Tuesday, April 21, 2009

arguing with arguing

One of my brothers, on his blog, is discussing freedom of speech being used in arguments. His suggestion is that we too often do not allow the same freedom that we demand. Go HERE at Chris is Searching to read his point, then come back for mine. I almost commented last night when I saw this, but I was a little woozy and maybe somewhat goofy from the combined efforts of antihistamine and a couple of beers. I hate Tennessee allergies!

So, we've decided there are any number of arguments one could have, and we know that there must be at least two opinions in contradiction to each other. We've also pointed out that communication can only happen when both sides listen and attempt to understand. That may not have been verbatim from the post, but it's there.

So what do we do when we feel that there is no argument other than the one an opposing opinion tries to force? I'll continue using Chris's example of gay versus straight, because, in my opinion, there is no actual argument here. What there is of an argument involves not mere straight people but a religiously motivated point of view that refuses to accept the vast majority of points I and other gay people might make.

If we argue about sports teams then we can actually have some sort of argument. Perhaps my team has better attacking and a solid defense but tends to lose it in the midfield. Perhaps your team has a great midfield and a great front line, and perhaps they can serve balls into the box all day, but your attackers just aren't getting shots on goal.

Arguments as to which team is better or more likely to win are valid to a point. There are points on each side that one should consider. But getting back to Chris's example, what if I just can't accept that the arguments from the other side are valid? I can say that I don't believe biblical restrictions should apply when discussing civil law which isn't the same as reminding you that your team has drawn or lost as many games as they've won.

My argument as a gay person is that before and more importantly than my orientation is that I'm a human and a US citizen which should be all I need to demand equality. I should have the same rights and responsibilities under civil law as any other person. The only possible counter to this is going to be derived from a religious point of view that somehow wants to demand that everyone follow their pov/code/laws regardless of personal beliefs.

So, giving you your freedom of speech is one thing, but we also have to take into account the argument itself. I'm willing to allow you freedom of speech as well as freedom of thought, but if you are going to argue any point of view then we have to start from similar places.

I'd like to ask anyone willing to indulge in freedom of speech with me. I'd like to hear an argument that could be seen as gay versus straight that doesn't involve religious views or the Bible or any other text that any group considers as their sacred code. I want to hear from a civil point of view that involves us living here and now in 2009. I don't want "that's how we've always done it" or "god said it so it must be true." I don't want Leviticus, though if Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Payne mentioned gays I'd be interested.


Chris said...

To continue the conversation...

I picked the example because it is one that will get people up in arms, not because of anything else. I hope you didn't feel like I was targeting you.

Now, what you've done in your response is posted that you will talk about your issue, only if it's done by your rules. If the other person doesn't, then you'll take your balls and bat and go home. (um, yeah, dorky humor, there.)

Some thoughts:
What if you're basing these rules on false premises? You've cut off the possibility of all discussion because you have declared that you KNOW the answer and won't let anyone argue otherwise. Kind of small minded, isn't it? One might even say "close-minded"? Or is it only the other side of the argument that is at fault of that?

Notice, I'm not arguing either side on this. I'm just exploring further your answer to my blog. I feel that you disagree with the quote that I opened the blog with and that led to your reply. I am surrounded by far too many people who don't listen but merely wait for their turn to talk in order to prove how right they are. This covers so many areas. Politics and religion are some of the worst areas, but they are by far not the only ones.

samuel said...

I can fully understand and accept how I likely sound in regard to this. I'm sure I do sound as if I'm unwilling to discuss this issue, but that isn't quite the truth.

My point is that I'm unwilling to discuss my sexual orientation when the opposition bases their argument in religious lore or in scriptural missives.

I think we basically agree with your idea of freedom of speech as espoused in your post, but I don't agree that all points of view are equally valid by mere virtue of their existence, and that's something too many people seem to feel these days.

If I argue that red lights mean go, while you argue that red lights mean stop, there is no argument however much you and I may bicker about it. My point would be wrong regardless of how heart felt my arguments might be.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear an argument that could be seen as gay versus straight that doesn't involve religious viewsGosh, I'd like to help, but I've never heard one either :) Well, I take that back. Whenever there's an anti-gay measure on the ballot, opponents trot out the standard fakes (Rick Warren: "throughout human history, [blah, blah, blah]"); but they're not 5 minutes into it before they start quoting the Bible (they can't help it).

How do you carry on a civil conversation with someone who believes that, in judging you, they are speaking for God?

The idea that your rights as a human being should even be up for discussion is, of course, obscene. Those that are actively trying to subjugate others, are not owed civil discourse. I agree that engaging them - without stipulations - not only elevates their arguments; it grants those arguments undeserved credibility.

I agree completely with your reasoned and open-minded thoughts on this, Sam :)

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled upon this new Focus on the Family website (about "stifled free speech" and "true diversity") - and remembered your post on this topic.