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Politics are a disgusting abyss of failed attempts to legislate morality. But why is it like that? Perhaps one of the primary reasons is because people can't seem to agree on what morality is; or, more specifically, they can't agree on what is right and what is wrong in any objective sense. There aren't any standards. It's all conjecture. It's all relative. One opinion is just as good as everyone else's opinions.

Take homosexuality for example. The formal opinion of the Vatican, which claims that gays, lesbians, and transgender persons are "intrinsically morally disordered" seemingly cannot be objectively argued as better or worse than the position that homosexuality is natural. As a result, politics become a fight with real violence over who gets to coerce others to follow their beliefs. There's only one factor that makes a difference in the democratic enforcement of a moral code: which group is the majority.

In one sense, the gay rights debate is about the fundamentals of what love is and what is required to fulfill that sense of love. In another sense, the debate is about which privileges a person is allowed (e.g., with whom we can associate in marriage, what we can say even if it's not considered politically correct). Thus, with differing opinions of morality, you have groups jockeying for the majority position so that democracy can then enforce their will. The warring factions don't appear to be arguing over the fundamentals of freedom from an ideological perspective, but just as they relate to specific privileges for specific groups. When a group gains the majority, their governments legislate according to their moral code (e.g., imposing the death penalty on gays, criminalizing gay sex by making it illegal). But, in a world where the terms "liberal" and "conservative" are now seemingly empty, it is becoming more difficult to gain a majority in any idea.

Should sexual preference or orientation play into someone's moral character? In your opinion, does homosexuality result from biology or choice? Can our psychology be separated from our biology? Should people have the right to do as they please in sexual matters so long as they are not initiating force? Should all associations be voluntary in a free society? Which moral choices do you think should be outside the purview of politics?

While Ayn Rand did consider homosexuality to be immoral, this was only her personal view... The essence of the Objectivist position is this: Homosexuality can be a moral issue only to the extent that it is a matter of choice. Scientific evidence shows that, in many cases, people don't choose their sexual orientations - it is in their natures to prefer sexual relations with members of the same sex, members of the opposite sex, or both. On the other hand, people can choose whether to act in accordance with their natures, and since sex is essential to man's life and happiness, this is a moral issue. It is morally right for people to act in accordance with their natures, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or anything in-between.

Objectivism holds that sex is morally important, but not for the traditionally cited reasons. While some believe that sex should be practiced only in order to procreate or only in accordance with the mandates of their religions, Objectivism holds that sex is morally important because it can promote one's life and happiness. Sex is not merely a hedonic process that produces immediate sensory pleasure. Sex, "[t]o a rational man... is an expression of self-esteem - a celebration of himself and of existence" (Ayn Rand, "Of Living Death," The Objectivist, Oct. 1968, 2). And for this man (or woman, mutatis mutandis), sex is properly a physical expression of romantic love, "his response to his own highest values in the person of another - an integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire" (ibid., 2). Celebration of one's own life and of existence is essential to promoting one's happiness; thus, it is moral to make choices that allow oneself this celebration and immoral to deny or negate it.

So according to Objectivism, sex is potentially moral, but what about homosexuality? The few times Ayn Rand spoke publicly about homosexuality, her remarks were disparaging. She said that homosexuality is a manifestation of psychological "flaws, corruptions, errors, [and] unfortunate premises" and that it is both "immoral" and "disgusting" ("The Moratorium on Brains," Ford Hall Forum Lecture [Boston, 1971]). Apparently, she thought that heterosexuality was a universal fact of human nature.

Is Homosexuality Moral?


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Apr 27, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=540

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