Who defines the terms of the debate?

Debate: : a contention by words or arguments: as a : the formal discussion of a motion before a deliberative body according to the rules of parliamentary procedure b : a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides.
New York Times interviewed Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon in which she talked about her childhood, education, acting career, and of course, her sexual orientation. 
She was once married to Daniel Mozes and had two children with him.  She is now  involved with Christine Marinoni. With the help of a male friend Nixon will not identify, Marinoni conceived a child. She gave birth to their son, Max Ellington Nixon-Marinoni, on Feb. 7, 2011.

Cynthia (r) and her girlfriend Christine


From the Times: 
Nixon manages to keep a similarly cleareyed perspective on her relationship with Marinoni, despite the titillation it has caused in the tabloid media. She has less tolerance for the skepticism she says her relationship has sparked among some gay activists who find her midlife switch in sexual orientation disingenuous.
“I totally reject that,” she said heatedly. “I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me. A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.”
Her face was red and her arms were waving. “As you can tell,” she said, “I am very annoyed about this issue. Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate? It seems we’re just ceding this point to bigots who are demanding it, and I don’t think that they should define the terms of the debate. I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn’t realize I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.
So the homosexual community is upset because she made a choice to be gay?  She slept with men and is now with a woman (isn’t that bisexuality?).  Aren’t the tolerant liberals suppose to be all about “choice”?  I’m confused…
I dont’ care what you do in the privacy of your bedroom.  What I do care about is your inability to debate those that have a different opinion than yours.  Who does define the terms of the debate?  Certainly not any “bigot” that may have an opinion that doesn’t align with yours.
John Stuart Mill, a British philosopher, posed a view on freedom of speech that I like to refer to when a “tolerant” liberal cannot adequately express a critical opinion and attempts to shut down those that disagree with them.

An influential advocate of freedom of speech, Mill objected to censorship. He says: “I choose, by preference the cases which are least favourable to me – In which the argument against freedom of opinion, both on truth and that of utility, is considered the strongest. Let the opinions impugned be the belief of God and in a future state, or any of the commonly received doctrines of morality… But I must be permitted to observe that it is not the feeling sure of a doctrine (be it what it may) which I call an assumption of infallibility. It is the undertaking to decide that question for others, without allowing them to hear what can be said on the contrary side.

Mills outlines the benefits of ‘searching for and discovering the truth’ as a way to further knowledge. He argued that even if an opinion is false, the truth can be better understood by refuting the error. And as most opinions are neither completely true nor completely false, he points out that allowing free expression allows the airing of competing views as a way to preserve partial truth in various opinions. Mill also eloquently argued that freedom of expression allows for personal growth and self-realization. He said that freedom of speech was a vital way to develop talents and realise a person’s potential and creativity.

Ms. Nixon would have more weight, in my opinion, if she could comprehensively describe why she believes the “bigots” (homosexual community) have no right to define the terms of the debate (starting with why you label someone a “bigot” if they don’t have the same belief as you).  And if you truly believe in your convictions, you should have no problem taking them on head on in a debate, without resorting to name-calling. 
Who defines the terms of a debate?  Apparently not those that disagree with you.
DCG

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0 responses to “Who defines the terms of the debate?

  1. maintaining an open mind and innocent curiosity in a
    fallen/sin filled world can be morally hazardous…
    or as was better intimated:
    one must remain in the world but not of the world

     
  2. Chris Christie appoints homosxl judge today,not too long ago appointed a muslim. Ain’t he grand. I wonder how much he costs?

     

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