Monday, November 19, 2007

Gay Logic Revisited: A Conversation with Nevin

Again, our dialogue continues …

The following post is a reply to Nevin’s recent lengthy comment. His comment rehashed arguments frequently presented by gay activists.

Nevin wrote: “Your argument previously was, if i may summarize, that since the argument for repeal was based upon private consensual acts that did not cause harm, then homosexuals should likewise argue for the repeal of incest and polygamy laws for consistency. Here you are putting up a straw man by stretching the argument to an absurd conclusion. One could similarly argue that the flip side of this argument is that ALL acts which cause harm should be prohibited. This would justify making alcohol, cigarettes or fast food illegal on the basis that they can cause harm.”

I did not furnish any straw man; in fact, your allegation of a straw man is in itself a straw man. Your argument (the premises of “gay logic”) is:

A: Private consensual sexual acts that do not cause harm should be decriminalized
B: Homosexual sodomy is a private consensual sexual act that does not cause harm

Therefore, homosexual sodomy should be decriminalized.

Assuming the veracity of the premises, this is a valid form of logic called modus ponens (based upon your own premises). Therefore, incest, polygamy, and polyandry all apply according to your major and minor premises (“gay logic”).

In your “flipside” example, you are committing a classic fallacy in basic logic called “denying the antecedent.” For instance, a similar example would be, “If you give a man a gun, he may kill someone. If he has no gun, then he will not kill anyone.” Obviously, even if he has no gun, it doesn’t mean that he will not kill anyone. In contrast, modus tollens is a valid form.

If you think the consequent is absurd, perhaps you should rethink your premises (i.e. gay logic). Do you know what is reductio ad absurdum in basic logic?

Nevin wrote: “It is possible to stretch a sound position by stretching it to absurd lengths. That does not however, undermine the value of the principle. And the general principle at criminal law that a person's liberty should not be restricted unless there is harm, or what John Stuart Mills would term the 'harm principle', remains a sound foundation of criminal law.”

If a position is sound, it will not succumb to reductio ad absurdum.

Mill’s (it’s Mill, not Mills) “harm principle” cannot be divorced from his utilitarianism or the “greatest happiness principle.” Based upon Mill’s concept of harm, your minor premise is already faulty. Is it really true that homosexual sodomy doesn’t cause harm – both tangible and intangible? HIV statistics in many countries are suggestive, but we do not even require such evidence for our purpose here.

Just look at the amount of “unhappiness” and societal rifts the LGBT activists have caused to innumerable nations worldwide (e.g. UK, US etc). Arguably, the LGBT agenda and it’s push for the decriminalization of homosexual sodomy in Singapore has already caused immeasurable harm and anguish, not mentioning the erosion of our social fabric. So according to Mill’s “harm” and “greatest happiness principle,” the LGBT agenda has failed on both counts. Happiness? Yes, but only for the minority of sexual paraphiliacs.

Nevin wrote: “If one were to use the morality argument against homosexuality, one could similarly argue that there is a need to support the criminalization of heterosexual sodomy (the old 377), abortion or adultery on the basis of morality. Again, these would be untenable in a modern age.”

Controversial issues such as abortion and adultery are truly separate issues, and are based upon other premises. In fact, society has always been divided on these issues, so there is no general consensus as such. Untenable? Why not?

Nevin wrote: “When i wrote of 'social norms' being not immutable, perhaps i was imprecise in my terminology. I would rephrase this as morality being not immutable. People's conception of what is wrong or right is not necessarily fixed. This would probably come across as a completely relativist position and you bring up the issue that "if each community is right according to their moral view, then there is no way to solve conflicts between communities and nations." And herein lies the role of the law to regulate the differing viewpoints in society.”

Here is a question for you to ponder on: Upon what basis of morality should the law be based upon? Even Mill’s principle of harm is an ethical and moral principle. So is Mill’s harm principle relatively correct, or is it absolutely correct?

All in all, you have not even begun to address the problems of moral relativism which were raised in my previous post.

Nevin wrote: “Insofar as we can both agree that the law should be slow to interfere in private acts of its citizens (in your case, you emphasize the fact that the law can sometimes intervene), the question here is what is the threshold that is set whereby the law can and should intrude into the private sphere. And here i submit that the opposition stems largely from disgust or unease at other people's private acts. Or it might stem from conservatively held convictions that such an act is unnatural. But beyond this psychological unease, there is no compelling reason to criminalize it. And here one must separate criminalization from promoting homosexuality. Just as society frowns on adultery or to a lesser extent smoking, it does not seek to make smokers or adulterers criminals.”

Wrong. The “opposition” had raised a very serious concern: the legislation of morality. The fundamental question in this debate is, “Should morality be legislated?” If so, what constitutes this “morality?”

Nevin wrote: “And from this relativistic starting point, this does not mean the law cannot proscribe anything. Here, John Rawls' conception of an "overlapping consensus" model can be applied. At risk of oversimplifying the model, the basic idea is that even among people with differences, there is an overlapping area of consensus. Murder would be an example of something which falls within this overlapping consensus and thus provide whereas 377A might not.”

In the area of homosexual sodomy, we have arrived at an “overlapping consensus” – using Rawls' concept of justice – and that is the retention of S377a as described by PM Lee. This retention is what the people of Singapore are happy with, while at the same time we are not actively prosecuting private consensual sodomy.

Just a note: I do not (necessarily) agree with Rawls or Mill on these areas. I am simply using your own position as a basis for discussion here.

Nevin wrote: “You also add that "we must ultimately seek that which is right (i.e. the truth, or the universal moral law, or the natural law, or that which is right in itself). Murder cannot be both right and wrong.". Taking a more relativist position, i would not agree that there is always a correct or right position. And for the example of when murder can be both right and wrong, i would refer you to the case of Re A (children) (conjoined twins: surgical separation). [2000] 4 All England Reports 985. I'm sure a google search will quickly acquaint you with the facts of the case, but to quickly summarise, this involved a pair of conjoined twins, and it was necessary to separate the twins so that the stronger twin "Jodie" would survive. Separation would however, kill the weaker twin. A case where murder could be both right and wrong.”

Nevin, you are obviously confused with the term “murder.” For example, does murder include the killing of another human during self-defense? Is murder therapeutic surgery with death as a probable consequence? Murder is loosely defined as the unlawful premeditated killing of another human being, and it is always wrong. So it is here where we part ways. Moral relativism is seriously flawed.

Nevin wrote: “The one point i do agree with you is the “is-ought” fallacy. As you say it so eloquently: "Just because something is the practice does not mean it ought to be. It is the case that people are cruel at times; they hate and kill. This in no way means that ought to be the case." But cruelty need not be physical. There is also the insidious blade of discrimination, of bias and of intolerance. Just because we criminalize people on the basis of their sexuality in no way means that ought to be the case.”

Just because the LGBT agenda aggressively demands the decriminalization of homosexual sodomy all over the world does not mean that ought to be the case. The ultimate instrument of societal cruelty, bias, and intolerance is the cruel, biased and intolerant LGBT agenda that seeks to destroy society’s moral and social fabric. It begins with the insidious demand for the decriminalization of immoral and perverse acts within a nation. As a gullible society capitulates to such demands, the LGBT agenda will continue to march forward in its rape of the nation’s conservative family values, education system, and freedom of speech. It will irrevocably institute the definitive instrument of cruelty, bias, and intolerance: hate crime laws and the obliteration of free speech against sodomy and homosexuality.

We do not want any part of your agenda in this nation, Nevin.

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