Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

No more and no less

This is what I desire when it comes to various SJ-type activism; it's a manifesto of sorts:

First, this is a layered document. Each layer is meant to shape the manifesto, and to fit into the context of the work as a whole. It will not be complete, and not all ommissions mean what you might think, although in cases where people regularly add content I disagree with, I will explicitly state limits. It would generally be a mistake to draw specific intent on matters I have not explicitly spelled out; either I have not considered a possibility or I might go either way on it or I may have no (strong) opinion (yet or ever).

With the usual importing of the world-of-terms I think from, I see it as a moral imperative (meaning it would be justified to potentially use everything up to force to advance this end) to build a society that tolerates (permits to exist) gays, bisexuals, furries, "trans", "therians", morbidly obese, anorexics, people with various kinds of mental illness, disabled of various kinds, people of various religions, people of various gender-roles and gender-identities (distinct from genders), polyamourous and potentially other categories I have not considered. This notion of toleration does not in all cases extend to the level of not providing treatment nor use of said statuses to justify acts; rather that being in these categories should not entail state or private action to enact violence against, imprison, or bully members of these groups.

My first shot at defining bullying is as follows: bullying is a situation where a specific person, the bully, (usually repeatedly) seeks out the company of the bullied in a way that leaves no effective choice of the bullied to avoid it, and absent any context of retribution, to perform physical or emotional acts that have the specific intent of inducing misery. These acts necessarily stem from malice to the person and fall outside norms of interaction; they must neither be sought by the bullied nor stem from a decision of the possible bullier to retain their non-maliciously-acquired worldview (or world-of-terms); judgement of bullying must be understood as being against an individual, not against one of the identities of the individual (even given that people often value the identities they have chosen or which are applied to them). Bullying acts also involve the bully to go out of their way to injure the bullied, rather than failing to meet some request.

Without any special considerations for behaviour (meaning the categories above cannot justify through this clause specific allowances), I see it as a moral imperative to permit people of the above categories (as well as people of both genders and all races) to live a reasonable life (assuming a thick skin as suitable for life in a pluralist society), with formal equality under the law and as equal access to jobs as can be arranged. This provision again does not grant any special provisions or consideration to such groups; the access is as-people rather than as-members-of-an-identity.

I hold it as an ethical imperative to provide reasonable accomodation to the physically disabled in access to jobs, services, and education suitable for as reasonable a life as is possible given the disability. This amounts to creation of a special obligation towards the disabled beyond as-people, and should be seen as being on the other side of a line sketched above.

I hold it as an ethical imperative to legally recognise marriage as a choice between two people whose romantic affiliation has grown sufficiently that they begin to have and act with a partially unified social identity. Further qualifications in marriage are permissible but must be compatible with this basic definition. With possible exceptions for some kinds of mental illness, the above groupings must all have access, as any permutation of genders and statuses that fall down to two people that can meet the basic definition of marriage above.

I hold that while the state and state-entangled enterprises have that obligation to legally recognise marriages broadly, individuals and others are not ethically obligated to recognise such marriages.

I hold it as a pragmatic imperative to provide light accomodation to those who have dietary constraints or religious desires when people are temporarily or permanently either wards of the state or are in temporary or permanent confinement (such as being in the military, or being on an airplane).

I consider it an ethical obligation to provide therapy and medical care for those suffering physical or mental disability. Such therapy/care should be in the direction of bionormativity; it must never be permitted to create disability for cultural reasons (as some pro-Deaf groups have advocated). I do not take a stance on policy for either genital-gender-alteration surgeries or other non-bionormative cosmetic alterations of the body, and reject efforts to mandate stances on that matter. Mental disabilities must also not be advocated as new norms; pro-ana and pro-aspie movements are, for example, to be opposed.

The general purpose of activism is to establish norms for public interpersonal conduct, along the lines that great mental diversity is to be expected (including all sorts of perspective on race, gender, judgements of the groups above and so on) but assuming no malice, people should not have obligations to avoid offense nor to speak in particular ways of each other. People should be comfortable not caring about or not giving specific consideration for the identities of others except as within these bounds; the idea of "Live and let live. I don't care what's in your head and you don't have to care what's in mine, just treat me as a person and accept my quirks" should be the general end of advocacy. People who make demands for specific accomodation beyond what's defined here should generally be considered to be "being difficult" and should not be humoured or indulged; with particularly strong demands, they should be shunned as they are inappropriately making demands of the conduct or mental state of others. This includes demands for particular pronouns, especially outside the he/she sets.

For private interpersonal conduct, such as friendships or relationships, I consider people's preferences not to be a target for activism; there is an absolute prerogative in choosing one's nonstructured non-employment-related personal company, and interference with that is to be condemned in the harshest possible terms. Note that as ties spread beyond relationships and friendships, this privilege swiftly withers; private clubs that include restrictions of above identities do not operate fully under this prerogative and may be potentially be condemned or banned, as do informal organisations that frequently lead to employment or other tangible benefits beyond company or love.

For workplace positions that require some scientific literacy or that involve positions of trust/power, I accept some lessening of acceptable mental diversity if that diversity has an impact on the job; qui licet bovi, non licet Iovi.

I suggest (as a commit - a term of art in my philosophy) acceptance of (from the above) bi-ga-la sexual preferences as well as adoption of gender-role abolitionism as theory on gender-normativity. I reject advocacy for it or any competing theory on the topic as an ethic or a norm.

A stance of tolerance (live and let live) is not the same thing as either a stance of acceptance (no advocacy against, and with the option of path-paving) or of validation (positive judgement or at least as an equally valid option, with the option of celebration). I hold that tolerance is the general good target of social justice movements because it leaves open more room for mental diversity; it impinges less on worldviews. A sufficiently deep push for acceptance, or particularly validation, pushes requirements on worldviews of a society to the extent that it is not accepting and/or intolerant of those who think differently. I assert that this has happened in existing SJ-movements that have been insufficiently careful with their theory/advocacy, and that we need to either trim those movements down or push against them when they make inappropriate normative demands.

I welcome questions and challenges on this.

Tags: feminism

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