“Philosopher” Robin Dembroff Writes About Roy Moore

Robin Dembroff, a celebrity among lefty, tranny and sodomite philosophers, has produced a small article on Roy Moore, calling him odious. I want to address some of what she (I decline to use her preferred personal pronoun they) has stated.

Dembroff writes:

No, let’s not forget Roy Moore’s repeated and firm insistence that millions of Americans, including myself, belong in prison simply for being gay. He made this plain when he told CSPAN’s Bill Press that “homosexual conduct” is equivalent to bestiality, and should be criminalized.

Dembroff writes that Moore has made a firm and repeated insistence that millions of Americans should be in jail for being gay and that he said this when he said that homosexual conduct should be criminalized. But this is wrong and seems like a blatantly obvious lie: Moore doesn’t want to throw people in jail for being gay, but only that gay conduct is criminalized. Thus, it’s about homosexual behaviour (e.g. sodomy between men). Moore stated that much in the video provided by Dembroff herself – that is, Moore clearly stated that it’s about conduct, not people. He stated that repeatedly. Watch the video to see for yourself.

Sometimes people suggest that there’s no proper distinction between “being gay” and “doing gay”, but that’s silly. Nothing about having a homosexual inclination or an “orientation” necessitates homosexual conduct. To say otherwise is to endorse the idea that people with homosexual inclination cannot control their sexual behaviour, which should strike lgbt allies as a classically “homophobic” thing to say.

Other times it is suggested that prohibitions against homosexual behaviour would be like prohibiting Catholics to go to Mass, which would penalize Catholics for being Catholic. In this same way, they argue, prohibitions against gay conduct would penalize gay people for being homosexual. But that’s wrong. Let me explain why.

Part of being a good Catholic involves Mass attendance, because Catholics are obliged to go to Mass; but no person with homosexual inclination is obliged to perform homosexual conduct. There’s no analogous religious or spiritual system that obliges sodomy. There’s also no standard of what makes a good, homosexual person. Thus, restrictions on homosexual conduct cannot be compared to restrictions against Mass attendance, or at least not in the respect mentioned above.

Objectors might argue that prohibitions against sodomite behaviour have an discriminatory effect, because gay persons are those who are most inclined toward sodomite behaviour. In other words, mostly gay people will be caught in any enforcement effort. This is likely true. But so what? Where’s the rebuttal?

I ask that question because my admission still doesn’t suggest that homosexual persons would be imprisoned or penalized for being gay, but only doing gay. And moreover, that it has a discriminatory effect is no problem for Moore, because he views the homosexual condition as an ailment and that homosexual conduct is immoral and unnatural. Moore thus finds the discriminatory impact of this prohibition to be justified, just as prohibitions against stealing have a discriminatory but justified impact on kleptomaniacs.

This comparison between kleptomaniacs and homos might insult you, but here we have a debate about the homosexual condition and gay conduct, not a debate about whether Moore wants to imprison people for being gay. I thus encourage my readers to remember what’s at stake here: We are only discussing whether Moore is suggesting that we imprison people for being gay. I have given good reason to doubt that.

Let’s move on to the final point I’ll address. Dembroff writes:

If Moore’s comparison between homosexuality and bestiality reveals one thing, it is that Roy Moore has a serious case of what I call “straight ignorance.” Straight ignorance is epistemic handcuffs. It is an ignorance that prevents someone from understanding gay people’s identities and experiences.

Perhaps straight ignorance is best understood by looking first to white ignorance. The philosopher Charles Mills describes white ignorance as ignorance of racialized experience that is disguised simply as knowledge. White ignorance makes black and brown lives unintelligible, and replaces true understanding with stereotypes and projections.

Straight ignorance presupposes that heterosexuality is the cultural gold standard. Heteronormative practices, values and habits are the lens through which everything is seen — a lens hidden under loaded concepts like ‘natural’ and ‘normal’, even ‘Biblical’.

Straight ignorance means seeing monogamous, heterosexual marriage as unremarkable, but polyamory as bizarre. It means never questioning one’s own gender, but being puzzled or even disgusted by a bearded person wearing a dress. It means never thinking twice about holding your partner’s hand in public or walking into a bathroom.

Poet Lauren Zuniga describes first hearing the word “heteronormative” as being “handed a corkscrew after years of opening the bottle with [her] teeth.” This also was my experience. But I suspect Roy Moore won’t overcome straight ignorance so easily.

These paragraphs lack proper argument; hence, it’s hard to interact with Dembroff’s reasoning (largely because she presented none), but I don’t see any good reason to think that there’s a case of culpable ignorance.

Consider myself: I uphold a classical realist metaphysic and its understanding of human nature. This understanding undergirds a further understanding that human nature is heteronormative. From this, and natural law ethics, I believe that the homosexual condition is a deviation of human sexuality and that homosexual conduct is morally bad. Furthermore, from that same perspective, I believe that sex with animals is more objectionable than homosexual conduct, but I also believe that these acts are similar inasmuch as they are both contrary to right reason and the natural order. These beliefs of mine are not “hidden” under concepts such as the “natural”, but are knowingly based upon nature. I take these beliefs to justified on grounding independent of any lived experience as a “homosexual” or a “heterosexual”, and I further take these beliefs to be dependent and justified through reason, argument and metaphysics.

Does any of this suggest that I am ignorant to how other people might understand human nature, their identity or their sexuality? Does any of this suggest that I am prevented from that understanding? Does any of this suggest or imply that I have replaced “true knowledge” with sterotypes and projections? I don’t see why. In fact, I think that I am well informed about it, though I disagree with the assessments and ideas of sexual progressivists, finding them to be unreasonable. Of course, I might be wrong in my finding, but that’s to be determined through the evidence and debate. Dembroff can’t just presume this within public discourse.

What about my lived presumptions and feelings? For example, I don’t think twice about holding my wife’s hand in public and I often cringe with pity and disgust when I see a trans, bearded man in a dress. Does any of this show or suggest an ignorance? I don’t think so.

I don’t think twice about holding my wife’s hand in public because I hold the belief that it’s a proper and socially acceptable expression of our natural union and love. That two homosexual men might think twice about holding hands is indicative of a difference, but nothing here suggests that this difference is unwarranted or that I am somenow culpably ignorant. Likewise, I feel disgust and pity when I see active trans-persons, like bearded men in dresses who believe that they’re women, but that’s because I believe that they are acting contrary to their good, the common good, God’s will, and degrading themselves. Nothing here suggests that I have an ignorance, or at least none to which I am epistemically culpable, nor even one relevant to the justification for my beliefs. Again, I might be unaware of some relevant truth; but if I am, then that is something that needs to be shown in an argument.

So here’s the problem: Dembroff can’t simply assume that those who strongly disagree with her are ignorant, which implies that there is some sort of “true knowledge” to which they do not know. Likewise, when I find “polyamory” bizarre (that’s an understatement) or feel disgusted with bearded men in dresses, Dembroff can’t simply assume that I’m ignorant, nor that my classical realist perspective or my Catholicism, or whatever else, is blinding me to a relevant truth.

Why can’t she presume this? Well, because they pertain to some of the very issues at stake between social conservatives and progressivists; and so she needs to argue for them. Otherwise, she begs a question. Thus, Dembroff can’t presume her contentious ideas, simply categorizing our responses or feelings as a product of ignorance. Philosophy is harder than that. It’s much harder than that. And I suspect that if she were not a diversity hire and a celebrity amongst the secular intelligentsia, and if she were not uttering vogue ideas, her peers would quickly remind her about that fact.

 

 

 

41 Comments

  1. While leftists do very often engage in bad arguments that signal left-virtue (sic), and are easily triggered by non-leftist arguments and positions that are hardly more aggressive or obnoxiously-stated as their own, I think that in a showdown between this left-academic-celebrity figure and Roy Moore, one’s sympathies should lie with this celebrity figure. If Roy Moore believes that homosexual conduct out to be criminalized, that makes him an asshole. That might make those who don’t call him out as being an asshole, assholes by association. Is it also unreasonable to think that Moore is culpably ignorant, and the same for his enablers? We’re talking *political* figures here, after all, and in this day and age of widespread and widely-enabled ignorance in the political sphere, political figures don’t really deserve much of a presumption of innocence.

    “I believe that sex with animals is more objectionable than homosexual conduct…”

    How much more objectionable, specifically? Would it be more of a difference in degree than in kind? Let’s see how far we can go here to trigger sensitive leftists while appearing minimally reasonable (as in advancing controversial interpretations of natural-law doctrine, say).

    “…when I find “polyamory” bizarre (that’s an understatement) or feel disgusted with bearded men in dresses, …”

    How much less extreme or odd an instance would something non-hetro have to be, before you yourself aren’t triggered into disgust?

    bi·zarre
    bəˈzär/Submit
    adjective
    adjective: bizarre
    very strange or unusual, especially so as to cause interest or amusement.
    “her bizarre dresses and outrageous hairdos”
    synonyms: strange, peculiar, odd, funny, curious, outlandish, outré, abnormal, eccentric, unconventional, unusual, unorthodox, queer, extraordinary; informalweird, wacky, bizarro, oddball, way out, kooky, freaky, off the wall, offbeat

    Polyamory is unconventional, unusual, and unorthodox to be sure, but you evidently have in mind something more like strange, outlandish, abnormal (and “that’s an understatement”). I suppose that this also follows from your version of natural-law doctrine and that this doctrine involves an absolutist prohibition on such things. Perhaps you should make things more explicit and specific here so that the leftists will know what exactly to be triggered by.

    dis·gust
    disˈɡəst/Submit
    noun
    1.
    a feeling of revulsion or profound disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive.
    “the sight filled her with disgust”
    synonyms: revulsion, repugnance, aversion, distaste, nausea, abhorrence, loathing, detestation, odium, horror; contempt, outrage

    Which terms specifically do you want to apply to your reaction to the bearded person in a dress? I take it that the bearded dress-wearer is not doing the to kalon thing, and you might have a point given the (ahem) bizarre juxtaposition of beard and dress. But your point seems to be more amplified than that.

    Question: is it perfectly acceptable to refer to, say, Wittgenstein as a homo sodomite if other less obnoxious terms are available?

    UP/CRC

    • The blogpost is focussed on two questions. Firstly, whether Moore stated that gay people should be imprisoned for being gay; and secondly, whether there was presented justification to think that Moore or myself have “straight ignorance”. I’m unsure where you respond to these questions or my treatment of them. For example, the question here is not with whether Moore is an asshole, nor is it with the question of whether Moore had some culpable ignorance, but only with a particular sort of culpable ignorance – that is, what Dembroff dubs “straight ignorance”. Hence, your concern on those matters, though they might be relevant to you, are irrelevant here.

      But for argument’s sake, and since I have a hard time resisting, I want to state that there’s nothing about wanting to imprison homosexuals for gay conduct that speaks to his character. Instead, this is a matter of philosophy, principle and prudential judgement. In particular, he relies on a natural law philosophy from which his conclusion flows. His conclusion enjoyed massive support and recognition within the United States up until the onset of the sexual revolution. In fact, I am sure the founding fathers would have applauded, finding insult and perversion in what contemporary justices now find to be unconstitutional. If you want to say that he’s an asshole for following a natural law philosophy, then you can, but showing that to be true will be a significant feat.

    • One only needs to see the standard wikipedia profile on Moore to know that he’s an out-and-out bigot. He denies evolution. (The Catholic Church does the non-idiotic thing and treats evolution as part of God’s plan and foreknowledge.) From the things he says, the chances that he knowingly has a transgender friend are very low, in which case the “straight ignorance” charge is eminently plausible. The notion that the uber-rationalist Framers like Jefferson would still approve of criminalizing homosexual behavior in the year 2018, is laughable. It would take mounds of culpable ignorance. Moore doesn’t show any signs of being willing to even hear out the case for doing properly western-liberal thing here (as opposed to the, e.g., ugly Islamist-theocratic regimes that criminalize it). He’s a homophobic creep, who *did* bring up bestiality in the context of a discussion on homosexuality. His behavior as judge was evidently beyond the profesional pale, and he didn’t care and didn’t want to be reasonable about it.

      This is all before we even consider the sexual-misconduct allegations.

      Criminalizing homosexual behavior – as somehow being the business of a properly western-liberal polity in the year 2018 no less – is a manifestly repugnant idea in this day and age. Perhaps you can attempt to make a case for a return to criminalization in a separate blog posting, and see just how ugly things get. Your illiberal notions of what is the business of coercive institutions, as spelled out in other postings, are – like many leftist notions – dumb, for the reasons I spelled out in comments on those postings.

    • Ultimate SJW:

      Why does one need a transsexual friend to know that LGBTQXYZ123 is morally evil? Do I need to have a serial killer friend to know that murder is evil? The arguments stand on their own legs independent of who Moore’s friends are.

    • From the looks of things it appears that Moore would prefer to remain ignorant of the experiences of LGBT people — he already regards their sexual lifestyles as so despicable (almost beyond words, in his view) as to merit legal punishments.

      I don’t think Moore is a good example of someone conservatives should be expending time and energy defending.

      I said that in a dispute of this nature my sympathies are more with a Dembroff with a Moore, and that may simply be due to the bar being so low in Moore’s case given by overall disapproval of leftism and left-winger tendencies. In the scale of odiousness I put Moore roughly comparable with a Brian Leiter.

      I’ve now seen the portion of video from 2015 where Moore is asked whether the death penalty would be fitting for homosexual behavior. He ends up saying that he hasn’t formed an opinion on what the penalties ought to be, so he didn’t endorse the death penalty . . . but he didn’t repudiate such a horrifying notion, either.

  2. By the way, I was only just now (somehow) triggered to inquire into the nature of the entity that is Roy Moore. All that I really knew of him was that he was the GOP candidate for Senate in AL, endorsed by Trump for reasons of political expediency, and that he was accused of sexual misconduct decades ago. But now I know that he is a flat-out kook, that he flouted the rule of law as a judge (and was severely disciplined for doing so — as in, he lost his job), and that his presence on the political scene is, on the whole, odious. Yes, odious. That was the term that came to mind *before* I then clicked on the link to the article by Dembroff, to see the title/headline.

    Just because there are lots of odious leftists, doesn’t mean that the Right doesn’t have odious figures as well. Perhaps you should have prefaced your remarks with something like, “While I, too, find Moore to be politically odious, … [something something leftist philosophers shouldn’t get away with ill-formed arguments].” But you didn’t, even though that was the essential context of Dembroff’s article. If you’d like to cultivate a reputation for being even-handed and fair-minded, then maybe you should make clear that as disgusting as bearded people might be to you, you find the likes of Roy Moore disgusting as well (as any reasonable philosopher should). There’s a sensible Christian mindset that respects canons of reason, and this is consistent with decrying the direction of American culture, and then there is being a flaming idiot who would only help to discredit the cause, as Moore (and Moore-enablers such as the moronic Sarah Palin) does.

    I understand that in this polarized period of time, there appears to be much less emphasis on calling out and marginalizing the kooks on one’s “side” of the spectrum, all the while one goes about bashing the other side, but that’s not how philosophy is done. The lamentable direction of American culture is due in part to idiots like Moore who flout canons of reason and think they can get away with it. If instructing people on how to improve their cultural lot is something you value, and you don’t want people turned off to a good message due to an idiotic/odious messenger, then right-thinking conservatives should repudiate the likes of Moore. He and his enablers are the very image of the target painted by the nu-atheists; the latter shouldn’t get away with gaining traction so easily.

    What would Aquinas think of Moore’s raving anti-intellectualism and lawlessness?

    • I didn’t remark that Moore is odious partially because I don’t believe that he is. Moreover, if I did find him odious, it wouldn’t be for reasons relevant to Dembroff’s argument, so it is irrelevant to my blogpost. Does he deny canons of reason? Um, I don’t see any denied. But if you would specify one, and make an argument, then I can address that.

      But since you brought it up, between the two, it is Dembroff who strikes me as the odious one. Am I being even-handed? Probably not. But I don’t believe that this calls for an even treatment in the first place. Instead, it calls for a fair judgement, and I believe that a fair judgement disfavours Dembroff’s arguments and her political presence.

      You might find that I am being unreasonable here, and that’s fine, but showing that to be true is quite another thing. Likewise, you might also proclaim that I am a “flaming idiot”, but unless you have argument, you’d just be heckling.

      I should also say that you probably don’t want to know what Aquinas would say, particularly not about what should be done with people like Dembroff, being heretics and homosexuals. I suspect you’d find Moore to be like a spokesman for GLAAD in comparison to Aquinas.

    • As I mentioned above, he denies evolution, against overwhelming evidence. He defies the canons of his own (former) profession on ideological grounds. I could go back to his wikipedia profile to dig up more kooky stuff that flies in the face of reason.

      To continue a pattern established by a previous reply: just how much more abrasive to scientific, western-liberal, and common sense legal sensibilities would he have to be, before you find him odious? Specifics would be nice here since it would be really nice to know just what exactly about your arguments/positions the odious leftists should be triggered by.

      Aristotle thought slavery to be natural and right, and women inferior. He was wrong. He wouldn’t think the same thing today, since he was basically reasonable. Your appeals in the other comment response to the opinions of the original Framers of the U.S. project fail on similar grounds, considering that many of them endorsed slavery, denying the vote to women, etc.

      What would Aquinas think about Moore’s notions of jurisprudence, then or now?

      Why on earth should a well-informed, western-liberal-minded person in the year 2018 think that criminalizing homosexual behavior is a good idea, or worth taking seriously?

      Jesus would have said to render unto Caesar not just tax revenues, but theologically-dictated restraint on their private behaviors?

      Coercion is consistent with virtue?

    • “Much to the detriment of modernity,” this represents a more modern idea of governance:

      “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

      Unless you want to make the case that buggery by your neighbors picks your pocket and/or breaks your legs, you’re going to have to appeal to a notion of “virtue jurisprudence” that is not amenable to the above sentiment. Aquinas has a retroactive rebuttal to Lockean grounds for governance?

    • There isn’t “overwhelming evidence” for evolution. Just because a bunch of professors say we’re monkey-men doesn’t make it so.

    • “There isn’t “overwhelming evidence” for evolution. Just because a bunch of professors say we’re monkey-men doesn’t make it so.”

      What do you conclude from the humanoid fossil record of the last several millions years?

  3. If you’re trying to show that Moore is an “out-and-out bigot”, the denial of evolution is unhelpful. That has nothing to do with tolerance and attitude, but about how we assess and theorize about evidence of biology. Whether the denial of evolution is reasonable is another question, but even if it were not, we could not say that he denied a canon of reason. Evolutionary theory and whatever else is not a canon of reason. It might be reasonable to believe and unreasonable to deny, but that does not make it a canon of reason. Candidates for canons or principles of reason are propositions such as the PSR, not evolution. Regarding the Church, there is no doctrinal position on evolution, aside from the claim that if it is true, then it is directed by God and that there had to have been an Adam and Eve somewhere down the line.

    I don’t see why you’d infer that the charge of “straight ignorance” is plausible from the likely fact that he has no transgender friends. I don’t have any transgender friends either, though I read about it. I’ve read about their experiences and some of their perspectives, though I find nothing to challenge my beliefs grounded in natural law, Catholicism and classical realist philosophy. If you’d like to further evidence my “straight ignorance” or Moore’s, I’d be happy to hear it, but at the moment, you have provided nothing that warrants the description of being evidence.

    Regarding the founding fathers, I’m unsure what you find so “laughable”, nor am I aware of what sort of “mounds” evidence they’d have to ignore. You didn’t state any. But we do know that what we describe as homosexual conduct now was criminal then, and that it was seen as perverse, ungodly and unnatural. If there is evidence that would change the minds of 18th century men, those born, educated and cultured way before the sexual revolution, then I’d love to hear it, because I haven’t crossed it. So please, stop procrastinating and show me these mounds of evidence.

    Regarding my “illberal” convictions, I’ve heard worse. In fact, if by that you mean speak about by modern illiberalism, that I take that as a compliment. Modern liberalism is perverse, and classical liberals, you know, guys like Locke, would have been disgusted with what passes today. Despite what you claim, you haven’t shown that my illiberal ideas are “dumb”. In fact, I have been asking you to *show* your ideas for a while now, though you barely try, preferring to heckle instead.

    • The problem in a case such as Moore’s – as I say above in response to Urban, I don’t think Moore is a good example of someone conservatives should be expending time and energy defending – is that the scientific evidence is irrelevant to him. He’s evidently among the 38% or so of Americans who hold the “humans were created in present form in the last 10,000 years” view, despite a ton of evidence in the fossil record. His view about evolutionary theory? “We didn’t come from a snake” or some such idiocy. How about looking for better figures to align yourself with politically and culturally.

      “I don’t see why you’d infer that the charge of “straight ignorance” is plausible from the likely fact that he has no transgender friends. I don’t have any transgender friends either, though I read about it.”

      I responded on this point to Urban above, and I’ll add that your intellectual curiosity most likely exceeds Moore’s by miles. Your views on these matters appear much more nuanced and, well, philosophical. Moore doesn’t come off as philosophical by any stretch of the imagination.

      “If there is evidence that would change the minds of 18th century men, those born, educated and cultured way before the sexual revolution, then I’d love to hear it, because I haven’t crossed it. So please, stop procrastinating and show me these mounds of evidence.”

      You mean the evidence showing that GLBT aren’t psychologically-deranged people who merit being marginalized and vilified as they were before the sexual revolution? The issue as it relates to 18th century men is not the evidence that was available to them, but the evidence available since then that would persuade people of enlightenment and reason that GLBTs aren’t evil, deranged, etc. Now that GLBTs are much more out in the open, we find that they seem to be normal people just like everyone else, with different sexual preferences is all. (I don’t think the likes of Moore are open to considering any of this; his approach to Scripture appears dogmatic.)

      As for procrastinating, how about you stop procrastinating in response to my questions as to your threshold levels for disgust – be it for alternative/’abnormal’ lifetyles, for idiocy coming from the right, or what have you. Just how off the deep end does a right-wing figure have to be before you distance yourself well away from them? Just how non-abnormal does someone’s fashion have to be before you’re no longer disgusted?

      “Regarding my “illberal” convictions, I’ve heard worse. In fact, if by that you mean speak about by modern illiberalism, that I take that as a compliment. Modern liberalism is perverse, and classical liberals, you know, guys like Locke, would have been disgusted with what passes today. Despite what you claim, you haven’t shown that my illiberal ideas are “dumb”. In fact, I have been asking you to *show* your ideas for a while now, though you barely try, preferring to heckle instead.”

      I’m specifically referring to the basic ideas about the function and role of government in society in the West from Locke onward, which is distinct from what came before. For a marked contrast today, have a look at Islamist theocracies, which appear to be on the same page with you about the necessity for government to punish vice (real or imagined). Also, we should be willing and able, without being dragged kicking screaming, into differentiating the classical liberalism of a Locke (which I’m all on board with, as you all should be too), from what has passed for so-called liberalism in the USA for the past century (which tends toward being correct as far as rights against government interference into one’s private sexual conduct is concerned, but pretty bad when it comes to interference into one’s private capitalist acts, or into equating ethics with social justice/fairness/equality/deontology).

      You want me to “show” that coercion and virtue are inconsistent? Like, you aren’t familiar with the arguments that freedom or self-determination of the intellect is a precondition of virtuous activity in humans? Are you suggesting I haven’t brought this up before? Have you looked into the literature of neo-Aristotelian liberals like Den Uyl and Rasmussen that I’ve mentioned?

  4. UP said: “Aristotle thought slavery to be natural and right, and women inferior. He was wrong. He wouldn’t think the same thing today, since he was basically reasonable. Your appeals in the other comment response to the opinions of the original Framers of the U.S. project fail on similar grounds, considering that many of them endorsed slavery, denying the vote to women, etc.”

    I don’t know what Aristotle would have believed if he were now present.

    Regarding the fathers and framers, I don’t see any failure. My point is just that they would have applauded, which is true. My other point is that they’d be insulted at what passes as unconstitutional, which is also true. That they also supported slavery and declined woman’s vote doesn’t impact my point in any way that I can see.

  5. Ultimate Philosopher said:

    ““Much to the detriment of modernity,” this represents a more modern idea of governance:

    “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

    Unless you want to make the case that buggery by your neighbors picks your pocket and/or breaks your legs, you’re going to have to appeal to a notion of “virtue jurisprudence” that is not amenable to the above sentiment. Aquinas has a retroactive rebuttal to Lockean grounds for governance?”

    Regarding that Jefferson, I don’t know if this is an educational moment for you, but the guy moved to have sodomite men punished through castration and women would have holes drilled through their nose. The important aspect here is not that Jefferson disapproved of it morally, but he wanted to punish it judicially.

    Locke had similar sentiments, making it clear that sodomite behaviour is wrong and need not be tolerated.

    The point being that, in both cases, their ideas of governance did not involve tolerance for what we now call gay conduct.

    • “Regarding that Jefferson, I don’t know if this is an educational moment for you, but the guy moved to have sodomite men punished through castration and women would have holes drilled through their nose. The important aspect here is not that Jefferson disapproved of it morally, but he wanted to punish it judicially.”

      That’s horrific, as is slavery, a practice that he also engaged in. I can say that these things are horrific not just by today’s standards but horrific in a more objective sense in that these are the sorts of things that we as a people – in the West, at any rate – have grown past, even if at the time otherwise reasonable and enlightened people did or condoned them.

      Jefferson himself is on the odd position of having to square his “injurious to others” standard with his willingness to physically injure those whose private behavior he detested.

      “Locke had similar sentiments, making it clear that sodomite behaviour is wrong and need not be tolerated.”

      It is most helpful in these discussions to differentiate toleration in a moral sense from toleration in a political one. I recognize that you don’t tolerate homosexual behavior on natural-law grounds, that you disapprove of it morally, although you’ve been procrastinating or playing a bit coy on explicating what you think the appropriate political/legal standard for this is. Should it be criminalized, and if so, what is an appropriate punishment? Will you, unlike Moore, at least repudiate wholesale the death penalty for such behavior?

      I sure hope that you don’t – much as today’s so-called liberals of the left do – conflate the ethical and the political. The political is where coercive measures and institutions are introduced. That’s a very huge matter where the libertarian arguments cannot be given short shrift.

      Are you at least familiar with Spooner’s “Vices are not Crimes”? Spooner is fun to read.

  6. Outstanding blogpost and defense of same, Catholic Hulk. 🙂

    Roy Moore, a gentleman and scholar who over many years has made some very significant personal sacrifices for the sake of his God and his (undeserving) state, is without question the intellectual and moral superior of all of his critics, just as you have demonstrated you are of yours, Catholic Hulk. I would add only that contra “Ultimate Philosopher” (cough, snicker), there is nothing unreasonable about questioning the sweeping truth claims of the Macro Evolutionist.

    The only thing scientifically demonstrated to be true about evolutionary theory is that micro changes are possible given sufficient selective pressures, and that speciation, i.e., change WITHIN kind, has been observed to occur when a daughter population is physically separated from the parent, and some extreme and highly unusual selective pressure develops afterward. But the claim that the forces responsible for creating micro changes and, in rare cases, daughter populations, i.e., the claim that extremely unlikely, extremely fortuitous mutations combining with just as unusual, extreme selective pressures have created every biological and ecosystem the world has ever known is a highly theoretical extrapolation based on very limited testing data, and not supported by the Fossil Record (ergo, Gould & Eldridge’s theory of “Punctuated Equilibria”), or the facts of the living world. Indeed, the theory of creation via Macro Evolution, i.e., evolution beyond the taxonomic level of the species, has never been observed, and cannot be tested or repeat tested. For a theory to qualify as scientific it must include observation, testing, and repeat testing. Any theory that cannot be observed, tested, and repeat tested is not a scientific theory; it is a “just-so story.” So those like Ultimate Philosopher who claim that anyone who doubts the truth of the cosmogenic myth known as “Evolution” has rejecting both Science and Empiricism are either ignorant, utterly cynical, or anti-scientific themselves. Creation of the entire biosphere via the unwieldy, undirected mutation and selection mechanism is in fact a theory based upon naturalistic, atheistic, philosophical presupposition, not the Scientific Method.

    I look forward to you next blogpost, Catholic Hulk. You’ve made a fan. 🙂

    • ” For a theory to qualify as scientific it must include observation, testing, and repeat testing. Any theory that cannot be observed, tested, and repeat tested is not a scientific theory; it is a “just-so story.” ”

      I don’t see why that should be a constraint on a theory. From my background in Mises and Hayek, who opposed scientism or positivism in the social sciences, there is no need for repeatability in human history to draw properly scientific conclusions in that domain. Furthermore, even without repeatability (as in, what has happened once throughout the history of the planet), you can have best-explanations based on the totality of the evidence.

      Aside from Moore’s own idiotic denials of evolution, we can reasonably ask what is properly within the domain of *explanation*, and if we’re going to be scientific about it, appeals to the supernatural or miraculous don’t give us one on these matters. The assumptions of the natural scientists (we’re talking outside the domain of human freedom, mind, or spirit here) include the principle that phenomena can in principle be explained by reference to laws of nature. We don’t have a complete scientific-theoretical picture yet of how life forms emerged from the primordial conditions of the early earth, but the driving sentiment of the scientist-theorists involved is that principle of explanation which drives them to find out the answers.

      I’ll readily admit to not being as natural scientist with anywhere near the sophistication of, e.g., an evolutionary biologist. I’m a layperson in that regard. There are, however, standards that laypeople can apply to assessing the plausibility of some scientific picture, and that includes general presuppositions about what science involves (appeals to natural lawful causes). As a layperson I an appeal to things like the very existence of a large and detailed fossil record as strong if not overwhelming evidence of naturalistic evolution (consistent with divine foreknowledge concurrent with the creation of the laws, as I mentioned). Moore says that we didn’t come from snakes and that settles it. That strikes me as pretty dumb.

    • As an aspiring Aristotelian (versed in a lot of Rand/Peikoff), I am almost required to be a fan of Catholic Hulk as well . . . especially in contrast to the left-wing idiots who’ve hijacked university campuses.

      We both share some kind of commitment to some version of natural-law ethics. I’m an avowed eudaimonist and virtue-ethicist along what I think are essentially Aristotelian lines. (I have a book on this topic if you’re interested. https://sites.google.com/site/theultimatephilosopher/Prologue-to-an-Aristotelian-End-of-History.pdf ) Contra far too many left-wingers, I don’t equate ethics with social justice; indeed, I think the ethical and the political spheres, while overlapping, are not identical. Hulk and I evidently differ on how much overlap is appropriate, but at least we both see the importance of a community-level teaching and encouragement of virtue. We don’t agree on all the content of natural-law ethics; I have a much harder time with squaring eudaimonistic/flourishing considerations with his strict moral prohibitions on this or that sexual expression; my ideas about responsibility in this area have more to do with the, well, form of one’s sexual habits than the content, if that’s a helpful way of putting it. Like, considerations that would lead to a general disapproval of sexual promiscuity are a lot more sensible in my view than differentiating between heterosexual and homosexual instances of it. Left-wingers, on the other hand, appear more interested in passing off the costs of sexual irresponsibility in whatever forms onto others (often, namely, taxpayers) than in cultivating a serious climate of responsibility.

      The very fact that I spend time responding to postings at this blog might indicate how I think the ideas here are usually of often worth considering. (If the left-wingers were interested in dialogue they’d be hanging out here more; it’s not like it’s unknown to them.) We should have the utmost interest in getting the content of virtue ethics right.

    • UP said:

      “You mean the evidence showing that GLBT aren’t psychologically-deranged people who merit being marginalized and vilified as they were before the sexual revolution? The issue as it relates to 18th century men is not the evidence that was available to them, but the evidence available since then that would persuade people of enlightenment and reason that GLBTs aren’t evil, deranged, etc. Now that GLBTs are much more out in the open, we find that they seem to be normal people just like everyone else, with different sexual preferences is all. (I don’t think the likes of Moore are open to considering any of this; his approach to Scripture appears dogmatic.)”

      Not that this is relevant to the point of the blogpost, but I’m uninterested in the idea of whether modern psychology now views “GLBT” as psychologically-deranged. I don’t find the criterion and methodology of psychology to be acceptable (philosophically acceptable) and the field is subject to political pressure and political ideology of the psychologists. In fact, regardless of the current evidence, APA’s historical decision to de-classify homosexuality as disorder or pathology (which, btw, only had 58% of the member vote) is now recognized to have had at least some political motivations and influences. We are not talking pure psychological “science” here.

      But aside from that, the view that homosexuality and homosexual “sex” is unnatural and wrong doesn’t depend upon psychological evidence, so I’m unsure why this is even relevant. I’m unsurprised that you find the current psychological evidence so compelling, but I want to suggest to you that this evidence only came about and took hold after the onset of the sexual revolution because of the *philosophical* transitions that occurred in how we think about nature and the nature of sexuality. We had big swings in how we think about the human person, sexuality and nature, which, of course, dramatically influenced what we consider disordered or an ailment.

    • If you want to talk philosophical transitions, we might speak of the increasingly libertarian-ish sentiments there in the cultural stream when it comes to private behaviors. Jefferson got it right about the legitimate powers of government extending only to such acts as are injurious to others; apparently it took some amount of time for the People and jurists reflecting their sentiments to make good on that ideal in a more principled way.

      Laws prohibiting birth control were not in accordance with the founding principles of this country, either.

  7. Even by his own standard, a case can be made that Ultimate Philosopher (UP) gives us the grounds to criminalize or at least regulate and tax homosexual behavior. Namely, UP said the following:

    –QUOTE–

    “Much to the detriment of modernity,” this represents a more modern idea of governance:

    “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

    Unless you want to make the case that buggery by your neighbors picks your pocket and/or breaks your legs…

    –UNQUOTE–

    Well, in many modern liberal Western states, given universal healthcare, I actually have my pocket-picked to pay for the vast and massively expensive medications that are needed to treat the numerous diseases that arise primarily and mainly from homosexual behavior, such as AIDS. Ergo–and to put it crudely–buggery picks my pocket, even if it is only indirect. So, given this, it looks like I should have a say whether buggery should be criminalized or at least heavily taxed, like the sale of cigarettes are.

    Cheers,

    MOTW
    http://www.manofthewest.net

    • Why leave out the libertarian option — that people engaged in risky lifestyles should assume financial responsibility for the consequences of such, rather than coercing support from others?

      AIDS of course is a recent thing, whereas Catholic natural-law doctrine involving condemnation of sexual “deviance” has been around for much longer than that. AIDS is incidentally related to certain kinds of sexual behavior, not essentially so. Presumably female supermodels engaging in cunnilingus with one another is considered an abomination according to such doctrine, even though the chances of a disease like AIDS being transferred by such activity is vanishingly low.

      Moore is one of these idiots who view AIDS as a form of divine punishment for sodomy. (Also, events like 9/11 are or may very well be divine retribution for Americans’ sinfulness, e.g., the increasing social/cultural toleration and rights of GLBT people. The Lord works in mysterious ways….) What took the Lord so long to visit this scourge upon them? And what’s he waiting for with the lesbians?

    • –QUOTE–

      Why leave out the libertarian option — that people engaged in risky lifestyles should assume financial responsibility for the consequences of such, rather than coercing support from others?

      –UNQUOTE–

      Sure, but the libertarian option is a fantasy, both now and in the future. So its viability is questionable. But yes, if the libertarian option was available, then I would be fine with that, because, under that option, there would be de facto secession and segregation between people of different ideologies, so it would be like living in different nations anyway, and I am find with that option.

      Furthermore, AIDS is just an example. There are numerous other diseases and medical problems associated with buggery.

      Also, it is entirely reasonable to view something like AIDS as a divine punishment, so long as it is done in a natural law sort-of way. What do I mean by this? I mean that, for example, if you truly engage in a life-long monogamous sexual relationship, your chances of contracting any sexual disease from sexual contact are essentially zero. Thus, following God’s law (on the Christian view) keeps you safe. By contrast, being promiscuous, homosexual, etc. can lead to all sorts of diseases. Ergo, not following God’s law leads to problems, both physical and psychological. Thus, in a natural law sort of way, if you fail to follow God’s law, then you will be “punished” in a natural sort of way.

      Cheers,

      MOTW
      http://www.manofthewest.net

    • There are stats out there on the rates of disease transmission for different lifestyle behaviors. They are very low for lesbians. Shouldn’t lesbians get a tax break or something, given the current political realities?

  8. By the way, I just had to agree with this:

    –QUOTE–

    So those like Ultimate Philosopher who claim that anyone who doubts the truth of the cosmogenic myth known as “Evolution” has rejecting both Science and Empiricism are either ignorant, utterly cynical, or anti-scientific themselves. Creation of the entire biosphere via the unwieldy, undirected mutation and selection mechanism is in fact a theory based upon naturalistic, atheistic, philosophical presupposition, not the Scientific Method.

    –UNQUOTE–

    The idea that evolution–at least in the Blind-Watchmaker Molecules-to-Man sense–is not reasonably doubtable is a statement that can only be made by someone who is either ignorant or a dogmatist or a liar. The fact is that the grand “Blind Watcher” evolutionary narrative is full of holes, gaps, and doubts. For example–and to name just a few–how did the first life arise? Language? Consciousness? The aforementioned narrative must account for these, and at present, there is no evidence as to how that happened on that narrative. And such examples can be multiplied.

    So, the fact is, yes, it is quite rational to doubt the grand evolutionary narrative as it stands today.

    Cheers,

    MOTW
    http://www.manofthewest.net

    • Assuming it’s reasonably doubtable, it’s better to hear out the likes of Stephen Meyer than the likes of Roy Moore. Meyer is a philosopher by training. Moore is intellectually toxic and a bad face for conservatism/anti-leftism. As I mention above, he’s about on the same level of toxicity for the Right as a Leiter is for the Left. (Unfortunately, their prominence within their respective spheres is a sign of wider intellectual/cultural pathologies. I’ve never been a fan of the predominant intellectual culture either of the South or of the humanities and social sciences in the Universities today. Not a dogmatic demagogue like Roy Moore, but a well-reasoned academic like Amy Wax, was treated unfairly and unreasonably by her obnoxiously shrill Ivy League critics, as the less unreasonable lefties looked on in complicity. I’ll take Amy Wax over Roy Moore every time on every issue, no brainer. https://www.google.com/search?q=amy+wax+bourgeois+values )

  9. –QUOTE–

    Assuming it’s reasonably doubtable, it’s better to hear out the likes of Stephen Meyer than the likes of Roy Moore.

    –UNQUOTE–

    Sure, but my point is that it is reasonable doubtable, regardless who that doubt comes from. And yes, it is eminently doubtable for any reasonable person. In fact, I would go so far as to state that the ‘Molecules-to-Man’ naturalistic version of evolution is, at this point, just a blind-faith position.

    Cheers,

    MOTW
    http://www.manofthewest.net

  10. There seems to be some question around here how someone like Moore could be such a turn-off to a great many folks of a philosophical sensibility. Here’s some further evidence of his silliness and folly:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Moore#American_exceptionalism

    Now, you’d think that a right-wing American Christian type would be on board with American exceptionalism, but Moore upsets that expectation as follows (quoting the wikipedia link):

    “Moore has been skeptical of modern American exceptionalism, saying that “America promotes a lot of bad things.” Moore argued that the United States is an “Evil Empire” comparable to the Soviet Union, saying that America is “the focus of evil in the modern world”. When asked for a clarification, Moore gave an example of America culturally exporting acceptance of homosexuality around the world.[203][204] ”

    The USA is comparable to the Soviet Union? That’s kook stuff.
    Same for the USA as the focus of evil in the modern world. GWB was way more spot-on with his ‘Axis of Evil’ statement. Is Moore implying that North Korea would be a better place to live (sic) than the USA?
    Then when asked to clarify, he indicates that he has something of a one-track mind about the whole homosexuality thing. Worse than the opioid crisis, etc. etc.

    Just below the section on American exceptionalism, we have Moore involved in the kooky birther stuff, as well as the kooky Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim stuff (when the better explanation of things is that Obama is a secret atheist and neo-Marxist).

    Below that, we get kook stuff about church and state, with the outlandish view that the authors of the Declaration of Independence (including the very one who penned it, a Deist) had in mind the Christian god.

    Then more ignorant kook stuff about the NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. And here the media were getting on Trump’s case for far less!

    On free trade he states he supports protectionism, which is discredited by basic economic theory.

    More one-track-mind-on-evils-of-homos stuff with his claim that Obergfell is worse than Dred Scott. (GMAFB.)

    Calling for a ban on Muslims serving in Congress? Kook stuff. Then his epistemically bizarre (but more or less normalized in today’s political setting) suggestion about sharia law going on “up there in Illinois,” but he doesn’t actually know. At least he admits ignorance in this case! The Quran doesn’t allow for religions besides Islam? He could just as well say there that he doesn’t know that, either, but selective admissions of ignorance is about the most that we should expect from this guy.

    You don’t have to caricature Moore to use him as the poster boy for cultural-right idiocy.
    This is despite the left-style smeary wording and insinuations on various topics that *are* contained in the wikipedia entry. (E.g., context-omission with: “In November 2017, Moore said that transgender people “don’t have rights”.[178] “)

    But sure, yeah, he doesn’t want to throw people in jail simply for being gay. That’s great. Or does he? I don’t know. It sounds close to accurate. I don’t know, though. The idea got implanted in my head somehow from somewhere, so I’ll just mention it kinda like it’s a fact. But I don’t know. Let’s get back on track with undermining the purported intellectual superiority of leftists. 😀

    • Ultimate Philosopher,

      I agree that Moore is odious. He is not a good spokesman for right-wing thought or politics, though I’m a little more sympathetic to his evaluation of the US as an immoral nation — at least I understand where he’s coming from as someone who has grown up among Evangelicals — and I subscribe to a what I think is a moderate American Exceptionalism.

      However, I don’t think Hulk’s post is a defense of Moore but a critique of Dembroff’s argument (or lack thereof). While your criticisms of Moore are not without merit, I don’t see them as germane to the post. Getting back on topic, as you eventually realize, is probably a good idea.

  11. UP,

    I am not against the rationality of belief in evolution in a bounded sense–although I have my reservations–but I am clear that evolution in the sense of ‘atheistic-naturalistic Blind-Watchmaker, Molecules-to-Man’ evolution is a completely blind-faith position at this time.

    Furthermore, the fossil record, even if supporting, say, common-descent, says nothing about the validity of evolution in the Blind Watchmaker sense.

    Cheers,

    MOTW
    http://www.manofthewest.net

  12. Ultimate said,

    “Why on earth should a well-informed, western-liberal-minded person in the year 2018 think that criminalizing homosexual behavior is a good idea, or worth taking seriously?”

    That’s exactly your problem. You’re starting with “liberal-minded”ness. When you start from the wrong foundation, you come to the wrong conclusions and even to the wrong conclusion about the level of justification for the conclusion.

    Ultimately 😉 your criticisms of Moore are exactly the sort of criticisms levied by people like Brian Leiter. In fact, what you say about Moore could have been written by him, so it’s particularly ironic that you’d mention him as an odious lefty. There’s virtually no substance to anything you’ve argued except that Hulk shouldn’t support Moore because some of the latter’s views are not in keeping with such and such popular Catholic idea.

    Classically conservative ideas espoused by Moore (and most everyone in history until our “enlightened” liberal time) are dismissed by you as “kook” stuff without evidence but simply with a declaration that such evidence exists and anyone “unaware” (question begging term) of it is simply “ignorant” or lacks an “education”. This is the typical set of leftist tactics. You should probably admit to being on the left, because everything you’ve argued for in the course of this discussion reveals you to be so. Or perhaps your understanding of “right-wing” means limited government, which is just as compatible with left-wing as it is with right?

    • You might do better to more carefully consider what the “western-” prefix is doing there. There’s western liberal institutions, as contrasted with those of, say, Iran (whose policies on homosexuality Roy Moore might take delight in). And I’m not referring to West Coast liberalism.

      “Classically conservative ideas espoused by Moore (and most everyone in history until our “enlightened” liberal time) are dismissed by you as “kook” stuff without evidence…”

      I invite you to read more carefully and look at the evidence I presented in regard to Moore’s kooky and sometimes vile views, which I did not identify with classically conservative ideas. See further my latest reply to Hulk: http://rightlyconsidered.org/2018/01/05/philosopher-robin-dembroff-writes-about-roy-moore/#comment-3743
      Most certainly I consider those who endorse the criminalization of homosexual behaviors (given the current state of political arguments which include the very solid libertarian ones) to be intellectually deficient. (In Moore’s case the deficiency is probably the result of willful ignorance and/or intellectual laziness.)

  13. Speaking as a Christian influenced by the Reformation/Puritan traditions (i.e. pretty conservative within the professing/confessing visible church) I personally find Roy Moore to be pretty creepy in a panel-van sort of way. This may be an unfair/undeserved characterization, but it is what it is.

    However my personal feelings don’t discount the logical conclusions of his natural law arguments about homosexuality. I don’t need to approve of or “like” someone in order to concur with a cogent argument.

    And it should be pointed out that from within a Biblical Christian worldview Moore’s stated positions on what to do about homosexual behavior pales infinitely in comparison to what the Triune One true and living God, the infinite Creator, Ruler, and Judge of the universe testifies that He *actually will do* about homosexual behavior lest the offending rebel turn from his sinful ways and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness and reconciliation. Google “eternal perdition” for more information.

    As for evolution, the only people who think the arguments in favor of Neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory are in good shape are folks who have no clue where the state of the argument actually lies. It would seem that ignorance truly is bliss.

    Cheers!

  14. I love how the anonymous posters of rightlyconsidered habitually post photos of their targets. Post your own pic, Hulk. Or don’t, you coward.

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