3 February

Hello Geoff,

I have been on holiday in the South island but I see you have been busy in the last month. Affirming your alignment with well known radicals like Bob McCroskie and Garth McVicar. Here are some thoughts on your recent postings.

One of your main arguments was so obviously fallacious and relied on conflating two different definitions of 'Discrimination'. To claim that discrimination " it has acquired a new meaning over the past decade or so is ridiculous. We all know what discrimination means. You just couldn't see the fault in your own argument because you did not want to. It would be far better to just admit that you were wrong and that your argument no longer works. Social Discrimination is in common usage and has been for at the very least the last 60 years (wikipedia points to the change occuring in the 1860's). Mahatma Ghandi talked about discrimination The Rev Dr Martin Luther King talked about it. The NZ bill of rights makes it explicit. This is the whole basis of re-defining marriage. So that the state is in accordance with its own Bill of Rights legislation and is not discriminating against homosexuals. In short you need to stop relying on one particular dictionary to define political concepts. This is not a game of scrabble

Are you also seriously claiming that politicians have been social engineering / re-engineering the English language? That is again a very lame attempt to explain your fallacious and mistaken use of the word discrimination and evade admitting to yourself that you your prejudice is affecting your rationality.    Concepts and terminlogy changes Geoff. Therefore words change. To suddenly argue that they shouldn't is like trying to stop a river flowing.

The word "gay" was adopted to counter prejudice and the idea that homosexuality was abnormal, immoral, wrong and evil. Faced with violent antagonism and hatred and forced underground homosexuals did what every oppressed group does. They found their own terminology and identity and they began asserting their rights and the right to define themselves and not be defined by others. They were happy being homosexual, proud to be queer, unashamed of being a fag or a dyke and could see no reason why they should be made to feel ashamed. They took on those terms and used them to resist oppression. The fact that you can't bring yourself to use the word 'gay' is a sign of how antagonistic you are to gay liberation (as is your constant use of the word sodomy - always a dead give away).  Whether you like it or not Geoff homosexuality is normal. It was created by God so that men could pleasure other men. So that women could love other women.

There is very clearly a need to redefine "marriage" to include same-sex and homosexual relationships. At the moment such couples are excluded from legal protection and so need to be included. Quibbling over notions of sex, sexual intercourse, sexual relations is lame. The fact is, everyone is different and expresses their sexuality in different ways.  Conservative male heterosexuals (in particular the christian churches of old) don't get to define and prescribe (and legally control) human sexuality anymore. It is too diverse. Anal sex, oral sex and the full gamut of other sexual behaviours are all just sex.   These 'redefinitions' only serve to cause confusion for people trapped in the past who don't want to accept that the world has changed since 1950. The principal purpose of conceptual redifinition is to better reflect the world as it is.   Distinctions between normal and abnormal sexual behaviour have been progressively removed from the law because notions of abnormality have been used to enforce prejudice and hatred and because they are no longer necessary or desirable. Anal sex is practised by men and women, gay and straight alike. Anal sex is normal behaviour and was created by God. The language is not becoming impoverished. It is being freed from those that seek to define other people in order to maintain their own privileged power positions. The Bible may warn that such things are a harbinger of social disorder and collapse but so what? The bible also says “Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1). The bible is just the bible Geoff. While I am a Christian I also know that not everyone cares what the bible says. We can't base our arguments on selective quotes from the bible. It has be based on rational arguments.

You write that we are in danger of having no word to specifically describe the act in which a penis penetrates a vagina?  Really? C'mon Geoff is the argument about gay marriage really about the use of the term 'sexual intercourse' to mean only  'penile-vaginal intercourse'. Are you that hung up about sexuality and human sensuality that you can't accept human diversity?

Incest is incest Geoff. Going on about incest is completely off the topic. No one is advocating incest and equating it with homsexuality is typical of people who want to put homosexuality in their category of 'abnormal'.

You say 'The homosexuals' (that's right - group them together and genalise - it makes it easier to carry on with your prejudice) are now  a dominant force within the state and 'the church' [which church?], and they have appropriated the language so as to advance their own ambitions and promote their own dogma.  I say that after centuries of various Christian churches initiating prejudice and oppression, homosexual people are only now starting to enjoy the freedoms that other people enjoy. They still suffer discrimination but some churches and most political parties are now open to addressing the ongoing discrimination against someone based on their gender or sexuality. There is not some homsexual cabal aligned against you and Family First. There are intelligent people (gay and straight, Christian and non-Christian) who want to ensure that all people are shown respect and afforded the protection of the law.

The state defines legal terms and concepts and always has done. This change to the marriage act is no different. There is no such thing as the true meaning of words. Words change. They are sounds attached to ideas and things.  The 'original' meaning of a word does not mean the only meaning of a word. The word 'shirley' once meant a sunny clearing the the forest. It was first used as a man's name and is now a woman's name. It is not very common any more and may fall into disuise. Language changes and legal redifintions and conceptual changes will always happen.

Why do you want to reclaim the "rainbow" symbol used by the homosexual movement? You believe that it was originally given by God as a sign to the people of Noah. Really? you think Rainbows didn't exist before God made one for Noah? Here I was thinking they were as old as water refracted in sunlight. So will you also be reclaiming the term 'rainbow nation' as coined by Bishop Desmond Tutu to describe diversity in the republic of South Africa?

The reason you want to resist to reclaim control of defining language , the reason why you oppose homosexual liberation is because you still think gay people are abnormal. You have a prejudice against gay people and that is why you oppose gay marriage. You just can't bring yourself to admit that there is nothing wrtong with homsexuality. It is perfectly valid and normal and poses no threat to anyone.

You seem to think that I am some sort of 'homosexual activist' ( actually I am a happily married father on one . I have no link whatsoever to the people campaigning for gay marriage and am not part of the campaign other than having signed the petition). When I have pointed out the flaws in your aguments you simple ignore the criticisms and repeat your same old arguments.  You continue to rail against so called 'black propaganda, political intimidation, emotional blackmail, equivocation, casuistry and deceit'. In actuality you just can't accept that there is nothing wrong with two men or two women loving each other, and living together as a couple. Perhaps raising children together and most importantly of all being productive and accepted members of their community instead of pariahs and second class citizens.

Sorry to say this Geoff but your old fashioned religious beliefs and your prejudice against so called 'abnormal sexuality' just shows how utterly unradical you are.  The reason your opponents (including me) keep claiming that opponents of gay marriage are bigoted and prejudice is because you so clearly are. Your own writing on your own website shows this for all to see. You are on the public record with your prejudices. Just because you attempt to justify your prejudice by referring to books and ideas (that created the prejudice in the first place) doesn't absolve you from being prejudice. Stringing together a vaguely coherent argument doesn't absolve you from prejudice.  You are not radical, you are not innovative and you are trapped in a staid and narrow conception of sex and sexuality.

Reply by Geoff Fischer (quotes from Mark's post above in italics)

I see you have been busy in the last month. Affirming your alignment with well known radicals like Bob McCroskie and Garth McVicar.

I believe that Mark is being sarcastic.

.. your fallacious and mistaken use of the word discrimination...
In short you need to stop relying on one particular dictionary to define political concepts. This is not a game of scrabble.

 In scrabble, one only has to show that a word exists.   A debate or discussion requires agreed meanings of words.  By convention, definitions are taken from the OED, but other authorities may be used.  The word "discrimination" has at least two distinct meanings in modern usage, and the old meaning remains.  It is not "mistaken" or "fallacious" to use the word with its original meaning, although disambiguation may be required, which in this case would be the division of meaning into "perceiving distinctions" and "acting with prejudice towards a particular type or class of person".   Discrimination of the first type is necessary, while discrimination of the second type is regrettable.  Mark is also wrong to suggest that my arguments have become invalid because the meaning of words have changed.  Logic and definitions exist independently, in the sense that the same logical construct can be used with different lexicons.   For example the word "wicked" is now taken to mean "good", "great" or "wonderful" by some of the younger generation (another example of the essentially childish modern tendency to redefine words to mean their opposite) but that change does not invalidate the logic of arguments against wickedness.

Are you also seriously claiming that politicians have been social engineering / re-engineering the English language?

It is part of the job description for politicians and brand marketers and others to "re-engineer" the English language.  That is their modus operandi.   Words change and concepts develop but there must be some degree of consistency if any rational discourse is to be possible.  If you take away the original meaning of the word "discriminate" (or "marriage", or "gay" or "homosexual" or "sodomy" or "sexual intercourse") the original concept remains and you need to replace it with something else.   Far easier, and less confusing, to stick to the original definitions, but political campaigners are motivated to change the meanings of words, and for the moment I am willing to abide by the current definitions of the OED.

The fact that you can't bring yourself to use the word 'gay' is a sign of how antagonistic you are to gay liberation (as is your constant use of the word sodomy - always a dead give away).

"Gay" means "happy, joyous and carefree" to some of the older generation, "laughable or ridiculous" to many of the younger generation including Prime Minister John Key and "homosexual" to others.  I choose to stick with using the word homosexual to mean homosexual, and gay to mean joyous and carefree.  The homosexuals, and the Prime Minister, were careless of the discomfort and even grief they caused to women and girls named "Gay" when they appropriated the name for their own purposes.   Out of respect to those women, if for no other reason, I will not use the name "gay" to refer to people who practice sodomy.  If I used the word "anal sexual intercourse" instead of "sodomy" there would be more keystrokes required and an increased perception that sodomy and sexual intercourse are of a similar character.  Neither of which would be desirable.   I understand very well that the language was changed in order to change perceptions of homosexuality, both within the homosexual community and within the wider public, but I am uneasy about such subterfuges, and in any case I am not fundamentally concerned with perceptions.  I am concerned with realities, and therefore I want words to use words that have specific and exclusive meanings.

Whether you like it or not Geoff homosexuality is normal. It was created by God so that men could pleasure other men. So that women could love other women.

One meaning of "normal" in the OED (1993) is "heterosexual".  Other meanings are "conforming to a type or standard; usual or typical".  Homosexuality is none of these things. Homosexuality is not heterosexuality.  It does not conform to the type or standard of sexual reproduction, and it is not usual or typical.  So homosexuality is not normal, even if it is not uncommon  When Marks says that homosexuality was created by God he is making a religious claim, which, so far as I can make out, is a revelation which has come to him personally.  He is entitled to put himself forward as a spokesperson for God, but noone is obliged to accept his credentials.

There is very clearly a need to redefine "marriage" to include same-sex and homosexual relationships. At the moment such couples are excluded from legal protection and so need to be included.

Homosexual couples are granted "legal protection" in the Civil Union Act.  We clearly disagree about the "need" to redefine marriage.

There is no such thing as the true meaning of words. Words change. They are sounds attached to ideas and things.

Without true meanings of words we could have no law, science, mathematics, philosophy or religion.   Words cannot mean whatever you want them to mean, or whatever a group of 120 politicians in parliament want them to mean.

Mark alleges that I am "not radical.. not innovative".    This website declares as its object  "providing a forum for radical republican thinking".  It does  not promise that I personally will conform to any other person's definition of what it means to be politically radical or innovative.

Mark also alleges prejudice 13 times in his email - once would have been sufficient if there was any substance to the allegation.  I am not prejudiced as I have considered all available facts and arguments before coming to a decision, and I remain open to new facts or arguments.  By "prejudiced" Mark actually means "critical" (of homosexuality and homosexual "marriage").    The allegation of prejudice is the first and last resort of those in the homosexual camp.  It is a challenge to the right to hold and express contrary opinions, and it is evidence of the hollowness of their arguments.  I am not judging homosexuals as such, and have not up till now concerned myself with what homosexuals choose to do in their private lives.  However now that they are using state power to change the character of society and a long-standing non-state institution for their own purposes, their private lives have become a matter for public discussion.  I will no longer ignore the  the role of homosexuality in society, or the political movement which promotes homosexuality.


6 February

Mark Jessum writes:

So the UK is now ahead of NZ on this all important change:
Britain votes in favour of gay marriage
Its an international conspiracy Geoff, a monstrous international gay illuminati !!!
and the same resistance to words changing meaning from conservatives like yourself.
"Marriage is the union between a man and a woman, has been historically, remains so. It is Alice in Wonderland territory, Orwellian almost, for any government of any political persuasion to seek to come along and try to re-write the lexicon," Conservative lawmaker Roger Gale said.
In actuality his comment just masking his overall inability to accept democratic change that challenges his need to feel superior and more normal than the 'inferior' and 'abnormal' homosexuals.

The British parliament has voted for homosexual marriage, and where Britain goes the New Zealand parliament follows.

Mark's statement "Its an international conspiracy Geoff, a monstrous international gay illuminati !!!" is sarcasm, but it contains a grain of truth.  The campaign for homosexual marriage in New Zealand is part of a global phenomenon.  It is part, perhaps the final phase, of the "sexual revolution" which commenced in the nineteen sixties, when the oral contraceptive pill became widely available.  The sexual revolution in turn is a component part of a wider social liberal movement, which is the ideological twin of economic liberalism.

We should look at this bequest of the late twentieth century objectively and critically.   The "free-market revolution" has ended  badly in financial loss, involuntary austerity, political bickering. broken families and troubled nations.  The "sexual revolution" brought sexual freedom at a cost of fatherless children, broken marriages, sexually transmitted diseases and a body of unquantifiable personal suffering.

The brave new world of homosexual marriage will not be a "rainbow" world,  inclusive and respecting of difference, and most importantly it will not be loving.   It will be a world of  pride, sarcasm,  ridicule, sarcasm, spite and selfishness.

Social liberalism and economic liberalism will combine to create a savage, corrupt society in which material and sexual desire will eclipse the gospels and the brotherhood of man.   The rich will grind the faces of the poor, and tell them to escape their desperate financial circumstances by aborting their unborn children.   They will promote the "gay marriage" model for both homosexuals and heterosexuals so as to increase the number in the workforce, boost tax revenue and reduce spending on health, education and housing.   Wealthy politicians like David Cameron and John Key will smile and wave nonchalantly while their peoples sink into misery.   They will make war across the globe against any people who are brave enough to resist.  They will maintain places of detention where there is no law and no justice.  This may be "democratic change" but neither Roger Gale nor anyone else is bound to "accept" such change.

23 February 2013

Mark Jessum writes:

Prejudice and Homphobia

In November last year you bemoaned the tendency of gay marriage advocates to level accusations of intolerance against those who oppose marriage equality. You asserted then and since that you are not prejudiced because "To be prejudiced is to make a judgment in a particular case without regard to all the evidence and without paying heed to all the  arguments for and against a proposition". In your estimation you have done all that so you are not prejudice.

It is no surprise that you have made use of one particular definition of prejudice in order to reassure yourself that you are not just one of the many intolerant and small-minded people unable to accept full equality for homsexuals. You seem to have a problem understanding that political concepts like 'discrimination' are never fully explained when consulting a dictionary and that relying on a narrow definition to justify a political position is itself often evidence of an underlying prejudice. This became evident when it became clear that you were conflating two definitions of 'discrimination' in order to reject the idea that that denying the right to marry is a form of discrimination.

'Prejudice' happens when people pre-judge something, when they refuse to look at something outside of their pre-conceived ideas. It becomes evident in the use of generalisations and negative stereotypes which form the premises of the arguments they deploy. It helps them evade the awful truth that their opinion is not very well conceived. It invariably leads to the use of innumerable fallacious arguments as the writer tries to deny the actual basis of their opposition. The core argument is denied and all manner of twisted and convoluted arguments appear in its place.

Four months later, however, it seems you are a now lot more aware of your own prejudice. It has become clear that you just don't like gay people. You have asserted that all homosexuality (and therefore all homosexuals) are unnatural and have called for people to push back against all the gay activists trying to dominate the world. This reached its zenith when you asserted that "Instead of being condemned, homophobia should be celebrated". Finally you have come out of the closet as a homophobe. Finally you are getting to the core of your beliefs. All the unexplained claims that gay marriage will harm gay people and harm society are gone. All the weak and silly arguments about incest and group marriage have faded away.  All that remains is your obvious dislike and hostility for gay people.Your preconceived biblical views on marriage and homosexuality.

Alongside this revelation there is also the obvious fact that you are not in any way radical on this issue. You share the same views as avowed conservatives like McCroskie and McVicar. In response you simply reject my definition of radical without providing an alternative (despite your love of dictionary definitions). I assert that to be politically radical is to depart from dominant political thought in an innovative and progressive way. To advocate  deep-seated fundamental political reform. To still be arguing, in 2013, that homosexuality is unnatural does not count as radical. To be denying the existence of deep-seated prejudice and ongoing political discrimination against a minority is not radical.

Marriage equality is in itself not particularly radical. It is just another step toward realising that the oppression of any minority group on the grounds of their race or ethnicity, religious or sexual preference (or their health status) is unneccesary and unwanted. It was radical at one point to assert that homosexaulity wasn't a sin, that homosexuality was normal and that homosexual activity should not be a crime and that homosexuals have the same rights as all other people.  That is now standard and accepted thought. Only a minority of people cling to the old ways, the old misconceptions and prejudices about morality and sexuality.

You like to quote the bible a lot and interpret it in a way that reinforces your views. It is unfortunate that so many 'homophobes'  try and use religion to justify their fear of 'the other'. It is a fact that anti-homosexual prejudice can occur regardless of a person's religious beliefs.  Bigotry happens everywhere. It is also unwelcome everywhere. It is simplistic and limiting. When it is allowed to define and prescribe political concepts and legal rights it is harmful and dangerous.

Gay people fall in love. They want to get married and live 'happily ever after'. To deny them that right is to deny their humanity.


Mark Jessum

Note by Geoff Fischer:
I have not asserted that homosexuality is unnatural.  Mark is attributing opinions to me which I do not hold and have not expressed, although I acknowledge that I did write "Instead of being condemned, homophobia should be celebrated" in a satirical piece
I am sorry that Mark failed to recognise that particular item as satire, and perhaps it would be better if I had abstained from the use of humour in this debate.
However I did have a serious purpose, which was to show how the homosexual demands for social acceptance can just as easily be made on behalf of "homophobes", and in an environment where the public debate over homosexual marriage has an Alice-In-Wonderland quality, satire sometimes seems to be the only appropriate response.
I am unconcerned about being labelled as a "minority" or "not in any way radical".   The first is probably a matter of fact, the second a matter of opinion.
I would not say I have "a love of dictionary definitions".   I just think it self-defeating to try to impose one's own personal definitions in a debate, and I have no wish to try.