Monday, July 01, 2013

Social Deviance

Deviance, in a sociological context, describes actions or behaviors that violate social norms, including formally-enacted rules (e.g., crime), as well as informal violations of social norms (e.g., rejecting standards of morality).

Standard distribution around the classic bell-shaped curve characterizes many natural functions, such as the metrics for generally describing human intelligence.  Metrics which scale the range of variance for many other natural physical and social characteristics of living creatures can be plotted to display this representative curve.

The classic study of human intelligence of Herrnstein and Murray presents their findings on the scope of metrics which evaluate normal distribution and standard deviation for human intelligence ratings, plotted under the bell-shaped curve.  Some of their findings are unpopular, and still controversial, even after the work has been in public circulation since 1994.

With some human social groups, a trend toward rejecting such traditional categorization has recently grown quite popular.  Among these certain social groups, the in-your-face attitude toward social tradition and norms has become rather commonplace.

Active advocates for normalization of homosexual behavior are some of the most colorful and vociferous.

Their representative symbols popularize their minority interests, promoting superficial "cause célèbre" and in some circumstances serving additionally to distract attention away from key assumptions that represent the deviance of more significance.

Some public demonstrations tend to accentuate deviant behavior, even to the point of advocating violent rebellion against social norms, which are represented as repressive and archaic standards of those who are commonly referred to with derisive terms like "homophobe", "bigot", "facist", and even "Nazi".

While these fringe interests tend to exhibit public sympathy for homosexual advocacy, there are a number of other special interests following this pattern.

Those identifying with "feminist" interests are another example.  These groups tend to share ideas and cross-pollinate to some extent.

While they claim to "celebrate diversity", what this slogan really seems to represent is the deviants, minority interests, and those who tend to fall outside the consideration of any normal focus.

Up until a short time ago, those exhibiting aberrant sexual behavior characterized themselves as "queer" or commonly used other self-descriptive terms which seemed rather to focus on the unique nature of deviance from norms.

More recently, the more public group of self-identified homosexuals adopted the "gay" label for themselves, and started an attempt to associate the group with benign symbols like rainbows and other colorful emblems, such as brightly pink-colored accoutrements.  This appears to be an effort to obfuscate any general perception of deviance from traditional norms.  They have won general public acceptance and the perception of "normal" from sympathizers in the mainstream media, as well as many professionals and academics, although many individuals seem honestly disgusted, when confronted with naked reality.

One popular idea being promoted assumes that whatever is natural must therefore be good.  This idea is rather easily refuted in the context of the ubiquitous occurrence of pathogenicity and disease in nature.  In addition this assumption about the relative goodness of natural things fails to account for the second law of thermodynamics.

In historical human populations, the incidence of those with the inclination toward homosexual behavior seems to have always been present as a minority representation of deviation from the norm.

Some advocate groups even promote the view that existence of historical accounts of such behavior in human and animal populations is proof that deviant behavior is normal and unremarkable, and that social repression of deviance is somehow a violation of "equal rights".

Another popular approach now is for these groups to characterize anything they choose to do as being wholly motivated by "love".

In a conversation I had last year, a young homosexual was complaining that the Mormon Church was repressing his expression of "love" with their old-fashioned rules advocating chastity and fidelity.  On further discussion, I developed some understanding of how he was using this idea.  His definition for "love" was unrestrained homosexual indulgence, whenever and wherever it suited him and his "lover".

The Church was not "repressing" this "love" at all - he admitted that he and his "lover" were sexually promiscuous.  I argued that this perfunctory "expression" is simply exercising a function of biology, much as in Pavolv's dogs.  There are many other legitimate ways to express forms of "love".  He seemed not to comprehend this line of reasoning, and withdrew from the discussion.

Imagine that!

No comments: