Friday, November 28, 2008

Analysis of the philosophical and legal background of the gay-rights movement

In previous posts I have noted that the discussion of same-sex marriage is largely a matter of mindless name calling. It is extremely difficult to find reasoned analysis based on classical philosophical principles. One such discussion was cited in my last post. The author has continued his analysis with reference to established rules of logic. The discussion points up the logical fallacies of the movement.

See http://quantumleap42.blogspot.com/2008/11/incomplete-definitions-and-logical.html

Unfortunately, the rank emotionalism of the same-sex marriage movement is not constrained by logical fallacies.

Another major aspect of the movement is the use of "buzz words," that is, phrases with currency in our society. One of the most overused, is claiming that the issues involve "civil rights." This term has vague, almost folklore meanings, as well as a reference to specific state and Federal laws. Since the common usage of the term extends to almost every conceivable situation where someone feels that there is a personal injustice, that use of the term is useless. The question is, whether, given the thousands of court rulings, the term has a legal meaning?

Since the concept of a civil right, pre-dates our present legal system, we need to see if there is an accepted definition of the term. One good definition is found at

http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/history/virtual/glossary.htm


Civil Rights: Are rights held by individuals and groups derived from the social contract - the common consent of society at large to the rules under which its members live. The term relates in particular to the ideas outlined by Rousseau in The Social Contract. Under this conception, civil rights derive from society rather than God or nature [see Human Rights, and Natural Rights] and can be changed. On the one hand this gives the state the power to deprive people of liberties they once had (e.g. the ability to drugs, or to drink alcohol), but also enables "progressive" political groups to argue for new "rights", for instance the "right to vote" or the "right to healthcare". Rights such as these cannot be derived from nature as they depend on particular (and not commonly achieved) degrees of social organization and wealth.

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