Sunday, February 17, 2013

on choosing your beliefs and choosing your tactics


In the discussion at Orson Scott Card, DC Comics, and Censorship | The Dream Café, I said this about socialism, homosexuality, and choice:
I don’t think anyone can choose to be a socialist. You can be taught to be a socialist, either by people or circumstances, but no one wakes up and says, “Why, today, I think I’ll be a socialist.” Or gay. Or racist. Or anything that’s at odds with their past. If you’ve been a certain type of person, something has to change to make you a different person, whether that different person is one who reveals what they’ve been hiding from the world or discovers what they hadn’t known was in themselves. Often, it’s the example of others: when someone speaks up, others often speak up. Where no one speaks up first, the censors win.
This may be why I have a lot of sympathy for the people I oppose. None of them chose to believe different things than I do. You can’t choose your beliefs.
But you can choose your tactics. You can choose war or diplomacy, tolerance or intolerance, so that’s what I’ll focus on as I’m trying to promote what I believe.
Now, I do realize that many people have been taught to be intolerant, to seek victory at all costs, and trying to change that is not much easier than trying to change their underlying belief. But it’s possible. Gandhi did not inspire many people to become Hindus or vegetarians, but he inspired many people to adopt nonviolent resistance.
So I’m totally not saying being gay is a choice. What’s nature and what’s nurture, I haven’t a clue, but I know there’ve always been two-spirited people in human cultures, and that’s enough for me to say it’s natural, regardless of its source.
As for socialism, yes, it’s a concept that could be dated from the utopians, but the communitarian instinct has existed throughout history. I think feudalists and capitalists are the ones who’ve been taught to deny their true nature, while socialists have found it.