I’ve sent through a column for 3quarksdaily.com, despite taking an extended hiatus from it (and all forms of social media and online writing); however, the topic in question concerned me enough to put something quickly together. It’s about a pledge that is being signed by a US Presidential Candit (or more) to try have homosexuality viewed as a choice, as a health risk, as bad as second hand smoke, etc. The reason I wrote the post is mostly to gather my thoughts on the subject and to see responses. It is also for others to clarify my views or point out where I’m thinking badly or speaking from the knee. I hope readers will not and accept my disclaimer/apology that I’m simply so busy with reading and writing that if it comes off badly written or sloppy, they will forgive me this.
Two birthdays ago, my friends had a surprise party for me. I was in a very antisocial mood at the time, and it was a very unpleasant experience – but I suffered through it because I didn’t want to hurt my friends’ feelings. I didn’t just walk out and leave the party (though I feel I morally could have done, if it were bad enough for me). But mostly I wish they hadn’t had a party for me in the first place – I would have been better off if they hadn’t.
Thus others’ considerations are taken into account, but show that if they had never had a party for her in the first place, there would be no reason to maintain one’s attendance at all. ‘Ditto my mom giving birth to me,’ Sister says. ‘I wish she hadn’t, but my family and friends would be very sad if I peaced out of the party (though I still have a moral right to commit suicide).’
I think Sister provides an excellent analogy in her answer, though she doesn’t pretend it covers all questions. Furthermore, it at least begins an answer that need not pretend to be all-encompassing.
I’ve heard the party analogy used by Christopher Hitchens, too. As Hitchens indicates, it’s bad enough having to leave the party (called ‘life’) early; it’s worse still leaving and knowing it is continuing without one attending. It seems a good reason to defend the voluntary extinction of the human species: If there is no one continuing the party, if everyone leaves at the same time or closer to one’s own leaving, then dying isn’t as hard since there will be no human person that will miss or yearn for us, or be continuing ‘the party’ at all. I would hate to die knowing that people are continuing enjoying life. I would be more comfortable with death if I knew everyone, the entire human species, was ending itself at about the same time voluntarily.
Larry Tate, from ‘I Hate What You Said’, has summarised my latest 3quarksdaily.com column in what 3QD editor, Abbas Raza, has indicated is a wonderful and humourous summation. It’s only a paragraph long and, actually, does a good job of posing the right questions.
From my column:
What is it about topics like incest,bestiality, necrophilia and cannibalismthat urges us to pick up pitchforks and torches? A more important question, however, is whether these topics automatically or necessarily should elicit outrage enough for us to target those who perform these acts. I think not.