Thursday, August 10, 2006

Oh, the Morality

I have no problem objecting to societal acceptance of homosexual marriage on multiple grounds, be they economic, moral, or religious.

For now I’ll look at the moral aspect. Morality can be defined as a system of rules which society determines are beneficial for its own survival. This is what I’ll be using as morality (irrespective of Judeo-Christian morals, wherever the source) for the remainder of this post. For example, it is immoral in our society for a person to commit suicide, but it is not immoral to sacrifice one’s life for another. This is a fundamental tenet of our culture. Our society has deemed this rule beneficial to its self preservation, so we find it in our moral code.

Our society has, to this point, looked upon homosexuality as not only immaterial to its continuing existance, but also detrimental to its continuation. This is why homosexual marriage has no place currently in a majority of people’s moral codes.

There are a plethora of things our society has deemed immoral. This list includes lying, cheating, theft, murder, incest, bestiality, usury (on some level), graft, speeding, negligence, et cetera ad nauseum.

Would it be acceptable for a moral minority (for example, thieves, murderers, or rapists) to pull a fast one on the majority through judicial review? Why do we make a distinction between one immorality or another? Why is discrimination against a thief an acceptable practice (for example, we deny convicts actual rights in addition to privileges) but discrimination against homosexuality, another form of immoral behavior in the eyes of our society, abhorrent?

Given this, why should a minority section of our society take it upon itself to force its new moral code on the majority through judicial activism? In terms of moral philosophy, this is inherently amoral, as society should determine its own morality through the mechanisms it sets up for its own change. Ergo, if this issue is to become “moral” for us, it should be left up to the people, through the legislature.

Therefore, ammendments against gay marriages are protection from an immoral section of our society attempting to commit a coup de’tat against the majority by skewing our established moral code in their favor, for whatever reason.


Matt said...

Nice blog matt. I thought I'd get the ball rolling on this post.

There isn't a concensus in our society as to whether or not homosexuality is immoral. An ammendment in the constitution should only be written on this subject when the immorality of homosexuality is "self-evident". It's not self-evident, and the personal marital choices of individual's shouldn't ever be legislated. If you wanted to take this to another level, I would also say that it shouldn't be "against the law" to commit suicide.

Sorry, I'm just one of those, "you can't legislate morality" type of guys. That's just the way I see it.

Demitri Martin: I like frisbees. A frisbee is the only object you can throw and hit a person; and it's ok.

I wanna make a jigsaw puzzle that's 40,000 pieces, and when you finish it, it'll say GO OUTSIDE.

'Sort of' is such a harmless thing to say. Sort of. It's just a filler. It doesn't really mean anything. But after certain things, sort of means everything.
Like after, "I Love You".
Or, "You're going to live".

Sorry, I'm watching his comedy central presents show on itunes... couldn't help it. It's really not that funny, but I like him because he's so simple with his jokes but his delivery is great.

k2aggie07 said...

I don't think theres a need for a consensus. For one thing, there never will be a consensus. We are all different, we all have slightly different views on morality and ethics. In that thread, morality of a society is the sum total of all of the morals in that society. And, right now, that sum total is against societal acceptance of homosexual marriage.

I don't think it should be necessarily against the law to suicide either -- the point is that society as a whole frowns upon it. We're not sympathetic towards suicide as a nation. I also agree that you can't legislate morality, but youre using a different definition in that sentence. You're saying morality as "good" vs "bad", while I'm using it more as "survival" vs "death". Society's morals are evidence in the success of that society. If a society chooses well, they will continue to be.

The morals of the Roman society degraded and their society failed.

Matt said...

Your argument implies that if society as a whole accepted the legal marriage of a man and another man, or a woman and another woman would somehow threaten our very existence. Are you kidding me?

This isn't a "survival" vs. "death" issue. People are going to choose their sexual orientation whether or not there is a law allowing them to marry whomever they choose. Legalizing gay marriage will NOT have a significant impact on our society. Will that somehow turn everyone gay, thereby stopping procreation permanently? That seems to be your argument.

If you ask me, there should be MORE gay people. If everyone keeps having babies, there won't be any room left to stand on this planet. It's called population control.

k2aggie07 said...

For one, every mroal decision our society makes goes into the matrix of societal survival. There are no trivial moral decisions. Its why the whole cloning / embroynic stem cell / abortion debate is so hard for us, and so important. We have yet to come to a moral agreement or average answer to these questions, so everyone is kind of floating around in limbo.

However, this is not the case for homosexual marriage. Since time immemorial this has been frowned upon in western societies. Society has dictated that this is not something that is to be tolerated, much less lauded.

There is more to societal survival than plain procreation. The Romans fell because of multiple things, and a degredation of their cultural identity was one of them.

Secondly...there's plenty of room left on this planet. You could fit the whole world's population into Texas and the population density would still be less than that of New York. The world actually overproduces food according to the UN. The whole population control myth is pretty popular, but also fairly unsubstantiated.

Matt said...

Overpopulation doesn't have everything to do with being "overcrowded". It is more about sustainability. Sure, the world produces more food than is needed. But according to Edward O Wilson, my favorite biologist, if everyone currently on the planet consumed as much as the average american citizen it would take more than 4 planet earths to sustain that kind of consumption.

Population has gone from 1 billion people to 6 billion in ONE CENTURY. By all estimates, there will be 14 billion on the planet by 2050. I know I've said this over and over again, but it's an extremely important concept.

That's neither here nor there. This is a debate on the morality of homosexuality. I'm at work, so I'll post an actual rebuttal later today. (already got caught not working many times yesterday)

Matt said...

Okay, so I like to get to the bottom of every argument. Legislating morality is the key issue here. In order for there to be an ammendment in the constitution banning the marriage of two people of the same sex, it has to be proven that this is a "bad" thing. You say it's a bad thing because historically, it has always been frowned upon. You could please explain to me, in your own words, why it should be illegal. Your post does nothing to logically, reasonably argue against legal gay-marriage. Only that its always been that way. You cons always preach about the way things have always been, about the moral decay of society and all that nonsense. The governments role should be in granting freedoms to it's citizenry, not taking freedoms away. Your ammendment would be the first in our history to prohibit a freedom that hasn't been proven to harm anyone.

Where this debate is really headed is the classic, "born gay" or "chose to be gay" argument. I know some people who are gay, and it's impossible for me to believe that they "chose" that direction in their life. These are people with no history of abuse, who led perfectly normal lives, besides the fact that they are different in their sexual orientation. Who would ever "choose" to be gay? If we're all born straight, what would make a person choose to go against their own biological impulses?

k2aggie07 said...

Mmm, then it gets to the meat of the debate. Government doesn't exist to grant freedom to its people; thats silly. People with no government at all are inherently and utterly free. Government exists to limit individual freedom for the good of the group. In fact, one could say that the sole purpose of government is to limit freedoms.

Since the working definition of morality here is a scientific one (as opposed to religious) I'll go with a moral / ethical test for homosexuality. This particular one is called the "self-defeating" test. A simple way to define this is to pose this question: if everyone does (blank), would it still be possible to do (blank)?

Murder -- immoral, fails the self defeating test. Theft. Adultery (to some extent). So on and so forth. Interestingly, "good" things pass. Can everyone continue to be loving if everyone is loving? Or can everyone be charitable to one another if everyone else is? Of course.

Homosexuality is self-defeating in society, and therefore immoral on a societal level. If everyone was homosexual, society would cease to exist. Therefore, society should not condone, endorse, or encourage it. Notice, however, that I am not suggesting that the government ban homosexuality. I believe strongly that that which does not hurt your fellow man is none of your daggum business. Homosexuality, to me, falls into those confines. I am merely saying that a continuation of the status quo -- with additional safeguards against upset -- should be the course.

There are no states which recognize homosexual marriages. I just want it to stay that way.

As far as homosexuality being a choice, I don't really think of it as a rational choice, similar to "what shall I eat tonight, beef or chicken?". I do believe that societal messages can influence young, impressionable minds, and herd them into making life-changing decisions to such an extent that they cannot un-choose their sexual identity. In a similar example, a poorly behaved or undisciplined child will be unlikely to overcome or outperform a child with a solid upbringing.

I think society needs to put its foot down about what we are and are not going to tolerate as "normal". Saying homosexual civil unions are equivalent to marriage is condoning by tacit approval. I am willing to say no, this is not normal. They can do whatever in their bedrooms, but I refuse to give them my approval.

Matt said...

I also wanted to comment on your claim that the roman empire's societal values degraded, thereby contributing to it's own destruction. Take a closer look at your history book, I doubt that it says ANYWHERE that the "moral decay" of that society had anything to do with it imploding in on itself in the end.

k2aggie07 said...

Should check out Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1787). He specificly points to cultural and moral decay as a reason for the decline.

In the book When Nations Die, Jim Nelson Black lists three aspects of decay: social decay, cultural decay, and moral decay. Three trends demonstrate social decay. They are "the crisis of lawlessness," the "loss of economic discipline," and "rising bureaucracy."

History provides many illustrations of the just these phenomena, a few exampbles being ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt.

Four important trends demonstrate cultural decay. They are the "decline of education," the "weakening of cultural foundations," the "loss of respect for tradition," and the "increase in materialism."

In his study The Civilization of Rome, Donald Dudley says that no single cause, by itself, would have brought the empire to its knees. Instead, the fall came through "a number of weaknesses in Roman society; their effects may be variously estimated, but in combination they must have been largely responsible for the collapse."


Even Wikipedia talks about the impact of cultural decay on the fall of Rome.

Heres yet another example of cultural, social and religious decay. To be sure, economics and governmental failures had a hand in it as well, but for the most part Romans lost their identity as Romans. Citizenship became less valued, and the empire suffered.

I'm not sure what history book you read, but you should definitely find a replacement.