Many political debates here have included references to The Political Compass, which uses a set of 61 questions to assess one’s political orientation in terms of economic left/right and social libertarianism/authoritarianism (rather like the “Libertarian diamond” popular in the US).
And so, every so often I will begin a thread in which the premise for debate is one of the 61 questions. I will give which answer I chose and provide my justification and reasoning. Others are, of course, invited to do the same including those who wish to “question the question”, as it were.
It would also be useful when posting in these threads to give your own “compass reading” in your first post, by convention giving the Economic value first. My own is
SentientMeat: Economic: -5.12, Social: -7.28, and so by the above convention my co-ordinates are (-5.12, -7.28). Please also indicate which option you ticked. I might suggest what I think is the “weighting” given to the various answers in terms of calculating the final orientation, but seeing for yourself what kind of answers are given by those with a certain score might be more useful than second-guessing the test’s scoring system.
Now, I appreciate that there is often dissent regarding whether the assessment the test provides is valid, notably by US conservative posters, either because it is “left-biased” (??) or because some propositions are clearly slanted, ambiguous or self-contradictory. The site itself provides answers to these and other Frequently Asked Questions, and there is also a separate thread: Does The Political Compass give an accurate reading? [size=2]Read these first and then, if you have an objection to the test in general, please post it there. If your objection is solely to the proposition in hand, post here. If your objection is to other propositions, please wait until I open a thread on them. (And for heaven’s sake, please don’t quote this entire Opening Post when replying like this sufferer of bandwidth diarrhea.)
The above will be pasted in every new thread in order to introduce it properly, and I’ll try to let each one exhaust itself of useful input before starting the next. Without wanting to “hog the idea”, I would be grateful if others could refrain from starting similar threads. Finally, I advise you to read the full proposition below, not just the thread title (which is necessarily abbreviated), and request that you debate my entire OP rather than simply respond, “IMHO”-like, to the proposition itself.
To date, the threads are:
Does The Political Compass give an accurate reading?
Political Compass #1: Globalisation, Humanity and OmniCorp.
#2: My country, right or wrong
#3: Pride in one’s country is foolish.
#4: Superior racial qualities.
#5: My enemy’s enemy is my friend.
#6: Justifying illegal military action.
#7: “Info-tainment” is a worrying trend.
#8: Class division vs. international division. (+ SentientMeat’s economic worldview)
#9: Inflation vs. unemployment.
#10: Corporate respect of the environment.
#11: From each according to his ability, to each according to need.
#12: Sad reflections in branded drinking water.
#13: Land should not be bought and sold.
#14: Many personal fortunes contribute nothing to society.
#15: Protectionism is sometimes necessary in trade.
#16: Shareholder profit is a company’s only responsibility.
#17: The rich are too highly taxed.
#18: Better healthcare for those who can pay for it.
#19: Penalising businesses which mislead the public.
#20: The freer the market, the freer the people.
#21: Abortion should be illegal.
#22: All authority must be questioned.
#23: An eye for an eye.
#24: Taxpayers should not prop up theatres or museums.
#25: Schools shouldn’t make attendance compulsory.
#26: Different kinds of people should keep to their own.
#27: Good parents sometimes have to spank their children.
#28: It’s natural for children to keep secrets.
#29: Marijuana should be legalised.
#30: School’s prime function is equipping kids to find jobs.
#31: Seriously disabled people should not reproduce.
#32: Learning discipline is the most important thing.
#33: ‘Savage peoples’ vs. ‘different culture’
#34: Society should not support those who refuse to work.
#35: Keep cheerfully busy when troubled.
#36: First generation immigrants can never be fully integrated.
#37: What’s good for corporations is always good for everyone.
#38: No broadcasting institution should receive public funding.
#39: Our civil rights are being excessively curbed re. terrorism.
#40: One party states avoid delays to progress.
#41: Only wrongdoers need worry about official surveillance.
#42: The death penalty should be an option for serious crimes.
#43: Society must have people above to be obeyed.
#44: Abstract art that doesn’t represent anything isn’t art at all.
#45: Punishment is more important than rehabilitation.
#46: It is a waste of time to try to rehabilitate some criminals.
#47: Businessmen are more important than writers and artists.
#48: A mother’s first duty is to be a homemaker.
#49: Companies exploit the Third World’s plant genetic resources.
#50: Mature people make peace with the establishment.
#51: Astrology accurately explains many things.
#52: You cannot be moral without being religious.
#53: Charity is better than social secuity.
#54: Some people are naturally unlucky
#55: Schools and religious values.
#56: Sex outside marriage is usually immoral.
#57: Gay couples should not be excluded from adoption.
#58: Pornography should be legal.
#59: Adult bedroom activity is no business of the state.
**Proposition #60: No one can feel naturally homosexual.
SentientMeat** (-5.12, -7.28) ticks Strongly Disagree.
What would the homosexual Dopers here (perhaps after bawdily informing us how many natural homosexuals they’ve felt in their time) tell us with their first-hand accounts of puberty? How, along with the hormonal and physical changes, they came to realise that they felt attraction to members of one sex far more than the other?
Because guess what: I, a heterosexual male, experienced exactly the same thing! I could not explain why I fancied girls but not boys, and I certainly can’t remember making any choice in the matter. And I can see absolutely no reason why heterosexual females, nor homosexual males or females, should have experienced any difference whatsoever.
If homosexuality is “unnatural”, then what of the animals in which homosexuality has been documented? Are 8% of sheep rebelling against bovine society by showing less cytochrome P450 aromatase in their sexually dimorphic nucleus? Do Humboldt penguins have some psychological problem with their fathers? Are bonobo apes a danger to the entire fabric of simian culture? “But they’re not homosexual like humans are homosexual, ie. exclusively” comes the response, which has never struck me as being particularly relevant even if it’s true. There is a neurophysical correlate in those animals who do try to mate with members of their own sex which is not found in those which don’t: that their cognition is not advanced enough to translate this into eradicating heterosexual activity (since, after all, both males and females exude the pheromones which these animals, respond to, just in different amounts) is not fundamentally important. In any case, human males , who respond similarly, sometimes identify as bisexual also (and, again, bisexual men show differences in precisely which type of pornography excites them more in the first place: where could the “choice” possibly be being made here, and why do men who say they are attracted to both sexes not show more equal neurophysical attraction if it really is a “choice”?). A homosexual man could very well mince down the street brazenly showing various PET-scan results which display consistent …ahem… deviations from heterosexual male brains (“I’ve got differences in my anterior commisure, supra-chiasmatic nucleus and interstitial nuclei of my anterior hypothalamus and I’m proud”) just as those with other physical characteristics such as a particular skin colour or age group might assert their identity.
Humans are remarkably biologically similar, but culturally very different: that homosexuality is found in at least 5% of the population worldwide suggests … what, exactly? If upbringing or postnatal environment were the cause, why do the separately-raised identical twins of children who grew up to be gay show a vastly higher incidence of homosexuality (up to 65% versus the expected 5%: the varying penetrance of the gene explains why it’s not 100%) themselves? Clearly, there is a definite genetic element, which might be triggered by some as yet undetermined uterine or pre-school factor. By school age, way before puberty, children who eventually become homosexual already display vastly more gender-atypical behaviour.
From the American Psychologcal Association:
If these examples, do not show beyond all reasonable doubt that homosexuality is natural (even if it not statistically normal but, heck, who is?), I would have to ask for a pretty rigorous definition of what “natural” means: If homosexuals did not choose to be so, just as I did not choose to be heterosexual, they are surely not unnatural.