar as its autarky in principle means that it does not need state interference whereas the homosexual "family" needs state interference just to get started. In other words, the heterosexual family is possible without the state. The homosexual "family" is not.

D: The liberal state serves primarily to uphold contracts between private individuals, and in this role it regulates heterosexual families as much as homosexual families--hence, paternity laws. Homosexual families that use a surrogate or artificial ensemination do not 'need' the state in any metaphysical sense (we can surely think of possible worlds in which such practices are not regulated by contract law). As it turns out, though, the kind of regulations that face gay couples hoping to start a family exist for heterosexual families as well. Although the contracts are implicit as opposed to explicit, they are nonetheless present. A guy cannot skip town when his child is six months old and expect not to pay child support. Why? Because the state sees the act of sexual intercourse as involving an implicit contract acknowledging responsibility for the results. 

So, in what sense are homosexual families 'dependent' on the state? Certainly not in any metaphysical sense. Well, then it must be that state regulations interfere at the earliest stages of the family making process. Unfortunately, this is true of hetorosexual families as well, so you haven't shown the normative superiority of heterosexual autarky. 


Π:  This is just baloney. Are you denying that heterosexual families are possible without the state?! If so, then the human race would have been extinct after the first human beings died. And we know that this is not true. This is just completely and utterly ridiculous.

D:  I am not denying that heterosexual families are possible without the state. Re-read my post. I am asserting a) that homosexual families are also possible without the state, and b) that the state interferes in the process of creating a heterosexual family in much the same way that it interferes in the process of creating a gay family. Namely, it has an established legal framework to assure that the parties responsible for creating a child are willing to bear responsibility for it. In the case of creating a homosexual family this legal framework is a bit more explicit (i.e. you have to sign papers), but it is equally present in the case of creating a heterosexual familiy (in essence, you sign a contract when you release your sperm into a willing female).

Π:  I really don't believe this. Now you are denying that heterosexual families are in regard to sexual reproduction autarkic in a way that homosexual "families" simply cannot be. You've gone absolutely bonkers, Dave. I shall respond in detail once I've recovered from my shock. Sheesh! Were there homosexual "families" in the caves, Dave? Were there? I don't think so. 

And by the way, Judge Walker's claim that the heterosexual parents' ability to rear is IDENTICAL to that of homosexuals is false for so many reasons. Here's one more. Are you telling me that growing up with a mother and the father is essentially the SAME as growing up with two mommies or two daddies? Does sexual differentiation mean NOTHING to you? And, by the way, would you consider it homophobic of me to say that I am VERY glad that I was NOT raised by two fathers or two mothers?


D: Boy, you really like to put words in my mouth. Apparently you have read the phrase 'possible without the state' as implying autarky. It doesn't. Look, Paul, I don't deny any of the obvious facts of biology. I haven't gone bonkers, you've just forgotten how to read.