MAKING AN ISSUE OUT OF IDENTITY

Eric the 1/2 Troll left an interesting comment. Here is part of it.

While identity and race are not the same thing, discriminating based on identity is just as abhorrent as discriminating based on race.

What did Eric mean by “identity”? What happens when we ask someone about themselves? What do they say? Do they tell us:

  • What they do for a living.
  • Where they work and live.
  • What their hobbies are.
  • Who is in their family.
  • Their religion.
  • Their race.
  • Their sexual preference.

Do they answer our question? Do we actually learn who they are, or do they tell us what they are and what they do? Do we learn about the classification of an object or a person?

It is a curious thing, but it is very difficult for any of us to communicate who we are. Yet that seems to have been at least one man’s dream.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. — Martin Luther King, Jr. (quote from here)

Unfortunately, instead of realizing Dr. King’s dream, we seem to be splintering into feuding factions. Some would describe this phenomenon in its modern form as identity politics. In its article on the subject, Identity politicsWikipedia effortlessly provides 47 Examples of identity politics.

NOTE: Since I linked to it, Wikipedia Identity politics article dropped the list of identity groups. So here is a brief list from three different articles.

“blacks, Latinos, feminists, gays, and lesbians — and economic-interest groups, like unions” “single, working, and highly educated women”  – from here

“women, Chicanos/Latinos, lesbians, disabled people, and more” “Jewish women” “Muslim and Arab women” — from here

“Black person” “Native American person” “women” “Gay Liberation Front” “working-class people” “white male workers” — from here

The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy also provides an interesting (albeit lengthy and unnecessarily hard to understand) article, Identity Politics. That article provided this quote by Sonia Kruks:

What makes identity politics a significant departure from earlier, pre-identarian forms of the politics of recognition is its demand for recognition on the basis of the very grounds on which recognition has previously been denied: it is qua women, qua blacks, qua lesbians that groups demand recognition. The demand is not for inclusion within the fold of “universal humankind” on the basis of shared human attributes; nor is it for respect “in spite of” one’s differences. Rather, what is demanded is respect for oneself as different (2001, 85).

Essentially, identity politics function to garner respect for an aspect of what we are instead of who we are. Thus, identity politics primarily serves to highlight and magnify our differences.

How should a Christian regard identity politics? The Apostle Peter was a Jew. His first “identity” was that of a Jew, and he found that “identity” hard to give up. Here the Apostle Paul tells a story about Peter’s struggle.

Galatians 2:11-13 (New Living Translation)

But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (continued here)

So what does Bible say about identity politics? Nothing specific, of course. However, it would seem the problem with “identity” is not new. What the Bible does say is that we should be concerned for the souls of individuals, not a soulless group “identity.” Our “identity” in this life is of little consequence, and that is something Peter already knew. So when Paul confronted Peter, he just reminded him Jesus did not die on the cross so Peter could be a Jew.

Note

This idea for this post sprang from a four-part series, REVIEWING THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST NORMALIZING HOMOSEXUALITY.

  • In Part 1 of REVIEWING THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST NORMALIZING HOMOSEXUALITY, we asked “Why Is Homosexual Sex An Issue?
  • Part 2 considered this question ”Should We Take What The “Experts” Have To Say About Homosexuality Seriously?”
  • Part 3 asked “What Does The Tolerance Of Homosexual Sex Involve?”
  • Part 4 reviewed specific issues, asking: “When Is Intolerance Of Homosexual Sex Appropriate?” 
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25 Responses to MAKING AN ISSUE OUT OF IDENTITY

  1. Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “What the Bible does say is that we should be concerned for the souls of individuals, not a soulless group “identity.””

    Oh, indeed I agree with this and the primary individual soul that we should be concerned about is our own. In you desire to explore the meaning of “identity” please do not forget it went hand in hand with discrimination in my comment. When we create a law or policy that specifically discriminates on “identity” are we not participating in identity politics and is that not just as wrong as racial discrimination (which after all is just as arbitrary and capricious a distinction – to say nothing of its unconstitutionality).

  2. Citizen Tom says:

    Eric – We will explore the subject of identity. By Monday I hope to have another post. Meanwhile, here is a thought.

    To survive, we must discriminate. For example, don’t you prefer to eat what is good for you?

    If we have any sort of moral compass, we will also make moral choices that others find disagreeable. That includes discriminating against (not supporting or objecting to) what some choose to make part of their “identity.”

    As a Christian, I have chosen to accept the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Thus, I seek to live for Christ. What Paul accomplished, I want.

    Galatians 2:20 (New Living Translation)

    My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    You might say I seek Christ as my “identity.” Do I have the right to demand that others show respect for my identity in Christ? If I don’t appreciate the folks who disagree with my choice, should I be doing something other than just going about my business?

    Should I use the force of law to command respect? Or is the freedom to go about my own business sufficient liberty?

  3. Tony says:

    Tom, when you are reduced to becoming an apologist for discrimination, then you must know that you have lost your footing on this one. Some of this may just be semantics, but we seem to be talking past each other here because we are talking about very different forms and levels of “discrimination”.

    It is one thing like cilantro. It is quite another thing to cook everything with cilantro so that you only eat with folks who agree with you on the herb’s merits. And it is quite another thing to use the force of law to make everyone else cook everything with cilantro. This legal forcing is even more heinous if you know for a fact, or even suspect, (and this is actually true) that some people have a genetic predisposition to hate the taste of cilantro. Besides the word “discrimination”, I don’t think that you and Eric are on the same page with the word, “identity”, especially if that “identity” is not just a matter of preference, but also a matter of genetics or gender.

    I could identify as a Christian, a Protestant, an atheist, an animal rights activist, an environmentalist or a vegan. These are not traits that I physically might be so much as outward expressions of the theology and philosophy that I might have chosen to adopt as my own. I could identify as a Republican, a Democrat, an Elk, or a Free Mason. But these are not so much things that I genetically am as they are groups that I could join for social or philosophical reasons. I could identify myself as a lawyer, a cook, an airline pilot, a merchant mariner, a naval officer or a father. These too are not so much who I am as what I do, my chosen occupation or my chosen family role.

    On the other hand, if I were to say that I am Jewish, black, brown eyed, freckled, short, male, heterosexual and old, then I am stating identities that I have absolutely no choice in. They are what I am genetically and physically. I can’t change it. I am heterosexual, not just by choice, but as a matter of existential reality. Even if, out of force or necessity, I were to actually have homosexual sex with another man, it would change neither my preferences, nor my genes, nor my identity. I would not want it. I would not chose it. And it would not make me gay.

    You may not want to be a lawyer, a Democrat or a Christian. You may not like airline pilots, Republicans or vegans. However, as long as these choices of so called “identities” are not harming you, it is wrong, in the most basic sense of the concept of of what is wrong in a “democracy,” to use the force of law to legally “discriminate” against others who wish to make these choices, and for you to do so simply because you believe that your choice is religiously or philosophically more justifiable. Therefore even if the “identity” of being “gay” were only an objective behavioral choice, a preference, then it would still be anti-democratic (small “d”) to legally persecute people and to deny them equal opportunity because they have made this choice.

    On the other hand, the issue of reasonable and lawful discrimination of “identity” cannot be resolved if you do not deal with the fact that gays are gay, not by some choice, like I chose eggs over cereal today, but I could go the other way tomorrow. People are gay because they are involuntarily predisposed (probably genetically) to same sex relationships, and not just a to the sex (which is important), but also for every other aspect of “relationship,” just as heterosexuals are predisposed to have sex and relationships with the opposite sex. This is who gays and lesbians “are” in “identity” in a sense that is just as basic as their gender and their skin pigment. And when you are using “identity” to “discriminate”, the discrimination itself can descend to lower levels of democratic immorality and illegality, depending upon type of discrimination as well as how the subject of the discrimination is identified.

    It is one thing to “dislike” or “disapprove of” a group of people because you disagree with them on their choices of occupation, politics, dietary habits, philosophy or religion. This is indeed “discrimination” but it is protected at law by the 1st Amendment. You have a right to not “like” or “approve of” anyone for any reason, even for reasons that those persons cannot help such as race or gender. This also is protected by the First Amendment. You also have a right to personally “discriminate” by not yourself choosing to participate in their activities and by not associating with them. This is freedom of association. You may do this for whatever reason as long as that discrimination is not unlawful. On the other hand, I would say that, unlike “dislike”, “disapproval” or lawful discrimination of identities that are chosen, such bigotry against a person for harmlessly only being who they are is still immoral. But as I have posted before, all immoral behavior is not unlawful in a democracy.

    What you don’t have, in a democracy worth being call such, is the right to use the force of law to impose your philosophy, your religion, your politics, or your bigotries against a class of human variation without showing that you personally, or the society in general, will suffer a harm that far outweighs that infringement on individual liberty.

    These are fundamental protections guarded by the Bill of Rights in our democracy. And at least since the post Civil War Amendments, our democracy has increasingly found suspect any use of the law to discriminate against classes of people solely based on who they fundamentally are. After much change to society and to the Constitution, we finally banned such discrimination based upon race and gender, and, if we continue to be true to our democratic principles, we will soon ban discrimination based upon sexual preference.

  4. thatmrgguy says:

    Tony,

    I’ll tell you what the problem with the gay/homosexual agenda is. They want their lifestyle choice to be considered as “mainstream” as the normal heterosexual lifestyle. They keep pushing the envelope telling us they have to have more. Every time we give a little, they keep pushing and pushing for more and more. You know the old adage…” Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.” The gays and LGBT lobby are going to keep pushing and pushing. One of these days, people are going to get damn sick and tired of it. They’re going to start pushing back,then things will really get ugly.
    The LGBT lobby should consider the gains they’ve made to be enough and to perhaps start keeping a lower profile.

    It’s kind of funny in a sad sort of way, but the only discrimination that’s legal is against WASP’s and “Rednecks.” You can make all the jokes and slurs you want against White Anglo-Saxon Protestants and Rednecks with no worries about legal repercussions, but make one ethnic or “homo” joke and you could face federal jail time. Where’s the parity in the “law”?

    You’re a lawyer…what recourse does a person of the “Redneck” persuasion have when someone derides their heritage with an off color joke or statement about their manner of living?

    Mike

  5. Citizen Tom says:

    Tony,

    Consider again how your comment begins.

    Tom, when you are reduced to becoming an apologist for discrimination, then you must know that you have lost your footing on this one. Some of this may just be semantics, but we seem to be talking past each other here because we are talking about very different forms and levels of “discrimination”.

    Since we cannot both be right, one of us is stuck on stupid. Since you think it is me, you happily discriminate against me, all the while exclaiming the horrors of discrimination.

    You keep saying I am guilty of discrimination, and I do not disagree. I don’t see anything wrong with discriminating against immorality. Look at your own behavior. You are not discriminating against what you perceive as my immorality? :lol:

    thatmrgguy – With the suggestions of violence, you just added fuel to the fire.

    Since I cannot read minds, I do not entirely understand Tony’s leaps of logic. How does Tony think the Constitution is suppose to protect our rights and yet be a “living document”? Is it just because we are suppose to trust judges to be that wise?

    Look at me. In the same sentence, Tony will say he respects me and call me a bigot (using polite language, of course). Who picks judges? Politicians? That class of people most noted for its truthfulness? Are these the best people in our society or just some of the most ambitious? Are politicians that much better than any of us? Are the judges politicians choose any better than any of them? No? Then why do we happily give judges the absurdly huge latitude of a “living Constitution”?

    Discrimination is this era’s big bugaboo. Consider this list of quotes. All treat prejudice as the great archenemy, but only the first — the most famous quote — implicitly acknowledges the need for discrimination.

    Of the entire list, I thought Twain’s the most amusing.

    I have no race prejudice. I think I have no color prejudices or caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being — that is enough for me; he can’t be any worse. — Mark Twain quotes (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)

  6. Tony says:

    Mike, I’ll deal with your comments first. Take everything that you just posted and substitute the words “black” or “negro” for the words “homosexual”, “gay”, and “LGBT”, and you will have the same argument that your so-called “rednecks” had about the Civil Rights movement in the South when I was growing up there. Because such prejudices against blacks were similarly mainstream in the South during that time, we also thought that there would be a violent backlash if blacks like Martin Luther King kept trying to force whites to accept the black “lifestyle”, which like gays, simply meant not discriminating against blacks and allowing blacks and whites to legally marry and live openly together. And obviously there was violence and there was also passive resistance on both sides. You may not accept this analogy, however, much my children’s generation already does.

    Tom makes the distinction that it was the states that enacted suffrage laws before the federal government imposed the 19th Amendment. Well, many states have already passed laws that prohibit discrimination based upon sexual preference and also that allow same sex marriage and civil unions. In the case of Civil Rights laws, however, it was the federal government that ultimately had to force the South to come kicking and screaming into a united country without racial discrimination. I tend to think that with sexual preference it will be a little of both.

    Tom, either you are purposely being obtuse or I was not eloquent enough in my last post to make you understand that, in our democracy, there are levels of discrimination, and the morality and legality of discrimination varies with both the “invidiousness” of the discrimination itself and with how those who are being discriminated against are classified. The discriminating act can be minor but it can rise from moral and legal, to immoral but legal, to immoral and illegal, based upon how constitutionally suspect are the reasons why you have classified these particular persons for discrimination . Conversely, discrimination that is not against a particularly “suspect” class can also rise from moral and legally protected, to immoral but protected, to immoral and illegal, depending upon the level of “invidiousness” of the outward acts of discrimination. Here’s a couple of examples of what I mean.

    Levels of “invidiousness” of discrimination from moral and legally protected to increasing levels of immoral and illegal:

    1.I personally don’t like rap music.
    2.I don’t want to be forced to listen to rap music.
    3.I want to reasonably regulate the time, place and manner when Rap Music can be played so that I am not forced to listen to it.
    4.Because I think that the content of all music is often immoral, I want to regulate the content of music that can be sold to children.
    5.Because I think the content of just rap music is often immoral, I want to solely regulate the content of the rap music that can be sold to children.
    6.Because I think that the content of rap music is often immoral, I want to regulate solely the content of rap music that can be sold to anyone.
    7.The reason why I want to regulate all music, but particularly rap music, is because my particular religion believes music is evil, and particularly rap music is evil.
    8.The real reason why I want to regulate rap music is because I don’t like black people..
    9.I want to legally ban just black people from listening to rap music everywhere.
    10.I want to legally ban all people from listening to or playing rap music everywhere at all times (including in the privacy of their own homes).

    The first few types of discrimination above are neither immoral nor illegal. They are even constitutionally protected. But you can see that, as the invidiousness of the discrimination increases, it goes from being protected but immoral to being both immoral and illegal, as a matter of constitutional law, and under our uconstitutional democratic process for judging the invidiousness of discrimination.

    Levels of where the subject of discrimination goes from from moral and legally protected to increasing levels of :”suspect” such that it is both immoral and illegal:

    1.I personally don’t want to have blond hair.
    2.I personally don’t like the blond hair color on anyone.
    3.I am openly critical of blond hair.
    4.I don’t want blond hair around me when I am in my own home.
    5.I don’t want blond hair around me when I am in church so I chose a church with members who feel the same about blond hair.
    6.So that I won’t be around blonds, I discriminate against hiring blonds for the company I work at and I deny blonds promotions, raises and benefits.
    7.I support and pass laws in my community that would ban blonds from getting hired anywhere.
    8.I support and help pass laws in my community that would simply ban blond hair everywhere.
    9.The reason why I support a ban on blonds is because I don’t like people of Scandinavian decent.
    10. I pass laws discriminating against all people of Scandinavian decent.
    11.I pass laws discriminating against all white people.

    You can see how the discrimination itself goes from a moral and protected personal preference, to an immoral and illegal imposition upon other people’s preferences, and ultimately, to the most immoral and illegal discrimination, because at the extreme end, the discrimination is based upon, not just what a person prefers, but something that the person simply “is”. In other words, as the reason for the discrimination goes from simple personal preference to racial or religious bigotry, then our democracy finds it more and more morally and legally heinous. When discrimination is based upon a classification of persons that is constitutionally protected, such as race, gender or religion, then our constitutional democracy finds that discrimination to be particularly “suspect”.

    So Tom, in order to determine whether, in our democracy, a given discrimination is considered immoral and illegal, you have to measure the “invidiousness” how we are discriminating, the discriminating act itself, and how “suspect”, in a constitutional sense, are the reasons you are using to classify people and the behaviors for discrimination. In legal sense, therefore, my discrimination against you for discriminating against gays could indeed become immoral as it became more invidious and constitutionally suspect. Unlike your treatment of gays, however, I am not limiting your fundamental right have an opinion or preference, to have heterosexual sex , to have the same rights as homosexuals, nor to join in legal heterosexual unions. On the the other hand, because you support legal bans on other peoples’ preferences based mainly upon imposing your religion upon a class of persons for being who they fundamentally are, your discrimination is immoral (and is ultimately becoming illegal) because it is (1) “invidious” in how you are imposing it and (2) because the classification of the discrimination (based upon religion and genetics) is constitutionally “suspect”.

    Finally, constitutional democracy is more about an endless attempt implement our constitutional “process” than it is about the perfection of our ideology. In other words, a country is a constitutional democracy because government of that country follows a democratic constitutional “process”, not because the people of that country have a perfect democratic morality.

    I don’t think that there is a perfect expression of ideology, including Christian ideology, because, even if there were such perfection in this life, as humans, we would still be imperfect in our understanding of that ideology and in our implementation of it. Ultimately, however, the degree of perfection of the ideology (for example in what individual rights it protects and how it improves society) is unimportant if we do not have a “process” that we have confidence. We have confidence in our system not because we think such human institutions are always perfect, but because it is mostly, most of the time, not arbitrary and capricious. In other words, the process mostly works most of the time to do what most of us thinks it should do.

    The process of having judges interpret the facts of cases and apply the law so as to decide the constitutionality of our laws and actions “is” our constitutional process; it “is” the Constitution and has been from the beginning (even actually before the beginning) of our nation. It will rarely be perfect and sometime the process will get it outright wrong. You certainly have room for criticism of the decisions of judges. I often do. However, when you say that you don’t want judges deciding such things, you are basically saying that you do not like our constitutional system. That’s fine to, but then it is silly in the next sentence to turn around and say that you support the Constitution. The Constitution is our “process” document; it is mostly, not about the ideology of our government, but about the “systemics” of our institutions – the process. If you don’t respect the process, you simply don’t respect the Constitution.

  7. Citizen Tom says:

    Tony – You could not possibly be wrong. Nope. No? So I have to be obtuse or you insufficiently eloquent. :roll:

    Do you understand information warfare? In political our system, it has no place, but you are guilty of it. Because you don’t like it, you mischaracterize anyone WHO DOES NOT APPROVE of homosexuality as a persecutor of homosexuals. So to anyone who understands the truth, you don’t make any sense. We are not even discussing rights.

    • Marriage is not a right.
    • Teaching other people’s children is not a right.
    • Military service is not a right.

    Ever heard of the draft? Various people in the Democratic Party still favor the draft even for things that have nothing to do with military service. And that party cares about inalienable rights? Do you people even understand the concept?

    Until you stop equating not approving of homosexual sex with prohibiting it, you are not going to make any sense because you don’t. Instead, what you are saying is so delusional it sounds like information warfare and deliberately misleading.

  8. Tony says:

    Nope, Tom, I think that you are just being obtuse because, no matter how eloquently or in-eloquently I explain it, you are choosing not to understand even with presented with facts and logic that prove you wrong. We “are” talking about rights, but we are also talking about how “discrimination” is defined. I’m trying to clearly separate out for you how our system of constitutional law looks at these two concepts (“fundamental rights” and the “invidiousness” of the discrimination), but you simply don’t want to see what I have put right in front of your nose, so you propose that I “make no sense.” If you just let go of your blindness to the truth, then the scales will fall from your eyes. This isn’t just my idea, what I have been giving here is a very rough explanation of how the law, our Constitution, really works in defining discrimination and rights. (As a side note, if the Constitution were not “living” in this way, then it would effectively be “dead” as our protector of individual liberties).

    You claim to believe the “Natural Law Doctrine” that peoples’ rights are inalienable and God given, and yet you don’t think that some pretty basic things that, in Supreme Court speak, are “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” like marriage, are indeed “rights”. I don’t really believe in the “natural law” ideology. Regardless, functionally, the ideology that promotes the creation of rights is irrelevant. If those rights cannot be defined and enforced against discrimination at law, then they simply don’t exist. Conversely, regardless of whether or not your particular ideology defines something as a right or not, if the law actually protects it from discrimination as a “fundamental right,” then, for all practical purposes, it is one. Finally, whether the underlying right is fundamental or not, the “discrimination” itself can be a violation of rights once it begins to rises to a high enough level of “invidiousness”.

    Whether because it is a “natural right” or not, Marriage “is” a fundamental right that is most often defined by state law and enforced by state law. It has also, however, been found by the U.S. Supreme Court to be defined and protected by the U.S. Constitution (See examples: Loving v. Virginia; Griswald v. Connecticut; Skinner v. Oklahoma). The 14th Amendment debate on the justification for the Supreme Court’s finding of this right is too complex for me explain here, and you may not agree with the Court’s “incorporation” theory for determining such fundamental rights, but it really doesn’t matter. Marriage is a recognized legal “fundamental right” under our system of government.

    The right to an education has also been defined at state law. Where the U.S. Constitution comes into play, however, is that once a state defines a right, the Supremes have found that states cannot discriminate in providing that right, either in violation of the 1st Amendment religious clauses or in violation of other equal protection clauses in the Constitution. (There are so many cases on this and they are so commonly known, that I don’t need to cite any, but you can start with Brown v. Board if you like).

    By the same token, whether or not someone has a “right” to be in the military, legislation and the Courts have found that the military cannot “discriminate” against someone based on religion, gender, race and, since the repeal of DADT, sexual preference will also soon be on the list. The right not to be discriminated against in the military is therefore, for all practical purposes, a right under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

    Now let’s look at your belief that I am equating disapproval of homosexuality with persecution of homosexuals. Well, it depends upon your intent and your actions. I’m actually saying that there is a difference between the (1) immorality and illegality, and between (2) your actions and intent in your outward expression of your disapproval. Depending on these factors, that expression of disapproval can range from moral and legal, to immoral and protected, to immoral and unprotected. Perhaps the best way to make you understand this is to use your favorite expression: “Are you doing the right things for the right reasons?”

    By way of hypothetical, let’s take the issue of adultery, and specifically, a married person having illicit sex with another person not his spouse. Whether for religious or sectarian reasons of integrity and trust, most of us believe that adultery is immoral. Now look at these hypotheticals:

    1.A private belief that adultery is immoral and a personal choice not to yourself commit adultery is neither immoral nor illegal. Neither your actions nor your intent meets the threshold of immorality nor illegality. You are essentially doing the right thing for the right reasons.
    2.A public voicing of your belief that the act of adultery is morally wrong is also neither immoral nor illegal. Neither your actions nor your intent meets the threshold of immorality nor illegality. You are essentially again doing the right thing for the right reasons.
    3.A public condemnation of a particular person who commits adultery is quite another thing. Assuming that person is not a public person, such as a minister, a social pundit or politician, then, although your intent may be good, your actions are starting to border upon an immoral judging of another and it may also border upon being an illegal invasion of privacy type slander. You are getting to the point where you may be doing the wrong things but still arguably for a right reasons.
    4.Next, let’s say that you publicly promote passing a law that would disallow anyone who has ever committed adultery from being in the military and that keeps all adulterers, once divorced, for being able to ever remarry. You underlying intent may still be altruistic but certainly questionable, and because your actions are becoming more invidious, what you are doing is both immoral and, if your proposed laws were passed, they would probably be found to be unconstitutionally illegal, both because of their invidious nature and because the courts would give them “strict scrutiny” because they limit the fundamental right to marry. You are definitely doing the wrong thing although it might arguably still be for the right reasons.
    5.Finally, let’s imagine that you actually pass and personally enforce a law to stone adulterers. Both the act and the intent are both immoral and would be found illegal. Your original altruistic intent to discourage adultery by others is outweighed by your intent and your action to physically harm others.

    I know that you like to see the world in black and white terms, but there is no “bright line” in all this, just a methodology that our democracy uses to judge when discrimination goes from moral and protected to immoral and illegal.

    Looking at it this way, it is one thing for you not to chose to be a homosexual – this is neither immoral nor illegal. It is another thing for you to personally disapprove of homosexuality in others – this may or may not be immoral, but it is definitely not illegal to have this belief. It is another things still for you to publicly promote the discriminate against gays, especially in their practice of rights that we consider fundamental – this is immoral and is becoming illegal, both because of the level of invidiousness of the discrimination (forcing your religious beliefs on others) and because the discrimination is used to deny the fundamental rights of a group that I believe is a “suspect class”. Once again, even if for the sake of argument, I agreed with you that homosexuality was immoral, you would still be doing the wrong thing even if your discriminatory actions were for, at least in your opinion, the right reasons.

  9. thatmrgguy says:

    Tony,

    I have a gay child so I think I can speak with a bit more experience than most people. I don’t agree with my child’s lifestyle, but they are an adult and they make their own decisions. It doesn’t mean that I love my gay child any less than I love my other children. I personally don’t give a rat’s ass what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home. But what concerns me is the blatant shoving down the throats of the general American public of the gay agenda. If gays want less discrimination, then perhaps they should keep a lower profile. Parading down a main street wearing crotchless pants, colored hair and hunching each other in public view doesn’t help their cause one bit. In fact, it makes it harder for the general public to take these people seriously.

    The LGBT lobby already has civil unions and that includes beneficiary status as pertains to visitation in hospitals, insurance and adoption of children. Now they want to be openly gay in their military service. I was in the service before DADT and there were plenty of gays serving their country. As long as they did their jobs, no one cared one way or the other…we just looked the other way. It will be kind of hard to look the other way now, don’t you think? We’ve already had one casualty in the Navy because of some off color humor by a Navy officer. Something that happened several years ago and is just now coming to light. You can read more about that here> http://nooneofanyimport.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/second-post-on-captain-honors/

    So you see, the LGBT lobby has already started off on the wrong foot. Gays have just made it harder on themselves to be accepted into the Military fellowship.

    Mike

  10. Tony says:

    Mike,

    Now that you have expanded you opinion, it seems that we disagree less than I imagined. I too served in the military under DADT. In my last active duty unit we had a Senior Chief who my CO suspected of being gay, and so removed regular deployment status. The Senior Chief was the best in my unit – highly professional and knowledgeable. My CO was an excellent fellow, a born again Christian, but he tended to, improperly in my opinion, impose his religious beliefs on others (prayer sermons at squadron quarters, etc.). Because my CO had nothing on the Senior Chief but vague rumors, he couldn’t touch him under DADT. Ultimately, we lost a good asset on deployments, who, had my CO not made such a big deal about it, the rest of the unit could have cared less about his being gay.

    I don’t really know much about “the gay lifestyle” but if you are talking about public lewd sexual behavior, then we probably agree, whether that behavior is by gays or by straights. I’ve spent a lot of time in New Orleans (the best third world city in the U.S.). It is perhaps my favorite U.S. city. I’ve seen incredibly lewd and shocking behavior during the gay pride weekend there. On the other hand, I have seen just as shocking and lewd of behavior by straights in the French Quarter during the Mardi Gras season as well. Perhaps the Mardi Gras season misbehavior was an example of the “heterosexual lifestyle” gone too far.

    By the same token, I have been to family Mardi Gras parades that were good wholesome New Orleans fun, and I have been to the Gay Easter parade there which is also mostly just colorful and silly and fun. I’d have no problem taking my grand kids to either event. On the other hand, anyone who knows anything about New Orleans knows to stay out of the French Quarter on or near Bourbon Street at night with their kids, especially during the gay pride and Mardi Gras festivities, but also pretty much any time.

    Most of my friends who are gay and lesbian are either in committed family relationships or else searching for one like everyone else. Other than being gay or lesbian, their “lifestyle” looks pretty much like mine, including having kids and grand kids that they love. I don’t find anything unacceptable about this “lifestyle” and although I never get the feeling that it is being “forced” upon me, I don’t expect them to hide in the shadows either. You and my brother certainly have a “right” to object to that lifestyle and to personally resent it becoming socially acceptable and open, but you don’t have a right to use force or the law to stop them from openly enjoying the same legal benefits and rights as we heterosexuals enjoy. This is the distinction that I am defending here. And it seems from what you wrote above that we, perhaps grudgingly, agree on this more than not.

  11. Citizen Tom says:

    thatmrgguy – Thanks for sharing your personal insight.

    Tony – Since I know nothing about your CO or Senior Chief , I have no idea whether what your CO did was right or wrong. When does someone’s personal life start to interfere with their work?

    Do we disagree or not? What is “lewd and shocking behavior”?

    You think a living Constitution A-OKAY. I think a living Constitution utterly useless. With a living Constitution what we do is take words, thoughts, and ideas and slowly render them to mean whatever we want. Thus, “marriage” can become something entirely different (How does one consumate a same-sex marriage?).

    Where do living documents lead? The words in them mean nothing because nobody knows what they will mean tomorrow. Instead of communicating a covenant, living documents serve as tools for manipulation and frustration.

    Look again at the words “gay” and “Liberal.” To lend themselves legitimacy, certain scheming souls have applied these words as labels to themselves. What will “gays” call themselves in the future? When “gay” finally just equates to “homosexual” and “queer,” who knows? But we know that “Liberals” have become “Progressives,” and some are already experimenting with the expression “no label.”

    If our values and beliefs are to mean anything, then we must seek to base them on a sound foundation. We must seek absolute truths. Otherwise, we will chase the Will-o’-the-wisp. Thinking our moral relativism wise, we will follow the light of our own wisdom into a bog.

  12. Tony says:

    Nice rant brother. And like most of your “rants”, it is nothing but a hodgepodge of scatterpated rhetoric full of bugaboos, fanciful fears, and provocative hyperbole. That’s OK too. It’s your soap box. However, because there is no way to rationally respond to such demagoguery accept with more of the same, I’ll pass on giving any real comment.

    When you want to discuss something in this reality and seriously, then let me know. I always enjoy a good debate, but I don’t have the time for paranoid rants blasting labeling non sequiturs, boggy man “isms” and the actual 200 plus year old constitutional process that you willfully misunderstand. There may be absolute truths and God knows what they are, but in a changing world of infinite possibilities, I don’t trust you (or me for that matter) to have to lock on all truths or how to apply them. I do have confidence in our imperfect constitutional process. When you want to learn about and talk about that instead of all your fanciful red herrings, then that will be interesting.

  13. Citizen Tom says:

    Tony – You don’t trust me, and you don’t trust yourself. You trust a “process” designed by men and run by men? To do what? Spend every cent it can steal — excuse me — tax from us.

    Frankly, when it is my responsibility to pay for something, I would just as soon spend my own money and trust myself. When we can only guess what they will do with it, why give our money over to politicians?

    When we consent to let the government run something, we don’t do so because we trust government. We do so either because we see no logical alternative, or they promise to spend somebody else’s money.

    What you call a process is entirely corruptible.

  14. thatmrgguy says:

    Tony, I served BEFORE DADT. You could be kicked out if suspected of being gay. Back then, gays kept a low profile and served honorably. The problem with the repeal of DADT is that gays, having seen that they can push the envelope, have reason to believe that anything they do is sanctioned by the civilian military command. They can and will demand special treatment that is not afforded to other members of our armed forces.

    Gays already enjoy the same legal rights and benifits as straight people, except for marriage by clergy. Marriage by clergy is a covenant between a Man and a Woman and God. Gays can have all the civil unions they want…I don’t care. But real marriage is strictly between a Man and a Woman.

    The French Quarter at night is no place for any sane person.

    Mike

  15. Tony says:

    Tom, how many directions do you want to go in? Discrimination? Schools? Marriage? Now taxes? You need to either stay more specific or get more general if you want me to respond.

    Well, if you want to talk in general terms, I trust the process, not because it is perfect, but because it pragmatically attempts to maintain a balance that promotes our better angels and checks our worst ones. Nothing in this human experience is unchanging or perfect. God made the world as an endlessly changing and shifting balance of goodness and sin, creation and decay, community and individualism. I don’t know how many times that I have to explain this but, knowing this, our founding fathers did not create for us a list of immutable rules – what they gave us instead was a workable “process”.

    Just read the Constitution. It is almost all about “process”, a process that allows government to provide for our general welfare and security but also contains checks and balances against individual and institutional tyranny. The Constitution outlines rights in general terms, but then says (in the 10th and the 14th Amendments for example) that the enumerated rights are not “all” the rights that we can have as individuals. The process outlined in the Constitution organically provides for the formulation of new rights and for the interpretation and reinterpretation, of both newly recognized and time worn rights, through a constitutional machinery, the constitutional “process”, that the Constitution itself blueprints.

    The Constitution is not God’s perfection on Earth and it is not about absolutism. For example, no right enumerated in the Constitution is absolute. You are not allowed to say anything at any time in any place that you want. You can’t yell “fire” at a crowded theater. You can’t incite a riot. You can’t disrupt a court or Congress. Our founders and framers were practical jurists, men steeped in the administration of both innovative and traditional institutional vehicles for the practical application of sovereignty, and they generally would have been horrified by a fanatic, absolutist interpretation of the Bill of Rights or anything else in the Constitution. Such an extreme interpretation is counter-intuitive to Constitution’s pragmatic, process oriented plan.

    What the founders created instead is a masterful man-made governmental design that is brilliantly elegant in its applicability to balance and umpire our often conflicting interests, our often extremist ideologies and our contradictory human nature in an ever changing world.

    That does not mean that the constitutional process and it’s institutions are inherently self sustaining. The process and its institutions are subject to all the endless corruption, decay, and other human foibles that an imperfect people in an imperfect world can orchestrate or invent. It’s participatory. Ultimately, “we are the process”. And as such, as in all institutional fictions from our capitalistic economy to our corporations to our legal marriages, if we lose confidence in the institution, in the process, or if it ceases to provide us with what we desire, it will cease to be effective. In short, it will become as irrelevant as a vestigial tail.

    I have no problem with your criticism or your need for change, that’s part of the process. But when you rail against the machine for being what it is, what it has always been, what it was designed to be, or you expect either perfection or nothing, well, then you may as well be howling at the moon for all the good it will do for you or the rest of us.

  16. Citizen Tom says:

    Tony – You wonder why I don’t take “gay rights” seriously? You wonder I don’t trust the people who want homosexuals to serve openly. I don’t trust the people who run our government to maintain unbiased discipline.

    I also don’t think women belong in the military, much less combat units. The presence of women also create discipline issues. The sexes are physically and mentally different. It requires the arrogance of make-believe to think we can ignore those differences.

    War is a man’s job. Does that mean I think less of women? No. It just means I agree with Nature’s God; fathers are more expendable than mothers.

    I think the Constitution a marvelous document. I think it great that that our congressmen actually took the time to read it in the Capitol. Now I want our government to actually implement the document once again, the way the Founders intended it to be implemented.

    When I look at the budget and consider all the stupid regulations, I can see our leaders are ignoring your precious processes. Rave all you want about my rants, but that is a simple, observable fact. Most of the budget has nothing to do with the Constitution. Even now Obama is trying to implement Cap and Tax by administrative fiat.

    Look that Obamacare bill, their greatest and latest escapade. Why is the Federal government in charge of health programs? That is in the Constitution? Only in the warped dreams of the power mad. And now they have the unmitigated gall to force us to buy health care? And you are worried about same-sex marriage?

    Go ahead and defend that crap if you want. However, if I cannot trust Congress not to spend us into bankruptcy, I see no reason to trust their judgment (or yours) on the subject of homosexual rights. You have seen the “gay pride” parades and you actually expect these people to behave in the military — with Democrats in charge? The fools would just give the gays more new rights.

    Can’t you hear them now? “You have not read the 10th and 14th amendment? You did not know those rights were there? You must be a bigot.”

    God made the world as an endlessly changing and shifting balance of goodness and sin, creation and decay, community and individualism.

    God does not change. Right and wrong does not change. Because we change, our point of view changes. What you see depends upon where you stand.

    Yes, the Constitution is about processes. Those processes include a process for amending the Constitution. Our president and Congress cannot amend it by fiat, and we should not allow them to get away with such things.

    Would it be too much to ask? Could you start voting for people who take the Constitution seriously enough to follow its processes? When it obvious Utopia is not going to work, could you settle for a government that allows us to live in peace?

  17. Tony says:

    Mike,

    Actually, I served in the military during both before and after DADT. It was enacted during my last years on active duty and was still in effect when I retired from the reserves nine years later.

    When I was in law school, knowing that I was in the service, my Constitutional Law professor asked on Friday that I brief the class the following Monday on an initial appellate court decision upholding DADT. DADT was seen by the gay community as a great leap forward at that time. Because I was in the military reserves, many of my fellow students assumed that I would take a conservative approach critical of DADT. On Monday, the Con Law class was therefore full of extra students on both sides of the issue.

    After I briefed the facts, issues and holding of the case, the professor asked me what I thought about DADT. I told him that, as a member of the armed forces, I thought it was problematic to our core military principles of honor and integrity to allow people to come into the service, but only if they lie and live a lie. I also said that, as a law student, I found it anomalous to the constitutional and juris prudential principles that I had learned to prosecute an individual, not for any illegal “act” for which you can find evidence of commission of a crime, but instead for just admitting identity and preference – for simply being a certain way, even though you did not act upon it. At least before DADT, the witch hunt for gays in the military had to have evidence of a gay act (sodomy for example) that violated the UCMJ. With DADT, a celibate gay can be prosecuted, convicted and sentenced for simply admitting his/her sexual preference in private, for essentially saying to friends or to strangers that this is who I am.

    The classroom emptied without comment or protest from either side of the debate. Until that moment, I don’t think that the students on either side of the argument had really thought about the implications of what DADT had done.

    Personally, speaking as a former officer and a lawyer, I’m glad that DADT is going to be gone. I’m not so naive that I think that you are completely wrong in your feelings that there will be some bumps along the road to implementation of the new policy, whatever that is, but I think that the military will absorb this new nondiscriminatory policy much more easily than it absorbed racial and gender integration.

    I say with all my heart, however, that what the military cannot effectively survive is a loss of its core values of honor and integrity. Even without the gay bashing part, a lack of these principles appears to have been exhibited by the leadership of the Carrier Enterprise when they allowed and the XO produced, participated in and broadcast sexually lewd off-color films to the crew. Certainly, I would agree, however, that the timing of the revelations and the quick administrative remedy was probably based on current political events.

  18. Citizen Tom says:

    Tony – That is nice. So let’s go back to the way it was BEFORE the Democrats invented DADT. Clinton, not Congress, invented Don’t Ask.

    • Tony says:

      Actually, DADT was passed by Congress and that is why it had to be repealed by Congress, but I do agree that Clinton was in favor of it. Like I said, at that time, gays thought it was a step toward acceptance, and perhaps in a way, it was.

      • Citizen Tom says:

        Not true.

        On July 19, 1993, then-President Bill Clinton announced his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” concept, which was designed to accommodate gays in the military. According to Clinton’s plan, persons with a homosexual “orientation” could
        enlist or stay in the military as long as they did not say they were homosexual.

        Congress gave serious consideration to Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, but ultimately rejected it. Members in both houses knew that the concept would be impossible to understand, explain, or defend in federal court. Instead, Congress codified Defense Department regulations in place since 1981, which expressed the view that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service.” — from GAYS IN THE MILITARY: GIVE THE LAW A NAME

        The “new” legislation contained one compromise.

        The only “compromise” involved allowed Bill Clinton to continue his January 1993 policy of not asking “the question” about homosexuality that used to be on induction forms. The law states, however, that routine inquiries about homosexuality can be reinstated at any time by the Secretary of Defense.

        Anyway, I have to hit the sack. So I will have to let your other comments ride. Goodnight.

  19. Tony says:

    Another great rant brother. Lot’s of new subjects going off in many directions.

    On Women in the Military.

    I admit that there are many differences between men and women and, as a wise Frenchman once said, “Viva la difference.” The more important question to any job, not just military service, is where should we make a distinction because of the difference. I think that a properly trained female of our species can pull the trigger on a gun or a tank or a fighter plane and kill just as coldbloodedly as any man. In three successive battles against the Army Calvary, the women of the Nez Perce tribe fought just as fiercely as the men. While just trying to escape to Canada rather than be imprisoned on a reservation, the Nez Perce essentially won three battles until, with only about a hundred left, they were surrounded by three Army regiments and captured at the Border (Prompting Chief Joseph’s famous quote, “I shall fight no more forever”).

    Lord knows there are problems, and I saw my share as a military leader. I also got to see a wealth of new, highly effective female talent enter the service of our country. In any event, before you use gender to legally discriminate, you should at least have more substantial evidence that the difference justifies the discrimination than your vague prejudices.

    On the Reading of the Constitution

    You wrote, “I think the Constitution a marvelous document. I think it great that that our congressmen actually took the time to read it in the Capitol. Now I want our government to actually implement the document once again, the way the Founders intended it to be implemented.”

    It’s more than just interesting that, in clear violation of the language in the document that they had pledged to read, two Republican Congressmen decided to skip the swearing-in ceremony and then illegally act and vote as Congressmen. I guess I share your view that we have to watch them like hawks and trust them like rodents, but for different reasons.

    On Ultra Vires Acts by the Federal Government

    You may be right from a normative point of view that the Federal Government has gone beyond the balance of powers allowed by the Constitution, but you honestly don’t know because you’re ignorant of the Constitution and how it has been interpreted and resolved in each particular issue that you rant about. And, functionally, even if you are normatively right on principle, then under our system of government, under the “Rule of Law”, not men, the constitutional process will decide these issues based upon the law, the facts and the precedents that came before.

    Reasonable men can disagree on whether, for example, the “General Welfare”, the “Commerce” and/or the “Necessary and Proper” clauses of the Constitution should allow for federal support of schools, for Social Security taxes and support, for Cap and Trade, for national health insurance reform, etc. However, what reasonable men do under a government of law, not men, is to resolve their disputes under the process that the law mandates. Once decided, it “is” the law, for all practical purposes, it “is” the Constitution. You don’t know the system, or you refuse to accept that it is was it is. You don’t know the precedents that would control or have to be reversed in each case. In any event, most of these issues of federal power have been disputed and resolved almost a century ago, and those powers are now effectively part of our Constitution. That is our system. If you don’t like that system, then you are yourself just raining verbal abuse upon the organically required processes in the Constitution, the same Constitution that you ironically claim is being abused by others.

    On Gay “Rights”

    Nothing much new to say that I have not already said and that you have chosen to ignore. Gays are not asking for “new” rights – they are simply asking to stop being “discriminated against” in being afforded the same rights and benefits that we have allowed for some time. There are no “new” rights here, Tom; this is about “discrimination”. But if you had read what I had wrote before, you would already understand that.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Tony – Have you ever noticed that Conservatives hold their own people accountable? The Constitution is explicit. If they were not sworn in, they should not vote. If they had not read the Constitution, would anyone have noticed?

      Although I would not be surprised if what you are saying about the Nez Perce is somewhat exaggerated, it is not relevant anyway. I did not say women could not fight, particularly with modern weapons. I also did not question their general competence.

      Consider the situation. These women fought alongside their men. They also sought to protect their children. Otherwise, if their men had gone on a raid, they would have stayed back at the camp. That is probably why sneaking into an Indian camp required considerable courage and great stealthiness. The women would be on you in seconds, and you would be dead.

      The issue here has nothing to do with what women can do; it has to do what they should be doing and what makes our fighting forces most effective.

  20. Tony says:

    Continued:

    On Moral Absolutes

    You wrote, “God does not change. Right and wrong does not change. Because we change, our point of view changes. What you see depends upon where you stand.”

    That is one of the most succinct arguments for moral relativism that I have read in a while. I would add, however, that because your sight of absolute right and wrong, in other words your knowledge of God, depends upon such imperfect and relative footing (“where you stand”) that you don’t get the whole picture and neither do I, and so we are bound to disagree. We have to have a way to resolve these disagreements. We can either hack at each other with swords, or instead we can use the worst system in the world, except it’s better than all the others, our system of government, including our system of law. Since I kind of like you bro, I prefer the law.

    The philosophies behind our democratic system are a balanced mix between utilitarian and libertarian principles. Each of these philosophies individually is fundamentally flawed, but both political extremes constantly proscribe to the principles of each. For example, both political parties claim the libertarian stance for individual rights – just not always the same rights. Like Utilitarians, both parties claim to be for the use of sovereignty to promote the common good – just not always the same common good. Because of this, each side is constantly guilty of ideological inconsistency, and for good reason, because the ideologies are inherently flawed when they are used as absolutes.

    In one sentence, you say that you want the government to “let us live in peace” while in the next you want to the government to make sure that gays don’t live in peace. On the one hand you promote the federal power to invade our privacy and force us to pay for wasteful foreign military adventurism and on the other hand, you don’t want the government to limit predatory trade associations or corporate practices.

    I don’t believe in such ideological purity. I believe in process. And I believe that the process works best when it balances to achieve the best of both philosophies while limiting the worst. If all we are disputing is in some vague middle ground, such as the modest changes in the health insurance law or in how many of God’s truths fit on the head of a Tom, then we are doing pretty good in my book. Debate is good.

  21. Citizen Tom says:

    Tony — Well, I suppose I cannot completely ignore what you said here.

    What you see does depends upon where you stand. Even though I intended nothing of the sort, you took what I said and converted it to an argument for moral relativism.

    Where is the flaw in your observation? I did not argue that I know the absolute truth of everything. Only God does. Humility requires that I dedicate my life to the One who does know the absolute truth. What does He command? He commanded us to love Him and each other. He did not command us to create a Utopia or try to run each other’s lives. There is really nothing nice about dominating other people.

    Consider your own words. By opposing use the government the government for social engineering, I am guilty of the sin ideological purity? Let and let live is now excessive ideological purity? Does putting the label of bigot on someone make you right?

  22. Tony says:

    Tom, you wrote:

    “Consider your own words. By opposing use the government the government for social engineering, I am guilty of the sin ideological purity? Let and let live is now excessive ideological purity? ”

    Your own words once again betray your apparent inconsistency. On the one hand, you berate “social engineering”, but what is the us of legal coersion to limit same sex contracts to marry if it is not using “social engineering” to promote your own point of view, your own subjective morality, upon others?

    Of course both sides use “social engineering” to promote their own ideal of “utopia”, but, in your case, it is your scheme of a “Christian Nation”, in other words a brave new world Christian Utopia. If limiting others’ ability to legally contract to marry, although it causes no rational harm to you, is not just trying to “run other peoples lives” solely because you “disapprove”, then what logically is it?

    Both conservatives and liberals seek to impose their ideology upon individuals and society as a whole through the mechanism of legal coercion. It’s just that when you do it, you call it upholding your interpretation of God’s law, of your admitedly subjective view of moral absolutes, but when liberals do the same thing for different reasons, you call it “social engineering”. Logically, it is doing exactly the same thing – you’re both being the same exact “busy bodies” that you accuse each other of being.

    On the other hand, the formula that I have tried to explain (basically the same formula that the Court uses) is contingent upon, neither your religious denomination’s utopian dream of a “Christian Nation” nor some liberal’s altruistic utilitarian style utopian dream of “maximum social happiness”. It is instead based upon the rational balancing test of whether or not the positive social benefit derived from the sovereign act of legal coercion outweighs the negative harmful imposition upon individual liberty. And if the individual liberty imposed upon is a recognized “fundamental right”, then we should give that soveriegn coersion “strict scrutiny” such that the proven social good must “substantially” outweigh the harmful imposition upon the right.

    For example, the need to protect the security of the entire nation far outweighs the legal sovereign coercion upon the individual who is taxed to pay for it. Conversely, there was infinitesimal evidence of social benefit to maintaining anti-misogynist laws in the south (although they used to like to say that it would harm the mixed race children) such as to attempt to outweigh the legal coercion imposed against those individuals exercising their fundamental right to marry, and, because marriage is a recognized “fundamental human right”, when “strict scrutiny” was applied and substantial evidence was required, the scales were extremely lopsided in favor of the right and against the instance of legal coersion.

    Set aside your notions that you are somehow the one victimized by gays in all this and tell me how can you not see the inconsistency of your position? It is right in front of your face. It is in your every argument. I know that Supreme Court’s balancing test may not fulfill your obsession for a moral absolute answer to every minute question of human existence, but the formula is logical and it is consistent.

    I know that you will have to descend from your Mount Olympus and face that fact that yours and God’s mind are not always one, but this is the same sort of logical, though not infallible, cost/benefit analysis that we humans use in every other rational decision, whether it is economics or it is engineering. Although the objectives of this rational analysis can’t be perfection or “utopia”, the analysis does practically work to maintain the constantly changing and imperfect balance between the goals of social good and individual rights that every democracy, by definition, universally seeks. In other words, it is our imperfect efforts in the elegance and the application of the “process”, not the perfection of our “ideology” that essentially defines us as a democracy.

    On the other hand, if you want one ideology’s deterministic concept of “moral absolutes” to be the basis of government, then something akin to a dictatorship of the proletariat or some totalitarian theocracy, not a democracy, must be your logical alternative.

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