Gay Marriage and the Joy of Living 195

I received an email from someone called Kevin accusing me of having refused to state my position on gay marriage. I have never been asked, but am in fact entirely in favour. I think human relationships are essential to human happiness, and I am not in the least concerned about the gender combinations or sexual practices in which people find happiness. Nor am I obsessed with the number two. I have no objection to polyandry or polygamy (or the gay equivalent) either. The key thing is that people enter and leave relationships entirely consensually, once of an age to consent. I do not believe in matters of tax, immigration or any other governmental sphere, any combination of family life should be favored over any other.

My own family life is “conventional” and very happy, but I do not make the mistake of believing one model fits all.

195 thoughts on “Gay Marriage and the Joy of Living

1 5 6 7
  • jemand

    @Komodo – re taking posts seriously

    Maybe I do, at least the ones that people put a lot of good research or argument into. But if our posts aren’t mostly serious, how serious would this blog be? How seriously would people take Craig if the blog descends into a casual, lazy, armchair conversation between two somewhat interested parties? Fire and brimstone, plausible conspiracy theories, regular visitors including the mysterious “Julian”, interweaved conversations all tempered with good humour, is what makes a good blog – i think. That and the occasional rant and tantrum.

  • jemand

    @Clark – re economics vs environment

    I think, ultimately, decisions are mostly made with or without our approval – ie democracy is in many ways irrelevant because good information is necessary for good democracy and too many people do not understand good information. When you take a panel discussion on climate change with a fantastic person like the late, venerable Stephen Schneider, and morons in the audience ridicule his logic (a muti-disciplinary scientist and advisor to several US presidents) I completely despair and realise that so much political power is invested in too many stupid people who can’t see the truth even when you draw a line between two dots.

    The same profound lack of comprehension is found in the population debate. I have argued tirelessly with intelligent people, one of whom thinks that Australia should take in more Chinese to relieve their population pressures. As if raising Australia’s population by 5% in one year (a drop of 0.1% of China’s pop.) would make any difference to their problems and not impact on Oz’s already overstressed water resources, urban infrastructure and relative social harmony.

    What if we were to conclude, through exhaustive analysis, that democracy is a failure and the planet is doomed to a terrible fate? What are our options?

  • Clark

    Jemand, I think you have too little trust in democracy. Whenever and wherever democracy has been strongest, there we find that common sense and good governance has best prevailed. Just as a single neuron merely pulses in a way that seems fairly arbitrary, billions of them linked in communication produces all the wonders of a thinking brain. Conversely, the least stable and shortest lived regimes are the ones under the most dictatorial control of the fewest numbers of individuals. Intelligence seems to scale well.

    I do despair at the poor quality of information and debate in the corporate media, but I think that a feedback loop is involved. If people have more stake in their society, they search out and select better sources of information. When democratic control is poor, they do not bother so much, because they could not make use of such information even if they obtained it.

  • Clark


    “What if we were to conclude, through exhaustive analysis, that democracy is a failure and the planet is doomed to a terrible fate? What are our options?”

    We would not reach the conclusion that “the planet is doomed to a terrible fate”. I believe that we are indeed living through a “Great Extinction” brought about by human activity, but life on this planet has survived through much worse, several times over, in the course of its existence. The worst facing us, I think, is the fall of civilisation. I see no reason to believe that humanity could extinguish all life from Earth. Nature is not going to abandon sexual selection, so the spaces left from this great extinction will be filled quickly.

    I doubt that humanity is even capable of making itself extinct, more’s the pity. “Humanity is wily and resourceful…” See link:

    How to Destroy the Earth

  • Jemand


    By planet, I meant “human experience of a healthy planet”. I have no doubt that the planet will remain and the biosphere, after several millenia, will return to an animal friendly state that supports their continued evolution until biodiversity is also restored in say 20 million years. Good link you posted, oddly funny too.

    But this is of little comfort to the seemingly tiny proportion of us who prefer forests to iPods. I think we can have both, but that requires a level of patience and cooperation that is hard to find among mortal beings who are hungry for a bigger share.

    I think there is another problematic issue regarding democracy that is not discussed. Even if we were to discover or design the best possible democracy, it is still limited in what it will allow humans to achieve. To illustrate this point, think about what the Egyptians achieved in their time when compared to other civilisations at that time (over several thousands of years). Pyramids are not necessarily a useful product, but they serve to demonstrate an extraordinary ability to do fantastic things – with enough patience and cooperation. Egyptian civilisation, for better or worse, had the ability to do something that other civilisations could not or would not set out to achieve.

    My point is, if the best form of democracy achieves peace on Earth and a harmonious existence with the environment, is that good enough? When we meet our basic needs and eliminate ill effects of our existence, there must be something more that gives our species a noble purpose beyond merely existing. Many people are happy to just plod through life as a fleeting tourist. But there are others, me, and admittedly a bunch of crackpots, who seek to discover a means of enabling us to embark on a bigger journey. I don’t know exactly what that journey is. Is it into the void of space or the interior of a sub-atomic particle?

    But I doubt that democracy, as we know it, will give us the enabling means of achieving it. Then again, I can’t offer an alternative.

  • Clark

    Jemand: ‘By planet, I meant “human experience of a healthy planet”’

    Yes, I thought you probably did. But there is so much sloppy thinking and sloppy language associated with environmentalism, so many people think they’re “saving the planet”, so I like to be pedantic about this. Too many environmentalists enjoy riding their high moral horse. I like to point out that environmentalism is essentially a selfish endeavour, and I like to speak up for selfishness occasionally. Selfishness at higher levels often involves unselfishness at lower levels. Selfishness is no more a “negative” motivation than anger.

    I’m glad you liked How to Destroy the Earth. Yes, it’s a humorous piece; entertainment. If you liked that, you may like this short story:

  • Clark

    Jemand, earlier I said that you placed too little trust in democracy, and now I’ll argue that you’re expecting too much of it.

    The main trick that democracy performs is to prevent too much centralisation of power and wealth. It thus supports diversity. It is from diversity that spring the various journeys of exploration that you (and I) value, not from democracy itself.

    I regard democracy as a sort of scaling mechanism of cooperation. It seems that humans spontaneously self-organise in groups of about one hundred to one thousand, this being the rough size of tribal hunter-gather groups. Beyond that, some form of hierarchy is needed.

    I can see the New Age idiots getting upset with me about this statement; they seem to hate hierarchy, and fail to recognise it in any form other than hierarchy of authority. More sloppy thinking. What they really hate, of course, is the idea that anything stands above their egos. This is why they retreat from the great reality of beautiful but challenging diversity and complexity into their own little worlds of fantasy. And this is why I don’t “respect” them; they haven’t earned respect in matters concerning reality. If any of them produce something very creative, I could respect them for that. But I don’t think that is possible. Being creative requires skill with the available materials, and such skill can only be acquired through the discipline of practice. Maybe they can be creative within their own little worlds, but without skill beyond that they could never share it, so what value does it have?

  • Jemand

    Clark, I think people promised too much of democracy. And some get all gooey about it. I’m disappointed in one sense but appreciate other aspects. We have it better in our junky western world than the average Romanian under Ceausescu.

    Thanks for the link, saved it for reading later.

    New Age – boy you must have had a bad run with them. I switch off and avoid as soon as I hear the songs of dolphins CD or see crystals.

  • Clark

    Jemand, democracy has barely been given a chance yet, but even the very limited forms that we see around us seem to do a lot of good. They don’t help beyond their boundaries, though, as we can see by contrasting democratic countries’ domestic and foreign policies.

    “Songs of dolphins and crystals”: see? Plagiarism of nature.

    Actually, my major run-in with New-Agery came to a head on the Leave of Absence thread. I shall, from now on, take the following site far more seriously:

    What’s the Harm?

    368,379 people killed, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages

  • Cryptonym


    On scanning for offensive bits: “Personally, I think we are witnessing some of the last generations of born-homosexuals. Technology will give people options, and people will follow their true, natural, preferences.”

    I think this was the bit that put many people on the defensive. What people are trying to do now is to follow their true, natural preferences, in spite of prevailing homophobia in the wider world and that found online. As others have said it is your casual adoption of a homosexuality as something to be corrected idea, in utero or even earlier or ‘cure’ unchecked by ethics with modern and future medicine’s power tools, that seems studiedly cold. It was stated as an inevitablity without an opinion as to whether such more likely state mandate than individual choice was a good or as I think a bad thing. It is an unpleasant sounding future you gleefully contemplate, people would need to be taught to hate even the as yet unborn. Such conditions are unlikely to arise naturally.

    Haven’t read much of the later comments, apologies if I’m dangerously on topic.

  • Clark

    Jemand, I should mention that “democracy” is used as an excuse and a justification, as in “bringing democracy to Iraq”. But again, such examples usually concern foreign policy rather than domestic. And besides, many things can be used as false justifications.

  • Jemand

    Clark, yes I was aware of that thread having a strong impact on you. I wasn’t going to, and shouldn’t, bring it up because we can’t do anything other than be aware of the truth and cautiously advise those who are receptive to it. But we live in an age where anything can be true as long as you want it to be true, and those who speak against such notions get slapped down for being “negative”.

  • Jemand


    “It is an unpleasant sounding future you gleefully contemplate, people would need to be taught to hate even the as yet unborn. Such conditions are unlikely to arise naturally.”

    Was I being gleeful? Nothing to be gleeful about when MILLIONS of unwanted, hated unborn babies are being aborted every year because they are inconvenient or have a disability that is intolerable in our new, tolerant society. You seem to be awfully confident that such conditions are unlikely to arise naturally. Can I refer you to sex-selected abortions in India?

    I am old school logic. 1 + 2 + 3 = 6. Technology + Attitudes + Opportunity = Reality.

    If you don’t get it, ask a friend.

  • Komodo

    It is an indisputable fact that if you wave a pendulum made of Tasmanian celestine over your navel, peace and prosperity inevitably follow.

    For the rock shop owner.

  • Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    ” if you wave a pendulum made of Tasmanian celestine”

    Heh. ‘Democracy’ is meaningless without participation from the electorate, and I don’t mean showing up to vote.

1 5 6 7

Comments are closed.