Enough unsolicited information

The more I hear in the news about civil rights for sexual minorities, the more confused I become. Maybe I am intimidated by rapid change in society. Or maybe I’m homophobic.

Or maybe I am not so much confused or intimidated or homophobic as simply “LGBT”-fatigued.

The issues are recognition of same sex marriage; social and workplace acceptance of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders; and parity with heterosexuals in matters of insurance, pensions, mortgages, inheritance, etc.

In his Aug. 25 Counterpoint essay, Jeff Kingston used some form of the word “accept” seven times. I got tired of it and wondered, why all this concern with being accepted, approved of, received favorably, agreed with, etc.

It is necessary to wage civil rights battles to ensure that structural impediments are reduced for everyone in society. In the process we all benefit, because when society is better for one, it is better for all. But gerrymandering how people think and feel by outlawing certain ideas and emotions is unacceptable, not to mention impossible. I understand that people seek affirmation. But if they can’t find it, then why care about what others think?

What’s more important is that people mind their own business, which is one of the primary commandments of civilized life and goes a long way toward protecting civil rights. Of course, different people have different ideas for different reasons about what is and is not their business, leading some with the best intentions to be totally wrong in their thoughts and actions. Many of the worst things in history have been perpetrated with the best intentions.

Minding one’s own business plays two ways. It means keeping your nose out of other people’s affairs while carefully guarding your own. But we live in a world where popular culture is increasingly voyeuristic, exhibitionist and confessional. It is a feature of egoism, and I largely blame the miasma of Americanism for it.

First, people inflate their sense of entitlement and over-estimate their rights, and wrongly assume publicity is a right.

Second, people’s confidence is such that they don’t feel anything unless they confess and exhibit themselves. This behavior resembles pathology more than therapy.

Finally, people mistake this behavior as virtue, perhaps shunning privacy by wrongly confusing it with criminal secrecy. For me this combination diminishes our humanity more than it augments us. Minimum privacy does not lend itself to maximum humanity.

Everyone belongs to a minority of some kind. Many of us belong to more than one minority simultaneously. The point for me is that my privacy is exactly that — no one’s business. Get used to it.

I won’t disclose what minorities I belong to and I won’t help the curious unpuzzle it. I’m just tired of being bombarded with unsolicited information that’s really none of my business, and I resist adding to it.

grant piper
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.