Q&A: Conservative Allies in Politics: 20 Jul 2014, Question 1
Interview: Dr. Paul Hsieh on Understanding the Three Languages of Politics: 3 Jul 2014
Question: Aren't politicians like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul allies in the struggle for liberty? Although I'm an atheist and a novice Objectivist, I've always wondered why so many advocates of individual rights oppose candidates and movements that seem to agree with us on a great many issues. Despite their other warts, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are the most likely men to promote our causes. The notion that they evangelize is dubious. And even if true, are there better alternatives today? I've also seen this attitude towards Libertarian candidates and their party. Ronald Reagan was the only President who advanced the ball towards free markets in the last fifty years, and yet people condemn him because of his position on abortion and because of his religious/political partnerships. I've never understood this. Shouldn't we embrace the advocates of free markets out there today, even if not perfect?
Tags: Abortion, Activism, Conservatism, Elections, Free Society, GLBT, Immigration, Politics, Progressivism, Three Languages of Politics, Voting
Q&A: Moral Judgments of Sexuality: 29 May 2014, Question 2
Summary: How many times have you been in political discussions with friends where you find you're talking past one another? You'll make points they consider irrelevant, whereas they'll focus on issues you consider nonessential. Such problems can be overcome, at least in part, using Arnold Kling's concept of the "Three Languages of Politics." Paul Hsieh explained how freedom advocates (e.g., Objectivists and better libertarians), conservatives, and liberals tend to use three vastly different metaphors in political discussions, which can create unintentional misunderstandings and miscommunications. He discussed how to frame discussion points so they better resonate with those speaking the other "languages" without compromising on principles.
Tags: Activism, Campaign Finance, Civilization, Communication, Compromise, Conservatism, Drug War, Firearms, Free Speech, GLBT, Government, Libertarianism, Medicine, Objectivism, Objectivism, Politics, Privacy, Progressivism, Property Rights, Rights, Three Languages of Politics, Values
Q&A: Gay Pride: 19 Jan 2014, Question 3
Question: Does the morality of homosexuality depend on it being unchosen? It seems that the advocates of gay rights and gay acceptance are obsessed with proving that homosexuality is never a choice. I find this confusing as it doesn't seem to be the best argument. Even if sexual orientation were chosen, I don't see why there would be anything better or worse about preferences for heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality. Rather, I think that if I were able to pick, I would choose to be bisexual, as being straight limits my expression of admiration towards men who may represent the "highest values one can find in a human being" simply due to their genitals. Is that right? Or does the case for rights for and acceptance of gays depend in some way on sexual orientation being unchosen?
Tags: Ethics, GLBT, Responsibility, Responsibility, Sex
Q&A: Hate Crime Laws: 8 Sep 2013, Question 4
Question: Are "gay pride" parades good? Sexuality is not chosen, so being gay is not something that a person could be proud of. However, these parades seem like harmless fun, and they might even help alleviate homophobia. (They might perpetuate stereotypes too, however.) So are they, on balance, of benefit? Also, what should be made of the fact that a "straight pride" parade would be seen as homophobic? Isn't the goal here equality? Does that show that gay pride parades are elevating a minority into something special and unequal?
Tags: Courage, Culture, Ethics, GLBT, Honesty, Independence, Integrity, Pride, Racism, Sexism
Interview: Tom Varik on Gay Marriage and Spousal Privilege: 7 Aug 2013
Question: Are hate crime laws just? Hate crime laws impose additional penalties for crimes motivated by hatred for or bias against the victim for his group membership, such as religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or ethnic background. Do such laws protect or violate individual rights? Should such laws be maintained, modified, or repealed?
Tags: Crime, Discrimination, GLBT, Hate Crimes, Justice, Law, Racism, Sexism
Q&A: Responding to Polite Homophobes: 21 Jul 2013, Question 3
Summary: As the cause of gay marriage gains ever-more traction, many have wondered whether marriage really matters. Attorney Tom Varik argues that it does. In this interview, he discussed the legal status and importance of gay marriage, including the recent Supreme Court cases, as well as the history and limits of spousal privilege.
Tags: Crime, Culture, GLBT, Law, Marriage, Politics, Rights
Q&A: The Validity of Gay Marriage: 7 Apr 2013, Question 1
Question: How should I respond to people who think that homosexuality is an immoral or neurotic choice? I'm straight, but I have many gay friends. From years of experience, I know that they're virtuous and rational people. Moreover, their romantic relationships are not fundamentally different from mine. Also, I'm a strong believer in gay rights, including gay marriage. So what should I do when confronted with seemingly decent people who think that homosexuality is an immoral choice, based in neurosis, or otherwise unhealthy? These people often present their ideas in polite and seemingly respectable ways; they're not just flaming bigots. Yet still I find them appalling, particularly when used to justify denying rights to gays. Should I be more tolerant of such views? How should I express my disagreement?
Tags: Bigotry, Communication, Epistemology, Ethics, GLBT, Love, Psychology, Romance, Sex, Sexism
Q&A: Changing Minds on Gay Marriage: 31 Mar 2013, Question 2
Question: Is "gay marriage" a valid form of marriage? Many people oppose gay marriage on the grounds that marriage is essentially religious, that procreation is central to marriage, or "traditional marriage" should be respected. Should gay unions be considered a valid form of marriage, legally or socially? Might civil unions be an acceptable alternative?
Tags: Christianity, Culture, GLBT, Law, Marriage, Politics, Religion, Romance, Tradition
Q&A: Gay "Conversion" Therapy: 6 Jan 2013, Question 4
Question: How might social conservatives be convinced to support gay marriage? Rob Portman, a Republican Senator from Ohio, recently decided to openly support gay marriage after his son came out to him and his wife. What can be done to help other conservatives see gay marriage in a new light – as a matter of liberty and individual identity?
Tags: Activism, Culture, GLBT, Marriage, Politics
Q&A: The Role of Government in Adoption: 19 Aug 2012, Question 1
Question: Was California right or wrong to ban "gay cure" therapy for minors? Recently, California banned "reparative" or "conversion" therapy – meaning, therapy that aims to make gay teenagers straight. Such therapy is widely regarded as dangerous pseudo-science by mental health professionals. The ban only applies to patients under 18. So adults can still choose such therapy for themselves, but parents cannot foist it on their minor children. Is such therapy a form of child abuse? Or should parents have the power to compel such therapy on their children, even if they're morally wrong to do so?
Tags: Ethics, GLBT, Law, Parenting, Psychology, Rights, Science, Torts
Q&A: Speaking Out Against Bigotry: 15 Jul 2012, Question 2
Question: What is the proper role of government in adoption, if any? Many religious people recoil at the notion of gay marriage due to its implications for adoption. They fear that the government will then allow gay couples to adopt on a broader scale. I suspect that the government is taking too great a role in adoption, and that's what causes this particular controversy. So what role should the government play in adoption? Should it screen parents and forbid some people from adopting? More broadly, what would adoption look like in a free society?
Tags: Adoption, Children, Free Society, GLBT, Government, Parenting, Rights
Q&A: Outing Anti-Gay Politicians as Gay: 1 Apr 2012, Question 2
Question: When should a person speak up against bigotry? My boyfriend and I were at a party at the home of one of his coworkers. One person at the party started using offensive homophobic slurs, so I asked him not to use that kind of language. He persisted, and the conversation escalated into an argument. My boyfriend did not take a position, and he later said he "didn't want to get involved" and that it had been "none of my business" to stick my neck out against the bigot. I believe that silence implies acceptance. Though there may not be a moral obligation to intervene, it still seems like the right thing to do. What is the moral principle behind this? Is it important enough to end a relationship over?
Tags: Bigotry, Communication, Conflict, Ethics, GLBT, Justice, Race, Relationships
Q&A: Restrooms for the Transgendered in Transition: 30 Oct 2011, Question 2
Question: Is it wrong to "out" a hypocritical anti-gay public figure who is secretly gay? Some conservative politicians have taken strongly anti-gay positions, but are secretly gay themselves. If one learns of this, is it wrong for gay activists to publicly "out" them? What if they don't engage in public hypocrisy, but are just quietly "in the closet"? Should activists respect their privacy in that case?
Tags: Ethics, GLBT, Integrity, Justice, Politics, Privacy
Q&A: State Involvement in Marriage: 23 Oct 2011, Question 1
Question: Which bathroom should a pre-operative transgendered person use? The brutal attack at McDonald's
on a transgendered person in April 2011 was apparently started
because that person used the ladies restroom, which was already occupied by a 14 year old. Was the transgendered person wrong to use that restroom?
Tags: Ethics, Etiquette, GLBT, Medicine, Personal Identity, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Rights, Science
Q&A: Appropriating Insulting Terms: 12 Jun 2011, Question 5
Question: Should the state be involved in marriage contracts? Many people say that gay marriage shouldn't be a political issue, because the state shouldn't be involved in defining marriage at all. Is that right? Why or why not?
Tags: Free Society, Gay Marriage, GLBT, Government, Law, Marriage, Politics, Polygamy, Romance
Q&A: Bisexuality and Relationships with Men and Women: 20 Mar 2011, Question 3
Question: What do you think of people using pejorative terms for themselves, such as gays referring to themselves as "faggots" or Objectivists calling themselves "Randroids"? The term "Randroid" is supposed to imply that Objectivists are unthinking, mindless drones. However, I happily use this term to describe myself – after first calling myself an Objectivist, of course – because I think it squashes a lot of the negativity behind the pejorative when I adopt it willingly. Do you think it's for good Objectivists to adopt this term – and more generally, for people to use insults as badges of honor?
Tags: Communication, Culture, Epistemology, GLBT, Justice, Language, Race
Q&A: "That's So Gay": 13 Mar 2011, Question 4
Question: If one is bisexual and derives different values from relationships/sex with men than with women, is it proper to maintain concurrent relationships with both? Assume here, that if such an individual were to forsake having a relationship or sex with either gender, he/she would feel like something is missing and would long for the other.
Tags: Dating, GLBT, Monogamy, Relationships, Romance, Sex
Question: Is it wrong to jokingly use the term "that's so gay" among friends? I have many friends who are homosexual, and they and I and anyone I use this term with know there's nothing wrong with homosexuality. But sometimes this term does feel natural to use, even though I am not thinking about any negative association with actual homosexuals. Is it better to just avoid saying, "That's so gay", or even joking about how gay something appears, given that we ought not to see it as anything shameful?
Tags: Ethics, GLBT, Language