Today Asok the intern came out. Tomorrow he'll have some things to say about the so-called government of India.

Cue the inevitable cries of "Stop being political! You're ruining Dilbert!"

Allow me to address that right now.

It's only political if there's someone on the other side of the debate. In this case, no one favors a government deciding which sexual acts among consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes are allowed and which are punishable by jail.

If I am wrong, and you favor the government restricting what kind of sex you can have with another consenting adult, please proudly state your case. I'm listening.

Cue cricket sounds...


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Feb 7, 2014
Just more fuss about banana placement ...
-12 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014
"no one favors a government deciding which sexual acts among consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes are allowed and which are punishable by jail."

NAMBLA agrees with you. :)
Feb 7, 2014
Well, not all governments are equal. If the lawfully elected government of india wants to decide for itself that homosexuality is illegal, that's it's own business. They should be able to do whatever they want in the privacy of their national borders.

You are also assuming everyone has his own home. This is not the case. Some people are renters. Some people live in government housing. In some countries, only the government is allowed to own property (or at least they were) or is a major land owner. Half the US land, including most of the western USA, is owned by the federal government.

Plus we live in an age where big brother is watching and many illegal acts don't become legal in one's own home. If you have gay sex recognition technology for your security cameras, you can start to enforce this stuff. We finally have the technology, to enforce more laws in the home, be it for good or evil use.

You can't argue against stuff like this when it suits you. I mean if you can snoop on people for not recycling or smoking tobacco (I believe CA does both) then you can snoop on people for being gay. All three are subjective values that involve intrusion in ones private matters.
Feb 7, 2014
@scottn, Religion is about conformity and control. Not all religions seek to expand -- Judaism is usually my go-to example of a religion that doesn't endeavor to convert others.
-5 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014
krusty256: The reason religions hate homosexuality is the the same reason many (most?) hate birth control: it inhibits the growth of religion.

More babies, more adherents to the One True Faith.

The Shakers had a different take, wonder how that turned out for them...
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014
swp: "I fully support the right of the sovereign nation of India to regulate itself through the laws enacted by their democratically elected leaders."

I don't. Human rights trump national law. Or ought to.

(I'm risking a fine for violating godwin's law here by stating that my home country also was entirely lawful and democratic from 1933 to 1945. Majority roolz! Or something like this.)
Feb 7, 2014
Speaking of Asok getting "pushed out", I heard this in the next aisle of the health club locker room this morning:

Guy With Deep Voice: So you like sports?

Guy With Slight Lisp: Oh yes, I'm looking forward to the Olympics.

GWDV: What's your favorite Olympic sport?

GWSL: (after a pause) Oh, I like the downhill skiing.

GWDV: Do you like any other ones?

GWSL: (another pause) The hockey is fabulous.

GWDV: Do you like the men's skating?

GWSL: I like the hockey, yeah.

-8 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014
I fully support the right of the sovereign nation of India to regulate itself through the laws enacted by their democratically elected leaders.

So Scott, why are you against democracy?
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014
Oh - and to answer your question - there are lots of people who are fine with the government deciding what is permitted in the bedroom - they just have the belief that the government is only going to ban the icky things that they don't want to do anyway. I don't think they can generalize that to the point where they see it as any kind of threat to their own behavior/freedom.
Feb 7, 2014
AAAAANNND. . . You're right back in the good graces of your fellow liberals! Well done!

There is more to this post than initially meets the eye. It goes into a much more general topic, which is governmental control of our actions.

As we've discussed here before, there is a difference between freedom and liberty. Freedom is being able to do what you want without government interference. Liberty is being free from the government telling you what you must do. The distinction is an important one, because the latter is what our government seems hell-bent on doing to us. For our own good, of course. Because we're too stupid to decide what's best.

Restrictions on liberties leads to the tyranny of the minority. For example: the people of California, one of the bluest of blue states, have voted three times to disallow gay marriage. The government of California refused to defend this issue in court. When the people tried to take the case to the Supreme Court, the court ruled that they had no standing (if you don't know what that means, google it. It's an important legal concept).

Gays make up roughly two percent of the population. But now, they are able to engage in marriage in California, over the will of the majority. Whether you agree with that outcome or not is not the point. The point is that government forced it on us. If you agree with Scott's position, that government shouldn't do things like that, then you should be upset about the process that led to this result.

It also applies to laws that are used in political ways. Compare the way sexual harassment laws were applied differently to Bob Packwood versus Bill Clinton. SNL did a skit a number of years ago that mimicked an old GE training video. This one was aimed at sexual harassment. It made the point that attractive men generally don't get hammered for sexual harassment; just the unattractive ones. The end of the tape gives a three-point checklist to avoid being accused of sexual harassment:

- Be Attractive
- Be Handsome
- Don't be Unattractive

It's really a funny, but pointed, skit. If you want to see the video, which stars QB Tom Brady, here's a URL for it: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f76_1323277426

So Scott has framed his question in a very narrow range, and as such, pretty much knows what kind of answer he's going to get. Yet are there areas where society has the right to outlaw certain kinds of sex between consenting adults?

Maybe. One area that could be argued is sex for money between consenting adults. Outlawing this could be defended on a number of fronts: objectification and exploitation of women; prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases; psychological damage to both parties, among others.

How about incest between parents and their 18-year old adult children, or two 18 siblings (or 16, in states where that is the age of consent)? Would society be justified in outlawing that to prevent the possibility of children being born with severe birth defects? Maybe.

It's easy to take an absolutist point of view on any topic. Take gay marriage. Ask an activist supporter if they also support polygamy. If they say they do, then ask them why they aren't organizing protests to make it legal.

If the polygamists get a big enough lobby, and give enough money to politicians, do you think they'd be able to get the state of California to refuse to defend an anti-polygamy statute in court? Why should marriage be defined as between two consenting adults, and not three? Or four? Or fifteen? Who are you to judge?

My point here is not to belittle those who disagree with polygamy, or even those who think adult incest and prostitution shouldn't be outlawed. It's to demonstrate how quick some people are to use the hammer of government against those with whom they don't agree, but protest vigorously when its used against their beliefs.

Scott's topic today is a subset of a much larger discussion. I would humbly propose that the larger subject may be a more germane and worthy topic.
+21 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014
Hmmm. San Jose Mercury News didn't run that (they ran a strip about Dilbert, Wally and the PHB soaking a new employee who had "a great idea" with a firehose). If SF Bay area newspapers won't run a comic with a gay reference - then perhaps nobody saw this in print?

Or perhaps they didn't want to offend the large population of immigrants from India?
+24 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014
Some people made the distinction between government restrictions on themselves vs. restrictions on others.

I offer you this:

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me."

--Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)

+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014
Scott, overall, I agree with your point, but I'll jump on the "overstated" bandwagon. I'm not sure what your angle is; I find it incredible that you believe your own argument.

It's like me shouting "I'M THE TOUGHEST PERSON IN THE WORLD! WHO WANTS TO FIGHT ME?" And, seeing no takers, believing that I am actually the toughest person in the world.
Feb 7, 2014
The only thing I'm wondering is whether or not this is going to make the slightest bit of difference in the comic once this week is over. I predict not.

Is it bad for a comic that's traditionally been office and engineer humor to spend a week on a political soapbox? I don't even know. A long-term genre shift would be just asking for an en masse audience change-over, but a week shouldn't hurt anything too much.

Also, and this is just me, having Dogbert announce it in that manner kind of softens the whole thing, since it's in Dogbert's character to do stuff just to be a jerk, and the tone here is he just wants to be a jerk towards the government of India.
Feb 7, 2014
"On April 7, 2003, Sen. Rick Santorum referred to the oral arguments in Lawrence when asked his views on homosexuality:
We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose.... And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.... It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created...in Griswold..."

It's more common than you would think among religious people.
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014

On 3/2/00 Asok dated a skeleton and dressed it up as a woman so he must swing both ways. In fact, that also covers the postmortem argument someone brought up!
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014
[My apologies if someone has already made reference to this. I scanned comments and didn't see one]

Oklahoma considering banning ALL marriage rather than allow same-sex marriages.

+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 7, 2014
Oh man.......Asok should have been RE-born as gay. That would have blown the debate open!!!! Religion, choice, AND politics, etc.

Meanwhile, I think there are some **other** countries that do have majorities that believe the government should regulate the bedroom.
Feb 7, 2014
Scott, can you link to a news article about this, I'm not seeing anything, and before I wade into it, I'd like to be informed.

Secondly, I would imagine, such laws, like the one in Russia, exist as a sort of legal blackmail. That is, if you're gay and relatively discreet then you probably won't run into much trouble, even if you're "out". But if you begin acting out politically, then the government can shut you real fast/ make an example to other trouble makers.

If that is the case, you are describing, then YES, regardless of your moral opinions on the issue or opinions about benefits like marriage, everyone should be very opposed to the government having laws simply to use as a weapon in the arsenal against political enemies.

If that is NOT what you are talking about, then please expand and I might be one of those who disagrees with you.
Feb 7, 2014
I understand that you didn't expect a lot of your readers to disagree with you, but I am amazed that you don't seem to believe that there are people in this world who don't mind the government making laws restricting what kind of sex people can have with other consenting adults. I personally know such people (unfortunately). Maybe the question was supposed to be worded as if it meant the government restricting YOU from doing what YOU want to do. If you interpret it that way, it sounds unlikely, but not completely impossible, as some people do like laws against what they do themselves for various reasons (for example: illegal practices may be more profitable). But a lot of people don't seem to mind too much being restricted from doing things that they don't care about doing themselves. As far as where people who hate certain types of people and want to see them persecuted hang out, I'm sure you could find a few places if you looked hard enough. I just don't want to.
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