It’s A Comment Of The Day Weekend! First Up…Comment Of The Day (3): “An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay…” AND, In Related News, Another Bakery Gets Slammed In Oregon

I’m not exaggerating: I have at least four Comments of the Day stacked up on the Ethics alarms runway after this one, and there are usually COTDs arriving on Saturdays. I can’t promise to get all of them up today, especially since I’m hacking away at the 2017 Ethics Alarms Awards, and this is a long working weekend at ProEthics. Still, I will get a lot of them to you, and it’s a provocative group, as you will soon see.

But first, a prelude and some context.

An Oregon appellate court this week upheld a ruling against the owners of the since-closed Sweetcakes by Melissa,  Aaron and Melissa Klein, forcing them to pay emotional-distress damages of $135,000 to Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, a lesbian couple for whom they refused to design and sell a wedding cake almost five years ago. The Klein’s argued that state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian violated state and federal laws and their rights as artists to free speech, their rights to religious freedom and their rights as defendants to  due process.

The Oregon court ruled that the Kleins’ argument that their cakes entail an artistic expression is “entitled to be taken seriously,” but it’s not enough for the couple to assert their cakes are pieces of art:

“Although we accept that the Kleins imbue each wedding cake with their own aesthetic choices, they have made no showing that other people will necessarily experience any wedding cake that the Kleins create predominantly as ‘expression’ rather than as food.”

This mess commenced  when Rachel Bowman-Cryer went to the suburban Portland bakery with her mother in January of 2013. When Aaron Klein was told that the wedding did not involve a male partner,  he said that the bakery did not make cakes for same-sex weddings. They left, but soon the mother returned to argue with Klein as Rachel sat in the car, weeping. her mother went in to speak with Klein. The mother told Klein she had once thought like him, but having two gay children forced her to see the error of her ways.  Klein retorted with Leviticus: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

The complaint and action by Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries followed. You can read the opinion here.

Ugh.

This case is even worse than the one currently before the Supreme Court, discussed here.

I can’t imagine that if Colorado baker Jack Phillips wins the SCOTUS case it won’t throw the Oregon Appeals ruling here into limbo. Yet there are significant and, I would say, material differences. This one might need its own review, and like the Colorado case, it all could have been avoided if the parties weren’t determined to be Golden Rule-defying jerks.

Citing Leviticus as an appeal to authority dodge, for that is what it is ultimately, demands contempt and rejection. Religious practices, faith and belief are all worthy of respect. Citing a section of the Torah/Old Testament completed over 2500 years ago by author or authors unknown (no, it was not Moses) should not and cannot be sufficient to override laws, equal protection, societal standards and common decency. 2500 years ago! The authors had a tiny fraction of the knowledge we have now, and 2500 years less experience. Why would anyone ever cite such pronouncements in a modern context? Well, I know why, but government and law cannot carve out exceptions for people who want to be silly, stubborn, or ignorant to the detriment of society. Has Klein researched scholarship about his source, or is it just a handy-dandy excuse to be gratuitously cruel?

Then there is the inconvenient fact that the passage cited doesn’t apply to the couple involved. “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination” does not render a judgment about women at all. I know: “scholars” have determined that God, speaking from the authors, was speaking about lesbians too; no really—they are sure of it. Sorry: God knows everything, and he should be held to at least the same standards of precision as human legislators. The Oregon bakers had no persuasive authority for their objection to same-sex female weddings at all. We can’t permit public accommodation laws to be vetoed by fanciful extrapolation, even if we could accept that Leviticus had any validity in 2017.

The court’s argument about art, however, is incompetent and embarrassing. Art isn’t art unless others consider it art?  So much for Jackson Pollack, hip-hop, James Patterson and Adam Sandler, I guess. That reasoning shouldn’t last 30 seconds in the next appeal.

But the damages! $135,000 for emotional distress due to a conversation in a bakery?  That borders on cruel and unusual punishment. File the complaint, have the bigoted bakers fined and get another cake. If this kind of conflict justifies six-figure damages, any verbal cruelty does.

The couple, the bakers, and the State of Oregon are all unethical here, irresponsible and incompetent.

And with this in mind, here is the Comment of the Day by Alizia for perspective and reflection. (There is one section omitted that has no relevance to the rest).

How does it relate to the post under which it appeared, An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay Advocating Limits On Speech…?

Well, for one thing, it is the kind of speech Noah Berlatsky thinks we should be able to ban. A lot of Alizia’s comments are. (I’ll be back at the end)…

By God’s Grace we will act in this present to reverse the damage your generation has brought as it pertains to the perversions of homosexuality and deviant sexuality and the collusion between Hollywood, government and media activists in a social engineering project to make homosexuality seem normal and good and to ‘install’ it in people’s minds and in culture.

Homosexuals and homosexuality have always existed and will always exist, but they have not always been so visible and allowed to be so influential. And this is what will be reversed. It was put in motion over time and with the assent of people’s conscience, and it will be reversed through the same means.

I will not tire in repeating: there is a movement which has begun in all the English speaking countries, in all the countries of Europe to establish an idea-base and idea-activism to turn back the perversions of America and ‘the Americanopolis.’ The world-movement to make homosexuality seem a normal and even a desirable option began in the US and it was carried out by homosexual activists in PR and in Hollywood.

Through similar activism, and through the indolence and pervasiveness of your generation, having come about through nescience and, I guess, your own sexual confusion, pornography and bizarre sexuality have become a feature of the present, as easily obtainable as gumdrops. In this way you have directly contributed to the open perversion of your children and the world’s children. By God’s Grace your own perversions will be brought out into the light of day and branded as such. How to begin? By talking about it. By opening the topic up for conversation. By going into the spiritual and the metaphysical dimension of the question.

…I am of the young generation and know of dozens of people in my group who not only think as I do but are devoting their lives and time and resources to reversing the trends of perversion *you* have allowed to be put in motion.

I’m back.

I am not picking on Alizia, who is, amazingly enough, far from the only intelligent, serious, well-read person to express these views. This deserves to be a Comment of the Day for this very reason: somehow she, the bigoted bakers and a lot of Americans persist in a belief and position that does real damage to innocent people justified by nothing but obstinacy and denial. Alizia provides a useful example of the fallacies brought into the argument by anti-gay zealots. There isn’t a single substantive data point in sight.

Gay people have always been powerful, influential and major contributors to society. They just have only recently been able to reveal that they are gay. The US has had one gay President (at least); Great Britain had at least two gay kings; Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar were gay (and more than one other Roman Emperor); Sweden’s Queen Christina, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, Socrates, Aristotle and Plato; Ralph Waldo Emerson (while we’re on the topic of philosophers) James Baldwin, Walt Whitman,  Emily Dickinson, William Butler Yeats, J.M. Barrie, George Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward, Larry Hart, and Cole Porter;  E.M. Forster, Tennessee Williams, Marcel Proust, Henry James, and Oscar Wilde; Eleanor Roosevelt and Sir Francis Bacon, J. Edgar Hoover, Alan Turing (who was essential to winning World War II, as well as launching the age of computers), George Washington Carver; Tchaikovsky! Beethoven! Handel! Saint-Saens! Chopin! Schubert! Benjamin Britten,  and Aaron Copeland;  John Maynard Keynes, and probably a majority of actors and male ballet dancers. Those are just some of the influential gays through history we know about: I think it’s fair to say the world would be very, very different, and much worse, without their influence.

On the other side, the vital ways in which gays are harmful to society and others, we have nothing. Nothing! How people express themselves sexually has no impact of strangers or anyone not in the bedroom. The conduct is not unethical, or any more “perverted” than any other sexual activity between consenting adults. Nor can something that has been part of human behavior for eons be called “unnatural.”

The opposition to allowing gays to be respected citizens like any other law abiding human beings is, and has always been, based on the ick factor and attendant ignorance. People once believed you could catch homosexuality, like a cold. It was a perversion because the people calling it a perversion found it repulsive, and, by extension, proof of bad character. Eating raw oysters and enjoying Lawrence Welk is a perversion by the same standards. Alizia’s position—a common one— is built on marshmallow,  quicksand–and air. No science, no experience, no history, no common sense, no evidence nor objective and informed observations. 

All there is left to fall back on is…Leviticus.

Come on.

 

271 Comments

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271 responses to “It’s A Comment Of The Day Weekend! First Up…Comment Of The Day (3): “An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay…” AND, In Related News, Another Bakery Gets Slammed In Oregon

  1. Andrew Wakeling

    Alizia : I don’t see why you shouldn’t write what you want, when you want and how you want. Everyone else does. No-one is forced to read you, or agree with you. And modern medications to reduce high blood pressure are quite effective.

  2. Very Esteemed La Sylphide and TexAg:

    The odd coincidence here is that the game of ‘Bingo’ was first played on May 2, 1819!

    But here is the more important part: Mahler’s 5th begins in the key of C sharp minor, but it moves into and ends in D major. Similarly, among my detractors, I am interpreted to be playing only in a minor key. But this, while not a ‘lie’, is sort of a projection of self-deception. You have colored me with the colors of your minds, or so I find.

    There is much more to be gained by encouraging free speech, fearlessness in testing ideas, the taking of risks, and the expansion of idea-limits, than in attempting to place limits, and then doing it as a ‘group project’.

    I was selected, under dubious circumstances, for the COTD but it really was to point out what Jack and others feel is my bigotry. So, it is not really much of an award if you really think about it. And I clearly have chosen to explore the forbidden territories of so many issues that, in our liberalized PC environment, is material that borders on the illegal: thoughtcrime. I am of the opinion that some people focus on the way I write, or perhaps some of the chaos of the plethora of ideas, when they could just as easily select some part that had been clearly expressed and comment on it.

    Both you and La Sylphide would gain more, and contribute more to the thread and to the Blog if you make the choice to do that. Meantime, I leave you with Handel’s Violin Sonata in D Major which is in affettuoso, best translated as ‘tenderly’. I am not a tempo but rather a mood.

    You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

  3. Handel Violin Sonata in D Major:

  4. Jack: If you see this I sent an email with a post that I cannot get to post. Would you be so kind as to replace this note with that post? For some reason WordPress has it in for me.

  5. Only 75 more comments until this thread exceeds last years highest comment count in a thread of 324; of course that 75 would be a little lower if WordPress wasn’t kicking out come of the comments. This 249 comment count thread has a word count around 52,000 and the 324 comment count thread has around 56,000 words. This thread as already exceed that 324 comment thread in one way, that 324 comment thread only had an average of 172 words per comment, this thread has an average of 208 words per comment – (said sarcastically) I wonder why this thread average is 21% higher than the other 324 comment thread?

    I think there’s still some more wordy “arguments” left in Alizia and Chris arsenal; I’m rootin’ for ya Alizia the prize is yours for the taking.

  6. I wrote (to Sylphide) : “But there is another part to this and it is that you have literally not encountered the ideas I am talking about. The ‘tomes’ I mention are mostly from philosophers and writers who wrote prior to WW2. I deliberately choose to read this material and to limit my reading of later authors because, in my view, the Sixties destroyed intellectualism. I could provide examples yet I am sure that you have no interest in hearing, nor do you likely care much about thiese things”.

    Chris commented: “This should not matter. Whether your audience has read the same academics as you should have precisely nothing to do with your ability to a) coherently articulate your own ideas or b) coherently summarize the arguments of others. If you can’t do this, then you’re not engaging in intellectual activity at all; you’re simply regurgitating, and badly.”

    It really makes all the difference in the world. Here is why: We have entered a very strange ‘age’ in which people can function, and do function, without ‘basic literacy’. It sounds snobbish perhaps yet I do not mean it that way. There was a time when an educated person would have read in some of the basic categories that define bedrock values and understandings of the Occident. Now, they don’t.

    I came to this blog to learn about ethics and to participate in conversations related to that discipline. But to have a conversation about ethics presupposes a general familiarity with *Western categories of thought*. Here, people have great skill in focussing on some immediate issue or concern, and I suppose they think they can adjudicate it successfully. But I have observed that they can’t, not really. They have to ‘follow a leader’ (of opinion) who can make a convincing speech. The arguments are rarely intellectual, and well reasoned, and often emotional and sentimental. The problem of emotionalism and sentimentality everyone seems aware of, in theory, even when most are caught up in emotional and sentimental reasonings.

    I am fascinated about how this has come about. I am somewhat sure it has a great deal to do with propaganda and public relations conditioning. People have been trained up to respond to advertising, which is always based in manipulating or stimulating emotional, sentimental responses. What happens is that an entire consumer society has been created, a vast mass of people who cannot reason and don’t even desire to reason, and who ‘feel’ their way through ideas. This creates a ‘feminized’ (that is, emasculated) general culture of giant, needy, opinionated babies. I assume these are the sort of populace needed in such a mercantile environment? Thinking people are definitely not required. The Sixties and the Seventies seemed to have gone further in establishing a citizen who responds to life through emotions and sentiments. But it all is even more complicated by the fact that to live in emotions and sentiments is to place oneself closer to living in sensuality and ‘voluptuousness’.

    When once an individual was formed who lived in relation to the transcendent idea, and could be said to live in relationship to ‘God’ and to higher dimensions of being, such a life and way of existing has been diminished in value and superceded by all the possibilities of immediate experience. One lives now for ‘experiences’, one lives so much more ‘in the body’, and that also means in contingency, in the contingent moment, in mutability.

    It is quite irrelevant to me if no one can understand what I am trying to communicate when I say that living in tis way is living in relation to the demoniac since, as it appears, no one has any idea at all, except some movie-mediated idea, of what this even means. If you cannot define the divine, if you have no familiarity with what that mean in theology, in art, in poetry, and if you do not immediately have something to say about it that reveals you understand (at some basic level), then how could you ever be capable of defining the demoniac? The categories have become irrelevant, meaningless, except insofar as they stimulate someone’s bizarre imaginations.

    I have had some more insight into what this means in our present (since I am the one who brought it up in relation to this topic). The demoniac, in simple terms, refers to being driven along by and captured by material and sensual currents. It means living through obsessions and processes that capture the mind, and thus the spirit, and divert consciousness into these contingent and mutable areas. And the Divine, being completely immaterial and supernatural, is an area of focus — the only area of focus — that can take us out of that.

    Probably, what I have just written here is incomprehensible to most. But it really shouldn’t be. These are very basic categories and, at one time, would have been easily understood.

    We live in an age of demonic assault. We are what is being assaulted and the area in which we are assaulted is our mind, our feelings, but importantly (in a Thomistic sense) our imaginations. We are polluted, violated, injected and significantly captured. But since we no longer have access to a functional theological language, we no longer have a conceptual means of defense.

    There is nothing I have said here that is unclear. The prose is decent enough and the ideas clear enough that no one should have trouble at least getting the gist of it. And yet you cannot! You have never been asked to think in these terms. And you likely never will. Again, this is not ‘arrogance’ or ‘haughtiness’ speaking. That is the lowest, emotionalized, level of taking the process of dealing intellectually in intellectual categories.

    The ‘summarization’ of the important ideas which have informed what I write, and which once were vital areas of Occidental concern, but are no longer such, would take weeks and even months. A ‘summary’ is a false category for a Walmart American intellectual culture! These ideas require a participating intellectual subject.

  7. A friend and I spent some time this last weekend wading through all the “blurred and muddied…generalities, tangents, cosmic puzzles, dancing angels and navel-gazing exercises” that Alizia posted in this thread and after some discussion I’ve come to a conclusion; Alizia wins the award for the wordiest attention deficit disorder internet troll I’ve ever seen. (Thunderous applause)

    The Alizia persona portrayed in the threads of Ethics Alarms is a bigot, a racist, morally bankrupt, the devil incarnate. The persona is so terribly tunnel visioned in its core bigotries that it appears to be utterly brainwashed in a very robotic way, very much like obsessive-compulsive disorder in that regard, and then to try and balance out the persona there is a subroutine that intertwines a wash of attention deficit disorder over the top of everything that the persona posts by pulling in tangentially correlated text that any normal human being would blow off as nothing but pointless distractions. This persona does not learn, this persona is fixed, this persona is a hard coded program, this personal is not human, this persona is a drone program, this persona is a bot, it’s a virus trolling Ethics Alarms threads.

    Troll: Those that post inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.

    Side Note: Alizia, if you really are human, there is help out there to deal with your issues and for the sake of those that are around you get some medications for A.D.D.!

    Zoltar has “Spoken”!

    • #Aliziadontgiveacrap

      As an observation, much of what you wrote could be applied to other commenters here at EA: the tunnel vision, appearing to be utterly brainwashed, compulsive (knee jerk) reactions to non PC opinions, ADD and forgetting past discussions as if they never happened, and so on.

      It makes for interesting reading, to be sure.

  8. [quote] The US has had one gay President (at least); Great Britain had at least two gay kings; Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar were gay (and more than one other Roman Emperor); Sweden’s Queen Christina, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, Socrates, Aristotle and Plato; Ralph Waldo Emerson (while we’re on the topic of philosophers) James Baldwin, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, William Butler Yeats, J.M. Barrie, George Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward, Larry Hart, and Cole Porter; E.M. Forster, Tennessee Williams, Marcel Proust, Henry James, and Oscar Wilde; Eleanor Roosevelt and Sir Francis Bacon, J. Edgar Hoover, Alan Turing (who was essential to winning World War II, as well as launching the age of computers), George Washington Carver; Tchaikovsky! Beethoven! Handel! Saint-Saens! Chopin! Schubert! Benjamin Britten, and Aaron Copeland; John Maynard Keynes, and probably a majority of actors and male ballet dancers.[/quote]

    Apart from the fact nearly half of these are Yanks, it reads like a wish-list by the Committee for Suggestion of Possible Queer Fantasies. Bernard Shaw ? Honestly ?? Shaw ???

    And Barrie has been feebly suggested as a repressed paedophile, but not as a gay. Richard the Lionheart was not gay, I should like to see a certificate of attestation from President Buchanan’s mother before signing off; and that comes to the problem with nearly everyone on your list: there’s no evidence.

    Most major prominent men before the 20th century were accused of homosexuality ( or sodomy as it was quaintly called ) purely as routine slander. From Christ to Napoleon.

    And your suggestion that most actors and male ballet dancers were/are gay is ridiculous stereotyping of the worst American bias against culture. Male ballet dancers are actually quite virile; actors were mostly ladies’ men; and nearly all the composers, from Puccini to Wagner; and choreographers like Petipa to Baryshnikov were strongly hetero. Only the modern USA infers effeminacy from high culture.

    • Sorry to confuse you with facts. Nobody honest who works in the arts will dispute any of what I pointed out. There are legion articles about AIDS, for example, in the dance world. A coincidence, I’m sure. male figure skaters have the highest incidence of AID of any athletes. Hmm, I wonder why? I’m a professional stage director, and have been for many years. More than half of my collaborators, including actors, musicians, dancers and others, have been gay. The Washington DC area is not an anomaly.

      Dr. Sally Peters, who wrote a persuasive biography of Shaw, concluded he was gay. Obviously it’s hard to prove. There are authorities for everyone I mentioned: some undoubtedly are wrong, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that, as I said, Gay people have always been powerful, influential and major contributors to society. That’s a fact. Cherry-picking individuals who may or may not support that statement does nothing to rebut it, because it is true.

      You’re a homophobe. And you don’t know what you are talking about.

      Got it.

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