Re: poly: Pondering Privacy

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Thu Jun 04 1998 - 09:21:43 PDT

Hal responds to me:
>> One's analysis of this situation depends on one's theory of bigotry.
>> If it's just a matter of people directly and strongly preferring not to
>> associate with gays, then the straightforward economic analysis would say
>> that everyone would be better off if the straights paid the gays to go
>> live by themselves. If in fact gay's desire to live among straights is
>> not so strong, there must be enough of a cash transfer so that both gays
>> and straights would be happier. Under this model, who do you think you
>> would be helping if you instead forced gays to live among straights in
>> the closet?
>This type of solution, paying people to behave the way you want them to,
>is not adopted very often in our society. It seems that the anti-gay
>bigots prefer to harass gays rather than to pay them. Could it be that
>harassment is cheaper?

This thread started from my claim that secrets are at the root of most
inefficiency and injustice. The fact that it is hard to tell who is gay
makes it hard to implement this solution. People do tend to segregate
where they live in many ways now, including based on being gay.
And as I've said, I don't believe this is the right model.

>Also, for some people the goal is not to make them move away, but to
>make gays stop their sexual behavior. These people believe homosexuality
>is morally wrong wherever it is practiced. Again, perhaps they could
>in theory simply pay homosexuals to abstain, but this policy is not used
>with other classes of sin. Why not?

This model also has trouble explaining why people focus on the gays who
live near them, rather than gays on the other side of the world. I don't
think this is the right model either, for most people.

>> A model I find more plausible, however, is that what people really care
>> about is convincing their associates that they are not gay. They want
>> potential mates to see them as available and interested, and don't want
>> potential mates or rivals to think them "weak", "effeminate", or other
>> undesirable features they believe are associated with gays.
>I'm not sure I understand this. Are you talking about "potential mates"
>of the same or of the opposite sex? Presumably the one group to which
>they are willing to reveal their true sexual preference is other gays
>(or people they think are likely to be gay).

Of the opposite sex. I'm talking about explaining "bashing" behavior among

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627
Received on Thu Jun 4 16:30:56 1998

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