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Posted: 15 July 2006 08:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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[quote author=“rogerflat”]Dougsmith wrote:

If indigenous peoples are really so happy, why do they get so easily “infected” with these memes, as you put it?

I am a happy person.  Would you question why I ended up with a viral infection if I was indeed so happy?  No, of course not.  Those are two unrelated things. 

They are related. If the indigenous people were so happy with their own cultural ways and practices, they would be basically immune to infection from outside memes. The fact that they are so easily infected shows that they are in fact happier with the more modern lifeways. Just as they are much happier with steel machetes than stone axes.

[quote author=“rogerflat”]I’m not interested in the romantic notion of indigenous cultures, I’m only interested in their way of life which is inherently stable and sustainable—the exact opposite of our (oil-based/hierchal) culture.

Well they can’t be inherently stable, since as a matter of historical fact their cultures became ours, and their cultures are always changing, as every culture is all the time. There is no such thing as an inherently stable culture except in the romantic notions of some 19th century philosophers.

Their ways of life appear more sustainable because their populations are so low. One could not sustain six billion people on this planet with a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

[quote author=“rogerflat”]That’s always a rough comparison. Because you are comparing billions of civilized people to tribes of only a few hundred members. So the percentage correlation never works out quite right.  But keep in mind that within a small tribe, no matter what happens to people, the percentages will be much higher.  And say that ten people are murdered in the tribe in one year. Is that worse than 10,000 people being murdered in civilized society?  The murder rate is higher in the tribe after all.  Do you see why that is a bad comparison?

I don’t understand the point you are trying to make here. If I were to live among the Yanomami I would have roughly a 10-100x greater chance of dying by violence than I would living in Europe during the 20th century, including both world wars. I would also have a lifespan probably half as long even if I did survive to ‘old age’.

[quote author=“rogerflat”]A quick story, try to follow…I was buying shoes one day.  An elderly couple came in and the woman was apparently trying on some shoes.  I overheard her saying, “These will be good for walking around the hospital.”  Two things: 1) The last thing I would ever judge a pair of shoes by is whether they would be good for walking around a freaking hospital, and 2) It stands to reason that age alone is a factor which makes people view the same things in completely different ways.

I don’t know, maybe taking care of someone, or being taken care of, is of critical importance to people who are older?  It’s not for me or the people I know, not yet anyway.  So the only issue that’s left is the philosophy of love and how that applies to marriage and/or monogamous relationships.  So where do legal restrictions come into play as far as love goes?  That is a question I can’t answer at this time.  I don’t know of an answer.

Again, the legal restrictions don’t really come into it at all so far as the two (or more) of you are happily living together. The laws come in at the edges—at the extremes—when you have kids, when you decide to break up, when one of you falls desperately ill, when one of you dies. These can be instances in which there isn’t agreement between the two of you because you are either at loggerheads (breakup) or one of you is unable to speak for yourself (incapacitation). Then an outside third party has to make the call of what to do. In that instance, there need to be laws or regulations so that these decisions can be made fairly at least in the majority of instances.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 06:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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dougsmith wrote:

They are related. If the indigenous people were so happy with their own cultural ways and practices, they would be basically immune to infection from outside memes. The fact that they are so easily infected shows that they are in fact happier with the more modern lifeways. Just as they are much happier with steel machetes than stone axes.

What you say is simply not true. But I’ll admit it seems like it would be, or should be, true.  First, most indigenous cultures are simply wiped out—violently.  Europeans did this with small pox and with the end of their spears and swords.  Those that remained were more than happy to comply just so they could live.  The American Indian community was destroyed in large part to the introduction of alcohol.  It’s not that they thought it was such a wonderful invention that they had to have it.  Like all humans, we are vulnerable to certain things.  And often we perceive them to be beneficial even when they are not.

Bald Eagles lived for hundreds of thousands of years (maybe millions) and their way of life was very sustanable.  But then came DDT and it nearly wiped them all out in a few decades.  Sustainablity has nothing to do with vulnerability and susceptibility to harmful substances.  Know that.

I don’t understand the point you are trying to make here. If I were to live among the Yanomami I would have roughly a 10-100x greater chance of dying by violence than I would living in Europe during the 20th century, including both world wars. I would also have a lifespan probably half as long even if I did survive to ‘old age’.

But you’d be far worse off in civilization if you go off of your same comparisons.  Do the percentages.  How many people the world over are impoverished, starving, imprisoned, enslaved, and malnourished?  You’d be lucky to have a 1:2 chance of not being one of those people.  But I understand that the view out the window in your den paints a different picture of the world. That’s called cultural miopia.

 

Again, the legal restrictions don’t really come into it at all so far as the two (or more) of you are happily living together. The laws come in at the edges—at the extremes—when you have kids, when you decide to break up, when one of you falls desperately ill, when one of you dies. These can be instances in which there isn’t agreement between the two of you because you are either at loggerheads (breakup) or one of you is unable to speak for yourself (incapacitation). Then an outside third party has to make the call of what to do. In that instance, there need to be laws or regulations so that these decisions can be made fairly at least in the majority of instances.

Well, it seems that wherever the law comes into play it has nothing to do with the love between the two people involved.  I don’t get control of my kids when my wife becomes disabled because I “love” her so much.  I mean, those laws are fine, but you can have them without incorporating that into the concept of marriage.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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[quote author=“rogerflat”]What you say is simply not true. But I’ll admit it seems like it would be, or should be, true.  First, most indigenous cultures are simply wiped out—violently.  Europeans did this with small pox and with the end of their spears and swords.  Those that remained were more than happy to comply just so they could live.  The American Indian community was destroyed in large part to the introduction of alcohol.  It’s not that they thought it was such a wonderful invention that they had to have it.  Like all humans, we are vulnerable to certain things.  And often we perceive them to be beneficial even when they are not.

What you say is quite right—many indigenous people were wiped out by disease and warfare, and there was a lot of forced conversion to Christianity and the like. All of this is reprehensible. The history of the interaction between cultures was bloody and unpleasant.

But the fact remains that indigenous peoples, when given a choice between their own lifeways and more modern ways and conveniences, tend ineluctably over time to choose the modern ones. The only way they can be kept ‘pristine’ is basically by planned isolation, which is a form of pernicious paternalism. Each person should be allowed to decide for him or herself what sort of life he wishes to lead. The flip-side of the early Christian missionaries are the latter-day romanticists, who in their own way are exactly as “culturally myopic” as you put it. Cultures change. It’s a fact.

[quote author=“rogerflat”]But you’d be far worse off in civilization if you go off of your same comparisons.  Do the percentages.  How many people the world over are impoverished, starving, imprisoned, enslaved, and malnourished?  You’d be lucky to have a 1:2 chance of not being one of those people.  But I understand that the view out the window in your den paints a different picture of the world. That’s called cultural miopia.

Again, what is the point you’re trying to make? You’re changing the subject here. Before you were comparing first world (“civilized”) countries with hunter gatherer societies. Now you’re talking about the third world. The problem with these third-world countries is partly one of overpopulation, and partly one of being run by warring clans or kleptocracies in places like Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America.

Interestingly, the largest rise of people out of poverty is now going on in China with the introduction of the capitalist system there. They are basically following the same model that pulled Japan and Korea into the first world. India will be next.

[quote author=“rogerflat”]Well, it seems that wherever the law comes into play it has nothing to do with the love between the two people involved.  I don’t get control of my kids when my wife becomes disabled because I “love” her so much.  I mean, those laws are fine, but you can have them without incorporating that into the concept of marriage.

What’s the difference between these laws and marriage? As far as I’m concerned, marriage just is a set of institutional laws like these.

Why on earth do you think homosexual couples are fighting so hard for the right to be married? Because as it is they lack the rights to care for one another when they are ill. They lack death benefits. We have one member of this forum who had to be married in Canada because his partner is from a different country. Sorry to say but in the US if your partner is same-sex and foreign, you will not be able to live together here because it is virtually impossible for him/her to get a visa.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Well Doug, I think we have reached something close to a middleground on the other issues.  I find you agree more and more with what I write, and I in turn find your responses less objectionable.

As far as this comment:

Sorry to say but in the US if your partner is same-sex and foreign, you will not be able to live together here because it is virtually impossible for him/her to get a visa.

I guess that is sorry to say.  But considering there are probably a total of three people in the world that this applies to, I wouldn’t say this is a gross injustice (no offense to the person here who falls into this category).

I want there to be a ban on homosexual marriage too.  “Too” as in, in addition to the ban on heterosexual marriage.  I just think marriage is an antiquated relic of the days of the bible, and we should be moving beyond religion in this day and age and abandon the cultural practices it brings with it.

I always felt that marriage would “cheapen” any meaningful relationship I wanted to be in.  Anyone can get married, and half of the ones that do go on to later nullify it with divorce. So it is not some sacred and meaningful thing.  It is just a societal ritual which I equate to something like “adult prom”.  The women get to get all fixed up and play dress up and the whole family gets involved and its all happy and fun.  But shortly thereafter life sets in and they realize that the fairy tale they had simulated in the church that one day is nothing like what the rest of their life will be.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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I think marriage is a great tradition. Without my wedding, my wife’s family and my own would never have gotten to know each other as well as they might otherwise. But to each their own.

Any consenting adults who want to enter into a legal agreement, such as a marriage, should have the right to do so. Seems pretty straight forward. Since so many people want to, it also seems straight forward that the governement would streamline itself to facilitate the quick and easy processing of such contracts . . . much like many states do with mortgage contracts.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Riley wrote:

I think marriage is a great tradition.

A) That statement is a meme. B) People also say that they think religion is a great tradition, and C) If Hitler was not defeated in WWII, people would be saying today that they think killing Jews is a great tradition.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 09:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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. . . I also like daisies, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. To each their own.

If you don’t like marriage, don’t have one.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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I don’t like murder either.  And so I won’t kill anyone.  But that doesn’t mean that murder should be legal for people who choose it.

Am I equating marriage with murder? No.  I’m only using that as an example to illustrate my point.

I don’t really think it should be outlawed per se, but there is really no point to it.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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That I can respect.

. . . but I disagree, except that I don’t think the unmarried should suffer disadvantaged status when paying car insurance, sharing health benefits, or paying taxes.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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To begin with, I am glad we are having this discussion about marriage. It is an important issue, and deserves proper treatment.

I can certainly understand that someone might not want to get married. Roger, if that is you, I will repeat what Riley said: don’t get married. Nothing could be simpler.

Nevertheless you have not addressed any of the arguments presented here. I and others have said again and again that marriage has a legal, societal aspect which has nothing to do with religion and yet you persist in either ignoring that fact or exhuming the religion bogeyman. Sorry, but that is not cricket.

And your lack of interest in gays with lovers in different countries strikes me as callous at the very least. One issue with marriage is that it eases immigration. Why? Because at base marriage is an issue of law and society.

The point is that one can agree with virtually every argument you have presented and still believe that marriage is a worthwhile legal and societal institution.

Finally, bringing up murder and the Nazis in this context is simply grotesque. It shows a certain desperation.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Ok, fair enough Doug.  You want to talk about the legal/societal aspect which has nothing to with RELIGION, then that’s fine.  Of course, it has nothing to do with love either. This, of course, is notably alarming since love should be the very foundation of marriage, not legality. But I digress.

Anyway, here are the benefits or issues that you guys have brought up:

1) Taxes
2) Health care
3) Car insurance
4) Rights of gurdianship (over the spouse or children)

So, here is my problem.  Marriage is not just about those things.  While it does include those things, in which it apparently provides notable benefits, it also includes many other things, which may not be so beneficial. 

Yes, I would love a tax break and lower insurance rates and the ability to take care of my lover if she became incapacitated.  But what if I was averse to her taking half of my money if she divorced me?  When I sign on for the marriage I am signing on for more than just a tax break. I’m locked in to a bunch of legal and financial stuff which allows lawyers and judges to ream me afterwards.

What if wanted to express my love for more than one woman (polygammy) and also enjoy discounted car insurance premiums? Then I’d be running around like the gay fellow here trying to find a state that allows polygamous marriages.  And why is that?  Well, it’s the bible as we all know.  There is an assumed moral imperative which says that a man should only be with one woman (this comes from the bible).  But I don’t care what the bible says.  I want my tax break and I want to love multiple women. (Just like the gay fellow doesn’t care about the bible and just wants to marry a foreign man.)

But here is my solution—my alternative to marriage.  Why don’t they just have some form that specifically states the benefits you will have by signing it with your lover?  It could even be customizable.  It’s almost as if married couples are extended special privledges just for being married.  So whatever reason is behind this, the powers that be should have no problem extending those same benefits outside of marriage, especially if it’s made legal by signing a certificate. (But we all know the powers that be are primarily christian republicans who want to see biblical practices upheld. But again, I digress.)

You see, now it is painfully obvious how much of joke marriage is and how nonsensical it is.  It is all about the perpetuation of pre-conceived religious/cultural notions which are never called into question by the ignorant masses.  It doesn’t make sense, it’s counter intuitive, and there is no way to justify it other than tripping yourself up by spitting out fallacy after fallacy and contradiction after contradiction.

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Posted: 16 July 2006 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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[quote author=“rogerflat”]Anyway, here are the benefits or issues that you guys have brought up:

1) Taxes
2) Health care
3) Car insurance

1) Actually, the point I was making was that married people should not be treated differently under the law in these or any other regard, except as stipulated in the conditions of the marriage contract itself.

[quote author=“rogerflat”]But here is my solution—my alternative to marriage. Why don’t they just have some form that specifically states the benefits you will have by signing it with your lover?

. . . that’s what marriage is already. Marriage contracts are so common that states have created bolier plate contracts for it. But people customize the arrangement all the time - it’s called a pre-nup.

You’re making a much bigger deal out of this rogerflat than it really is.

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Posted: 19 July 2006 11:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Here’s the thing from a real gay guys experience with securing basic rights for himself and his partner. For securing legal recognition as a family.

We had been living together 8 years.

We already had joint accounts and joint property.

We know some pretty active gay rights attorneys and we tried to come up with a set of documents that could give us legal protections as a family. They all told us that a marriage in Canada with no legal recognition in Hong Kong or the USA will offer more protection in all jurisdictions that any amount of contracts and wills we could think of preparing. So even if we hired specialists to draft separate agreements and wills to handle every conceivable contingency a family might need, we would be better served with a marriage certificate from Canada, and that most of the documents we could arrange would have no legal strength but that a marriage is incredibly sound.

We couldn’t care less about being called married (it is a foul word in history actually) or being married under the state (let alone a god). But we do want and need protections and surety from civil society. The only effective way to get that is through marriage.

And even with our marriage we are not afforded most rights others have (taxes immigration, visitation, pension) But in the case of serious situations the marriage certificate signed and witnessed provides very strong evidence to a probate judge or hospital administration.

I agree that any sacred institution should not be controlled by government and i also think the proper path forward is that government recognises legal domestic agreements, and does not recognize any marriage. Leave marriage to churches and repeal every government marriage to a domestic partnership or civil contract.

As to the quip that my situation (on immigration) was nearly exclusive, I beg to differ. Just do a google on the topic of immigration and same sex marriage and you will see a huge amount of discussion and information on it. Aside from the silliness of the idea that only majority issues deserve to be dealt with by the government; If I am really only one of 3 people who would care, why is the info so prevalent?

6% of the 594,391 same-sex “unmarried partners” counted in the 2000 census include one citizen and one non-citizen. This means that there were an estimated 35,820 same-sex, binational couples in the United States at the time of the census whose relationships were not recognized under U.S. immigration law. These couples continue to face the threat of one member’s removal from the United States.

And that was just a pole of those couples already living in the US not those (like mine) living abroad.

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Posted: 20 July 2006 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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cgallaga wrote:

we tried to come up with a set of documents that could give us legal protections as a family.

What sort of documents do you need?  I wouldn’t consider you and your partner a “family”.  You are a couple.  A family entails children or kin.  If me and my girlfriend go to the movies, I’m not taking my “family” to the movies. That being said, you don’t need to worry about having to “handle every conceivable contingency a family might need.”

594,391 same sex “unmarried partners”...why so prevalent?

That is a very good question indeed.

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Posted: 20 July 2006 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Roger, I’ll let you know when what you consider us to be matters, or even when you have enough info about our family to make an informed decision…but therein may lie the rub, and the reason we require equal rights and protections. Your post is wrong if it suggests that because we are gay and because the law has not offered us equal protection, we don’t need or deserve that protection.

The very fact that I have been forced into exile in order to be with my partner is reason enough to insist on those equal protections. And while you may not want to believe it, we need documents for things that you and your girlfriend would never need. In fact in most states you and your girlfriend are more protected under common law than we are, even though we are married. If something happened to one of you the other would have a much easier time demonstrating to the authorities that they have rights to visitation, property, etc. We have to prepare for battles we may never need but if we do the law and the courts and society at large will oppose us as a default. Not so with a hetero couple. 

Also while you may not intend it, it is dishonest of you to copy and paste my words to make up new meanings for support of a point you are trying to make, and then still attribute those words and meanings to me.

Example, the following would be a dishonest “quote” of your words.

[quote author=“rogerflat”]What sort of girlfriend do I need? That is a very good question indeed. I wouldn’t consider a girlfriend need “handle every conceivable “family” contingency, if me and my girlfriend go to the movies.  That being said, I need to worry about having children.

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