Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shouting Bigot in a Crowded Blogosphere

Yes, I'm still here. My brain has been on vacation.

Anyway, I have nothing to say, but Little Cicero had some insights on America's ban on LGBT people serving openly in the armed forces that I thought were worthy of discussion. (Is it wrong of me to start a flame war in a heat wave?)

A couple weeks ago, Little Cicero suggested that the ban actually protects gay people "from homophobes within the army" and isn't "a method of screening out gay soldiers."

Yesterday, he had this to add: "As I said, in the military thing, you are not deprived of a right of association or sexual activity, but rather of the right of speech, as in speaking of your homosexuality. As countless precedents may indicate, you cannot shout "Fire" in a crowded building when it serves no purpose. Analogously (very loosely so) you cannot shout "I'm gay" in a barracks when it really serves no purpose. The only way it WOULD serve a purpose is if you're looking for a good time with another gay soldier, which would be prohibited anyways. Since sex is detached from the military realm (theoretically) and homosexuality is a sexual condition, what is the rational basis for protecting the right to pronounce your sexuality in a non-sexual institution?"

Any thoughts?

60 comments:

Mike B. said...

I'm unconvinced of the wisdom of giving honest answers to people who don't seek the truth.

Nevertheless: being forbidden to come out is not simply tantamount to being unable to proposition your fellow soldiers. It is being forbidden to talk about most aspects of your life--the course of your love life, certainly, but also any gay-related interests, and just about anything else that even touches on the truth. People naturally ask questions about the lives of their co-workers; gay people in the military have the attractive choice of lying, of evading all substantive questions, or of isolating themselves from people with whom they need to get along well enough to work. It's a barely tenable situation.

The reason I doubt the sincerity of Little Cicero's concern is that gay-bashing is more of a problem under DODT, given that gays cannot report harassment or even violence without risking exposure. This is a fact that requires minimal research to uncover; I don't for a second think he wasn't aware of it. I just don't think he cares.

huomiseksi said...

Little Cicero did not think his arguments through to their conclusion.

The ban does not "protect gay people from homophobes within the army." The right to enlist and serve protects gay people from homophobes within the army. Without an enforceable right to serve in the military, no deterrent exists to the actions of homophobes, nor may gay people seek to redress such actions.

As for LC's freedom of speech [sic] argument: are hetero servicemen deprived of the "right of speech?" I can hardly imagine that they refrain from sexual expression every minute of every day of military service the way gay servicemen must.

A passing mention of a wife, girlfriend (in the case of male soldiers), or any kind of opposite-sex attraction may be out of place in military situations, but discharge does not result from it. Even when it "serves no purpose."

Gay soldiers are certainly not protected by the ban.

Quinn said...

Re: the fire analogy. You're not forbidden to shout "fire" in a theatre not because it "serves no purpose, but because it is fundamentally dangerous (causing stampeding, etc). If we assume that shouting "I'm gay" in a barracks is analagous, we are assuming that anybody saying that would immediately be inciting a riot. While I'm not willing to say that wouldn't happen, I think that the problem there would be the homophobes, not the homosexuals, who are moving from words to violence.

Andy said...

Yeah, did you give this any thought at all, LC? I mean, actually, you're NOT forbidden from shouting fire in a crowded theater if, in fact, there is a fire. By that logic, then, it should only be a crime to shout, "I'm gay!" in the barracks if the shouter in fact is NOT gay.

obliquity said...

Wow, there is a lot one could say about this line of reasoning.

I cannot get beyond the ill-conceived analogy. Is it me, or when one would choose to shout "Fire!" in any location it is to alert people of a danger and allow them to seek shelter from harm.

If I stand up (anywhere) and say "I'm gay!" are people supposed to run for safety?

To equate homosexuality with a fire alert is absurd. To say my gayness is going to result in harm to anyone else is such bullshit.

Again, the ego of men is astounding. As if announcing your sexual orientation is the equivalent of "I'm gay....oh and I want to have sex with you at this very moment"?

Look, I respect LC's right to have the opinions he does no matter how homophobic they may be. But, honestly, I am so tired of hearing how homosexuality is 'a threat' to some idealized heterosexual fraternity of inflated male egos.

Get over yourselves.

Hank said...

My thought is that little cicero would have been more comfortable in society, if he had been born in 1850.

Tuna Girl said...

I could be wrong, but I think there is still a ban on sodomy in teh Uniform Code fo Militar Justice which actually would mean that their is some sort of ban on a sexual activity.

Of course, that activity isn't only paracticed by gay men, but it does have certain implications.

Tuna Girl said...

Ack. Typos. Sorry.

DJRainDog said...

Okay, I've been watching this all day, and I've been thinking about it rather a lot, and it's been irritating my reflux. I don't mean to insult little-cicero, but seriously, I think that any further attempts to change his beliefs, which are obviously more rooted in his bigoted, homophobic, guilt-ridden Roman Catholic upbringing/brainwashing than in anything resembling reasonable, rational, logical thought, is probably futile, much like trying to educate most of America. I'm frequently reminded of a sign which was posted in my elementary school music teacher's classroom; it read, "Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig." I gave up on most of America the FIRST time the AntiChrist was appointed President and they failed to resist.

Jeff said...

I have to step in, because there's some sloppy constitutional analysis going on here.

LC writes: "Since sex is detached from the military realm (theoretically) and homosexuality is a sexual condition, what is the rational basis for protecting the right to pronounce your sexuality in a non-sexual institution?"

Under constitutional doctrine, this is the wrong question to ask. You're supposed to analyze the law that infringes on the right; you don't analyze whether the right can be exercised.

Since speech is a fundamental right (see: First Amendment), any governmental action that infringes upon that right is subject to strict scrutiny. Under a strict scrutiny analysis, a law must be justified by a compelling governmental interest and it must be narrowly tailored to serve that interest.

That's why LC is wrong when he says: "As countless precedents may indicate, you cannot shout 'Fire' in a crowded building when it serves no purpose. Analogously (very loosely so) you cannot shout 'I'm gay' in a barracks when it really serves no purpose." (Emphasis mine.)

You're not prevented from shouting "fire" in a crowded theater because it serves no purpose; you're prevented from shouting "fire" because it's affirmatively dangerous to do so. In free-speech cases, the speaker doesn't have to assert a purpose for speaking; the government has to show a purpose for prohibiting the speech. In other words, the burden is on the government.

The most recent federal court decision on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is here, from just a few months ago. It's a federal district court opinion. Here's a summary (top story). The judge's opinion gives the speech argument very short shrift - wrongly, in my opinion. The judge says that speech is only used as evidence of homosexual conduct, but that's not true - the military tolerates the conduct as long as you don't say anything about it. (Do I have that right?) So I think this really does need to be analyzed as a free speech issue.

Courts disagree when it comes to the military, though. The judiciary traditionally shows the military great deference. Federal judges so far have ruled that because this issue involves the military, there's a rational basis behind DADT.

Jeff said...

Whoops. To clarify:

Federal judges so far have ruled that because this issue involves the military, rational basis review is appropriate and there's a rational basis behind DADT.

little-cicero said...

Wow, I didn't think that would make a mark. Thank goodness I didn't make any spelling errors on that line!

Mike B: All I seek is the truth. The chances of my converting Andy to my point of view are virtually nill. What I have always seeked is clarity, and as a bonus proving that I have presented a logical argument. Any thing further is superfluous.

Huomiseksi: I'm tempted to say "good point" on your first argument, but on second thought, to prevent homophobes from hurting gays in the military, you must, after punishing them severely, look at why they're doing it. Do they hate gays because of military statutes? No! I'm not sure why they hate gays, but it has nothing to do with the fact that they're not allowed in the military.

Quinn: My very point was that it IS dangerous to shout "I'm gay". There are thousands of gay-haters in this country, and many of them are in the military. Add that to the aggression that builds in servicemen and you'll find a gravitation towards gay-bashings in the military.

Andy: GREAT POINT! I did not give that any thought, in fact this line of reasoning was for consideration, not really meant for pedantic review of this sort. Still, though, I'm glad to clarify as I'm able.

Obliquity: This is not about the utility of speech, it's about the freedom of speech vs. the danger of speech. I'm not talking about the danger from homosexuals, I'm talking about the danger to them.

Hank: You're probably right. As Archie Bunker sang "Girls were girls and men were men" (or was it Edith?)

Tuna Girl: That's irrelevent, because all sex is banned in the military. Also, we're talking, I assume, about sexual preference, not sexual activity. See my last comment on the previous post.

DJ: If you think your President is the anti-Christ, I doubt there's hope for you. Still, I encourage you to visit my blog. My background: not very religious- the kind of Catholic who went to church "when he could", fairly liberal (as in parenting) parents never talked about religion. I'm not a fundamentalist, I do like to exchange rhetoric and ideas. I rarely "win" debates in the conventional sense, but always feel like a winner because I learn from them.

Now, to Jeff's comment, which is the best and most challenging of all.

little-cicero said...

We have established that the right cannot be exercised, I assume we're discussing already the reason for the law infringing on the right.

I have presented the reason for prohibiting this speech, I only mention the reason for speaking, which I find to be of little import (I assume it would be emotional/psychological fulfillment of some sort), because it barely equals the reason NOT to speak. In making any law RATIONALLY, you must weigh the consequence of NOT making the law with those of making the law. I assume the same process is undergone in making a law that infringes on a right, but of course you would give additional weight to the side of those infringed upon.

I think that this decision was right to turn down the 5th Amendment challenge, which has no validity to me, and wrong to ignore freedom of speech's violation. I, however, in that judge's shoes, would honestly find protection of homosexuals more important than protection of homosexuals' freedom of speech.

TO ALL: As I'm sure Jeff would affirm, freedom of speech should be your argument on this issue, and is probably the only valid constitutional argument you can make against DADT, if any exist. I bring this up with nothing but intellectual honesty in my heart, and it politically is not a lucrative point to bring up, but I am not a political being. I'm an American.

little-cicero said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
little-cicero said...

Andy: I should add to my flattering words toward your reasoning that the purpose of the statement in question was not to analyze the utility of speech, but rather the freedom vs. danger of speech. I made the same point to another commenter. It's a significant difference.

My meaning is this: Just as the source of the "fire" quote (Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.) was not truly discussing the truth of speech but the danger of speech, which only incidentally depended on the truth of speech (If you took another example as in inciting a riot, the truth of speech would be immaterial):

I am speaking of the effect, not the cause of speech.

little-cicero said...

BTW ALL, IF I MISSED PART OF YOUR COMMENT, please repost what you'd like a response to. I don't want anyone to think I'm dodging rhetorical daggers.

Matthew said...

little-cicero,

Residents of big cities should be mandated to stay indoors at all times. This is because crime is so high in most big cities. If residents must go somewhere (to the hospital or, perhaps, to a place of employment), then they must be accompanied by a police escort. All of this is for their own safety. I'm sure no one will mind.

Oh, and African-Americans will no longer be allowed to live in rural southern communities because, well, you know. They never should have been allowed to live there in the first place, given the racial climate. Once again, this is for their own protection.

Bigotry and fear should always win-out over other people's freedoms, right?

little-cicero said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
little-cicero said...

Bravo! (to a limited extent) We've had rhetorical daggers on this thread, but that was a friggin' rhetorical bazooka! I did find a flaw in it, however.

I have a purpose to go outside of my house. I need groceries and I need to see family members. What are the purposes for homosexuals to disclose their homosexuality within the military? Do those purposes trump security purposes? This is the essence of law.

little-cicero said...

Oh pooh! Why does my presence so repulse the readers of this blog! Before I showed up they were commenting in droves! To all:

Bring_It_On!

Matthew said...

A few things:

1) What is the "purpose" a black man deciding to move to a small, rural town that is, say, comprised predominantly of KKK members? I can't really see one, other than he wants to, or it's convenient for him. As such, he should be legally prohibited from moving and living there, correct?

2) A security team can bring groceries to people's homes, or escort family members to each other's places, should it be necessary in my "big city scenario." In fact, perhaps to simplify matters we should mandate that all family members within big cities move-in with each other? Remember, l-c, this is for people's safety.

"What are the purposes for homosexuals to disclose their homosexuality within the military?"

I don't know. What is the purpose for heterosexuals to disclose their heterosexuality within the military? I've never been in the bunks of a unit, or been in the trenches with fellow soldiers, or in the office of someone in the top brass. I would like to know, however, if members of a unit ever discuss their significant others with one another. I suspect that they do. That's understandable, especially if they happened to be stationed in Iraq right now, thousands of miles from their husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. To be able to speak of the one you love with the comrades you live with isn't something to be shamed about, and I'm sure it occurs every day. To deny a homosexual this due to bigotry is incredibly crass. It basically allows for bigotry and fear to rule the day. I would also suspect that the offices of military brass has photos of their families in it, although I may be mistaken.

"This is the essence of law."

We've also had laws that have stated black people weren't full human beings, and were property. So, just because you speak of the "essence" of a "law" does not provide a slam dunk for your reasoning, because not all laws are just.

To follow your logic, we shouldn't even be in Iraq -- or any other theatre of war -- because members of military will get hurt, or even killed. And if you're so concerned about the safety of others, then we shouldn't even get into dangerous situations, right? Or is it only when you wish to use such an argument to disguise your bigotry?

We're talking about the United States military, little-cicero. They face hardship, danger and death day in, day out, year in, year out. And you're seriously going to support a policy which states that they're sensitivies are so delicate that if they know a fellow soldier is gay that they'll go berserk? Wow. What an insult to the men and women in our armed forces.

I go back to my big city scenario. Pay attention to the concept, and you'll see what I'm getting at. The criminals on the streets are the ones with the problem, not the folks they rob, beat up, or kill, who might get hurt. So that's why we punish the criminals, not the ones who might get hurt.

Got it? Good.

little-cicero said...

I fully grasped your concept from the outset- it was very well presented using satire. You are effectively presenting the idea that law enforcement should only concern those who violate the law, not citizens violated by those perpetrators. The purpose, as you're trying to make me understand, is not a purpose at all, but the freedom to do as they please. Freedom and security are always at odds- it's a fact of life in the republic. I've often considered that the law should be principly set up to punish rather than infringe on freedom for the masses (us teenagers have substantially libertarian tendencies!), but pragmatically I find that law is designed to prevent crimes- not just to punish. Look at most police badges- they read "To Serve and Protect"!

Iraq parallel: The purpose of liberating millions of Iraqis, giving them a stable government, and killing the terrorists who now occupy their country (AKA insurgents) trumps the purpose of protecting thousands of troops. It's all about purpose trumping purpose!

Addressing 1) and others, your analogies are lucrative, but inaccurate in that we're talking about the military. It is not a free institution by any means- you are not free to say a laundry list of things you can say in public life. A military body is set up not accounting for the freedom of those within, but for the freedom of those without that, by its discipline, it is able to protect.

By this admission on my part, we may have found the most substantial break in this analogy of the military barracks to the crowded theatre. There is freedom in a crowded theatre- not in the barracks.

Bob said...

Americans should die to free Iraq; so the majority in Iraq can oppress the minority within Iraq.

It's hard to follow the logic of a bigot.

little-cicero said...

Bob, as you've shown on my blog, I'm sure you have plenty of substance to offer. Please don't surrogate intelligent commentary with name-calling and cheap insults. Majority rule in Iraq is in every way better than minority rule in Iraq (AKA Saddam Hussein), though of course we can agree that minority rights must be protected.

Andy said...

Well...Little Cicero, as per usual, (by accident) you've hit upon an interesting point. Now, Saddam Hussein was a horrible guy, a brutal dictator, to be sure. And morally, it was wrong for a sectarian minority to hold such oppressive sway over another sectarian majority.

But looking at Iraq now -- in pragmatic terms, can you honestly say we've made a difference for the better? Is the average Iraqi on the street better off after Saddam Hussein? Honestly, I am not sure.

PS, hear, hear for your support of the rights of minorities. If only that extended to gay folks' right to marry and serve in the military.

Travis said...

Though I clearly oppose the ban, there are some interesting points that do need to be discussed, were it to be lifted.

For instance, men and women are separated in different barracks to avoid as much sexual interaction as possible....how, and would that change were the ban on gays and lesbians lifted?

And, more importantly, the military has a documented history of exclusion based on sex, race, religion, class, physical ability, etc. Not that I agree with that, but it is an interesting point for discussion.

fulminous said...

Hi LC --
If I understand your reasoning correctly, you're saying that gay members of the military should have their freedom of speech abridged, in order to protect them from unreasoning, hateful, fellow military personnel. The need to provide security to these gay soldiers outweighs their negligible "emotional/psychological fulfillment."
Now let me draw an analogy of my own: I would imagine that civil rights activists in the 60s could reasonably be considered to be "in danger" as a result of their words. Should that speech have been declared illegal, simply on the grounds that the people expressing those words would be placed at risk for saying them? After all, equal rights would only fulfill an emotional/psychological desire to be treated like the rest of society, which couldn't really be *that* important. If they really wanted that, it probably would have been easier to lie and disguise themselves to look just like everybody else, I'm sure. Just like it makes sense for gay soldiers to slap on a coat of camouflage and call themselves straight.
Just because it's easier to hide orientation than it is to hide race, is no reason at all to hide either.

little-cicero said...

Interesting points

I've dealt with some variations of the black rights analogy- this one really deals with the purpose aspect. I think it does so incompletely- as far as Civil Rights, blacks NEEDED equal education and equal protection. Most "civil rights" protesters today are only pushing for emotional fulfillment in my opinion, but in the 1960's they were fighting for their lives. I'm all for gays protesting where they believe their rights are violated, but I'm not sure the military is the proper place to put freedom and equality before security and discipline.

Travis brings up a good point- there are some undeniable complications of a sexual nature in putting homosexuals in the same room as men who would go to any lengths for a BJ (excuse my crudeness, but for the sake of clarity). You can't always count on social taboos in the face of sexual frustration (I'm sure Trickish Knave can illuminate us as to the frustration witnessed in the Navy). Especially when the business of female companionship is virtually non-existent, as is the case in much of the Muslim World.g

Jarred said...

there are some undeniable complications of a sexual nature in putting homosexuals in the same room as men who would go to any lengths for a BJ

What are you seriously suggesting here? That suddenly, the introduction of gay men into a barracks is going to result in massive fellatio parties? That straight military men would force themselves on the gay ones? (And if that one is your implication, you really need to think long and hard about what you're implying.) That the gay soldiers would force themselves on straight soldiers? (In my experience, most straight guys who think this would happen are flattering themselves.)

Your reasoning on this topic seems to be getting wilder and more desperate by the day, LC.

Fulminous said...

So, LC... what exactly makes "emotional fulfillment" unnecessary to a healthy and happy life? Other than you saying it's so, of course. How can you dismiss something that I'd imagine falls under the aegis of an inalienable right, pursuit of happiness, say, so easily?

Even if we take your argument that chaos would surely result if soldiers were no longer forced to lie about who they're dating, I think you probably have to come up with a better reason than the Big Blowjob Bash. Besides being specious, I find it (and I'm speaking only for myself here, although others may agree) remarkably insulting. I know you don't intend it as such, but seriously. Come on now.

As for the issue of changes being necessary regarding sleeping arrangements -- why? I don't think my college had separate "gays only" dorms, and we all seemed to get along just fine, close quarters and all.

Bob said...

All bigots do is insult people.

little-cicero said...

You're right about the sleeping arrangements. I didn't mean to make that part of my argument- it's just an interesting consideration. I thought I'd elaborate on it. It does present us with a problem, but not the primary reason for keeping gays out of the military by any means

No, I stand by the reasoning of security 100%. The reason we probably won't reach any agreement here is that my fundamental thought process is that in a military establishment, freedom is merely an after-thought. You think pragmatically when runnning an army, not liberally. Now, if you can convince me that freedom is indeed important to ensure for our troops while in the military, you may have me convinced, but I've always been taught that the military fight to ensure their nations' freedom, not their own. This military freedom argument probably sounds like a cop-out, but I think it's a logical rationale.

DJRainDog said...

l-c: First, a point of contention: GWB is not MY president. I did not vote for him; I do not approve of him; and I oppose and deny him at every possible opportunity. I believe he is that much of, at best, an embarrassment, and at worst, an evil.

First, you're right; your "security" argument holds no water at all, and it is a cop-out. Homosexuals have served admirably in military situations since the appearance of organised militaries. I'm not going to school you on this one, though; I'm just going to encourage you to do your homework, YET AGAIN!

More to the point of the post, though, no one's asking to shout, "I'm gay" in a crowded barracks. To do so would be silly, laughable, the stuff of a Leslie Nielsen film. What we are talking about is all of the big three, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

First, we ARE, indeed, talking about people fighting for their lives, not only because they're in combat trying to survive, but because under a system where one fears losing one's job as a result of an investigation which would doubtless be launched in response to one's complaint of being harrassed as a result of one's sexuality (that's DADT, for short, thanks), one would not report such abuses. If discharge were a non-issue, as it is in the armed forces of Great Britain, Israel(!), Canada, and countries where military service is a requirement (as it was in France up until a few years ago), sexuality, too, would be a non-issue, and statistically, we've seen DEcreases, not INcreases, of anti-homosexual violence in countries where bans on homosexuals in the military have been lifted. (I have some links, but I'll let you find your own.) I wonder if homophobia is seriously so rampant and people are such Neanderthals in America that violence could escalate in this culture under circumstances in which it has abated in others. In the meantime, I encourage you to research the names Barry Winchell, Allen Schneider, and Matthew Shepard, for starters, as regards gay people "fighting for their lives".

Liberty, too, is at issue, as we're talking about freedom of self-expression. Now, I'll concur that this right is, necessarily, limited in the military. But if gay soldiers are to refrain from expressing their sexual interests, it's only fair to enjoin the heterosexual ones from doing the same. In fact, while we're at it, why don't we just return to Victorian societal norms? I'll have my mother put a drape over the piano in her living-room to hide the legs, which might be considered sexually provocative, being bare and all. We're also talking about liberty to be employed in one's industry of choice, in a position which one merits. Heroic decorated soldiers may be stripped of their honors and discharged, despite their courage under fire, prowess in battle, aptitude for their tasks, simply on the basis of to whom, outside of the workplace, they find themselves attracted. Ridicule.

Finally, my favourite: The Pursuit of Happiness. (Yes, I know, none of these is actually guaranteed in the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence really has no direct bearing on the government of this country, but I'm sure I could find Constitutional basis, were I inclined to pursue it, though at this moment, I'm not.) The pursuit of happiness in associating with the person whom one loves. The pursuit of happiness in a career about which one feels passionately, a job which one does excellently. The pursuit of happiness, most importantly, in living WITHOUT FEAR OF REPRISAL, be it in form of verbal, physical, psychological abuse, death, or dismissal, whether from one's colleagues or one's superiors, based on such an insignificant issue as one's sexuality.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" MAKES sexuality an issue and both protects homophobes by giving them the idea that they're right to hate and abuse their homosexual comrades-in-arms, and instills fear in homosexuals by forcing them to keep secrets.

All we're asking for is EQUALITY: EQUAL rights and EQUAL protections under the law. I continue to believe you don't actually know any homosexuals; if you did, you'd know that we simply don't fucking have them. I'm STILL giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you're just ignorant, but you're really starting to sound like a fundamentalist bigot who speaks whereof he knows not. (" . . . [T]hey seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." Matthew XIII:13)

little-cicero said...

The security argument is something you disagree with. You feel that it is BS, but it is the only way I can illustrate my rationale. If I was a bigot, I would just say "Gays- get out of the military- we don't want you" but I do want gays in the military. I just don't want them to disclose their sexuality. What I'm trying so hard to make you understand is that gays currently have the right to join the military- they don't have the right to say that they are gay. That is the intellectually honest way to frame this discussion. If I was desperate, I would never in a million years present this as a speech issue, because that puts me in a rhetorically disadvantaged position. If I was dishonest I would say this is a sexual freedom issue, but I realize this has to do with sex only incidentally.

I find it insulting that you assumed I didn't know that since before the Spartans gays have been in the military. For goodness sake, it's not about being in the military- it's about disclosing your sexuality while in the military. With a few exceptions of the Greek variety, no one was openly gay in most of the world's militaries. Actually, arguably the Spartans were NOT gay, they just engaged in homosexual activity due to sexual desperation, but for the sake of argument I'll put that opinion aside.

If I'm a soldier, do I have the right to discuss insubordination in a military barracks? Do I have the right to discuss attacking a fellow soldier in a barracks? Do I have the right to discuss the faults of my superior officers and illegitimize their authority? Do I have the right to discuss *anything considered dangerous or destabilizing by superior officers* in a barracks? This is the point I'm trying to express- in the military, accomplishing the mission, security and stability all trump life (as you frame it), liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Fight for your rights in the streets at home, and the military and any homosexuals serving in it will fight for them in the streets of Baghdad against the rats who kill homosexuals as soon as they get the chance.

DJRainDog said...

Very well, then, l-c. Sexual beings of ANY sort are prohibited from military service. ALL soldiers must be completely de-sexualised at all times. Sexual discussion of any kind is prohibited. Persons disclosing anything at all about their sexual orientation or exploits will be immediately discharged, either dishonorably or on medical grounds. And for record, the people fighting in the streets of Baghdad are NOT doing so for MY rights or those of any other American citizen. If you believe they are, you are completely deluded. (In WW2, for example, when there was clearly an offensive threat in the world that was taking over countries and converting them to another form of government? Sure. Now? Hell, no. Now, we ARE that offensive threat.)

DJRainDog said...

P.S.: You still haven't even begun to lay a foundation for your "security" argument. Homosexual soldiers are apparently not a security risk in the militaries of countries where their service is not banned (I listed a few examples above; there are others). Are American homosexuals so much more potent/dangerous/nefarious/insidious? If so, I'm so glad you could teach me something about my people (of whom I maintain you've never gotten to know one) that even I didn't know!

Jarred said...

You feel that it is BS, but it is the only way I can illustrate my rationale.

Then perhaps I'd argue that it's time to consider changing your position.

little-cicero said...

DJ, I am a high school student whose only clique affiliation is drama/choir. I've talked (even discussing gay rights) with people I assume may be gay, but high school students don't tend to advertise their homosexuality. Do you expect me to seek out an adult gay friend in the personals or something? I guess my paragraph would read:

"Teenager looking for gay adult to discuss gay rights with and develop more thorough understanding of homosexuals as human beings."

Give me some time for crying out loud. Isn't Andy enough of a friend?

I don't think that American homosexuals are any different in character than any other men. It is not their character's I'm afraid of. You are taking "dangerous" in the most simplistic way possible- I mean by the word that the common knowledge of their sexuality poses gratuitous danger.

You are COMPLETELY missing my purpose argument if you insist that all soldiers must be desexualized. For goodness sake, try to appreciate nuance for once in an argument- what I'm telling you is that if you're going to infringe on a right, you have to have sufficient cause for doing so- and a cause is only sufficient if the pro outweighs the con.

The only way I believe you can honestly counter my argument is to argue that the con outweighs the pro! Otherwise you can just keep painting caricatures of my argument. The satire and irony gets old after a while!

DJRainDog said...

l-c, I'm not ignoring any part of your argument at all; I'm simply telling you it's ludicrous and unfounded. If with minimal anti-harrassment training and the clear support of leadership, the bans on homosexuals serving openly in other nations' militaries are able to be lifted, and it's of BENEFIT to all parties involved, why should the case in America be different? Are those societies'/cultures' mindsets superior to ours? In a situation where there is no ban on homosexuals serving, homosexuals are protected by the law from harrassment/abuse and are not afraid to report it when it occurs. The only danger that exists for homosexuals currently serving in the American military is that they'll be harrassed, abused, or killed and have no recourse against it because if they report it, they're signing their own walking papers! HOW CAN YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THIS?! YOU have yet to show how the "pro" of keeping homosexuals mad enough to want to serve in this ludicrous nation's military from doing so outweighs the "con" of allowing them to do so with no fear of reprisal based on their sexuality! I, on the other hand, have given you NUMEROUS DIRE CONSEQUENCES of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which you continue to ignore! My time, I feel, is being wasted, and it's not just the pig that's getting annoyed, here!

DJRainDog said...

P.S. (again): You're all too quick to jump behind the "I'm a high-school student" shield when it suits you, but you get your hackles up every time anyone mentions your youth/lack of experience in a mildly, even humourously, dismissive fashion. Decide where you want to stand, sir! You can't have it both ways!

little-cicero said...

Okay, leave out the fact that I'm too young to have known an openly gay person. I don't believe I need to know a gay person to understand the essence of the problem: They prefer someone of the same sex, and their preference is not accepted by society which believes the sex yielded from the preference is unholy. They are not able to gain a marriage contract and they are not allowed into a hospital when their partner is dying. They are not allowed to speak of their sexuality in the military, and they are lower priority than inferior hetero couples when waiting to adopt. It would help if I knew someone, but it's not as if I think it's easy for a gay person to live day to day.

Anti-harrassment training is bureacratic hogwash. The only way someone stops hating an entire group of people is by talking to them, whether virtually or personally (preferably the latter- by the way if I hated homosexuals, it would be a shame that I've never personally met one). Telling someone not to hate is useless.

I've considered the argument that reporting a hate crime results in termination- I just don't agree with it, because DADT enforces that the fact that one is a homosexual cannot be gathered if DADT is abided by. I'm not one of those who believe that homosexuals are all a bunch of Village-People and fairies- you can't pick most of them out in a crowd. So why should I fear a security risk if they are for all intents and purposes not homosexual?

"YOU have yet to show how the "pro" of keeping homosexuals mad enough to want to serve in this ludicrous nation's military from doing so outweighs the "con" of allowing them to do so with no fear of reprisal based on their sexuality!"

Because we can't keep them guarded 24/7 just so they can be emotionally fulfilled! The best way to avoid the problems inherent in allowing openly gay people in the military is to make them regular guys like every one else- which really, they are.

"I, on the other hand, have given you NUMEROUS DIRE CONSEQUENCES of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which you continue to ignore! My time, I feel, is being wasted, and it's not just the pig that's getting annoyed, here!"

I'm not ignoring the consequences, I'm denying that they are dire. I DISAGREE! What, am I a homophobe if I don't change my mind at some point? I think I've made a great deal of progress amid this discussion, so while I might have wasted your time, I have learned a great deal that I wouldn't have learned otherwise.

DJRainDog said...

Of course it takes more than "anti-harrassment training". It takes soldiers KNOWING that some of their fellow soldiers, and some of the best among and just like them, are 'mos for them to get over their issue. It also takes their leaders saying openly, "Yes, some of you are gay, and we WILL NOT TOLERATE your mistreatment as a result of that fact." If you believe that "the fact that one is a homosexual cannot be gathered if DADT is abided by", then you must be impossibly naƮve, as this implies that someone could come in to his C.O. and report that another soldier (or group of soldiers) stomped him and it was a hate-crime without said C.O. knowing WHY. And of COURSE they launch investigations into the sexuality of soldiers who make such reports. I used to know one of said soldiers when I lived in Connecticut. He was discharged for "medical reasons".

"Because we can't keep them guarded 24/7 just so they can be emotionally fulfilled!" Now that...*sigh*...THAT is beyond ignorant to the point of being ign'unt. Homo soldiers don't need to be guarded 24/7, and I never proposed they needed to be; in fact, what I proposed was quite the opposite -- that were the ban on openly homosexual soldiers lifted, they would have less to fear. And then, I told you how it had played out in other countries where bans had been lifted. And somehow, you missed the point.

Now, I'm going to be honest; the opening line of your last paragraph has made me angry to the point that I'd like to fuckin' stomp somebody to demonstrate the direness of the consequences of DADT. Go read this (for record, that's http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/alan-schindler.html), and tell me again that the consequences are not dire. That's the testimony of the accomplice of the soldier who was incarcerated for the stomping death back in 1992 of Allen Schindler, a 22-year-old navy radioman in Okinawa, whose own mother was only able to identify his corpse afterwards by a tattoo on her son's arm. You think things are better now? Nah, you're not a homophobe; you just have no fucking clue what dire is.

Maybe it'd be "dire" if the fags started stomping the breeders, eh?

Jarred said...

It occurs to me that LC has not considered that homophobes don't necessarily honor the "Don't Ask" part. Indeed they go well beyond just asking and tend to look for gay people. There have been a number of cases where military people have actively snooped into fellow servicemen's private lives in order to determine if they were gay, only to report them. To my knowledge, such cases have generally resulted in someone being discharged as a result, and it wasn't the person who broke the "Don't Ask" portion of DADT.

Which is more evidence that DADT is not about "protecting homosexuals" at all, but keeping a policy on the books that appears to protect them while still kicking them out when they're discovered -- whether it's because they outted themselves or they were rooted out by "askers."

Andy said...

Well, I've stayed out of the fray here for a bit.

Sometimes, Little Cicero, I wonder if it would be possible for you to take a deep breath, clear your mind for a second, and read out loud to yourself what you have written and see if it makes any SENSE to you.

What I am getting here is that you are so desperate to defend conservative ideology that you'll just make any argument you can, without stopping to realize how silly they are, and how bad this is making you look.

First of all, I want you to know that I am deeply, deeply offended that you think the ONLY reason a gay man would choose to be honest about his sexual orientation is that he's interested in a sexual encounter with the person he's telling. That's just nonsense. It's also exceedingly arrogant. And paranoid.

You talk frequently about an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, and decry some perceived liberal tendency to read between the lines of the Constitution to infer rights or considerations not explicitly enumerated. Well, darling, in that case, I'm just not sure where you get off trying to argue that something called the "Equal Protection Amendment" applies to everyone in all circumstances except gay people who want to get married, or that freedom of speech is unfettered unless a gay person wants to be open about his or her identity during military service.

little-cicero said...

Andy, I am sorry you were offended, and you are right that sex is not the purpose for disclosure of sexuality.

I've said over and over again that your true purpose is emotional fulfillment- not looking for guys (although I made an ironic statement suggesting that at the outset, but I never said that was the case. I was trying to ridicule your position as has been done to me over and over and over and over again). You guys seem to read into what I say to find the worst possible meaning- maybe my writing is not clear, but I was clearly saying that your purpose is emotional fulfillment. I kept asking "is emotional fulfillment important enough to trump security and discipline?"

I think you should read more of this thread so my argument is more clear to you. I've clearly expressed the purpose for infringement and how that purpose interacts with the purpose for non-infringement, and am getting tired of repeating that argument.

Jarred: All I can say is that that's horrible. The system is not perfect and neither are people who abuse it. Maybe the solution is to fix the system rather than scrap it all together, but I can certainly understand why you would want nothing to do with the system.

DJ Raindog: I'll get to yours later tommorrow. I'm very stressed out tonight and wouldn't want to say something I'd regret later.

Andy's right: I need a nap. But that has little to do with my arguments. The one thing I regret is the mention of blowjobs, but I want to make perfectly clear that was a sidenote- a musing, and not a portion of my argument. It was framed as a musing. For those of you who think I give a darn- I don't. I have almost zero passion on gay issues in general. At first I was pro-gay marriage and everything else. After some consideration, I changed my positions, but it's all rational, and I have no stake in any of these issues.

Travis said...

I'd just like to say that while wholeheartedly disagree with little cicero on virtually every point, I do think he is getting a bit of overboard criticism.

Perhaps my teenage experience was different than most gay people, but the fact that a high school is not only willing to engage in debates like this, but doesn't run away when he and his thoughts are called names, deserves some credit -- in the form of substantive argument, not name calling, and trying to embarrass him over his thought processes.

I just have to say that, because I have no vested interest in this conversation, but feel some people have been unnecessarily rude (while adding little to the discourse).

Changing someone's mind seldom works when your strategy is to make them feel bad about how they feel.

So, if anyone is still on this topic, it would be interesting to see a discussion about the role of discrimination in the military -- and no saying it is like the ban on blacks is not enough -- because the institution of the military has a far greater discrimination policy than just race, or sexual orientation....it was, in fact, built and maintained through denying people admittence for dozens, perhaps hundreds of reasons.

I don't think anyone really addressed the housing issue either. The reality is that men and womemn are separated to diffuse sexual situations - yes even though that happens it does not prevent gay and lesbian acts now - however, with full and complete admittance of gays and lesbians in the armed forces, that would willfully go AGAINST the policy as it stands.....so how do we deal with that?

Do we just say anything goes, and people need to make decisions for themselves? Do we provide separate housing for openly gay and lesbian members? Do we provide protective housing if a servicemember asks?

After doing a graduate research project on don't ask don't tell last year, I came to believe that these are two very serious points....and that gay rights advocates cannot win, without providing a logical answer to both.

Jarred said...

LC, for someone who claims to have "zero passion" on the topic, you've spent a lot of time and energy defending a policy that you have admitted is flawed. So if you have zero passion for a policy that you admit is imperfect and flawed, what are your reasons for putting so much effort into defending it?

Jarred said...

Travis: I'm curious how you are defining "discrimination policy." If you are talking about the military's tendency to refuse the enlistment of any individual who has a medical problem or other condition that would effect their ability to serve, I think that's a far cry from refusal to admit someone based on something that is irrelevant to one's ability to serve -- such as race, religion, or sexual orientation.

As for the housing issue, I think we need to examine whether the current housing policy actually serves a legitimate purpose. This means asking (1) if potential sexual situations really are a problem and (2) asking if the current housing policy (or a modified one segregating straight and gay servicemen) is truly an effective -- let alone the most effective -- way of dealing with that problem. To be honest, I'm unconvinced of either of those points.

little-cicero said...

Thank you Travis. It's likely that we'll never agree, but at least we can understand one another's points.

One thing to consider on discrimination policy (as Jarred interprets it) is that soldiers are not discriminated for health problems purely on the basis of inability to serve- they are also discriminated because they can pose a threat to the health of the military body at large. For instance, if a soldier is carrying a contagious disease but is immune, he is perfectly able to serve, but when he passes the disease to others who aren't immune, you can have problems.

That's why I used the word "danger", a word that doesn't automatically indicate maliciousness. The ceiling fan hanging over my head can be dangerous, but it isn't malicious! Just the same when openly gay individuals are thrown into the mix, there are inadverted dangers that can arise, and they should not be ignored for the sake of freedom.

little-cicero said...

DJ, we both seek primarily, I think, to prevent these kinds of beatings from occcuring. We have different approaches which both have points of logic, so don't get angry- start logically weighing each method as I am.

Your method is controntational to the problem- to legitimize homosexuality in the military while hardening consequences for gay-bashings. I see why you think this is the best way- you want to solve the problem rather than avoiding it.

My method is evasive- prevent anyone from knowing that there are homosexuals among them and thereby prevent gay-bashings altogether. On the con side of this, you are making gays responsible for the evils of others- I'm not so stupid that I don't see that. But, on the pro side, there would seem to be less beatings with this system.

Your method relies on peoples' ability to change and grow tolerant. My method depends on the non-military sector changing people so that it can later be withdrawn. Our difference in thinking may lie in that you believe the miitary should be in the business of making people more tolerant whereas I believe that the military is only in the business of giving people that which is useful on the battlefield.

little-cicero said...

On the incident itself, I believe it could just as well have happened under a more open policy. This guy was an evil human being who was not going to change after a tolerance training session. If you think otherwise, I can't understand why.The fact is the reason this guy's homosexuality was disclosed was that the military was illogical in the process of termination. They should clearly have kept the fact quiet until he left the ship. Make note of the fact that Helvey hadn't been reported as having beaten a homosexual before this episode- probably because he couldn't find any.

little-cicero said...

To Jarred, I ultimately just want to learn. Rhetorical victories don't even come to mind after a while. I've learned more on the blogosphere than in half of my classes this year (particularly journalis). Putting arguments to the test in a rhetorical manner has a way of showing their validity. I have yet to find that DADT is more illogical than an open policy, but when the two problems that Travis brought up are dealt with, I will be glad to lay down my rhetorical sword and shield.

Travis said...

Jarred:

While I appreciate your attempt to explain my point of view, you are mistaken.

You may think that neither point I have raised is "really much of a problem" however, the existence of the policy, I would argue, says otherwise. (As an aside, this seems to be a par for the course reaction on your part, on this blog...you may want to reconsider the way you write your arguments because they come across as more emotional, and defensive, than as anything that makes one think analyticaly)

Back to my point: The military has been built, as an institution, on discrimination. Simple as that.

Now, there have been major victories ending some of those forms of discrimination, however, they happened only after serious thoughtful debate from people who wanted to see it changed....it required more from these people than, "well, i don't buy that!"

Doing away with Don't Ask, Don't Tell is the right move - and it is victory that is, I would argue, much more easily achievable than many think. It was passed as a compromise in 1992, and gave BOTH sides exactly what they sought. Times have changed considerably since 1992, and public opinion is clearly in favor of doing away the policy, it simply requires some thoughtful arguments, and I am not seeing that.

It seldom helps any policy conversation, or furthers any cause at all, when entirely legitimate, historical considerations are raised, and gay advocates say "well i just dont think thats right" or something similar to that statement, instead of responding with a clear, concise argument as to why that historical consideration is WRONG.

Having grown up with a parent in the military, there are significant dangers of housing openly gay service members, in an environment where protection is not guaranteed.

If you need proof that dangers exist, and there has not been a thoughtful debate of how to address it, simply look at the statistics of sexual abuse and rape of women who are serving at bases alongside men.

That is an INSTITUTIONAL problem.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is merely one part of a much larger discussion that must be had about the operation of the military (which ties back into the institution being built and operated as one whose membership is based on discrimination) -- and blowing off legitimate concerns like these when they are raised, not only fails to undermine Don't Ask, Don't Tell in a rationale way, but also completely ignores the institutional reform the armed services need.

Until gays and lesbians sit down and come up with serious, substantive arguments about why DADT must be done away with today, then tomorrow it will still exist.

That is my point -- nothing else.

Bob said...

If you want a serious discussion that will lead to understanding and a possible solution of an issue; start with eliminating the bigot from the discussion.
Little Cicero adds nothing but uneducated hate to the discussion which only hinders an open discussion and possible enlightenment on the issue.

Travis said...

Nice one, Bob -- thanks for leading by example.

I know I feel that my horizons have been expanded thanks to your contribution.

Jarred said...

Travis, I disagree with your assertion that the existence of a policy serves as proof of the problem it claims to address. It can arguably demonstrate that such a problem existed historically (a qualifier you include later in your comment). However, it is entirely possible that said problem no longer exists and the policy has outlived its usefulness. So in that sense, the policy is not proof of a current problem.

As for my apparent defensiveness, that is at least partly due to my strong belief that discrimination does not need to be attacked by those who oppose it, but justified by those who would continue it. Perhaps I have been remiss in clearly stating why I consider the justifications offered to be unreasonable, and I will consider that carefully. Though to be honest, I often find myself unmotivated to do so when it seems to me that said justifications should be patently obvious to anyone who took a moment to think critically about them.

As an aside, I'm curious as to why in the process of telling us where we've "gone astray," you haven't "led the way" by offering up some of the cogent arguments that you believe would be more effective. I will admit that I don't take criticism from others well, and that is something I'm working on. But I'll also admit that I find the criticism of others more palatable when visibly they do more than criticize their allies. To that extent, I'd like to invite you to show us how to argue more effectively against DADT by example.

Travis said...

Jarred - you have REALLY got to start reading what people actually write before you respond.

In your very first statement, you say "Travis, I disagree with your assertion that the existence of a policy serves as proof of the problem it claims to address."

Where in the world did I ever make that argument. I started off the post stating that gay and lesbian activists needed to do a better job creating real responses to points that are raised in the debate, instead of just saying "well thats just not so."

I even ended my post saying that was my sole point....and yet you still fail to acknowledge that, and make up something else, in your response.

In a sad way, you are proving my point. With that said, I will no longer be posting on this topic, for that reason.

Jarred said...

Travis, the part of my last comment that you quoted is a direct response to the following statement you made:

"You may think that neither point I have raised is 'really much of a problem' however, the existence of the policy, I would argue, says otherwise."

I am sincerely at a loss as to what it might mean other than the way that I have interpreted it (that the existence of a policy proves the existence of the problem the policy claims to exist). However, I am more than willing to listen to an alternate meaning -- that which you intended -- if you would be kind enough to clarify.

I'm disappointed that you've chosen to bow out of this discussion (though I hope you will change your mind). I had hoped you'd take me up on my invitation to present arguments against DADT that you consider valid. After all, the two things that I do agree with you on is that (1) I've allowed my emotions to get the better of me in this particular debate (though I have to admit I do take some umbrage to your suggestion that this is representative of my commenting style as a whole, as I feel I have been quite rational in other discussions on this blog) and (2) I could stand to improve my ability to address this particular topic with reason. I feel that one of the best ways to address that latter point is to studying the arguments of others, and I was hoping you'd provide some good "study material" in that respect.

Time said...

Thanks Travis, to bad LC won't learn from it.

Time said...

Gee was that a hint?