bradbradallen

Homosexuality and Objectivism

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While I believe I know the answer to the first question I am about to ask, I shall ask it anyway. Does the Objectivist Philosophy support homosexuality?

I have yet to do a large amount of study on the topic, but, from what I've learned, Rand was against it because she found the lifestyle disgusting and the government benefits these couples may receive to be unjust. (I may be wrong in this, so, by all means, correct me if I am)

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DavidMcK    0

You have to distinguish between Ayn Rand and Objectivism-Ayn Rand and Branden were of the opinion that homosexuality was a disease to be cured (see the first edition of 'The Psychology of Self-Esteem') but it is hard to see how Objectivism principles could prove that a sexual preference is superior to another. The benefits that gay people want may not necessarily be government benefits..they could be private insurance benefits for example.

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kiaer.ts    2

Of course there are mixed messages. Leonard Peikoff is notoriously effeminate. There is the question in Rand's novels of what the prettiest man in the world, Ragnar Danneskjold, was doing with all those men on that ship. Danneskjold tracked down Rearden in the dark woods only to give him a package. And then, of course, there is the yacht affair between Wynand and Roark, with Wynand enjoying the power he held over Roark's body.

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Reidy    0

Rand didn't have a lot so say on this topic but, as noted, she was personally quite condemnatory. The nearest she came to a systematic statement was during the Q&A at the 1971 Ford Hall Forum:

"[i oppose homosexuality] because it involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors or unfortunate premises, but there is a psychological immorality at the root of homosexuality. Therefore I regard it as immoral. But I do not believe that the government has the right to prohibit it. It is the privilege of any individual to use his sex life in whichever way he wants it. That's his legal right, provided he is not forcing it on anyone. And therefore the idea that it's proper among consenting adults is the proper formulation legally. Morally it is immoral, and more than that, if you want my really sincere opinion, it is disgusting."

Brief as this is, it makes a couple of points clear:

- Rand believed that this judgement proceeded from her upstream philosophical positions (I've seen various attempts to rationalize this away, and I find them all unconvincing. Experience tells me you're going to see them on this thread in the next few days);

- She believed that homosexuality is voluntary, at least in the sense that it's the result of voluntary policies, though not necessarily a deliberate choice for its own sake.

In "The Age of Envy" she makes a distinction between lesbians and prostitutes on the one hand and respectable women on the other. One of the characters in Ideal (Effeminate Young Man in the artists' party scene) is an old-fashioned fag stereotype. She worked in wardrobe at one of the movie studios in those days and probably had plenty of experience with ditzy queens like EYM.

Branden, as also noted, seconded Rand enthusiastically on this matter for as long as he was associated with her and for at least 20 years thereafter. Since it was more in his line and since he had more to do with live audiences, he had plenty of occasions to say so.

This leads naturally into the question: were they right? I don't think so, and neither does anyone else I know of. She never explained herself on this point; Branden used to say in the NBI era that he had an airtight proof but it was too long to go into next question please.

Peikoff, the world's most dogmatic Objectivist, and Branden, Objectivism's fag-baiter-in-chief, have both recanted, though Peikoff characteristically has never acknowledged that he disagrees with her. Mayhew's Q&A anthology tellingly omits the above quote, even though it's the most famous thing she ever said at a Q&A, presumably because it contradicts current ARI policy. He used instead a briefer one that, if you squint and turn your head at the right angle, might look like a mere statement of personal taste.

(And she did title a chapter in Atlas Shrugged "The Top and the Bottom.")

Edited by Reidy

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A philosophy can no more pontificate on the "psychological flaws" of homosexuality than it can present a view of the causes of cancer. Neither issue is remotely the domain of philosophy. They are issues of scientific fact.

Barbara

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Selene    3

Reidy:

Thanks. I knew about the Ford Forum remarks, but not about the wardrobe, etc. info.

"And she did title a chapter in Atlas Shrugged 'The Top and the Bottom.'" <<<< last time I checked this works in the heterosexual D/s community also

Adam

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Of course there are mixed messages. Leonard Peikoff is notoriously effeminate. There is the question in Rand's novels of what the prettiest man in the world, Ragnar Danneskjold, was doing with all those men on that ship. Danneskjold tracked down Rearden in the dark woods only to give him a package. And then, of course, there is the yacht affair between Wynand and Roark, with Wynand enjoying the power he held over Roark's body.

And lets not forget the notorious tension between Rearden and Francisco, especially during the sex scene with Dagny where Rearden is "feeling Francisco's presence through Dagny's mind."

Oh, and speaking of Wynand and Roark on the yacht, didn't Rand describe Wynand as feeling "romantic love" for Roark?

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A philosophy can no more pontificate on the "psychological flaws" of homosexuality than it can present a view of the causes of cancer. Neither issue is remotely the domain of philosophy. They are issues of scientific fact.

Barbara

Barbara,

Hear hear!

I would like to add that while a philosophy cannot "pontificate on the 'psychological flaws' of homosexuality," a religion can...

And does...

:)

Michael

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Hazard    0

I suppose you who believe that homosexuality is moral feel the same about bestiality?

Ted and StudiodeKadent,

Let's not forget that Atlas Shrugged is a fictitious novel. We can't pretend that characters actions or motives mean anything other than what the author intended them to mean.

Jordan

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I suppose you who believe that homosexuality is moral feel the same about bestiality?

How do you come to that conclusion?

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If homosexuality is moral because it is just a "sexual preference;" so is bestiality.

1) Bestiality refers to the act of having sex with an animal. Not to sexual attraction to animals. There is a difference between having an attraction and acting upon in. Not all heterosexual males want to screw every living human female. Homosexuality refers to sexual attraction to members of the same sex. One need not have homosexual sex to be homosexual. Therefore your comparison is false.

2) Clearly, screwing an animal is wrong, one of the reasons for this is that animals cannot render informed consent. Sex with a human being of the same sex, however, CAN be informed-consensual. Don't tell me you see moral equivalence between bestiality and an act of informed, consensual gay sex?

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kiaer.ts    2

I am not quite so sure tha bestiality is immoral per se. I know mexican peasants who told stories of allowing calves to fellate them and of tupping sheep. They seemed to treat it as an elaborate form of masturbation. The implied argument is "bestiality is sick" so "isn't homosexuality just as sick?" But I am not aware of any human who finds he is sexually attracted to animals before he realizes the nature of the attraction. The reverse is true, I believe, those who engage in bestiality do so becuase they know about sex first, and then learn to use animals as a substitute. Many primarily heterosexual men will also learn to use homosexuality as a substitute. But for primarily homosexual men, the attraction is innate and the activity derives from it. This is essentialy different from bestiality.

Jordan, maybe you are too young. But I think the joke about Troy McClure's sex life shows the silliness of your premise.

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Brant Gaede    1
Branden, as also noted, seconded Rand enthusiastically on this [homosexuality] for as long as he was associated with her and for at least 20 years thereafter. Since it was more in his line and since he had more to do with live audiences, he had plenty of occasions to say so.

If he did it was before 1976 when I started observing him in action covering multiple forums and contexts. He was ambivalent about it at worst and didn't think a therapist could do much about it regardless. Whatever his attitude before the break with Rand, he could not subsequently have had a successful California psychotherapeutic practice involving multiple groups of clients going all at once--he had had about 3500 clients by 1976--for probably well over a decade, maybe two. The clients by and large would not have come to him as a therapist nor would they have attended his Intensives in the late 1970s and 1980s. This especially applies to "enthusiastically" and "disgusting," the former by you and the latter by Rand.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede

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Chris Grieb    1
Branden, as also noted, seconded Rand enthusiastically on this [homosexuality] for as long as he was associated with her and for at least 20 years thereafter. Since it was more in his line and since he had more to do with live audiences, he had plenty of occasions to say so.

If he did it was before 1976 when I started observing him in action covering multiple forums and contexts. He was ambivalent about it at worst and didn't think a therapist could do much about it regardless. Whatever his attitude before the break with Rand, he could not subsequently have had a successful California psychotherapeutic practice involving multiple groups of clients going all at once--he had had about 3500 clients by 1976--for probably well over a decade, maybe two. The clients by and large would not have come to him as a therapist nor would they have attended his Intensives in the late 1970s and 1980s. This especially applies to "enthusiastically" and "disgusting," the former by you and the latter by Rand.

--Brant

At TOC's Summer Seminar Branden was asked a question about his claim of having changed the sexual orientation of a homosexual young man in his therapy practice in New York City. At that session he stated that the person had changed his orientation. I can give you which Summer Seminar it was. He was interviewed by Duncan Scott for Duncan's Objectivist History Project. Nathaniel Branden gave a lecture in his Basic Principles of Objectivist Psychology with a discussion of homosexuality in the lecture. I am having a senior moment so I can not remember the year of this discussion.

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Rich Engle    0

I've got a great suggestion for you (but of course you must decide for yourself).

Maybe you will not see it "supporting" homosexuality, but if your gay-dar goes off in your research, and you find it unfriendly, then leave, quickly.

If I were a homosexual, I am not sure I could even tolerate don't ask don't tell.

Does the philosophy, that writing support it? Well, it doesn't come off too well, but she wrote some sexy scenes. And what does it matter? Are the Objectivist Police going to come after you if you start reading and writing her work?

And, if you decide to work in a Web, or local movement of some sort, look at the people. If they come down on queers, well, choose.

I would tell them to piss off and die. There is no room for that in my life.

Now, you can waste time and poll people, and you will get varying results.

Are there established, outed queers in this realm? Yes. Other than that it's like anywhere else.

rde

Loves chicks, hates people that pick on women, animals, and anyone smaller than the person doing the picking.

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I suppose you who believe that homosexuality is moral feel the same about bestiality?

Jordan,

That's a hell of a question and it needed asking.

I think it shows the silliness of trying to force-fit life to morality instead of deriving morality from life. The statement "homosexuality is moral" sounded really weird to my ear. It sounded like "having six toes on one foot is moral" or "being born beautiful (or ugly) is moral." Some things are not chosen.

Morality (ethics) deals with volition. Some homosexuality is chosen. Some is not. It's an oversimplification to force it into one side or the other.

Human homosexuality is neither moral or immoral. It simply is. It's a form of human behavior. What people do when they face it (in themselves and in others) is moral or immoral.

I suppose the same thing could be said of bestiality. I have to look at that on a personal level and on a legal level.

On a personal level, my own emotions rebel against it. I find it disgusting, although I have had some Homeric laughs in response to jokes about bestiality. It works great for comedy.

Biologically, there is not the same depth of psychological and physical issues as with homosexuality. I admit it is possible for a person to feel a subconscious sexual craving for an animal, but that is not common.

As to legality, I do not believe in jailing a person because he or she had sex with, say, a dog, unless they painfully tortured or physically damaged the dog while doing it.

I dunno... That stuff happens. I don't like it except for jokes. I simply don't want to choose that stuff for others. Reality-wise, I have no interest at all in the sex life of a person who would copulate with a horse or something.

I'll leave that one to PETA...

Michael

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Chris Grieb    1

Since PETA is concerned with the President killing a fly sex with an animal may be above their pay grade.

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BaalChatzaf    0
If homosexuality is moral because it is just a "sexual preference;" so is bestiality.

Jordan

There is an assumption of mutual consent between two persons capable of knowing the quality of their acts. What two sufficiently grown up people do to each other short of bloodshed is a private matter.

That being said, my personal subjective yucchh-meter goes off scale when it detects Man-Boy sexual relations. That is purely a personal reaction and not a moral judgment.

I never ask because I do not wish to be told.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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BaalChatzaf    0
I never ask because I do not wish to be told.

Ah, the good old hole-in-a-sheet policy?

No sir. I avoid that which I find disgusting. My disgust is purely subjective and has no principled basis. I don't step in dog shit either.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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drhougen    0
Of course there are mixed messages. Leonard Peikoff is notoriously effeminate. There is the question in Rand's novels of what the prettiest man in the world, Ragnar Danneskjold, was doing with all those men on that ship. Danneskjold tracked down Rearden in the dark woods only to give him a package. And then, of course, there is the yacht affair between Wynand and Roark, with Wynand enjoying the power he held over Roark's body.

And lets not forget the notorious tension between Rearden and Francisco, especially during the sex scene with Dagny where Rearden is "feeling Francisco's presence through Dagny's mind."

Oh, and speaking of Wynand and Roark on the yacht, didn't Rand describe Wynand as feeling "romantic love" for Roark?

Those are extraordinary leaps. Have you ever dated a woman with "baggage" from a previous relationship? You might "feel" the presence of the last guy, though not necessarily in a pleasant way.

Darrell

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kiaer.ts    2
Of course there are mixed messages. Leonard Peikoff is notoriously effeminate. There is the question in Rand's novels of what the prettiest man in the world, Ragnar Danneskjold, was doing with all those men on that ship. Danneskjold tracked down Rearden in the dark woods only to give him a package. And then, of course, there is the yacht affair between Wynand and Roark, with Wynand enjoying the power he held over Roark's body.

And lets not forget the notorious tension between Rearden and Francisco, especially during the sex scene with Dagny where Rearden is "feeling Francisco's presence through Dagny's mind."

Oh, and speaking of Wynand and Roark on the yacht, didn't Rand describe Wynand as feeling "romantic love" for Roark?

Those are extraordinary leaps. Have you ever dated a woman with "baggage" from a previous relationship? You might "feel" the presence of the last guy, though not necessarily in a pleasant way.

Darrell

The proper thing to do with your current squeeze's ex is to go pee on his doorstep. Or just relax, and enjoy it.

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drhougen    0
If homosexuality is moral because it is just a "sexual preference;" so is bestiality.

1) Bestiality refers to the act of having sex with an animal. Not to sexual attraction to animals. There is a difference between having an attraction and acting upon in. Not all heterosexual males want to screw every living human female. Homosexuality refers to sexual attraction to members of the same sex. One need not have homosexual sex to be homosexual. Therefore your comparison is false.

In Objectivist terms, "sexual attraction to members of the same sex" means either an urge or desire to have sex with someone of the same sex. Whether it is an urge or a desire is critically important. An urge or whim is an unexamined impulse to act in a particular way. For example, I might have an urge to punch you but might decide not to act on that urge. A desire, on the other hand, is an emotion and therefore represents a choice -- it is an urge that has been examined in the light of a person's values and those values are chosen.

If homosexuality refers to an urge to have sex with someone of the same sex, then isn't it possible that someone could have an urge to have sex with an animal? And, doesn't that imply that everyone that has ever had a homoerotic fantasy is homosexual?

If, on the other hand, homosexuality is viewed as a desire to have sex with someone of the same sex, then being homosexual represents a choice. It also represents an intention to have sex with someone of the same sex. Once the urge has been examined and accepted as consistent with and supported by a person's values, it becomes an intention to achieve those values. So, it seems unlikely that a person could be homosexual in this sense for very long without actually having homosexual sex.

But, of course, people are capable of changing their minds. Is a person a murderer if he plots a murder and begins the process of carrying out the murder if he changes his mind at the last moment and doesn't follow through? I think not, although conspiracy to commit murder is legally considered a crime, for obvious reasons.

At any rate, I have a hard time calling someone homosexual if he has not actually engaged in homosexual sex. Even if he had a fully formed desire to engage in homosexual sex and was attempting to meet people of the same sex for sexual intercourse, he could change his mind at the last moment.

2) Clearly, screwing an animal is wrong, one of the reasons for this is that animals cannot render informed consent. Sex with a human being of the same sex, however, CAN be informed-consensual. Don't tell me you see moral equivalence between bestiality and an act of informed, consensual gay sex?

Is it morally wrong to eat a hamburger?

Darrell

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