Eat Less Totalitarianism

Politics & Current Events

I spent much of the week irritated at Chick-Fil-A. Its president Dan Cathy makes the company staunch supporter of anti-gay causes, and I found myself idly wishing that there were a Chick-Fil-A outlet nearby so that I could refuse to patronize it and counter Cathy's speech with mine. I was already extremely irritable about the topic as a result of the Boy Scouts' bitterly disappointing decision this week, which puts me into a difficult moral parenting quandary I will write about eventually.

Then Boston Mayor Thomas Menino had to go and make me defend Chick-Fil-A.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from bringing its Southern-fried fast-food empire to Boston — possibly to a popular tourist spot just steps from the Freedom Trail — after the family-owned firm’s president suggested gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”

“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.

. . .

If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies,” he warned.

I think that rich people donating millions to anti-gay causes promotes evil in the world — though they have every right to do it. But I'm far more afraid of government thuggery than private evil philanthropy. Menino appears to be speaking disingenuously and ass-dampy when he talks about Chick-Fil-A "opening their policies." I haven't seen any evidence that Chick-Fil-A discriminates in hiring or service. Rather, they give money to a cause I despise, one that promotes social discrimination. But the government doesn't get to pick and choose what social causes are permissible, and any government actor who aspires to that power is a lowlife thug. What's particularly alarming about Menino's thuggery is how openly his referencing to licensing "difficulties" reveals how things really work in government: whatever rights you think that you have, practically speaking some bureaucrat can punish you for exercising them on a whim, and there's very little you can do about it. Menino represents the ethos of government actors who think quite frankly that this is right and just and how it should be — that they, our masters, should be able to dictate what we think and do and say if we want to do business in their fiefdom.

Menino could use his bully pulpit to call on Bostonians to reject Chick-Fil-A if they come to town. He could call for social opprobrium on Chick-Fil-A and its affiliates and even on its patrons. He could organize protests and marches and letter-writing campaigns. He could carry a sign in front of Chick-Fil-A saying "BE LES BIGOT" if it opens. But if he says he'll use the coercive power of government to retaliate against Chick-Fil-A for views he doesn't like, he's totalitarian. If you support him because you agree with him (and with me) that Chick-Fil-A's stance on gays is worthy of condemnation, then you're a damned fool, and don't let me catch you whining if some other government actor retaliates against an individual or business because of a political stance you like.

Hat tip: Amy Alkon and Walter Olson.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

226 Comments

218 Comments

  1. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:26 am

    Help me out here: I haven't seen any coverage of this situation that actually demonstrates that Chick-Fil-A has taken any action whatsoever to oppose same-sex marriage. Every story has simply named a few groups the company's donated to, declared them anti-gay hate groups opposed to gay marriage, and left it at that.

    Do we know that the groups actually _do_ anything to oppose marriage equality? Do we know that that's why Chick-Fil-A donated to them?

    The company donates large amounts of money to family charities and to individual development, and in the absence of better information, I suspect the groups they've donated to are simply religious charities devoted to helping families, who incidentally also aren't fond of gaiety.

    So far, this looks a great deal like gun rights advocates condemning anybody as anti-gun who works with the Joyce Foundation, though many do so for Joyce's education and environmental programs, and aren't particularly interested in guns.

  2. Ken  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:32 am

    Did you read what I linked in the post?

  3. Jay Lee  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:35 am

    Chick-Fil-A is the only fast food restaurant I actually find myself craving. Fortunately, my greatest cravings tend to happen on Sundays, so it's a wash.

  4. JDDrew  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:36 am

    Just so you know, Ken, there's a Chick-Fil-A over in the Valley on Tampa you can boycott – that's the one I have been boycotting.

  5. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:41 am

    "Did you read what I linked in the post?"

    I did. The Washington Post and Boston Herald articles seem to address only Cathy's stupid statements of his stupid beliefs to a Baptist radio show, not the " staunch [support] of anti-gay causes" that you alluded to and I'm asking about.

    Doing business with people who believe stupid things is very different from doing business with people who try to force you to live by their stupid beliefs.

  6. Ann Bransom  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:41 am

    Dammit, Ken. There you go making ME have to defend Chick Fil-A too. >:(

    This is a lava hot button issue for me. Gay rights probably falls only second in line to censorship issues in my book. It even tears at my family, with me having to endure posts like this by extended family members on FB:

    "I think it is ridiculous that gay marriage has become such a big issues. It literally affects less than 1% of the population, but thanks to Hollywood you'd think it's more like 25%. (oh, and to the people who are boycotting Chik fil a, it's doing just fine without you)"

    But you are exactly right. You could just as easily replace Marino in Boston with Pokorney in Oregon advocating for the inverse, and I would be rabid over that. The government has to be blind to social prejudices, and let social issues be debated by the public.

    Another thought provoking piece that leaves me herumphing in my office.

  7. Dan  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:48 am

    The defense of liberty is often spent in the company of scoundrels

  8. Laura K  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:48 am

    Elmo–A yahoo article I found mentioned specific anti-gay charities ChickFilA gives to, which implied the sort of "pray thegay away' horror shows that do great harm.
    I am not linking it because the article seemed to imply more than specify and I think they should have been specific.–So I freely admit I do not have examples to provide you.

    Having said that–
    Even an antigay charity that doesn't "pray away the gay" or "beat away the gay" or "Starve away" etc but takes donation money to spend on gaybashing adds and marketing is pretty contemptable–beyond just "saying stupid things" because it goes over the boundary of trying to force people to believe the stupid things. (peerpressure, social pressure, cultural pressure).

  9. Christopher Tozzo  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:08 am

    I hope an equal amount of indignation is also heaped upon Domino's Pizza, whose ownership is far more extreme in its anti-gay bigotry than CFA's.

  10. mojo  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:09 am

    "Mumbles" Menino strikes again!

  11. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:10 am

    "Even an antigay charity that…takes donation money to spend on gaybashing adds and marketing is pretty contemptable–beyond just 'saying stupid things' because it goes over the boundary of trying to force people to believe the stupid things."

    I haven't seen corroboration of even that; what I found was just a list of organizations (which themselves had limited Google profiles, frustrating further research), an assertion that those organizations were anti-gay, and at most an intolerant statement made by one person once at one of their events. This seemed to have been copied uncritically and without further research by every reporter.

    I only really looked into this a couple weeks ago, before the thing went nuclear, so I assume at least _somebody_ has looked more closely since then. I'm hoping one of Ken's readers knows more than I do.

  12. A leap at the wheel  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:13 am

    "it goes over the boundary of trying to force people to believe the stupid things."

    Force?

  13. Linus  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:14 am

    If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies,” he warned.

    The mask slips, but briefly.

    Ironically, this type of "gee, I can't seem to find your application, sir" lawless, corrupt bullshit has been historically used far more AGAINST gays and gay rights. Is this what the phrase "the worm has turned" means?

  14. Ben  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:32 am

    Huh.

    "Biblically-based policy"? Do they only serve foods in accordance with laws of kashrut? Also, they are keeping the wrong sabbath day.

    I do not think we have any here in O-ray-gone. My brother has the same laissez-faire capitalism ethos – that a corporation that has bad policies should fail because the community they serve disapproves of those policies. But then he believes welfare is a system designed and implemented to keep the impoverished from rising above their situation.

    But the mayor says "You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population."

    I would take that to mean that the business itself is actively discriminating against people. Like not hiring or not serving homosexual or bisexual individuals? I think, if that is the case, the government can say 'You cannot do that.'

  15. Charles  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:33 am

    "I haven't seen any evidence that Chick-Fil-A discriminates in hiring or service."

    If there was evidence that they discriminated in hiring practices, would there be any legal recourse by the city? Is there a provision that companies that receive permits from the city need to be equal opportunity employers, etc? That seems unlikely, since the government isn't doing business with them directly.

    There have been allegations that Chick Fil A discriminates in hiring practices, although nothing proven.

  16. alexa-blue  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:37 am

    elmo: have you seen this?

  17. Zachary  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:40 am

    Text wall incoming.

    I looked at the links- they donated to pro-Christian and pro-family groups, from what I can see. Not 'anti-gay' groups. The two are not synonymous.

    The founder opposes same-sex marriage on an interpersonal level, not a policy level. That is to say: he said quite clearly that “going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” I could of course be incorrect about him, but that's how I would read it- and I think that's consistent with a point of view that meshes both with the Constitution and the Bible, without violating the principles of either.

    So he opposes homosexuality, as per a legitimate reading of the bible. We can debate the accuracy of that reading, but based on the text, it is a reasonable perspective to say that the bible disallows homosexuality, in the same way it disallows the following of other gods.

    N.B.: All of what follows is going to be largely from my own beliefs and perspectives, and within the confines of "what does a Christian believe, how it is reasonable, and how it can be not discriminatory"

    He does not hate homosexuals, he does not discriminate against them in the least. He would, if given the chance, stop them from doing it by convincing them to change their actions- not by making it illegal for them to do what they're doing, not by attacking them or hurting them. At least that's what I got out of it.

    To pre-empt some criticism:

    A true Christian does not believe they are any better than anyone else- every human being is a murderer on Death Row, a dirty criminal; God is the governor, and he's offered everyone on Death Row a pardon. The way a Christian is different from a non-Christian is simply: 1. They believe the governor exists. 2: They have accepted the pardon he gave.

    God doesn't "hate" people and neither should Christians; God loves all of his creations, even if he doesn't like what we do.

    "Pray the gay away" camps and other camps are misguided. The point they should be trying to make is that, regardless of what your physical desires are, that you control your own actions. It is your choice whether or not to have homosexual sex- regardless as to your physical desires, you have that choice. What Christianity says is not that a physical attraction to men is wrong, it says that acting on that attraction is wrong.

    It's the same as when you, say, want to have sex with your neighbor's wife. It's not necessarily wrong to have the impulse- to act on it, though, would be sinful. The "why" God made homosexual sex wrong is a far longer debate; but I prefer to say that, if God created us, should we not obey him simply because he created us?

    All I'm asking is this: Don't say, and don't believe that all Christians are necessarily bigots, just for believing in the Bible.

    We can be reasonable people, and there are crazies among the Christian population, just like anywhere else.

    Personally, I'm an engineering student in the honors college where I go to college, and I am working on an undergraduate thesis- I love math, science, law, and history, and believe strongly in the Constitution. I have a reasonable foundation in logic and rhetoric; and have read a decent variety of literature. I consider myself a reasonable person- and I am a Christian.

    I'm not asking you to agree with me, all I'm asking is that you accept that I- and people like me- are and can be reasonable while believing what we believe.

    I see too often people promote same-sex marriage and in the same breath talk about "stupid Christians". I just want to see the world free of discrimination of any type. Bullying by christians and against christians, bullying by athiests and against athiests, bullying by muslims and against muslims, bullying by homosexuals and bullying against homosexuals- all of it is wrong. Let people evangelize in the world's free interchange of ideas; let people, free of fear, try to convince each other of the other's standpoint. All our arguments, our minds, our beliefs, and our societies, would be better for it.

  18. Adrian Ratnapala  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:42 am

    Well the word totalitarian is a bit strong.

  19. Timid Atheist  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:48 am

    See this link for the breakdown of Chick-fil-A's charitable arm, WinShape's, donations:

    http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201207020001

    The first on the list, for over a million dollars, Marriage and Family Foundation, states they believe marriage is between one man and one woman.

  20. nlp  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:53 am

    Menino has a long history of opening his mouth and letting words fall out. I'm sure by now someone from the city legal counsel has explained the whole First Amendment to him. Again. There are already a few Chick-Fil-As in Massachusetts.

    To Charles in regard to hiring practices. The Federal government, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city of Boston forbid discrimination in employment.

  21. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:56 am

    Alexa, thank you; I think that's the source of some of the quotes I was seeing.

    The tiny contribution to Exodus International is no big deal in practice, but is pretty despicable in principle.

    Most of the practical issue hinges, I think, on the "Marriage And Family Legacy Fund," which I'd previously failed to get much information on with my mediocre google-fu. Are they promoting the "traditional family" by supporting what they believe are traditional families (in which case they're simply an eccentric but largely benign group–no more troublesome than, say, LUSH donating to a vegan advocacy group), or by trying to legally suppress "nontraditional families?"

  22. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:57 am

    What has the homosexual movement brought to America since coming out of the closet?
    Some answers:
    1) Spread of HIV,
    2) Fashion Industry,
    3) Housing Crash, AKA the BARNY FRANK plan,
    4) Crisis in the Catholic Church,
    5) fill in the blanks_________, _________, _________.

    Has this been good for America? You make the call.

    Dan Kurt

  23. Ann Bransom  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:05 am

    @Zachary – I respect your right to your beliefs, but I take tremendous exception to your statement: "a legitimate reading of the bible". I hope what you mean is that the *interpretation* is a legitimate one, and not that the interpretation of Christians who do not believe that homosexuality is a sin is somehow *illegitimate* or worse that they are unable to accurately read the Bible. I am a Christian and do not believe that homosexuality, as we know it today, is a sin. I do not want to see this comment thread get hijacked over a debate on whether or not homosexuality is a sin, but did want to make the point of order before the Christian bashing starts.

    Every Christian has his or her own interpretations of the Bible, and one is not more or less legitimate.

  24. Ken  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:14 am

    I can understand the argument that Chick-Fil-A's donations are not meant to oppose, for instance, gay marriage. But that doesn't seem to be Chick-Fil-A's interpretation.

  25. Thad  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:17 am

    Menino's the same genius who treated that Aqua Teen guerilla advertising campaign as a "terrorist hoax" a few years back.

  26. Connie  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:19 am

    @JDDrew Solidarity! I am also boycotting that same Chik-a-fila. But I'm not worried. That slot next to El Torito never seems to be occupied very long.

    And yeah. I may dislike what they say, but they have the right to say it and should not be targeted by an official who disagrees with them on a personal level. I'll vote with my mouth and my pocketbook and not eat there.

  27. Nicholas Weaver  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:24 am

    The mayor's statements are reprehensible. Period. Full stop.

    However, for those who think the donation isn't about bigotry: "Marriage and Family Foundation" (previously the "Marriage And Family Legacy Fund") that Chick Fil A's charity gave $1.1M to in 2010 (that over half of what that foundation receives), is surprisingly dark online. Does anyone know how to get their IRS 990?

    Oh, and that foundation is run by a Chick Fil A VP.

  28. Wren  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:25 am

    Mmph. This is another case of "I hate what you're saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Like Ann, LGBT rights are a seriously hot button topic with me, and I will talk til I'm blue in the face for them. At the same time, however, just because I despise the philosophies of a business, I don't think illegal action should be taken against them. I'M not going to eat there, but denying them the processes of business is wrong. ….but I still dislike them and refuse to eat there ever, even though they have that really great sauce.

  29. Ken  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:28 am

    Doug Mataconis agrees that Menino is a dork, but has some criticism of boycotts.

  30. Ann Bransom  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:31 am

    Love how NOM advocates for corporate neutrality on gay rights issues when corporations like Starbucks lend support toward equality efforts, but then publicly praise the Chik Fil-A CEO for his categorically NON-neutral statements on the matter.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/-gay-marriage-chick-fil-a_n_1687743.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012

  31. Zachary  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:35 am

    @Ann Branson- That's exactly why I used "A" and not "the". My apologies; I tried to be as clear as possible. My post was intended as a defense of my interpretation, not an attack on anyone else's. I understand there are at least two legitimate ways to read the scripture in this case:

    1. It as a continuous and ongoing commandment (my personal belief)
    2. It as a part of the tradition of ritual cleanliness, and as such unnecessary after the new covenant.

    There are certainly possibly more, and I certainly accept and understand your right to interpret the bible differently than I do.

    The point of my post was to ask that my interpretation not be attacked as discriminatory, and that I be allowed my right to believe in it without fear of persecution or prosecution for doing so. It's something I'm sensitive to, perhaps oversensitive at times.

  32. Nicholas Weaver  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:42 am

    I did a little reading of the 990: it seems "Mostly harmless" in where the money goes to in terms of public persona, the problem is "Defense of marriage" keywords are so often a dog-whistle that its impossible to tell whether it really is about couples counseling or opposing things like homosexuals, cohabitation, and other such "sins".

  33. LT  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:44 am

    Ann, I just have to say- you're always so thought-provoking and eloquent in your posts, and it makes me so happy to see another Kentuckian buck the stereotype and prove we KY gals aren't just rednecks.

    As for the Christianity/homosexuality bit… there's a brilliant documentary named 'Fish Out of Water' that discusses each Biblical passage supposedly against homosexuality with religious scholars that's very eye-opening. (Spoiler- the Bible isn't anti-gay.)

    As much as I loathe Chik-fil-A's stance, and any stance that oppresses the right of two adults to love one another regardless of gender, they have the right of free speech. Defending those you don't like is, however, something that has to be done- discrimination helps no one in the long run. Or the short run.

    (Found the blog through the Carreon affair- love your work, Popehat guys!)

  34. Ann Bransom  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:45 am

    @Zachary – thank you for the clarification. It is a very sensitive subject, and I'm glad we can have civil discourse on it. :)

  35. Graham Shevlin  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:45 am

    The idea that Chick-Fil-A should be banned from opening locations just because their founder is opposed to homosexuality is indeed an example of government overreach. As has been pointed out, there is no evidence that Chick-Fil-A refuses to serve gay or transgender people or otherwise discriminates against them as customers.
    Having said that, given that the evidence shows that the founder is funding organizations that are actively working to prevent equality of civil rights for gay people, I am voting with my wallet, and will not spend a cent with Chick-Fil-A. Businesses or business owners that take an ideological or political position in public should expect prospective customers to respond by making ideological buying decisions.

  36. SPQR  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:50 am

    The tactic of attempting to destroy another person's business or livelihood because you disagree with his politics is itself evil.

    And the brazen corruption evidenced by Menino should itself be a felony and result in jail time for Menino.

  37. Ben  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:53 am

    Zachary,
    I do not think many people would say that you should be prosecuted for your belief, but I object to a notion that your belief, as stated, is not discriminatory. It is a delimiter and by nature discriminates, in this case between the heterosexual and homosexual.

    If I have misunderstood you on a fundamental level, I apologize. But many people claim that their ideas and beliefs are not discriminatory. As a general axiom, if you can take the supposition, apply it to a group of subjects thus separating that group into two or more sub groups, it is discriminatory.

  38. Jeremy Leader  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:56 am

    What ever happened to the "Eat More Kale" trademark "bullying" dispute?

    The most recent update I was able to find was from a month ago: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/chick-fil-as-successful-eat-mor-chikin-74702/.

  39. Kinsey  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:57 am

    Sigh. I'm tired of spending the time it takes to come up with a brief, cogent, solidly on-point comment that will make people go, "Hmm….very well put. Thought provoking, in fact," only to find that Ann Bransom's already done it, and better than me. So from now on, at least vis a vis these hot button issues, I'm just going to say, "Yeah. What Ann said."

    Wait – I will add that I don't think totalitarian is too strong a word for Menino's petty tyrannical threat.

  40. Ann Bransom  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:59 am

    @LT – Thank you for the kind words and always glad to see another KY girl represent! Do wish that I hadn't lost my shit in my own comments section on that post, but in my defense, I had a LOT of friends and family that were being personally affected by the decision that day. Not my proudest blogger moment, but you gotta own the good and the bad.

    So glad to have found Popehat for that exact reason. Ken is one of those obnoxiously unbiased people that keep idealists like me on the straight and narrow. ;)

  41. Dave  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:01 am

    Marriage and Family Foundation's 990: http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990_pdf_archive/260/260142546/260142546_201012_990.pdf

    It seems not very enlightenting.

  42. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:06 am

    People who are 'anti-gay' have two major points on their side;

    1) Sexually active Gay men have seven times the incidence of STDs as the general population.

    And

    2) swine like this Boston Mayor are constantly trying to force eveybody to accept the PC attitude towards homosexuality.

    i hope that the approval of his PC constituants is worth the damage he has done to the progress of tolerance to him. No, wait a minute. No I don't. I hope his pandering comes back and bites his ass as quickly as possible.

  43. Ben  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:08 am

    Kinsey,

    The mayor's wording seems to imply, to me, that he thinks that this restaurant engages in institutionalized discrimination – which is illegal.

    They have, apparently, had twelve hiring and firing discrimination lawsuits since 1988 . I could not find any hard answers in terms of whether that was a large number or a small one.

    As an aside, I sent my brother an e-mail asking him how many times his company had been sued for discrimination. Ten minutes later he replied: "None so far. Why, what have you done?" But his company is still fairly small, 72 employees. Need to find some larger samples, but my phone is being cantankerous.

  44. Nicholas Weaver  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:15 am

    12 lawsuits for hiring/firing on a company that big seems normal, as there are enough assholes who, when you fire them, will sue in an attempt to extort some money on the way out the door.

    As a company, they have to be very nondiscriminatory, as the high profile attitude of the owner would make any actual case of discrimination (especially in California, Massachusetts, and the like states where they do business) result in millions in punitive damages.

  45. jeremy7600  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:16 am

    Obligatory Drag Queen parody of Chick-Fil-A.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO-msplukrw

    This is a must see and is what brought my attention initially to Chick-Fil-A's anti-gay sentiment.

    This song, in a word, is: AWESOME.

    To all at Popehat: Enjoy :)

    And Kudos to Ken, Patrick and all at Popehat, you guys rock.

  46. Zachary  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:16 am

    @Ben- Perhaps I should be clearer; when I say "doesn't discriminate", I meant in a more conventional sense.

    Typically, the word "discrimination", societally, has a very negative connotation to it. The modern usage of the word typically, in my experience, is reserved for a situation where a particular group is being treated in a negative fashion, rather than merely causing a separation.

    If I understand correctly, according to the definition you are using, having a separate bathroom for men and women would be "discrimination." Women aren't being mistreated, men aren't being mistreated, it's just a social convenience to separate men and women in that particular circumstance.

    According to THAT definition, the definiton of mere separation, then I suppose my belief could be discriminatory, insofar as it separates heterosexuality and homosexuality to a certain extent.

    However, I also denoted that there are occasions where heterosexual sex is innapropriate, so it is arguable that my belief is not discriminatory, because the class of "what is wrong" is not simply heterosexual versus homosexual, but is more complicated than that- that is to say, my belief cannot simply be expressed as "all that is heterosexual is on this side, all that is homosexual is on this side". On one side (what is termed 'appropriate) is a set of actions defined as "whatever is not on the other side", on the other side (what is termed 'sinful') is a delineated list of actions that cuts across all sectors of society and cuts across all groups; none of them are raised above others or debased below others. All members of the 'sinful' class are equal.

    That's largely a logical and rhetorical debate, however, and not germane to the original meaning of my post, which dealt with the societal meanings and implications of discrimination as a negative concept:

    According to the customary societal and the typical legal definition- that is to say, discrimination meaning both separation and mistreatment for a particular group of people, my belief is not discriminatory. I place myself under the same level of condemnation that I place anyone else; I am a sinner, and have sinned, as has everyone else.
    I strive to treat all people equally, striving to follow the example of Jesus- who ate with the people who were despised by society at the time, and who worked with them rather than against them, loved them rather than hated him. To attack(discriminate, in the societal sense), or hate, or to say that God hates homosexuals is anathema to everything that Christianity is.

  47. Jeremy Leader  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:17 am

    SPQR: why should I do business with someone who I believe is making the world a worse place, when I could instead do the same business with someone who maybe is making the world a better place? If a business owner uses his prominence in the community to attempt to pass laws that I consider evil and repressive, why is it wrong for me to support him in that effort?

  48. Ann Bransom  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:21 am

    I would like to request a second point of order. Two people have brought up the higher incidence of STD's among homosexual males.

    Aside from having nothing to do with Ken's argument regarding Menino, what exactly is the point there? STD rates are higher among most minority groups. Are you saying they deserve them? Cause them? Should be discriminated against, because of them?

    I'm very confused by why that is being brought up and hopeful that it is not just an attempt to vilify a group of individuals in the vain hope that it will make an argument against mistreating them seem valid.

  49. alexa-blue  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:25 am

    @Zachary – You seem like a nice enough guy. But your beliefs are discriminatory, in the typical sense.

  50. Nicholas Weaver  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:29 am

    One of the fortunate things for Chic-Fil-A (as compared to Wal*Mart): The mayor's statements have probably ensured that they can open a restaurant should they desire it. So not only is it ridiculous, evil, vile, but also acts to ensure that Mr Mayor's desire won't be met.

    Because now, any zoning or similar rules used to obstruct Chic-Fil-A now instantly become a 1st Amendment issue: since I'm sure there are plenty of McDonalds, Starbucks, Burger Kings, KFCs, in locations similar to any that Chic-Fil-A might desire.

    So suck on it, Mr Mayor: by being such an ass, you've ensured you will lose!

  51. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:30 am

    I'm going to go against the grain and muster at least a partial defense of Mayor Menino (please get his name right, folks).

    Let me say upfront that I live in the City of Boston, so the mayor and his idiosyncrasies impact me more directly than Ken or most of the other commenters here. Having said that, much of what I've got to say on this topic is equally applicable in any city.

    Everyone who pays attention in Boston knows that what we saw a glimpse of here happens regularly. Mayor Menino is completely open about the fact that when he wants something to be in the city, the skids are greased, and when he doesn't, there are roadblocks every step of the way. It is rarely cost-effective to fight the mayor; even if you win, you'll end up on his enemies list, and he'll make sure to make your life difficult at every opportunity for the foreseeable future. There are plenty of businesses in the city which support Menino in every election not because they like him, but rather because they know they'll regret it for a long time if they support one of his opponents and he wins anyway. This sucks. It's the biggest reason why I don't like the mayor, and why I vote against him in every election.

    ("Wait a minute," you are thinking, "I thought you said you were going to defend him!" Be patient, I'm getting to that…)

    Having said all that, I believe that every city has a culture, and that one of a mayor's jobs is to understand and protect the city's culture and well-being using the power at his disposal.

    For example, Walmart is a small-business killer, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If Walmart came to Boston, many of the small businesses in the city would collapse in short order. I think that would be a huge net loss to the city, and Menino agrees. He has fought tooth and nail, so far successfully, to keep Walmart out of Boston, and I totally support him for doing so.

    Mayor Menino is elected. Anyone who is unhappy overall with how he wields his power, can and should vote against him. If there are enough people in that category, he will lose, and someone else will be mayor, and the new mayor will wield power differently from Menino.

    This is not totalitarianism. The people of Boston have chosen their leader, and through the power of the ballot box, they can unchoose him.

  52. Chris  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:31 am

    Hey Ken,

    Just wanted to say, thanks. I know it sucks to defend people you disagree with, but it is a welcome relief to hear from reasonable people who can put the debate in proper terms and in the proper arena. Appreciate your writing.

  53. Ann Bransom  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:35 am

    "There are plenty of businesses in the city which support Menino in every election not because they like him, but rather because they know they'll regret it for a long time if they support one of his opponents and he wins anyway."

    "This is not totalitarianism. The people of Boston have chosen their leader, and through the power of the ballot box, they can unchoose him."

    I don't think fear based votes are an indication of "power", so much as…well…fear.

  54. Ben  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:35 am

    It is true that discrimination can be useful. Discriminating between hot and cold, male and female – even homosexual and heterosexual – is a prerequisite of being able to discuss them.

    But saying that something is non-discriminatory seems, perhaps to me alone, to be saying 'from this object, these members cannot be meaningfully separated.' By separating the two into distinct identities, you have already asserted an inequality.

    All this within the context of the Holiness Code; we are not simply saying 'cold is not hot', we are separating the purified from the unclean, and the profane from the sacred.

  55. Zachary  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:37 am

    @Alexa-blue: Mind if I ask how?

  56. delurking  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:43 am

    "For example, Walmart is a small-business killer, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If Walmart came to Boston, many of the small businesses in the city would collapse in short order. I think that would be a huge net loss to the city, and Menino agrees. He has fought tooth and nail, so far successfully, to keep Walmart out of Boston, and I totally support him for doing so."

    I see this trope over and over again. Let the Walmart be built and let the citizens of the city vote with their feet and their wallets. Essentially, you concede that you are in a minority in Boston because if you were in a majority, the building of a Walmart would not result in the closing of small businesses. To support Menino's fight against Walmart and Chick-fil-A is to argue that you and he are smarter than the majority who would shop at Walmart and Chick-fil-A (since apparently you, and not they, recognize the damage being done) and therefore you are justified in suppressing their choices.

    A company must abide by certain laws regulations. It is an abuse of power for the mayor to more closely scrutinize some companies than others based on the political leanings of those companies' members.

  57. Ken  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:45 am

    The tactic of attempting to destroy another person's business or livelihood because you disagree with his politics is itself evil.

    I was going to start to argue with this, but I'll wait to see if you'd like to unpack it a bit first, rather than assuming anything about the boundaries of what you mean.

  58. Zachary  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:46 am

    @ben: You have to realize, though, that Christianity separates the man and the action. The action is wrong, according to one of several legitimate interpretations of the bible. The man makes the choice to commit the action or not. God loves, and Christians should love the man no matter if he chooses to commit the action or not, and, aside from perhaps trying to convince him that the action is wrong, should treat him no differently.

    So the actions are separated, yes, into a list of right and a list of wrong; but the list of right is not as simple as 'everything that is heterosexual' and the list of wrong is not as simple as 'everything that is homosexual'.

    But the people are kept separate from their actions- a person is loved independent of his actions, and his or her actions are evaluated on their own merit, and the person can be advised about their actions, but none of that is a judgement on the person- since everyone sins, everyone does something wrong at some time, and everyone messes up.

    And again: My primary point was asking that I have a right to believe the way I choose to without reprecussions such as hiring/firing/promotion/purchasing discriminations- essentially, I am asking that my belief remain subject to the same protections that homosexuality is subject to in terms of legal discrimination.

    My secondary point was to attempt to convince people that my viewpoint is reasonable- not necessarily correct, but that social stigma should attach to those who attack homosexuals, rather than to people who merely believe in a certain interpretation of the bible and treat homosexuals with the same love and respect that they give everyone else.

  59. Bret  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:50 am

    Jonathan,

    You describe a man who routinely uses power to not only punish those who he disagrees with but also his political adversaries and businesses who dare support them. Then you hand wave all of this away because:

    1) Sometimes you agree with him (Walmart), and

    2) He's democratically elected.

    I think you misunderstand both totalitarianism and democracy. It's precisely because he's elected that he wields force in this way and gets away with it, because he can then do so with the "will of the people" behind him.

    I don't think I'm going to convince you in such limited space that the whole endeavor of "enforcing culture" is an extremely dangerous proposition, but I will propose one idea for you to think about: shouldn't we hold government to the same, if not more stringent, anti-discrimination standards that we're holding chick-fil-a to?

  60. Ann Bransom  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:55 am

    @Zachary – I think where people are differentiating is between belief and action, whether it be through voting, law making, or consumer habits. I don't really care if you think homosexuality is sinful nor that you subscribe to the "hate the sin, love the sinner" ideology, as long as you don't then take *action* that results in the repression of someone's rights, such as marriage. I believe that Louisville fans are an abomination, but I don't try and pass laws that prohibit them from adopting children who would then be raised in that sort of heinous environment.

    Wait….

  61. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:59 am

    @delurking:

    We are a Republic, not a Democracy. We elect people to represent us, and they make the day-to-day decisions that are necessary to keep civilization going. If we don't like their decisions, we vote them out of office and replace them with other people whose decisions we hope we will like better.

    When I was a young, idealistic small-l-libertarian, I believed as you do. But I moved past that a good 10-15 years ago, when I came to understand that too many people are stupid, selfish, and/or short-sighted. Given the choice between present and future value, too many will choose future value far too infrequently to sustain a healthy, civilized society.

    I am sure there are many here who will disagree with me on this, but I believe that one of the roles of government is, indeed, to protect people from their own short-sighted selfishness and stupidity. I don't think this particular idea can be deconstructed any further than that, nor do I believe that anyone here is going to be change their opinion about it one way or the other, so I doubt there is any point in arguing about it here.

    @Bret:

    I didn't say that I think Menino is right about Check-Fil-A. Whether he's right depends on whether they discriminate against homosexuals in hiring or serving; if they do, then I agree with him, and if they don't, then I think he's wrong.

    I agree with you that the mayor and city government should not be allowed to discriminate against an individual or corporation because of their political or religious views.

    My disagreement is with the idea that it is never appropriate for Mayor Menino or the mayor of any other city to wield his power to keep a business out. I don't think that's true.

  62. Nicholas Weaver  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:00 am

    And, Zachary: The same thing that prevents you from discriminating against a homosexual in hiring/firing/promoting is the same principle that prevents me from discriminating against bigoted religious nutcases who believe that the reanimated zombie corpse of some 2000 year old carpenter will someday soon arrange for the end of the earth when I'm hiring/firing/promoting.

  63. Hasdrubal  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:01 am

    I haven't found an anti boycott argument persuasive yet, and Doug Mataconis' Outside the Beltway piece is nothing new.

    - His economic analysis suffers from the fact that, like so many others, he forgets the fact that economic analysis uses money as a stand in for utility because it has some useful properties, not because it's meaningful in itself.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but other times you don't just buy a phone, you buy an iPhone. Businesses don't just sell a product, they can also sell an image or a message, and if you don't like the image they're selling with their product, don't buy the product from them. It's that simple. Sometimes you just don't care, that's fine also. But don't discount that icky feeling you get buying a product from a brand that supports something you disagree with just because you can't quantify that feeling in dollars. It's still part of your utility function.

    - Second, he seems to think that boycotting businesses for their political activity increases the politicization of daily life. I think he has his causality going the wrong way. The simple fact is that the best way to get money out of politics is to make politics unprofitable. If supporting a political position becomes a liability for companies, the only actively political companies will be those who are willing to sacrifice profits to make a political statement. Their owners have the right to make that decision, but I think it's quite legitimate to choose not to patronize that business.

    I would think free market proponents would much prefer market driven measures to discipline business political activity than heavy handed regulation. I agree with liberals and the OWS crowd that businesses should stay out of politics, especially moral issues like gay marriage, but I think the most effective way to keep them out is by making it unprofitable to do so, and the best way to do that is to educate consumers that they're not just buying a product, but they're supporting a business model when they shop.

  64. Nicholas Weaver  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:03 am

    (Yes, deliberately provocative language on my part…)

  65. Zachary  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:04 am

    @Ann Bransom: Okay. I can accept that. And thank you very much for clarifying.

    I have to admit, it did take me a long time to come to terms with it, but I've realized and accepted that there's nothing in the Constitution that can justify preventing same-sex marriage, and nothing that can justify denying homosexuals rights.

    I would prefer to evangelize to the homosexual population, but the ballot box- I have realized- is not the place to do it. Preventing same-sex marriage or homosexual adoption will not make them more likely to convert, nor will it help Christians in any way.

    Suppression is never the right approach- for ideological opponents, for people you disagree with on religious issues, or for any form of disagreement.

    And thank you for being long-suffering and willing to scroll through my text-walls.

  66. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:06 am

    "When I was a young, idealistic small-l-libertarian, I believed as you do. But I moved past that a good 10-15 years ago, when I came to understand that too many people are stupid, selfish, and/or short-sighted."

    I hope one day to achieve your level of enlightenment. It must be very fulfilling to know what's best for the people you have such contempt for.

  67. Zachary  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:10 am

    @Nicholas Weaver: Cool. I think it'd be absolutely hilarious if Jesus came back dressed up as a zombie. God I am fairly sure has a sense of humor, after all.

    Thanks for injecting some humor into the debate- being too serious is never good for anyone.

    I just was so uptight to try to show people that someone who believes in a magic zombie carpenter can still be reasonable, nice, and respectful of everyone- at least, as reasonable as someone who believes nothing magically became something for some reason they can't quite explain. ;)

  68. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:20 am

    @elmo iscariot: Thank you for descending so quickly into ad hominem. It's certainly efficient to cut to the chase like that.

    If you can't pick up a newspaper and find, within five minutes, half a dozen examples of how stupid, selfish, and short-sighted many people are, then you and I are viewing the world through very different lenses. Though I may disagree with your point of view, I respect it, and I would ask that you have the courtesy to respect mind as well, rather than trivializing it and insulting me.

    More and more research has made it more and more clear over time that people are irrational and make bad decisions for all sorts of reasons. For example, there is a substantial amount of research on present vs. future value. Here's a good TED talk on the topic.

    The fact that there are so many people who persist in believing that there is no such thing as global warming and that our environment is in no danger of catastrophic failure is a great example of just how bad many people are at evaluating evidence and drawing well-founded conclusions. (Global-warming deniers may now feel free to mock me here and be assured that they will have the last word; I have no intention of wasting my time arguing about global warming. If this doesn't convince and terrify you, nothing I say will.)

  69. Linus  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:46 am

    I am sure there are many here who will disagree with me on this, but I believe that one of the roles of government is, indeed, to protect people from their own short-sighted selfishness and stupidity.

    Well, it's easier to believe that when you are not one of the "people" "protected" from doing what you like.

    Of course, your defense of Menino was simply "hey, he may be a lawless, corrupt bastard, but he's OUR lawless corrupt bastard", so your views on the proper role of government force are perhaps a bit suspect. I mean, Tammany Hall may not have been "totalitarian" as strictly defined, but it sure as shit wasn't a good situation.

  70. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:46 am

    "Though I may disagree with your point of view, I respect it…"

    Glad I made the cut.

  71. NL_  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:47 am

    Massachusetts has an ENDA for sexual orientation, so Chick Fil A is already barred from discriminating. This isn't over policies, he's talking about the opinions of a prominent owner. Similar thing happened to Domino's because their founder was a huge Catholic (pro-life donor and helped fund Ave Maria Law). Last I saw they still had the Make A Wish donor logo on Domino's boxes, a PR campaign with its genesis in overcoming the taint of a FORMER owner having controversial views.

    This might also be a stick to beat them over the head with to get payoffs and concessions in other ways. Walmart typically gets beaten up over business closures and traffic problems, but the politicians mostly want payoffs to preferred groups like unions and some show of obeisance to the activists and NIMBYs (changing architecture, special charitable giving, establishing some community program, etc.).

    This is a good way to drum up negative press, forcing Chick Fil A to give more concessions to earn the good graces of the bigwigs in local politics. It also makes the politicians in question look tough and committed to the cause, without threatening an existing local employer.

  72. Roscoe  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:56 am

    Johnathan (and thanks for stirring the pot), you say the following:

    "Having said all that, I believe that every city has a culture, and that one of a mayor's jobs is to understand and protect the city's culture and well-being using the power at his disposal."

    So if the mayor of a southern city believes that his City's "culture" would be harmed by businesses owned by minorities or Yankees or the "ungodly" or gay people it is okay by you if he refuses to license them?

  73. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 20, 2012 @12:00 pm

    Well, it's easier to believe that when you are not one of the "people" "protected" from doing what you like.

    In fact, there are several policies perpetuated and supported by the mayor which I disagree with and which impact me directly, and this is why I have voted against him in the past several elections and encouraged others to do so as well and will continue to do so.

    Of course, your defense of Menino was simply "hey, he may be a lawless, corrupt bastard, but he's OUR lawless corrupt bastard"

    I think that is an unfair, inaccurate characterization of my words and position.

    I wasn't 100% clear about this in my first comment, but I'm pretty sure I made it clear in a followup that I am not defending Menino's statements in this particular case, but rather the idea that one of the things we elect mayors for is to use their power to protect the culture and well-being of their cities. It is the assertion that this is always wrong and "totalitarian" that I disagree with.

    I don't like the fact that the easiest way to get things done when the government is involved is to "work the system" in ways that should not be necessary. I don't like the fact that governments always end up giving preferential treatment to some people over others. I don't like the fact that our elected officials often have to "abuse the system" to successfully perpetuate policies (which I may or may not disagree with). None of these are ideal. Nevertheless, I don't think any government has ever been free of them, and I'm not convinced that it is possible for any government to ever be free of them. I choose to recognize and work within the reality of how things work, rather than to endlessly pine for an ideal world that cannot exist because people are imperfect. And, as I've said, I believe that it's Just Not As Bad As All That, given that when things really get bad, there's always the option of simply voting the bums out.

  74. Tsarina of Tsocks  •  Jul 20, 2012 @12:02 pm

    @Zachary (and everyone who engaged with him on this, for that matter) – may I say, I think you win the internet today for navigating one of the hottest of hot button subjects with civility and respect and careful clarity… and a touch of humor. I don't happen to be of your way of thinking, but I see the logic of your position and admire your insistence on presenting it accurately while steering clear of butthurt territory. Plus, there's guts and the willingness to laugh at yourself. Dude. I'm impressed.

  75. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 20, 2012 @12:04 pm

    So if the mayor of a southern city believes that his City's "culture" would be harmed by businesses owned by minorities or Yankees or the "ungodly" or gay people it is okay by you if he refuses to license them?

    I believe I have already answered that.

  76. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @12:07 pm

    "So if the mayor of a southern city believes that his City's "culture" would be harmed by businesses owned by minorities…"

    Only the stupid, selfish, and/or short-sighted minorities, one presumes.

  77. Thorne  •  Jul 20, 2012 @12:32 pm

    As an amusing aside….

    If I were one of the LGBT community's spokespeople, I think I'd call for a sort of "anti-protest".
    By that I mean, during the planning stages for "Pride Day" parades, I'd check which towns have a Chick-Fil-A and arrange for the parade to go past the restaurant.

    And by "past", I actually mean "THROUGH". To buy chicken.

    Think about it….

    A one-day "Christmas-level" business spike where 95% of the profits come from the LGBT community??

    Dan Cathy's head would probably explode from the irony.

  78. Damon  •  Jul 20, 2012 @12:35 pm

    For the record, since someone brought up Domino's, they're now a publicly traded company. Monaghan has donated plenty of money to causes I disagree with, but he now owns only a small portion of Domino's, if he still owns any of it. And he is not involved in running the company anymore.

  79. Linus  •  Jul 20, 2012 @1:01 pm

    rather the idea that one of the things we elect mayors for is to use their power to protect the culture and well-being of their cities.

    Their lawful power. I have no problem with Menino or any other mayor using their lawful power through lawful channels to protect whatever they think needs to be protected in their cities. But I find your shoulder-shrugging regarding his lawless corrupt practices ("it's not that bad", or "it's just the way it is") to be not only disheartening, but unconvincing. First, whether all mayors are similarly corrupt or not, that doesn't transform his behavior into non-corrupt behavior. Second, considering you admit his blatant corruption, you have surprising faith in the populace's ability to simply "vote him out".

    Call me an idealist, but my reaction to "the rule of law does not apply in my city" is not a shrug and a "whattayagonnado".

  80. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 20, 2012 @1:20 pm

    But I find your shoulder-shrugging regarding his lawless corrupt practices

    If you have in your possession evidence that Mayor Menino has violated the law, I would like to hear more about it.

    As dissatisfied as I am with much of what Menino has done during his tenure, I have no reason to believe that any actual law-breaking has occurred, and I'd venture to say that neither does anyone here.

    I do not condone illegal activity on the part of Menino or any other elected official, and to suggest otherwise is to distort what I have said.

    Corruption does not necessarily imply illegality, which you must already understand at some level or you would have written just "corrupt" rather than "lawless corrupt."

    considering you admit his blatant corruption, you have surprising faith in the populace's ability to simply "vote him out".

    I wish it were easier. I think more people in the city should have woken up by now and realized that there are better alternatives to Menino. I think it is unlikely (albeit possible) that he is actively rigging the elections; I think it is more likely that he keeps winning elections because enough residents like the job he is doing more than they like his opponents. I may not be happy with that, but it suggests, to me, that the system is working as it is supposed to.

  81. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @1:23 pm

    "I think more people in the city should have woken up by now and realized that there are better alternatives to Menino."

    Why would you expect people too stupid to be allowed to govern themselves to make good choices in selecting their governors?

  82. Nicholas Weaver  •  Jul 20, 2012 @1:37 pm

    As dissatisfied as I am with much of what Menino has done during his tenure, I have no reason to believe that any actual law-breaking has occurred, and I'd venture to say that neither does anyone here.

    Threatening to deny that business the ability to operate in the city due to the political views of the owner is most certainly illegal, because it is a government attempt to suppress the free speech rights of the business owner. Unless, hey, the constitution isn't the law anymore.

  83. Ben  •  Jul 20, 2012 @2:03 pm

    Elmo,

    Why do you believe that these residents are not 'intelligent' enough to govern themselves? And what role do you see intelligence playing in governance? A society ruled by individuals with aptitudes in analysis, spatial cognition, pattern association – or any of the other axes of intellect, of which there is no single and unifying definition – would be no more moral than any other.

    In fact, in my limited experience, people who either consider themselves intelligent or hold whatever testing/metric has evaluated them as such in high regard, tend to be far more adept at deceiving themselves as to moral ambiguity of a desired course of action.

  84. Grandy  •  Jul 20, 2012 @2:20 pm

    Jonathan Kamens, that's not an ad hominem.

    Your yes-but seems to be showing.

  85. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @2:21 pm

    I _don't_ have so low an opinion of Bostonians, and respect their right to self-government. I was quoting with contempt Jonathan's contemptible statement above:

    "When I was a young, idealistic small-l-libertarian, I believed as you do. But I moved past that a good 10-15 years ago, when I came to understand that too many people are stupid, selfish, and/or short-sighted. Given the choice between present and future value, too many will choose future value far too infrequently to sustain a healthy, civilized society.

    "I am sure there are many here who will disagree with me on this, but I believe that one of the roles of government is, indeed, to protect people from their own short-sighted selfishness and stupidity."

    If he thinks the poor little dears can't be trusted to shop at the right stores lest they fall victim to their own stupidity, it's absurd to think he should trust them to shop for leaders.

  86. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Jul 20, 2012 @2:21 pm

    Ann Bransom,

    I was trying to point out that the "Leftists are trying to impose their beliefs on us" argument was one-half of the even semi-legitimate anti-Gay arguments, and having public officials loudly underlining its legitimacy is counterproductive … if tolerance of Gays is an important goal. If, on the other hand, making Gays feel embattled and that their only safe political haven is on the Left is more important, then the Mayor's apparent stupidity makes a good deal of sense.

    My personal feeling about the STD stat is that in a country that is all right with treating smokers the way we do, a sexually active Gay man should be very, very nervous.

  87. Ben  •  Jul 20, 2012 @2:54 pm

    Elmo,

    Oh, I see! Sorry.

    Trying to synthesize those two suppositions, so they are not contradictory… Only thing that comes to mind is that perhaps he perceives it as a matter of specialization?

    No, that will not suffice. I was writing out a proposed unification and realized that the conclusion it arrived at was "thus, incompetent individuals cannot choose leaders."

    I will think about it. It seems like there must be a rational framework in which we can justify both the protection of individuals from the adverse consequences of their actions and allow people to practice decision making in a meaningful way.

    Sorry again for misunderstanding/mistaking the sarcasm/satire. Not my strong suit. :(

  88. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @2:57 pm

    No offense taken, Ben.

  89. Gretchen  •  Jul 20, 2012 @2:58 pm

    My personal feeling about the STD stat is that in a country that is all right with treating smokers the way we do, a sexually active Gay man should be very, very nervous.

    You know that the "ST" in STDs means "sexually transmitted," right? Not airborne?

  90. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:14 pm

    re: Ann Bransom said:

    "I would like to request a second point of order. Two people have brought up the higher incidence of STD's among homosexual males.

    I'm very confused by why that is being brought up….?"

    With all the "feel good" posts on just how wonderful it is to be "accepting, no, approving, no, including" the gays into society and society's mores, such as marriage, and not reviling them as has been the tradition, I was just asking: what does gayness bring to our culture that one believes will enrich said culture? I understand that most posters here feel good about having such a nonjudgmental attitude, but really, what does society gain in the deal.

    History shows that up until the early 1970s Psychiatrists considered gayness to be a mental disease. This change was engineered by internal politics not scientific discovery as if psychiatry is scientific. Currently Muslims, increasingly common even in Boston, are taught that gays should be dealt DEATH for their lifestyle. From what I understand the eleemosynary Catholic Charities works constantly to garner more and more Muslims for transport to the USA, no?

    My question is not rhetorical. If gays are to be continued to be offered acceptance instead of approbation they must offer some concrete good to society one would think, no? If they instead are a net loss to society it will only be a matter of time before again they will be forced back into the closet.

    Dan Kurt

  91. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:15 pm

    @Ben Since you seem to be interested in discussing this in a mature, respectful way, I will respond to the question that is puzzling you.

    Two points:

    1. My confidence that voting the bums out is an adequate remedy for gross abuse of power is, like many of the other points I've made in this discussion, pragmatic. To paraphrase a quote that I'm sure many people here have heard, democracy certainly isn't the best way to choose our leaders, but it's better than everything else that's been tried. No, I don't think the public is particularly good at electing good leaders. I do, however, think that when things get really bad, there are enough people who are capable of recognizing that to keep the system working. That's not great, but it's the best we've got and the best we're likely to get.

    2. Decision-making and intelligence are not black-and-white, good-or-bad, smart-or-dumb, always-or-never things. The ability of an individual to make a good decision in any particular context is influenced by a huge number of factors. Present vs. future value, which I mentioned before, is just one of many examples. Read Dan Ariely if you want a lot more of them.

    The entire foundation of the republican form of government is that we elect leaders who then make decisions over which we do not have direct influence. Part of this is because it would not be practical for every citizen to have direct influence over every decision that needs to be made. But part of it is also a recognition that our elected officials are in a different context, one in which they are (we hope) in a better decision to make those decisions than we are.

  92. AlphaCentauri  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:15 pm

    I would suspect that statistics would show that people who aren't married have higher rates of STDs.

  93. Damon  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:17 pm

    My personal feeling about the STD stat is that in a country that is all right with treating smokers the way we do, a sexually active Gay man should be very, very nervous.

    What exactly does this mean?

  94. Basil Forthrightly  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:19 pm

    I would argue that calling this bit of thuggery "totalitarianism" is good rhetoric and bad analysis; it's a close cousin of the cry "Nazi", or "fascist".

    "Totalitarianism" is governtmental system with specific attritubes, most of which are missing in Boston.

    This looks more to me like "majoritarianism" or "ochlocracy", which is just as un-American and which can be a transitional stage to a totalitarian system. While there is a time and a place for using forceful rhetoric at the expense of precision (eg summary arguments), I think this blog aspires to a higher level of analysis. This is more akin to such evils as "sundown towns" than it is to true totalitarianism.

  95. Damon  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:22 pm

    I was just asking: what does gayness bring to our culture that one believes will enrich said culture? I understand that most posters here feel good about having such a nonjudgmental attitude, but really, what does society gain in the deal.

    Since when is what a person can do to "enrich" the "culture" a relevant question when discussing that person's rights? I'm not exactly a staunch libertarian but even to me the kind of absolutist collectivism that would be needed just to pose this question is scary and a little bit nauseating.

  96. Ann  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:27 pm

    Well, thank you, Dan. That certainly clarifies your position. I will now excuse myself to vomit.

  97. Ann  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:28 pm

    Jinx on the nausea, Damon. Buy me a coke.

  98. Gretchen  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:32 pm

    My question is not rhetorical. If gays are to be continued to be offered acceptance instead of approbation they must offer some concrete good to society one would think, no?

    Take out the word "gays" and replace it with any other historically (and/or currently) oppressed minority– women, blacks, Jews, etc.– and see if you can grasp why this line of thinking is blatantly absurd and offensive.

  99. Ann  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:52 pm

    Oh, Gretchen, silly fool. Dan's retort to that will no doubt be that homosexuality is a choice or a lifestyle, and therefore not comparable. No, no, to truly see the merit in Dan's argument, one must insert an arbitrary sexual preference.

    "My question is not rhetorical. If [people who prefer missionary with their socks on] are to be continued to be offered acceptance instead of approbation they must offer some concrete good to society one would think, no?"

    hopefully it is clear to you now. ;)

  100. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 20, 2012 @3:54 pm

    Threatening to deny that business the ability to operate in the city due to the political views of the owner is most certainly illegal, because it is a government attempt to suppress the free speech rights of the business owner.

    Threatening to deny that business the ability to operate in the city due to the political views of the owner is most certainly not illegal; it's free speech. Actually denying a business the ability to operate in the city due to the political views of the owner would be illegal, but we thus far have no evidence that Menino has actually done that.

    Oddly, politicians sometimes say they're going to do things that they don't actually end up doing.

    I hardly think that any court would view his statements in this morning's Herald as sufficiently serious to be an unconstitutional overstepping of his authority.

  101. Bill Wild  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:00 pm

    "God does not hate gays"…

    Correct, because God is just pretend.

  102. M.  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:18 pm

    I really wish Chik-Fil-A wasn't freakin' delicious.

  103. Ben  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:19 pm

    Jonathan,

    So are you saying that you believe the citizenry votes, effectively, on their current circumstances? Up vote is a vote for incumbent and down vote for challenger?

    That seems a gross simplification, if it is the case, does it not? Any given official may have little or nothing to do with our specific grievances – voting out your district attorney and county sheriff because you believe local public schools are underachieving would probably not elicit the desired change. Nor do I see how anyone could suppose that it would bring about what they wanted, unless their district attorney or sheriff happened to also be involved in their public school system.

    If people are just voting on 'am I comfortable/employed/secure/… at this specific moment?', then I could see that, potentially, being the case. Yet, I think in voting we attempt find a candidate with two attributes; an ideology that closely approximates our own and a resume demonstrating competency as an administrator.

    For example; if we are voting, and our primary concern was to bring about a change such as (let's pick a more traditionalist/conservative one, this time) lowering or abolishing state income tax – simply voting out any incumbent who did not lower or abolish state income tax would be an incredibly inefficient way to go about it. You could, potentially, elect someone who increases your state income taxes.

  104. Grandy  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:19 pm

    @Dan Kurt

    History shows that up until the early 1970s Psychiatrists considered gayness to be a mental disease. This change was engineered by internal politics not scientific discovery as if psychiatry is scientific.

    No, it was not internal politics that changed this belief so much as it was that the idea was roughly on par with "that man is posessed by a demon, so lets drill a hole in his head".

    My question is not rhetorical. If gays are to be continued to be offered acceptance instead of approbation they must offer some concrete good to society one would think, no? If they instead are a net loss to society it will only be a matter of time before again they will be forced back into the close

    We let you in, I reckon we'll give anyone a shot.

  105. Patrick  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:24 pm

    The sandwich, the classic Chik-Fil-A sandwich, is a thing of beauty M. The heartiness of the well-fried chicken, combined with the salty and sour pickles, contrasted with the buttery sweetness of the bun, is a thing of wonder. Like McDonald's french fries, it's fast food perfected.

    I don't know that I'll ever eat one again.

  106. Thorne  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:31 pm

    God help me but my "sarcasm trigger" is dying to see just how Dan defines "net loss to society".

    Get ready to start building them gas chambers, folks!

  107. darius404  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:42 pm

    Threatening to deny that business the ability to operate in the city due to the political views of the owner is most certainly not illegal; it's free speech.

    No, it's just THREATENING an illegal act. That a government official would threaten that is enough. Unless you think we should wait until he actually breaks the law to reprimand him?

  108. darius404  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:44 pm

    Oh, Gretchen, silly fool. Dan's retort to that will no doubt be that homosexuality is a choice or a lifestyle, and therefore not comparable.

    I don't know, Ann. I think Michael Jackson conclusively proved that being black IS a choice.

  109. darius404  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:45 pm

    Johnathan, if "voting the bums out" was sufficient, we wouldn't need a constitution.

  110. M.  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:49 pm

    @Patrick: You're a jerk. It's lucky you're a funny and engaging one.

  111. Dan Weber  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:49 pm

    No one has to prove their worth to society to have rights. They don't even have to have a worth to society. That's damn statist talk.

    And that "he was only threatening to violate the law" is pretty absurd.

  112. Ann  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:53 pm

    Dammit. Foiled by Michael Jackson logic. Again.

  113. Ben  •  Jul 20, 2012 @4:59 pm

    Bill Wild,

    You sound like my brother. :P

    elmo,

    I am back! :)

    So, I was considering it and realized how one might suppose both of those things and not be self contradictory.

    Originally I was thinking (informally)

    Some individuals are predisposed to poor decision making
    and these individuals must decide upon an effective leader
    and the leader must protect these individuals from poor decisions
    then these individuals will decide poorly upon a leader
    then some leaders will not protect these individuals from poor decisions
    thus these people cannot decide upon an effective leader

    As you can see, there are several fairly sizable flaws in that. It presumes that either the individuals who make poor decisions are electing their own leader in a proverbial vacuum or that the individuals who make poor decisions so outnumber the standard and above average decision makers, so as to render them essentially moot in an election. Along that line, it also presupposes that the leader is a poor decision maker. If the population is entirely poor decision makers, then it follows – but if there are people who have a history of superior decision making, then as evidence mounts and aggregates, the probability of good decisions increases.

    Identifying someone who makes good decisions on a regular basis is much easier than necessarily making those decisions yourself; for instance, you can examine a doctors record by his history of positive outcomes versus neutral and negative outcomes, without knowing anything about medicine.

    So if we instead shift to a risk management perspective and say:

    Some individuals make poor decisions
    and these individuals must help select a leader
    and this leader must protect these individuals from the harm of their actions,
    then these individuals must select a superior decision maker for their leader.

    So, we could say that some people might act against their own interests – and must be protected from those actions – without saying that they should not be able to help select a leader!

  114. elmo iscariot  •  Jul 20, 2012 @5:14 pm

    Ben, very clever. :)

    But, Ockam's razor, I think the rationale is more likely an after-the-fact justification for the pater alist instinct that's always been with us (and was always particularly at home in southern and central New England, I might add), colliding with the assumption of democracy that the modern world demands. If he hadn't lead with "I'm mature enough to know that my countrymen aren't as smart as me and need to be protected from their own stupidity," I might be feeling more charitable.

    (I'm off for the weekend, BTW, so have fun with any more of this thread you engage in; I may read, but won't be commenting.)

  115. Ben  •  Jul 20, 2012 @5:18 pm

    Okay. Have a good weekend. :)

  116. PhilG  •  Jul 20, 2012 @5:52 pm

    @Ann

    I was with you until

    "My question is not rhetorical. If [people who prefer missionary with their socks on] are to be continued to be offered acceptance instead of approbation they must offer some concrete good to society one would think, no?"

    Missionary with socks on?!? Clearly anyone preferring that has a horrible cold-footed disease and should seek medical attention, not be given equal standing in society! :)

  117. Gretchen  •  Jul 20, 2012 @5:54 pm

    At least she didn't say high heels.

  118. Ann  •  Jul 20, 2012 @6:01 pm

    Don't even get me started on ppl who prefer it with bunny slippers. Think of the children.

  119. Pete  •  Jul 20, 2012 @6:38 pm

    @Ann – It seems Mother Theresa was an advocate of the missionary position, but not sure about the bunny slippers …

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Missionary-Position-Mother-Practice/dp/1859849296

  120. alexa-blue  •  Jul 20, 2012 @6:40 pm

    @Zachary – because you hold gays to standard of morality and behavior to which you do not hold straights.

  121. John David Galt  •  Jul 20, 2012 @6:53 pm

    I think that rich people donating millions to anti-gay causes promotes evil in the world — though they have every right to do it.

    As a libertarian, I must disagree with your principle on principle. You seem to be so used to using government to accomplish your ends (whether through politics or the courts) that you fail to see the moral problem the practice usually entails.

    The principle is:

    Government is nothing more than an apparatus/organization/method of using force. Using government to compel another person — EVER — is exactly the same, morally, as compelling them by means of a gun in your own hand.

    When the first method is right, so is the second. And when the second is wrong, so is the first.

    All individuals will and must eventually be held responsible for what they do to others. Politics is not an exception.

    Democracy has validity only as a means to achieve liberty. If treated as an end in itself it leads to national self-destruction, as we're seeing now both in places like Egypt, and in places like Greece.

  122. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:11 pm

    To those who were puzzled by my comparison of sexually active Gay men and smokers; consider this;

    The 'evidence' that secondhand smoke is anything more than an annoyance is highly suspect. There are two large scale studies that form the foundation of most of the anti-secondhand smoke legislation. The EPAs study of "environmental tobacco smoke" was a meta-study (that is, it involved no new data, but attempted a synthesis of existing studies) and when it failed to provide the evidence desired the confidence interval was 'adjusted' until the numbers were more pleasing. In short, it is a fraud. Interestingly, in the footnotes of this fraud the EPA stated that the highest concentration they expected to encounter in the real world would amount to smoking two-fifths of a cigarette in a day's exposure. Other studies of actual concentration have come up with levels even lower, which probably explains why they aren't talked about much.

    The other big study was done by the World Health Organization. The only statistically significant relationship it found was a TINY positive effect involving exposed children and asthma.

    So, based on 'science' as well founded as the 'evidence' that the Anti-Saloon League used to gin up support for prohibition, smokers are being hounded because people find them annoying.

    Anybody who doesn't see how this kind of idiocy could be turned against Gay men has far more faith in his fellow man than I do. In point of fact, there are already studies claiming to 'show' that Gay men are a population likely to act as 'carriers' for various communicable diseases that are not sexually transmitted. Hepatitis, for one.

    I don't buy the argument, but I think that Gays would be well advised to expect it to be used against them.

  123. Robert White  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:18 pm

    While I wholly hate breathing second-hand smoke, as I gay man I must assure you all that second-hand jizz is far more annoying.

  124. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:30 pm

    Mr. White,

    I can just imagine….

    Apropos of nothing in particular, it has been my vague impression that a great many Gay men smoke. At least a great many of the Gay men I have met in and around New Hope PA. Does this match your experience?

  125. Chris R.  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:40 pm

    Dan Kurt said:
    My question is not rhetorical. If gays are to be continued to be offered acceptance instead of approbation they must offer some concrete good to society one would think, no?
    I was raised to believe as a society we judge a person by their actions, not by what "group" they are a part of. Unless your argument is that no gay person ever has contributed to society, I don't get your question. We are individuals who though may share certain traits, live life unlike any one else.

  126. ShelbyC  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:40 pm

    "Threatening to deny that business the ability to operate in the city due to the political views of the owner is most certainly not illegal; it's free speech."

    A remarkably odd view of free speech.

  127. Robert White  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:52 pm

    @C. S. P. Schofield — I would say that a great many "bar goers" smoke. Most of the places you tend to see gay men as a describable group tend to be bar oriented.

    If you add the tension factor "back from in my day" where things were more tense _and_ smoking was more normative, the smoking slightly agitated gay guy is a not-uncommon thing. Far and away enough to make the stereotype hard to avoid.

    On the gay dating sites and such, however, non-smoking is very much a norm or at least listed as desirable.

    On the whole goths smoke more, and rocker-bar, and sports-bar, and road-house straight people (particularly guys). These are all communities I have been in or around enough to have an opinion about. I don't know how much I could say compared to a "straight meat market bar" or other straight cross-sections not listed.

    And pitting "gay guys" vs "nascar guys" I would suspect the latter group out-smokes the former three to one since we don't take sponsorships from tobacco companies. 8-)

  128. Damon  •  Jul 20, 2012 @7:58 pm

    Gay people of either sex, like members of most minority groups, are statistically much more likely to be smokers. Gay teens are particularly likely to smoke.

  129. ktpick  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:04 pm

    @C.S.P. As a sidenote, both my husband and I have asthma as a result of being exposed to parental second hand smoke as children.

    On another note, to liken that to homosexuality in any way is insulting and ridiculous. Someone else being homosexual is not "annoying" in the sense that it causes anyone else any harm whatsoever. I can't even believe that this is an actual debate. People are people…

  130. TJIC  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:08 pm

    @SPQR:

    > The tactic of attempting to destroy another person's business or livelihood because you disagree with his politics is itself evil.

    Having been on the receiving end of this, I feel that I've earned my opinion, and it is that it is entirely legitimate for someone – if they feel strongly about a matter – to choose to spend their money at vendor A and not vendor B for all sorts of reasons.

    I respect the right of customers to not deal with me because I am anarchocapitalist and thus I consider all of "our" "leaders" to be nothing more than mafia dons engaged in protection rackets writ large.

    I likewise respect the right of Ken and others to not deal with Chick-Fil-A because they think that the largest stock holder's traditional interpretation of the Bible is incompatible with their 21st century post-modern interpretation of the Bible.

    I think that in both cases a boycott has no utilitarian value – my principles are not changed by folks boycotting me, not do I donate more or less money to the Cato foundation or various Hayekian groups.

    Given that there is no utilitarian value, I assume that boycotts are purely expressive and emotional. "Look, I'm a good person – I refuse to trade with person who commits Thought Crime!".

    …but that's a legitimate consumer goal.

    Likely half of the value we get from the dollars we spend comes from the affiliation they buy. Sometimes this affiliation is pathetic and sad (e.g. today I drove to Boston University and passed a crowd of hundreds of people who had shelled out hundreds of dollars to adorn themselves with the intellectual property of the Red Sox corporation), but other times it's more interesting and nuanced.

    If someone wants to partially self-define by taking a stance either for or against a certain strand of Biblical interpretation or on the fine points of the legitimacy of Leviathan, more power to them.

  131. Robert White  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:29 pm

    @Dan Kurt — That you are apparently unaware of the contributions and purposes of gay people is a fault of your education and not a fault of gay people.

    Genetically the "gay gene" helps propagate the genetic line through a mechanism called "kin selection". If five to ten percent of a population is "non breeding", then that population has slightly higher adult-to-child ratio. In rich times this is tends to be a station-keeping operation, when times go lean however, basically the "rounding errors" favor the survival of a much higher number of children in each generation.

    Lets assume a "successfully raised" child is one who reaches independence and breeding age. Let's also assume "grandparents" die off quickly after the birth of their grandchildren. This is for mathematical simplicity given the venue and the less-than-perfect scholarly value of this example. 8-)

    Lets say any one adult can supply the work effort to successfully raise 1.7 children in normally prosperous times. That means that each breeding pair can raise three children and have about .4 child-raising-effort left over to service themselves as recreation.

    If you then have three children and each attracts a mate, you can expect to have nine grand-children if times remain rich.

    If times go poor by just .3 effort-to-availability for two seasons, each adult can now only raise 1.4 children. Each family looses one child and the next generation is cut to six children by that single two-seaons event.

    Now presume one of the children is a "non-breeder". This leaves two breeding pairs at 3.4 children and a 1.7 surplus. This is nominally the same six successful children as the nominal famine case, but now the society has 2.5 children-effort surplus. This can be pure social development, or more likely the non-breeding child contributes to the breeding success his kin and the actual number of children is raise to seven or eight total. So "not as successful" as the fully-breeding population.

    If however, the same .3 disaster befalls, the distributed effort saves both of the sets of three children if there are no extras, and only loses one child if the extra breeding took place. So in times of lean-ness the family with the non-breeding member has seven grandchildren instead of just six.

    If the non-breeder can "attract a mate" the numbers go even higher. you can get nine survivors of the lean time scenario and ten children total. Now that "mate" was lost to the other family with a the non-breeding gene if he had to "move away". But in a close-knit group that loss is not real, the non-breeders can distribute their effort communally.

    Different numbers produce different saw-tooth survival outcomes and such. So the rule of the golden spiral kicks in a little.

    All breeders is better if there is "never" a lean time, a small cross-section of non-breeders protects against lean times and makes a genome more survivable.

    A society that -must- grow, say if it were trapsing through a desert filled with hostile societies for forty years, you can "force" the non-breeders to breed and hope for the sustained growth rate.

    In the case where the community isn't -trying- to grow at peak rate (say a society not traipsing through a hostile desert) all that liberated effort means that society can advance faster. Thats where you get the gay artists, thinkers, clergy and other non-producers to advance the society faster than the population.

    In modern times, my helping my house-mate (not boyfriend) raise his two kids despite his wreck of a ex-girlfrined and her drug addicted family is an example of society-wide kin selection, and in the past, when my sisters were raising their ilk, they were free to risk more to gain more (etc) because there was Uncle Rob making his decent living who could have pitched in (but fortunately only had to once or twice) if things got unmanageable. And then there was the time I helped friends Dan and Stacey get married (they went broke, I gave them their honeymoon money and loaned Dan the money for the wedding rings), it was a small thing, but it helped them get off on a strong footing.

    You would, should you take a moment to think about it, likely be surprised how much of your daily life you owe to gay folk. Computing without Turing would have been interesting. Hell, the outcome of WWII without Turing would have been possibly very different.

    Yea, that's the shit we do for you there Danny boy…

    Plus, we talk to your women when you are acting like a putz, so we likely control a non-trivial part of your daily sex life and happiness. 8-)

  132. Robert White  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:44 pm

    P.S. I once wrote a long post in another forum (as opposed to my brevity here 8-) ) detailing how gay influence over dating and match making, plus the historic preponderance of homosexuals in shamanism, philosophy, art, and religious hierarchy can basically define all of heterosexual history as a breeding program orchestrated by gays to ensure the advancement of the next gay generation and the gay free-time experience.

    We're like those birds that trick other birds into raising their young while having a nice time to ourselves. /evil leer 8-)

  133. Damon  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:48 pm

    Kin selection as an explanation for why being gay is adaptive is really mathematically implausible, since it rests on the unrealistic assumption that for every single child a gay person doesn't have, on average, that two more of their nieces and nephews survive until childbearing age than otherwise would have. That's a really implausibly big stretch.

  134. M.  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:55 pm

    @Robert White: That was an excellent handling of a task that no one in their right mind would expect you to do.

    @Dan Kurt: If you are indeed a heterosexual male critical of homosexuality, that kind of pseudo-intellectual vitriol will do much more damage to your position than good. You'd be surprised (really, I have no doubt that you would be) how many hetero- or bisexual find homophobic hate speech really unsexy. In fact, I do believe you've put me off men for a while – off to boink my girlfriend.

  135. M.  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:56 pm

    *hetero- or bisexual women, damn it

  136. AlphaCentauri  •  Jul 20, 2012 @8:58 pm

    I didn't follow all your math, Robert. But I do know that my bachelor uncles contributed a lot to the upbringing of their sisters' children.

    An uncle or aunt shares as much genetic material with a child as a grandparent does (25%). It is perfectly natural for family units to include extended family who don't have their own children or who are no longer fertile. The success of humans depends on providing a high amount of nurturing to offspring (high K factor, as opposed to organisms like fish with a high r factor who reproduce in large numbers but provide little care for them).

    Having homosexuals in human families is just as biologically logical as social insects caring for the offspring of their sister, the queen. Or as logical as women undergoing menopause and caring for grandchildren instead of continuing to have their own children.

  137. Damon  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:01 pm

    You'd be surprised (really, I have no doubt that you would be) how many hetero- or bisexual [women] find homophobic hate speech really unsexy.

    Ironically it's not hard to find a gay guy who enjoys being subjected to anti-gay language in the sack.

  138. Robert White  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:05 pm

    Kin selection is proven in many species. It's the definition of how hive insects exist. On a larger scale, as noted, the examples given were -very- contrived (dead grandparents, 100% breeding and marriage rates for the heterosexuals, etc). That wasn't a mathematical proof, it was a very simplified example.

    In simpler terms, The uncertainty is why the "rate of gay" is so low (somewhere between two and 10 percent, which is one out of ten to one out of fifty children). It only pays "for sure" when "times go bad". So it's not the "full on" strategy, its the "emergency" strategy on a genetic basis. If it were a full on strategy then the "gay rate" would be a statistical 1 out of 3, which it is nowhere near.

    Another point that backs the model up is that the likely hood of having a gay son increases with the number of sons a woman has. That is, its not just more likely because she has more sons, it is strongly more likely that the first sons will be straight and latter will be gay. This is beleived to be the case because the woman's body "remembers" how many sons she has and so seems to start selecting for spear carriers and cannon fodder instead of breeders.

    not that wikipedia is a real source but it's cheap and quick to cite.

    One of the problems is that there is -lots- of evidence out there, but the branding of homosexuality as "inherently aberrant" for so many centuries has largely left the mechanisms and models unexplored until basically within my lifetime.

    It's kind of like demanding "Where's the research into pot" when growing and researching pot has largely been illegal. If you assume there -can- -be- no supportive data, you will find none. So only recently has the edges of the model started to work.

  139. M.  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:11 pm

    @Damon: Nor perfectly heterosexual, machismo-driven men who just love being called "bitch" and "whore."

  140. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 20, 2012 @9:54 pm

    re: "Hell, the outcome of WWII without Turing would have been possibly very different." Robert White

    Not so. Germany went from winning the 2nd World War ( probability .999+ ) at the end of July 1941 to SOL due to one decision by Hitler. Hitler cancelled the drive to the Soviet schwerpunkt in August 1941. Once the army group central diverted to the Ukraine the war was lost. Germany had to win fast or not at all. The queer Turing made no difference one way or the other. England and the USA were but a side show as the War in the East destroyed Germany. Turing did make a difference in the Cold war as computers became the force multiplier that the US exploited and is continuing to exploit.

    Dan Kurt

  141. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:24 pm

    re: "I was raised to believe as a society we judge a person by their actions, not by what "group" they are a part of." Chris R.

    You were raised to be a fool if that is your true belief. Do you wander at night alone in any Black urban ghetto or not? Even your parents would be unlikely to have taught you to avoid doing that. When you applied to College, assuming you did go to college, did to want to go to a "last chance" junior college to make the contacts with the worthies studying there to network with the rest of your life or did you try and get into the most prestigious college you could so as to become a member of a more elite GROUP?

    Group stereotypes are a short cut to help one maneuver through life. It is a "not reinventing the wheel" type of ploy.

    Dan Kurt

  142. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:25 pm

    "My question is not rhetorical. If gays are to be continued to be offered acceptance instead of approbation they must offer some concrete good to society one would think, no?" Dan Kurt
    Take out the word "gays" and replace it with any other historically (and/or currently) oppressed minority– women, blacks, Jews, etc.– and see if you can grasp why this line of thinking is blatantly absurd and offensive. Gretchen

    Ok, let us look at the Jews today in Israel. What are they doing with the black ILLEGAL ALIENS who are there. The Jews are rounding them up and placing them in Camps or deporting them. The Jews have decided that the Blacks from Africa DO NOT OFFER ISRAEL A CONCRETE GOOD. Google the subject if you are not aware of it or read this typical story: or http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/06/12/israel-african-migrants.html
    Dan Kurt

  143. Grifter  •  Jul 20, 2012 @10:42 pm

    @Dan Kurt:

    As someone who lives in one of the "meth capitals of the world", I can say that race doesn't factor into the behavior in an urban ghetto. It is the low socio-economic level issue that results in crime, not the race.

    Also, as to all of your posts…just…wow.

    Also, not to step into Robert White's bailiwick, but Turing, like Tesla, is one of my personal heroes who was treated terribly. Even if we take your statements as facts, if you don't think his work saved lives (the outcome of WWII could have been different even with the same victors), I submit you should, perhaps, look into WWII from reputable history books, as opposed to ones that use the term "the queer Turing".

  144. Robert White  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:21 pm

    @Dan Kurt — I suspect that you have a particular leaning. I'll skip delving into the race and ethnicity stuff. I'll skip a whole lot.

    You need to explore the idea of "Confirmation Bias".

    Your words are filled with a patois that suggest you have been subjected to, and preselecting for, a particular breed of selective truth.

    I could be wrong, but you might want to really look at some of your core assumptions about the who and hows of history.

    History is full of normal everyday ass-hats just like those you know today.

    The Treaty of Tripoli, signed by the founding fathers, explicitly states in section 11 that this is not a nation "founded in any way" on christianity.

    The Puritan Sepratists didn't come here for "Freedom of Religion", they wanted to create the "Jonestown" (Ghana) of their day, but the non-religious pried loose the principle of freedom of religion, and freedom from religion, from their clenched jaws while the Mayflower floated off Plymoth Rock by forcing the religious people into signing the Mayflower Compact.

    There is precious little evidence that any identifiable genome or "race" exists to fill the broad "Caucasian" designation. White people are the result of a constant churning invasion of europe from all sides in every generation. That is what gave us the immune system necessary to traverse the world and be the biggest bunch of douchbags history has ever known. (go read "Guns, Germs, and Steel" for one version of this observation, though I tend to blame erosion and the creation of the river-valleys of europe as an equal factor with the immune system thing.)

    Your religion doesn't contain a single feature that isn't present in every other religion invented within 1000 years of it, and I can say that because it is true of every popular religion. That is not an statement about truth or validity of your religion, only its commonalty with all the others of its peers.

    In short, everything you know is wrong. It's okay though. Everything I know is wrong too. The goal is to keep shaving away the wrong parts looking for the true bits. So the only think to remember is that everybody who has ever told you that they were keepers of "The Truth" was simply someone who had decided to stop learning.

    Don't let their decision to stop, prevent you from moving on.

  145. Ben  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:40 pm

    Dan Kurt,

    Did you read your linked article?

    It does not claim what you claim. Refugees are not being deported for ethnological reasons.

    Two of Israel's paramount concerns are defense and maintaining their viability as a nation – not always in that order. Israel spends a massive amount of it's resources on a defense infrastructure and would be incapable of doing so without ongoing United States aid – both in military equipment as well as funds subsidizing their agricultural, manufacturing and technological industries.

    Israel's dilemma with these refugees has two facets; many Israeli's see it as an influx of individuals likely of the Islamic faith into their population and they become very nervous about being outnumbered. They fear this not because of xenophobia but because they fear that if Israel reaches a state in which a popular rebellion could destabilize it, Israel would fall within a matter of decades.

    Second but related to this is the concern that if they begin to accept refugees as a standard, that the 'continued survival of the Jewish people' maxim would be weakened – less resources being devoted to naturalizing persecuted Jewish immigrants.

  146. Robert White  •  Jul 20, 2012 @11:57 pm

    On Stereotypes

    Many people hate to admit it, but stereotypes are vital to human cognition. Every non-proper noun in your entire vocabulary is a stereotype. Ball, cat, cop, guy, teacher, lawyer, politician, pundit, and all the others each allow you to do set-theory operations on the people and things around you.

    We know, mostly from cutting up monkeys, that the brain can only deal with so many individuals. Each primate species has a different number of "slots" in its brain for dealing with its peers. When the troop gets bigger than this number the troop splits because the monkeys just can't keep track of their peers.

    Our brains are not -that- much superior to our monkey brethren. One of our great evolutionary leaps is that we can substitute out "a person we know" for the insertion of "a type of person we know". We don't need to know ever soldier in our army if we know that they are, in fact, soldiers.

    We also have really good set-theory processing. We can make subsets. We like to think of them as ajectives. I call them add-nouns sometimes. "corrupt" in "corrupt person" can add-noun onto soldier to make "corrupt soldier" and produce a completely different kind of corruption than "corrupt politician". The add-noun effect lets us do some amazing things. "The soldier was corrupt, but honorable in his own way, allowing only for things that wouldn't actually compromise his men". This is a set-theory operation.

    Now for most cases, we don't have any need to agree on the principle constructions of our stereotypes. We can talk about "cats" even if one of us loves them one-and-all beyond reason and the other despises them almost beyond comprehension. In particular, we can talk about a -particular- cat clearly even though our views of cats differ diametrically. Thats because we are both armed with the same set theory -engine- so we can resolve our sets by speaking.

    Now people have a nasty tendency to take complex ideas, such as "discrimination based on preconceived attributes of race" and short-hand it into just "discrimination". The problem is that there is an awful lot of baby in that bath-watter. I can make a perfectly discriminatory statement, say "I hate it when my pubes catch on fire", and not get into difficult territory. But if you -call- it "discrimination" people will conflate the bad thing with the overall idea.

    So to with stereotypes. The are -all- useful if, and only if, you are ready, willing, and -likely- to understand that it is a starting measure. You have to -want- to find reasons to hate and despise people on a purely -individual- basis.

    Once you learn to really meet individuals as such, then your stereotypes will float to use-case appropriate levels.

    I was in school back in the whole of the seventies. I remember when the first black kid came to my school and I went running to see, and was -horribly- disapointed that he wasn't actually black. He was just a younger version of those guys who worked with my father in the navy in So Cal in the seventies. *yawn*.

    I then moved back east and my junior high was Bates Jr. High, which used to be "The Black Highschool" for Annapolis, MD. That place was a freaky armed camp of racial tension, which confused the fuck out of me. So I got to be friends with a non-trivial number of black kids "despite racial norms" and on both sides people were constantly stating that this or that person was an "oreo" or a "zebra" (white on the inside despite a black outer shell, etc, ad nausium).

    It took the kids a while to realize that every single person of (not my race) when met and dealt with, was an *exception* to the stereotypes that their parents had instilled in them. Neither side seemed to realize that the other side was engaged in exactly the same transaction.

    Stereotypes just are not a bad thing. But sticking to your stereotypes instead of using them to actually meet people and explore fact is.

    But that's just willful ignorance, the -decision- to ignore the evidence in order to perpetuate a fantasy you have become accustomed too.

    Willful Ignorance is the only sin, and it punishes everyone.

  147. Robert White  •  Jul 21, 2012 @12:28 am

    Not to verge on topic.

    Gay Guy Here… I've know about Chik's horrible religious issues for decades. The first hint was that they were closed on sundays so all the employees could go to church. Since that meant that they had to force their way into the various Mall Tennant Agreements with a "we don't care about the 'all stores must be open during operating hours' rules", you kinda had to know they took them some God Bothering might damn serious.

    Best Fast Food Gorging Ever:

    2 Chick'Fl'a sandwiches, lather with catchup, one packet per sandwich. (yes, not mustard or mayonnaise, the red stuff.) This sandwich is just a bun and two slices of dill pickle surrounding a piece of batter breaded chicken that is deep-fried in a pressure-cooker. If you skip the catchup you ruin the experience.

    1 large lemonade.

    Scarf both sandwiches.

    1 slice of lemon creme pie while continuing to finish the lemonade.

    If you are a fat american, or just a plain growing young man as I was in my late teens and twenties, make it three or four sandwitches or two pieces of pie. (but -not- four sandwiches -and- two pieces of pie, as that will kill you dead.)

    It is a tart, fattening delight that will leave your pallet lolling in happy calorie-sweet tartness overload. (a.k.a. weird phlegmy happiness).

    Do not drive for a while, you will not be happy, for either the gorging or the food coma.

    I still indulge in this evil on my rare trips back east.

  148. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 21, 2012 @12:30 am

    re: "Did you read your linked article?
    It does not claim what you claim. Refugees are not being deported for ethnological reasons."Ben

    Note:
    1) Those being placed in camps or deported are Black Africans.
    2) You call them "refugees" others call them "illegal Aliens" — some say Tomato others say Too-MA–To.
    3) Politicians lie about what they do and why they do things. Watch what they do. Here they are removing the Blacks from Israeli society.
    4) Their actions confirm what I said: The Jews have decided that the Blacks from Africa DO NOT OFFER ISRAEL A CONCRETE GOOD.

    Dan Kurt

  149. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 21, 2012 @12:54 am

    re: "I could be wrong, but you might want to really look at some of your core assumptions about the who and hows of history." Robert White

    Brother, you are wrong, wrong on so many levels.

    Cracked pots like you, as manifested by your verbal diarrhea, were a dime a dozen during my years in college and university life. Thank God I was in a hard science so I was not forced to mingle too much with them.

    BTW, I have no animus toward you. We just live in different intellectual worlds.

    Dan Kurt

  150. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 21, 2012 @12:55 am

    re: "It is the low socio-economic level issue that results in crime, not the race." Grifter

    Run to your closest library and get a copy of John R. Baker's RACE, 1974. Read about the Blacks there, especially comments by historical figures on the subject of Blacks. It is a hoot.

    BTW sport, does "the low socio-economic level issue" explain Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff?

    Dan Kurt

  151. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 21, 2012 @1:22 am

    re: "@Dan Kurt: If you are indeed a heterosexual male critical of homosexuality…." M

    Nothing that I have posted suggests that I am "critical" of homosexuality. You may have read into what I have posted that I am but I really am not. I pity anyone who is cursed with a condition that makes one an outcast. I am also old enough to remember differing attitudes toward queers by society over the years. My stance toward queers is one of don't bother me and I won't bother you. So far it has worked for me.

    My sister and her husband are both physicians and both never had a medical practice. She was a professor of internal medicine at three medical schools and he was a researcher in Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer and now is a director of a division in the NIH. She in the 1980s was involved deeply in the AIDS epidemic which she said was mainly in Homosexuals brought on by their abysmally unhygienic sexual mores. Her husband, the practical researcher, related that the problem was probably self limiting as Queers don't breed and HIV would insure that they die off fast. He admitted that that quip was not his but something he heard from his Mentor, a world famous Surgeon, Professor, Researcher and department head of decades. At any rate AIDS no longer is headline news so I presume homosexuals have worked out methods to avoid it or medicine can now control it.

    Dan Kurt

  152. Robert White  •  Jul 21, 2012 @1:27 am

    @Dan Kurt — if you are going to keep your mind so tightly sealed, it will moulder.

    So you called me a cracked pot instead of refuting anything I have said.

    You are in a prison made by your fathers and you are your own jailer.

    You will have a million reasons for your own failure over the course of your life. Jews did this. Blacks didn't do that. Whatever. All of them will be wrong. Your lack of intellectual honesty and your comfortable little world-cell needs must lead you to trust the wrong people and miss any opportunities that come your way but from outside your lily white circle of similarly self-jailed compatriots.

    You will fail to hire the best because they are Fags or Darkies or Jews or whatever. The smart people will flee you for being the bully you will inevitably become. Service people who will deal with you will scent the ignorance seeping from your every pore and rip you off by playing to it. You will swallow the party line and with it the "deals" they offer.

    I have been watching your story unfold in the flesh of others for decades, generations really.

    Just thought I'd let my verbal diarrhea give you the one last chance to escape your fate. I won't be holding my breath.

  153. Hughhh  •  Jul 21, 2012 @3:00 am

    To be fair, Dan Hunt avoided using derogatory terms, instead capitalising pronouns seemingly to imply that They, importantly, are Not Us.

    Dan, your first comment on this article went entirely unnoticed. I took that nil response as an indication that the regular readers and commenters had dismissed your foolhardy sensationalism for what it was, refusing to dignify you with a response. I wish that had been the case, because the odour of your subsequent comments has been entirely unpleasant.

  154. Anony Mouse  •  Jul 21, 2012 @3:06 am

    @Robert White,

    Very interesting analysis vis-a-vis homosexuality and genome survival. Honestly, it's an angle I never considered. However, isn't that role also filled by straight couples who have made a choice not to have children (like my wife and I).

    Of course, I suppose in some respects, I'm also biting my thumb at evolutionary imperatives and am thus rather non-normative.

  155. TJIC  •  Jul 21, 2012 @3:32 am

    @Robert White:

    > the historic preponderance of homosexuals in shamanism, philosophy, art, and religious hierarchy can basically define all of heterosexual history as a breeding program orchestrated by gays

    Yes, but what are your CONTROVERSIAL opinions?

  156. Robert White  •  Jul 21, 2012 @5:45 am

    @Anony Mouse — indeed it could and is practically the same, however genes aren't notorious for being that subtle and taking the half-measure of "hoping" that the small number of people who don't want kids will meet up and fortuitously agree to skip it in number and frequency sufficient to make the numerical difference work in the right circumstances.

    This is particularly the case if you wind back to before contraception, abortion, and sterilization (medicine) evolved to allow the choice not to have children naturally not be connected to the choice not to have sex.

    It's -way- more likely that the urge to have sex would be redirected more effectively than it would be redacted entirely.

    The genome has template for "likes guys", "likes girls" and "sex drive". Its way more likely that we are all coded for "some degree" of both, where some degree includes zero. Then rather than trying to "turn down sex" a lot, and hit the zero hard enough to get 2 to 10 percent of the population, the 100 percent rate would suck.

    But shifting some chips between the "likes girls" and the "likes guys" column only has to pass the 50% mark to start having the desired effect.

    Freaky Aside: Women are more likely to shift orientation back and forth, but men tend to go-over and stick for life. Which correlates to the later male child hypothesis.

    Were I geneticist I would suspect that the X chromosome can correct against the shift, or code for both behaviors, where the Y probably doesn't code at all and the single X holds all the chips. This is just a systems-theory version of what would match my personal observations.

    Given that true bisexuality in men is less likely than being gay, one could guess that there is a natural tendency to select against 50/50 weightings. This would produce the 90%/8%/2% kind of straight/gay/bi distribution where we don't have hard numbers for the 8 and 2 slot.

    [Yes, can you tell that I've thought about this stuff? 8-) ]

  157. Kelly  •  Jul 21, 2012 @6:43 am

    @ Robert White: Thank you for saying all of the anthro/human ecology things that I wanted to yesterday but that my 102 degree fever prevented me from saying.

    This is also proven. Women are more likely to shift orientation back and forth, but men tend to go-over and stick for life. Which correlates to the later male child hypothesis. It is also more likely for women to be hetero until having and raising their child or children and then shift.

    Kin selection is proven. It is science at its best.

    Also, I saw this article- it says Chick-Fil-A is stepping back on the issue. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-chick-fil-a-gay-marriage-20120719,0,5713061.story

  158. Robert White  •  Jul 21, 2012 @7:30 am

    @TJIC — you totally don't want to hear my controversial opinions. Like how black holes don't actually exist because of time dilation has delayed the formation of the actual singularity indefinitely. Or how time and gravity are actually the same force.

    I've got at least a few propositions that I would enact if I were granted god-like powers to alter society that would make a person goggle as well. 8-)

  159. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 21, 2012 @8:47 am

    re: "So you [DK] called me a cracked pot instead of refuting anything I have said." Robert White

    Arguing with you, and the legions of smug pseudo intellectuals that I found inhabiting the cracks and crannies of the Schools I attended post high-school, I found not worth the bother as no one seems to ever be impressed one way or another. As I said before, I found few like you, not many thankfully, in the the hard sciences.

    I called you a cracked pot because that is how you appear to me. You fit a stereotype I formed to explain a type of person I met as a youth. As an aside, such cracked pots may or may not be successful. One who was successful was a fraternity brother who would have been a foil to you should you have met him. Every argument devolved into a morass where he would start hurling "define your terms." Once that entered the conversation everything stopped. I saw in an alumni magazine that he died a year or two ago at which time he was a fairly high Federal Government bureaucrat. To get that level he had to have learned not to argue so much at least with his superiors.

    I wonder is success stalking you, Robert? Or are you just scraping by, living in a virtual world on the net or at a Starbucks, holding court so to speak to compensate for your lack of material success.

    Dan Kurt

  160. Robert White  •  Jul 21, 2012 @9:06 am

    @Dan Kurt — I make a good six figures most years. Defense contracting (keeping your world safe for you to spew your bile under the protections we provide.)

    Heaven forfend, whatever shall I do when confronted with such wit and insight…

    Again you do not respond to content and just prance about with vague personal assessments based on assumptions and preconceptions that went out of style with the end of British colonialism. You must be quite the life-long victor in your intellectual struggles.

  161. Robert White  •  Jul 21, 2012 @9:09 am

    Dost the shattered bidet criticize the cracked pot mayhap?

  162. Grifter  •  Jul 21, 2012 @9:50 am

    @Dan Kurt:

    You are being disingenuous. You made a comment about ghettos, specifically black ones, and I pointed out that the race of a ghetto (of modern parlance) doesn't matter; the high crime rate (the one that you were talking abotu which is why you won't go there at night) is correlative to the economics, not the race. It was not a comment about all crime ever.

    And, as someone who understands that words mean things, "defining your terms" is an incredibly important part of any debate. Sometimes it's assumed within the context that everyone already knows the terms, but if there appears to be a breakdown, then its important to make sure everyone really is operating under the same meaning.

  163. Damon  •  Jul 21, 2012 @10:45 am

    Dan's not disingenuous. That's giving him too much credit. He's just plain incoherent. That's why he keeps saying things that don't make sense or seem responsive to the previous discussion.

  164. John David Galt  •  Jul 21, 2012 @10:55 am

    I hope this thread isn't making the Popehat crew as angry as the one they labeled Not Cool last week. I'm having big fun and hope everyone else is too.

    For what it's worth, the Boston mayor's stance isn't unique by a long shot. Berkeley, CA has been keeping Carl's Jr. out for decades because it donates to the pro-life cause.

  165. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 21, 2012 @11:12 am

    re: "…the high crime rate (the one that you were talking abotu which is why you won't go there at night) is correlative to the economics, not the race." Grifter

    Really. What a hoot. This is cloud cuckoo land.

    You may have the arrow of causality reversed.

    Dan Kurt

  166. alexa-blue  •  Jul 21, 2012 @11:16 am

    Dan Kurt – you had me at Barney Frank, misspelled and in caps-locks. But this is just awesome:

    Nothing that I have posted suggests that I am "critical" of homosexuality. You may have read into what I have posted that I am but I really am not. I pity anyone who is cursed with a condition that makes one an outcast.

    I have just one question: please tell me what you think explains Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff (I mean, I know. We all know. I just want to hear you say it in the voice I've made up in my head for you).

    To the Popehat collective: sorry.

  167. alexa-blue  •  Jul 21, 2012 @11:22 am

    Damn you /blockquote. I would trade what little remains of my pride for an edit button.

  168. Patrick  •  Jul 21, 2012 @11:30 am

    If you ask nicely, we'll fix your formatting errors.

  169. Grifter  •  Jul 21, 2012 @11:35 am

    Dan Kurt:

    "You may have the arrow of causality reversed." — How? I posited that, at the very least as regards to "ghettos" (again, while the general case could be discussed, we weren't), it is that the "ghettos" are low in terms of socio-economics that is more correlative to crime than the race involved. Do you think "white ghettos" have intrinsically lower crime rates? If you walk in a poor, skeevy neighborhood, it's dangerous regardless of the majority race of the area.

  170. Grifter  •  Jul 21, 2012 @11:43 am

    @Patrick:

    But if I ask nicely, will you please fix (and by fix, I mean delete) that long comment I accidentally put in Ken's "You knew I was going to comment on this"?

  171. Joe  •  Jul 21, 2012 @1:01 pm

    Grifter, yep the thread has gone in a bit of a different direction but it appears to be civil thus far.

    Dan Kurt RE your response to Chris R’.s prior post where he stated "I was raised to believe as a society we judge a person by their actions, not by what "group" they are a part of." Chris R.

    Your comment “You were raised to be a fool if that is your true belief. Do you wander at night alone in any Black urban ghetto or not?”

    What am I missing here? Nowhere in Chris R.’s assentation of treating people based on their actions versus what group they are part of is he saying he would be stupid enough to wander the streets in an unsafe neighborhood. You are confusing the process of passing judgment on an individual with judgment of a situation. They are not the same. Having said that, the process of grouping and subsequently assessing others with bias is built into our DNA as part of the animal kingdom. However, the goal and measure of any enlightened and advanced civil rights oriented society is to aspire to rise above those base judgment mechanisms. I find nothing foolish about Chris R.’s statement. Especially considering how well it has served me over the years.

    And, regarding your statement “When you applied to College, assuming you did go to college, did to want to go to a "last chance" junior college to make the contacts with the worthies studying there to network with the rest of your life or did you try and get into the most prestigious college you could so as to become a member of a more elite GROUP?”

    I’ve no idea what Chris R’s response to that would be, and maybe I’m just thick, but I do not understand the point to that question. Perhaps it is due to my own personal situation. I am part of no fraternity, country club, or elite group. I do not come from a family who is well off by any stretch of the imagination. I attended junior college my first two years and then graduated with my BSBA from another college. While at college, I made no contacts with any “worthies” or anyone else for that matter that would further my position or career. The college I graduated from, while well accredited, would hardly be considered prestigious. I am far from being the most intelligent or academically gifted of those that post here. Yet I am in the top 1.5% of gross income earners per the US Census. The degree was the price of admission into my chosen career. While a prestigious school could have helped that process even further, I made an economic investment versus perceived return decision. My subsequent success has been due to hard work, determination, and learning how to work with, motivate, and leverage the skills of a wide variety of people irrespective of their race, sexual orientation, religion, etc. I did not get where I am today as a result of being part of a particular group or attending an elite or prestigious college. Not that I’d bash anyone who chooses to go the prestigious college route.

    In conclusion your statement “Group stereotypes are a short cut to help one maneuver through life.”

    Perhaps. Although personally I have found “short cuts” are not always the best approach. If I let the “built in animal DNA of bias” filter my view of others I would miss out on finding some of the most talented employees and best of friends.

    But to each his own.

  172. Ben  •  Jul 21, 2012 @1:20 pm

    Dan, as to causality – you are presupposing an unsupported causal relationship of identities.

    If A then B
    Then B iff A

    (or)

    If Israeli's are xenophobic then they will deport dark-skinned immigrants from the Ivory Coast.

    Israelis are deporting dark-skinned immigrants from the Ivory Coast
    Thus, Israeli's are xenophobic.

    But but A and B (xenophobia and Israel's reactions) do not share an identity. It is true that the Israeli government could be misleading about their motives – what you have not shown is evidence of such.

  173. Chris R.  •  Jul 21, 2012 @2:03 pm

    Dan Kurt,

    I tend not to wander aimlessly any where. If I have a reason to be somewhere I go there with such reason in mind. I have walked through areas such as Compton, Inglewood, South Central, etc. Did I judge people based on some preconceived notion that people who weren't Caucasian like me were out to do me harm? No. Do I believe a statistic of crime in a certain community should change my view of the individuals of that community? No. Criminals are criminals and often prey on decent people. I believe that most people in bad areas are more likely to be victims of crimes than criminals themselves.

  174. Dan Kurt  •  Jul 21, 2012 @2:21 pm

    re: Joe's post @ Jul 21, 2012 @1:01 pm

    I doff my hat to you. You appear to be an admirable man. Our USA could use more like you. Don't take what I have said here too seriously. Ok, I know you don't. Just understand one thing: people are dangerous. Use every clue that presents to you to make the right decisions as you go through life. Sauve qui peut.

    Now let me ask you a question. What exactly is POPEHAT? Did I stumble on to a homosexual blog or what? Is it Liberal, Libertarian, Democrat, or other in position? What is the point of view?

    Thanks.

    Dan Kurt

    p.s. I am in a good mood now. My wife talked me into helping her give our cat a bath. We managed without geting scratched or bitten but what a mess. Water all over place especially the hard wood kitchen floor. The cat fought and fought but is now her usually placid self looking for some sunlight to lay under.

    Dan Kurt

  175. darius404  •  Jul 21, 2012 @2:25 pm

    Arguing with you, and the legions of smug pseudo intellectuals that I found inhabiting the cracks and crannies of the Schools I attended post high-school, I found not worth the bother as no one seems to ever be impressed one way or another.

    Translation: "I have no good arguments to speak of, and the arguments I HAVE used are poor and easily refuted. I am tired of my logic being refuted, so I will not present anymore of it to BE refuted. Also, you're a meany-head. Nyah."

  176. Joe  •  Jul 21, 2012 @2:40 pm

    Ha – Dan that brings back fond memories. I have tried to bath one of our cats before. I have wisely decided not to try again.

  177. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Jul 21, 2012 @2:52 pm

    ktpick,

    I am pointing out that one group of culturally despised individuals is being marginalized based on pseudo-scientific bushwa. Yes, in a perfect world this would not be extended to a once-despised group that has achieved acceptance. In a perfect world it wouldn't be happening in the first place. We don't live in a perfect world. We live in a world where various Crusades regularly trample the rights of individuals. Anyone who believes that their own minority group will always be in favor because it is in favor now is a dolt. The best protection for everybody is to kill baseless Crusades, whatever their target, before one comes along that actually targets us.

    But I'm a Crank. I'm heterosexual, and somewhat uncomfortable with what of the Gay subculture I have seen, and I still believe that Gays should be allowed to marry. When somebody asserts that the next step will be recognition of polygamy, my immediate reaction is "With the divorce laws the way they are, why would that be a problem?". I think that the War on Drugs is a far more dangerous imposition on our civil rights that the existence of the KKK. I think the simple fact that paternal Political Class twits like Bloomberg favor Gun Control is one of the strongest arguments against it.

    I simply think that the way smokers are being treated should set off alarm bells in the heads of any minorities that have ever been on the downside.

  178. angstela  •  Jul 21, 2012 @2:59 pm

    Man, here I was hoping that Totalitarian Burger was back online after all these years. Drat.

  179. Chris R.  •  Jul 21, 2012 @3:10 pm

    Leave bathing cats to the professionals. Seriously.

  180. Kelly  •  Jul 21, 2012 @3:45 pm

    @ C.S.P. Schofield:
    When somebody asserts that the next step will be recognition of polygamy, my immediate reaction is "With the divorce laws the way they are, why would that be a problem?". I think that the War on Drugs is a far more dangerous imposition on our civil rights that the existence of the KKK.

    Yes, exactly. Why should we take away the rights of one portion of the population based upon the religion of a separate portion of the population? That doesn't make any sense to me. What you do with your significant other is not my business, nor is it the business of anyone but you and your partner(s), at least IMHO.

  181. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Jul 21, 2012 @3:55 pm

    Kelly,

    If I thought that polygamy would make significant headway in our culture, I might have some issues. However, my frank expectation is that any Islamic wives in this country that get tired of being treated like cattle will rise up, each grab a limb, and (in court) make a wish. As for other segments of society; most people can't achieve a real partnership with just one person; the number who will even try with more can't be statistically significant.

  182. Kelly  •  Jul 21, 2012 @4:10 pm

    Polygyny when done in the way it was meant to in regards to one man and multiple wives is not a bad thing. The Koran has rules that give the wives quite a bit of control over it as do other holy books, though I can't remember the exact wordage at the moment. The only way it would be 'bad' currently is that the world is already over-populated. The other form of polygamy, polyandry, which is done in two parts of the world (High in the Himalayan mountains and high in the Andes mountains, unless there have been more areas found to have it since I memorized the information a year or so ago) it is done to limit the population by having one woman marry many men.

    According to the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook, of 1,231 societies noted, 186 were monogamous. 453 had occasional polygyny, 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry. But, even in societies that allow polygyny, it is not necessarily common.

    Also, it wasn't until the rise of monotheistic religions that anyone falling under the LGBT umbrella was seen as 'bad' or 'evil' or just plain wrong.

  183. Robert White  •  Jul 21, 2012 @4:45 pm

    @C. S. P. Schofield — I'm gay and I am "somewhat uncomfortable with gay culture" as well; but this is because it is just as non-existent as "straight culture" as a unifying category. That is, as near as I can tell there is no such things as "gay culture".

    There is only one difference between straight and gay culture:

    Imagine if you would, a world where everyone you tried to date (e.g. "all the women") were as shallowly sex obsessed as you were, and were judging you to the same impossibly high standards as you yourself hold up for "the perfect woman".

    Now all that is "inflamed" by the fact that you have -already- had to jump over the question of sexual taboo by your membership.

    Now multiply it -again- because all the members of that "culture" have had their role-models systematically repressed or exterminated for generations.

    This is not "a culture". You might as well say you are "uncomfortable with blue-eyed culture" because you have seen a lot of "surf movies".

    I have always been a "one man man" but I have never found that "one man". On the promiscuity scale I rate a close-order zero plus-or-minus rounding error. In the early eighties, as I exited high school at 17, I was not sure of myself enough to "say no" so I had, oh, a whole six partners in four years before I realized I had somehow become a prey species whenever I went "anywhere gay" so I just stopped.

    See for all that you have heard this great myth of "gay people" we are a normalized distribution of just people.

    I strongly suspect that many gay kids kill themselves not just because of family pressure, but because they feel utterly lost. The only guidance they have in their entire lives is this wacked out and wholly fucked up stereotype that they don not conform to in any way so not only are they "gay" but they are "gay failures" for not wanting to fuck everything with a dick and for wanting to still drive their trucks and hang out with the good old boys they were raised to be.

    The lack of an -actual- "gay community" is sort of like Logan's Run (no really), you fight your way to escape the structured dead end that is the city, striving to find sanctuary, and when you get out side, if you make it past the predators, you find…. nothing.

    There is no sanctuary because the straight people and the predators keep killing it by sheer weight of presumption.

    So you are "not comfortable" with something that you've been told exists, but how less comfortable would you be if you were ejected from your home to go live in that thing and when you got there it was just the frozen fish robot hiding a dirt road to nowhere.

    If I went around saying I was "not comfortable with catholicism" because I had seen all the coverage of Mardi Gras…

    If I went around and said I was "not comfortable" with all of Christendom because I had been down to Pioneer Square (here in seattle) and listed to your leaders speak (meaning that random guy with the sign on the corner) and I found their message unpalatable…

    If I saw a bunch of news coverage of (your religion) and in each of those bits of coverage, right down to the very last bake sale and carwash for charity, the news agency had included a guy from the KKK and A Rabid Atheist™ for balance…

    Well you would hear me say words like "uncomfortable" and be torn between judging me a "clueless asshat", an easily swayed tool of The Atheist Agenda™, or any number of other kinds of ridiculous unreasonable idiot.

    There is no more or less "culture" or "agenda" in the daily lives of an average gay person than there is in any other broad category cross-section of humanity.

    You would get more valid information about my daily life and mind set by calling me "a smart-phone user" or, holy mother of god, "an Android™ smart phone user" than you would get out of calling me gay.

    The only thing you can accurately guess of me is the gender balance of my porn directory. (Since we are all on the internet, and "the internet is for porn" [quote Avenue Q], the assumption that I -have- a porn directory approaches unity. 8-)

  184. Robert White  •  Jul 21, 2012 @5:26 pm

    @C. S. P. Schofield — The problem with plural marriage is that it is not symmetric, it's almost invariably "many wives to one man"…

    First lets look at the -actual- social good of marriage. Consider the core/default vous: "love honor (blah bala) for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live." Consider the language brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers "in-law".

    The -social- purpose of marriage has -never- been about procreation. There is no "as long as we both shall -breed-". The isolated "shotgun wedding" aside, we don't force marriage on unwed procreators; we do not dissolve marriages when infertility is discovered; we don't dissolve marriages at menopause…

    If a child is being mistreated by one parent, we don't dissolve the marriage, we take the child away from both adults. We also don't assign orphans to childless married couples as a cost of their continued marriage.

    The purpose of marriage, encoded in the language of the institution itself, is the union of adults to other adults. It minimizes "adult orphans". In the Code of Adam, if your brother died you had to marry his wives.

    Consider a case example. I am gay and not married. I had a good friend living with me, not a lover or fuck-buddy, just a good friend with whom I had "Thrown in my lot" for a about six years. I was hit by a car and had my knee crushed. If my friend hadn't been in my house and wholly willing to assist me during that convalescence, I would have been a huge social burden. I couldn't drive. I couldn't shop. I wouldn't have been able to work-from-home. I would have been in a hospital, or under paid nursing care, for weeks instead of just four days. I would have lost my job, then my home.

    So my bud (now straight-married and living across town) was my defacto spouse.

    Now the hospital -did- assume we were "mates" or "family" and let him come in and deal with stuff, and we didn't disabuse them of that fiction. Their largess in letting "my husband or brother or whatever" have access that they would normally deny by policy or legal fear, let this whole thing work out okay.

    Thing is, not all persons, places, or institutions would have let us do what was necessary. If there hadn't been this liberal presumption then fuck me out of a life.

    So the marriage contract creates a social stability by creating structural cross-members in an society grown so large that we no longer can know and trust all of our peers.

    Denying gay marriage is -begging- for a generation of "adult orphans". We dodged a generation-X bullet on this issue because of AIDS (I'll skip that argument as being "controversial" 8-) so we don't have all the people who didn't "fake up a marriage as expected for generations past" and who didn't grow old. That will change in the next generation as the winnowing effect of that disease is minimized.

    Did I get far afield from multiple marriage?

    Not as far as you might think…

    Examine the hot-house case of the "fundamentalist Mormon" sect in Arizona. With each self-entitled ass-hat "elder" taking up ten-plus wives from amongst their collected progeny, their "community" has had to off-gas their surplus sons. The excommunicate them like empty beer cans at a crab feast. They have to. Their society would collapse if they had ten single twenty-something guys for every multiply married old man. They would have their very own civil war.

    There is no way the gay gene can possibly ride in to rescue 90% of any male population. Look how harshly that fails in prison, now imagine the massive disruption of having that happen at the city, state, or country-wide level.

    And keep you eye on China and India where female infanticide is up because you "need sons" if you want to survive growing old and raising girls is extra expensive (respectively).

    If there are not as many multiply-married women as men, the gender parity falls off in the multiple-marriage model and you end up with adult orphans. This is a disaster scenario.

    (Aside: Oddly enough, multiple marriage amongst gay communities doesn't have this problem because there is already gender uniformity in the selected set. An age diverse multiple gay marriage model would be the most stable structure if the personalities could be balanced successfully. So who knows where that will lead.)

    So multiple marriage as a counter-culture trivial cross section of a large population is survivable statistically, but as a gender-dominated norm its potentially disastrous.

    An significantly sized unmarried gay population surviving into retirement and advanced aged is a much larger social issue that had better be resolved here at the leading edge than about 24 years from now when several interesting projections start to invert.

    It's actually fiscally and socially irresponsible to discourage gay marriage as a society.

    The fact that anti-Mormon bigotry is what lead to the bans on multiple marriage in the US is one of the -rare- cases where bigotry accidentally produced the favorable outcome for all parties involved.

    But betting on bigotry and bias to produce the correct solution is like betting on not wearing a seatbelt (in a modern car) to produce the optimal survival rate in car crashes. [That is, there are many who -do- this, but they are statistically know as "fatalities" when the accidents actually happen.]

  185. Robert White  •  Jul 21, 2012 @5:34 pm

    Note to Ken, Patrick, etc… I am aware that I am getting near some of the edges. If you do get tired of what my friend Pete describes as "my velvet sledgehammer" I can take "Back the fuck off" for an answer. The email I use here is regularly monitored. 8-)

  186. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Jul 21, 2012 @6:15 pm

    Robert White,

    While I can't speak for Popehat or any of its owner/creators I will say that I, for one, am not in the least upset by anything you have posted. I am prepared to accept you testimony about the world you live in over my glancing encounters on the periphery. I will say that I have personal experience of a number of subcultures (SF Fandom, Anime Fandom, Historical Recreation, Academia) and they always look very different from the inside than they do from the outside … and they do exist as social constructs, though not as people expect them to.

    I will also say that from what little I know it would be far more accurate to speak of multiple Gay subcultures; one in Washington DC, one in New Hope PA, and so forth. The Washington DC one, for example, seemed to me to attract a large number of people who had modeled themselves on a rather Hollywood version of Gayness. They would appear every time there was a large public event; hundreds of wispy young men with no chins (and I would think "My Gay friends don't look like this. Who called Central Casting?"). For contrast, the Gay Pride day in New Hope could easily be mistaken for the Fourth of July observations in Mason City, Iowa (the inspiration for The Music Man). But then the SF Fandom subculture in Baltimore MD is different from the one in DC.

    And the sooner we all learn to leave the other freaks alone to their chosen hobbies, friends, and etc. the sooner we can all get back to our own freakeries.

    There are no Mundanes. There are only people whose obsessions you don't know about. And I frankly find that refreshing.

  187. Robert White  •  Jul 21, 2012 @7:18 pm

    We import the party boys for publicity, or they show up uninvited for "events", or some other deep and tangled thing happens that I have never been able to explain.

    But its like the costume promenade at any con, they find each other in the long main hall just between the main loby registration and the hucksters room. The tourists take pictures and the bulk of the con just flows around and through the photo-op on its indistinguisable way to the various panels and groups. The furries and the larpers and the hard sci-fi geeks all pretend that the other cross-sections don't exists or are debasing their own righteous participation in the "real" scene.

    Same thing for the gay community in whatever city. It's never been about the geography. There are a bunch of fractious douche-nozzles of all types who each think -they- -alone- are the one true voice of whatever collective noun and region you can designate. They all play nice for the public and hate each other behind their mutual backs.

    Just like at any convention, or gathering of more than three or so people, there -is- -no- consensus.

    There is only an "us" when we are forced to deal with a vague and threatening "them". This is true no matter what groups and whatnot you would put yourself into.

    Go into any venue, wallmart or tiffianies or the local tractor supply places and try to find ten people that agree on everything about life, or even what brought them to that physical spot. You just cannot do it.

    Gay people didn't find the secret agreement sauce that causes strangers to unify into one entity. We aren't hoarding the magic rings of unity, keeping them brusquely away from the rest of the world.

    There is no "gay community" as an identifiable thing with members and non-members. Is a mirage. A fever dream of those who have decided that the "them" they must fear are the "teh notknowable gais who come in teh nights to gai up our youngins".

    When you said "Anime Fandom" I didn't suddenly erase any mental image of you I might have had and re-cast you as "one of those 384lb hairy guys dressed as sailor moon" because, even though I am most decidedly not a fan of Anime (IMHO its cheap, and a cultural expansion of Kabuki, and just says nothing to my soul at all, etc) I don't imagine that your association with it as an interest causes you to collapse from the quantum superposition of "liking anime enough to gather whit other fans is one of the elements of your life" down into the "member of The Anime Community™".

    So why, given how well you _know_ that you aren't defined by any of the "communities" that could be applied to you, would you assume that there is _any_ validity to the idea that you can assign "community standing" to others just because they share some traits with a party you saw once.

    It -really- is a case of how we all imagine ourselves and the people we know to be exceptions to some universal "Them". It is wired into our brains. But every time you apply the "them" yardstick to any group you will discover that whatever that yardstick is, it applies accurately to less than 1% of the "Them" in question as individuals. And if you -change- that yardstick it still doesn't get any better, as with specificity you begin to see individuality.

    People are not "equal" they are "endowed with equal rights", individually people are individuals and -none- of them fit in anywhere to any real degree of perfection. This is a universal truth of all people in all settings and nations and fields of commonality. As a universal truth it leads inexorably to specific truths. One of those…

    The is -no- "gay community".

  188. Valerie  •  Jul 22, 2012 @12:55 pm

    A friend of mine works for a non-profit that works closely with the city government of Boston on funding various neighborhood initiatives. When the mayor says that it can be made "difficult" to obtain a license, he ain't kidding. The political scene is very personal and favor based, and if someone like the mayor decides to put you on his shit list, you are pretty well screwed.

    I'm a Democrat, and I love the city of Boston (the Boston Irish in me even takes a perverse pride in some of the elements of the corrupt machine that have survived), but I don't take kindly to using civic authority like a bat in the hands of a Red Sox fan who has cornered Derek Jeter in a back alley.

  189. Kelly  •  Jul 22, 2012 @5:39 pm

    Off topic:

    but I don't take kindly to using civic authority like a bat in the hands of a Red Sox fan who has cornered Derek Jeter in a back alley.

    As an offside, have you seen the youtube of the Red Sox fans called into jury duty during the World Series?

    Sorry, totally random, but I had to ask. (As a non Bostonian fan, I found the video gut-busting funny.)

  190. Grandy  •  Jul 22, 2012 @7:11 pm

    Popehat is a Vought-Kampf test.

    There is no partial credit.

  191. Grifter  •  Jul 22, 2012 @9:22 pm

    @Grandy:

    You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down…

  192. Kelly  •  Jul 23, 2012 @1:54 pm
  193. Ex Scout  •  Jul 23, 2012 @4:15 pm

    "I was already extremely irritable about the topic as a result of the Boy Scouts' bitterly disappointing decision this week, which puts me into a difficult moral parenting quandary I will write about eventually."

    As the father of a boy and former eagle scout I've been dealing with this issue also. I loved my time in scouts, but then I read the briefs in Dole, and now I feel like the organization is less about camping and more about teaching hatred.

    I look forward to your post on it.

  194. AuBricker  •  Jul 24, 2012 @3:01 pm

    Had the mayor made this comment about a company whose policies denigrated African-Americans, Jews, or women, would you leap the offender's defense as well? Are gay men and women any less human or less deserving of acceptance?

  195. Ken  •  Jul 24, 2012 @4:03 pm

    @AuBricker:

    Short answer: yes.

    Longer answer: let's try to imagine a parallel situation. Say Big Gary's Burger Shack donates to rabid anti-immigrant organizations and Big Gary himself makes vile anti-immigrant comments. But there's no evidence that Big Gary's discriminates in hiring or service. If some mayor boasted that he'd abuse the law because he doesn't like the politics of Big Gary's or the people who run it, would I call him out? Yes. I'd probably piss on Big Gary's in the process — like I did to Chick-Fil-A here — but I'd say the mayor has no business doing that.

    Let me ask you a question in return. Starbucks wants to open a branch in some burg. The mayor of said burg doesn't like how Starbucks supports gay marriage and says "well, Starbucks may find that it will have trouble getting permits approved in my town."

    What are you going to say about it? That it's different?

  196. Panther Modern  •  Jul 25, 2012 @2:47 pm

    Respectfully, I disagree with the author.

    What is happening at the moment is a display of direct democracy: citizens voting Chick-Fil-A out of business by closing their wallets. Chick-Fil-A doesn't have a "right" to be granted a building or business permit for a particular city.

    The mayor or Boston (or the Aldermen of Chicago) have a vested interest in the happiness of their city's population. As such, defending their city against interests counter to theirs should be a priority.

    Chick-Fil-A has given millions to anti-gay groups – these are groups that are attempting to deprive individuals of their rights because of some misguided "morality". This goes against every principle of our country: the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Chick-Fil-A sends the wrong message: a message of division and bigotry. The internet – and the populace at large – is responding because they disagree.

  197. Grifter  •  Jul 25, 2012 @3:00 pm

    @Panther Modern:

    Huh? Boycotting (the closing of wallets to a business) is not at all the same as the government preventing a business from existing. The Boston mayor's words, if executed, would in fact prevent the kind of direct democracy of allowing the people to vote with their wallets.

  198. Panther Modern  •  Jul 25, 2012 @5:19 pm

    @Grifter:

    I disagree; the mayor of Boston is not disallowing the existence of Chick-Fil-A as a business; neither is the Alderman of Chicago who issued a similar statement.

    In fact, they're instead acting in the public interest. The citizen majority has spoken, and that speech says "No Chick-Fil-A". As any new business owner knows, your plans to build a particular structure or open a particular establishment must be first vetted by the City Council or Zoning Office or applicable public agency.

    Chick-Fil-A does not have a *right* to do business. They can *try*, and they can certainly fail, but they don't have a *right* to do business. Corporations are not people, no matter how much one might spin it.

  199. Panther Modern  •  Jul 25, 2012 @5:25 pm

    Here's another thought experiment:

    How is the Mayor of Boston's statement regarding Chick-Fil-A any different than that of a City Council attempting to block the opening of a bar or strip club? Both objections are moral in nature, and attempt to prevent a business from operating in a particular area.

  200. Grifter  •  Jul 25, 2012 @5:26 pm

    @Panther Modern:

    "The citizen majority has spoken"…and they did this when?

    I'm just going to quote Ken, immediately above your post, because he says things better than me:

    "Let me ask you a question in return. Starbucks wants to open a branch in some burg. The mayor of said burg doesn't like how Starbucks supports gay marriage and says "well, Starbucks may find that it will have trouble getting permits approved in my town.

    What are you going to say about it? That it's different?"

  201. Damon  •  Jul 26, 2012 @1:46 am

    What is happening at the moment is a display of direct democracy: citizens voting Chick-Fil-A out of business by closing their wallets.

    No, we're not, we're seeing a mayor say he'll violate the law to keep them out of his city. That's, like, the exact opposite of "direct democracy". If it were people choosing to shut their wallets, their would obviously be no need to keep them out.

    Chick-Fil-A doesn't have a "right" to be granted a building or business permit for a particular city.

    Except, of course, in the legal sense.

  202. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 27, 2012 @4:53 am

    The point has been made here, "Well, if it's OK for Menino to do this, then does that mean it would be OK for a mayor in the deep south to tell Starbucks they're not welcome because they support gay rights?"

    Let me ask a slightly different question.

    Suppose the owner of Chick-Fil-A hadn't said that he opposes gay marriage and donated corporate money to organizations which oppose it. Suppose, instead, he had said that he thinks blacks are genetically inferior to whites and donated corporate money to organizations which lobby for laws banning miscegenation. Would people still be saying Menino was out-of-line to prevent Chick-Fil-A from doing business here? I sure hope not.

    People say that the political / religious opinions of the owner of Chick-Fil-A should not impact his ability to do business in Boston. But they're not just opinions when he donates corporate money to support anti-gay-marriage efforts. They're active steps to enact policies which many people in this country, including Mayor Menino, believe are inherently discriminatory and unconstitutional.

    People here have said that it would be unconstitutional for the mayor to prevent Chick-Fil-A from doing business in Boston. I think it would be unconstitutional for him not to. He has an obligation to uphold the Constitution, and I think that includes not welcoming businesses which are actively trying to subvert it and deny people their rights.

    Mark my words, some day we will be just as appalled by the idea of a business donating money to oppose gay marriage as we are by the idea of a business donating money to oppose miscegenation.

  203. M.  •  Jul 27, 2012 @5:07 am

    @Jonathan Kamens: We already are. That has no effect on the Constitution. I would say the same whether the issue was race, gender or sexual orientation: People have the right to think things I find repugnant, and spend their money accordingly, as long as no one is being unreasonably harmed without his or her consent.

  204. Ken  •  Jul 27, 2012 @6:57 am

    @jonathan

    Suppose the owner of Chick-Fil-A hadn't said that he opposes gay marriage and donated corporate money to organizations which oppose it. Suppose, instead, he had said that he thinks blacks are genetically inferior to whites and donated corporate money to organizations which lobby for laws banning miscegenation. Would people still be saying Menino was out-of-line to prevent Chick-Fil-A from doing business here? I sure hope not.

    People here have said that it would be unconstitutional for the mayor to prevent Chick-Fil-A from doing business in Boston. I think it would be unconstitutional for him not to. He has an obligation to uphold the Constitution, and I think that includes not welcoming businesses which are actively trying to subvert it and deny people their rights.

    The owner, in your example, would be advocating, and donating money to advance, a change in the law.

    Do you mean to suggest that the First Amendment does not protect advocacy for a change in the law — no matter how contemptible that change is?

    Yes, both the U.S. Constitution and statutes establish rights — and a good thing, too. But those rights do not include the right to be free from other people advocating for legal change. You have a First Amendment right to advocate for the repeal of the First Amendment.

    Your proposed distinction is just as subject to abuse as any other. The U.S. Supreme Court says that the Second Amendment creates a private right to bear arms. Aren't gun control advocates, or advocates of a narrower reading of that amendment, taking "active steps" to limit rights? Should politicians be able to deny permits to business whose owners donate to the Brady Campaign? The U.S. Supreme Court, in the reviled-in-many-quarters Citizens United decision, says that political donations are protected by the First Amendment. Many people are agitating to amend the Constitution to reverse this result. Aren't they taking active steps to limit rights? Should politicians be able to refuse to extend licenses to them? Can Scott Walker of Wisconsin enact a state policy that refuses to give necessary state licenses to any business whose owner has donated to an anti-Citizens-United group?

    As to your first paragraph quoted above: absolutely I'd still be saying the same thing if Menino boasted about denying permits to the bigot you describe. To be honest, I'm a little shocked by your position. Respectfully, this is not a close call under the First Amendment.

  205. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 27, 2012 @7:06 am

    I mean to say two things:

    1. The CU decision is an abomination which has allowed the voices of corporations to drown out the voices of individuals. Corporations have a right to free speech, but when their right to _unlimited_ free speech makes it impossible for other voices to be heard, then their right must be limited. I suppose you could say that I think Menino's stance (which, by the way, he walked back in an interview in today's Herald) is civil disobedience against CU.

    I want to be clear that I think it is extremely significant that it's not Cathy's personal fortune that went to anti-gay causes, although that may have as well. Chick-Fil-A gave corporate money to anti-gay-marriage organizations.

    2. I think that there would be far less outcry about what Menino said if discrimination against gays were viewed as abhorrently as discrimination against blacks. This is an observation (an important one, I think) about our society, not an observation about constitutional and legal issues and free speech rights.

  206. M.  •  Jul 27, 2012 @7:14 am

    Well, thanks for your highly uncharitable assessment, but it isn't true. For me, discrimination is discrimination regardless of the basis, and I take an equally dim view of all discrimination against anyone who didn't bring it upon themselves by their actions.

  207. Ken  •  Jul 27, 2012 @7:17 am

    @Jonathan:

    Have you thought through the practical and historical implications of applauding "civil disobedience" by government actors, when that civil disobedience amounts to defying rights found by courts?

    Also, you understand that I agree that there's nothing wrong with Menino and others lambasting Chick-Fil-A and its owner and saying they'd be a bad fit and unwelcome, right? My problem is with them saying they will abuse government power.

    My reaction would be the same no matter how Chick-Fil-A and its owner was being bigoted.

  208. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 27, 2012 @7:22 am

    I did not say that there would be _no_ complaining about Menino's statements if treatment of gays and blacks were on par in this country, I said there would be _less_ of it.
    I understand the argument being put forth here about the danger's in what Menino said he intended to do. I believe (most of) the people here who are asserting that argument are doing so in good faith and would continue to do so regardless of society's stance toward marriage equality.
    Don't accuse me of putting you into a bucket I didn't put you in. My statement made it clear that there are two buckets, and all I'm saying is that one of them would be a lot smaller if it were less societally ok to bash gays. Only you know which bucket you're in.

  209. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 27, 2012 @7:23 am

    Have you thought through the practical and historical implications of applauding "civil disobedience" by government actors, when that civil disobedience amounts to defying rights found by courts?

    Yes.

  210. Ken  •  Jul 27, 2012 @8:13 am

    Don't accuse me of putting you into a bucket I didn't put you in. My statement made it clear that there are two buckets, and all I'm saying is that one of them would be a lot smaller if it were less societally ok to bash gays. Only you know which bucket you're in.

    To the extent this is an observation that homophobia is still, regrettably, more widespread than racism, I agree. But unless I am misunderstanding you, it doesn't seem to address the First Amendment argument, except as an ad hominem attack on some unidentified portion of the people articulating the First Amendment argument. Aren't you saying "I bet some of you are only making this First Amendment argument because you are OK with gay-bashing?"

    As to being OK with governmental "disobedience": how do you define what governmental disobedience of law is acceptable, and what isn't?

  211. Jonathan Kamens  •  Jul 27, 2012 @8:32 am

    I have made two responses to the First Amendment argument, but they're diffused among all of my comments, so I'll summarize them here:

    1. The right to free speech is not absolute. Chick-Fil-A's corporate "speech" on this subject, i.e., the money it has donated to anti-gay-marriage organizations, is in my opinion part of a culture of corporate speech, exacerbated by the Citizens United decision, which is subverting the free speech rights of individuals. I believe both pragmatically and morally that the way things are now is not sustainable, unless by "sustainable" you mean "before long the U.S. is going to look like it looked in Robocop or Blade Runner." So I have no problem with Menino engaging in what I called civil disobedience by telling Chick-Fil-A that if that's the kind of speech they want to engage in, they're not welcome in Boston.

    2. One of the recurring themes on your blog is that we have to protect the rights of even those we disagree with and find reprehensible, because if their rights can be violated, so can ours. The idealist in me agrees wholeheartedly with that sentiment. However, the pragmatist in me believes that we are not leaving in an ideal world, but rather a real one, and that sometimes when you are confronted with two evils to choose between, you have to choose the lesser one, cognizant of the fact that it may have unfortunate consequences down the road. Homophobia and discrimination is a large enough problem, in my mind, to justify the trade-off of letting Menino put the kibosh on Chick-Fil-A's business license. Others may reasonably disagree, on the size of either the problem or the negative ramifications of letting Menino get away with it.

    As to being OK with governmental "disobedience": how do you define what governmental disobedience of law is acceptable, and what isn't?

    History decides.

    The courts decide, if/when they are asked to do so because a government official is sued for his actions.

    The people decide, when they are asked in the ballot box whether to reelect a government official.

    Legislatures decide, when they censure government officials or pass laws making clear their opinions on the past behavior of a government officials.

    While not perfect, these are all strong deterrents to egregious misconduct.

    All branches of government overreach at one time or another, and all of them are subject to checks and balances to correct such overreaches.

  212. Ken  •  Jul 27, 2012 @8:36 am

    Honestly, I find your comments chilling.

  213. Damon  •  Jul 27, 2012 @8:43 am

    I suppose you could say that I think Menino's stance (which, by the way, he walked back in an interview in today's Herald) is civil disobedience against CU.

    In what possible way does this relate to Citizens United? I think you missed the point of the comparison being drawn. The point of the comparison was to demonstrate the absurdity of the idea that it's somehow defensible to throw out Chick-Fil-A's constitutional rights because they're advocating against people's rights — as, by that standard, cities should be equally free to discriminate against gun control advocates or those opposed to the Citizens United decision.

    People here have said that it would be unconstitutional for the mayor to prevent Chick-Fil-A from doing business in Boston. I think it would be unconstitutional for him not to. He has an obligation to uphold the Constitution, and I think that includes not welcoming businesses which are actively trying to subvert it and deny people their rights.

    We had to destroy the Constitution in order to save it.

    Whatever a person's stance on LGBT rights is, the permitting process is not a legitimate venue to challenge it. Denying a permit to an organization for arbitrary reasons — reasons unrelated to what the permitting process is supposed to accomplish — is unconstitutional. Permits are for establishing compliance with the zoning ordinance, building codes, and the like. Denying permits for unrelated reasons constitutes a taking.

    Suppose the owner of Chick-Fil-A hadn't said that he opposes gay marriage and donated corporate money to organizations which oppose it. Suppose, instead, he had said that he thinks blacks are genetically inferior to whites and donated corporate money to organizations which lobby for laws banning miscegenation. Would people still be saying Menino was out-of-line to prevent Chick-Fil-A from doing business here? I sure hope not.

    I would. And, as a gay person, while I know the law is not exactly on my side, I'm a lot better with it enforced vigorously than not. When public officials wink and ignore the law, it's very, very likely to be detrimental to the rights of minority groups. It doesn't benefit me any, in the long run, to encourage disrespect of people's Constitutional rights.

  214. Ken  •  Jul 27, 2012 @1:55 pm
  215. CSHunt68  •  Jul 27, 2012 @6:51 pm

    @Dan Kurt
    "Not so. Germany went from winning the 2nd World War ( probability .999+ ) at the end of July 1941 to SOL due to one decision by Hitler. Hitler cancelled the drive to the Soviet schwerpunkt in August 1941. Once the army group central diverted to the Ukraine the war was lost. Germany had to win fast or not at all."

    This comment is so incredibly ignorant of history, it's hard to know where to begin. How about … uh … wrong? So totally, totally wrong. Germany had NO chance to defeat the Soviet Union in WWII.

    The drive on Moscow was doomed to fail. The heavy industry was moved far east well before it was threatened, and the Soviets outproduced Nazi Germany in every respect BADLY. Hitler, alas, hadn't put his industry on a war footing, even drawing BACK production of war materiel, claiming that there was too much for the war. (!)

    Given MONTHS (years in the latter case), they could crack neither Stalingrad nor Leningrad, and the Soviets were defending Moscow MUCH more vigorously than either of those two cities. There is little to no chance that Moscow would have fallen in any reasonable amount of time, and the Wehrmacht was already operating at close to 50% strength late in the summer of '41 on the eastern front.

    Also, modern historians have flatly debunked the notion that the USSR would have collapsed on the loss of Moscow. It's sheerest lunacy. The Soviets fought harder than the Germans imagined they would, and had far more troops, displaying immense abilities to fight to the bitter end, even when communication had become decentralized and when they were totally surrounded. Reducing the vast kessels they created took far more troops and time than envisioned, and the Wehrmacht was simply swallowed up by the vastness of the eastern theatre – their tactics became useless. A single centralized drive would have exposed both flanks to immense counter-attacking pressure from the Soviets, and probably resulted in its utter destruction.

    The Russians were prepared to defend Moscow to the last citizen, while Hitler didn't even want German troops to ENTER Moscow. Frankly, had they won the fight, they likely would have been isolated by the massive winter Soviet counterattacks, with fresh Siberian divisions, and another army would have fled Russia in tatters, bled white by General Winter.

    Total. Total. Nonsense.

  216. artemis  •  Aug 2, 2012 @4:26 pm

    They did not donate, "millions". That's pure hyperbole. I checked the list at http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201111010001. The first two listed are not "anti-gay". I can't find any published material or press releases, or anything else from them pushing for denial of rights for homosexuals. They prefer that their members are not gay, but that is no more evil (and probably less so) than the United Negro College Fund preferring their scholars to be black.

  217. CSHunt68  •  Aug 3, 2012 @3:03 pm

    So, the Marriage and Family Legacy Fund doesn't count? 'Cause that's almost a million, right there. These Christian groups support the "biblical" definition of the family unit, and are opposed to rights for gay marriage, by definition. Your statement is incorrect. There is no hyperbole.

  218. Colt  •  Sep 7, 2012 @7:31 am

    I've personally never even had Chick-fil-a, but after this whole fiasco it will permanently stay that way. Not a smart way to run your business.

8 Trackbacks