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Recognition and the Other
Unformatted Document Text:  Recognition and the Other, p. 12 individualism, fairness, and neutrality mask underlying moral tensions about fundamental otherness. In the 1998 legislative debate over the appointment of James Hormel (the gay spam magnate and former University of Chicago Dean who would have been the nation’s first openly gay envoy) as Ambassador to Luxembourg, for example, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott refused to bring the nomination to a vote because he sees homosexuality as a demonic "other" -- "a sin, akin to alcoholism, kleptomania and sex addiction." Other senators, such as Dick Armey, Jesse Helms, and Don Nickles joined Lott’s condemnation of the nomination with claims of "sickening," "immoral behavior," "unacceptable behavior" and the like. The discursive constraints of liberalism leave little room for critical responses to these homophobic arguments -- the options are often either to dismiss the claims as irrationally "other" and/or to chastise the speakers for bringing their moral views into the public realm. For example: "No one is denying the right of individuals and groups to campaign against immorality as they see it. But public officials, in the discharge of their duties are something else. Judgements about truly personal behavior are not their province" (Glassman, 1998). In keeping with the discursive constraints of liberalism, the tensions of social difference are, in this editorial, herded into individual and private spaces. Homosexuality thus becomes the province of individualism -- a matter of private, personal choice and not of group identity. Thus the problem, according to Glassman, is not that Lott et al. obstructed public deliberation and a vote on a matter of public significance, but that they expressed their so-called moral values. The emphasis on private rights thus obscures the predicates of moral discourse and thereby marginalizes difference.

Authors: Lipari, Lisbeth.
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Recognition and the Other, p. 12
individualism, fairness, and neutrality mask underlying moral tensions about fundamental
otherness. In the 1998 legislative debate over the appointment of James Hormel (the gay spam
magnate and former University of Chicago Dean who would have been the nation’s first openly
gay envoy) as Ambassador to Luxembourg, for example, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott
refused to bring the nomination to a vote because he sees homosexuality as a demonic "other" --
"a sin, akin to alcoholism, kleptomania and sex addiction." Other senators, such as Dick Armey,
Jesse Helms, and Don Nickles joined Lott’s condemnation of the nomination with claims of
"sickening," "immoral behavior," "unacceptable behavior" and the like.
The discursive constraints of liberalism leave little room for critical responses to these
homophobic arguments -- the options are often either to dismiss the claims as irrationally "other"
and/or to chastise the speakers for bringing their moral views into the public realm. For
example:
"No one is denying the right of individuals and groups to campaign against immorality as
they see it. But public officials, in the discharge of their duties are something else.
Judgements about truly personal behavior are not their province" (Glassman, 1998).
In keeping with the discursive constraints of liberalism, the tensions of social difference
are, in this editorial, herded into individual and private spaces. Homosexuality thus becomes the
province of individualism -- a matter of private, personal choice and not of group identity. Thus
the problem, according to Glassman, is not that Lott et al. obstructed public deliberation and a
vote on a matter of public significance, but that they expressed their so-called moral values. The
emphasis on private rights thus obscures the predicates of moral discourse and thereby
marginalizes difference.


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