Monday, January 28, 2008

Conservative vs. Liberal Morality, or Why Conservatives Just Don't Care

From opposing HPV vaccines because it "might encourage" sex to opposing lifesaving overdose-reversal medication because it "might encourage" drug use, social conservatives frequently take stances that liberals find baffling, if not downright evil.

These guys might be able to explain conservatives' behavior:
Moral Foundations Theory proposes that five innate psychological systems form the foundation of “intuitive ethics.” Each culture constructs its particular morality as a set of virtues, values, and ideas based on or related to these five foundations (as well as to many other non-moral aspects of the evolved mind). The current American culture war can be seen as arising from the fact that liberals try to create a morality relying almost exclusively on the Harm/Care and Fairness/Reciprocity foundations; conservatives, especially religious conservatives, use all five foundations, including Ingroup/Loyalty, Authority/Respect, and Purity/Sanctity. In every sample we have examined (including samples in the US, UK and Western Europe), political conservatism correlates negatively with endorsement of the Harm and Fairness foundations, and positively with endorsement of the Ingroup, Authority, and Purity foundations.


Maybe I'm just a hopeless liberal atheist, but Harm/Care and Fairness/Reciprocity appear to be legitimate moral values while Authority/Respect and Purity/Sanctity are just a bunch of nonsense. Ingroup/Loyalty is good in some circumstances, but is probably also at the root of most evil that goes on in the world.

What good is Authority/Respect? Is "I was only following orders" really a moral justification? Following authority is moral when the authority figure commands moral action and immoral otherwise.

Do I even need to point out how dangerous Ingroup/Loyalty is? It's nice to watch out for your siblings and countrymen, but there's nothing moral about, e.g., going to war for your side when your side is in the wrong.

As for Purity/Sanctity, how is that a moral issue? Oh, she had premarital sex, therefore she's immoral? She's on her period, so it's immoral for her husband to touch her?

Obviously, this is an over-generalization, but this confirms my intuition about the American culture wars. One side cares more about people; the other about abstractions like Authority, Loyalty, and Purity. In my book, any time you support a policy that leads to more deaths, more harm, or more unfairness for some intangible reason, you're probably doing the wrong thing.

This divide is quite clear even within religion. Conservative religious groups worry about following rules (authority) and being holy (purity) while the liberal ones focus on charity (care) and social justice (fairness.)

84 comments:

Jewish Atheist said...

To comment on my own post:

I think this explains the divide on gay rights issues perfectly. Moral liberals are concerned about caring and fairness, while conservatives are worried about purity (homosexuality is gross/unnatural) and authority (it's against God's law.)

Holy Hyrax said...

>This divide is quite clear even within religion. Conservative religious groups worry about following rules (authority) and being holy (purity) while the liberal ones focus on charity (care) and social justice (fairness.)

Putting aside the purity part, this is silly. A person needs to be all of what you listed. He needs to be able to follow rules (As if Liberal groups don't fancy rules just as much as Conservatives for their agendas) and charitable.

BTW- Social justice has nothing to do with fairness.

Jewish Atheist said...

As if Liberal groups don't fancy rules just as much as Conservatives for their agendas

What rules do liberal groups have?

BTW- Social justice has nothing to do with fairness.

How do you mean? Here's wikipedia:

Social justice refers to the concept of a society in which justice is achieved in every aspect of society, rather than merely the administration of law... It is generally thought of as a world which affords individuals and groups fair treatment and an impartial share of the benefits of society.

Emphasis mine. I know that wikipedia isn't an authoritative force, but that pretty much encapsulates what I think of as social justice and what the religious liberals I know seem to mean by the term.

Have you heard it used differently?

Holy Hyrax said...

Well what do you mean by rules? We all live by rules right?

Whats fair to me may not be fair to someone else. Its not an issue of social justice where you are being discriminated against something that I can't get. Its not social justice that won't let people smoke on the sidewalks in cities like Calabasas, CA.

Ezzie said...

WADR, what a bunch of crap. :)

Jewish Atheist said...

Well what do you mean by rules? We all live by rules right?

None of these are all or nothing, obviously. It's not like liberals are always disloyal or conservatives are wholly callous. But conservatives are vastly more concerned with rules than liberals and liberals are vastly more concerned about caring than conservatives. Take illegal immigrants. Leaving aside rational arguments on both sides, conservatives tend to fixate on "oh my God!! they're breaking the law!!" and liberals fixate on "oh how sad that they're so desperate!! we need to help these people!!"

Whats fair to me may not be fair to someone else.

Sure, we can disagree on what's fair, but the point is that, all things being equal, liberals care more about fairness however it's defined than conservatives. Look at it this way: if a rule is unfair, a conservative will be bothered by those who break the rule while liberals will be bothered by the rule.

Its not an issue of social justice where you are being discriminated against something that I can't get.

Huh?

Its not social justice that won't let people smoke on the sidewalks in cities like Calabasas, CA.

No idea what you're talking about here. If you are arguing that the anti-smoking stuff is a liberal issue, I'll point out that even if they're misguided, they're doing it because they *care* not because of social justice. Whereas when conservatives oppose drugs, they tend to do it because they think it's *wrong* (i.e. impure) rather than because they're harmful.

Jewish Atheist said...

Ezzie:

Do you disagree with the concept that liberals and conservatives have different moral focuses or just on what those focuses are?

CyberKitten said...

JA said: In my book, any time you support a policy that leads to more deaths, more harm, or more unfairness for some intangible reason, you're probably doing the wrong thing.

Yup. Pretty much.

Scott said...

I don't know how you can make the case that "Conservative religious groups" don't focus on charity (care) if you actually look at the facts of how much money they give. That's not a defense for the Religious Right, because quite frankly I despise them, but factually speaking I think it's an incorrect assertion. But maybe that's not the point you were trying to make. It's hard to tell when you are using vague terms like "liberal" and "conservative".

In fact, if you are talking about the American use of the words where "liberal" means democratic socialist or progressive than I'd say the exact opposite is true in that most liberals disdain charity and prefer the violently coercive and monopolistic style of government force over "care" when it comes to dealing with scarcity.

Holy Hyrax said...

So basically you are saying liberals tend to use their emotions more often?

Ezzie said...

It's stupid. You're arguing that conservatives don't care about care/fairness and liberals do? How asinine is that?

More likely, it's that while all care about the care/fairness, conservatives ALSO care about authority and "purity". Liberals think with emotion not tempered by much, as HH was getting at, because what else is there? It's the old "oh, poor man, let's help him" - without thinking about many of the other factors that go into that.

I've always argued that the best response to most liberal ideas is "okay, that's a great idea, but where are you getting the money for it"? And usually the answer is "well, let's take it from the rich", because there's simply no fair way of doing it. That this goes against that "social justice" that was started with seems to go over their heads.

Jewish Atheist said...

Scott:

Good point about charity, although to be fair, most religions have rules about giving a lot of charity, too.

In fact, if you are talking about the American use of the words where "liberal" means democratic socialist or progressive than I'd say the exact opposite is true in that most liberals disdain charity and prefer the violently coercive and monopolistic style of government force over "care" when it comes to dealing with scarcity.

What's at issue here is not whether you agree with their actions, but what their motives are. However you feel about the liberal drive to use government to help the needy, it's hard to deny that they aren't doing so because they care. Just look at the two parties' primary issues -- the Republicans care most about the war (ingroup) and illegal immigration (loyalty) while the Democrats care most about ending the war (caring) and universal health coverage (also caring.)


HH:

So basically you are saying liberals tend to use their emotions more often?

Well, they use their empathy and sympathy more often, sure.


Ezzie:

It's stupid. You're arguing that conservatives don't care about care/fairness and liberals do? How asinine is that?

Again, it's a question of degree.

More likely, it's that while all care about the care/fairness, conservatives ALSO care about authority and "purity".

The article I linked to said otherwise, but okay.

Liberals think with emotion not tempered by much, as HH was getting at, because what else is there?

And conservatives think with whatever collection of prejudices they inherited from their religion or evolution? How is that better?

I've always argued that the best response to most liberal ideas is "okay, that's a great idea, but where are you getting the money for it"?

Like they never thought about that? Obama, for example, has explained that the money for his health care plan will come from rolling back the tax cuts and cutting waste from the health care system. Niggle about the details, but don't act like it's never even occurred to the Dems how to pay for things. That charge would be much more appropriately leveled at the Republicans, who spend and spend and never pay for anything.

And usually the answer is "well, let's take it from the rich", because there's simply no fair way of doing it. That this goes against that "social justice" that was started with seems to go over their heads.

Ah. But liberals think that is fair. You may disagree with them, but unless you're arguing that liberals think progressive taxation is unfair, you don't have an argument here.

Jewish Atheist said...

One more thing, Ezzie. It's not fair to compare yourself to irrational liberals. You have to compare irrational conservatives to irrational liberals or rational conservatives to rational liberals. Unless you're arguing that liberals tend to be less rational than conservatives, in which case GAH!

Holy Hyrax said...

>Well, they use their empathy and sympathy more often, sure.

You're probably right. I think they actually use emotions more often when perhaps reason should be used.


>Take illegal immigrants. Leaving aside rational arguments on both sides, conservatives tend to fixate on "oh my God!! they're breaking the law!!" and liberals fixate on "oh how sad that they're so desperate!! we need to help these people!!"

LOL. No no no, what you mean, is: Leaving aside the rational arguments and focusing on the emotional side of the left.

Of course, you are still neglecting that liberals scream: Oh my God, they're breaking the law! just as much when it is something they hold to be important.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Just look at the two parties' primary issues -- the Republicans care most about the war (ingroup) and illegal immigration (loyalty) while the Democrats care most about ending the war (caring) and universal health coverage (also caring.)

Oh my F#@king God. You are something else. Have you even considered that those that are for the war DO care. They care about a world NOT being in the hands of fanatic muslims. That perhaps war at this time is needed to spare the world of something far worse in the future. And don't get into whether this is actually happening. I am only talking about their motivations behind it.

It's those same "caring" leftists that often equate Israel with the terrorists. That killing, no matter what, is wrong

Jewish Atheist said...

LOL. No no no, what you mean, is: Leaving aside the rational arguments and focusing on the emotional side of the left.

I thought it would be bad form to refer to the emotional side of the right on that issue: "OMG! The browns are taking over our country!!" (ingroup, purity.)

Of course, you are still neglecting that liberals scream: Oh my God, they're breaking the law! just as much when it is something they hold to be important.

I'm not talking about actual screaming, but the inner motives. Liberals according to this theory oppose torture because they think it's wrong (caring) not because it's illegal (laws.) They scream about the law because they think that will work better than screaming "we care about accused terrorists!"

Oh my F#@king God. You are something else. Have you even considered that those that are for the war DO care. They care about a world NOT being in the hands of fanatic muslims.

Do they care about Iraqi civilians? Do they respect principled anti-war people? No, I think it's about ingroup more than about caring.

It's those same "caring" leftists that often equate Israel with the terrorists. That killing, no matter what, is wrong

Which same? I'm a caring liberal and I don't equate Israel with the terrorists.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"liberals try to create a morality relying almost exclusively on the Harm/Care and Fairness/Reciprocity foundations; conservatives, especially religious conservatives, use all five foundations, including Ingroup/Loyalty, Authority/Respect, and Purity/Sanctity."

So liberals are not patriots, have no respect for and base no authority on the law, the Constitution, or the views of the founding fathers and have no sense of public decency?

Rather than an insult against conservatives, I'd say this is wildy offensive against liberals.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I'm not talking about actual screaming, but the inner motives. Liberals according to this theory oppose torture because they think it's wrong (caring) not because it's illegal (laws.) They scream about the law because they think that will work better than screaming "we care about accused terrorists!"

So then the conservatives do the same thing. They can scream about the illegality of immigrants (law), because they care for the nature of the country, the economy, the crime etc. (caring). As for your torture example, Conservatives might scream torture is right (caring) even if it might be illegal (law) because in times of war, it might spare the lives of millions (caring).

>Do they care about Iraqi civilians? Do they respect principled anti-war people? No, I think it's about ingroup more than about caring.

LOL, Do anti-war people respect pro war people?
I'm sure many do not care about iraqi civilians as I am sure most did not care about german civilians. The caring comes from an understanding that if something is not done, there could be a greater disaster in the future compared to the amount of lives being lost today.

>Which same? I'm a caring liberal and I don't equate Israel with the terrorists.

I don't think you need to pretend you do not know what I am talking about. The caring left draws many in their support that equote Israel as a genocidal nation. Now you can call that the fringe (which they are), but how can a caring bunch of people eventually get to such a degree of moral backwardness.

Jewish Atheist said...

Liberal patriots are patriotic because they we believe in our country, not because it happens to be our country. If our country suddenly turned into Nazi Germany, we'd quickly find ourselves on the other side. So we're patriotic not out of feelings of ingroup, but out of caring, etc.

We have respect for laws in that a world without laws would quickly result in great harm. On the other hand, disobeying laws we believe are immoral (i.e. civil disobedience) is a long liberal tradition.

"Public decency?" We just define decency differently. Whereas conservatives tend to look at it as a purity issue, we tend to look at it as a harm issue. No harm, no foul.

Take the example of Janet Jackson's nipple. The right freaked out because female nipples are impure outside of marriage, etc. The left reacted according to how harmful they thought it was for children to see a nipple.

Any issue can be rationalized to stem from any other motive, so we'll never be able to prove any of this stuff. As above, do conservatives give because they care, or because they are supposed to? Only they know. Are liberals against the war because they care about the casualties on both sides, or because we are disloyal? Only we know.

Jewish Atheist said...

So then the conservatives do the same thing. They can scream about the illegality of immigrants (law), because they care for the nature of the country, the economy, the crime etc. (caring).

It could be, but my impression is that it's more about the law and/or ingroup loyalty.

As for your torture example, Conservatives might scream torture is right (caring) even if it might be illegal (law) because in times of war, it might spare the lives of millions (caring).

They torture because they care? LOL. I mean I see what you're saying, and I'm sure that's even true of many people.

LOL, Do anti-war people respect pro war people?

I think the hatred from the pro- to the anti- side runs deeper. Many righties still LOATHE Jane Fonda. There's no equivalent to her for the left.

I'm sure many do not care about iraqi civilians as I am sure most did not care about german civilians. The caring comes from an understanding that if something is not done, there could be a greater disaster in the future compared to the amount of lives being lost today.

So it's a cool, rational position? Was the same logic used by those who wanted to "turn the middle east into a parking lot" after 9-11?

I don't think you need to pretend you do not know what I am talking about. The caring left draws many in their support that equote Israel as a genocidal nation. Now you can call that the fringe (which they are), but how can a caring bunch of people eventually get to such a degree of moral backwardness.

Again, whether they come to the right conclusions is a separate topic. The reason those on the left who do oppose Israel do so because they *care* about the Palestinians whom they *believe* have been and are being gravely wronged.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

I would argue that loyalty, respect for authority and purity concerns could all be worked into arrangements about harm and fairness.

For example, is promiscuity wrong? Perhaps not in itself, but laxity regarding it produces a society of weak families and unwed mothers. Purity is the proximate ideal, but harm is the subsequent avoidance.

Likewise, if you don't show proper respect to positions of authority - like one's parents, or the principal of one's school, or even the president - then it lessens their ability to lead and the whole construct is weakened, thus leaving the door open to all sorts of negative influences.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Take the example of Janet Jackson's nipple. The right freaked out because female nipples are impure outside of marriage, etc. The left reacted according to how harmful they thought it was for children to see a nipple.

My friend, don't paint the right to be all the same. I have never heard one complaint from the right that the reason was any different than what the left had for the children. Though I find it a bit funny that you say this. Cause when the right says something is harmful for children (sex ed. billboards, gay parades [I am not anti gay] etc. ),those on the left look down on them as being old fashioned and not "open"

Holy Hyrax said...

>They torture because they care? LOL. I mean I see what you're saying, and I'm sure that's even true of many people.

Yes, what is your objection???

>Many righties still LOATHE Jane Fonda. There's no equivalent to her for the left.

They loathe her for going to the camp of the vietcong, the enemy. In other words, that is what is called a traitor. Its not simply being anti war. That is already going overboard. And ofcourse there is equivilant in the left. To the anti war, the pro-war are a bunch of imperialist, racist, hitlers. They murder innocent children for oil and nothing but oil

>So it's a cool, rational position? Was the same logic used by those who wanted to "turn the middle east into a parking lot" after 9-11?

huh?

>Again, whether they come to the right conclusions is a separate topic. The reason those on the left who do oppose Israel do so because they *care* about the Palestinians whom they *believe* have been and are being gravely wronged.

Oh, I never deny that they probably do care. (Though i am sure many are on the side simply for a hatred of Israel/Jews). The problem is, look what that "caring" has manifested itself into.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

""Public decency?" We just define decency differently. Whereas conservatives tend to look at it as a purity issue, we tend to look at it as a harm issue. No harm, no foul."

On what basis might you object to someone using racial slurs? Who is being harmed?

You'll do extrapolation for harm just like conservatives would about speech they find objectionable (not that I'm saying conservatives are racist).

Jewish Atheist said...

My friend, don't paint the right to be all the same.

Obviously we're speaking in generalities here. Obviously, the (diminishing) libertarian wing of the party wouldn't be bothered by a little nipple on t.v.

Though I find it a bit funny that you say this. Cause when the right says something is harmful for children (sex ed. billboards, gay parades [I am not anti gay] etc. ),those on the left look down on them as being old fashioned and not "open"

Yes, but the right says those things are bad for children... why? Certainly not based on any evidence.

Yes, what is your objection???

I have to object to everything? :-) I do think that ingroup morality factors in to this, as we are only torturing "them." If the government started torturing a group of people that could plausibly include the moral right (say torturing suspected abortion clinic bombers based on anti-abortions statements they made) I'm sure they'd oppose it in a hurry.

To the anti war, the pro-war are a bunch of imperialist, racist, hitlers. They murder innocent children for oil and nothing but oil

I don't think that's true. The anti-war may think that about Bush and Cheney, but not about your rank-and-file war supporters.

huh?

My point is that it's first an emotional position and only later a rationalized one.

Oh, I never deny that they probably do care. (Though i am sure many are on the side simply for a hatred of Israel/Jews). The problem is, look what that "caring" has manifested itself into.

What the "caring" has manifested into is outside the scope of this discussion, is my point. :-) We're talking about moral foundations.


Orthoprax:

On what basis might you object to someone using racial slurs? Who is being harmed?

Members of the group being slurred? "Words may never hurt me" may be part of the nursery rhyme, but it's not actually true. A black kid raised in a society where whites through around the n-word is going to be pretty intimidated. A white kid raised around such folks is likely to discriminate and prejudge.

You'll do extrapolation for harm just like conservatives would about speech they find objectionable (not that I'm saying conservatives are racist).

The actions are similar, but the driving force is different, I'm hypothesizing. Do conservatives oppose breasts on t.v. primarily because they believe it is harmful to children? Or do they just think it's wrong (i.e. impure) to show breasts on t.v.? Do liberals oppose racist speech because they just think it's wrong (i.e. impure?) No, they really are driven by the belief that racist speech is harmful.

Compare the way that liberals react to violent imagery to the way conservatives react to sexual imagery. Focus especially on the tenor of the debates. Conservatives think nudity is (e.g.) "filthy" or "sinful" while liberals consider violent imagery to be dangerous, or perhaps disturbing. You won't find many liberals calling violent imagery "dirty" or "filthy."

Wow, I totally just proved my point. :-) What else could words like "dirty" and "filthy" be referring to other than some concept of purity.

Jewish Atheist said...

Oops, missed this before:

Orthoprax:

I would argue that loyalty, respect for authority and purity concerns could all be worked into arrangements about harm and fairness.

Maybe they could, maybe they couldn't. Either way, in that case they'd be right or wrong because of harm or fairness. We're trying to find the fundamental moral divides.

For example, is promiscuity wrong? Perhaps not in itself, but laxity regarding it produces a society of weak families and unwed mothers. Purity is the proximate ideal, but harm is the subsequent avoidance.

Yes, but if you base your morality on harm, you change your stance when something comes along to drastically change the potential harm (e.g. condoms or the Pill) whereas if you base it on purity, such changes to potential harm are irrelevant.

Likewise, if you don't show proper respect to positions of authority - like one's parents, or the principal of one's school, or even the president - then it lessens their ability to lead and the whole construct is weakened, thus leaving the door open to all sorts of negative influences.

Yes, but what happens when the person in authority is wrong? If you disobey, than authority had nothing to do with the reason you were obeying. It just so happened that his commands coincided with moral action.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Yes, but the right says those things are bad for children... why? Certainly not based on any evidence

What makes you think there is no evidence?

>I do think that ingroup morality factors in to this, as we are only torturing "them."

Ofcourse they are torturing "them." They happen to be a relentless enemy that is willing to die to kill hundreds of thousands.

>If the government started torturing a group of people that could plausibly include the moral right (say torturing suspected abortion clinic bombers based on anti-abortions statements they made) I'm sure they'd oppose it in a hurry.

So would I. I see no need to torture someone that bombs an abortion clinic. I also see no reason to torture a bomber of an NRA meeting. Unless you don't see a difference between a criminal and an enemy during combat. With that said, I am not in favor of torture all too much either unless known that enemy has information that is vitally needed.

>I don't think that's true. The anti-war may think that about Bush and Cheney, but not about your rank-and-file war supporters.

Please. Right wing media personalities are often called racists and war mongers. Your typical student on a university campus that supports the war will be called names.

The simple fact that even Bush and Cheney can be compared to Hitler by the leftist scares me.

>My point is that it's first an emotional position and only later a rationalized one.

Probably like ANY other war in history.

>We're talking about moral foundations.

I know you are, and even though I beleive you need sympathy and caring along with authority and rules to be a complete person and society, I believe the left's moral compass has been severely compromised lately.

Jewish Atheist said...

What makes you think there is no evidence?

That, e.g., sex ed is bad for kids? Because there's evidence to the contrary.

Ofcourse they are torturing "them." They happen to be a relentless enemy that is willing to die to kill hundreds of thousands.

And this is somehow more of a threat than the cold war?

So would I. I see no need to torture someone that bombs an abortion clinic. I also see no reason to torture a bomber of an NRA meeting. Unless you don't see a difference between a criminal and an enemy during combat. With that said, I am not in favor of torture all too much either unless known that enemy has information that is vitally needed.

What about a Timothy McVeigh type?

Please. Right wing media personalities are often called racists and war mongers. Your typical student on a university campus that supports the war will be called names.

Ring wing media personalities often are racists and war-mongers, to be fair. :-) Those are just the facts.

The simple fact that even Bush and Cheney can be compared to Hitler by the leftist scares me.

Such a leftist is fringe indeed, certainly not a Democrat. Anyway, do a search on "hillary stalin." You'll find such rhetoric not limited to the far left.

Oh, and then there are the prominent conservative columnists calling liberals traitors and fascists. I dare say that Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism) is more mainstream on the right than some leftist who calls Bush Hitler is on the left.

Probably like ANY other war in history.

Fine. The question remains why the right tends to be more pro-war than the left. And I think the obvious answer is the ingroup vs. caring dichotomy.

I know you are, and even though I beleive you need sympathy and caring along with authority and rules to be a complete person and society, I believe the left's moral compass has been severely compromised lately.

I'll take it over the right's any day.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"The actions are similar, but the driving force is different, I'm hypothesizing. Do conservatives oppose breasts on t.v. primarily because they believe it is harmful to children? Or do they just think it's wrong (i.e. impure) to show breasts on t.v.?"

I think that generally conservatives have a more organic conception of society where things like values, culture, family and government are all intertwined. Moving one aspect will change another. That being the case, permitting a change in, say, how society thinks about human dignity or propriety can have drastic effects down the line. It is the generally corrupting effects of perceived obscenity to which they object.

The harm then is dispersed and difficult to quantify.

I, for one, think many reality shows where they induce people to do disgusting things for money are prurient offenses to human dignity.

"Yes, but what happens when the person in authority is wrong? If you disobey, than authority had nothing to do with the reason you were obeying."

This is less about obedience than about respect for a position of authority. Is it proper to speak to your parents as you would your buddies?

On a separate point, I'd also like to note that for abortion issues, pro-life conservatives tend to be most concened about harm to the fetal life and pro-choice liberals tend to be concerned about the sanctity of women's rights. Disagree?

Holy Hyrax said...

>That, e.g., sex ed is bad for kids? Because there's evidence to the contrary.

Depends what you mean by "bad." And what about the rest of the examples? Do you think there IS stuff that are harmful for children?

>And this is somehow more of a threat than the cold war?

I'm not in favor of unadulterated torture. Only at the most trying needs. Why would the US need to torture someone during the cold war? Who would they even capture to do it? They weren't at war with Russia.

What about a Timothy McVeigh type?

I asked you a question first.

>Ring wing media personalities often are racists and war-mongers, to be fair. :-) Those are just the facts.

Then you have made my point all too clear as to why the left is corrupt.

>Such a leftist is fringe indeed, certainly not a Democrat. Anyway, do a search on "hillary stalin." You'll find such rhetoric not limited to the far left.

Are you kidding me? Can you even compare. Some morons simply stating that she is a rich elitist against freedom of speech. And some of those are even at the same time critical of bush as well.

>Oh, and then there are the prominent conservative columnists calling liberals traitors and fascists. I dare say that Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism) is more mainstream on the right than some leftist who calls Bush Hitler is on the left.

Oh, but we aren't talking about mainstream media people. We are talking about your ordinary joe on the streets. The ones in our offices. The ones that were on the anti-war demonstrations. You see alot of name slinging on both sides of the spectrum, but you will find much more venomous comments (like the one you made above), from those on the left. And, of course, its not everyone on the left. But it seems the democratic party is able to nurture these types of people. And these people "moral foundation" scare me a whole lot more than your pro-gun red neck that goes for the right.

>Fine. The question remains why the right tends to be more pro-war than the left. And I think the obvious answer is the ingroup vs. caring dichotomy.

Um, no. Its just that the left has much more pacifists, more emotion based then reason based, appeasers. It's not a question of being pro war. War is sometimes needed. Its a matter that the right tends to believe evil exists in the world, while many in the left do not like using that world and instead try to compare that the US is just as bad as any of those other countries.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I think that generally conservatives have a more organic conception of society where things like values, culture, family and government are all intertwined. Moving one aspect will change another. That being the case, permitting a change in, say, how society thinks about human dignity or propriety can have drastic effects down the line. It is the generally corrupting effects of perceived obscenity to which they object.

Excellent comment OP.

I think this is one thing that many people on the left don't see. But I don't think anyone can deny the spiraling down of things in society in the past 40 years.

Jewish Atheist said...

I think that generally conservatives have a more organic conception of society where things like values, culture, family and government are all intertwined.

I agree. That's kind of what we're talking about here. At issue are those subjects where the value of nonharming comes into conflict with another value conservatives care more about, such as culture, tradition, and rules. Gay marriage is an example. It's hard to imagine any real harm coming from gay marriage, while the hurt that comes from it's illegality is right in front of our faces. Liberals care more about the people who are unable to marry their partners than they do for the tradition of heterosexual-only marriage or the religious rules behind it.

This is less about obedience than about respect for a position of authority. Is it proper to speak to your parents as you would your buddies?

Well, sure. That's a long way from saying loyalty is a bedrock value, though. If my father told me to do something wrong, I wouldn't do it.

On a separate point, I'd also like to note that for abortion issues, pro-life conservatives tend to be most concened about harm to the fetal life and pro-choice liberals tend to be concerned about the sanctity of women's rights. Disagree?

I don't think "sanctity" is the right word at all. In fact, I've never even heard of it being used in that context. Liberals *care* about the woman. Conservatives claim to care about the fetus, and I'm sure many do, but it can't be a coincidence that most people opposed to abortion are members of a religion that has rules against it. I definitely get the feeling that people oppose abortion "because it's wrong" (i.e. against the rules) rather than because they care so much about fetuses.


HH:

Depends what you mean by "bad." And what about the rest of the examples? Do you think there IS stuff that are harmful for children?

Sure, some stuff is harmful to children, like lead paint, pollution, lack of health care, etc. Liberals tend to oppose that stuff.

I'm not in favor of unadulterated torture. Only at the most trying needs. Why would the US need to torture someone during the cold war? Who would they even capture to do it? They weren't at war with Russia.

Ok.

I asked you a question first.

Did you? I scrolled up, don't know what you're referring to.

>Ring wing media personalities often are racists and war-mongers, to be fair. :-) Those are just the facts.

Then you have made my point all too clear as to why the left is corrupt.


War-mongerers is beyond debate, I hope. As for racists, you're right. I exaggerated. Most aren't, although they skate right up to that line disconcertingly often. See Bill O'Reilly and his recent experience at a black restaurant, or Rush Limbaugh's history of questionable comments regarding blacks. Listen to the ranters about illegal immigration and tell you me you don't hear racism behind their words.

Are you kidding me? Can you even compare. Some morons simply stating that she is a rich elitist against freedom of speech. And some of those are even at the same time critical of bush as well.

And how often are Democrats called communists and socialists?

Oh, but we aren't talking about mainstream media people. We are talking about your ordinary joe on the streets. The ones in our offices. The ones that were on the anti-war demonstrations. You see alot of name slinging on both sides of the spectrum, but you will find much more venomous comments (like the one you made above), from those on the left.

That hasn't been my experience at all. Maybe we live in different worlds, but I've heard comments just dripping with scorn and derision from conservatives about liberals and nothing more than sad head-shaking and confusion from liberals about conservatives.

And these people "moral foundation" scare me a whole lot more than your pro-gun red neck that goes for the right.

You're more scared of the anti-war crowd than the homophobes and minutemen and militia-types on the right? I'm not.

Um, no. Its just that the left has much more pacifists, more emotion based then reason based, appeasers. It's not a question of being pro war. War is sometimes needed. Its a matter that the right tends to believe evil exists in the world, while many in the left do not like using that world and instead try to compare that the US is just as bad as any of those other countries.

As Obama said, we're not against all wars, just stupid ones. Are you really arguing that the right is generally *less* emotion-based than the left? I'm flabbergasted. These are the people that don't believe in evolution and think gay marriage will destroy civilization.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"I agree. That's kind of what we're talking about here. At issue are those subjects where the value of nonharming comes into conflict with another value conservatives care more about, such as culture, tradition, and rules."

My intent is not to defend the approach, but I don't believe you are giving conservatives the benefit of the doubt. I think many of them have a more sophisticated understanding where they believe that the best of our society is maintained by prominent values of culture and religion and changing those public values could have huge unforeseen negative consequences down the line.

"Gay marriage is an example. It's hard to imagine any real harm coming from gay marriage, while the hurt that comes from it's illegality is right in front of our faces."

What hurt? There's no harm being done to gay people. It's more an issue of fairness than anything to do with harm. If the US government abolished civil marriages that would be a legitimate move and nothing would change for gay people.

"Well, sure. That's a long way from saying loyalty is a bedrock value, though. If my father told me to do something wrong, I wouldn't do it."

I really don't think most conservatives would disagree with you. But suppose your father was having a heated argument in the street, wouldn't you jump to his defense before you found out what the issue was?

"I don't think "sanctity" is the right word at all. In fact, I've never even heard of it being used in that context. Liberals *care* about the woman."

Care about the woman's what? I think when people argue in terms of rights there's a degree of sanctity implied.

"Conservatives claim to care about the fetus, and I'm sure many do, but it can't be a coincidence that most people opposed to abortion are members of a religion that has rules against it."

Are you serious? Of course it's no coincidence, but that doesn't mean it's anything else but a harm/care evaluation. While not true universally, I believe the large majority of pro-lifers are simply sympathetic to fetal life.

Holy Hyrax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holy Hyrax said...

>Sure, some stuff is harmful to children, like lead paint, pollution, lack of health care, etc. Liberals tend to oppose that stuff.

If you think this is the only harm there is then I have nothing more to say about this with you.

>Did you? I scrolled up, don't know what you're referring to.

I was refering to whether you see a difference between an enemy in time of war and a criminal. But it doesn't matter. But I will answer you regarding Timothy McVeigh. The answer is I do not have an easy answer. If in during war (or even not) you know of a planned terrorist attack planned by people that have been already made intentions of basically declaring war on your country, then i would say torture is morally acceptable. I would not like to see it used whenever the police felt like using it to integrate a suspect.

>War-mongerers is beyond debate, I hope.

So if you support war, you are now a war monger. Like I said, plain emotional

>Listen to the ranters about illegal immigration and tell you me you don't hear racism behind their words.

You ever think you are hearing racism cause you want to hear racism? Did you ever consider that these people, such as myself have actual reasons behind our positions and it does not come from a racist perspective?

>And how often are Democrats called communists and socialists?

You're comparing domestic economic policy name calling (socialist) to that of being a bigot, a hitler and all around everything deplorable in humanity?

>That hasn't been my experience at all. Maybe we live in different worlds, but I've heard comments just dripping with scorn and derision from conservatives about liberals and nothing more than sad head-shaking and confusion from liberals about conservatives.

Well if anything, you were proved my point. You are not what YOU call the fringe, yet you dispense with the judgement calls and name calling. What about all those prestine students on college campuses during Israel Independence Day celebrations, are they merely shaking their heads?

>You're more scared of the anti-war crowd than the homophobes and minutemen and militia-types on the right? I'm not.

I am scared about the moral clout behind a lot of reasons of the anti-war crowd. You haven’t laid out the threat that comes from homophobes and the minutemen.


I think the main point here is just your horrendous assertion that those on the right do not care. Or only care about ingroup. Its just so twisted and plays into your own hatred of them that you can something like that. We all care. We have different ways of approaching it.

Jewish Atheist said...

Orthoprax:

My intent is not to defend the approach, but I don't believe you are giving conservatives the benefit of the doubt.

That may be.

What hurt? There's no harm being done to gay people. It's more an issue of fairness than anything to do with harm. If the US government abolished civil marriages that would be a legitimate move and nothing would change for gay people.

It's more obviously about fairness, yes, but gay people certainly are harmed by the lack of gay marriage and by the way the Republicans have used it as a wedge issue.

But suppose your father was having a heated argument in the street, wouldn't you jump to his defense before you found out what the issue was?

Because I know my father, I would assume he was in the right. If my father were a sonofabitch who was always instigating fights with innocent bystanders though, I might try to break it up, but I wouldn't necessarily jump to his defense.

Care about the woman's what? I think when people argue in terms of rights there's a degree of sanctity implied.

I'm not sure how sanctity fits it. Liberals care about women's right to control what goes on within their own bodies.

Are you serious? Of course it's no coincidence, but that doesn't mean it's anything else but a harm/care evaluation. While not true universally, I believe the large majority of pro-lifers are simply sympathetic to fetal life.

Maybe.


HH:

If you think this is the only harm there is then I have nothing more to say about this with you.

I didn't say that was the only harm. I listed some harms that liberals obviously care about that also have the benefit of being easily observable, unlike the "harm" that may come to children from seeing a female nipple on television.

I was refering to whether you see a difference between an enemy in time of war and a criminal.

What war? The "war on terror?" That's never, ever going to end, is it? Are we going to throw out the rules forever?

If in during war (or even not) you know of a planned terrorist attack planned by people that have been already made intentions of basically declaring war on your country, then i would say torture is morally acceptable.

Sure, I can see that.

I would not like to see it used whenever the police felt like using it to integrate a suspect.

Ah, but that's how we're using it in Gitmo, isn't it? Have you read about the techniques used there? Do you think they don't rise to the level of "torture?" Or is it okay for foreigners who are suspected of being combatants but not citizens who are suspected of being murderers?

So if you support war, you are now a war monger. Like I said, plain emotional

Isn't that kind of the definition?

I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt regarding stupid comments.

I'm not talking about stupid comments. I'm talking about people like Limbaugh purposely instigating, for example when he oh-so-cleverly rationalized playing a song on his show called "Barack, the Magic Negro" because a black columnist previously used the term. And you could certainly call O'Reilly's bizarre comments about going to a restaurant in Harlem "stupid," but it's pretty hard to give him the benefit of the doubt there: "I "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship."

You LOOK for racism. You LOOK for sexism. (remember the whole incident with the Harvard dean?)

Oh please. I link to Steve Freaking Sailor on my blogroll. I thought it was disgraceful that Summers got fired. Don't tell me I look for racism and sexism. You don't have to look.

Have you ever perhaps considered that people that are against the wave of illegals consider:

Sure there are plenty of reasons to be concerned. That doesn't mean there are huge racist undertones to the debate. Pat Buchannan and others have made them pretty much explicit.

You are not what YOU call the fringe, yet you judge people immediatly to be war mongers and racists.

I believe I addressed that. I was referring to actual warmongers and racists. There's no rush (no pun intended) to judgment there.

What about all those prestine students on college campuses during Israel Independence Day celebrations, are they merely shaking their heads?

Opposing the state of Israel is not necessarily anti-semitic. People oppose it because they think the Israelis stole that land or had it stolen for them.

I'm not afraid of people that are anti-war. I am afraid of the backwards reasoning behind it. That "war is never an answer."

Oh come on. You just spent a few paragraphs complaining that I talking about war-mongerers. Who are these "war is never an answer" people? They're so far left they're not even Democrats.

That the death of civilians in war is equal to targeted terrorist actions (which these crowds gather a lot of these sort of voices against Israel). You can't have it both ways. You can't bring up Obama saying you are only against stupid wars and at the same time bringing up death of civilians as a sign that the conservatives don't care.

I don't see the contradiction. One can mourn the loss of civilians even in a just and necessary war. In a stupid war, it's all the more tragic. Imagine if we'd done Nagasaki and Hiroshima and then it had turned out that Pearl Harbor and every subsequent battle were just hoaxes and Japan was completely innocuous?

And as for whether the death of civilians is equal to targeted terrorist actions, surely you can see it wouldn't matter too much to the fallen's loved ones whether it was a terrorist's bomb or an enemy military's one? It's not a moral equivalence (again, assuming just and necessary war) but death is death.

I can guarantee you if this attitude was prominent during WW2, we would have lost.

See that's the thing. WW2 was a just and necessary war. Iraq is a bunch of BS that's killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Geez, I remember when American wasn't even in Iraq and was only planning to go into Afganistan that the anti-war crowd started protesting about America being an aggressor.

Geez, I remember an overwhelming majority of Democrats supporting that war.

Well, the fact that you get to name calling is proof of even more emotional thinking. Not everyone, for example that is against same sex marriage is anti-homosexuals.

I didn't say they were. But do you deny that the moral conservative base contains a ton of homophobia?

If anything over and over you only prove me right where sympathy comes from. Its all emotion based. They see the Palestinians and think "underdog" hense they must be oppressed by the goliath of Israel. They see poor minorities, hence it must be others (not themselves) that are screwing them over. Maybe this is not you directly, but that is what the left has turned into and it is what we are talking about.

Again, you're talking about results and I'm talking about fundamentals. Do some liberals support the underdog even when the underdog is in the wrong? Of course, just as many conservatives defended even the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

Limbaugh again:

This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation, and we're going to ruin people's lives over it, and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You [ever] heard of need to blow some steam off?"

I think the main point here is just your horrendous assertion that those on the right do not care. Or only care about ingroup. Its just so twisted and plays into your own hatred of them that you can something like that. We all care. We have different ways of approaching it.

I've never denied that we all care. I'm just trying to explain why conservatives sometimes appear so callous -- it's because they have other values that sometimes conflict. I do happen to think that those values are largely a bunch of superstitious and/or emotional garbage. I think the world would be a better place if conservatives worried a little less about whether homosexuality was wrong and a little more about why we invaded Iraq.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"It's more obviously about fairness, yes, but gay people certainly are harmed by the lack of gay marriage..."

How so?

"...and by the way the Republicans have used it as a wedge issue."

This you just mentioned afterwards. Though even here I honestly don't see harm to homosexuals. What kind of harm?

Holy Hyrax said...

>unlike the "harm" that may come to children from seeing a female nipple on television.

Its not about the nipple (though you said Liberals did see it as harmful for children) its about the spiraling of decency of what our children see.

>Or is it okay for foreigners who are suspected of being combatants but not citizens who are suspected of being murderers?

Its not about foreigners.It can be a citizen alligned with terrorists. Its about the scope of what is at stake.

>Sure, I can see that.

But you said torture is wrong

>Isn't that kind of the definition?

No.

>because a black columnist previously used the term.

So is the black columnist also a racist?

>"I "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship."

And this is NOT a stupid comment, but immeidiatly you paint him as a racist?

>Oh please. I link to Steve Freaking Sailor on my blogroll. I thought it was disgraceful that Summers got fired. Don't tell me I look for racism and sexism. You don't have to look.

So then you admit this sort of over emotional stupidity exists on the left. And you admit people are looking for it such as in this Summers case. Its either there or not there.

>Sure there are plenty of reasons to be concerned. That doesn't mean there are huge racist undertones to the debate. Pat Buchannan and others have made them pretty much explicit.

Oh, I don't doubt that there are racists, but don't paint conservatives with such a broad brush.

>I believe I addressed that. I was referring to actual warmongers and racists. There's no rush (no pun intended) to judgment there.

So then once again, don't paint conservatives with such a broad brush.

>Opposing the state of Israel is not necessarily anti-semitic. People oppose it because they think the Israelis stole that land or had it stolen for them.

Yet they hold signs of apartheid, racist state, genocide etc etc. I understand the sympathies that lie with the Palestianians, but it seems to a be sympathy based only on seeing the palestinians as underdogs and not dealing with facts.

>Who are these "war is never an answer" people? They're so far left they're not even Democrats.

Isen't that like the "no true scottsman" fallacy?

>I don't see the contradiction. One can mourn the loss of civilians even in a just and necessary war.

I agree, but you were the one that implyed that they can't.

>And as for whether the death of civilians is equal to targeted terrorist actions, surely you can see it wouldn't matter too much to the fallen's loved ones whether it was a terrorist's bomb or an enemy military's one?

I can also understand if an exucuted serial killers mom was sad her son died, but I would hope she could see her son was a monster, and that his seriel spree is not morally the same as him being executed for his crimes.

>It's not a moral equivalence (again, assuming just and necessary war) but death is death.

But sometimes, certain death is morally defensible. And anti-war protesters seem to think a kill is a kill, no matter what.

>See that's the thing. WW2 was a just and necessary war. Iraq is a bunch of BS that's killed hundreds of thousands of people.

What about Afganistan, yet the streets were full of protests then as well. Bumper stickers that say "war is not the answer" or "war is never an answer" just don't see it the way you do and these are people that litter these protests and the left.


>Geez, I remember an overwhelming majority of Democrats supporting that war.

Then why all the protests? Maybe they cared.

>I didn't say they were. But do you deny that the moral conservative base contains a ton of homophobia?

define homophobia.

>Again, you're talking about results and I'm talking about fundamentals. Do some liberals support the underdog even when the underdog is in the wrong? Of course, just as many conservatives defended even the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

Results??

Its not a question of supporting the underdog, its a question of a sympathy (in both foreign and domestic) coming from the wrong bad way of thinking which is becoming a fundamental of the left. You will find this level of emotional(only) based sympathy for more present in liberalism then you would find support for the humiliation that occured at Abu Gharaib in the conservatives.

>Limbaugh again:

a) I can understand why he needs to defend the soldiers. They are come under a much larger magnify glass in all their operations with the media following them, that it seems they are always being attacked.
b) It does not excuse the "fun" that they had.

>I'm just trying to explain why conservatives sometimes appear so callous -- it's because they have other values that sometimes conflict.

Well, I think OP responded to you in that aspect correctly: (And its not a matter of conflict)

I think that generally conservatives have a more organic conception of society where things like values, culture, family and government are all intertwined.

>I do happen to think that those values are largely a bunch of superstitious and/or emotional garbage. I think the world would be a better place if conservatives worried a little less about whether homosexuality was wrong and a little more about why we invaded Iraq.

Its not one versus the other.Everything should be evaluated as to how it can affect our society, culture, family and those that will come after us. I believe for example the sexual revolution is something that has had immense negative affects to society as a whole. And I am sure back then it was said "we wish conservatives would pay less attention to free love, and more of what we are doing in vietnam."

Jewish Atheist said...

Orthoprax:

"It's more obviously about fairness, yes, but gay people certainly are harmed by the lack of gay marriage..."

They can be denied (without an iron-clad legal contract (and sometimes even with) things like visitation rights, the ability to speak for their partners in a hospital, custody of their partner's biological children in the even of their death, etc. In many states, they can be denied coverage under their partner's health plan.

Then there are also the gay kids who are brought up in a society where gays are second class citizens. They are more likely to develop substance abuse problems or even to attempt suicide.


HH:

Its not about the nipple (though you said Liberals did see it as harmful for children) its about the spiraling of decency of what our children see.

Since when are liberals for spiraling decency, though? Why do conservatives get so worked up over sex and nudity while they do much less about the reality shows you alluded to above or explicit violence on t.v.?

Its not about foreigners.It can be a citizen alligned with terrorists. Its about the scope of what is at stake.

So, say Timothy McVeigh had a friend that we thought knew of an upcoming attack. It would be okay to torture him?

I believe for example the sexual revolution is something that has had immense negative affects to society as a whole.

Has it? From my reading of the data, Southern Baptists are the most likely to divorce, have unwed pregnancies, etc., while Northeastern liberals are among the least likely. Is that because of the sexual revolution?

The rise of HIV/AIDS, while probably inevitable, was clearly hastened by the promiscuity in the gay community in the 70s and 80s. I'll give you that.

And I am sure back then it was said "we wish conservatives would pay less attention to free love, and more of what we are doing in vietnam."

Excluding HIV/AIDS, which did more harm? Over a million people died during the American phase of Vietnam, including almost 60,000 Americans. That's like TWENTY 9/lls. And there were even more people who came back mentally or physically disfigured.

Shows like Fear Factor have got nothing on war.

But you said torture is wrong

So is killing. That doesn't mean there can't be exigent circumstances.

So is the black columnist also a racist?

No, the black columnist wrote a serious column about Obama's alleged similarity to a folk literature figure. Rush Limbaugh played a song called "Barack, the Magic Negro." Oh, and by the way, it was sung by a white guy imitating Al Sharpton.

And this is NOT a stupid comment, but immeidiatly you paint him as a racist?

Of course it's stupid. I said it was stupid. But how does that not show that he's a racist? The man's in his sixties and he was shocked to find out that black people can be just as civilized in restaurants as white people??

So then you admit this sort of over emotional stupidity exists on the left. And you admit people are looking for it such as in this Summers case. Its either there or not there.

Sure, I don't deny that. Most people on both sides are irrational.

Oh, I don't doubt that there are racists, but don't paint conservatives with such a broad brush.

Again, I stated up front that over-generalizations would be necessary in this discussion. Still, you can't deny the undercurrents of racism in the immigration debate.

Yet they hold signs of apartheid, racist state, genocide etc etc. I understand the sympathies that lie with the Palestianians, but it seems to a be sympathy based only on seeing the palestinians as underdogs and not dealing with facts.

Look, I agree with you that they are wrong, but is it so hard to see why they are wrong? Arab citizens of Israel are indeed second-class citizens. That's just a fact. Sure, it's not exactly apartheid, but it's not 100% different either. And it pretty clearly meets the definition of racism, too. (That's not to say it isn't necessary or moral in Israel's unique circumstances.)

Isen't that like the "no true scottsman" fallacy?

It would be if I was saying that the "war is never an answer" crowd couldn't be Democrats because a Dem would never say that. I was just pointing out that that crowd is made up largely of (actual) communists, anarchists, Naderites, etc. Kucinich is the closest they come to the Democratic party, and you see how well he did in the primary.

I agree, but you were the one that implyed that they can't.

I was saying it doesn't seem to bother the conservatives too much.

I can also understand if an exucuted serial killers mom was sad her son died, but I would hope she could see her son was a monster, and that his seriel spree is not morally the same as him being executed for his crimes.

But we aren't talking about guilty vs. innocent people. We're talking about innocent people on both sides.

What about Afganistan, yet the streets were full of protests then as well. Bumper stickers that say "war is not the answer" or "war is never an answer" just don't see it the way you do and these are people that litter these protests and the left.

But they were a tiny minority. When I criticize the right, I'm talking about the Republican base, who e.g. the Republicans brought out en masse in 2004 by putting anti-gay-marriage stuff on the ballots. The Democratic base, if one could be said to exist, are by and large not "war is never the answer" types.

define homophobia.

Let's go with visceral dislike of gay people.

Results??

Huh?

Holy Hyrax said...

>Why do conservatives get so worked up over sex and nudity while they do much less about the reality shows you alluded to above or explicit violence on t.v.?

They do get worked about the violence on TV. There are family organizations out there that do infact take issue with them (not sure about the reality shows)

>So, say Timothy McVeigh had a friend that we thought knew of an upcoming attack. It would be okay to torture him?

I'll answer this with an answer you gave:

So is killing. That doesn't mean there can't be exigent circumstances.

>Has it?

Ofcourse. It's not about comparing deaths of Vietnam to the sexual revolution. Both need to be looked upon to see what they can cause. Disease is not the only problem with the sexual revolution. There is also the character of the society.

>No, the black columnist wrote a serious column about Obama's alleged similarity to a folk literature figure. Rush Limbaugh played a song called "Barack, the Magic Negro." Oh, and by the way, it was sung by a white guy imitating Al Sharpton.

Yes, I read the piece. But clearly this is meant as a spoof by the fact that Al Sharpton (the biggest media hungry loon) is being used this. I do not see such racist hatred that you portray.

>The man's in his sixties and he was shocked to find out that black people can be just as civilized in restaurants as white people??

Ya, so then he's stupid, not racist.

>Still, you can't deny the undercurrents of racism in the immigration debate.

Yes, there is racism everywhere. You will find racism in the NAACP. But are still brushing too widely to even suggest an undercurrent or racism rather then people having real issues with swarms of immigrants just coming in.

>Look, I agree with you that they are wrong, but is it so hard to see why they are wrong?

I will tell you why they are wrong, in my opininon. They wrong because the do not show this level of animosity toward any other nation out there is doing worse. They also accuse Israel of being just as bad if not worse then the terrorist and don't see any moral distinction (rememeber Jenin?)

>I was just pointing out that that crowd is made up largely of (actual) communists, anarchists, Naderites, etc. Kucinich is the closest they come to the Democratic party, and you see how well he did in the primary.

The average joe that I meet between friends that say "war is never an answer" is hardly a communist or anarchist, but lets not argue over that. Would you deny that these people care just as much if not more than you?

>I was saying it doesn't seem to bother the conservatives too much.

Nobody enjoys innocents lost. Not a liberal, not a conservative. It's just that a conservative will probably worry first about his own before the citizen where as a liberal might worry first about the citizens.

>But we aren't talking about guilty vs. innocent people. We're talking about innocent people on both sides.

No, we were talking about targeted terrorist actions. Ofcourse I can understand them mourning their sons death, but I do not understand those that would equate the terrorist targeting citizens versus an army that does not intentionally target. This is not an issue of mourning. Both should be mourned. This is an issue of moral differences between the two actions.

>When I criticize the right, I'm talking about the Republican base, who e.g. the Republicans brought out en masse in 2004 by putting anti-gay-marriage stuff on the ballots.

Right. Now how is that base, for example "harmful?Whereas i see this sentiment within the left of this war is never an answer or of moral ambiguity is for more harmful

>Let's go with visceral dislike of gay people.

I would say there is a whole lot on the Christian right that totally do not like gays. But I would also say that there are also a ton of regular conservatives that have no like or dislike, but simply are against recent legislation.

>Huh?

You said I'm talking about results whereas you are talking fundamentals. I did not understand what you mean't by results.

Jewish Atheist said...

They do get worked about the violence on TV.

Not to the same degree.

Ofcourse. It's not about comparing deaths of Vietnam to the sexual revolution.

I thought you were implying that the consequences of the free love movement were worse than those of Vietnam.

There is also the character of the society.

Personally, I'm a lot more concerned that we're the only western democracy that doesn't have universal health coverage. What does it say about us as a society that we let millions of children living without adequate health care coverage?

There are plenty of countries like most of Western Europe and the Netherlands that are just as free as us sexually but don't have the other problems we do. I don't think the problem has anything to do with the sexual revolution -- it has everything to do with the conservative "values" I mentioned above.

Yes, I read the piece. But clearly this is meant as a spoof by the fact that Al Sharpton (the biggest media hungry loon) is being used this. I do not see such racist hatred that you portray.

Obviously, it's a parody. That doesn't mean it's not racist. I can't believe you're even arguing that singing "Barack the Magic Negro" is not racist.

Ya, so then he's stupid, not racist.

No, he's clearly both.

Yes, there is racism everywhere. You will find racism in the NAACP. But are still brushing too widely to even suggest an undercurrent or racism rather then people having real issues with swarms of immigrants just coming in.

So you think the tone would be identical if it were millions of Anglo-Candadians coming in through the other border instead?

I will tell you why they are wrong, in my opininon. They wrong because the do not show this level of animosity toward any other nation out there is doing worse. They also accuse Israel of being just as bad if not worse then the terrorist and don't see any moral distinction (rememeber Jenin?)

They believed that the Israelis had committed a massacre in Jenin, which pretty much would have been an act of terrorism. All told, the Israelis did in fact kill more than 20 civilians and destroy many of the buildings. Just and necessary? Probably.

Those who think that Israel is one of the worst nations do so because they don't really understand the situation. Is it so hard to see where they're coming from, even if they're wrong?

Here's what they believe happened: Millions of Arabs were peacefully living their lives when all of the sudden, the Brits and Jews came along and seized their land, kicking them out without compensation. Since then, they have kept them stuck in these awful refugee camps. They've done everything they can to further encroach on Palestinian land, carving up their territory and subjecting them to awful, humiliating checkpoints that threaten their very livelihood. They have found a long-standing low-grade war where they kill Palestinians with warships, machine guns, and other weapons while the Palestinians are fighting back the only way they can. During the Intifada, way more Palestinians were killed than Israelis.

Again, I don't agree with them because I think they fundamentally misunderstand the situation, but with the understanding they have, I can't blame them for the positions they take. You'd probably act the same way if you believed what they believe.

The average joe that I meet between friends that say "war is never an answer" is hardly a communist or anarchist, but lets not argue over that. Would you deny that these people care just as much if not more than you?

Sure.

Nobody enjoys innocents lost. Not a liberal, not a conservative. It's just that a conservative will probably worry first about his own before the citizen where as a liberal might worry first about the citizens.

Exactly. That's why ingroup morality is so dangerous. Better ten of theirs than one of ours, right?

No, we were talking about targeted terrorist actions. Ofcourse I can understand them mourning their sons death, but I do not understand those that would equate the terrorist targeting citizens versus an army that does not intentionally target. This is not an issue of mourning. Both should be mourned. This is an issue of moral differences between the two actions.

Obviously there are moral differences. But if Saddam, say, had managed to bomb a military base in America after we invaded and your brother, a civilian, happened to be living there, would you really feel better because it wasn't a terrorist attack directly targeting him?

Right. Now how is that base, for example "harmful?Whereas i see this sentiment within the left of this war is never an answer or of moral ambiguity is for more harmful

The Republican base has successfully held back the tide of gay rights (just one generation after the moral conservatives held back the tide of black rights.) What harm has the Democratic base done?

I would say there is a whole lot on the Christian right that totally do not like gays. But I would also say that there are also a ton of regular conservatives that have no like or dislike, but simply are against recent legislation.

Okay, fine. We agree that there are a whole lot of homophobes on the "moral" right then.

You said I'm talking about results whereas you are talking fundamentals. I did not understand what you mean't by results.

I meant that you are talking about misguided conclusions (Israel is bad) while I'm talking about moral fundamentals (caring, fairness.) Surely you recognize that people can do bad with good intentions, and vice-versa?

Jewish Atheist said...

The average joe that I meet between friends that say "war is never an answer" is hardly a communist or anarchist, but lets not argue over that. Would you deny that these people care just as much if not more than you?

Sure.


Oops, I meant I wouldn't deny it, not that I would.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Not to the same degree.

Who cares if its not to the same degree. If you were a parent wouldn't you want sex being more curbed on television that your kids see?

>I thought you were implying that the consequences of the free love movement were worse than those of Vietnam.

I think the consequences to free love were worse. The thousands of deaths in Vietnam (and war in general) does not spiral down and affect generation after generation.

>Personally, I'm a lot more concerned that we're the only western democracy that doesn't have universal health coverage. What does it say about us as a society that we let millions of children living without adequate health care coverage?

What does it say?

>I don't think the problem has anything to do with the sexual revolution

It depends. What problems are you refering to and what problems am I refering to? Healthcare has nothing to do with the problems of the sexual revolution

>it has everything to do with the conservative "values" I mentioned above.

What on earth do conservative values(not sure what you mean by that ) have to do with issues of how the sexual revolution affected our society?

>So you think the tone would be identical if it were millions of Anglo-Candadians coming in through the other border instead?

No it wouldn't. But that is because of the reasons you saw earlier in my long paragraph (that was deleted). Canadians are more likely to assimilate easier. Canadians come from a higher socio economic frame. People feel they would not drive wages down and bring crime into the country. Last time I checked, parts of LA were not teeming with canadian gangs.

>You'd probably act the same way if you believed what they believe.

Yet they do not critic any other country that causes for worse. Petitions in human rights orgainzations and places like the UN have condemned Israel disproprtionatly to any other nation. In the end, your explanation to their thoughts only strengthen my position of an immediate appeal to emotional based action rather actually looking at what happens.

>Exactly. That's why ingroup morality is so dangerous. Better ten of theirs than one of ours, right?

In war??? Ofcourse it has to be ingroup, or you end up loosing. Its not about 10 vs 1 (because in war, its never ONE soldier). If those 10 can be spared, then you do it. If they can't, then you don't put your soldiers at risk. Thats war and its ugly.

>Obviously there are moral differences. But if Saddam, say, had managed to bomb a military base in America after we invaded and your brother, a civilian, happened to be living there, would you really feel better because it wasn't a terrorist attack directly targeting him?

You're not following. I am not talking about those afffected personally. I am talking about the third (objective) party that has no connection. I am speaking about those that protestors that say a terrorist action is the same thing as Israel defending itself and civilians end up dying.

>The Republican base has successfully held back the tide of gay rights

What gay rights?

>I meant that you are talking about misguided conclusions (Israel is bad) while I'm talking about moral fundamentals (caring, fairness.) Surely you recognize that people can do bad with good intentions, and vice-versa?

I don't even know what were talking about anymore :P

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"They can be denied (without an iron-clad legal contract (and sometimes even with) things like visitation rights, the ability to speak for their partners in a hospital, custody of their partner's biological children in the even of their death, etc. In many states, they can be denied coverage under their partner's health plan."

And which of these requires gay marriage to reverse? None that I can see.

"Then there are also the gay kids who are brought up in a society where gays are second class citizens. They are more likely to develop substance abuse problems or even to attempt suicide."

So anti-gay sentiment will go away with gay marriage? Not likely.

Jewish Atheist said...

Again, we're talking about moral fundamentals. That everybody agrees that children probably shouldn't be watching explicit sexual content on t.v. isn't at issue. The fact that liberals appear (to me) to be more concerned with their children seeing violence while conservatives appear (again, to me) to be more concerned about sex must tell us something about this subject, no? Or do you disagree with the whole liberal/conservative violence/sex dichotomy?

I think the consequences to free love were worse. The thousands of deaths in Vietnam (and war in general) does not spiral down and affect generation after generation.

And we are still being affected by the 60s free love movement how?

What does it say?

I'm not sure. I think it says something about our callousness, but then again that's kind of what we're arguing about here, isn't it?

It depends. What problems are you refering to and what problems am I refering to? Healthcare has nothing to do with the problems of the sexual revolution

Well, you haven't mentioned any specific problems. You've just referred ominously to society spiraling downward.

What on earth do conservative values(not sure what you mean by that ) have to do with issues of how the sexual revolution affected our society?

Well, conservative values as applied to law and parenting appear to, e.g., increase teen and unwed pregnancy, which are the things I was assuming you were complaining about. Maybe it's just a correlative relationship with lack of education or poverty being the underlying cause. Whatever the case there, there doesn't seem to be a correlation between those problems and the free love movement, as far as I can tell.

No it wouldn't. But that is because of the reasons you saw earlier in my long paragraph (that was deleted). Canadians are more likely to assimilate easier. Canadians come from a higher socio economic frame. People feel they would not drive wages down and bring crime into the country. Last time I checked, parts of LA were not teeming with canadian gangs.

(You're not thinking I deleted a paragraph are you?) Regarding the difference between Canadians and Mexicans, I hear what you're saying, but it's pretty hard to tell the difference.

People who are racist against blacks can always just argue that blacks have a higher crime rate and are likely to come from a lower socioeconomic frame, etc. That doesn't mean that they aren't still racist.

Yet they do not critic any other country that causes for worse.

Don't they? What about Darfur?

Petitions in human rights orgainzations and places like the UN have condemned Israel disproprtionatly to any other nation.

We're talking about the American left, right? Obviously many Muslims and Muslim countries are virulently anti-semitic and anti-Israel.

In the end, your explanation to their thoughts only strengthen my position of an immediate appeal to emotional based action rather actually looking at what happens.

I'm just talking about intent. How did those conservatives do carefully planning out what would "actually happen" in Iraq?

In war??? Ofcourse it has to be ingroup, or you end up loosing. Its not about 10 vs 1 (because in war, its never ONE soldier). If those 10 can be spared, then you do it. If they can't, then you don't put your soldiers at risk. Thats war and its ugly.

We're talking about civilians here and we're not talking about war. We're talking about terrorism.

You're not following. I am not talking about those afffected personally. I am talking about the third (objective) party that has no connection. I am speaking about those that protestors that say a terrorist action is the same thing as Israel defending itself and civilians end up dying.

And again, I'm agreeing with you that their conclusions are wrong. I'm just trying to explain why someone could reach that conclusion. It's hard for some people to look at the second intifada, see 1000 dead Israelis to 4000 dead Palestinians and conclude that the Palestinians are in the wrong.

What gay rights?

Custody, adoption, health care, marriage, etc.


Orthoprax:

And which of these requires gay marriage to reverse? None that I can see.

And that stance might be okay if more social conservatives actually supported civil unions. As it stands, supporting civil unions is a liability for a candidate in the Republican party.

So anti-gay sentiment will go away with gay marriage? Not likely.

It'll help, no? The next generation raised with friends who grow up in married same-sex households will surely feel differently about gays than this generation's children do. Just as this generation's children who've grown up with more "out" homosexuals feel differently about gays than their parents did.

Holy Hyrax said...

>The fact that liberals appear (to me) to be more concerned with their children seeing violence while conservatives appear (again, to me) to be more concerned about sex must tell us something about this subject, no?

I think violence is just as an important issue as sex. Its just sex is so rampant everwhere. Its in commercials selling deoderants, drinks. Its everywhere in tabloids. Its now even very present in video games.

>And we are still being affected by the 60s free love movement how?

This i a post onto itself. But I think the promiscuity, the over sexualized society, spreading it to the children in so many venues. The lack of modesty in society and college campuses where something like celibacy is sneared at as being prudish are all connected to the affects of the 60s.

>I'm not sure. I think it says something about our callousness, but then again that's kind of what we're arguing about here, isn't it?

No, I think it says something about people not wanting government bureaucracy taking their money and involved in healthcare where there will probably be endless problems. Europe indeed has healthcare, but many are opting to privatize and the state run has issues of its own. Where they believe in the private realm, more good can come with competition. I do not believe most are happy people do not have healthcare, but that the alternative might be worse for the country.

>Well, conservative values as applied to law and parenting appear to, e.g., increase teen and unwed pregnancy, which are the things I was assuming you were complaining about.

I don't understand. What conservative values are causing teen and unwed pregnancies?

>(You're not thinking I deleted a paragraph are you?)

No no. I deleted it.

>That doesn't mean that they aren't still racist.

Maybe they are. But maybe they aren't. Jumping on the bandwagon and calling people racists is probably not the best thing always.

>Don't they? What about Darfur?

Really?? Where is the venomous shouting against those that are ACTUALLY committing the crime. There is petition to save those being killed, but hardly ever such hatred to the actual perpetrators of the crime there, or anywhere else in the world.

>How did those conservatives do carefully planning out what would "actually happen" in Iraq?

Either I am dyslexic, or you have to restate that. Sorry :)

>We're talking about civilians here and we're not talking about war. We're talking about terrorism.

Of course we are talking about war here. In a terrorist action there is no "other" in which to choose (ie, either them or us). So for example, in war, (at least in my opinion and perhaps common sence) you do not send troops into a place you know is swarmed with enemy in order to spare the civilian lives that are in the same area.

>It's hard for some people to look at the second intifada, see 1000 dead Israelis to 4000 dead Palestinians and conclude that the Palestinians are in the wrong.

Sure its hard. It should be hard to see something like that. But before people begin to condemn, they should at least think. I mean, since when does number of dead show us right and wrong?

>Custody, adoption, health care, marriage, etc.

Some stuff I would like to see fixed indeed. But I do not see how for example marriage and adoption is a right? A society has a right to have certain boundaries it feel are important.

Foilwoman said...

Wow, I would have liked to have commented much, much earlier, when I could still track the argument. However, as a woman and a mother, I've had a sick child, didn't sleep last night, probably won't sleep tonight, and am a bit fuzzy. Using the points I've casually gleaned, that's probably because I am more involved in caring than rules and all this, but hey, boys*, this is why debate is so useless. And like most Talmudic (or Jesuit) debate, it's really nothing to do with the here and now and how to solve problems.

That said, I'm a liberal by any definition, and I'm also female. I don't think a nipple is harmful to anyone, most of all the very small children who need them. Why a nipple is considered harmful, beats the living shit out of me (sorry for the profanity, but it seems wildly appropriate). Nipples are actually nice. Torture is bad. Treating your in group better than your outsiders kind of makes a mockery or the Book of Ruth (okay, I was raised Unitarian, I don't know the Jewish names) or even Esther. Really. The "we're the in club and your not" never ends in good results. Ever.

Yes, I protect my kids against all others, but that includes teaching them that they are part of the world at large and that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers (going back to the very beginning of the Hebrew and Christian books). Really. Not just our sister, our brother, our son, our child, our friend, but the stranger among us.

I'm not religious at all (in belief, culturally, I suppose I have to own to Christianity and all the bigotry and torture that it encompassed in its history), but I am proud of my Danish** heritage or openmindedness and caring.*** Caring actually does a lot of good in the world, pretty darn universally. Rule-worshipping can be good or bad, depending on the rules. I'll go for caring, within the context of rules that actually make sense.

Go back to dealing with the world in the abstract. And remember to actually be nice to someone real (not just your wife or girlfriend, who you hope will help with your Penis of Purity as long as her Vagina of Vileness is in the correct lunar state).

*HH, if you're female, my apologies, but I don't think you are for some weird reason.

**Half-Danish.

***At the Holocaust Museum, along with all the individuals who actually helped people, you'll see that "The People of Denmark" are named in their entirety because along with Bulgaria (I believe, I'm chauvinistic, of course, as much as I try not to be, so I don't know the Bulgarian story as well as I do the Danish one) the Danes reacted quite badly to the idea of turning people living within their country over to torture or murder, despite the fact that those people weren't ethnically of the in-group, Danes, but were outsiders, Jews, and declined to cooperate with and actively resisted Nazi efforts to round up Jews in Denmark -- sorry about the grammar). The "People of Denmark" generally seem to value following rules, but are also raised to care for others and amazingly rejected rules requiring turning over neighbors (of whatever background) to arrest, torture, and murder for no reason as being a violation of their duty to care. Call me silly, but I like that value. But then, I'm a woman with a Vagina of Vileness (and more than one nipple) that still has Periods of Impurity (get over your damn squeamish selves), not a Penis of Personal Purity (and Pusillaniousness). Go figure. Oh, and I'm probably emotional. That's why I care for individuals and people as a group.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Why a nipple is considered harmful, beats the living shit out of me.

I guess you were not following the thread.

I also guess you were not following the thread that nowhere was it said that caring for others is wrong.

But maybe you are being a bit jumpy over-the-top and emotional. Maybe you should get that "vagina" of yours checked.

Foilwoman said...

HH: I explained why I wasn't following the thread, but I was making the point there, but maybe the idea of caring for a sick child and being too tired to think is an unfamiliar state for you?

I did understand the Janet Jackson reference -- it just seems silly. Actually, worse than silly. It's a body part. That's all. I don't think that's have as harmful (or harmful at all). My POV, but that's from a person with a vagina that you think needs to be "checked out"? Why? The old hysteria thing? I'm more worried about people dying from lack of health care than excessive nipple exposure, but I guess that's emotional too.

But my overall point is this: caring (vis a vis Denmark or Darfur) should and can trump rules in many situations. When the rules are wrong, acting in a caring manner is one's best defense. And the whole "purity of women" and keeping women's bodies pure thing is what I'm mocking as well as the concepts of uncleanliness during the menstrual cycle, the horror of temptation by womens bodies, and all the ideas men impose on women which I view as actively harmful to women. I view them (the incredible restrictions on woman created by patriarchal religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, whatever) as harmful to women's self-esteem, to their body image, to their willingness to engage in sex, and to their ability to enjoy sex. Now, I know for many, the ability of women to enjoy sex and their own bodies (as opposed to having those women kept available for men's enjoyment, or being kept away from men to keep the lucky women "pure") are not values of interest.

But back to the kid, and real life. And my sympathies to you HH. You don't even seem to see the visceral emotion in your own response.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I'm more worried about people dying from lack of health care than excessive nipple exposure, but I guess that's emotional too.

See, this still shows you were not following the thread.

>uncleanliness during the menstrual cycle

Was anyone talking about this?

>as harmful to women's self-esteem

That is your opinion, and I think you are entitled to it. I think what women have done to themselves ever since the sixties has caused more harm to themselves then anything men have done.

>You don't even seem to see the visceral emotion in your own response.

Actually, I was laughing while I was writing my response

Jewish Atheist said...

I think violence is just as an important issue as sex. Its just sex is so rampant everwhere. Its in commercials selling deoderants, drinks. Its everywhere in tabloids. Its now even very present in video games.

And violence isn't?? Why do conservatives (not you, personally, necessarily) disproportionately worry about the sex?

This i a post onto itself. But I think the promiscuity, the over sexualized society, spreading it to the children in so many venues. The lack of modesty in society and college campuses where something like celibacy is sneared at as being prudish are all connected to the affects of the 60s.

Yes, but you need to explain WHY that's bad. Is e.g. promiscuity bad in and of itself or because it leads to e.g. STDs and unwed pregnancy? I was assuming the latter, which is why I pointed out that people from moral conservative areas actually fare worse with regard to those effects.

I don't understand. What conservative values are causing teen and unwed pregnancies?

Fear of sex-ed and education in general, shame-based morality, lack of harm reduction, etc.

Maybe they are. But maybe they aren't. Jumping on the bandwagon and calling people racists is probably not the best thing always.

Agreed.

Really?? Where is the venomous shouting against those that are ACTUALLY committing the crime. There is petition to save those being killed, but hardly ever such hatred to the actual perpetrators of the crime there, or anywhere else in the world.

I think Israel represents Western imperialism to them in the way that e.g. Arab states or African countries do not.

Either I am dyslexic, or you have to restate that. Sorry :)

Probably my fault. :-) My point is that if you're going to compare results to results, conservatives can't be too proud about the results of, e.g. Iraq.

Of course we are talking about war here. In a terrorist action there is no "other" in which to choose (ie, either them or us). So for example, in war, (at least in my opinion and perhaps common sence) you do not send troops into a place you know is swarmed with enemy in order to spare the civilian lives that are in the same area.

Okay, but we have to draw the line somewhere, right? How many innocent people can we kill as collateral damage to get one bad guy? If I recall correctly, Israel actually has a formal calculus for this sort of thing, which is somewhere around 4 to 1. I'm perfectly okay with that assuming war and that the bad guy is really bad, but what if it's 40 to 1? Or 100? Or what if we're just firebombing a hundred thousand civilians in a night for strategic advantage, as we did in Japan?

Sure its hard. It should be hard to see something like that. But before people begin to condemn, they should at least think. I mean, since when does number of dead show us right and wrong?

People on both sides are bad at thinking objectively.

Some stuff I would like to see fixed indeed. But I do not see how for example marriage and adoption is a right? A society has a right to have certain boundaries it feel are important.

Marriage is more about fairness. Adoption is just decency, in my opinion. On the rest, it sounds like you're agreeing that the current anti-gay policies do cause harm.


FW:

Thanks for the rare comments! It's about time *somebody* took my side on this debate. ;-)


HH:

Maybe you should get that "vagina" of yours checked.

WTF? Let's try to keep it civil, please.

Holy Hyrax said...

>WTF? Let's try to keep it civil, please.

That was obviously an over the top response to her over the top comments about her vagina

Jewish Atheist said...

Ah. I get it now.

Orthoprax said...

"And the whole "purity of women" and keeping women's bodies pure thing is what I'm mocking as well as the concepts of uncleanliness during the menstrual cycle, the horror of temptation by womens bodies, and all the ideas men impose on women which I view as actively harmful to women."

It's better for women to live in an overtly sexualized society where women sell their bodies (literally and figuratively), physcological disorders like anorexia is common and millions of girls and women have true self-esteem issues based on the impossible perfection sold on magazine covers?

When sex sells - in actual fact, in advertisement, in movies, in magazines - the merits of women's *characters* is undermined. Modesty - tzniut - in dress and activity makes men see the woman and not the body. Opening that door leads to the exploitation of women, not their freedom.

I would also suggest that promiscuity and permissive premarital sex makes for weaker marriages and poorer families down the line. I don't believe it is coincidence that most marriages end in divorce today.

Now obviously I'm no fan of repressive societies but I think American society has taken the wrong path when it comes to sexuality in many respects.

Jewish Atheist said...

OP:

I don't believe it is coincidence that most marriages end in divorce today.

I can't believe you'd make such a shockingly false statement.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

Ok, you're right. I should have said that most marriages have been *projected* to end in divorce (US Census Bureau).

But there's no doubt that it isn't a real issue today. And the reason divorce rates have been going down lately is because the marriage rate is going down too.

Jewish Atheist said...

The divorce rate is due to no-fault divorce, not (directly) to the sexual revolution. People aren't staying in unhappy marriages any more as much as they used to. While divorce sucks, it's not necessarily worse than the alternative, for the couple or for the kids.

Besides, again, it's the social conservatives who are at most risk for divorce. The top ten states for divorce voted Republican in 2004, while the 10 of the 12 states with the least divorce went for Kerry. Teen pregnancy in Texas is twice that of Massachusetts.

Are you really trying to tell me that the sexual revolution disproportionately affected red states? Come on.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"The divorce rate is due to no-fault divorce, not (directly) to the sexual revolution."

It definitely contributed, but do you honestly believe things like marital infidelity had nothing to do with it?

"Are you really trying to tell me that the sexual revolution disproportionately affected red states? Come on."

No, you've offered specious statistics. There are other factors involved besides social values and those are things like age at marriage, education and income levels. I think it is generally understood that income and education are more wanting in states like Texas than states like Massachusetts. They confound the results.

It, however, is stupendously obvious that things have gotten way worse than, say, how it was in 1940. Today around 30% of children are born to unwed parents - in 1940 it was 4%.

Foilwoman said...

HH: “>uncleanliness during the menstrual cycle: Was anyone talking about this?” The subject of conservatism, the value of sexual purity, and the need for women’s purity covers all of this, and it informs your beliefs. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all cover the whole female sin/female uncleanness extensively and is a large part of all three religions fetishizing the hymen and female virginity.

“>as harmful to women's self-esteem

That is your opinion, and I think you are entitled to it. I think what women have done to themselves ever since the sixties has caused more harm to themselves then anything men have done.”

That’s your opinion as well. Of course, women’s economic power, etc. has increased vastly since the sixties, and we certainly don’t have to stay in marriages with men who mistreat us or abuse us. We aren’t dying of illegal abortions anymore (yet, but it looks like that tide may still turn so that dead women’s bodies will turn up in hotel rooms again after they’ve bled out).

“>You don't even seem to see the visceral emotion in your own response.: Actually, I was laughing while I was writing my response” You certainly didn’t manage to communicate that in your writing, but much humor is actually rooted in anger and rage. That’s the vibe I was getting. Of course, I could be mistaken: you may have a benevolent attitude toward women, toward the world, and toward life. I don’t see it, but this is the Internet and it’s easy to misread people. If so, I’m glad.

JA: I’m too late to really participate, and I really regard the whole debate as I would listening to my nephews debate “Who is better? The Silver Surfer or the Incredible Hulk?” I really just get this whole vibe of boys sitting around in a club house with a “No Gurls Allowed” sign on the doorway, one that HH seems to have written. My comment may have been over the top, but that’s the vibe, and my comment was my bleary-eyed reaction.

Orthorpax: You wrote: “It's better for women to live in an overtly sexualized society where women sell their bodies (literally and figuratively), physcological disorders like anorexia is common and millions of girls and women have true self-esteem issues based on the impossible perfection sold on magazine covers?”

Depends on the sexuality sexualized, obviously. If it’s a healthy sexuality, based on mutual respect for both sexes and for sex between two consenting adults, I don’t have a problem with sexualization. And I view most of the sexualization of women in the media as being based on masculine desires, not female sexuality, which continues to be punished and oppressed. Prostitution exists in societies that keep women in chadors, in hijab, in long skirts, all covered up. It’s not the visibility of the body that creates prostitution or exploitation. It’s the attitude toward the body and toward, specifically the female body and female sexuality.

And anorexia and the concept, expressed by many, that women have a duty to be beautiful (meaning “look good”) is on the same page of social control of women as the duty to appear to be non-sexual. If a woman can’t show her hair or her knees or if she can’t show cellulite or whatever, it’s just about social control. I actually think that a woman can be sexually active from within hijab or a long skirt or a wig or whatever. It’s just about labels and control. And neither is liberating or ennobling to the woman. It’s all controlling and somewhat exploitive.

“When sex sells - in actual fact, in advertisement, in movies, in magazines - the merits of women's *characters* is undermined. Modesty - tzniut - in dress and activity makes men see the woman and not the body. Opening that door leads to the exploitation of women, not their freedom.”

When sex sells, actually I believe it is the character of the buyer (usually a man) or the exploirter (usually a man: pimp, movie producer, whatever) that is undermined. A woman in a bikini or a naked woman is similar less dressed or undressed. She isn’t dishonest, she isn’t a child-abuser, she isn’t a thief, she is merely unclothed. A man who forces, coerces, or pays a woman to do that, especially when it’s against her will (as it most often is, at least regarding pornography) is not so innocent. Also, a man who cannot respect a woman if he sees whatever forbidden part gets him revving (ankle, knee, wrist, elbow, lock of hair, or, heaven forfend, nipple or other part) is a man who doesn’t respect women. That’s all. We all feel desire, and we all learn not to act on it. It is not the handsome young construction worker’s fault that I look at him and think “Hello, salty goodness.” He doesn’t owe me anything and he hasn’t done anything wrong when he takes his shirt off on a hot day (his older, chubby, co-worker, yeah, that’s wrong, keep the shirt on, bucko). I know he’s a stranger and it’s just a look. Similarly, a beautiful or attractive or merely living, breathing woman isn’t responsible for how a man reacts to seeing her. He has a superego, and whatever desire he feels, he can control it unless he wants to be regarded as an animal who has no control over his impulses. If he can control his desire around the boss’s daughter (as most men do, no matter how she dresses) he can manage to control it around a stranger on the street or his sister-in-law. Unless he really wants to claim lower life form status.

“I would also suggest that promiscuity and permissive premarital sex makes for weaker marriages and poorer families down the line. I don't believe it is coincidence that most marriages end in divorce today.”

Depends on the family. Women now are able to leave abusive and unfaithful spouses, and emotionally cruel spouses. Men are able to do the same. Some marriages end for frivolous reasons, but most marriages I’ve seen end ended long past everyone around was worrying whether the next call would be about a fatality. And I haven’t seen that many marriages end. While women do file most divorce petitions, that’s because now they aren’t as trapped. Instead of complaining that women are free to leave men who mistreat them, men could stop and think about treating their wife well all along so that she doesn’t want to leave. It’s a concept that will be foreign and offensive to some, I agree, but that says more about them than anything else.

Women, except in fairly restrictive and isolated communities, are no longer required to marry and don’t have to stay married no matter what. We are free to leave if we can support ourselves (even if it will be a real and horrible struggle financially, as it most often is), and I view that as a good thing, even if there are societal costs. While children may be better off with both parents, if those parents can treat each other with some respect and affection, where there is no respect or affection and even cruelty, abuse, and violence, I’m glad people in those situations can leave.

“Now obviously I'm no fan of repressive societies but I think American society has taken the wrong path when it comes to sexuality in many respects.”

I agree that our path regarding sexuality isn’t healthy, but probably for opposite reasons than you do. All the sexuality you see in the media is so based on the masculine sexual stereotype that it leaves out female satisfaction. That Viagra is seen as a solution to satisfying one’s partner once middle age sets in for men says it all. Since most women don’t achieve orgasm through penile penetration anyway, the men chasing this goal really aren’t focussed on their partner’s satisfaction (and probably never were): they are all about their own pleasure. Or, as the immortal Kira Newton of the Wyrd blog wrote, quoting a student of hers: “Who cares whether Heminway’s hero can’t have traditional sex due to his war wound? He has hands and a tongue doesn’t he? He’s a loser.” But I don’t think that perspective holds any sway unless female satisfaction and female sexuality are valued and respected. I don’t see that happening here anytime soon. Fortunately, I don’t have to change the world, just my own little corner of it. Until then, I’m saddened by most purity and modesty debate and deep lack of respect for women most of it doesn’t hide very well.

Holy Hyrax said...

Foilwoman

I am not even going to read your entire comment only because you are a little angry judgemental woman. You know nothing of me to say I have written "no girls allowed." You know nothing about Judaism but you are able to make such horrible stereotypical assertions. Nobody cares about your hyman.

Read the whole entire thread. Start to finish and show me where I have been some anti-female prick.

You need to get some sleep.

Holy Hyrax said...

I’m saddened by most purity and modesty debate and deep lack of respect for women most of it doesn’t hide very well.

Priceless

Holy Hyrax said...

That Viagra is seen as a solution to satisfying one’s partner once middle age sets in for men says it all. Since most women don’t achieve orgasm through penile penetration anyway, the men chasing this goal really aren’t focussed on their partner’s satisfaction (and probably never were): they are all about their own pleasure.

Oh the great conspiracy of it all. You have a very negative approach to life. You view things very cynically. Its actually quite sad.

Orthoprax said...

FW,

"When sex sells, actually I believe it is the character of the buyer (usually a man) or the exploirter (usually a man: pimp, movie producer, whatever) that is undermined. A woman in a bikini or a naked woman is similar less dressed or undressed."

My point was not an ethical condemnation of the woman, but an observation that men (and general society) don't see the woman as an individual when her clothes are off.

"where there is no respect or affection and even cruelty, abuse, and violence, I’m glad people in those situations can leave."

Of course, I have no argument there. My point is about the "infrastructure" of social relationships in America, not policy. People should be free to associate and dissassociate as they please, but popular culture promotes superficial, weak relationships with a big dose of selfishness and poor commitment.

Promiscuity reduces the sexual act to something as meaningful as eating ice cream. It goes as far as "it feels good" and then that's it. The social turmoil that follows such attitudes is palpable in America.

Does it not amaze you guys that one out of three babies today is born outside of marriage?

"But I don’t think that perspective holds any sway unless female satisfaction and female sexuality are valued and respected."

Ironically, you may be surprised to hear this, but traditional Judaism has a concept of Mitzvat Onah - that a man has an obligation to meet the sexual needs of his wife. This dates back to at least the times of the Mishnah, some ~2000 years ago.

I'm not anti-sex (far from it), but sexuality has its time and place. It is naive to think that you can change the biological drives of mankind by blaming the man for how he is aroused by provocative dress. Simple public modesty will do more to strengthen the male/female conversation than dressing provocatively followed by anger at the male reaction.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Also, a man who cannot respect a woman if he sees whatever forbidden part gets him revving (ankle, knee, wrist, elbow, lock of hair, or, heaven forfend, nipple or other part) is a man who doesn’t respect women.

A man should always respect a woman whether he gets aroused or not, but it is very hard for a man who is more agressive by nature to a respect a woman that is basically acting like a sexual object. In the end that is how she will be treated. This may be a shock to some people here, a mans nature does not let himself be bothered being seen as a sexual object.

I remember prom a few years ago and how the girls would dance with the guys (doggie style). I remember frat parties and what would go on there. I think when a woman presents herself as a sexual object, that is how she will be treated. You would be suprised how much female modesty can teach us guys on how to treat you.

Foilwoman said...

HH: If you have to consider it angry and judgmental, that's of course your point of view. That you have to label it as such, those are your social skills. Not much to be done.

Viagra isn't a conspiracy, but it was covered by most insurers before birth control was, and that says a lot. I don't view any of this as a conspiracy. It's how most patriarchal societies are.

And I think men are actually sane and intelligently to learn to treat other people, women including, with respect. Societally enforced modesty hasn't helped the Muslim world treat women respectfully, and I don't see it in enclosed and restrictive societies here. I think it makes men divide women into good and bad based on perceived sexually availability, that's all.

And you dismissed the Viagra statement without actually addressing the point made. Maybe you didn't mean to sound sneering and hostile, but you could actually think about that a bit. And answer this: within sex, is is just for male orgasm and procreation or should a women feel pleasure too?

I've got to go to work to support my family, but will respond further to HH and Orthroprax later.

Holy Hyrax said...

>If you have to consider it angry and judgmental, that's of course your point of view.

Well, when you accuse me of creating an atmosphere of "no girls" how else am i to take it?

Anyways, shabbat shalom all. I am off to celebrate my bday :)

Im 28 :(

Foilwoman said...

Orthoprax: My comments to HH got too long and I’ll respond to your comments (if I have any more energy) later, but I’m not ignoring what you wrote.

HH: You wrote: “I am not even going to read your entire comment only because you are a little angry judgemental woman. You know nothing of me to say I have written "no girls allowed." You know nothing about Judaism but you are able to make such horrible stereotypical assertions. Nobody cares about your hyman.”

“Read the whole entire thread. Start to finish and show me where I have been some anti-female prick.”

To address your comment thoroughly, I am going to have to write a fairly long post, although it won’t address the entire thread – and then will follow up if there is any point in this discussion.

You state, apropos of nothing, that I am angry and judgmental, which really isn’t necessary. If I am, that will be clear to everyone who reads the post, so you’re wasting words and time making the statement, apparently trying for a reaction (so be thrilled: you got an amused and slightly sad smile from me, but probably not for the reasons you suppose), revealing more about yourself while stating either that the sky is blue or the sky is green. Then you tell me that I’ve brought this on myself by, what you say is accusing you of creating a no girls allowed atmosphere. Then you tell me to read the entire comments and show that you aren’t some anti-female prick. I’ll respond to your comments to me, but don’t have time to read the 58 odd prior comments in detail. I have a lot of real world responsibilities. If you can manage to respond to my comments to you without adding lots of unnecessary adjectives directed at me, I’ll read back in more detail and you will make a more favorable impression on me. I don’t know why you would care about that, but I’ll by honest, so far, you’re doing your best to prove the negatives you apparently believe I think about you personally (?). HH, I don’t know you, except that I assumed, correctly, you’re a guy (that wasn’t hard, and I’ll tell you how if you want to know) and you say you just had a birthday. I hope it was a good one and that your 29th year is a good year. I assume you are an Orthodox or conservative Jew, but I wouldn’t really know. You could be a rodeo rider is Boise.

I never said you were an anti-female prick. If you think that is what I think of you, that is incorrect. My impression is that you belong to a world that has a number of misogynistic tenets, but I’ll be happy to find out that my impression is erroneous. I also admit that I know very little about the Frum world as it isn’t open to me. I do actually care about Judaism, in the same way that I care about many things that don’t directly touch my life every day (I am not Jewish). I’m interested, aware of the horrors of relatively recent history, and despise anti-semitism whenever I recognize it (like recognizing racism or any other sort of prejudice, I cannot pretend that my perception here is the one that counts). Like most people in one group on the outside of another group, I have a fair amount of what must be misinformation about the groups of which I am not a member. I am happy to learn otherwise whenever I have been misinformed. Most of what I know about Judaism is from knowledge of Reform and Reconstructionist Jews (family members and friends) and what they have told me. As an agnostic, I’m am quite doubtful as to claims of being on god’s order (more of a problem with fundamentalist Christians, generally, it makes me quite skeptical whenever I hear it or read it). When talking about patriarchal religions, I think we can all agree that Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are all patriarchal. I view them all as harming women in various ways by that patriarchy. I generally mean “all three” whenever I talk about religion. There are customs in each religion that are unsettling to a woman. The Christian emphasis on sexual purity. Emphasis of all three religions’ conservative/fundamentalist branches on physical control of women by covering them up and making women responsible and to blame for men’s desires. The whole ritual bath/purity thing (Islam and Judaism) which just seems to emphasize the perceived uncleanliness of women thing.

If I am misinformed about specifics, by all means, share. Telling me I’m wrong, without an explanation will not do any good. You’ll need to tell me why. As an outsider, otherwise how would I learn? if I am violating some unwritten rule regarding how to discuss or refer to Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, do tell me. JA’s original post was about conservatives and liberals. I assumed it referred to all religions, and didn’t realize my comments would be construed as referring specifically to Judaism. For that I apologize. I will try to be very specific about religious practices that I am referring to so as to not create blanket statements.

As an example of this sort of process that can end well, almost three years ago, a young man on a blog made a number racist statements that were mostly a result of misinformation. He concluded with the statement that he wanted to buy a confederate flag when he came to the U.S. to visit. I wanted to call him a some bad names, but didn’t. I don’t him this thinking would hurt a number of people he had read about and seemed to like on my blog and I told him why it would hurt those people. We then had a rational, if at times tense discussion of racism in America and are now good friends, and he has indeed, met some of the people who would have been deeply hurt to read his original views on black people. So if there’s anything that you think someone is ignorant of that’s important, why not just tell them? Not telling them “you racist or anti-semitic idiot” but just say: “I think you’re wrong and here’s why.” You might even change someone’s mind that way. I can pretty much guarantee you you will never change anyone’s mind by telling them they are angry and judgmental.

You may then ask about my tone: I have a blog persona. She’s profane, she’s feminist, and she resists catering to the male ego (I’ve don’t that a lot in my early life, and well, I’m done now). I try not to insult personally, but I do use hyperbole and shocking language to jolt a bit. I have not called you an anti-female prick. I do think your religion is misogynistic to some degree (again, assuming Judaism, but I would believe that if you were Christian, Muslim, or Hindu as well. I’m hard-pressed to think of a mainstream religion that isn’t misogynistic), and some of your comments have made me feel* that there’s some misogyny floating around in there. If I’m wrong, say so. How you respond will give some credence to (or, and I hope not, take credence away from) what you say.

Lengthy explanation done, on to the specifics, and I’m putting these in order from the comments, not in any order of priority. If I have time to organize, but this is getting long and nap time (for my youngest) is almost done.

You wrote: “>uncleanliness during the menstrual cycle: Was anyone talking about this?” Yes. JA stated it in the original post that started this debate: “As for Purity/Sanctity, how is that a moral issue? Oh, she had premarital sex, therefore she's immoral? She's on her period, so it's immoral for her husband to touch her” This quote also applies to your comment about my hymen (You wrote: “Nobody cares about your hyman”). What was the purpose of that? The original post did indeed discuss the purity/sanctity value emphasis placed on this piece of tissue. If you meant that to offend me, it didn’t. If you didn’t mean to offend me, here’s why it didn’t offend me: I’m 46, I have two kids, my hymen is gone with the wind and talking about it isn’t going to upset me. I may wonder why it’s an issue for someone, but that’s really all. But you never did address the whole religious focus (again, not just Judaism, Christianity and Islam can take the rap here too) female purity and its speciousness and just used to to attack, not argue. That statement there (again, just so you remember: “Nobody cares about your hyman.”) misconstruing a legitimate question about the value religions and social conservatives place on virginity into some sort or personal issue and attempt at an attack does bolster the misogyny perception. The need to respond that way was there, and I wonder why you felt you hand to respond in that manner. As an attack, it didn’t work (I’m not upset. I’m still 46, and I’m still not a virgin.) and as anything else (rational argument? I don’t think so), well, you tell me its purpose. The only purpose I can find for it is either personal animus (at an Internet persona that seems rather futile) or to enforce the no girls allowed vibe by trying to chase me away. Since that didn’t work, I suggest a different tack. What did I miss about that and the “get that vagina of yours checked” comment? My original comment was not attacking you. It was attacking ideas of purity and women’s place. Why did you need to respond in this way that, at least to me, seems to demean you and not anyone else? Again, I may be the object of your apparent scorn, but you’re the objectifier and in my worldview, you are the one who is harmed and shamed by that.

In response to this comment of mine: “I’m saddened by most purity and modesty debate and deep lack of respect for women most of it doesn’t hide very well.” You merely wrote: “Priceless.” If you want any discussion, you’ll actually have to articulate your thoughts. I’ll try to explain mine: most societies that control women’s physical clothing are societies in which women have very few rights and are treated very badly. They are not treated respectfully. The get beaten or spit on if they dress inappropriately or worse. I’m thinking of several different religions and societies here. They economic status is low, their personal freedoms are low, and even things like access to health care and birth control and pre-natal care a less available, on the whole, to women in societies with more extreme purity and modesty rules. Given that, I don’t think the conclusion that there is an underlying lack of respect or caring for women involved. You think that’s priceless? Why?

Again in response to this statement: “That Viagra is seen as a solution to satisfying one’s partner once middle age sets in for men says it all. Since most women don’t achieve orgasm through penile penetration anyway, the men chasing this goal really aren’t focussed on their partner’s satisfaction (and probably never were): they are all about their own pleasure.” You wrote: “Oh the great conspiracy of it all. You have a very negative approach to life. You view things very cynically. Its actually quite sad.”

I actually responded to this, but again, instead of addressing the issue, you personalize, so I’m mentioning it here again so you can see the pattern of your behavior and tone. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy. It’s just what is. Viagra was put ahead of birth control in health care priorities by insurers. Penile penetration is not the primary source of orgasm for most women. To this, you make no comment, but just say I’m cynical and I have a negative approach to life. If so, why do you need to say so? To attack? To make you feel better? If I am cynical, like the sky being blue, you saying so doesn’t change anything. Same thing with negativity. If someone is an angry, bitter person, do they become less angry and bitter by people telling them they are? If you truly believe someone is cynical, show them something to not be cynical about. If they’re negative, try showing something positive. Telling them they are negative or cynical is useless. And if you are wrong or just trying to avoid an issue by deflecting the debate or sidestepping by attacking another person, that’s a sadder statement on you than anything else. What were you trying to achieve with that statement?

You wrote: A man should always respect a woman whether he gets aroused or not, but it is very hard for a man who is more agressive by nature to a respect a woman that is basically acting like a sexual object. In the end that is how she will be treated. This may be a shock to some people here, a mans nature does not let himself be bothered being seen as a sexual object.”
“I remember prom a few years ago and how the girls would dance with the guys (doggie style). I remember frat parties and what would go on there. I think when a woman presents herself as a sexual object, that is how she will be treated. You would be suprised how much female modesty can teach us guys on how to treat you.”

HH, the whole point of objectification is that women are just being people, human beings with the right to be themselves. Women don’t ‘act like objects’. Men objectify them. Women really can’t stop men from objectifying us no matter what we do. Objectification will only stop when men stop doing it not when women stop “acting like obejcts.” Women act like women, not like objects. As for men not being bothered by being objectified, I would argue that it’s a power relationship, and many men are bothered by obejctification, they just aren’t as objectified as often. As for dancing doggy style, that’s not “acting like a sexual object”, that could be be acting like a sexual actor, not an object. I.e., someone who can indicate when she feels desire. I may be misreading, but you seem to doubt that women can want sex and pursue it, and thus women acting in a sexual way are only trying to incite male desire. There is also the possibility that the women are acting on their very own sexual desire and want to have sex. In my book, amongst consenting adults (and in college, I assume the women dancing this way were adults, free to decide) expressing desire to a willing partner is something that is not a bad thing. And women should be free to do that, or else all the men on the planet (no, HH, this isn’t a personal attack on you) will be running around screaming that they can’t get any action. Even within a community with a premium on virginity and monogamy, I’d like to think that women should be as free as men to express and act on their own desires. Women don’t just exist for satisfaction of male desires.

This is getting too long, so I’m stopping now. I hope you had a meaningful Sabbath and that your birthday celebration was good. Why does turning 28 give you a frowny face? You’re a peach-fuzzed faced baby with your life still ahead of you. Okay, maybe you have a beard. But you’re still a baby. And I mean that in a “you’re young, enjoy life” way, not in a “I’m older and wiser” way, although I am older, if not wiser.



*Please note, you can say something that makes me feel you are misogynistic. That doesn’t mean you are misogynistic. That’s how I’ve perceived it. You can choose to ignore, debunk, apologize, attack, or clarify, all of which responses will have different affects on my perception. Ignoring and attacking will be (a vague disclosure is no-one’s friend, so I’m warning you up front) perceived by me as the weakest and least intellectually honest responses.

Jewish Atheist said...

FW:

I thought this was a great point:

As for dancing doggy style, that’s not “acting like a sexual object”, that could be be acting like a sexual actor, not an object. I.e., someone who can indicate when she feels desire. I may be misreading, but you seem to doubt that women can want sex and pursue it, and thus women acting in a sexual way are only trying to incite male desire. There is also the possibility that the women are acting on their very own sexual desire and want to have sex.

That perfectly encapsulates my understanding of the subject in a way I didn't previously know how to express.

Foilwoman said...

JA: Thanks. I was worrying, earlier, if my blog persona’s tone had totally interfered with the point I was trying to make, but I see that it was comprehensible, at least this time.

Orthoprax:

You responded to my statement: "When sex sells, actually I believe it is the character of the buyer (usually a man) or the exploirter (usually a man: pimp, movie producer, whatever) that is undermined. A woman in a bikini or a naked woman is similar less dressed or undressed." By writing: ‘My point was not an ethical condemnation of the woman, but an observation that men (and general society) don't see the woman as an individual when her clothes are off.’ Well, again, that says more about men than anything else, and I fail to see how the solution to that is to restrict women. Why women have to bear the burden of this and not the ones who create the problem, the men, completely eludes me. Maybe in some societies it’s the hair, in others, it’s the legs, or the calves, or the feet. The end of the continuum, of course, is requiring the entire woman to be hidden. I’m not seeing much benefit to the woman there. Or much respect. The woman is as effectively objectified as being forbidden. And worst of all, she is forbidden to be physically free.

In response to: "where there is no respect or affection and even cruelty, abuse, and violence, I’m glad people in those situations can leave." You wrote: ‘Of course, I have no argument there. My point is about the "infrastructure" of social relationships in America, not policy. People should be free to associate and dissassociate as they please, but popular culture promotes superficial, weak relationships with a big dose of selfishness and poor commitment.’ That may well be true, but what’s the solution. The states with the highest divorce rates are the Red states, the conservative states. Blue states have lower rates. I have no idea what the link is, but where the women are more empowered and where Bob Jones University has very little sway, we tend to file for divorce less. Or maybe it’s the Red state guys who make the Red state rate so high? I don’t know, My hunch is that it’s the lack of social services and such that makes marriages in the Red states more fragile, but that’s not based on any evidence, it’s just a sneaking suspicion. But within the U.S., anyway, people living in conversative areas divorce more than those living in liberal ones. How does that fit within your perception?


You wrote: ‘Promiscuity reduces the sexual act to something as meaningful as eating ice cream. It goes as far as "it feels good" and then that's it. The social turmoil that follows such attitudes is palpable in America.’ I have no idea what you mean by promiscuity here. Do you mean people who have sex outside of marriage? People who have more than two sexual partners? Ten? Fifty? Any non-marital sexual relationship? Adulterers? How do you know that sex is ‘as meaningful as eating an ice cream’ to people you deem promiscuous. My personal believe is that sex is something that can be an amazing and wonderful connection between two people: it can be wonderful, meaningful, and almost sacred, or it can be heartwarming and a whole bunch of fun (and if it’s not one of those two for both parties, someone’s doing something wrong), but it is also very animalistic. It’s a desire that gets thwarted all the time, and when one is lucky enough to have it not be thwarted (either by one’s own impulse control and superego or by rejection), it’s not something to take lightly or sneeze at. I know there are people with much more serious views of sex and people with views I would probably view with horror at how lightly they take the responsibility of joining with another person in this way.

Also, I have no idea what social turmoil you are talking about. Prior to modern medicine, most marriages ended within a few years due to death, and the same turmoil existed. Now, divorce plays the role the grim reaper did. The situation really hasn’t changed that much. I don’t advocate going back to the old system and have every other couple lose a partner through death every five years and the current system is not idea either. Some argue that the divorce rate rose in response to the sexual revolution, but it actualy, probably as some sort of reaction to the lowered mortality rates, was rising all through the 20th Century. And marriages exist with at least one partner taking multiple other partners all over the world. That raises the AIDS rate, but not the divorce rate (mainly because the women don’t have the economic and societal power to leave their husbands as easily in Africa and Asia). No answers here, just observations.

’Does it not amaze you guys that one out of three babies today is born outside of marriage?’ No, it doesn’t. It’s a direct result of our nation’s dreadful attitude toward sex education and family planning. And the teen pregnancy rate hasn’t changed since the fifties, the girls and women just aren’t being made to marry the partner (and that partner isn’t being forced to marry them). I do not advocate requiring seventeen year olds to marry to lower the out of wedlock birthrate, but instead think that adequate knowledge of and avilability of birth control would help a lot. And that would also have the benefit of lowering abortion rates as well.

I wrote: "But I don’t think that perspective holds any sway unless female satisfaction and female sexuality are valued and respected." ‘Ironically, you may be surprised to hear this, but traditional Judaism has a concept of Mitzvat Onah - that a man has an obligation to meet the sexual needs of his wife. This dates back to at least the times of the Mishnah, some ~2000 years ago.’ I’m happy to read this. The Puritans, amazingly enough, had a similar view of sex within marriage. In at least one Muslim society, the woman can divorce her husband by going to the Mosque and stating publicly that he’s just not satisfying her. Doesn’t get done very often, because the women feel that that is just too humiliating – the man is then a laughingstock – so that rule in that society doesn’t actually result in many more orgasms per woman (I want to establish a new happiness measure: Orgasms per woman per year. Really. I think it would be a great statistic to track.) Whether women have the sexual knowledge (it’s a learned skill, and for women, reaching orgasm isn’t as straightforward as it is for a man. The woman has to know what she wants and be able to be unembarrassed and unafraid in demanding it from the man) and power to demand satisfaction is another question. One friend of mine in college from a conservative culture was in an arranged marriage and her husband knew he had a duty to please his wife, and he had sex with her with the intent to please her. Unfortunately, he thought to please his wife, he just had to lubricate her a bit, insert his penis, and thrust until done. He would ask her if she had had an orgasm. A good and dutiful wife, she didn’t want him to feel inadequate, so she would say “I think so.” He never changed his technique. She started hanging out with women who she felt had more experience in these matters. At that point in time, I had no experience, but knew to research. We got her “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” We sent her to the student health service. Heck, I died of embarrassment buying her “Joy of Sex”. Finally, when know progress was being made, we suggested she talk to him. She just didn’t have the vocabulary. I have no idea how that story ended, but he may have had the duty and she may have had the right, but he didn’t have the knowledge or instinct to figure out what the clitoris was, and she didn’t feel powerful enough to tell him or show him.

But maybe things work differently under Mitzvat Onah – and I hope that they do. But for women, knowing what one wants and knowing how to ask for it, or even demand it (why should it be a plea?), are very far, far away goals.

You wrote: “I'm not anti-sex (far from it), but sexuality has its time and place. It is naive to think that you can change the biological drives of mankind by blaming the man for how he is aroused by provocative dress. Simple public modesty will do more to strengthen the male/female conversation than dressing provocatively followed by anger at the male reaction.”

But what is dressing provocatively? Showing one’s hair? Why should I be subjected to wig, because the sign of my hair might turn someone on. Wigs itch. They make your scalp sweat. They’re expensive. Scarves, slightly less so, but they are also annoying. Do I need to cover my legs to the ankles? To the knee? What’s provocative and what’s not provocative. I’ve had meaningful and respectful relationships with non-sexual partner male friends who visit me at my complex’s swimming pool . Maybe sometimes they get an erection watching me or another woman. Sometimes I get aroused watching the Eurodudes diving, too. We’re still able to talk, and I don’t think my arousal or their arousal are impulses any of us need to act on. The flip side of this, to ban half of us from the pool, from the bus, from the workplace, or allow us there but only if we hide our offensive and arousing selves is simply wrong. And my reaction to male arousal is never anger, unless the expression of the arousal is socially inappropriate. Sometimes my reaction is rejection, sometimes it’s acceptance.

I think the answer to men getting aroused by women isn’t to say “women shouldn’t arouse men”. That’s impossible. Sometimes, it’s just a scent that gets you going. Or an earlobe. Or the nape of a neck. Anyone can get aroused by just about anything. The only solution to that is to ban one sex from the public world or severely restrict that sex. So my answer is this: we all, men and women, have to learn that we have desires. There’s nothing wrong with desire. We just can’t act on it all the time. We don’t act on it if we feel it for relatives within a degree of consanguinity that varies by culture, but all cultures have that concept. We don’t act on it with people who would be harmed (someone incapable of giving consent, someone who is too young, someone over whom we have power). We don’t act on it when someone would be hurt (our spouse, or our best friend, if it’s our best friend’s spouse). We don’t act on it when it’s someone we don’t know (none of us, I’m pretty sure, walk up to strangers quoting Dire Straits: “Hey, you and me babe, how about it.”). We control our impulses.

The view than an aroused man has to act on that arousal is ludicrous, to me, at least. Or if he has to act on in, here’s my suggestion: masturbation. Really. She didn’t arouse him. He got aroused. He can take care of it. Or he can take a cold shower. The idea that every arousal has to end in intercourse simply ignores that no-one should have to exist as a sexual outlet for another person. Partner, yes. But that’s mutual. But we all get aroused at times when we can’t act on it, and unless we want to go to jail for rape, we have to learn how to control our reactions. Just like potty training (a big part of my life up until recently, as my youngest is three). Really, I think men can do that. Most men, anyway. And the one’s who can’t will probably end up incarcerated, so I think it’s a valuable skill to learn.

Let me be clear: most men learn how to control their desires. Women definitely do (we get punished if we don’t). Men who don’t learn how to control their desires and demand sex whenever they get aroused are either abusive spouses or rapists. Not all or most men are rapists; very few are. But any man who thinks his desire means he gets to demand sex, well, he’s veering into that territory and it would behoove him to realize: you get to have sex, as a man or a woman when you want it and you find a willing and joyful partner. Now maybe, in a particular culture, that partner must be one’s spouse. Fine. But a loving and considerate man won’t think: I’m aroused, she must be. He’ll (and this is most men, and bravo to them, I say) will think: I’m aroused. Is she? If she isn’t, I’d better do something to make sure she is aroused. Regardless of what she’s wearing now.

And my personal experience of desire and clothing is this: I’ve had passes made at me when I was wearing tons of clothes (as a teenager I was shy and mortified about my body, so I covered it up and never wore a shirt unbuttoned or a skirt above the knees) and next to nothing (beach) and have never found that covering up a lot protected me from unwanted approaches. Really. I actually felt less safe when I thought men feeling desire was my “fault” than when I came to the realization that they were responsible for their feelings and I was responsible for mine. Then I felt free to give a polite no thank you (always, the first rejection was polite) and then escalate if needed. Just my experience, but there you are. I do dress to attract at times, but it’s not a green light to the world. It’s a yellow light: I might be looking, but I might not be looking for you. And I assume a guy who is looking isn’t always looking for me either. But that’s me giving him respect, just like I would like him to give me. Obviously, culturally, we have different rules.

But my bottom line is this: unless men want to say they are weaker and less able to control themselves and need to be put in some segregated system in which women are allowed to move around freely and the men are segregated to protect them from the horror of arousal by an impermissible woman, men need to learn (and can learn and have learned) to separate their desires from their actions. I think that’s part of being an adult in a free society. We can want anything, but that doesn’t mean we’ll get it, and unless we want all our choices restricted, we have to learn to live with unfulfilled desire. For things we can't afford, for people we want but who aren't interested in or can't be involved with us, for whatever.

Orthoprax said...

FW,

"Well, again, that says more about men than anything else, and I fail to see how the solution to that is to restrict women. Why women have to bear the burden of this and not the ones who create the problem, the men, completely eludes me."

BIOLOGY. Similarly, why do women have to bear the burden of pregnancy? It's men who cause that too! Terribly unfair, but that's reality.

Modesty applies just as well for men, but there's a reason why pornography for women isn't the billion dollar business it is for men.

If it was sociologically unacceptable for women to be in pornography, for example, the whole business would take a hit. Nowadays it's virtually established that female celebrities will eventually pose in Playboy or have that nude scene.

"That may well be true, but what’s the solution. The states with the highest divorce rates are the Red states, the conservative states. Blue states have lower rates."

Like I said to JA, that's a specious statistic. The divorce rates are highest among the poor and uneducated - which is more of a demographic issue in Southern states than rich states in the northeast.

Here's an interesting group of statistics taken from the General Social Survey:

http://www.spcc-storrs.org/blog/archives/Divorce_Table_1[1].pdf

"I have no idea what you mean by promiscuity here. Do you mean people who have sex outside of marriage? People who have more than two sexual partners? Ten? Fifty? Any non-marital sexual relationship? Adulterers? How do you know that sex is ‘as meaningful as eating an ice cream’ to people you deem promiscuous."

It's not an exact calculus - maybe you're some tantric Hindu who sees sex as a transcendent experience - but the fact is that sex has been grossly devalued in modern general society. Is this actually something you find debatable?

"Also, I have no idea what social turmoil you are talking about."

Like I said, weak relationships, etc. I don't believe death rates are the changing circumstance compared with the losing standing of marriage vows.

"I do not advocate requiring seventeen year olds to marry to lower the out of wedlock birthrate"

I do. It will make them take their actions more seriously - and frankly they owe a stable home to the life they have inadvertantly created.

I don't know how the observant Jewish world does it specifically, but where I come from unwed teen pregnancy rates are virtually nil.

"But what is dressing provocatively?"

Depends on the culture and social attitudes. In some African tribe, women going topless is perfectly modest. In America, I would say that the line is at clothing that's intent is to reveal or emphasize the breasts, buttocks and thighs. Clothing I wouldn't want my (hypothetical) daughter to wear.

"But my bottom line is this: unless men want to say they are weaker and less able to control themselves and need to be put in some segregated system in which women are allowed to move around freely and the men are segregated to protect them from the horror of arousal..."

Listen, as a man, I must admit that I appreciate the view during the summer months and I have never acted inappropriately on such impulses, but I wouldn't want my daughter (again, hypothetical) to be on the receiving end of such looks.

Foilwoman said...

Orthoprax: In response to my comment: "Well, again, that says more about men than anything else, and I fail to see how the solution to that is to restrict women. Why women have to bear the burden of this and not the ones who create the problem, the men, completely eludes me." You responded: ‘BIOLOGY. Similarly, why do women have to bear the burden of pregnancy? It's men who cause that too! Terribly unfair, but that's reality.’

This comparison is not analagous at all. Pregnancy is part of how the human species reproduces. It is biology. It is also avoidable now – preventable and able to be eliminated under certain circumstances (whether those circumstances are too narrow or too broad I will not debate in this post). Putting women in restrictive and/or uncomfortable clothing for modesty reasons doesn’t even arguably fall under the heading of biology. It’s a social custom, and it exists in fundamentalist Muslim cultures, certain Jewish cultures, certain Christian cultures, and some others. It doesn’t exist in much of North America and Northern Europe. I fail to see that women in the Middle East (where modesty restrictions tend to be more extreme) are helped in any way by modesty restrictions. No one spits on me on a bus if I dress wrong, or stones me or beats me.

You wrote: ‘Modesty applies just as well for men, but there's a reason why pornography for women isn't the billion dollar business it is for men.’ There’s a billion dollar porn industry for women. It just isn’t visual, is verbal. Think Harlequin, Silhouette, Zebra, and Avon. There’s lots of money in female sexual arousal, it just is labelled a bit differently and is largely fictional and based on verbal descriptions rather than live simulations or sexual acts. Since I don’t think male-oriented porn is really as much about sexual arousal as about female subjugation, it seems extremely unlikely that manga and graphic art will replace living women with graphic depictions, but that underscores my argument. It’s not the lack of clothing, per se, it’s the ability to do things to things women and label them sluts that is the real turn on.

’If it was sociologically unacceptable for women to be in pornography, for example, the whole business would take a hit. Nowadays it's virtually established that female celebrities will eventually pose in Playboy or have that nude scene.’ Well, lots of socially unacceptable things are big money makers (tobacco and illegal drugs spring to mind). Actually social approval doesn’t end these things. Prostitution was forbidden and taboo and prostitutes were ostracized in Victorian England, but there was a booming industry. Short of taking a page out of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, prostitution isn’t going anywhere. Similarly, porn can be suppressed, but not eliminated. I think we can agree that porn (and the men who watch it) does objectify women and isn’t a good thing. The answer to it, however, is not to make women wear more to prove they aren’t porn stars in training. More on that below.

I wrote: "That may well be true, but what’s the solution. The states with the highest divorce rates are the Red states, the conservative states. Blue states have lower rates." And you responded: ‘Like I said to JA, that's a specious statistic. The divorce rates are highest among the poor and uneducated - which is more of a demographic issue in Southern states than rich states in the northeast.’

Well, that’s back to the cultural liberal v. conservative values. Apparently liberal values have some link to a higher standard of living and more solid marriages. Whether that’s because of the higher education level, better social programs, or some other factor, who knows. The fact that the conservative states, for whatever reason, create a climate of poverty, lack of education, and high marital failure rates doesn’t say much for that approach to eliminating any social turmoil resulting from lack of marital stability and divorce.

You added: ‘Here's an interesting group of statistics taken from the General Social Survey: http://www.spcc-storrs.org/blog/archives/Divorce_Table_1[1].pdf’ I’m not evading this, however, whenever I try to open this link, my Internet browser shuts down. I should probably take that as a sign from god that the statistics are in some way evil. Or, if I were a conspiracy theorist, which I am not, I could take that as a sign that you are out to get me, but I’m pretty sure that’s not true. (What do you care about some harridan in DC? Not much. And even if you did, you just don’t give off that “I’m going to send viruses to the people with whom I disagree” vibe. My impression, even while disagreeing with you about pretty much everything, is that you treat others well. I could be wrong, but don’t disillusion me. Thanks.) And I’m no conspiracy theorist. So I’ll try the link at the public library computer when I am next there. Until then, I remain in ignorance of those statistics. I will try to remember to look for them. The problem is that when I’m at the library, I generally have a three-year old and an eight-year old running amok (or since they are part Scandinavian, a more appropriate term would probably be “going bezerk”) and my ability to focus on anything is minimal. More explanation than you ever wanted or needed, but since I hate people who evade my pointed (to me at least) comments and facts I share, I’m explaining why I’m not responding at this time.

I wrote: "I have no idea what you mean by promiscuity here. Do you mean people who have sex outside of marriage? People who have more than two sexual partners? Ten? Fifty? Any non-marital sexual relationship? Adulterers? How do you know that sex is ‘as meaningful as eating an ice cream’ to people you deem promiscuous."

You wrote: ‘It's not an exact calculus - maybe you're some tantric Hindu who sees sex as a transcendent experience - but the fact is that sex has been grossly devalued in modern general society. Is this actually something you find debatable?’

Yes, whether sex has been devalued in modern society is something I find debatable. First of all, devalued from what? When was the happy state of esteemed sex? Maybe in the Garden of Eden, but that was a long, long time ago, aside from being, how do I say this politely, fictional. I don’t think sex inside of marriage in prior centuries was necessarily more respectful and holy than it is today. And for the extramarital liaisons (of which their were plenty in recorded history and probably oodles more unrecorded ones), probably even worse. I’m pretty clear that in in the past, women didn’t get a whole heck of a lot or any sexual satisfaction. I’m pretty clear that sex was viewed as a man’s right, not a joyful sharing between two people. I’m pretty clear that while men felt that within marriage (or with a willing or unwilling woman who wasn’t a wife but who was an “other” and thus deemed “promiscuous) they could have sex on demand, that right didn’t come with the actual obligation to figure out what pleased the woman they were with and do that. Even when sex might kill his wife (from repeated pregnancies and complications – and childbirth was a very high cause of death for women between 15 and 40) her consent was deemed given. I doubt too many women having gone through a few unanaesthetized births and complications, a few miscarriages, and a few infant deaths, would have found sex something they were willing to risk too much. I don’t think they valued sex highly.*

I don’t think prostitutes and sex slaves in the past valued sex highly. Whoever coined the phrase “relax and think of England” or the other great phrase “relax and enjoy it”, both of which were coined before the sexual revolution, didn’t value sex highly. I’m hard-pressed to think of examples prior to 1950 where I can quote anyone who valued sex highly. D.H. Lawrence and James Joyce, maybe, but only within prescribed limits. Otherwise, what’s the high standard from which we have sunk. As a woman, I think sex is valued more highly now. In the past, we died of it more than women die of AIDS and STDs now. Men used to blame infertility, STDS, and pretty much everything on women, and punished women accordingly (think of the wives Henry VIII executed and divorced because of his own syphlitic infertility). I’m not really thinking things have gone downhill compared to that.

Even your surprising comment (“maybe you're some tantric Hindu who sees sex as a transcendent experience”) reveals (to me at least, and do explain how I’m misreading it) the mindset that female enjoyment, and revelling in that enjoyment, is at best unusual. As I said before I’m of Danish descent and agnostic. The culture (although not the family) in which I was raised values a healthy knowledge of one’s body and sexual urges, whether one is female or male. It also values personal self-control and the ability to respect others. The challenge is to manage to find someone to share sexuality with in a respectful and joyful way. I would hope, whether in a virginity-worshipping allegedly monogamous** culture or not, the idea of respectful and joyous sex would be viewed as normal and an something which one owes one’s partner, if not oneself, not as some bizarred “other” practice. Why the idea that sex should be transcendent seems extreme or bizarre to you is a cause of some concern. I’m no tantric master or mistress, but take notes now: if it isn’t transcendent for a person and that person’s partner partner at least occasionally, that person has devalued sex in an obscene and practically unforgivable way. If sex with a partner is a chore, a duty, a task, or simply a method of procreation, I think that sex is an insult to biology everywhere, gonads everywhere, people everywhere, and I’ll stop now, but that list could go on. The devaluing isn’t modern.

I wrote: "Also, I have no idea what social turmoil you are talking about." And you responded: ‘Like I said, weak relationships, etc. I don't believe death rates are the changing circumstance compared with the losing standing of marriage vows.’ Well, just as many marriages ended after five years in the 19th century as did in the 20th. I don’t recall the stats for the 21st century. Additionally, if you read Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge you’ll see an illustration of a common pre-divorce phenomenon: men not divorcing but simply casting off their unwanted wives. Additionally, you had all the people, such as slaves, who couldn’t even marry, so their relationships and the ending thereof weren’t recorded in the statistics. And of course, you had the charming existence of miscegenation laws whereby people were forbidden to marry outside of their social ingroup. Since none of these groups divorced, well, that made marriage look more stable, but how can you say that’s like eliminating infant mortality by killing pregnant women (yes, that’s hyperbole): the stats are better, but the underlying reality is rotten.

I wrote: I do not advocate requiring seventeen year olds to marry to lower the out of wedlock birthrate" ‘I do. It will make them take their actions more seriously - and frankly they owe a stable home to the life they have inadvertantly created.’ I don’t want to be sarcastic here, but if kids are owed a stable homelife, how is making a sixteen year old marry her 18 year old boyfriend who can’t really earn a living going to provide anyone with a stable homelife. And does the baby have to bear the consequences? Why? I’m sorry, but to me that just seems heartless. Maybe you can explain the beneficial side to me, but what if the girl (and I mean girl in this example, not woman) is fifteen and the man who impregnanted her is 23. Are you suggesting that statutory rapists should be encouraged by saying “We won’t prosecute as long as you marry her”? Where’s the benefit? And who takes care of the fifteen year old? (Hint: it’s not going to be the guy who knocked her up. If he was someone who actually was capable of taking care of another person, he wouldn’t have had sex with her or he would have at least managed to roll on a condom.)

I wrote: “I don't know how the observant Jewish world does it specifically, but where I come from unwed teen pregnancy rates are virtually nil.” No response

I wrote: "But what is dressing provocatively?" ‘Depends on the culture and social attitudes. In some African tribe, women going topless is perfectly modest. In America, I would say that the line is at clothing that's intent is to reveal or emphasize the breasts, buttocks and thighs. Clothing I wouldn't want my (hypothetical) daughter to wear.’ So you concede that “modest clothing” is a social construct, and that we could all agree to modest clothing in Polynesia or Botswana, and men could adjust to that and not assault women? Or not? The fact that in some societies women can wear nothing and not be assaulted and that in others, the sight of an ankle causes censure or worse is pretty much proof that the modesty requirement isn’t fixed and can be socialized out of us. I’ ve swum topless in Scandinvia and then walked up to a group of teenaged boys and played chess without harassment (even though one of them later asked me to stay in Denmark and live with him, he took rejection well). I’ve worn neck to ankle clothing at a conservative religious function (I dare you to guess which religion) and been groped. Where was I dressed provocatively?

I wrote: "But my bottom line is this: unless men want to say they are weaker and less able to control themselves and need to be put in some segregated system in which women are allowed to move around freely and the men are segregated to protect them from the horror of arousal..."

’Listen, as a man, I must admit that I appreciate the view during the summer months and I have never acted inappropriately on such impulses, but I wouldn't want my daughter (again, hypothetical) to be on the receiving end of such looks.’

Why don’t you want your hypothetical daughter to know that men desire her? Do you want her to be uninterested in men? Gay? Asexual? I have two real daughters. I don’t want them to experience sex too soon, but they’ll choose their start time (I hope) not me. What I want most of all is for each o them to (1) know what she wants, (2) have the strength of mind to not let other people’s desire’s substitute for her own, (3) treat her partner respectfully, (4) be treated respectfully, and (5) really, really enjoy herself. When my daughters have sex, I want it to be willing, mutual, safe, with appropriate contraceptives unless my daugher is ready for and wants a child, and orgasmic for my daughters. And yes, when men look at them with desire (and they will: my daughters are beyond beautiful, tall, strong, fierce, and smart.) I want my daughters to recognize the look, and, if they want to do so, enjoy it. Why should they experience that power and pleasure? And why would you want your daughter not to feel desirable? My biggest fear is that my two ferocious girls will end up with men who want a songbird, not a hawk. Or worse yet, a barnyard fowl. All the women on this planet whose husbands are running around on (the husband’s saying “My wife doesn’t understand me.”) seem to me to be wild birds of prey who someone has tried to turn into clipped wing chickens or ducks.

I hope your hypothetical daughter can find a way, within your culture, to have a real enjoyment of sex. Which includes being desired by at least one man, desiring him, and feeding that back and forth, Including the flirtation, chase, and mutual hunt that precedes sex that hasn’t been devalued. I hope she knows herself and her body well enough to know what really gives her pleasure, not just what people tell her should give her pleasure. And I hope she can do that without you disowning her, so that she has a loving relationship with her father. And this paragraph is outside the Foilwoman person. That’s what I truly wish.

*The founder of the Shakers (a bizarre cult in the 18th, 19th., and 20th centuries whose members forswore sex at all) was Mother Ann Lee, a woman who had all of her four children in infancy. Amazingly enough, she decided that god didn’t want people to have sex. While this was an extreme case, I don’t get the feeling that she valued sex highly. I believe she devalued it more than any porn star could. She renounced it. I don’t think that was an uncommon view, at least in the female half of the population.

Jewish Atheist said...

Wow, FW, I'm really appreciating your defense of women's sexuality. Very well stated.

Foilwoman said...

JA (I really need to come up with a snappy yet respectful nickname for you -- because I refuse to refer to you as Jewish Atheist or, worse yet, Mr. Atheist. Any preferences would be greatly appreciated, as I don't want to offend): Thank you. Obviously, this is a subject dear to my hear. Raised in Puritanical New England, the religious and conservative suppression of (or worse yet, punishment of) female expression of sexuality (this oppression and punishment isn't merely Puritan, sadly enough) has been something I'm been struggling with for years. My firm believe is: it serves no real function and has to stop. Since all major religions seem to incorporate this suppression and punishment, this is more than an uphill battle, but that's what the myth of Sisyphus is all about no? And I'm Scandinavian, so the idea of fighting a battle that is already lost isn't a foreign concept -- it's a noble endeavor, and one that allows you to fight forever in the halls of the hero -- in Valhalla, where the brave live forever. That's Danish Scandinavian, not Wagnerian bastardization thereof, by the way (by own prejudices leaping out).

I don't think I'm going to change anyone's mind, and with my attitude I almost definitely won't, but I think most men, if they stopped to think, would realize that they would actually benefit a whole fucking (literally, work with me, boys) hell of a lot if women felt free to act on their own desires (irrespective of male impulses) without fear of punishment or censure. Really: don't despise us for wanting you and you might get laid just a tad more frequently. Funny how that works.

Orthoprax said...

FW,

"This comparison is not analagous at all. Pregnancy is part of how the human species reproduces. It is biology. It is also avoidable now – preventable and able to be eliminated under certain circumstances..."

And your goal is to change how men work? I don't think that's likely.

"There’s a billion dollar porn industry for women. It just isn’t visual, is verbal. Think Harlequin, Silhouette, Zebra, and Avon."

Fine, but it doesn't actually involve men. And I would argue that it is much smaller a business.

"Since I don’t think male-oriented porn is really as much about sexual arousal as about female subjugation..."

I tend to doubt that. I think it is mostly about arousal.

"Well, lots of socially unacceptable things are big money makers (tobacco and illegal drugs spring to mind). Actually social approval doesn’t end these things."

Correct, but it reduces them.

"Well, that’s back to the cultural liberal v. conservative values. Apparently liberal values have some link to a higher standard of living and more solid marriages."

That's painting with a pretty huge brush there. Clearly there's a mix. I'm more a pragmatician than an ideologue and I say to take the best from both sides.

"I’m not evading this, however, whenever I try to open this link, my Internet browser shuts down."

Yeah, it's just an interesting bunch of statistics showing that practicing religious groups tend to show lower rates of divorce than non-practicing and nonreligious groups. Take it for what its worth.

"Yes, whether sex has been devalued in modern society is something I find debatable. First of all, devalued from what?"

I think we were basically talking past each other by this point. I was referring to it being devalued from an act of marital consummation and union to a mere animalistic source of pleasure. That it's been given higher standing and expression in modern liberal society compared to the sinful, ascetic mindsets of the past is of course true, but not the point I was remarking on. That we have movies today where the very plot is how high school seniors are going to lose their virginity by the prom is telling.

"Even your surprising comment (“maybe you're some tantric Hindu who sees sex as a transcendent experience”) reveals (to me at least, and do explain how I’m misreading it) the mindset that female enjoyment, and revelling in that enjoyment, is at best unusual."

No, I was just commenting on the status of sexual activity in terms besides satisfaction. A Tantric Hindu might likewise be promiscuous technically, but his (or her) conception of the sexual act is far different than the general view in America today. I was speaking of a general "you," not you specifically.

"I don’t want to be sarcastic here, but if kids are owed a stable homelife, how is making a sixteen year old marry her 18 year old boyfriend who can’t really earn a living going to provide anyone with a stable homelife."

I would involve the grandparents too. The goal would be to shape those two new parents into responsible people who could care for their child. I think they would tend to get their act together. Overall this would lead to better effects for most people in that position and society at large where kids know what will happen if they act irresponsibly.

"but what if the girl (and I mean girl in this example, not woman) is fifteen and the man who impregnanted her is 23. Are you suggesting that statutory rapists should be encouraged"

No, obviously not. I was not referring to grossly inappropriate relationships.

"the stats are better, but the underlying reality is rotten."

In general, I don't think the statistics from before the past century, give or take, are at all reliable. And even the ones we do have are incomplete and open to interpretation. You have your interpretation and I have mine.

"So you concede that “modest clothing” is a social construct, and that we could all agree to modest clothing in Polynesia or Botswana, and men could adjust to that and not assault women? Or not?"

I don't think it's ever appropriate for men to assault women, no matter what a woman is wearing or not wearing. What I have issue with is an overly charged sexualized society. But yes, I do believe people can adjust to social norms.

"Why don’t you want your hypothetical daughter to know that men desire her?"

I would want men to desire her as a person and not as a sexual object. I want them to be thinking about her character traits, her intellect, her strengths as a companion and as a mother. I wouldn't want men to look at my daughter as just a sex partner, but as a life partner.

I think this goal is more noble and worthwhile than her missing out on some of the "fun" that her high school or college friends might be having.

Jewish Atheist said...

FW:

Since I don’t think male-oriented porn is really as much about sexual arousal as about female subjugation

I missed that before. I agree with OP on this one. I think it's almost all about arousal. I'll grant you that there is a disturbingly common theme of humiliating women, but I don't think that's the primary goal.

Foilwoman said...

Just a quick comment about male-oriented pornography nowadays. Since it all seems to involve women being ejaculated on, focuses on the male orgasm, and keeps upping the ante in terms of pain and physical risk, I think the subjugation is a big part of, almost a requirement for the arousal. It seems to be impossible for men to purchase porn that doesn't show a real woman being ejactulated on. Given the virtual reality possibilities and the expenses and risk of flesh to flesh porn, you'd thing manga and cartoons would satisfy the visual masturbatory need now more often, but not. The requirement is having a woman to do this to, a real, flesh and blood woman. And yes, female porn doesn't require that an actual man to be all romantic and get the woman in the mood. While the product -- porn for men -- is designed to get men to orgasm, the subtext and often the plain old test of pretty much all of it is subjugation. I'll tackle the other stuff later.

Jewish Atheist said...

FW:

Since it all seems to involve women being ejaculated on, focuses on the male orgasm, and keeps upping the ante in terms of pain and physical risk, I think the subjugation is a big part of, almost a requirement for the arousal.

Focusing on the male orgasm has nothing to do with s ubjugation, of course -- it just reflects the audience. As for ejaculation on the woman, I agree that it's at the very least strange, but in mainstream porn the woman at least pretends to enjoy it, so it's not subjugation so much as sort of temporary dominance. Anyway, I think it has more to do with the the difficulty of satisfactorily depicting a male orgasm to a male audience when in real life it generally happens... out of sight. Straight men don't want to stare at a guy's face while he cums, nor to just listen to him moan. For whatever reason (and I think subjugation has nothing to do with it) the industry found its answer to this problem with the ejaculation onto rather than into the woman.

Just as you pointed out that a woman dancing "doggy-style" doesn't make her an object, so also being ejaculated on rather than in doesn't make her subjugated, as long as she's happy about it -- and again, they (the characters if not the actors) generally are.

Probably the majority of mainstream porn scenes begin with cunnilingus, for example, and I don't see how you could shoe-horn that into your subjugation theory. Nor does the overwhelming amount of girl-only or girl-girl porn targeted at men fit.

Now there is some porn where the woman is clearly miserable, and that's kind of the point, and there I would agree with you that there is a big aspect of subjugation there. Or possibly it's just meeting the demand for revenge fantasies that some men have.

Wow I just wrote a whole lot about porn. :-) Interesting discussion.

Foilwoman said...

Well, I'm not ignoring Orthoman's and your, Mr. Atheist's (I asked you for better nickname guidance, and you didn't follow through, so Mr. Atheist it is), I just won't have time, possibly until Wednesday (lots of kid-centered priorities from now until then) to respond. Clearly, this comment thread is for those at a different stage of life than mine. But I'm not ignoring. I'm just busy.

Jewish Atheist said...

FW:

I asked you for better nickname guidance, and you didn't follow through, so Mr. Atheist it is

Sorry. :-) I actually wrote a whole post about this once. Short version: JA is good.

Holy Hyrax said...

Hi guys

Hopefully I can comment today if I find time.
If not, I hope to continue this with you perhaps via email foilwoman(?)

my email is holyhyrax at gmail.com

foilwoman said...

HH: Yeah, let's not hijack JA's blog. You can email me at gmail as well. I'll only be able to really reply late in the day, and maybe not til Wednesday (again, that pesky parenthood thing), but I will reply.

Holy Hyrax said...

I know that parenthood thing myself :)

Anonymous said...

Jewish Atheist, you should take a look at the book WHO REALLY CARES by Arthur C. Brooks, an economist at Syracuse university. He compared charitable giving between conservatives and liberals, expecting to find that liberals give more.

He came to the opposite conclusion. Conservatives, on average, give much more than liberals; and religious people, on average, give more than atheists. These results held even when controlling for socioeconomic status and factoring out donations to churches, and typically held by large margins. In fact, IIRC, well educated urban liberals were gave the LEAST on average, as a percentage of their yearly income.

It's a good, enlightening read, written by a respected (and, at the time, liberal) scholar, with some amazing numbers. Check Amazon.

Jewish Atheist said...

Anonymous:

I actually posted about that a while back.