The US finally begins to crawl out of the third world

A handy map. Darker blue means more rights for homosexuals, darker red means more penalties.

Congratulations, America, on finally doing what the rest of the Western World did years ago! The land of the not-so-free and the home of the bravely ignorant may still have a long way to go, but at least California is no longer in the same boat as most of Africa and the Middle East (see map, right). Maybe one day the United States will finally embrace is supposedly secular founding principles, stop listening to the religious fanatics, and let people get on with their own lives without interference from the near-fascist Big Brother state. Maybe one day the United States—a nation that supposedly values liberty—will stop persecuting people for factors beyond their own control. Maybe one day gay people will have the same rights as black people and Jews, and people will stop pretending that persecuting one group of people is different from persecuting another.

Δενδοδγε τ\c19:33, 5 August 2010

I always find your frankly delusional comments quite sad. You can't boldly assert such laughable falsehoods as the U.S. being a Third World country without having some form of brain disease, never-mind that the whole thing is some sort of attempted guilt-by-association against opponents of gay marriage. (talk)19:52, 5 August 2010

The guilt comes not in the association, but in the fact that opponents of gay marriage are attempting to prevent two people who love each other from doing the same things of two other people who love each other for no reason other than the way they were born.

The "Third World" metaphor was just that: A metaphor. The United States clearly has a First World economy, but its civil liberties are on a par with those of some Third World countries, as the map illustrates.

On a related note, please do not accuse me of being "delusional", "sad", or "brain diseased" in future—issues can be debated without resorting to personal attacks.

Δενδοδγε τ\c19:58, 5 August 2010

Your underlying purpose was to impugn the laws and policies of the United States by associating them with Third World countries and "religious fanatics." This is a textbook example of guilt by association. The First World / Third World distinction has always been one of economics and political stability, so there you're just attempting to back-pedal and redefine terms. Considering the wide heterogeneity of countries with Third World economies, it's hard to derive anything helpful from your "metaphor." (talk)20:05, 5 August 2010

Actually, the Third World was initially used to describe any states that were not allied with either the USA ("First World") or the USSR ("Third World") during the Cold War. Therefore, culture is—in this original definition—also important, even if not so much as economy. The United States does bear some similarities to Third World countries, even though it is, itself, the benchmark by which the First World is defined. The metaphor implies that the United States has advanced less than the countries historically considered to be part of the Third World, putting its civil liberties on a par with theirs.

Δενδοδγε τ\c20:13, 5 August 2010

I concede the point about etymology. I shouldn't have said the "distinction has always been" such and such, but still, the primary, current use of the term is purely economic. Whether or not there is some peripheral similarity between a U.S. policy and some policy of some Third World country remains a matter of indifference and your usage was still not clearly metaphorical. (talk)20:20, 5 August 2010

I apologise if my metaphor was not clear. On a further re-reading of my original post, I can see how it may have been misconstrued, and there are probably better metaphors that I could have used (half of which don't violate Godwin's Law).

Δενδοδγε τ\c20:24, 5 August 2010

It's also full of woeful exaggerations, like the claim that people are being "persecuted" who are in fact protected by law and subject to no sanctions either criminal or civil for being gay, declaring themselves to be gay, having relationships or arranging whatever ceremonies or personal vows they choose. The Proposition 8 issue doesn't even affect the possibility of civil unions that confer all the privileges and benefits of marriage under another name. Persecution usually consists of something more substantive than mere nominal distinctions.

I'm personally in favour of civil unions for everybody. The provisions of the civil unions would include joint and several responsibility for any children born to or adopted into the relationship so codified. It's not the government's business to impose any particular definition of "marriage" when that can be easily avoided. The government could introduce unions with more than two signatories and whatever other contractual structures may seem propitious and everybody can define marriage in accordance with his own conscience or doctrine. Sounds amicable to me, or at least facilitative of shunting the whole controversy off into the private realm where it belongs. When the government steps in, people are too apt to get "persecuted." (talk)21:06, 5 August 2010

Civil unions do not "confer all the privileges and benefits of marriage under another name." The very existence of such a two-tiered system denotes discrimination, as such the policy of "civil unions" shares a striking resemblance to The "separate but equal" policies used to persecute the Black minority in the United States before the US Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Such blatant legal discrimination is fundamentally inseparable from persecution.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)21:18, 5 August 2010
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Here we have a false analogy and yet more guilt by association. Racial segregation was a legally enforced policy that imposed different conditions on the "segregated" groups. Even if, in theory, the amenities were equal, one school or restaurant is not the same as another and it takes coercive force or the threat thereof to make people attend only their respective facilities. The existence of "marriages" and "civil unions" does not imply the employment of any force whatsoever, since the distinction is entirely on the part of the government. If they come with identical legal provisions, they are truly identical. Two buildings or assemblies can never be identical, only possibly, roughly, analogous. Two sets of terms that contain the same text are in fact truly identical. These distinctions are, I think, intuitively obvious to an honest reader. What we're left with are yet more guilty associations, only in this case the association itself is illusory. Not that it matters, bad arguments of this kind being thoroughly irrecoverable. (talk)21:48, 5 August 2010

If they are the same, why do the names have to be different? The government does not want to let gay people get married, so they give them the same thing, but with a different name. That, in itself, is discrimination, as homosexuals have to call their union something different to straight people, effectively segregating the people.

Δενδοδγε τ\c21:51, 5 August 2010

Before Civil Rights laws were passed in the US, citizens of differing races were often not allowed to marry, Such marriages were legally prohibited and not recognised by the state or federal governments. If someone suggested a law granting Interracial couples the right to "Civil Unions", rather than Marriage, It would be considered a policy of segregation or racial discrimination. It would be most enlightening to hear how discrimination by race in this regard is somehow different that discrimination on the basis of gender.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)22:22, 5 August 2010
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Your apologia is quite poorly conceived, as you have not considered all the possible outcomes the system created by such legislation. Your assertion that "The existence of "marriages" and "civil unions" does not imply the employment of any force whatsoever, since the distinction is entirely on the part of the government" is demonstrably false. Say for example a member of a legally recognised homosexual civil union were required to profess his or her "Marital status" on a legally binding contract with the options "Married", "unmarried", or "civil union". If He or she checked the Married box rather than the "Civil Union" box he/she could be charged with fraud and liable to civil or criminal pernalties, i.e. fines or jail time. While more abstract-as marriage itself is an abstract concept- It is both in its causes and its effects indistinguishable from the situation a black person being arrested or fined for using a white drinking fountain. In both situations, if a member of the underclass steps out of their legally sanctioned box, they are compelled to suffer penalties.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)23:09, 5 August 2010

Your rebuttal is quite poorly conceived, as it tries to synthesize new circumstances that are not essential to the described system. There's no reason the document can't be drafted with only two check-boxes and the options "Single" and "Marriage / Civil Union." This is already the sort of thing that census documents do to consolidate effectively identical options (e.g. differences in terminology for referring to various races). You argue that the government could create problems for itself in this way, but in that case why not other ways? Even if gay marriages are granted, the question could be "Are you in a married relationship that would have been considered valid in the U.S. c.a. 1950?" I'm sure the government could ask all sorts of idiotic, pointless questions and thereby create unnecessary trouble for itself. That's not in doubt. (talk)23:38, 5 August 2010

Again, You've failed to address my point, which was that by being confined to a seperate system, homosexual couples living under a "civil unions" regime are forced to Identify themselves by a legal qualifier that is not required for heterosexual couples, hence they are treated unequally. Your assertion that a census document would be drafted with two boxes, even if true, does not address the potential for other legal documents, both public and private to abide by the same rules. Assuming all legal contracts would do so is not only an article of faith on your part, but frankly is preposterous, One only has to look at the history of legal use of the term Hispanic to see the terminological quicksand this engenders. There are potentially many other situations in which a member of a civil union might be penalized for asserting he or she were "married" One obvious example would be on the witness stand. Furthermore If such a civil union, were as you put it, truly identical, there would be no legitimate reason whatsoever to distinguish it terminologically, It would just be called marriage, plain and simple.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)00:08, 6 August 2010

You're moving the goalposts again. The entire line of argument started from me asserting that a nominal distinction between "civil unions" and "marriages" cannot be reasonably construed as "persecution" against gays and it's not similar to a system of forcible segregation of the races. Now those words have disappeared and you would have those same words contend against your much milder "unequal" language. The facts remain that the government could avoid this issue you raise, so it's not a necessary consequence of a system of civil union and that de minimis compelled speech and calling two identical documents respectively a marriage license and a civil union is not persecution or segregation. Calling it such is just an abuse of language and of logic. (talk)00:36, 6 August 2010

I fail to see how illustrating the legal pitfalls of civil unions legislation is "moving the goal posts". It's difficult to imagine how the governemnt could "avoid the issue" without introducing a plethora of new and problematic legislation regulating the language of legal contracts or court proceedings. Your dismissal of compelled speech as "de minimis" only belies your callous failure to recognise what is clearly a form of discrimination- Perhaps I can offer an example to help you empathize - Just Imagine if the situation were reversed and Homosexual marriages were the only relationships recognised by the state, As a Heterosexual You'd be dishonest to call your heterosexual civil union partner "husband" or "wife", or to say the two of you were "married". Now I don't know about you, but I think most people would consider that a form of persecution. Yes, it's a hypothetical, but it's precisely the situation millions of homosexual couples would find themselves in under a civil unions regime. Before Civil Rights laws were passed in the US, citizens of differing races were often not allowed to marry, such marriages were legally prohibited and not recognised by the state or federal governments. If someone suggested a law granting Interracial couples the right to "Civil Unions", rather than Marriage, It would be considered a policy of segregation or racial discrimination. It would be most enlightening to hear how discrimination by race in this regard is somehow radically different that discrimination on the basis of gender.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)01:03, 6 August 2010 I'd love to debate this issue further, but In all honesty I have important work IRL I must be attending to (as I'm sure you must have yourself). It's been a pleasure, Perhaps another time.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)01:06, 6 August 2010

By the way, de jure segregation in the U.S. was judicially invalidated by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The innovation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was prohibition of most kinds of discrimination by private actors, a separate issue altogether. I have some reservations from the latter on Freedom of Association grounds. Does increased acknowledgement and protection of free association among private individuals render a society more "advanced" in your view? I just notice that you tend to emphasize what you perceive to be "advanced" in the realm of law and policy, but I've come to suspect that it's just a way of begging the question by pre-assuming that your own political views are the advanced ones, and who, after all, doesn't want to be "advanced?" (talk)22:02, 5 August 2010

Of course the adjective "advanced" is culturally subjective and perhaps somewhat arbitrary when used to refer to the chronological progression of legal norms. But I'll wager that as a rule, you'd be hard pressed to find many citizens of the modern world who would be willing to chose institutionalised discrimination, social inequality and violent punishments, over human rights, civil liberties, egalitarianism and humane justice

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)22:43, 5 August 2010

Wow, it takes a real overdose of loaded terminology to produce such a whopper of a complex question. (talk)22:50, 5 August 2010

You've only proven my point, All political terminology is essentially subjective, There is virtually no such thing as an impartial assessment. The only true litmus test of how "advanced/progressive or Backwards/regressive" a policy is to observe the general long-term worldwide chronological trend, which has historically been to abandon certain policies in favour of others. Which policies over the past 500 years have become more common, and which have become more rare?

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)23:30, 5 August 2010

I'd say totalitarianism has become more common. That form of centralized state did not exist in pre-modern times. That must be one of the advanced and progressive things we should aspire to. (talk)23:43, 5 August 2010

I agree that totalitarianism has become more common than it was 500 years ago- largely due to the technological advances in communication, transport, etc. that enabled governments to gain such control, although it has hardly become a consistent worldwide trend.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)00:14, 6 August 2010

The laws and policies of the United States do share several important traits with a variety of "Third World" countries usually considered less advanced, among these: 1. The United States has not yet abolished Capital Punishment, and it is extensively practiced and legally sanctioned in 39 states. 2. Domestic surveillance on US Citizens without due process, while technically prohibited by the nation's constitution, is indeed widely practiced and has been given retroactive approval by the US Congress. 3. Homosexual citizens are legally not endowed with the same rights as Heterosexual citizens, and as such are treated as second class citizens.4. Creationism - a religious fundamentalist doctrine -is legally taught alongside Evolution in some U.S. Public Schools. 5. Racial profiling is legally enshrined by the U.S State of Arizona with regards to inquiries by law enforcement into a person's immigration status. 6. The United states has no universal publicly-funded health system for its citizens, usually considered a mark of a "Developed" nation.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)21:06, 5 August 2010

You've produced a real mixed-bag there. Some of those things aren't true or are only half-truths (4, 5), others are true but even more true of other "Developed" countries (2, which is spot on for the U.K.), some true and unfortunate (3, though you've accompanied it with severe exaggerations), and others I fully support (1, 6). I don't, however, see the point. Why should I care? Why should anybody care? This whole idea of adducing similarities to Third World countries is just a red herring when the ultimate question is the worthiness or unworthiness of particular policy positions. (talk)21:33, 5 August 2010

You support the US killing its criminals, and not providing everyone with healthcare (in effect killing the innocent)? It has been proven that capital punishment is not an effective deterrent (crime actually rose during the Bloody Code in England), and people have been proven innocent after their execution.

As for healthcare, I don't understand how anybody can oppose diverting some government funds to keeping people alive (after all, the US seems all too happy to deliberately kill millions in violation of international law: Iraq, for example).

2 is true for the UK, yes, but that does not mitigate its effects on the US.

The Third World comment was meant to indicate the backwards and uncivilised nature of Proposition 8 (note that I am not implying that all third world countries are savage and uncivilised—some, however, are, such as Uganda), and was therefore a comment on the policy, though I admit that the discussion has been somewhat sidetracked.

Δενδοδγε τ\c21:44, 5 August 2010

I think I'll decline to take this conversation yet farther afield. I'm not the one who introduced these issues, I just indicated my range of opinions on them to illustrate that I'm willing to side with things associated with the "Third World" on some issues and not on others. There's no reason to lump any of these together or to say that something is bad just because it's associated with less economically developed countries. (talk)22:12, 5 August 2010

To comment on heath care, A lot in part is opposition from the GOP, who don't like spending much.

Mikemoral♪♫06:26, 6 August 2010
They most certainly love spending on illegal wars of Aggression against distant  petroleum-rich nations, they just disapprove of spending money on a social safety net for their fellow citizens.
HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)00:25, 7 September 2010

Rightly said.

Mikemoral♪♫03:48, 7 September 2010
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It would be interesting to hear how 4 and 5 are "half-truths" as you've put it. Creationism is legally taught in the U.S. state of Kansas (look it up if you don't believe me), while Arizona has recently passed a law requiring all police officers to inquire as to the immigration status of persons who they "suspect" may not be U.S. citizens or legal U.S. Immigrants while conducting other routine law enforcement activities, such as roadblocks and traffic stops. The very nature of such a law forces police to resort to superficial ethnic/"racial" characteristics, such as skin/hair colour, dialect etc. as guidelines for whom is considered "suspicious".

As for the comparisons of U.S. policies to "Third World" countries, it is a quite valid rubric for Americans to consider, especially as the United States conducts an aggressive, militaristic foreign policy which -although driven by geopolitics- is largely sold to the public in terms of promoting "democracy" "freedom" and "Human rights" in countries around the world. Such presumed moral authority is easily challenged if objective criteria are used to Compare the U.S. own domestic policies to those of other nations, both "Third World" and "First".

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)22:02, 5 August 2010

Yes Indeed It has become sidetracked, It would be nice if the discussion stayed on the topic of the Prop 8 ruling. My "laundry list" was only meant to demonstrate the validity of using "Third world" as a rhetorical metaphor for certain U.S. policies

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)22:08, 5 August 2010