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NeoNotes — Subjective morality

I realize I'm in a minority here, but I am going to say it again.

What consenting adults do is up to them.

That means don't mess with kids.

When it comes to consenting adults, you have no more right to judge them than a atheist has to judge participation in your church.

I'm considerably more "sex positive" than most on this board. And I am saying "who are we to judge" goes out the window when it comes to kids.

If a society doesn't protect it's children, what's the point?

I "will admit?" Which behaviors?

I think consenting adults and honoring promises covers most of it. You want another excuse to control people, you'll have to do it over my objections.

Standards change.

We don't accept child labor anymore and I'm pretty sure that's a good thing. Women got the vote and that is a good thing. Even our poor have color televisions today.

Are there things in this World I don't like? Yep. Are there things I think this World would be better without? Yep. Do I have the power to ban the things I don't like? Not without giving others the power to ban the things I like.

Ward and June Cleaver were fiction. So are all those gods-awful romance novels.

You're confusing sex with the pickup culture.

We don't have "rampant, uncontrolled sex." We have sex. Specifically sometimes we have sex outside of marriage, and that's your real objection.

Consenting adults is one of the few sexual standards that matter. It's also one of the only ones that work consistently. In case you hadn't noticed, the pickup culture is dying. Sex is down among young people.

While I am polyamorous, I don't pick up strangers in a bar to get laid. There are huge aspects of American culture you're overlooking. In my writings I've said that sex with strangers is basically mutual masturbation and it's not a healthy relationship.

You're welcome to tell your children what is right and what is wrong. I believe that's your duty as a parent. What you are not welcome to do is to put those beliefs into law so you can control other people's actions.

The law should be limited to punishing direct, measurable harm. Theft should be punished, murder should be punished, vandalism should be punished. Indecent exposure, prostitution, selling a beer on Sunday, not so much.

If you can’t convince people that your morality works without being backed by law, then you’re doing it wrong.. class="ghoster">

Rather than translating, let's look at what I said.

I said consenting adults only. This is my first sex rule. It also eliminates children, animals, fence posts, and sex dolls.

I said that anonymous sex without an emotional connection is basically mutual masturbation and probably won't be a lasting relationship. I know from experience that one night stands are fairly childish and not emotionally healthy. What I didn't say that given a chance, people outgrow that. I did. Millions of others do too.

I said that honoring promises is important. This leads to my second sex rule, if you promised to be someone else's one-and-only, you're off limits.

I'm straight myself, but if someone else is gay it's none of my business. I don't like sushi, but that doesn't mean it's my place to keep people from enjoying their sushi.

In my case, polyamory doesn't mean group sex. Neither of my companions are interested.

One thing I do might be considered perverted by some. I'm a naturist. But I take care not to annoy the neighbors and I don't equate nudity with sex.

Compared with some of the folks that RSM posts on this board, I'm downright vanilla. I also don't like the pickup scene, the sexualization of children, and the conjunction of sexuality and politics.

So you can ignore me, insult me, or accept a possible ally from a place you might not be comfortable with. Your choice.

"This is an idea that works - in theory. But in the real world where real people live, it does not."

It does until others feel the need to meddle. And that is my point. People are responsible for their own choices. You can't have the choice without accountability. That's what isn't taught in those sex week courses.

It's also the core of libertarianism.

People should screw up on their own and accept responsibility.

If there is one central tenant of progressive thought, it's that there is always a excuse not to be responsible.

I don't like professional sports. I can't stand it on television. I don't watch it. By that standard, I'm deviant.

I'm also pagan. I don't follow a monotheistic faith, and yes, I'm a tree hugger. Unlike many pagans (and especially public pagans), I don't believe in anthropogenic climate change. By that standard, I'm also deviant.

Am I immoral? Well, that's an interesting question. I believe in honoring oaths and promises and I believe that one's word is one's bond. I believe in giving truth even when that truth makes others uncomfortable. I don't lie. I've never made any secret of who I am here. I believe that a man is measured by the lives he touches. I believe the secret of life is to make the place a little better than how you found it. I believe in treating people like I would want to be treated, at least until they prove they don't deserve that courtesy.

How is that immoral?

But you are talking sexual immortality, aren't you? Let's see. I believe that sex takes an emotional bond to make it worth something. I believe that sex should happen between consenting adults. I believe that if you promised yourself to someone else, you're off limits. I don't do the pickup scene, I don't believe in anonymous sex with many partners. I think we sexualize children in our culture and that is not a good thing.

How is that immoral?

Perhaps more accurately, why is that worse than what is happening today?

I believe that sex is something you share with people you care about. I just care that way with more than one person at a time.

I won't go into the whys and wherefores, but I would not be a good father.

Monogamy isn't considered a moral ideal by everyone.

While I do agree that children need strong role models of both sexes, I don't agree that monogamy is the best arrangement. Traditionally uncles, aunts, and grandparents have been strong influences. I know some poly families, the parents are good parents raising good kids.

Is a poly relationship adultery? Not really. Non traditional, certainly. Non exclusive, probably. Complicated, oh yes. But if you're not breaking your word, it's not adultery.

Which morality?

Islamists for example want Sharia law. There are a bunch of toxic feminists who want every male to abase himself for past sins of his gender and shut up. I've been having a lively debate with a Satanist for the last six years and I'm pretty sure you don't want her picking your morality.

I base my morality on the ethic of reciprocity. Christians call it the Golden Rule, although there are versions in many cultures. My personal favorite is “Be excellent to each other. And Party On, Dude!”

On the contrary. people choose their morality all the time. That was my point in picking those three groups. I could have picked my Mormon neighbor who objects to coffee, tea, and cola on moral grounds. I could have picked my vegetarian niece. I could have picked my Navajo friend who believes that males should not touch anything associated with childbirth. All these people I've mentioned have very distinct moral reasons for their beliefs.

Should your morals trump theirs?

Should theirs trump yours?

Can you show this "source outside of ourselves" without demanding that they give up their beliefs?

Pardon, but this is your opinion, not fact.

Morality is highly subjective. I know many Christians don't agree, but plenty of people don't agree with Christians either.

You can't say that there is one supreme morality without dismissing every other belief system.

Are you willing to do that in the name of the "greater good?"

Would you be willing to live under the morality of another?

Show why morality is not subjective.

I've given six groups (seven counting me) that disagree with common American morality on at least one issue.

I'm still waiting for you to tell me about the "source outside ourselves."

There's always plenty to discuss.

Whether there is willingness, that's another question.

Not true.

For example, I could point out how you want to deny others their rights.

Or how your interpretation of morality means you will lose.

But that's not the discussion you want to have.

Assuming just for a moment that you won't get everyone to agree that 1) morality is absolute, 2) which morality to use, and 3) what is the source of morality is, maybe we should take a step back for this discussion.

What morality and rights can we agree on to move forward?

No, it wouldn't. And not just because numbers 1, 2, 3 and 5 don't have any meaning to anyone who doesn't follow an Abrahamic faith.

If you want a common morality, there are two ways. Impose it by force and kill everyone who doesn't submit. Or find things people agree on and build from there.

Personally I think the ethic of reciprocity is a better basis. Come to think of it, a certain guy in the New Testament thought pretty highly of it too.

Can you give one good reason why someone who follows a non-Abrahamic faith would follow № 1, 2, 3 & 5? Can you tell me why someone should be required to follow those commandments?

What you choose to believe is fine. But your choice doesn't control the beliefs or actions of others.

Are you really willing to fight this out among potential allies?

Are you really telling me that a little sex among consenting adults is the same as murder?

All you are doing is isolating yourself. I would no more submit to Christian beliefs than I would submit to Islamic beliefs. And for pretty much the same reasons.

Faith is between the individual and the Divine. Not between a book and the individual. Not between a priesthood and the individual. The only worthy faiths are those freely chosen.

My faith, my beliefs, my morality is at least as important to me as yours is to you. Drop me in any American city and in a day I can find another thousand individuals who can say the same. And not one of them will be Christian.

So will you kill the infidels? Or will you pick the important fights and choose allies?

Actually I did.

You started on this thread by calling me a pervert. Later you called my supposed teachers moral and mental misfits. Oh, and you called me a liar.

Yet as far as I can tell, your only real disagreement with me is my sexual practices. After I said don't mess with kids.

The rest of what you've said is just you making noise because you think you ought.

Am I evil? Am I immoral? By your stated standards you say I am. But by mine, I'm just trying to make the World a little better. One word at a time. One mind at a time.

I've never said you must submit to my beliefs and my morality. I've just said that you can't control the beliefs and morality of others.

Define evil.

I regularly debate people who tell me about the evils of capitalism. Never mind that the free market has lifted more people out of poverty than anything else in history. Never mind that these folks push a government controlled economy while never realizing that the joining of government and business leads to tyranny.

Starting well before the Christian era and lasting well into the 20th Century, Jews were accused of using the blood of non-Jewish children in their "unspeakable" rites. It was definitely called evil. It also never happened. Today we call the accusations blood libel.

For centuries slavery was taught from the Bible. Not only the justification, but the actual procedures. It was stopped because enough people in the UK and the US said "This isn't right." The existing morality allowed slavery, it only changed because people changed their minds. That's possibly the biggest example of relative morality in history. Thank you for bringing it up.

So tell me, what do you consider evil? I'm not going to acknowledge your god before mine. Is that enough? Isn't the measure of a man in the lives he touches? Do unto others? Isn't that the "core of the teachings?"

To be good, must I raise your beliefs over mine?

To me and to millions of non-Christians, that's evil.

You're overlooking a great deal of your Bible. Also a great deal of history. If anything, the abolitionist movement was stronger in England than in the U.S. And since the British Navy controlled the seas at the time, the slave trade wouldn't have ended if not for England.

People changed their minds.

Slavery was part of life for thousands of years. It was moral. From your perspective, it's immoral, but that's after the fact. After a few generations went by condemning slavery. After the trade was destroyed.

Subjective morality.

That "bit of nonsense" is central to our discussion. You want your moral code to prevail over all others. You say it's because it's from a higher level than ourselves. I have different moral lessons from my gods. But it is not necessary that you give up yours for mine. Not only do you demand I give up mine for yours, you're offended when I don't. Your claims of higher authority are intended to suppress dissent. It's an old trick, I'm not falling for it, and there is not a thing you can do about it.

It's not morality you're pushing, it's submission. Power over.

I'm offering you something different. Power with. There are things we agree are bad. You won't get servants. You might get allies if you don't demand that they abase themselves. Otherwise you will have different battles on all fronts.

And that is why you will lose. Without me or mine having to do a blessed thing except watch.

Of course it's your moral code. I gave you seven examples with distinct differences from mainstream American morality. The only reason why you could give for dismissing those examples is that "they are wrong." You can't say why they are wrong anymore than you can say why the one you prefer is right.

There is no objective way for humans to identify THE morality even if it exists. You said as much yourself.

If you really want to fight all that "evil," you need to learn to deal with other people and their beliefs and their needs.

The ethic of reciprocity is the best known way of doing so. It's even sanctioned by Christianity. It's perhaps the major keystone of Western Civilization. All in all, it's a pretty good idea.

And it's arguably done more for Christianity than your Ten Commandments.

You keep trotting out that false equivalency between math and morality. You also keep denying that other people have a working morality of their own.

One thing for you to think about. The only reason this is an issue is because you want to control others but you don't want to admit it.

You haven't. You've offered an opinion. "There is only ONE morality and this is it. No dissent allowed. And if you don't like it, take it up with (the Christian) God."

You haven't provided evidence. You haven't accepted responsibility for what you say. And just in case you hadn't noticed, your God isn't a party to this conversation.

On the other hand, I've said that sex with kids is not a good thing and should be punished. I assume you agree although you haven't said one way or another.

I've also said that the pickup culture is immature. I assume you agree.

In fact, for a thread that started about a prominent Democrat possessing horrifying child pornography, you seem determined to make this thread about me and your perception of my moral failings.

I said don't mess with kids. You called me a pervert. For all your posturing about moral superiority, you haven't said one thing on this thread about Jacob Schwartz and his pornography.

I didn't say anything about a moral absolute.

As a rule, absolutes don't.

Actually this is another great example of relative morality.

In today's American society, outlawing sex between an adult and someone underage is a good compromise. It solves more problems than it causes.

The extended childhood thing started in urban America after WWII. It had spread to most places by the '70s, but there are rural locations today it hasn't reached.

Depending on location, marrying while young wasn't unusual. My own grandmother married by 15 and had her first child by 16.

This is another example of something that was moral in the past and immoral today. It may be moral in the future. But for today I accept the compromise. It has nothing to do with your ONE morality and everything to do with shifting economics.

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe simply because it has been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is written in Holy Scriptures. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of Teachers, elders or wise men. Believe only after careful observation and analysis, when you find that it agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. Then accept it and live up to it."

— from the Kalama Sutta

"I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path."

— Jiddu Krishnamurti

I would have had this one up earlier but Disqus was on the fritz.

Fair warning, you really don't want to play the quote game with me.

The Kalama Sutta is a discourse of the Buddha written as a sutra. In short, it's a Big Thing, just not in Christianity.

Jiddu Krishnamurti was a modern philosopher who said he had no allegiance to any nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy.

Or did you think that the only people who thought Great Thoughts™ belonged to your particular faith group?

Here's one of mine.

The simple answer is that moral responsibility is always a personal choice. You can't compel virtue or it ceases to be virtue.

That's the second reference you've made to drugs. Just so you know, I don't indulge. My family has a history of alcoholism.

There's more to great thoughts than validating your opinion. That's been my point. Other people have their thoughts, opinions, and beliefs. If you don't recognize that, you're going to live a very isolated life. Acknowledge but not celebrate. That's one of mine too, I'll throw it in for free.

I wouldn't have mentioned any of this except you said that there was only one moral system and everyone should obey it whether they wanted to or not. To your credit, you only implied the "or else." Although you did threaten me with eternal damnation.

You've tried insulting, belittling, shaming, and dismissing. You've tried most of the dirty emotional tricks in the book to make this about me and my beliefs. But you know what?

You still haven't even mentioned Jacob Schwartz. Even after I pointed that out to you.

That tells me more about you than I need to know.

No, it's not true. It's your opinion and most people on the planet don't share it.

You can't offer one single solitary bit of proof. For you, it's an act of faith. But until and unless you can prove it, you're spouting so much hot air.

So am I. I freely admit it. From the beginning I said we needed to build a system of morality on the things we share. I listed some of them. But that wasn't enough. You wanted submission.

You won't get it.

Don't assume you know what I've been taught or fed. You've been wrong on almost every assumption you've made about me.

And of course, I couldn't possibly have studied and figured it out on my own, could I?

Absolute morality serves those in power or those in fear.

Some wonderful things have been done in the name of Christianity. Some monstrous things have been done in the name of Christianity. That brings up my point again.

Why do you demand that everyone else submit to Christianity?

Freedom of religion doesn't mean submission to Christianity. It never did. From the Constitution forward, the United States was never a Christian nation. It was a nation founded on freedom, not one that raised one faith above all others.

People must choose for themselves. People must accept responsibility for their choices. It's the only real way forward. Not because I believe it. But because it's only way people learn to do better.

It's not a statement, it's a question.

Look at all my posts on this thread. Look at all my writings. You'll find that while I criticize the actions of individual Christians, I do not attack Christianity. I do not agree with it and I make no secret of that. But I give respect because I expect respect. Acknowledge but do not celebrate. Treat others like you want to be treated.

How else do you think an openly pagan, sex positive libertarian would be tolerated on a Christian conservative board?

I've told you the truths I try to live.

I don't expect you to sacrifice your beliefs. Just as I won't sacrifice mine. Individual choices. Individual responsibility. Individual faith. Individual honor. That's it.


NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

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