From the aforementioned social media foray. One commenter to whom I posed the question, were able to choose, would he opt for his son to be gay or straight, answered thusly:
Your question to me doesn’t need an answer since it is out of my control. There are of course less opportunities for homosexuals overall right now but that should continue to evolve by the time my child is older. So hopefully my child will have equal access to becoming successful regardless of their biological makeup.
… Nurture is required to bring out the best that nature has to offer. Sure, Tiger Woods has supreme innate talent, but he still practices more than anyone else. There are countless athletes that didn’t have the raw talent as others do in their field, but they work their butts off even more and are able to be just as successful in many cases. So just because you may be born into poverty and on paper you are likely to fail, given adequate developmental opportunities all people have a right to improve their socioeconomic status, and can become successful. (Or would you rather the American dream not exist?)
My respond to this dodge, which was prompted by the cheap questioning of whether or not I’d love my son if he turns out to be homosexual:
There is a real chance that it will be within your control during your lifetime. Even if it is momentarily hypothetical, it an eye-opening thought experiment.
Regarding putative reduced opportunities, that’s certainly open to argument. Diversity is the value academia, the corporate world, the political establishment, and the entertainment industries all hold up as more noble than any other, and they’re all overly eager to promote those who have the right characteristics, to such an extent that people do whatever they can to look like they’re members of the supposedly downtrodden group(s). Wendy Davis, Elizabeth Warren, and Barack Obama, just to name a few of the most well known recent examples of people who emphasize their minority traits when they could just as easily emphasize their more mainstream characteristics if those actually paid dividends for them. But it’s hardly controversial to say if Obama was (perceived) as a white guy, he wouldn’t be President.
Nature is like an anchor, nurture like the ship’s sails. The boat can move a moderate amount on the surface in this direction or that one depending on how well the sails are manned, but one can only sail the boat so far in this direction or the other before it hits its outward range and is restrained by an incorrigible, immovable weight. There are lots of people who practice things relentlessly without amounting to much of anything. And then there’s Mozart.
To another approvingly noting that this was the first discussion of homosexual he could remember that didn’t involve religion, I wrote:
Don’t think the same hardware isn’t in play, though. Morality and religion are historically quite difficult to disentangle, and contemporary Western liberal democracies–what Jonathan Haidt cleverly terms “WEIRD” societies–are definitely the exception. Guys like Richard Dawkins who hyperbolically claim that religion is akin to a virus, insinuating that it’s evolutionarily harmful, could hardly be farther off the mark. As NYT science reporter Nicholas Wade has argued in The Faith Instinct, and Haidt confirms from a different angle in The Righteous Mind, religion carries with it a strong evolutionary advantage in terms of ensuring moral rectitude and social cohesion among its adherents.
They may lack supernatural elements, but there are lots of sacred precepts that exist in modern America. To figure out what a society holds sacred, consider what people are forbidden to challenge without risk to their careers, reputations, and even their lives (ie, James Watson’s comments regarding Western solutions for sub-Saharan Africa, Lawrence Summers tumultuous time as Harvard’s president, Jason Richwine’s dissertation, John Derbyshire’s realtalk version of “the talk”, etc etc). Mock Christianity all you want in the most vile ways possible and no one really cares, especially among the Cathedral’s inner party members, but suggest that IQ differences are why non-Asian minorities consistently underperform whites and Asians on virtually every sort of cognitive test ever comprised (from ASVAB to Raven’s Matrices to Firefighter exams) or that the far higher rates of venereal diseases among gays than among heterosexuals is evidence of how biologically ill-adapted the human body is for engaging in homosexual behavior, and you’d better be prepared for a serious two minutes hate followed by blacklisting.
Read about the hell Galileo was given by the Establishment of his day for picking up Copernicus’ torch and proving that our solar system is heliocentric rather than geocentric. Epicycles then, institutional racism today.
From a girl responding to the predictable mix of consternation and censure I received for putatively addressing such a sensitive issue in such a callous, clinical manner:
I feel the perspective from [those upset with assertions] is falling flat here because it’s an emotional one. It’s very hard to argue logic with emotion, but here goes. You have never had the terrible burden of watching disapproval and disgust enter the eyes of a loved one upon revealing who you really are. Whom you’ve come to find out, you can’t help but be. As if you’ve pulled the wool over their eyes or it’s somehow a cruel joke on them. You haven’t grown up being told you are wrong, sick, unnatural, albeit inadvertently, by most of society and more importantly, loved ones. You haven’t lost friends or family members in your life because of a simple variable of human chemistry. You haven’t felt the terror or shame of hoping certain people won’t find out because you know they will never see, accept, or love you in quite the same way. Keep in mind also that this is different than race or sex, it’s not something that outwardly presents itself. In many cases you are left dealing with the fallout of a supposed betrayal. The majority of the time this is being processed and dealt with at tender ages and while the frontal lobe is still developing.
The desire by most leftist ( if you could get them to simply articulate their angst) is not to say sexuality cannot be changed while others can: Rather, to lift all oppressive forces, to grant understanding and allowance for one’s desire to live their full potential without fear or judgement, and to create a world where this is the normal. It’s hard because on one hand there is the ideal that all must be allowed their own rainbow of opinions, but when those opinions rear their ugly intolerant heads, the knee jerk reaction is to say “shut up a$$hole, I’m trying to create a better world over here.”
And my rejoinder, employing a thought experiment I’m pretty confident Jonathan Haidt would approve of:
Well put, especially regarding the lifting of all oppressive forces (I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but I highly, highly recommend Haidt’s Righteous Mind; parenthetically, Haidt is a moderate liberal, in case you’re worried I’m trying to push personally amenable propaganda here).
The argument is, at essence, a moral one, not an airtight logical one. Take your same thought experiment, but instead of someone dealing with coming out of the closet as a homosexual, imagine it’s a pederast or someone who is into bestiality struggling with his urges. Principally, there isn’t much difference, other than the fact that homosexuality now enjoys around 45% moral approval among the American public while support for the other deviant lifestyles enjoys less than a tenth of that. Moral parameters can change quickly, though, as shifting societal feelings about same-sex marriage illustrate.
Presuming you’re among the vast majority who find sex between an adult and an adolescent or a man and his pet to be morally wrong, how would you feel seeing it pushed on all media fronts with the insinuation that if you have a problem with it, there’s something wrong with you? Well, now you have an idea of how traditionalist Americans feel about homosexuality and its persistent and conspicuous celebration in popular culture.
As an interesting aside, in ancient Greece and Rome, homosexuality between two grown men was considered scandalous and frowned upon, while sex between a man and a boy was considered acceptable and even encouraged among many affluent Hellenes. The emperor Hadrian (of Hardrian’s Wall fame) deified his boy lover after the young man died. Tellingly, rumors swirled that Hadrian had lost interest in the boy after he entered puberty and had been looking for an opportunity to be rid of him so he could pursue riper pre-pubescents. And Hadrian was no Caligula–he is considered one of ancient Rome’s better rulers.