Propaganda 13

Before resigning in December 2007, former Prime Minister Kalvītis apparently had promised Cardinal Pujats and other members of the Council of Spiritual Affairs that he will do all within his powers to ensure that the next government continues to oppose "the propaganda of homosexuality ".(http://www.vdiena.lv/lat/politics/quote/kalviitis_apsoliijis_homoseksuaalisma_propagandas_ierobezhoshanu).

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There is no certain way to find out what exactly Mr Kalvītis (still a vigorous MP representing one of the coalition parties) implied by "propaganda". The quasi-religious origin of the word (from Congregatio de Propaganda Fide ) suggests that homosexuality in Latvia has become a religious doctrine which Mr Godmanis's government will now watchfully keep at bay, but there are no visible signs to support this vision. The fact that some people arguing in public for a greater tolerance (including a more inclusive attitude towards LGBT people) are also Christian pastors does not mean per se that there is a "propaganda" of homosexuality taking place in churches. The congregation of Mr. Ledyayev's intensely homophobic New Generation church is surely many times bigger than that of the Riga Anglican Church.

Or was it propaganda in the political sense Mr. Kalvītis implied? But then, there would have to be an identifiable programme of indoctrination on a major scale, inviting persons who are not homosexual to change their mind. If no such programme is in evidence (and there is none), then it is too early to speak of propaganda of any sort. Unless, of course, statements to the effect that gay and lesbian people also have human rights can be equated to a statement that others don't.

So it must be in a much deeper, more philosophical sense that our former Prime Minister has spoken of "propaganda". Let us see whether his accusation makes any sense. According to Sheril Tuttle Ross, " There are four conditions for a message to be considered propaganda. Propaganda involves the intention to persuade. As well, propaganda is sent on behalf of a sociopolitical institution, organization, or cause. Next, the recipient of propaganda is a socially significant group of people. Finally, propaganda is an epistemical struggle to challenge other thoughts." (Ross, Sheryl Tuttle. "Understanding Propaganda: The Epistemic Merit Model and Its Application to Art." Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 36, No.1. pp. 16-30 )

So far, everything fits. There is, indeed, an intention (on behalf of LGBT activists) to persuade (that LGBT people should have rights equal to those of other people). There is a cause on behalf of which the attempts to persuade are taking place. There is an intended recipient - the whole of society. And there is, I suppose, a struggle to challenge other thoughts - for example those that claim that homosexuality is a disease. What there is missing (for it to qualify as propaganda), is the attempt to create a semblance of credibility . According to Ross, "The aim of the propagandist is to create the semblance of credibility." This means that they appeal to an epystemology that is weak or defective.

There is no attempt to create a semblance of credibility in organising a Riga Pride or in claiming that same-sex couples, too, are families. The nature of rights is socially negotiable, and there is no distortion of facts in saying that in today's Europe, the rights of LGBT people to remain themselves and to stay with their partners, are recognised at the level of both European institutions and many national governments. As to the definition of family, it is value-based, and while it is fair enough that a practicing Roman Catholic may not recognise such a couple as a family, an Old Catholic (Vieux Catholique) could (in the limited sense, not stretching to the questions of adoption). And a secular person or a Christian without a strict church affiliation could have even less reservations about this definition. There is, obviously, no single true answer to what constitutes a family. Promoting a more inclusive vision, LGBT people speak for themselves and for others (e.g. single parents)whose family models, alas, are not viewed as "normal" by government policy-makers. They are not trying to "convert" others to their family models. Therefore, the accusation of "propaganda" is completely out of place.

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Komentāri (13) secība: augoša / dilstoša

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Me 14.02.2008 22:49
I care about a lot of fags.

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G.W.B 14.02.2008 20:44
Who cares about some fags!

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Pankūkas - Pētersonei! 13.02.2008 22:26
> If I understand you correct, you are against Mozaika providing information about who they are,
> what is their opinion about the homosexuality and what they would like to reform in legislative area,
> because you consider that to be the propaganda of homosexuality. Right?

It depends on what the meaning of "being against" is - if I may borrow from Clinton. If by "being against" you mean outright ban on Mozaika's activties - what makes you think so? If you mean I'm against Mozaika's "teachings" - I see nothing wrong with that. People are for or against policies all the time.

About banning propaganda I'm willing to go only as far banning it where such ban does no infringe any individuals rights and freedoms: public education system, similar but not identical to how Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 banned some of it in Britain until 2003. ( http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1986/cukpg... ). Based on very simple and IMO obvious grounds.

Or, if Mr. Ikstens does get his wish to ban even some of political advertising - ban of promotion of HS in advertising. Similar to how no religious advertising is banned in Ireland (MURPHY v. IRELAND, http://www.echr.coe.int/eng/Press/2003/july/JudgmentMurphyvI... ) Just for the fun of it :)

As to the change of mind - the question of "choice" may be important to you, much like all the arguments as to what homosexuality ISN'T (not an illness, if not for other reasons then because no idea how to treat without knowing how it came about), what homosexuals DON'T do (don't kidnap children :)) are important to gay activists. It doesn't enter my mind when I write: "aren’t yet in a position to make reasoned, informed decisions" that you'll take it as writing about choosing to be homosexual. I mean just that - they are schoolchildren and not adults, often not sure of themselves, not always able to grasp the consequences of this or that, or to make up their own mind about something the person in position of authority (teacher) presents to them.

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Pēteris 13.02.2008 21:11
PP!
So according to you there is a "development of same sex attraction". Interesting change of mind.

If I understand you correct, you are against Mozaika providing information about who they are, what is their opinion about the homosexuality and what they would like to reform in legislative area, because you consider that to be the propaganda of homosexuality. Right?

But why should people be prevented from acquiring such an information? Why should they receive only the information you or Mr. Kalvitis prefer? Should not there be a diversity of information so that people can read different views and make up their mind without your paternalistic guidance?

Because, if you say that the diversity of opinion is wrong and that Mozaika should be prevented from what they are doing, probably you are actually turning out to be the one who "know best what anybody and everybody needs, or should advance". Are you that "liberal" yourself that you "accuse" Ms. Golubeva of? :)

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Pankūkas - Pētersonei! 13.02.2008 19:53
Yes. Kalvitis in particular has become a liability, because he has made himself vulnerable to all kinds of attacks. Godmanis, who did say in an interview in August (http://www.nra.lv/print.php?rid=59820) this:

"But, speaking of gays specifically, I don't believe we ought to turn against them in any way, but LC has always been against promotion of homosexuality.
___
Bet, runājot konkrēti par gejiem, nedomāju, ka mums vajadzētu pret viņiem kaut kādā veidā vērsties, taču LC vienmēr ir bijusi pret homoseksuālisma popularizēšanu."

has not; at least no yet.

So, in general, people in positions of power speaking their political beliefs and aspirations freely and honestly is not a liablity. It's a virtue :)

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Aleksis -> PP! 13.02.2008 19:40
>>> There, just when I needed a pointed reminder that "liberals" like Ms. Golubeva know best what anybody and everybody needs, or should advance :)
====
I have no qualms about having many "godfathers" and "godmothers" for a good cause, but our former Prime Minister could be more specific.

A.Kalvitis knows his approval ratings - people would not pick up opinions and attitudes from sources they do not sympathize with. A.Kalvītis, if he wants to help the cause of family values, could operate with facts - sexually exploited children, victims of AIDS, foreign involvement in the work of "Mozaika", etc. Facts tend to impress people regardless of their attitude to the speaker.

Right now the support of A.Kalvitis seems to be our liability - it does not make me happy at all. But definitely - I do not know best :) Let freedom ring.

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Pankūkas - Pētersonei! 13.02.2008 19:32
@Pēteris

I wasn't very careful when writing that comment, but the word "choice" I have used only with regards to haircuts. It is pointless to talk about "choice" (as in something conscious decision) when talking about something that is poorly understood and may be a process drawn out for years and years (development of same sex attraction). Nobody (or very few people) "choose" to grow up and be poor - for the most part there is no "competitive advantage" in being poor.

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Pēteris - Aleksis 13.02.2008 19:20
You did not answer to the question about the "competitive advantage", which would motivate homosexuals to "choose" this "lifestyle" and "behaviours".

To be honest, no one knows the exact causes of heterosexuality as sexual orientation either (wide-spread social indoctrination, probably?). The condition may prove to be treatable after all :-)

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Aleksis 13.02.2008 19:01
So what would be the "competitive advantage" of homosexuality as a "choice", may I ask? I seriously would like to know your answer.
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Homosexuality as orientation is still a subject of scientific study. As far as we know, no genetic cause has yet been discovered. The condition may prove to be treatable after all.

On the other hand, homosexual behavior, affinity to gay subculture, bisexual behavior etc. is definitely a choice. In the same way as certain heterosexual behaviors, abstinence and a range of marginal sexual behaviors is a choice. Humans are responsible for their behavior. Loving relationship between two men does not need to involve sexual relationship. It is well explained in Plato's dialog "Symposium" - in the discussion between Socrates and Alcibiades.

Furthermore, pride activists need not be homosexuals at all - this is unfortunately the conscious choice of certain provocateurs in Latvia who want to secure their privileges and forcibly import some foreign concepts of identity politics.

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Pēteris - PP! 13.02.2008 17:45
No, not necessary for propagandists to attempt something so pointless and absurd. Target, of course, are those who, due to their young age, aren’t yet in a position to make reasoned, informed decisions.---PP!, I am astonished. So... do you suggest that these "choices" - heterosexuality/homosexuality - can be made in the same way as some make decisions about buying clothes/music/yoghurt?

So what would be the "competitive advantage" of homosexuality as a "choice", may I ask? I seriously would like to know your answer.

I ask this, because in my opinion it would be a suicidal "choice", if we really assume it is a choice at all. Particularly, in face of homophobia expressed by the movements like NoPride and NSS. Particularly, in a society as conservative as the Latvian. According to your logic, one would maximize the utility if one "chose" to be a heterosexual, however, there are still quite a lot of the homosexuals out there.

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Pankūkas - Pētersonei! 13.02.2008 16:20
There, I mistook Aleksis for Ms. Golubeva... for which I'm sorry :)

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Pankūkas - Pētersonei! 13.02.2008 16:09
> Or was it propaganda in the political sense Mr. Kalvītis implied? But then, there would have to
> be an identifiable programme of indoctrination on a major scale,

But of course there is - it's called "public education system". Admitedly, the scale of indoctrination may not yet be nearly as major as in countries wholly invested in promotion of homosexuality (Great Britain), but it's there. To quote just one highly absurd gay activist’s idea from the ministry approved teachers manual:

"If a person is homosexual, it should be accepted the same way as his hair color or length. It's part of his/her personality, his/her sexuality.

Ja cilvēks ir homoseksuāls, tas jāpieņem tāpat kā viņa matu krāsa vai garums. Tā ir daļa no viņa personības, viņa seksualitātes."

Remind me again, dear "lib'rals" - when was the last time the choice of hair colour or length carried elevated risk of catching a "Multidrug-Resistant, Community-Associated, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Clone" infection along with it? (http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/0000605-200802190-00204v1) Or that of slew of other diseases?

> inviting persons who are not homosexual to change their mind.

No, not necessary for propagandists to attempt something so pointless and absurd. Target, of course, are those who, due to their young age, aren’t yet in a position to make reasoned, informed decisions.

> There is, indeed, an intention (on behalf of LGBT activists) to persuade (that LGBT people
> should have rights equal to those of other people).

Nope, that intention is highly unlikely. To have a chance at being credible, this necessitates at least the ability to enumerate the rights that are allegedly not there.

> As to the definition of family, it is value-based...

And that, too, is a diversion, because there is no discernable discussion as to what constitutes a family, but rather - from where and how do new families arise. Ms. Golubeva skips the question and simply asserts that male homosexual couple, along with, say, on average, 7 other sexual partners they have a year in Amsterdam, while being in a "steady relationship" (http://tinyurl.com/23zvw5), IS a family. Much the same way like fictional, tightly knit "Rowing club" would be a family, should Ms. Golubeva proclaim it so - I add. :)

> Nobody needs ruling party officials preaching traditional values and lifestyles. NoPride
> (http://www.nopride.lv) activism should be advanced by religious communities, by artists and
> musicians, by teachers, university staff and local authorities.

There, just when I needed a pointed reminder that "liberals" like Ms. Golubeva know best what anybody and everybody needs, or should advance :)

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Aleksis 13.02.2008 12:18
Is there any other, more appropriate denotation for gay pride and similar events rather than "propaganda"? As far as I can see in the homepage of "Mozaika.lv" - they advance certain set of beliefs (the goals stated in their homepage include "sekmēt sabiedrības izglītošanu par dažādu seksuālo orientāciju esamību un citiem ar to saistītiem jautājumiem", "sekmēt sabiedrības izpratni par ģimenes modeļu dažādību un sekmēt to tiesību juridisku atzīšanu."). This implies that there is certain "knowledge" (related to the existence of sexual minorities) and "understanding" (of diverse family models), which the aforementioned organization wants to spread. In the everyday sense of the word it is "propaganda".

Nobody would need to create an NGO or to go to great lengths to organize a provocative gay pride event in Riga just to remind some self-evident things (that there are indeed people with different orientations or different models of cohabitation and family-like structures). Their goal is an ideological one - to advance certain attitudes, to give credibility to their discourse and attitudes.

There is another problem though - any supporter of democracy would be unhappy about A.Kalvitis (a symbol of ineffective and non-transparent government policies in modern Latvia) hijacking a popular issue of family values. Nobody needs ruling party officials preaching traditional values and lifestyles. The defense of family values has to be a wide democratic movement - activism of various well-intentioned people. NoPride (http://www.nopride.lv) activism should be advanced by religious communities, by artists and musicians, by teachers, university staff and local authorities. I.e. we do not discriminate against any people, but we criticize inappropriate and sinful behavior. This would be a symmetrical response to the pervasive gay prie propaganda (in fact advancing rights for a few already privileged people - well connected and internationally supported gay rights activists).

Citi autora darbi