Monday, August 31, 2015

Don't Say "Illegal Alien," "Male," or "Female" in Class

Here.  Either that or don't study the ancient discipline (which, of course, students have for thousands of years), "Women and Popular Culture."

On the phrases "illegal alien" and "undocumented worker" read this.

Church Sign in Town

Is this a regular occurrence?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Zis is What the World is Coming To

Read about it zhere.

Oh, and by ze way, zis is one of ze reasons college costs zo much.  We're paying people like zis.

"[W]e should be rid of the last vestiges of Goldsteinism when the language has been cleaned."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

An Argument that Having More Kids is an Obligation

Torbjorn Tannsjo has an interesting, short article arguing that people should have a lot more children.  Apparently, Tannsjo was asked by Vox to write the article.  But then some editors kicked it aside because they thought readers might take his argument to imply that abortions should be reduced, and Vox, I guess, doesn't do anything anti-abortion.  (Nice one, Vox.)  Anyhow, though I disagree in part, it's a neat little essay.

Finding Oneself in the Other

Chapter 5 in this book is Complete Bullshit!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Gay Rights and the Race Analogy

Here is a very good piece by John Corvino (who, for what it's worth, is gay and a leading intellectual regarding things homosexual). Excerpt:

Consider a very different case: Suppose I’m a photographer who can’t stand children. You want me to take pictures at your child’s birthday party — there will be games and clowns and other things I find annoying — and I decline.
No serious person would suggest that the law ought to penalize me for age discrimination — but why? Before answering, consider two more cases:
Case 2: I’m a photographer who disapproves of homosexuality; the mere thought makes me uncomfortable. You try to hire me for your lesbian wedding; I decline.
Case 3: I’m a photographer who disapproves of miscegenation; the mere thought makes me uncomfortable. You try to hire me for your interracial wedding; I decline.
Now, is the lesbian wedding case more like the birthday party case or the interracial wedding case?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Left, Sexual Norms, and the Military

Don't be fooled.  The goal of the left is not to make our military stronger--as if it were not the best and most powerful in the world already (if anything, the left would like to see it taken down a peg or fifty).  The goal is to push forward the opposite of all traditional values, plain and simple.  It is to flip on its face every traditional norm.  This is particularly the case when it comes to sexuality and gender, the summos bonos in the progressive movement.

Sexual and gender autonomy drive almost everything.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Blog Update

I have numerous irons in the blog fire yet to be published.  As August seems to be a slow month for both reading and writing, I have let the blog go.  But I plan to do more blogging in the the next few months.

For me, it helps to collect and record my thoughts in small, unpublishable chunks.  It also keeps me more alert to what is going on in the world.  Even if no one were reading, I think I would still do it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Homosex, Slavery, and Self-Ownership: A Dilemma

On the traditional view, Christianity stood out from pagan Rome (in part) because Christians held that sex outside of a one man, one woman marriage was sinful.  In fact sexual sins seem to be of the mortal variety: If persisted in, the unhinged power of sexuality leads to the spiritual death of one's very soul.

But the traditional view has currently fallen on hard times (at least in the West.)  Christians who promote gay marriage typically think that there is nothing morally problematic with homosex.  If pressed, they will admit that on the best historical evidence, the early church believed that homosex was immoral.  Still, those Christians were not in the same (enlightened) position that we are today.  They didn't know that homosexuality was biologically determined (it's not, but let's play along).  They hadn't considered the possibility of two loving homosexuals being in a committed and exclusive relationship (ancient writers before them certainly had, but let's run with it).  And so forth.

And now to the point of this post. Just consider the New Testament view on slavery, they say.  Nothing in the Bible seems to forbid slavery.  Moreover it seems as if, even though the basic trajectory of the Bible is moving towards the abolition of slavery, at the time it was written, it was condoned.  Yet of course we know today that slavery is wrong.  In fact, slavery is intrinsically wrong.  We are privileged today in a way that those in antiquity were not.  (An unsympathetic reader, following a line from C.S. Lewis, might call our new-found vantage point "chronological snobbery;" a more sympathetic reader drawing on its Caucasian cousin might call our viewpoint, "Western Privilege.")

So one thesis of Christians who liken the homosexual sex issue to slavery is that slavery is intrinsically wrong.  Let this be Thesis #1.

But it is not enough to note that slavery is intrinsically wrong to show that there is good reason for thinking that homosex is permissible and all things considered, good.  Why, then, do Christians who promote gay marriage think that homosex is morally permissible (and even morally good and praiseworthy)?  Why not think that slavery is wrong but homosex (adultery, incest, etc.) is as well? 

One of the primary defenses one comes across also involves a plank quite common in a defense of abortion: Just as women have a right to do what they want with their own bodies, so too do all people have a right to do what they want with their bodies.  Now, of course, a sensible person holding such a view will soon note that there are restrictions on what one can do with one's body.  It's not permissible that I grab an axe with my hand and whack you over the head with it, and so on, and so forth.  In fact, since most (if not everything) we do is something we do with our bodies, in order to have some normative bite, we need to supplement the account with a deeper principle which explains the general intuition that one can do what one wants, more or less, with one's body.

How might such an account proceed?  Here is one avenue: The reason one can do what one wants more or less with one's own body is because one owns one's body just as one owns oneself.  The reason I cannot whack you over the head with an axe is because you own your head and your neck.  The reason you cannot slip me drugs in my drink is because I own my body and have not consented to drugs being in my drink and then in my body.

Let this be Thesis #2: The reason why (e.g.) it is wrong for you to harm me is because I own my body and have not consented to harm.  The reason why (e.g.) it is permissible to have homosexual sex is because two (or more) people own their bodies and have consented to homosexual sex.

Now we have the makings for a dilemma.  On the one hand, it is held (by some Christians currently under consideration) that slavery is intrinsically wrong--that is, there are no circumstances in which it is permissible.  On the other hand, homosexual sex and all sexual activities are permissible if they are between two people who own their bodies and who have consented to such activity.

But the problem with this view is that, if the self-ownership thesis were correct, slavery would not be intrinsically wrong.  For as Robert Nozick infamously (or famously) argues, if one owns one's body, then one can voluntarily consent to being a slave.  If I own my body--and there is nothing more to my rights with respect to my body beyond my ownership of it--I can legitimately sell myself into slavery.  I can give you the right to own me.  And if I voluntarily give you the right to own me, then it is not impermissible that I am your slave.  This, of course, is not to deny that slavery is wrong for other reasons, especially in cases where one does not sell oneself into slavery (which obviously would be most if not all cases). 

But if one thinks that the self-ownership thesis undergirds why slavery is wrong, then slavery is not intrinsically wrong. 

So either the self-ownership thesis must go if slavery is thought to be intrinsically wrong, or the defense of sexual acts which relies on the self-ownership thesis must go (or both).  If the self-ownership thesis is rejected, we need another account of why it's permissible for any two consenting individuals (gay, brother-sister, etc.) to engage in sex.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Parable of the 100 Actions Man

A Contemporary Parable:

There was once a man who had no ultimate purpose (or so he thought).  His life was not ordered towards some single concrete end, and he found himself living moment to moment, fancy to fancy.  But there was little fulfillment in this, and the man regretted that there were many ill spent days.  To make matters worse, he found himself feeling as if he were held accountable by the beliefs of others who thought his daily activities hardly justifiable.

So one day, he created for himself a rule. 

No longer would he spend a single day in leisure, lazily lounging beside the pool.  No. Every day would be a day of action.  To be precise, every day would include exactly 100 actions--no more, no less.  He would become--he would be--the 100 Actions Man.  At the end of every day he would then be able to take stock of his life and see that he had performed 100 actions.

He would begin each day by having sex.  He was consumed by it.  Lucky for him, so was his partner.  At the beginning of his transformation he decided that he would take stock of every action in the sexual process.  First there was the foreplay (1 action).  Then there was the putting on of the condom (a 2nd action).  Then there was the third, the fourth....the thirtieth.  He soon realized, though, that this sort of counting did not allow for many more meaningful actions in the day.  So he thereby counted all the individual acts as one act--sex.

He ate three square meals a day (3 actions).  He took a nap (1 action, but some days he counted the daydreaming, hypnogogic state before he snoozed; on very slow days he counted euphoric hypnopompia to boot).

The man had found himself "with money"--an inheritance of sorts.  He was not, in the eyes of salt and earth, a "working man."  Nonetheless he was thereby free to engage in various occupations unhindered by the vulgar laws of supply and demand--at least to an extent.  He picked the philanthropic life honored by his well-to-do peers.

For reasons only privy to him, he chose to work at a homeless shelter for most of the day--pro bono. (But it was not merely a homeless shelter).   His day consisted in talking with the homeless (who were mostly very old, tended to be black and Hispanic, and poor.)  Often he would provide counsel.  His counseling did not begin with a single concrete end (he had none), but was means oriented--that is, given the various ends of his patients, he helped direct them to an efficient means.  When the means was towards one of their ends and one of his, he tended to direct them to that means.  (For instance, if their end was to some day buy a house, and his end was to be rid of them because they happened to be annoying, he'd pursue the best means to make that happen as swiftly as practically possible with the fewest headaches).

Much of his day was spent doing "the undesirable task"--which the shelter referred to as "The Cleaning."  The Cleaning involved changing bed pans, mopping up "spilled trays," changing the sheets, the wiping of bed sores, and so forth (4 actions instead of 1).  Some of the day consisted of drawing blood, taking the blood to the in-house clinic to be screened for diseases, providing sleeping pills, and generally making sure that the patients were, what the clinic referred to as "clean."

But that is not all.

Some of the patients were given the clinical, medical classification of "unwanted."  Who counted as one of the unwanted was difficult to tell.  Often they had no family who could potentially support them.  At any rate, at bottom, they were thought by none involved to have any intrinsic value.

Three actions at the end of every day were reserved for the unwanted.  The 100 action man, at the conclusion of each day, sought out the least desirable of the unwanted, stabbed all three of them repeatedly, dismembered them, and then sold their parts to what the medical community referred to as "research facilities for the betterment of the New World Order."

Question #1:
Would you recommend sending "the man" to jail?  Alternatively, would you force people to subsidize "the man's" income?

Question #2:
Now what do you think about these three actions out of one hundred...