Keyes, Get Lost!

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Alan Keyes has gone too far in opposing gay marriage. He claims that incest awaits kids of gays. His reasoning is as follows: 1) gay parents adopt children, 2) children of closed adoptions don't know who their blood relative are, 3) inevitably, one of those children will unknowingly marry a blood relative. 4) Therefore, gay marriage should be illegal.

This, again, just like in my last post, is a complete non-sequiter.

The threat of incest is in no way confined to, nor exacerbated by gay marriage. As Keyes himself says, "If you are masked from your knowing your biological parents, you are in danger of encountering brothers and sisters you have no knowledge of." This is hardly a phenomenon confined to gay parents who adopt.

Using this reasoning, Keyes is not so much attacking gay parents so much as he is attacking all parents of adopted children (where the adoption is closed, i.e. the birth parents remain anonymous) and parents who have children through anonymous egg and sperm dononation. Gay parenting per se has nothing to do with it. Gay marriage, even less.

(By the way, gay parents are hardly limited to closed adoption in order to have children. There are several ways that gay parents can know who the biological parents of their children are: gays can have children from previous heterosexual encounters, from open adoption, from non-anonymous sperm or egg donation. Furthermore, gay parenting will continue regardless of the legality of gay marriage.)

What infuriates me is that Keyes is clearly holding the parents responsible for this hypothetical incest. (If he did not think this was the case, then even the most tortured reasoning could not provide him with a rationale for opposing gay marriage by means of incest.) By extension, since his arguement really applies to all who have participated in closed adoption, he is accusing me of unknowingly encouraging incest. Suffice it to say that I do not appreciate this insult. The implication that I have done something wrong by adopting Spark even though I was unable to find out who his parents are infuriates me.

Alan Keyes: the candidate who attacks gay marriage by insulting participants of closed adoption. Excuse me while I take this opportunity to root for Obama.

8 Comments

this is an argument straight out of plato's republic, which he learned from allan bloom, who happended to be gay,.

Plato proposed massive societal adoption alomg with a completely revised communal family structure, with safeguards to prevent incest. I'm not sure what you're getting at unless you're taking the implausible minority view that The Republic is a fable about how not to run a society. That view makes no sense of Plato's overall argument that justice isn't merely conventional, which relyies on the analogy between the soul and the state. If this model of the state is facetious, what does that say about his argument regarding the soul?

Even if the implausible view were right, there's no way Plato could possibly be saying that incest would be a consequence of adoption, because he shows how to avoid that result. Every child born in the period after a sex act is assumed to be the child of that couple.

I'm not sure what Bloom or his sexuality has to do with anything, and I'm not sure what you're suggesting by the reverse causal order, but you better know more about The Republic than you seem to if you're going to make such odd comments on the blog of a philosopher who will call you on it.

he is accusing me of unknowingly encouraging incest. Suffice it to say that I do not appreciate this insult.

Interesting comment here by you. I think I understand that your outrage is caused by the logic of Keyes' arguement. But you do say that you are insulted of being accused of encouraging incest. Because of the philosophical nuance of your previous post regarding legislating morality, you might be accused of encouraging gay marriage. Is that an insult? I guess you either encourage or discourage, and, by fighting for the freedom of those gays who want to marry, aren't you encouraging it?

I would think by your previously expressed logic, you would have no problem with incestious marriage. If a 40-yr old father wanted to marry his 19-yr old daughter, it may be immoral, but if they are consenting, you would be fighting for their right to marry, I assume. So, why are you insulted by this?

(off on a limb here) By extension, we should have no laws against bestiality, if the animal is your property. Pedophelia, if both parties consent. Who's to say you have to be 18 to have rights and freedoms. And I await your opposition to abortion laws by the same logic, women's freedom shouldn't be restricted in what they do to their own bodies. And it goes on, and on, and on.

I think there is a doublemindedness in your logic here. I DO see a conflict between the Christian faith and the philosophy you are expressing. But, I am pretty simple when it comes to philosophy. I start with God and faith, and whatever philosophy comes out of that, comes out. But, I remember to keep the faith first at the foundation.

(Forgive me for commenting on at least 3 posts at once here, probably including the one over at my blog...just all came out at once when I saw this Keyes post) God bless you, Rocky

There's an asymmetry here. Wink has endorsed adoption as a good thing but endorsed allowing gay marriage (not as a good thing but as a civic right). Keyes has said that anyone who encourages a policy that leaves people not knowing their genetic heritage is encouraging incest. Wink is outraged at that claim, since it means closed adoption encourages incest. It doesn't. It makes it a little more likely that unknown incest will occur, but it doesn't encourage incest. On the other hand, allowing gay marriage does not encourage it. You can firmly defend someone's right to do something wrong, and that's what Wink has done here.

I think it's also worth emphasizing that the principle Wink endorsed requires that a legal sexual act has consent from all parties. Children can't consent, and neither can animals. It doesn't matter that the animal is property, because it didn't matter that slaves were property. It still violated the principle that consent is required. Abortion clearly harms someone, even if you ignore the harm to the mother herself. If what is currently considered murder is wrong because it harms, then murder can legally be extended to include abortion on the same grounds without concern for whether the fetus is a person, has rights, or is property. The harm principle is enough to give reason.

I don't know if Wink will endorse everything I just said (and I don't myself hold the view that consent and harm are the only reasons for legal restriction on sexual behavior), but I have shown at least that the things he's said on these matters are perfectly consistent. He may have a different way of making them consistent, of course, but I don't think your objections hold against the view I expect him to be taking.

As I said, I went out on a limb with those last 3, but I think that Wink's logic can be extended so that pedophilia "holds". And incest, seems to me, would be ok under that same philosophy. Immoral, but legal. But I guess he will have to answer that.

Gay marriage--Right now, there is no such thing as gay marriage. "defending someone's right to do something wrong."-- If that defending involves fighting for the freedom of gays and changing the system to allow gay marriage to happen...I am sorry, but that is encouraging gay marriage. It is certainly not discouraging it, and it is not a neutral position. I don't know if that is the appearance of evil that we are supposed to avoid, or if that falls under the 'those that approve' clause at the end of Romans 1, but I am not comfortable with it and wouldn't stand in agreement with you. God bless you, Rocky

But Wink never said that consent is irrelevant to civic values, so he never said anything that should allow pedophilia. Incest is another matter, assuming conception is absolutely preventable. That's not something that it would be a good idea to enforce, though, so perhaps a restriction on incest is plausible. I don't know what he should say about that.

I guess you're unaware that Massachussetts is performing gay marriages, and they've been going on in some European countries for a while now. I don't think the view Wink has stated requires pursuing changing any laws. It just requires not resisting that change when someone else pursues it. If he wants to say something stronger, then we don't share the same view. I was thinking we did have the same view on this issue.

I also think you're wrong that changing the law to allow gay marriage counts as promoting it. It doesn't. It simply removes a restriction and brings it to a neutral attitude. Promoting it involves going out and telling gay people to get married.

I don't think we have any obligation to avoid the appearance of evil, since that involves coordinating your every action with other people's inappropriate and wrong beliefs about what your actions involve. If Jesus had done that, he wouldn't have gotten very far. If you're thinking of I Thess 5:22, a more accurate rendering of the Greek is "refrain from every form of evil". If you're going to insist on the KJV here, then we're going to have to disagree, of course, but it means that issue doesn't come up as strongly for those you're dialoguing with as it does for you.

Rocky says: "you might be accused of encouraging gay marriage"

As Jeremy rightly points out, there is a difference between defending something and encouraging it. Example: I defend other people's right to worship other gods; I do not encourage it.

By extension, we should have no laws against bestiality, if the animal is your property. Pedophelia, if both parties consent.

Jeremy correctly assumes that I consider consent to be a vital civic value. Minors and non-humans are unable to give consent.

And I await your opposition to abortion laws by the same logic, women's freedom shouldn't be restricted in what they do to their own bodies.

Abotion is easily restricted by the civic value of life for persons, presuming that you believe that fetuses and embryos are both alive and persons. Inasmuch as those beliefs are in debate, the legality of abortion should be in debate. Abortion laws need not rely on morality as their prime motivator.

I would think by your previously expressed logic, you would have no problem with incestious marriage. If a 40-yr old father wanted to marry his 19-yr old daughter, it may be immoral, but if they are consenting, you would be fighting for their right to marry, I assume

Incest is a grayer area in my philosophy, but laws restricting them are far from untenable. Again, it comes back to consent. With parent/child incest, where both are adults and willing, it would appear that there is consent. But that is not necessairly the case. Just as it is unethical (illegal in some places?) for a psychologists or lawyers or teachers or doctors or commanding officers to sleep with their patients/clients/students/soldiers because the power balance makes the consent/coersion line too blurry, so the power imbalance between a parent and child makes consent iffy. This also goes for uncle/niece and aunt/nephew (and uncle/nephew and aunt/niece) relationships. This does not hold so well for cousin/cousin relationships. Nor for sibling relationships. Admittedly this is an area that needs work in my philosophy. But I do not think that it is a fatal flaw.

Right now, there is no such thing as gay marriage

Gay marriage is currently legal in my county (Multnomah County, Oregon). As Jeremy notes, it is also legal in Mass as well.

I start with God and faith, and whatever philosophy comes out of that, comes out. But, I remember to keep the faith first at the foundation.

Are you implying that I don't? All of my political philosophy starts with the premise that separation of Church and State is most likely the healthiest situation for the Church (except for true Theocracy, of which there are only two instances: ancient Israel and God's rule in the eschaton). As such, that separation should be defended. That seems to me to be a fairly strong foundation of faith for my political philosophy.

Jeremy says: "I don't know if Wink will endorse everything I just said (and I don't myself hold the view that consent and harm are the only reasons for legal restriction on sexual behavior)"

I pretty much do endorse everything you said. I also believe that consent and harm are not the only reasons for legal restrictions on sexual behavior, but I do think that they are enough to show that such legal restrictions of sexual behavior have as their primary purpose civil values. As such, they are allowable under my philosopy.

Keep in mind that I do not think that morality should not inform our laws. But while morality can (and should) inform our laws, our laws must (in America) be primarily civil in value.

For crying out loud. And kids whose parents are opposite-sex and married are automatically protected from accidentally marrying a half-sibling? NOT. Who really believes that every man called "Dad" is actually the biological father? Households across America are raising the neighborman's kids, and yes, their kids are dating. Bizarro logic.

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