Yours Truly is a statistician; indeed, the Statistician to the Stars! I call myself that because I perform probability analyses for money (and only for the best people). Yet I used to call myself a physicist, because physics was what I was doing at the time. And every now and then I call myself a cook, though this term has been hotly disputed. With cause.
Besides statisticians, there are butchers, bakers, candlestick makers. There are woodworkers, snorkelers, LARPers. There are diplomats, soldiers, dowsers. Many similar names are called easily to mind, all of which describe occupations, avocations, or vocations. These labels tell of what people do.
Ed the insurance salesman who sold you your government-mandated policy is, of course, a salesman. But he was not born a salesman. Yet it is true by definition that Ed has the biological capability to sell insurance. If he did not have a certain genetic makeup mixed in time with a certain environment, Ed would never had made the actuarial grade; if, for instance, he could not reliably calculate a percentage, he would have been forced to look elsewhere for his daily bread. Even given his insurance-suited biology, and the force of a government mandate, Ed was not born or impelled to sell insurance. Selling insurance was a choice. It is true Ed may have developed a passion for policies and an appetency for annuities, but if tomorrow the government reversed course and outlawed insurance, Ed would move on and have a new occupational label affixed to him.
Now Ed is also a dad, a father. We imply from this that he is also a son and therefore a man. These nouns do not describe what Ed does, except incidentally, because everybody knows common things fathers, sons, and men do. These words instead describe what Ed is. Being as opposed to doing. Essence is essential. Ed may renounce his manhood, and may even be encouraged to do so, but this in no way changes his essence. He is and always will be a man, even if the government mandates that we call him something else. He is of essence a son because it is a logical implication of being a man that one must be (or have been) a son. Ed is only a father accidentally, with respect to being a man, because men need not become fathers and because being a father is not a requirement of being a man. But once he is a father, the office of fatherhood itself has an essential nature, the marks of which are known to all.
There are nouns that indicate essence: man, woman, son, daughter. And there are nouns indicating occupation and behavior: criminal, politician, knitter. English is not highly inflected and we do not have the grammatical declension that man differs from salesman in that one implies an essential nature and one an accident. It is an accident in the metaphysical sense that Ed is a salesman and not an assistant manager or truck driver. Ed is a man, in the metaphysical sense, essentially and unchangeably. Incidentally, in modern English essentially can also take the definition “more-or-less”, which is almost the opposite of the metaphysical understanding that essences are necessary, fixed, and definite (essences are fixed, though our knowledge of them in fluid). Watch for this.
Turns out poor Ed is an asthmatic and suffers from piles (hemorrhoids). We do not in English have a word for piles-sufferer, so let us coin pileser. Ed, then, is a pileser and asthmatic. Asthma and piles are diseases, departures from health. Because we know the essence of health in men, a departure from health logically implies that piles and asthma are accidents and not essences when describing what Ed is. Ed is accidentally a pileser; Ed is essentially a man.
We have to be careful because piles the disease has essential characteristics (which are too painful to contemplate); so, too, does asthma have a certain etiology, is associated with certain symptoms, is treated in certain ways. But these essences are of the things, the diseases, and not Ed. The absence of health, and the presence of these diseases, are accidents. They are not part of what Ed is essentially, even though, as is clear, Ed’s behavior will change in the presence of these diseases. We sometimes say things like, “Ed is not the man he used to be”, because we recognize Ed can no longer play rugby with the same verve he had before his piles and asthma, and not because we think the natures or essences of man has changed. We speak of the accidents. Or, supposing Ed’s loss of vitality the case of increasing age, we do speak of the weakening of the essence of man, because it is the nature of man to age and die. Again, English does not do a good job intimating these distinctions.
Ed is a Presbyterian, a lay member of his church. And there are within Christianity and other religions priests, nuns, monks. Here there is a distinction. In one sense, Ed is a Presbyterian accidentally, since there are other sects which he might have joined. But, accepting the premise of Jesus’s divine nature, and of Ed’s sincere faith, then Ed has also himself changed in his very essence. He has had a conversion. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Ed is more than a man, he is a Christian-man. A similar but different change in Ed’s essence would have occurred were (say) Ed ordained a Catholic priest: Ed would be a priest essentially. If per impossible the premise of Jesus’s divinity is rejected, Ed would only be a Presbyterian accidentally, and Father O’Malley at St Mary’s would also only be accidentally a priest in the way Yours Truly is a statistician.
We finally come to the main point. Ed is a father and a man, but Ed is not a heterosexual; neither is he straight in any essential sense. (Recall that heterosexual and homosexual were coined only a century ago to indicate different classes of sex obsession and not essences.) Ed has with his wife procreated, but it is in the nature of man, and therefore of Ed, to procreate with wives. This is, after all, why there are so many people about. In the strict metaphysical essential sense, heterosexual-man (as we now know the word) and man are identical: the addition of the prefix does nothing to change the word or the essence. At best, the prefix could only mean recorded as acting in accord with his nature. This prefix, then, or the word as standalone, is an accidental designator.
Suppose Ed stepped on a land mine and in that accident lost his pertinents. Ed is still essentially a man, even though he has lost his ability to procreate. Just as Ed was still essentially a man even after developing piles. A departure from health does not change the essence of man, though it does change Ed. Again, if Ed were to develop a specific disease that robbed him of his sexual powers, Ed would still be a man. Ed would still be a man if he took a knife to himself and did the work of the landmine in sanitary conditions. And if Ed were to diminish his reproductive energies by misconducting himself down at the kennel (bestiality is legal in several countries) or with himself or with another man, Ed would still essentially be a man. But Ed would in each of these cases be acting against his nature.
Suppose Ed thought he could fly and tried to do so by jumping off a tall building. It is not in the nature of man to fly (sans apparatus). Why Ed thought he could fly is not important. He is, however, going to suffer from his act when Reality intersects with his Belief—he will at the least suffer a great disappointment, and at the worst suffer his final exit. Even if he didn’t suffer physically (say it was only the second floor and water was below), Ed has still acted against his nature by attempting to do something that was impossible. He will in this case suffer a crisis of thought, however minor.
This brings us to the point of asking what sexual intercourse is for. That is simple: procreation. I won’t here defend that conclusion and its ramifications, as that has been ably done elsewhere, and it is anyway obvious. That you are alive and reading this is sufficient proof: ask your parents if you are not convinced. That some can, or might be able, to monkey with the formula man + woman = child in no way changes the essence of procreation, just as a man losing his pertinents in a mishap in no way changes the essence of man. Another proof is to examine (in the West) “sex education”, the point of which is to show ways to avoid the natural consequences of sex. We did not need sex education, which is really sex diseducation; for thousands of years people without such training were already adept at the practice, until our culture decided to deny the essence of sex. Except for the dry biological details of what happens during actual sex, details which are not needed to understand the purpose of sex, sex education is of no use and to the extent it embraces anti-essentialist propaganda, causes actual harm.
Sex, then, is for procreation. What follows is that departures from the intent of procreation are departures from nature, acts against nature, unnatural acts, or perversions. It then is also true that a desire or proclivity toward these acts, even they are never committed, are also perversions of nature; they are errant thoughts.
All those supposed acts Ed committed, or fantasized about committing, not with his wife or without the intent or openness to procreation, were therefore acts against Ed’s nature. These include acts or thoughts of sodomy. This is why the Catholic Church rightly calls same-sex attraction “objectively disordered”. The catechism only errs is not going farther and labeling other non-natural attractions disordered (it didn’t think it had to, these at the time being rare). There are many such disordered acts. Masturbation, necrophilia, pedophilia, zoophilia (woofism), and so on. The lack of mention of these is, however, only because of the current and increasing popularity of sodomy. Of course, while sodomy has throughout history seen its ups and downs, it is only now that it is seen as not only natural but “good”.
What do asthmatics and pilesers have to offer mankind? Just this: they can tell us of their diseases, of the struggles and successes with them, they can describe the course or cures of their diseases; they can explain to non-sufferers their symptoms and of their suffering. A person with asthma might say, “In a way, I’m glad I have this disease. It taught me what really counts in life.” The asthmatic recognizes the departure from health, seeks to limits the excesses of the disease, and learns to live with it and to even profit from it spiritually as best he can. We would not, however, say the asthmatic or pilser has certain “gifts and qualities” because he suffers from a departure from health. Asthma or piles are never “gifts” or “qualities”, except in analogical or metaphorical senses. Nobody would seek these diseases out and wish he had them, not if he were sane. And nobody would say it is a good thing another had these maladies, again not if he were sane. We would all rather these sufferers were restored to health, even if we knew that no cure was possible.
It is true some are more prone to certain diseases than others. It is not “fair” that this is so, it is not “fair” some are stronger and some weaker. There is no sense that there can ever be “equality” in health, except for blind, anti-realistic wish. Disease strikes where it strikes. And it is even possible God wills a man to have a disease. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. Job was put through great and terrible suffering, not only to teach him an important lesson, but to teach us, too. Even though, as some of us might think, he did not “deserve” it. At no point in this story are Job’s woes seen as gifts, if that word is used in any positive or happy sense. Nor were Job’s sores qualities, except in the bland sense used by a pathologist cataloging disease and causes of morbidity and mortality.
We would recognize something had gone seriously astray were the pileser to announce he was proud of his condition, if he used that word with connotations that he possessed something good or positive. To say that you were proud of having piles, a departure from health, would be the same as saying you were proud to have your abdomen slit open with a rusty tuna can, another departure from health (though you might be proud of the cause of the injury; for instance, it was received while defending the view there are no such things as homosexuals). It would be even more shocking were a man to announce he was seeking out these diseases, or any disease; it would be shocking in the same way a man announced he was seeking self-murder.
There are no piles “Pride” parades, nor asthma “Pride” parades, nor any parades in joyous celebration of what are recognized as departures from health. There are in some quarter marches to raise money and “awareness”, marches which have devolved to festive occasions, but there is no sense, say, marching for women with breast cancer is an acknowledgement that breast cancer is a good, or that women with breast cancer are more than women, something other than and superior to women. The reason we do not have these festivities is obvious to all.
Now we do in English have the word masturbator, but we do not have masturbator “pride” parades, nor do we have any notion that a masturbator is a new kind of person, different in essence than a non-masturbator. Masturbation is an act, to which some are more prone than others, and at different periods. We do not speak of the “masturbator community”. Nor do we (yet, anyway) speak of the necrophiliac community, woofie (zoophilic) community, objectum sexual community (those who simulate intercourse with common objects like fences and sofas), ecosexual community (those who simulate intercourse with piles of dirt) community, or furry (those who dress as animals and then copulate). Open pride is not necessarily lacking in each of these activities, but there are as yet no wide-spread organized efforts to win acceptance for them.
It is true, and obvious, that people act in these and other ways deviant from essential sexuality and always have. There is no sense, and no hope, that such deviations can be eliminated or prevented; indeed, there is the expectation new ways to attempt to escape from our essential nature will be invented. Who before a dozen years ago even imagined “ecosexual” behavior? Habitual population presence of certain behaviors among individuals does not make a sexual or any other act essential or good. For we have always had with us rapists, murderers, politicians, burglars, arsonists, cross-dressers. Ancient Greece had thieves, and so do we; but this does not make thievery morally right or essential to man’s nature. Ancient Greece also had those who practiced sodomy, as do we; again, this does not make it morally right. Consider, too, the affections and habits of modern practitioners differ markedly from ancient practitioners. Culture is crucial and shifting, whereas essence and right are wrong are fixed and unchangeable.
There is a dichotomy. There is sex, actual sex, that which accords with our natures oriented toward procreation, or there is simulated sex, i.e. various forms of masturbation, whether alone or with other people (this includes couplings in which contraception is used), objects, or animals, or sex not oriented toward procreation (i.e. not directed towards creating a family).
This is a key insight. Either you with your spouse are engaged in sexual intercourse, open to the possibility that the coupling will produce a new life, i.e. you are acknowledging your limited place in the world and admitting your limited understanding of how a conception may arise, even in seemingly (or actual) miraculous circumstances. Or you are “oriented” to yourself. Other terms for this are selfishness and narcissism.
Though there are many variants and encrustations to the acronym, we mainly hear of “LGBT” people or the “LGBT community”, as if lesbians and transgenders form a natural class of beings different than “breeders”; different in essence, that is. Yet because we know what sex is for, the terms homosexual or gay or lesbian and so on can only describe those persons who suffer departures from sexual health in exactly the same way that asthmatics describe those individuals who suffer departure from respiratory health. LGBT are no different in being in the condition of lack of sexual health than are necrophiliacs, woofies, masturbators and all the rest, though masturbation is a commonality. It is impossible for two men to have sexual intercourse for obvious biological reasons. Transgender individuals may not suffer a lack of sexual health, depending on their specific sexual behavior, but instead lack mental normality. A man who imagines to be a woman lacks, at the least, a full appreciation of reality. Lipstick on a pig, as the cliché truthfully teaches us, does not make the pig a woman.
The terms asthmatics, gay and all the rest, then, are analogous. None of them describe individuals who are different in essence from mankind. Gays, lesbians, and transexuals are not different in kind, just in desire and act. There are therefore no such beings as gays or lesbians or transexuals as most use the term, to implicitly describe creatures who are more (and usually better) than human. People speak of gays as if they have always been with us existing as a diaspora, and would somehow be happier if they could either transport back to their homeworld or they could transform their current abodes to resemble it. To say there are gays is like to say we have discovered a species of human-like creatures who can (secretly) fly.
If you say they are gays in the ontological sense then you must also say there are masturbators, necrophiliacs, pedophiles, woolfies, et cetera unto infinity, because it is mere prejudice and bigotry to single out any one sexual desire, like men who desire men, against all the others. That position is not supportable, though as we all know, there are currents in that direction. If there are gays, then there are statisticians, accountants, even. Indeed, there would and must be a different kind of being for every activity or desire. But if this is so, then, of course, we must toss out the biological concepts of sexual reproduction and species; they are mere baseless prejudice.
There are gays like there statisticians, though; people who act in distinctive ways. Saying this does not cast moral judgement on the acts. That moral knowledge has to come from elsewhere. And then it is unlikely we would see statistician pride parades. This joke masks the most important point. The reason we do not have pride parades of actuaries, accountants, and adders (those who have great facility with math) is because everybody knows the acts of these people are not per se immoral, whereas many do know or suspect homosexual acts are immoral. The parades are not to acknowledge the existence of that which cannot exist, but to normalize departures from sexual health as if those departures were a good or were gifts. It is because it is known the acts are shameful that open pride in them is declared.
The category error is important. Consider at least for the sake of argument that homosexual acts are immoral (as are all acts that depart from procreation). Then making the ontological error of saying there are gays must obviate the immorality. If there are gays in the ontological sense, then it cannot be that homosexual acts are immoral. Being gay is what these beings are. And everybody knows you cannot stop a thing from being what it is. You cannot eradicate essence. For if you eliminate the essence of the thing, you have eliminated the thing. It no longer exists or can exist. When you dissect a live frog, it soon becomes a non-frog. Eliminating desire for sex with another man, or preventing the act, does not eliminate the man, for an essence has not been expunged, merely a desire. You start with a man and are left with a man. But if being gay is an essence, eliminating the desire does eliminate the gay: he ceases to exist.
This is the penalty of the error of saying there are, in the ontological sense, gays. If there are, homosexual behavior cannot be immoral among gays. But then there must exist necrophiliacs, and so sex with dead bodies cannot be immoral for necrophiliacs, nor can pedophilia be wrong for pedophiles, nor can anything be wrong for the class of beings whose nature demands they act in a certain way. Yet this is clearly absurd: it is the Ontological Fallacy. Because it is a fallacy, the premise, then, must be false: there are no such things essentially as gays, transexuals, or anything but men and women.
The ontological fallacy tosses the concept of immortality onto the scrapheap, for all a person accused of an immoral act has to do is to call himself the name of those that commit the act. Any act. Saying he is this strange creature is the ultimate excuse! To make the claim that only he knows and can define his true essence, our man has to judge himself superior to nature, or to God. And we must believe him. There would be no justification for drawing any line. We would lose forever the ability to judge. We must elevate everyone’s opinion over that of God’s or Nature’s. This is self-worship. The Religion of Man says Reality must conform to Man’s will.
It is not as if we did not see this coming.
Some last words. On “hate”: The pathologist or doctor does not hate his patient for diagnosing, or in curing, his disease. If the doctor must fear his patient, or the public, because the doctor does his duty, then we are in deep kimchee. There are places on earth where the very concepts of homosexuality and masturbation do not even exist. Some people are born with congenital diseases; these births to not turn these people into essentially different beings.