bradbradallen

Homosexuality and Objectivism

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I grew up in Russia, where putting an arm around a person's shoulder is not viewed as a "faggoty" gesture. I see that in North America it is so. That is the only reason why I disrespect homosexuals - they created a barrier among men by redefining the meaning of friendly hug. Obviously when Ayn Rand wrote about Wynand and Roark she did not even think that their interactions could even be perceived as effeminate or homosexual. That's all right, whoever suggests so only reveals something about himself.

So why don't you just say it: I am gay. You'll find out that nobody really cares.

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.

You disrespect homosexuals because heterosexual men in America are paranoid about how others perceive them?

LOL! That has to do with Puretanical Protestantism, not homosexuals.

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Homosexuality is not an urge. I've known heterosexuals who have found themselves attracted to a man and felt the urge to have sex with him. This did not make them homosexuals. They were heterosexuals who had a homosexual urge, but homosexuality itself, like heterosexuality, is a psycho-sexual orientation.

Well, that's like saying wanting to eat at a fine restaurant is not an urge. Of course the urge is hunger, and the stimulus is the taste and smell of the meal, or the memory of that taste and smell, and how it satisfied past urges.

Sexual attraction is based on feeling horny and on the smell or look of an attractive person, or the memory thereof. Sometimes this urge is toward a person of the same sex, and thus it is called homosexual.

The question is, do our sexual urges arrive from the bottom up, from our nature, from sensations, or do they come from the top down, from the decision that we wish to be rational people, which makes us decide for no reason other than pure reason that we want to sleep with Dagny Taggart, which then makes the curve of her breasts and the musk of her pubic hair smell good? Sorry, the top down theory is absurd, it contradicts Rand's bottom up theory of knowledge, and to hold the top down theory of value shows a serious lack of introspection and self knowledge.

No, it is not like saying that. If a homosexual feels the urge to sleep with a sexy man, THAT is an urge. It proceeds from his basic orientation.

Now, see, you're treating humans as if they are essentially bisexual creatures. This is simply not true. Many men would never, ever have any desire for another man. This is not because of social limitations, but because they developed in that manner. The same applies to homosexuals. We do not know if this is genetic or purely psychological or a mix of the two, but it is so.

Heterosexuals and homosexuals just can't be perceived as people who only want to eat at one side of the buffet because the food looks better there.

It is true that sexuality is a spectrum, to a degree. But most humans are also wired to only want one end of that expression.

Hell, even bisexuals are generally oriented to one gender or the other. Bisexuality, I think, is more properly termed "sexual openness," in that, even if they're oriented toward one gender, they're still open to having sexual relations with members of the other gender.

I think you can be attracted to the things you admire in a person who is not the gender you're oriented toward, and sleep with him/her, and be fine with it, but such relationships (I've seen one or two) will fall apart if they try to build something romantic and lasting on it.

I mean really, Ted, could you spend the rest of your life with another man?

Edited by Michelle R

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I grew up in Russia, where putting an arm around a person's shoulder is not viewed as a "faggoty" gesture. I see that in North America it is so. That is the only reason why I disrespect homosexuals - they created a barrier among men by redefining the meaning of friendly hug. Obviously when Ayn Rand wrote about Wynand and Roark she did not even think that their interactions could even be perceived as effeminate or homosexual. That's all right, whoever suggests so only reveals something about himself.

So why don't you just say it: I am gay. You'll find out that nobody really cares.

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.

You disrespect homosexuals because heterosexual men in America are paranoid about how others perceive them?

LOL! That has to do with Puretanical Protestantism, not homosexuals.

Well, when homosexuality was widely discredited, men could be friendlier with one-another without being perceived as homosexuals.

Edited by Michelle R

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I grew up in Russia, where putting an arm around a person's shoulder is not viewed as a "faggoty" gesture. I see that in North America it is so. That is the only reason why I disrespect homosexuals - they created a barrier among men by redefining the meaning of friendly hug. Obviously when Ayn Rand wrote about Wynand and Roark she did not even think that their interactions could even be perceived as effeminate or homosexual. That's all right, whoever suggests so only reveals something about himself.

So why don't you just say it: I am gay. You'll find out that nobody really cares.

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.

You disrespect homosexuals because heterosexual men in America are paranoid about how others perceive them?

LOL! That has to do with Puretanical Protestantism, not homosexuals.

Well, when homosexuality was widely discredited, men could be friendlier with one-another without being perceived as homosexuals.

You've got it backwards. Societies like Rome that did not freak out about homosexuality did not find men holding hands to be suspicious. It was uptight English puratinism that made friendliness between any people seem suspicious, and made friendliness between men appear incomprehensible except in the context of sodomy.

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Now, see, you're treating humans as if they are essentially bisexual creatures. This is simply not true. Many men would never, ever have any desire for another man. This is not because of social limitations, but because they developed in that manner. The same applies to homosexuals. We do not know if this is genetic or purely psychological or a mix of the two, but it is so.

Hah. You just haven't slept with as many "straight" men as I have.

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Instead of treating the homosexual like an unthinking animal that needs to be reconditioned, you might try to convince him that being homosexual was not in his rational self interest.

How do you do that? Find a hot stripper that looks vaguely boy-like?

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Now, as to the Roark/Wynand or Rearden/Francisco thing, there is definitely a homoerotic undercurrent to these, but I do not believe this is indicative of anything but the fact that Ayn Rand is a woman and can understand close male-male relationships only to a certain degree. The fact that she was a heterosexual woman who was attracted to men certainly affected how she portrayed these scenes

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Now, see, you're treating humans as if they are essentially bisexual creatures. This is simply not true. Many men would never, ever have any desire for another man. This is not because of social limitations, but because they developed in that manner. The same applies to homosexuals. We do not know if this is genetic or purely psychological or a mix of the two, but it is so.

Hah. You just haven't slept with as many "straight" men as I have.

I'm sure not. And I probably won't. For all my support of homosexuality and the creative ways in which one can express one's own sexuality, I tend to be extremely conservative in my personal life.

Nevertheless, I'm not saying you can't seduce many straight men. But if they really are oriented toward the other gender, it would not be wise to try having a relationship with them.

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Now, see, you're treating humans as if they are essentially bisexual creatures. This is simply not true. Many men would never, ever have any desire for another man. This is not because of social limitations, but because they developed in that manner. The same applies to homosexuals. We do not know if this is genetic or purely psychological or a mix of the two, but it is so.

Hah. You just haven't slept with as many "straight" men as I have.

I'm sure not. And I probably won't. For all my support of homosexuality and the creative ways in which one can express one's own sexuality, I tend to be extremely conservative in my personal life.

Nevertheless, I'm not saying you can't seduce many straight men. But if they really are oriented toward the other gender, it would not be wise to try having a relationship with them.

Did I say seduce? I have been out and bisexual since I was 14, and the almost universal response, from over 80% of people I have told, men and women is (1) Well, I have a secret to confess myself and (2) Do you think maybe you and I could... They come on to me when I come out to them, men and women, and my normal response is to say no.

The simple truth is that the homosexual/heterosexual dichotomy of our present culture is a thing of the modern post-freudian era. Buggery and sodomy and the like has always been a potential activity of all people, not of just some special identity class. Of course some men prefer some activities more than others. But a wide spectrum of bisexuality (with most people mostly preferring heterosexuality) is the norm for most cultures and most ages.

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I grew up in Russia, where putting an arm around a person's shoulder is not viewed as a "faggoty" gesture. I see that in North America it is so. That is the only reason why I disrespect homosexuals - they created a barrier among men by redefining the meaning of friendly hug. Obviously when Ayn Rand wrote about Wynand and Roark she did not even think that their interactions could even be perceived as effeminate or homosexual. That's all right, whoever suggests so only reveals something about himself.

So why don't you just say it: I am gay. You'll find out that nobody really cares.

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.

You disrespect homosexuals because heterosexual men in America are paranoid about how others perceive them?

LOL! That has to do with Puretanical Protestantism, not homosexuals.

Well, when homosexuality was widely discredited, men could be friendlier with one-another without being perceived as homosexuals.

You've got it backwards. Societies like Rome that did not freak out about homosexuality did not find men holding hands to be suspicious. It was uptight English puratinism that made friendliness between any people seem suspicious, and made friendliness between men appear incomprehensible except in the context of sodomy.

I'm speaking of modern times in America. Relatively modern. Last 100 or so years. Physical affection between men certainly wasn't encouraged, but neither was it seen as the mark of the homosexual as it is today. Men could hug or tell the other that they loved them without people suspecting them of meaning it in a romantic sense.

It IS a product of the puritan mindset, but the widespread demonization of homosexuality in America made physical affection less suspect. Especially among upstanding members of the community.

Of course the Romans and ancient Greeks wouldn't react to homosexuality the same way people in the modern Christian West would. The zeitgeist was entirely different.

It is interesting to note how men in early Christian communities were remarkably friendly with one-another.

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Now, see, you're treating humans as if they are essentially bisexual creatures. This is simply not true. Many men would never, ever have any desire for another man. This is not because of social limitations, but because they developed in that manner. The same applies to homosexuals. We do not know if this is genetic or purely psychological or a mix of the two, but it is so.

Hah. You just haven't slept with as many "straight" men as I have.

I'm sure not. And I probably won't. For all my support of homosexuality and the creative ways in which one can express one's own sexuality, I tend to be extremely conservative in my personal life.

Nevertheless, I'm not saying you can't seduce many straight men. But if they really are oriented toward the other gender, it would not be wise to try having a relationship with them.

Did I say seduce? I have been out and bisexual since I was 14, and the almost universal response, from over 80% of people I have told, men and women is (1) Well, I have a secret to confess myself and (2) Do you think maybe you and I could... They come on to me when I come out to them, men and women, and my normal response is to say no.

The simple truth is that the homosexual/heterosexual dichotomy of our present culture is a thing of the modern post-freudian era. Buggery and sodomy and the like has always been a potential activity of all people, not of just some special identity class. Of course some men prefer some activities more than others. But a wide spectrum of bisexuality (with most people mostly preferring heterosexuality) is the norm for most cultures and most ages.

Homosexuals are not people who merely prefer homosexual activities any more than heterosexuals are people who prefer vaginal intercourse. Of course they do enjoy these things, but they proceed from their orientation. Some homosexuals merely screw. So do some heterosexuals. But there is a level of emotional and romantic engagement that cannot be changed. This also proceeds from their orientation, and is an essential expression of it.

Answer me honestly: could you spend the rest of your life with another man and be emotionally satisfied with the relationship?

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Now, see, you're treating humans as if they are essentially bisexual creatures. This is simply not true. Many men would never, ever have any desire for another man. This is not because of social limitations, but because they developed in that manner. The same applies to homosexuals. We do not know if this is genetic or purely psychological or a mix of the two, but it is so.

Hah. You just haven't slept with as many "straight" men as I have.

I'm sure not. And I probably won't. For all my support of homosexuality and the creative ways in which one can express one's own sexuality, I tend to be extremely conservative in my personal life.

Nevertheless, I'm not saying you can't seduce many straight men. But if they really are oriented toward the other gender, it would not be wise to try having a relationship with them.

Did I say seduce? I have been out and bisexual since I was 14, and the almost universal response, from over 80% of people I have told, men and women is (1) Well, I have a secret to confess myself and (2) Do you think maybe you and I could... They come on to me when I come out to them, men and women, and my normal response is to say no.

The simple truth is that the homosexual/heterosexual dichotomy of our present culture is a thing of the modern post-freudian era. Buggery and sodomy and the like has always been a potential activity of all people, not of just some special identity class. Of course some men prefer some activities more than others. But a wide spectrum of bisexuality (with most people mostly preferring heterosexuality) is the norm for most cultures and most ages.

Homosexuals are not people who merely prefer homosexual activities any more than heterosexuals are people who prefer vaginal intercourse. Of course they do enjoy these things, but they proceed from their orientation. Some homosexuals merely screw. So do some heterosexuals. But there is a level of emotional and romantic engagement that cannot be changed. This also proceeds from their orientation, and is an essential expression of it.

Answer me honestly: could you spend the rest of your life with another man and be emotionally satisfied with the relationship?

Well, thanks for neither calling me a slut nor a "true believer" this time.

First, I deny the validity of the concept "homosexual" as in meaning "gay" in the modern sense of identity politics. We do not divide the world into drinkers and non-drinkers and expect drinkers to vote democrat or have a keen fashion sense. There are many different types of people who primarily engage in homosexual relations, from transsexuals who feel they were born the wrong gender, to very effeminate men who nevertheless treasure their phalluses, to the large majority of men who are "on the down low" and who may or may not have girlfriends. All this modern nonsense about gay identity is a product of the medicalization of sexuality by psychologists since Freud and by people on the left who espouse victimhood and identity politics to deal with their own alienation from the wider society.

Consider the Romans. The historian Suetonius in his Twelve Caesars goes out of his way to remark that Claudius, alone among the emperors, was known for his exclusive attraction to woman. If a man would sleep with another man in classical society, this was not considered worth remark. Only exclusive attraction to one sex or the other was worth remark.

As to your second question, I am not sure if I get your point. I have been in committed loving long term relations with men and women. I am in a current relationship of 15 years. I cannot imagine being in a relationship with someone to whom I was not attracted. I happen to love the smell of both men and women, (I have had crushes on men and women since the debut of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, when I was six years old, seven years before I learned what sex was.) so I consider myself lucky in that respect.

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(Actually I think pop psychoanalysis and not Anglo-American puritanism is why men are afraid of what people will think if they show affection. In any case this taboo has pretty much disappeared in the last several years.)

These speculations about what was up with Roark/Wynand and the rest of them have been around for years and will probably be around for many more. On a related topic, what I find striking is that, for all the sex in her novels, her characters go for years without any contacts at all. Roark carries a torch for Dominique from the time she leaves him for Keating until the time she comes to him at Monadnock, which must be at least a decade. Dagny breaks it off with Francisco at 23 and apparently has no men in her life until she takes up with Rearden more than a decade later. Francisco fairly boasts, in the valley sequence, that he hasn't had any in 12 years. Galt is unrequitedely in love with Dagny from the first time he first sees her, and they even live together for a few weeks, both terminally horny, without following through. Ragnar spends 11 months a year without his wife. Somewhere Branden said that in the original manuscript Rand had him flying into the valley and heading straight to a meeting with Galt, and that he convinced her to reschedule the meeting til the following morning. None of these characters seems like the type to grab a second-choice partner and make do until something better comes along.

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Now, see, you're treating humans as if they are essentially bisexual creatures. This is simply not true. Many men would never, ever have any desire for another man. This is not because of social limitations, but because they developed in that manner. The same applies to homosexuals. We do not know if this is genetic or purely psychological or a mix of the two, but it is so.

Hah. You just haven't slept with as many "straight" men as I have.

I'm sure not. And I probably won't. For all my support of homosexuality and the creative ways in which one can express one's own sexuality, I tend to be extremely conservative in my personal life.

Nevertheless, I'm not saying you can't seduce many straight men. But if they really are oriented toward the other gender, it would not be wise to try having a relationship with them.

Did I say seduce? I have been out and bisexual since I was 14, and the almost universal response, from over 80% of people I have told, men and women is (1) Well, I have a secret to confess myself and (2) Do you think maybe you and I could... They come on to me when I come out to them, men and women, and my normal response is to say no.

The simple truth is that the homosexual/heterosexual dichotomy of our present culture is a thing of the modern post-freudian era. Buggery and sodomy and the like has always been a potential activity of all people, not of just some special identity class. Of course some men prefer some activities more than others. But a wide spectrum of bisexuality (with most people mostly preferring heterosexuality) is the norm for most cultures and most ages.

Homosexuals are not people who merely prefer homosexual activities any more than heterosexuals are people who prefer vaginal intercourse. Of course they do enjoy these things, but they proceed from their orientation. Some homosexuals merely screw. So do some heterosexuals. But there is a level of emotional and romantic engagement that cannot be changed. This also proceeds from their orientation, and is an essential expression of it.

Answer me honestly: could you spend the rest of your life with another man and be emotionally satisfied with the relationship?

Well, thanks for neither calling me a slut nor a "true believer" this time.

First, I deny the validity of the concept "homosexual" as in meaning "gay" in the modern sense of identity politics. We do not divide the world into drinkers and non-drinkers and expect drinkers to vote democrat or have a keen fashion sense. There are many different types of people who primarily engage in homosexual relations, from transsexuals who feel they were born the wrong gender, to very effeminate men who nevertheless treasure their phalluses, to the large majority of men who are "on the down low" and who may or may not have girlfriends. All this modern nonsense about gay identity is a product of the medicalization of sexuality by psychologists since Freud and by people on the left who espouse victimhood and identity politics to deal with their own alienation from the wider society.

Consider the Romans. The historian Suetonius in his Twelve Caesars goes out of his way to remark that Claudius, alone among the emperors, was known for his exclusive attraction to woman. If a man would sleep with another man in classical society, this was not considered worth remark. Only exclusive attraction to one sex or the other was worth remark.

As to your second question, I am not sure if I get your point. I have been in committed loving long term relations with men and women. I am in a current relationship of 15 years. I cannot imagine being in a relationship with someone to whom I was not attracted. I happen to love the smell of both men and women, (I have had crushes on men and women since the debut of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, when I was six years old, seven years before I learned what sex was.) so I consider myself lucky in that respect.

When did I call you a slut? (And I didn't call you a true believer, I said you were "playing" the true believer. Bit of a difference. I act like a bitch sometimes, but acting like one on occasion and being one as a rule are entirely different things) I enjoy talking to you and, if I don't always agree with you, still respect you.

You have to remember I'm just not a subdued person, and I'm not easily insulted. I forget others are more sensitive than I am. And for that I do apologize.

Drinking does not relate to any aspect of a person's nature. Stop constructing strawmen. I don't agree with 'gay identity' to the extent that is has become a leftist sub-culture, but sexual orientation is a very real thing. Yes, a wide variety of people engage in homosexual behavior (calling transsexuals 'homosexual' when they are oriented toward men, however, is incorrect), and this does not make them homosexual, but this does not mean that homosexuals do not exist.

Your problem is that you do not distinguish between sexual orientation, sexual expression, and stereotypes of the gay subculture, and dismiss orientation as leftist victim politics.

Needless to say, there are self-identified homosexuals who are neither leftists nor victims. And there are MANY more self-identified heterosexuals.

Your account of human sexuality is alien to millions of heterosexuals and homosexuals who have never had an inclination toward the non-oriented gender.

Freudian psychology did not 'create' heterosexuals and homosexuals in any other sense than a sociological one. It only gave them the language they needed in order to discern the facts, empower themselves and fight against the puritan impulses of their respective societies.

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Now, see, you're treating humans as if they are essentially bisexual creatures. This is simply not true. Many men would never, ever have any desire for another man. This is not because of social limitations, but because they developed in that manner. The same applies to homosexuals. We do not know if this is genetic or purely psychological or a mix of the two, but it is so.

Hah. You just haven't slept with as many "straight" men as I have.

I'm sure not. And I probably won't. For all my support of homosexuality and the creative ways in which one can express one's own sexuality, I tend to be extremely conservative in my personal life.

Nevertheless, I'm not saying you can't seduce many straight men. But if they really are oriented toward the other gender, it would not be wise to try having a relationship with them.

Did I say seduce? I have been out and bisexual since I was 14, and the almost universal response, from over 80% of people I have told, men and women is (1) Well, I have a secret to confess myself and (2) Do you think maybe you and I could... They come on to me when I come out to them, men and women, and my normal response is to say no.

The simple truth is that the homosexual/heterosexual dichotomy of our present culture is a thing of the modern post-freudian era. Buggery and sodomy and the like has always been a potential activity of all people, not of just some special identity class. Of course some men prefer some activities more than others. But a wide spectrum of bisexuality (with most people mostly preferring heterosexuality) is the norm for most cultures and most ages.

Homosexuals are not people who merely prefer homosexual activities any more than heterosexuals are people who prefer vaginal intercourse. Of course they do enjoy these things, but they proceed from their orientation. Some homosexuals merely screw. So do some heterosexuals. But there is a level of emotional and romantic engagement that cannot be changed. This also proceeds from their orientation, and is an essential expression of it.

Answer me honestly: could you spend the rest of your life with another man and be emotionally satisfied with the relationship?

Well, thanks for neither calling me a slut nor a "true believer" this time.

First, I deny the validity of the concept "homosexual" as in meaning "gay" in the modern sense of identity politics. We do not divide the world into drinkers and non-drinkers and expect drinkers to vote democrat or have a keen fashion sense. There are many different types of people who primarily engage in homosexual relations, from transsexuals who feel they were born the wrong gender, to very effeminate men who nevertheless treasure their phalluses, to the large majority of men who are "on the down low" and who may or may not have girlfriends. All this modern nonsense about gay identity is a product of the medicalization of sexuality by psychologists since Freud and by people on the left who espouse victimhood and identity politics to deal with their own alienation from the wider society.

Consider the Romans. The historian Suetonius in his Twelve Caesars goes out of his way to remark that Claudius, alone among the emperors, was known for his exclusive attraction to woman. If a man would sleep with another man in classical society, this was not considered worth remark. Only exclusive attraction to one sex or the other was worth remark.

As to your second question, I am not sure if I get your point. I have been in committed loving long term relations with men and women. I am in a current relationship of 15 years. I cannot imagine being in a relationship with someone to whom I was not attracted. I happen to love the smell of both men and women, (I have had crushes on men and women since the debut of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, when I was six years old, seven years before I learned what sex was.) so I consider myself lucky in that respect.

When did I call you a slut? (And I didn't call you a true believer, I said you were "playing" the true believer. Bit of a difference. I act like a bitch sometimes, but acting like one on occasion and being one as a rule are entirely different things) I enjoy talking to you and, if I don't always agree with you, still respect you.

You have to remember I'm just not a subdued person, and I'm not easily insulted. I forget others are more sensitive than I am. And for that I do apologize.

Drinking does not relate to any aspect of a person's nature. Stop constructing strawmen. I don't agree with 'gay identity' to the extent that is has become a leftist sub-culture, but sexual orientation is a very real thing. Yes, a wide variety of people engage in homosexual behavior (calling transsexuals 'homosexual' when they are oriented toward men, however, is incorrect), and this does not make them homosexual, but this does not mean that homosexuals do not exist.

Your problem is that you do not distinguish between sexual orientation, sexual expression, and stereotypes of the gay subculture, and dismiss orientation as leftist victim politics.

Needless to say, there are self-identified homosexuals who are neither leftists nor victims. And there are MANY more self-identified heterosexuals.

Your account of human sexuality is alien to millions of heterosexuals and homosexuals who have never had an inclination toward the non-oriented gender.

Freudian psychology did not 'create' heterosexuals and homosexuals in any other sense than a sociological one. It only gave them the language they needed in order to discern the facts, empower themselves and fight against the puritan impulses of their respective societies.

Well, if I ever mean to insult you, you'll know it. :)

I don't think you should say that I don't understand the difference between orientation, expression, etc. I worked for Christopher Street Magazine, and these debates are old hat to me. I simply think that just because modern people are so bound up in the notion of having a gay identity doesn't make it valid or useful. Indeed, if sexuality so defines us, what is a straight identity? The notion is silly, and that's why I made the analogy with drinkers versus non-drinkers. There really is nothing outside sex that so-called gay people have more in common with each other than they do with so called straights. Most men who do have sex with other men consider themselves "straight acting." Being gay in the identity politics sense has as much to do with a person's real nature as being "black" in the sense of hip hop and ebonics has to do with the nature of what it is to have West African slave ancestry. Read the link above on Suetonius. Gayness is a modern fashion, not a separate type of human being.

You didn't clarify what you meant about the relationship thing, so I am still clueless as to what point you were trying to make, or what information you were trying to elicit.

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Well, if I ever mean to insult you, you'll know it. :)

I don't think you should say that I don't understand the difference between orientation, expression, etc. I worked for Christopher Street Magazine, and these debates are old hat to me. I simply think that just because modern people are so bound up in the notion of having a gay identity doesn't make it valid or useful. Indeed, if sexuality so defines us, what is a straight identity? The notion is silly, and that's why I made the analogy with drinkers versus non-drinkers. There really is nothing outside sex that so-called gay people have more in common with each other than they do with so called straights. Most men who do have sex with other men consider themselves "straight acting." Being gay in the identity politics sense has as much to do with a person's real nature as being "black" in the sense of hip hop and ebonics has to do with the nature of what it is to have West African slave ancestry. Read the link above on Suetonius. Gayness is a modern fashion, not a separate type of human being.

You didn't clarify what you meant about the relationship thing, so I am still clueless as to what point you were trying to make, or what information you were trying to elicit.

Have you insulted me without meaning to?

Alright. I'm sorry for telling you what you do and do not know. I get irritated when people do it to me, and I shouldn't be doing it to you. I'll amend my statement: it seems like you're not understanding the difference between orientation, identity, and subculture in relationship to homosexuality.

I'm not sure if you're understanding me.

When have I said our sexuality defines our identity? It IS an aspect of one's identity, but it is NOT equivalent to one's identity. As you said, homosexuals, outside of having sex with others of the same gender, have no more in relation to other homosexuals than they do to heterosexuals. What has this to do with the issue of sexual orientation? A sexual orientation does not imply separate types of human beings, other than a psychological difference which does not influence people beyond the realm of romance.

Forget identity politics and leftists and whatnot. Those are beside the point.

I asked you because I assumed that you, like most self-identifying bisexuals I know, were still oriented to one gender or the other, even if you enjoyed sex with both. If you aren't, then the information does not serve my purpose.

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Well, if I ever mean to insult you, you'll know it. :)

I don't think you should say that I don't understand the difference between orientation, expression, etc. I worked for Christopher Street Magazine, and these debates are old hat to me. I simply think that just because modern people are so bound up in the notion of having a gay identity doesn't make it valid or useful. Indeed, if sexuality so defines us, what is a straight identity? The notion is silly, and that's why I made the analogy with drinkers versus non-drinkers. There really is nothing outside sex that so-called gay people have more in common with each other than they do with so called straights. Most men who do have sex with other men consider themselves "straight acting." Being gay in the identity politics sense has as much to do with a person's real nature as being "black" in the sense of hip hop and ebonics has to do with the nature of what it is to have West African slave ancestry. Read the link above on Suetonius. Gayness is a modern fashion, not a separate type of human being.

You didn't clarify what you meant about the relationship thing, so I am still clueless as to what point you were trying to make, or what information you were trying to elicit.

Have you insulted me without meaning to?

Alright. I'm sorry for telling you what you do and do not know. I get irritated when people do it to me, and I shouldn't be doing it to you. I'll amend my statement: it seems like you're not understanding the difference between orientation, identity, and subculture in relationship to homosexuality.

I'm not sure if you're understanding me.

When have I said our sexuality defines our identity? It IS an aspect of one's identity, but it is NOT equivalent to one's identity. As you said, homosexuals, outside of having sex with others of the same gender, have no more in relation to other homosexuals than they do to heterosexuals. What has this to do with the issue of sexual orientation? A sexual orientation does not imply separate types of human beings, other than a psychological difference which does not influence people beyond the realm of romance.

Forget identity politics and leftists and whatnot. Those are beside the point.

I asked you because I assumed that you, like most self-identifying bisexuals I know, were still oriented to one gender or the other, even if you enjoyed sex with both. If you aren't, then the information does not serve my purpose.

I meant that if I actually wanted to insult you, which I do not, it would be quite obvious, no ambiguity.

I do understand all those distinctions, what is meant by them when people use them. I view much of what is said about homosexuality to be based on anti-concepts, package deals and definitions by non-essential. I also find most people to be very parochial in their knowledge and opinions. Simply try translating the modern anti-concept "gay" into Latin. You can't do it. There has always been homosexual behavior, homosexual attraction, exclusive homosexuality, and so forth. Read the Suetonius link I posted above. It also remarks about pre-modern Japanese views on homosexuality. There was basically sex with men and sex with women. This was natural. But to say exclusive homosexual you had to say woman-hater because it was naturally assumed that men engaged in both woman sex and man sex and exclusivity of one or the other type was the unexpected.

As for me personally, if I am attracted to a man or a woman, then I am fully attracted to that person. I would say that walking down the street, most of the people who I find attractive off the bat are men, perhaps 80%. I think this is because I strongly dislike most women's fashions, such as low cut jeans, and the way many women carry themselves nowadays. It's a lot easier for a woman to turn me off than for a man. If I do find a woman attractive I am likely to find her extremely attractive. Most of the sex dreams I remeber on waking are about women. My ideal woman would be Lauren Baccall in

, Barbara Stanwyck in
, (although not the way her hair is cut in that film) or Rita Hayworth in
. Watch the clips.

Now I need a cold shower.

Oh, and you can delete double posts, see the button to the lower right.

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You obviously did not take the racism test.* This is just a suggestion, but I would get familiar with at least a small part of the material in cognitive science before dismissing it. There is a lot to learn, not a little.

I am familiar with a great deal of the material of cognitive science, and that is why I feel comfortable dismissing it in this case.

Rand's errors in her theory of emotions? I have written about them often here on OL. Here are a few just off the top of my head:

1. The emotional capacity is tabula rasa at birth (except apparently the pain-pleasure mechanism).

2. All emotions are subconscious reactions to consciously chosen values.

3. All emotions, although operating at the subconscious level, can be programmed by conscious effort.

1. I don't recall Rand stating that "emotional capacity is tabula rasa at birth."

Darrell,

Saying something ain't so don't make it ain't so. Here is your homework for you. Rand, VOS, "The Objectivist Ethics," p. 30.

Man is born with an emotional mechanism, just as he is born with a cognitive mechanism; but, at birth, both are "tabula rasa."

This view of Rand's is pretty basic knowledge for someone studying her work.

2. She said that emotions are subconscious reactions determined by a person's values. She did not say that the values must have been consciously chosen. In fact, she stated in many places in her books that people often fail to consciously examine their values and therefore simply accept what others have said or what they have grown up believing.

This is in response to my statement above: "All emotions are subconscious reactions to consciously chosen values."

I worded this poorly since I was writing off the cuff. I did not mean that Rand said man consciously chooses all his values and that there is nothing automatic or passive. What I meant was something to the effect that she considers that all emotions can be impacted by consciously chosen values and that all man's values can be consciously chosen. I consider this to be a flaw in her theory of emotions that is not supported by science.

Let's look at it in her words. First, this last. Rand makes thinking an either-or volitional issue and removes all automatic processes in acquiring values in the mind, even the "accepting" or "evading" part. To her, these are active processes of choice:

But since the work of man's mind is not automatic, his values, like all his premises, are the product either of his thinking or of his evasions: man chooses his values by a conscious process of thought—or accepts them by default, by subconscious associations, on faith, on someone's authority, by some form of social osmosis or blind imitation.

This sounds right until you look at it more deeply. A passive mental process like "accepts them by default" or "subconscious associations" are automatic by definition. Can you make "subconscious associations" that are not performed by your subconscious automatically? I can't.

When you read through Rand's literature on the subconscious, you don't get her explicitly saying that the subconscious runs automatically, but she constantly says that the quality of what the subconscious returns (emotions) will be governed by what goes in from the conscious mind and that the subconscious will process (by "integrating") what the conscious mind feeds it and/or what else is stored there. That sounds pretty automatic to me. And the word "automatic" is never far when she discusses this topic. The Romantic Manifesto, "The Psycho-Epistemology of Art," p. 19":

Psycho-epistemology is the study of man's cognitive processes from the aspect of the interaction between the conscious mind and the automatic functions of the subconscious.

Here is an interesting quote from ITOE, "Consciousness and Identity," p. 76.

Words, as such people use them, denote unidentified feelings, unadmitted motives, subconscious urges, chance associations, memorized sounds, ritualistic formulas, second-hand cues—all of it hung, like barnacles, on some swimming suggestion of some existential referent.

I have great difficulty justifying the use of volition as a causal agent for "subconscious urges" and "chance associations" and eliminating "automatic process" as the causal agent.

Even the feedback mechanism of the subconscious, which is basically how Rand defines emotions (see "Philosophy: Who Needs It" for a deeper discussion by her of this view), i.e., the very process of the subconscious communicating to the conscious mind, is said by her to be automatic. VOS, "The Objectivist Ethics," p. 30:

Emotions are the automatic results of man's value judgments integrated by his subconscious;...

Incidentally, this is another part of Rand's theory of emotions that is not borne out by science, i.e., that emotions are merely the results of cognition, never the cause. We got into this several times on OL with discussions of lobotomy, of Sylvan Tomkins and other interesting topics. I don't have time to go into all that now, but if you search, you will find a lot of stuff.

Peikoff makes explicit what Rand implies in an excerpt from his "The Philosophy of Objectivism” lecture series (1976), question period, Lecture 12. The excerpt is online here:

Strictly speaking, Objectivism does not subscribe to the idea of an unconscious at all. We use the term “subconscious” instead—and that is simply a name for the content of your mind that you are not focused on at any given moment. It is simply a repository for past information or conclusions that you were once conscious of in some form, but that are now stored beneath the threshold of consciousness. There is nothing in the subconscious besides what you acquired by conscious means. The subconscious does perform automatically certain important integrations (sometimes these are correct, sometimes not), but the conscious mind is always able to know what these are (and to correct them, if necessary).

As this was presented in 1976 under Rand's sanction, it is fair to say that this represents her view. Peikoff is saying explicitly that the subconscious is a storehouse for concepts (which are apparently stored automatically) and an automatic integration processor.

Now for the other part, the one about all emotions being able to be impacted by consciously chosen values. VOS, "The Objectivist Ethics," p. 31 (Rand is talking about "man"):

If he chooses irrational values, he switches his emotional mechanism from the role of his guardian to the role of his destroyer.

Science does not bear this out, but you don't even need to go as far as science. I remember a harsh Rand critic (one who is wrong on many, many things about her and Objectivism), Jeff Walker, once stated something that is true in relation to this view. He said (in response to this attitude) that man is one of the most successful biological species on the planet. That struck me hard when I read it because it is correct. It's wrong to go around preaching that most people are irrational and that this means that their emotions are their "destroyer," then look at the world and see increasing life spans, increasing quality of life and health, increasing population explosions, etc. Just on a primary level of basic observation, this does not hold up. Something is missing from that formulation.

Continuing that last quote from Rand, she described some bad guys, then came out with this (VOS, "The Objectivist Ethics," p. 31):

It must be added that the emotional state of all those irrationalists cannot be properly designated as happiness or even as pleasure: it is merely a moment's relief from their chronic state of terror.

I don't know how she manages to know this since she didn't say, she only proclaimed it. But removing science and even primary observation of the big picture as I mentioned above, this was not borne out by my own observation throughout life. I have known many bad guys in my bad days—ones who have killed 40 plus men over money, and "chronic state of terror" with only moments of relief is so far removed from what I witnessed up close that I decided to not even try to rationalize this or give Rand the benefit of the doubt. That's just plain wrong. It might be how she wanted the bad guys to be, and there might even be some bad guys who fit this (although I never met any), but it is far, far removed from what anyone can easily encounter by direct observation.

I believe Rand presented this wrong conclusion because of oversimplifications in her theory of emotions—wrong premises—that logically led to this.

3. She never said that. She said that emotions are subconscious reactions determined by a person's values. That is much different than saying that one can program one's emotional responses directly. For example, she never said that a person could be happy if he received a million dollars just because he told himself to be happy in that case. She recognized that a person would not be happy in such a case if the way he got the million dollars was illegitimate.

This is in response to my statement above (which I consider a flaw in her theory of emotions and not supported by science): "All emotions, although operating at the subconscious level, can be programmed by conscious effort."

Where did I say "directly" or even imply the sense you mean? Rand stated that ALL emotions can be programed by the conscious mind. How it plays out is a bit more involved, but that does not negate that it is the conscious mind doing the programming and the emotion being the programmed. Here is the first quote from Rand that I gave above repeated with the continuation that makes this clear. "The Objectivist Ethics," p. 30.

Man is born with an emotional mechanism, just as he is born with a cognitive mechanism; but, at birth, both are "tabula rasa." It is man's cognitive faculty, his mind, that determines the content of both. Man's emotional mechanism is like an electronic computer, which his mind has to program—and the programming consists of the values his mind chooses.

It doesn't get clearer than that. To Rand, man chooses the content of his subconscious. And that means his emotions.

But it goes deeper and I am out of time. So I will only mention the following. Rand claimed (somewhere, but I don't have time to find it right now) that she knew or could access the entire content of her subconscious with her conscious mind and could change it by will. This is on record somewhere. Maybe I will try to find it later...

For now, you have some premises to check...

Michael

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The question of whether homosexuality is a "choice" or not misrepresents the issue. Homosexuals have no more control over which gender they are attracted to than heterosexuals are. Homosexuality, in and of itself, is a psycho-sexual orientation toward one's own gender. An orientation one does not "choose," but develops. The only choice involved is whether to honor or to betray one's authentic orientation. Either way, it does not change reality: as it is said, A is A.

That is not true and it is a very damaging notion to put into the minds of young people. People young and old are capable of having an urge to have sex with people of the same or opposite sex. But to state, effectively, that one must honor one's urges is to sell that person short. A person should examine his urges in the light of his value hierarchy and decide whether it makes sense to follow those urges or not. If a person has an authentic urge to kill someone, should he honor that urge?

Darrell

I said orientation, not urge. The two words have entirely different meanings. Don't tell me I said something I didn't say in order to lend legitimacy to your own mistaken views.

Pray tell then, what is the meaning of orientation?

In fact, your "sexuality is entirely a choice" argument is the one that is dangerous. Did there ever come a point where you said: "I'm going to choose to be sexually oriented toward women!"? No. It developed without your consent as a part of your individual nature.

My sexual desires did not develop without my consent. I choose to be heterosexual -- to have sex with women. I am not oriented in any particular direction by nature. Any inborn urges that I might have had when I was young have been examined and re-examined so many times by my conscious mind that they are nothing but a distant memory. The entire fallacy of sexual orientation is the creation of those that don't wish to examine the moral dimension of their behavior.

Furthermore, I have never said a homosexual MUST engage in sexual relations with people of his own gender, just as I wouldn't say a heterosexual MUST engage in sexual relations with people of the opposite gender. Many homosexuals refuse to sleep with others of their own gender for health/religious reasons. If they value their religion or the minimization of certain health risks over finding a person to spend their life with, this is their choice to make, and I won't give them grief about it. But this does not make them non-homosexuals.

The whole notion of homosexuality is a floating abstraction. In reality, no one is homosexual by nature. Everyone is heterosexual. There are two sexes and humans procreate by heterosexual sex. Humans are incapable (by nature) of procreation by homosexual sex or by asexual means. Of course, that could change if cloning becomes possible.

At any rate, homosexuality must refer to something other than the means of procreation. One logical definition is that homosexuals are people that engage in homosexual sex. Another is that homosexuals are people that desire to have sex with others of the same sex. A third is that they are people that have an urge to have sex with others of the same sex. Your definition is that they are people with a sexual orientation towards people of the same sex. But, you have not explained what that means or how it is different from having an urge or desire.

You seem to be subscribing to the Sartrean notion that humans create their own natures from the ground up, which is nonsense in the light of psychology and genetics. Humans work with what they're given to create their identities.

Of course not. That would be absurd. However, people can exert a lot of control over their sexual desires. Men especially tend to spend a lot of time on sexual fantasies. And, the content of those fantasies has a lot of influence on their desires. Sometimes, it is the uninhibited or debased nature of those fantasies that makes them erotic, showing the complex interaction of people's values. Nevertheless, by examining those fantasies and the sources of the erotic urges or erotic pleasure that they invoke, a person can change his sexual nature.

Women seem to slide more easily between homosexual and heterosexual relationships. Does that make them homosexual at one time and heterosexual at another? Some women tend to do both at once, so one could call them bisexual, but it seems like others are "oriented" one way for a while then the other way for a while. If "orientation" is inborn, how is that possible?

As Rand said, "Life is lived in the mind." Everything that a person does was originally something that he imagined himself doing, whether it was going to the store, inventing a new high tech gadget, or having a sexual relationship with someone. And, in the process of using his imagination, a person can examine the consequences of his potential actions in the light of the values that he holds and modify the perceived value and therefore the perceived desirability of those actions. Perhaps people should work harder with what they're given to mold their identities.

Darrell

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Interesting, Darrell. How did you choose to be heterosexual? I remember my first crush was at the age of four, years before I knew about sex. He was the butcher in our local french village (We lived in France for a few years.). I just knew I was going to marry him (He was already married and had children, but that didn't deter my determined four year old mind.) I spent every day after kindergarden at his place, washing the pigs (don't ask.). My next crush (the butcher didn't work out) was John F. Kennedy when I was eight. (Another married guy.)

My third crush was at eleven - the American actor Lex Barker who was deified in Europe at the time. (Married five times. There's a theme happening here.)

Did I choose three men before I understood the concept of sex? Darrell, since I didn't know about sex, I doubt that much gender choice was involved. I suspect some internal wiring just drew me to men way long before I knew what men were good for.

Ginny, hot to trot

Edited by ginny

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Well, all you have to do is find the homo-O's (these exist), and the rare Negro-O (?). Then you look for a homo-Negro O, and ask them the question.

rde

Always around to solve problems.

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Well, all you have to do is find the homo-O's (these exist), and the rare Negro-O (?). Then you look for a homo-Negro O, and ask them the question.

rde

Always around to solve problems.

Yet another post by your evil arch-nemesis alter-ego, Non Sekwi-Tor, Rich?

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