Barry Humphries, on a plane, once surreptitiously poured a jar of Russian cole slaw into a sick bag, did a loud pantomimic barf over that sick bag, then produced a spoon and ate the contents. No, I don’t know why the fact that it was Russian is relevant, but that is the story as I heard it. Onywye, disgust is a natural reaction to certain things- putrefaction, fæces, vomit- and one theory of the origin of morality is that it started with ideas of disgust.
That fits, actually. Lies and deceptions disgust me, it is a gut feeling, not a ratiocination. The reasoned argument comes afterwards, I am willing to accept that a lie may be the least bad option or even the right option in some circumstances and if Kant says otherwise, screw Kant. Wilhelm II declared in 1891 that “The will of the King is the supreme law” and that soldiers should obey “without a murmur” if ordered to shoot their family. This goes against the natural, emotional moral response, and Kaiser Bill was the last Kaiser.
Having thought my own self ridiculous and disgusting from my teens to age about thirty- I dressed female, and hated myself for it- and even this year had the dislocating feeling that whether any particular response could be called “masculine” or “feminine” it was just wrong, I want to set limits on reasonable morality and disgust.
Often, I think disgust only is a basis for morality for the person himself. For example if you are disgusted at the thought of removing gonads, don’t do it to yourself. You would not make that decision, but I have my own reasons for making it, arising from what I am innately. Or if you find gay sex disgusting, don’t do it yourself, and if suddenly you are attracted to a person of the same sex, re-evaluate your morality.
Morality generally is best applied only to onesself. First take the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the mote from your friend’s eye. Judge not that ye be not judged. You need a positive reason to go beyond that, perhaps defending another person.
If I am right that homosexuality and transsexuality are innate, then condemnation of the act becomes condemnation of the person themself.
Condemnation here is immoral: the condemnation creates barriers between people. My first moral axiom is:
What brings us together is good. What divides us is bad.
And, because this is about power, What liberates people is good. What oppresses people is bad. And the oppressed person gets to decide what is oppression. What promotes our flourishing is good, what restricts us is bad.
Simple enough. But what if homosexuality is a choice, and one could simply choose to be straight? If so, it is a choice which unites two people in love, and harms no-one else. Therefore, it should be the person’s own decision.
What harms no-one else should not be condemned by anyone else.
In Jurisprudence classes I read that the only moral axiom is Universalisability: if it is right in some circumstances for one person to do an act to another, when the circumstances are reversed it must be right for the latter to do the act to the former; and Wikipedia tells me it was formulated by Kant. Maybe I should read Kant sometime, or even an introduction to him longer than a magazine article. And I like the Golden Rule, Do as you would be done by.
And- my morality is my own. My choice, my responsibility.