Friday, April 16, 2010

On Decency

I had a conversation with my friend, who happens to be something close to a lesbian but doesn’t like the label, and somehow mentioned that I had found a questionnaire that asked about why a person was heterosexual (based upon a generalized questionnaire of the same nature, only used on homosexuals to determined why they were homosexual) and that I found it to be something of an attack. Needless to say, she became offended and angry with me. It only got worse when I suggested that the questionnaire, which by all accounts from where I got it was an attack and not as she suggested a joke meant to turn such questions back on the people who gave them, was a bad idea because it would likely provoke a negative reaction. That didn’t help the situation, either.

First off I wish to explain something of myself. I have been told that I am very smart, and there is some evidence to support this. However, much like Thor, I am not a very subtle or guile filled person. I tend to hammer away at a problem, regardless of emotions or feelings of either myself or others, trusting in my weird brand of logic and my instances to reach an answer. I ask that my readers keep this in mind.

When I said actions such as the questionnaire could provoke an attack, somehow she heard it as meaning provoking an attack means you deserve the attack. This, however, was not my intentions in my words. Certain actions provoke certain reactions. Push a stone and it rolls down a hill. Wear a weapon in public, and people will fear for their safety. While I tried to explain this, I’m not sure the answer came through.

This entire conversation taking part after she had said I’d improved because I didn’t find homosexuality morally wrong. Now I’ll cop to being slightly offended at that statement, as it implied to me that I would be a lesser person if I viewed homosexuality as wrong. I don’t agree that this is the case, for many reasons, but I’m not going to address that here.

Going back to the later part of the conversation, the impression I got was that it was okay to pester heterosexuals about their sexuality because they had done it to homosexuals. Also, that I couldn’t understand how it felt because I wasn’t part of her minority. I personally find this rather interesting, as it holds all kinds of moral problems, which I’ll get to later.

Our conversation ended when she basically stated it was wrong to pick on homosexuals and that hetero people basically should just go with it. My opinion in the whole thing is why do we have to be defined by our sexuality, everyone should just shut up about it. In all honesty, there isn’t a right or wrong answer to the situation of how to deal with the question of hetero and homo relations.

Right before we parted I asked her a question I have been dealing with since my parent’s divorce started: What gives me the right to impose my will upon another human being?

Her answer was simple: Decency.

Ironically enough, or not, that is the exact root to the question I’ve been dealing with. Namely the answer is that I should impose my will upon another, regardless of their wishes, because it is the decent thing to do in order to make them behave decently.

It makes me want to both laugh and not at the same time, because that isn’t an answer. It should be simple to realize why, but I want to explain. Decency is not an acceptable reason for why I, or anyone, should exert their power and opinions over another. Simply because Decency is such a fluid concept that it has no universality.

Should I act as is decent to my ancestors, the Norse? By a few accounts from trusted sources in the academic community, homosexuality was viewed as unmanly by my ancestors, though perhaps morally wrong. Loki even gave Odin crap about appearing homosexual when performing a certain type of magic. I’ll admit this is my general attitude, but given examples such as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, I’m not sure being unmanly can count as an much of an insult.

What about the ancient Greeks and ancient Japanese, should I obey their decency? Well, homosexuality was a socially excepted thing, in some cases even promoted, but so were actions what is now defined as pedophilia. Is that what is decent?

What about the Jews, Christians, and Muslims? They all have different standards of decency, but all agree that homosexuals should be dealt with harshly, often decreeing death. Is this what is decent? Should we hold to the path of the religions, namely Christianity and Islam that have murdered, forcibly converted, and generally destroyed all who were different from them?

The Communist idea, where everything is spread around equally, and those who have pay for those who don’t. A by each according to his means, for each according to his needs, type of thing? That’s not a system I want to live in.

I could continue on in this manner. There are so many codes of decency that differ on so many topics that we can’t even define a single concept of what might be decent, as there is always at least one group who differs. Nor should we go with the majority opinion on what is decent, because then we would be enacting the very problem I want to avoid.

Mine is a question that cannot be answered with decency. Nor is the question of the relationship between any two or more groups. We’re all too different, what we view as decent is too different. The most peaceful solution is to simply let the issue fall away and let everyone do as they will as long as it doesn’t interfere with another. This is a very Wiccan attitude, and is probably strange coming from someone who could be considered Asatru, but there it is. Because the only other option for resolution would be to follow a path that leads to supremacy simply because one has the power, regardless of all else, and as a Pagan/Heathen, I’d rather not fall into that path when my kin don’t have enough power to hold off our destruction from others who would see us gone.

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