liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
So [personal profile] jack recently made a post listing taboos in our social circle. I don't think the things he's talking about are taboos (and indeed, this was the consensus after a long, wide-ranging discussion); I think they are opinions that are likely to get you shouted at, but it's perfectly possible to express those opinions and everybody can think of someone who does in fact hold any one of the listed positions. A real taboo is something you simply can't say, maybe can't even think.

One of the things I really appreciate about [personal profile] jack's crowd is that, however much they (we) love shouting at wrong-headed people, they genuinely are pretty accepting of people with a range of different opinions, even about contentious topics like religion, politics and operating systems. This may make the social context unwelcoming to a) people who are very one-true-way about their opinions and uncomfortable with diversity, and b) perhaps more seriously, people who aren't resilient to being shouted at when they express a minority view.

Actual taboos: I feel like we as a group are fairly bad at talking directly about race. We have a general consensus that racism is bad, fine, but I think there are some conversations around actual specifics that would be difficult to initiate. Conversely I think we're generally better at addressing homophobia and related prejudices against gender and sexual minorities than many other circles I move in. Which doesn't mean everybody agrees about everything, far from it, but it's actually possible to have the discussion about, for example, what sort of language is acceptable, what will be the implications of a particular policy or law on different groups within the Queer umbrella, issues of intra-group prejudice etc. I would also say that implicit homophobia is much more heavily frowned on that implicit racism, partly because the group contains a high proportion of people with GSM identities and a small proportion of people who aren't white.

I have other social circles as well as the one that overlaps with [personal profile] jack's; I think most people do, which definitely contributes to the generally broad-minded outlook. I did like the exercise of thinking of where my views differ from the consensus among people I spend time with, though. I've deliberately phrased these to be as controversial as possible, such as stating that something is the case rather than that I think or believe it, for example. I don't necessarily hold all these opinions very strongly, some of them are just the take on an issue that comes most naturally to me, I'm quite capable of seeing other viewpoints. And some would be mainstream in some groups I'm part of, generally in the same direction but perhaps more extreme than most in others, and at very least surprising if not completely outrageous in others. Of course, "people who regularly read my DW" is yet another social group; I deliberately try to connect to people from a range of backgrounds and with a range of opinions, but I expect there probably is some sort of group norm operating here too.

In no particular order:
  • Israel is a legitimate state, both politically and in the specific sense of existing as a constitutionally Jewish and Zionist state.
  • Islam is an excellent religion and one of the crowning achievements of human civilization.
  • There should be fewer abortions.
  • It's often better to vote Conservative than Labour.
  • Alternative medicine is a good thing if it makes people feel better, even if its claimed mechanism of action goes against the current scientific consensus.
  • We should actively encourage immigration into this country, and possibly remove immigration restrictions altogether.
  • It's sometimes acceptable for parents to smack their children as a punishment.
  • Religious groups can legitimately decide whether same-sex marriage, ministers who are not straight men and similar are theologically valid.
  • The UK should be more closely integrated with Europe, both politically and financially.
So there you go; I think at least some people may think I'm a monster for at least some of these views, but hopefully you know enough other good things about me to balance that. More likely people will just think I'm wrongity wrong wrong wrong; feel free to try to argue me towards your position or to just carry on not letting our differing views impinge on our lives very much, whichever is your preference.
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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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