Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More on the Radar-Eric Thing

This is just too long to post as a comment to the below post, so it gets a whole post to itself.

Eric, apologies for the mislabeling - somewhere along the line I started generalizing the argument a bit. I also tend to use the 'lefty' identity very, very broadly, often to the detriment of accuracy.

Also, when I put the words leftists, lefty or liberals in single quotes, it is usually a sign of mild mockery of the way the word is used. I don't really like those terms, but they are so commonly used it's hard to get away from them.

A question: How does Eric know that the LGBT lifestyle doesn't affect Radar's existence? I've heard this claim made in defense of equality often, but I've never heard any sort of backing for it. The only reason I even bring it up is that when it's phrased in the way Eric did above, it sounds like Radar is being told what their experience is or should be, another huge social justice no-no. So I'd appreciate some clarification on that one.

And just to make it worse, compare these two examples: Person A is freaked out by homosexuality, and shudders at the idea of two gay men having sex, even in the privacy of their own home. Person B shudders at the though of a man beating a woman in the privacy of their home. What is it that allows us to reach into the home in the case of Person B and tell them what they're doing is wrong, when we can't do the same for Person A? Note: I am not endorsing the legitimacy of either case here, just wondering about the moral or ethical or metaphysical mechanism we use in one case but not in the other and what the difference is.

On to Radar's comment about the connection between beliefs, ideology, and identity.

I think that one's ideology - in this case conservative - can be part of one's identity. I think that's right, as Radar states (for some underlying epistemological reasons which I may or may not explain later), but I also think it's OK to challenge specific parts of that ideology, and that this does not necessarily constitute delegitimizing one's identity. Radar's stance on LGBT folks is a belief or set of beliefs, after all, and challenging someone's beliefs is an essential part of discourse, especially in the academic/intellectual world. So upon further consideration, I don't think it's hypocritical or conflicted at all to challenge a person's beliefs, even when those beliefs are part of what makes up their identity. However, the method of challenging beliefs and the particular beliefs challenged does play a role here, as does the difference between challenging beliefs and challenging actions.

Re: What appears to be Radar's assumption that I might disapprove of their lifestyle, um, no. I might disapprove of things like publicly taunting LGBT folks, or treating them poorly, but those are specific actions, if I somehow knew Radar did them, which I don't (and have no reason to think they do). So no, I don't disapprove of Radar's lifestyle - I don't even know what it is! Please don't conflate an entire 'lifestyle' with a few 'opinions'. They are very different things. Also, please don't conflate my disliking of people who are publicly bigots with anything Radar has done. Last time I checked, I have no idea what s/he *does* beyond work in academia and inhabit the Internet.

Finally, Radar, you're welcome to comment here all you want. Very welcome, in fact.


radar said...

Hey, thanks! Eric has apparently had enough of me, and since I'm not blogging anymore I don't really have that much to talk about! I appreciate your post, and am appreciative of your understanding of my position. I, of course, have nothing against those that challenge my beliefs, and I'm ok with that challenge even though I consider my conservative ideology as a part of my identity.

My whole problem with this entire episode is that my difference of opinion has been considered wrong by Eric, and as a result of his non-understanding of my work environment (unless his stalking of me continued to contacting my supervisor) he decided that it is better to out me to stop me from blogging than continue the fairly interesting discourse we were engaged in.

I usually think of liberals as those that endorse difference - in fact those on the "far-left" are often ridiculed for endorsing any difference. The problem is that people who claim to value difference, as in Eric's case, do not necessarily value difference of opinion. He has decided that my opinion is wrong, and has taken action to silence me. As I wrote in my last post, this highly ironic because it is also the reason why I spoke out in the first place on a blog - because I felt silenced within my graduate program. As opposed to endorsing my outlet Eric has decided that my opinions must cease (not only on my blog - on his as well).

So in the end I appreciate your candor and you endorsement of differing opinions on your site.

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