Government Should Be Viewpoint Neutral

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Government Should Be Viewpoint Neutral

The queer community should promote its viewpoint using its own resources. There is significant opposition to that viewpoint. Government resources should not be available to either "side" in this battle of ideas.

I offer the following statements of the two competing viewpoints:

Viewpoint #1: The "marriage norm" defines the rights and duties of a mated male and female and asserts that all should marry and that sexual intimacy outside of that context is immoral, a perversion.

Viewpoint #2: Some sexual behaviors, such as necrophilia, pedophilia, bestiality, and exhibitionism, are perversions, but male-male and female-female sexual intimacy is not a perversion, is not immoral, and should be fully accepted by society.

I am attempting to write this in a way that does not promote either viewpoint or reveal my own opinion. Please do not debate the merits of each viewpoint here. Please also do not nitpick about the fairness of my statement of the two views.

Please DO comment on my opinion that government money and coercive power should not be used to take sides; government should remain neutral and let public debate and opinion take whatever course it will take.

Wo'O Ideafarm (talk)17:29, 3 April 2013

How about you not telling people what they are and aren't allowed to comment on in response to your comment?

Tom Morris (talk)16:01, 4 April 2013

Hey, I said "please"! I posted in the hope of a pleasant, informative, and respectful conversation on this sensitive topic. My requests were intended to give some guidance that previous experience has taught me is often beneficial in these anonymous public forums. For example, I think that it is unrealistic and counterproductive to try to debate a sensitive topic when we don't know each other and most participants are hiding behind anonymous pseudonyms. The most we can probably accomplish is to develop awareness of opposing opinions and respect for those who embrace them.

Now, let's get on with it. I want to read what you think about my ideas, not what you think about me or the way that I communicate.

Wo'O Ideafarm (talk)03:47, 5 April 2013

Except your opposing opinion is based on a faulty premise. The government painted the road in what was a major event held on a yearly basis that draws thousands of people to the area, including bringing in international and interstate tourists. If you are taking the neutral point of view: Painting over the road erodes community good will with the government, costs money to paint over and results in a loss of local tax revenue, and poses no safety concerns. This is not really a GLBT issue. Which part of that do you find particularly sensitive?

LauraHale (talk)04:45, 5 April 2013

I don't have an issue with the expenditure. This is civic speech promoting the queer viewpoint, and civic speech is the most important kind of speech in a free society. What bothers me is that government is participating in civic speech in a nonneutral way. Worse, it is implicitly forcing taxpayers who oppose the queer viewpoint to pay for its expression. There are multiple reasons why government should NOT participate in the expression of viewpoints on the issues of the day, but should instead merely facilitate the conversation in a viewpoint neutral way.

This topic is not about the money. It is not about which viewpoint is better. It is only about whether you agree with me that there is something fundamentally wrong about government money and coercive power being used to promote a viewpoint.

I still want to know what the locals who oppose the queer viewpoint have said about it and whether the local press has covered their opposition. Is the Australian press just about mobbing, the way that the press in the United States is? When you open a newspaper in Australia, do you only see the politically correct viewpoint being covered, with competing viewpoints ridiculed, defamed, and silenced?

Wo'O Ideafarm (talk)03:57, 6 April 2013

Er. The government paid for this to promote tourism in the area. If the government is implicitly supporting any viewpoint, it is one that encourages locals to run events that bring in outside money to the region. You really need to take your militant heterosexual agenda at the expense of the local tax base and goodwill towards the local police force and re-evaluate it. You are implicitly non-neutral because you are taking an issue that has little to do with any sort of political agenda, taking an economic issue, and turning it into a militantly heterosexual position. Try again. And yeah, I guess this piece is implicitly promoting an anti-communist/anarchist viewpoint by implicitly supporting a pro-business position. Why do you hate functional capitalism?

LauraHale (talk)04:15, 6 April 2013

Oh, and just so you know: Equal time does not need to be given to be neutral. In fact, giving equal time to certain positions is in many cases patently non-neutral. You do not give equal time to holocaust deniers every time there is a conversation about the holocaust. You do not give equal time to Birthers every time Obama is mentioned. You do not give equal time to climate change denialists each to climate change is mentioned. You do not give equal time to people who believe the earth is flat every time some one talks about NASA. You do not give equal time to conspiracy nuts thinking vaccines are unsafe anytime a vaccine is not safe. The suggestion that giving equal time is implicitly neutral seems to be strange and an implicitly non-neutral way of giving crackpots equal footing in rational discussions. That you want to take a story that is fundamentally an economic one and community relations (for a community located in the heart of the gay neighborhood of Sydney) at its heart and pervert it to marginalize a group and present your marginalized minority viewpoint as a rational one IS an implicitly non-neutral effort on your part. Do try again at neutrality.

LauraHale (talk)04:24, 6 April 2013

The rainbow flag is recognized the world over as the primary symbol of "Gay Pride". It is, AFAIK, the ONLY symbol used to represent and convey the queer viewpoint. But you seem to be asserting that painting what must be the world's largest rendition of this symbol across a major street, and then making it the basis for a tourist advertising campaign sophisticated and well funded enough to attract international tourists, is viewpoint neutral. You seem to be denying the obvious fact that this is brilliantly (pun intended) conceived and executed civic speech to promoting the queer viewpoint.

Your assertion that painting a giant rainbow flag has nothing to do with promoting the queer viewpoint seems like equivalent to an assertion that painting a giant swastika on the pavement of an intersection in a neighborhood populated by Aryan Race White Supremicists would have nothing to do with promoting racism.

How would you feel if your tax money was used to paint a giant swastika on the road and to use that as the basis for a major advertising campaign?

This is definitely speech. It is definitely not viewpoint neutral. And it is definitely funded by government, over the objections of the minority of voterss who oppose the viewpoint.

Wo'O Ideafarm (talk)05:10, 6 April 2013

The "gay rights" vs. "gay is immoral" argument is rather widely known. I understand you'd not like it to be flamed about here.

I will discourage interpreting this news as a ground for painting government as a body which always opposes gay rights. Government is here to protect society and if you think it erred in its judgment, there is the courts system to look into it.

I'm familiar with the Australian courts system and law and personally find that painting roads for the sake of freedom of speech, while amusing, isn't a very easy thing to classify as a right guaranteed by the Australian constitution. I would personally find that it isn't, and sets a dangerous precedent for future cases, as next court cases rely on common law heavily.

Gryllida04:36, 6 April 2013

Your post suggests a possible justification along the lines of affirmative action. If Australians perceive government to be an "anti queer" institution, it might make sense to spend tax money to change that perception.

Wo'O Ideafarm (talk)05:17, 6 April 2013

Er. Do you understand the backstory to the community perception of the New South Wales police being disliked by the community?

LauraHale (talk)05:23, 6 April 2013

It could probably be a better idea to not be biased against all governments in the entire world after you have a conflict with the USA one though. There already is a petition elsewhere and this page isn't meant to encourage fighting.

I have had an argument against the Australian government about human rights, and it went well, however I don't go and tickle other countries news audience about it. Asking for attention on the Internet is half-way acceptable if are selling or offering something in particular, but not otherwise.

--Gryllida05:02, 6 April 2013

Not sure I understand your last two posts. Am not ignoring them intentionally.

My interest here is not in the issue, but rather in whether you (anyone reading this) think that it is ok for government in a free society to promote particular viewpoints, i.e. the viewpoint held by the majority. "To the victor go the spoils." In a democracy, in which government action is theoretically chosen by the majority, should those spoils include the power to use the government purse to turn the majority view into the universal mob view?

Wo'O Ideafarm (talk)05:25, 6 April 2013

As before, I will recommend against making wrong claims. I find that there is no evidence of Sydney majority being against gay rights nor of Sydney government being biased.

Gryllida05:34, 6 April 2013

No, no. In all of the above I have assumed that the queer viewpoint is the majority viewpoint. The issue here is whether it is proper for the majority to capture the government purse and use those funds to expand their majority even further.

Wo'O Ideafarm (talk)05:43, 6 April 2013

The point you appear to be making is this: You are lobbying for a militant pro-heterosexual/anti-human rights position, while ignoring the economic issues and community issues involved that actually have nothing to do with any sort of alleged homosexual agenda... you have failed to respond to any inquiries demonstrating knowledge of the negative economic impact to remove it, the additional government cost for removing it, and the issue of negative community response towards the police and government for removing it. You also appear to be pushing for a non-neutral point of view by suggesting equal time be given to a minority, bigoted position.

Also, and I may regret this, what majority? Almost every study I have seen indicates 1 to 10% of the population is non-heterosexual. These numbers have not changed substantially in any of the research I have read dating back 50 years.

LauraHale (talk)00:14, 7 April 2013

You misrepresent what I've said so completely that it seems malicious. Since you complain that I've failed to respond to inquiries, I will converse with you as if this forum belongs only to us. (Answering all inquiries normally is not appropriate because the person doing that would be hogging too much space in the forum.)

>> You are lobbying for a militant pro-heterosexual/anti-human rights position

No. Nothing that I've said here takes sides. I'm saying that government should facilitate the civic conversation but not take part in it. Government should not be engaging in speech that is not viewpoint neutral. Displaying the world's largest rendition of the primary symbol of "Gay Pride" is civic speech and it is not viewpoint neutral civic speech. My point has to do with government participation in the civic conversation. My point has nothing to do with gender or sexuality; it would apply to a giant swastika painted on the pavement in an intersection. It would apply to ANY civic by government on ANY topic.

Even if you can guess which viewpoint above, #1 or #2, that I personally embrace, I haven't made a single statement here in favor of either one or against either one. I have merely summarized the viewpoints involved in this particular speech that we are discussing.

>> while ignoring the economic issues and community issues involved

This is not fair and it is not accurate. I have expressed an interest in these things and posted questions about them. But I began this conversation by opening it on the topic of whether government should engage in civic speech. The economic and community issues really are irrelevant to the question that I posed, except that there might be an "affirmative action" justification for the government to engage in speech, as I suggested when someone made me see that possibility.

>> demonstrating knowledge of the negative economic impact to remove it

What I know and do not know is of no relevance to this conversation. I just proposed a conversation and did my best to offer a clear statement of the topic. I have no special role here and what I think is of no more importance than what you or anyone else thinks.

>> suggesting equal time

You've said this twice. I have no idea where you got it. I never mentioned "equal time" or said anything about that. I don't even know what "equal time" would mean in this context. The crosswalk on the other side of the intersection?

>> minority, bigoted

Name calling does not advance us toward truth and it does not promote unity and brotherhood. Name calling is what children do. Viewpoints are not bigoted. They are just viewpoints. They are just ideas. Those ideas are either true or false, useful or useless. We are not debating the relative merits of viewpoints #1 versus #2 here. Even if we were, the debate should be about the logic underlying each viewpoint, not about the character of the people who embrace them. Ad hominem arguments are illogical and irrelevant and have the effect of destroying dialog and learning from one another.

>> what majority?

I am assuming that the crosswalk was approved because it is in a neighborhood that is predominantly queer and was thus approved because it is the will of the local majority as ordained by the local elected government officers who represent the people of that neighborhood.

To emphasize, I only want to raise a civic question here. The question that I am raising has nothing to do with the topic of the civic speech. It has nothing to do with the viewpoint of the speech. It only has to do with the fact that government is participating actively in the civic conversation by engaging in speech that is not viewpoint neutral. I don't think that government should do that, both because it would tend to bias the civic conversation and because it would violate the civil rights of those who oppose the viewpoint embraced by the majority.

WDYT? (What Do You Think?) I don't want to know what you think about either viewpoint. I don't want to know which viewpoint you embrace. I want you to limit yourself to telling me how you think government should operate, on general principle. Should the government stand on the sidelines, facilitating the civic conversation but not participating in it? Or should government join the conversation as a participant?

Wo'O Ideafarm (talk)03:10, 7 April 2013