Friday, August 2, 2013

Kleptomania Analogy

In Wednesday’s post we were talking about analogies that show the absurdity of claiming behavioral urges make a person “be” something, which leads to the assumption that the behavior should be accepted, even honored, so as not to offend the person. In passing I mentioned a piece I’d written some years ago, and I’m sharing that today. 

I wrote this in 2008, and shared it with people who were working on the Prop 8 campaign in California. But to my knowledge it was used as background, not published, so I hadn’t included it in my recent Defense of Marriage collection. The full piece begins with several paragraphs identifying the unique benefits of marriage to society: This covenant values exclusivity (so that inheritance rights are meaningful, and sexually transmitted diseases are not a threat), possibility of offspring, and permanence (so that offspring have a stable home in which to be raised). Despite Kennedy’s opinion in the Supreme Court ruling in Windsor a month ago that no one can have a rational reason for the traditional definition of marriage, these benefits are real, well documented and mounting in social science, and exemplified in some six millennia of human history.  

I have covered these reasons elsewhere in my writings, so for today I’ll mostly just include the analogy portion of the piece, meant to illustrate what happened 40 years ago to set in motion the propaganda that has been trying to control what the public “knows,” which doesn’t happen to be true.

Alternative Reality

Homosexuals are not prohibited from marrying a person of the opposite sex who is not a close relative, who is of legal age, and who is not already married to another person—the same criteria required of heterosexuals. 

But they can’t marry the person they would choose! Neither can heterosexuals who would choose someone too closely related, too young, or currently married, limitations that are intended to make marriage relationships most likely to be valuable to society rather than detrimental. So what homosexuals are saying, really, is that they want a change in the law to accommodate their particular desires, without showing that their relationship choices will be of value to society. 

If they were to get what they want, then society is deprived of a way to encourage permanent, faithful opposite-sex parents to maintain stable families in which to raise offspring—a way it has had for six thousand-plus years. And their reason for depriving society is just because they claim it’s unfair to them not to get their way. 

Their main argument presupposes that homosexuality is an innate quality, like race, inborn and immutable. But common sense tells us that behavior does not qualify as an inborn immutable quality; behavior is what we do, by choice (even if there doesn’t seem to be a lot of choice because the urge is strong, just as it is for a child rapist/murderer, which is, by the way, just another sexual orientation among a couple dozen). 

So how did we as a society come to believe that homosexuality was a trait, innate and unchangeable? By scientific study and discovery? Overwhelming evidence? Not exactly. 

To show you how it happened, it might help to look at an allegorical situation, a story: 

Once upon a time, in the early 1970s, there were certain members of the governing body of the American Psychiatric Association who had traits not common to the population at large. They had an alternative view of ownership, which led them, at times, to see the belongings of other people as their own. Previously among their colleagues there had been a term for this condition: kleptomania. It was considered a mental disorder that could be treated. There were studies about the condition, and new treatments being tried, to alter what was viewed as an unwanted, undesirable behavior problem. 

But these particular alternative-ownership perceivers didn’t think their problem should be treated. They liked perceiving other people’s belongings as their own. To them, it wasn’t harmful or undesirable. And they didn’t think it should be viewed as undesirable to their colleagues. Over several years, they combined together to build their political authority in the professional organization; also, they organized pressure groups from outside the organization to help them lobby. And they were able to proclaim that kleptomania was not a behavioral disorder. It was an inborn trait, a different ownership orientation, and was as valid as any other ownership orientation. It should not be treated. Studies should no longer be done in order to discover causes and cures.  

Instead, society should be persuaded to accept the differently ownership oriented. Anyone who refused to agree would be labeled kleptophobic. Presentations would be given in schools—first colleges, then high schools, and eventually elementary schools, to indoctrinate the public to accept this new view of kleptomania. Illustrated books would be written for school children: Mommy Found Yet Another Pair of Shoes, and You Might Be Differently Ownership Oriented; You Won’t Know until You Try. Laws were put before legislative bodies to declare it a crime to discriminate against someone just because they might be differently ownership oriented. Despite heavy lobbying against it from the greedy retail industry, many places did pass the legislation. Television began to put more and more differently ownership oriented persons in their programming, and began to portray them not as the butt of jokes, but as positive role models that simply suffered misunderstanding from a bigoted public. 

A few kleptomaniacs (pardon me, differently ownership oriented individuals) continued to seek treatment, although treatment was no longer sanctioned. They claimed the lifestyle made them suffer guilt, for taking things that didn’t belong to them. And it undermined trust, so that their relationships weren’t as intimate and lasting as they hoped for. And, despite the insistence that their behavioral urges were an innate trait, many were able to leave the lifestyle. Thousands, in fact. They were able to stop taking things that didn’t belong to them. Many were very nearly able to completely overcome the urge to take things. And these former kleptomaniacs held conferences to tell people there was hope for them, if they also wanted to change. But the supporters of the differently ownership oriented rallied against them, and often the six sign-holding protestors would be featured in news stories where the 2,000 conference goers’ views would not be considered newsworthy. 

[Forty] years of kleptomania acceptance indoctrination netted some results. It became popular for the elite to support the differently ownership oriented. It became shameful to say, in public, that you didn’t like it when differently ownership oriented people took your belongings. People publicly viewed kleptomania with acceptance, and many even encouraged the uncertainly oriented to give it a try.  

But the additional acceptance, for some reason, didn’t seem to benefit civilization.  

Traces of old paradigms remained. Still, people weren’t more likely to invite the differently ownership oriented to socialize with them in their homes. And there continued a serious prejudice against them in the retail workplace and among certain traditionalist religions which clung to the Ten Commandments as if they still mattered. Also, people tended to hold on more tightly than ever to their personal belongings when in public where they might unknowingly come in contact with the differently ownership oriented. People are, after all, naturally bigoted and hard to change. 

OK, so kleptomania didn’t get taken from the long (and almost inexhaustible) list of treatable behavioral problems. But in 1973 homosexuality did.[1] There were at that time some 600 ongoing studies into causes and treatments. There were thousands of people who had been successfully treated. But because of the political pressure from some few homosexual activists in the leadership of the American Psychological Association along with a few well-funded pressure groups, studies and treatments were axed.  

Those seeking treatment were turned away or told that “treatment” meant “accepting yourself as you are.”[2] Those who have found treatment despite its scarcity have a relatively high success rate, particularly when religion is a factor in the treatment (reference).  

But society is told this behavior problem is an innate immutable trait. Society has been lied to. 

Should society, based on the political pressure of a few behaviorally warped psychiatrists, throw out the institution of marriage in favor of honoring a behavior that does not benefit society and arguably harms the individual as well? No, it should not. 

[1] A thorough retelling of the sequence of events is covered in Destructive Trends in MentalHealth, by Rogers H. Wright and Nicholas A. Cummings; see the chapter on this subject by William T. O'Donohue and Christine E. Caselles.
Also, United Families International includes this information in their Family Issues Guide—Sexual Orientation, p. 9:
Myth:  Homosexual behavior should be considered normal as a result of the decision made by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 1973 which removed homosexuality from its list of “disorders.”
Reality:  The decision to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) was made after APA leaders and members had endured several years of intense political pressure and disruptive lobbying efforts by militant homosexual activist groups. (Ronald Bayer, “Homosexuality and American Psychiatry:  The Politics of Diagnosis,” Princeton University Press, 1987.)  Homosexual activist groups pressured APA committees to remove homosexuality from the APA’s approved list of disorders. In spite of the long documented history showing that therapists have helped homosexual clients reduce and change their homosexual tendencies, professionals who persist in viewing and treating homosexuality as a changeable condition are labeled unenlightened, prejudiced, homophobic, and unethical. There is currently a movement within the APA to normalize pedophilia that appears to be following the same path to legitimization as homosexuality. See Fast Facts and Commentary #1-66, 90-97.
[2] In addition, there is pressure against psychology students to even question the dogma. A good illustration is a seven-part piece in 2007 by Mike Adams, “Of Mice and Mormons,” about a family therapy master’s degree student who asked his program supervisor where to refer a client who was asking for help with unwanted same-sex attraction; for asking the question, the student was persecuted: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII.

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