Last week I had a conversation with someone (if this link is taken down, let me know and I'll put my saved copy on my website to replace this live link) on G+ on the topic of homosexuality. There are some nuances of my argument that tie into theory I've provided here; at risk of beating the topic to death (I've posted a lot near this topic recently), some thoughts:
As stated there, I draw distinctions between levels of societal acceptance of variance in personal conduct:
- Legality - Whether something should be basically legal
- Acceptance - Whether something should be seen as a way people live that doesn't require active/short-term struggle against
- Pathpaving - Whether something should be supported by societal institutions
- Approval/validation - Whether something should be seen as a solid and reasonable and good way to live, among alternatives
As you can see, I did my best to keep the dialogue civil, and hopefully didn't come across as shrill or defensive; I also intentionally used family examples (didn't name the names though) because I've found that family references generally soften tone of attack by family-type conservatives, and they ground the conversation in terms of concrete relationships with real people rather than abstract theory (I don't want to overdo this though, because sometimes we really should accept principles/laws that are not friendly to people somebody knows, like putting someone in prison for a long time for crime, or similar).
In this case, I don't think I convinced her, but a number of other people she (presumably) knows in some way gave me +1s, which is kind of nice; I think it's important that somebody shows up to offer criticism of perspectives like hers, and that somebody is polite and (if needed) in command of a good body of relevant evidence and a decent theory that can be argued for. And perhaps in time the arguments I've made might lead her to soften her position or reconsider it. Or perhaps it will echo in the ears of the other people who have read it. I'm a believer in the idea that a good argument leaves an echo in the heads of the listeners.