Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

My 96-percent increase in premiums is a useful, unvarnished look at Obamacare’s effects

original article: My Defective Obamacare Health Insurance Product Just Blew Up
October 27, 2016 by Mary Katharine Ham

Like many other Americans, I got a letter last week. This letter is becoming an annual tradition, arriving on my doorstep in October to inform me of my Obamacare insurance premium hike.

Last year, the letter said my Bronze plan, purchased on the marketplace formed by the, ahem, Affordable Care Act, would increase by almost 60 percent.

This year, my premium is going up 96 percent. Ninety-six percent. My monthly payment, which was the amount of a decent car payment, is now the size of a moderate mortgage. The president refers to these for thousands of citizens as “a few bugs” when to us it feels like a flameout.

For this astronomical payment, I get a plan with an astronomical deductible that my healthy family of three will likely never hit except in the most catastrophic of circumstances.

Let’s rewind to my pre-Obamacare health care situation. Throughout my life and career, I have had both employer-based coverage and significant periods during which I bought private insurance with high deductibles and low premiums. During the run-up to Obamacare, President Obama referred to these plans as “junk” plans, but my family and I received perfectly good care and service through them. We were responsible, healthy citizens consuming a small amount of health care, paying out of pocket for most of it, and making sure we weren’t deadbeats should something catastrophic come to pass. Our health insurance was a rational and responsible purchase.

The President’s Huge, Broken Promises

When President Obama sold Obamacare to the American people, he promised three things. 1) That we could keep our plans if we liked them. 2) That the new system would offer competition between great options through an Obamacare marketplace, and 3) That our premiums would go down. Not “go up slower” or “go up but eventually go down,” but go down— $2,500 was the figure.

The letter I got last week is a betrayal of every one of those promises. I did not get to keep the plan I liked. The new system does not offer competition between great options through an Obamacare marketplace. And my premiums have gone up more than 150 percent in two years.

This was all predictable and predicted, by many (including me!).

Hillary Clinton conceded this reality at the second debate in response to an audience question about the Affordable Care Act. She said, in effect, “It’s not affordable, but it does other stuff.”

“Well, I think Donald was about to say he’s going to solve it by repealing it and getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. And I’m going to fix it, because I agree with you. Premiums have gotten too high. Copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs, and I’ve laid out a series of actions that we can take to try to get those costs down.”

As most apologists for the law do, she listed the handful of things people like the sound of— more people insured, no pre-existing conditions, lifetime limits on out-of-pocket costs, stay on your parents’ insurance until you’re 26!

But those benefits came with added costs, mandates, and overhead, and we’re now seeing the fruits of the whole law in a 25-percent average rate increase. When congressional Democrats were constructing the worst legislative Jenga tower of all time, they called critics’ predictions “lies.”

But here we are with lower-than-expected participation in exchanges, extremely low numbers of healthy young people in the risk pools, and insurance companies jacking up rates or exiting the exchange entirely in an attempt to remain solvent under the weight of increasing benefits for increasingly older, sicker customers.

This in turn leads to less competition on the exchanges, which leads to fewer young and healthy people buying into these terrible and terribly expensive products. The Department of Health and Human Services determined one of every five people shopping on Obamacare’s exchange has only one insurer to choose. This is what the death spiral you may vaguely recall the president dismissing in 2009 looks like.

Buying Really Expensive Junk

I have many blessings, two of which are the means to pay for health insurance and the good fortune not to need much of it. As a result, in the post-Obamacare world, I am a prime gouging target. I’m seeing a 96 percent increase because I am healthy, unsubsidized, and getting fewer and fewer choices. My health care companyabandoned the lowest-tier Bronze option entirely in its attempt to stay solvent, funneling me into a Silver plan with higher levels of care I don’t need at a higher price I don’t want.

My individual deductible is more than two times the high deductible on my old “junk” plan. My family’s deductible is ten times what the IRS defines as a high deductible. I now pay a high premium for a high-deductible plan, while also paying co-pays and out-of-pocket costs, meaning my plan is both junkier and more expensive.

Two points follow from this, neither of which has anything to do with feeling bad for me. But my 96-percent increase in premiums is a useful, unvarnished look at Obamacare’s effects. One, if this is a hardship for me—if I’m sitting around thinking about all the lost opportunity and savings in that giant monthly sum— so are many others who have far less than I do. Even with subsidized premiums, many are finding they can’t afford their deductibles, making their “affordable” health insurance useless.

Mr. Fanning, the North Texan, said he and his wife had a policy with a monthly premium of about $500 and an annual deductible of about $10,000 after taking account of financial assistance. Their income is about $32,000 a year.

The Fannings dropped the policy in July after he had a one-night hospital stay and she had tests for kidney problems, and the bills started to roll in.

Josie Gibb of Albuquerque pays about $400 a month in premiums, after subsidies, for a silver-level insurance plan with a deductible of $6,000. ‘The deductible,’ she said, ‘is so high that I have to pay for everything all year — visits with a gynecologist, a dermatologist, all blood work, all tests. It’s really just a catastrophic policy.’

Further, the system simply funnels customers into far more expensive plans every year unless they go to the semi-functional exchange during November and December to look around for something else. How many miss the letter and open enrollment thanks to living their lives between Thanksgiving and Christmas and end up with a New Year’s present in the form of a new bill they can’t afford?

Punished For Rejecting Expensive Junk

Two, is it any wonder exchange enrollment isn’t what the Obama administration hoped and needed it to be? Putting aside the embarrassing launch debacle (also predictable and predicted by me!), the law has created products that aren’t worth buying. I’m a responsible citizen and single parent of two young children. Let’s think about the incentives this system presents.

It would make far more economic sense to pay the tax penalty for not having insurance, save the monthly payment, and squirrel it away for a catastrophic event that may never occur. Should a catastrophic event occur, work out a payment plan with doctors and hospitals, for which you’d use the squirreled away premiums until the next open enrollment period, at which point you just jump right back into a plan again because they can’t keep you out for preexisting conditions. Should a catastrophic event never occur, you’ve got no small part of a college education put away. My health insurance used to be a rational and responsible purchase. It’s beginning to feel like neither.

There are plenty of young, healthy people the system needs who are finding the same.As the New York Times reported last year at this time:

Alexis C. Phillips, 29, of Houston, is the kind of consumer federal officials would like to enroll this fall. But after reviewing the available plans, she said, she concluded: ‘The deductibles are ridiculously high. I will never be able to go over the deductible unless something catastrophic happened to me. I’m better off not purchasing that insurance and saving the money in case something bad happens.’

Those who support the law during its meltdown suggest jacking up the cost of rejecting this terrible product to make it more painful than the cost of the terrible product. To them, we are but Westley in the Pit of Despair and they are the technocratic torturer at the switch puzzling just how much pain they can inflict without going full Humperdinck and killing the strapping, young patient.

That’s how the Affordable Care Act became neither affordable nor care. It’s almost as if you could have predicted it. Inconceivable!

bureaucracy, economy, government, health care, politics, public policy, reform, tragedy, unintended consequences

Filed under: politics, government, economy, public policy, bureaucracy, health care, reform, tragedy, unintended consequences

Almost Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong

original article: Almost Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong
August 22, 2016 by Ryan T. Anderson

A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

Co-authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality, the 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, painstakingly documenting what scientific research shows and does not show about sexuality and gender.

The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”

Here are four of the report’s most important conclusions:

The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property—that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.

Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

The report, “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” is co-authored by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh. Mayer is a scholar-in-residence in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University.

McHugh, whom the editor of The New Atlantis describes as “arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century,” is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was for 25 years the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was during his tenure as psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins that he put an end to sex reassignment surgery there, after a study launched at Hopkins revealed that it didn’t have the benefits for which doctors and patients had long hoped.

Implications for Policy

The report focuses exclusively on what scientific research shows and does not show. But this science can have implications for public policy.

The report reviews rigorous research showing that ‘only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.’

Take, for example, our nation’s recent debates over transgender policies in schools. One of the consistent themes of the report is that science does not support the claim that “gender identity” is a fixed property independent of biological sex, but rather that a combination of biological, environmental, and experiential factors likely shape how individuals experience and express themselves when it comes to sex and gender.

The report also discusses the reality of neuroplasticity: that all of our brains can and do change throughout our lives (especially, but not only, in childhood) in response to our behavior and experiences. These changes in the brain can, in turn, influence future behavior.

This provides more reason for concern over the Obama administration’s recent transgender school policies. Beyond the privacy and safety concerns, there is thus also the potential that such policies will result in prolonged identification as transgender for students who otherwise would have naturally grown out of it.

The report reviews rigorous research showing that “only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.” Policymakers should be concerned with how misguided school policies might encourage students to identify as girls when they are boys, and vice versa, and might result in prolonged difficulties. As the report notes, “There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.”

Beyond school policies, the report raises concerns about proposed medical intervention in children. Mayer and McHugh write: “We are disturbed and alarmed by the severity and irreversibility of some interventions being publicly discussed and employed for children.”

They continue: “We are concerned by the increasing tendency toward encouraging children with gender identity issues to transition to their preferred gender through medical and then surgical procedures.” But as they note, “There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents.”

Findings on Transgender Issues

The same goes for social or surgical gender transitions in general. Mayer and McHugh note that the “scientific evidence summarized suggests we take a skeptical view toward the claim that sex reassignment procedures provide the hoped for benefits or resolve the underlying issues that contribute to elevated mental health risks among the transgender population.” Even after sex reassignment surgery, patients with gender dysphoria still experience poor outcomes:

Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes. One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about five times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.

Mayer and McHugh urge researchers and physicians to work to better “understand whatever factors may contribute to the high rates of suicide and other psychological and behavioral health problems among the transgender population, and to think more clearly about the treatment options that are available.” They continue:

In reviewing the scientific literature, we find that almost nothing is well understood when we seek biological explanations for what causes some individuals to state that their gender does not match their biological sex. … Better research is needed, both to identify ways by which we can help to lower the rates of poor mental health outcomes and to make possible more informed discussion about some of the nuances present in this field.

Policymakers should take these findings very seriously. For example, the Obama administration recently finalized a new Department of Health and Human Services mandate that requires all health insurance plans under Obamacare to cover sex reassignment treatments and all relevant physicians to perform them. The regulations will force many physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers to participate in sex reassignment surgeries and treatments, even if doing so violates their moral and religious beliefs or their best medical judgment.

Rather than respect the diversity of opinions on sensitive and controversial health care issues, the regulations endorse and enforce one highly contested and scientifically unsupported view. As Mayer and McHugh urge, more research is needed, and physicians need to be free to practice the best medicine.

Stigma, Prejudice Don’t Explain Tragic Outcomes

The report also highlights that people who identify as LGBT face higher risks of adverse physical and mental health outcomes, such as “depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and most alarmingly, suicide.” The report summarizes some of those findings:

Members of the non-heterosexual population are estimated to have about 1.5 times higher risk of experiencing anxiety disorders than members of the heterosexual population, as well as roughly double the risk of depression, 1.5 times the risk of substance abuse, and nearly 2.5 times the risk of suicide.

Members of the transgender population are also at higher risk of a variety of mental health problems compared to members of the non-transgender population. Especially alarmingly, the rate of lifetime suicide attempts across all ages of transgender individuals is estimated at 41 percent, compared to under 5 percent in the overall U.S. population.

What accounts for these tragic outcomes? Mayer and McHugh investigate the leading theory—the “social stress model”—which proposes that “stressors like stigma and prejudice account for much of the additional suffering observed in these subpopulations.”

But they argue that the evidence suggests that this theory “does not seem to offer a complete explanation for the disparities in the outcomes.” It appears that social stigma and stress alone cannot account for the poor physical and mental health outcomes that LGBT-identified people face.

As a result, they conclude that “More research is needed to uncover the causes of the increased rates of mental health problems in the LGBT subpopulations.” And they call on all of us work to “alleviate suffering and promote human health and flourishing.”

Findings Contradict Claims in Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling

Finally, the report notes that scientific evidence does not support the claim that people are “born that way” with respect to sexual orientation. The narrative pushed by Lady Gaga and others is not supported by the science. A combination of biological, environmental, and experiential factors likely account for an individual’s sexual attractions, desires, and identity, and “there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.”

Furthermore, the scientific research shows that sexual orientation is more fluid than the media suggests. The report notes that “Longitudinal studies of adolescents suggest that sexual orientation may be quite fluid over the life course for some people, with one study estimating that as many as 80 percent of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions no longer do so as adults.”

These findings—that scientific research does not support the claim that sexual orientation is innate and immutable—directly contradict claims made by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in last year’s Obergefell ruling. Kennedy wrote, “their immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment” and “in more recent years have psychiatrists and others recognized that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.”

But the science does not show this.

While the marriage debate was about the nature of what marriage is, incorrect scientific claims about sexual orientation were consistently used in the campaign to redefine marriage.

In the end, Mayer and McHugh observe that much about sexuality and gender remains unknown. They call for honest, rigorous, and dispassionate research to help better inform public discourse and, more importantly, sound medical practice.

As this research continues, it’s important that public policy not declare scientific debates over, or rush to legally enforce and impose contested scientific theories. As Mayer and McHugh note, “Everyone—scientists and physicians, parents and teachers, lawmakers and activists—deserves access to accurate information about sexual orientation and gender identity.”

We all must work to foster a culture where such information can be rigorously pursued and everyone—whatever their convictions, and whatever their personal situation—is treated with the civility, respect, and generosity that each of us deserves.

biology, civil rights, culture, government, homosexuality, ideology, judiciary, justice, politics, science, sex, study

Filed under: biology, civil rights, culture, government, homosexuality, ideology, judiciary, justice, politics, science, sex, study

HS teacher – To be white is to be racist, period

original article: ‘To be white is to be racist, period’: H.S. teacher’s classroom message exposed by angry student
October 19, 2016 by Dave Urbanski

An Oklahoma high school student became disturbed at what she was seeing and hearing during a recent class, so she pulled out her cellphone and started recording.

The teacher of the elective philosophy class at Norman North High School was heard on the recording saying “to be white is to be racist, period.”

Image source: KFOR-TV

“Am I racist?” the teacher was also heard asking the class. “And, I say ‘Yeah.’ I don’t want to be. It’s not like I choose to be racist, but do I do things because of the way I was raised?”

The student who made the recording spoke to KFOR-TV; her face was obscured and her voice was altered to protect her identity. “Half of my family is Hispanic,” she told the station, “so I just felt like, you know, him calling me racist just because I’m white … I mean, where’s your proof in that?”

She added: “I felt like he was encouraging people to kind of pick on people for being white.”

Her cellphone also caught a video being shown to students depicting an actor brushing white-out across countries on a globe and then writing a new name over the white space.

Image source: KFOR-TV

Image source: KFOR-TV

“So he was basically comparing what he’d done to the globe to what we did to America,” the student told KFOR regarding the clip that focused on Native Americans.

“Why is it OK to demonize one race to children that you are supposed to be teaching a curriculum to?” asked the student’s father, whose face also was hidden and voice also was changed.

“You start telling someone something over and over again that’s an opinion, and they start taking it as fact,” the student added to the station. “So I wanted him to apologize and make it obvious and apparent to everyone that was his opinion.”

read full article

bias, corruption, culture, diversity, education, hate speech, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, patriotism, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, racism, racist, relativism, scandal

Filed under: bias, corruption, culture, diversity, education, hate speech, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, patriotism, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, racism, racist, relativism, scandal

Remember those experts who said condoms would reduce pregnancy and STDs?

original article: The Condom Conundrum
July 21, 2016 by John Stonestreet

Remember those so-called “experts” who assured us that condoms would cut rates of fertility and STDs? Well, they now face a conundrum.

Those who’ve pushed condoms like candy in public schools have given us any number of rationales. They told us that young people “are going to do it anyway,” so more condoms would equal fewer pregnancies. They also said that more condoms would lead to fewer STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases. And as they proceeded to pass out condoms by the handful to our school-age children, they told us that religion and morality should be left out of it, in the name of public health and, of course, science.

New research, however, suggests these prophets of prophylactics were wrong—desperately wrong—and that it’s time for a fresh look at the issue.

A recently released study by University of Notre Dame researchers Kasey S. Buckles and Daniel M. Hungerman has found that access to condoms in schools actually increases teen pregnancies by about 10 percent—that’s right, increases it! Buckles and Hungerman selected 22 school districts in 12 states that started such programs back in the 1990s, including New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The study analyzed teen-fertility data from nearly 400 high-population counties over a span of 19 years.

Among the contributing factors Buckles and Hungerman cite is the possibility that condom-distribution programs can crowd out efforts to encourage young people to delay sexual activity. Condom-distribution programs may actually encourage more teenagers to have sex.

Is this really that surprising? If adults tell teens that the decision to engage in sex is theirs and give them condoms, what message do they receive?

It makes sense, especially given another finding of the study. Buckles and Hungerman found that sexual activity, along with STDs, increased in counties with condom-distribution programs. This puts a lie to all those lofty assurances from the Sexual Left that condoms would prevent all that. No, more likely, they encouraged it!

Michael J. New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, notes that this ugly outcome likely is a result of increased sexual risk-taking as a result of condoms in the schools. All at taxpayers’ expense.

Now Buckles and Hungerman are quick to point out that they believe the effects of teen fertility would be less alarming if the condom-distribution programs were also accompanied by mandatory sex-ed counseling. But New says such education efforts would not totally offset the jump in teen fertility caused by condom distribution. There would still be more births to teenaged mothers, and presumably more teen STDs, than if there were no condoms in the schools in the first place.

“Overall,” says New, “the study adds to an impressive body of research which shows that efforts to encourage contraceptive use either through mandates, subsidies, or distribution are ineffective at best or counterproductive at worst. In many countries, increases in contraception use are correlated with increase in the abortion rate.”

Now it would be optimistic at best to assume that the folks who brought these condom-distribution programs to us, and their cheerleaders in the media, would own up to the conundrum they have created and work to make things right. But no, we’ll have to do that ourselves.

So the first step to changing what our schools do is to read the study and make sure that members of your local school boards have a copy. Just come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary for a link to it, along with more information to get you up to speed.

And second, we shouldn’t be surprised that non-Christians teach our sons and daughters a non-Christian worldview concerning the human body, the unitive act, or marriage. Teaching our own kids about sex and design and relationships and marriage, while pointing out and countering the lies about sex proclaimed in the culture, is first and foremost our job as parents and as Christian communities.

children, culture, education, ideology, science, sex, study, unintended consequences

Filed under: children, culture, education, ideology, science, sex, study, unintended consequences

5 Things President Obama Needs To Say About Black Crime But Won’t

original article: 5 Things President Obama Needs To Say About Black Crime But Won’t
July 20, 2016 by John Gibbs

President Obama held a nationally televised town hall last week to address heightened tensions and divisions in our society due to recent shootings of black criminals by police, and the recent shootings of police officers in Dallas. Just days after the event,three police officers in Baton Rouge were assassinated, further highlighting the high stakes for how the president handles this issue.

I was invited to attend last week’s town hall and ask the president a question, but ultimately could not make it. But I did watch it at home, and would like to highlight some key points President Obama did not to make, which could have begun the process of healing and reconciliation.

Indeed, Sunday’s execution of three police officers in Baton Rouge shows what can happen when the president creates an atmosphere of racial victimization and blames police. So it is critical that Obama develops a new message that takes us in the right direction before things get worse and there’s another incident.

With that in mind, here are the statements President Obama should have included in his remarks last week.

1. ‘We Must, Must, Must Reduce the Black Crime Rate’

The black crime rate is significantly higher than that of other races. Yes, some would claim this is due to institutionalized racism or a lack of job opportunities. However, black crime was much lower in past eras when discrimination against black people was much higher, and the economic position of black people was much worse, than today. So that can be no excuse.

President Obama should have talked about how the overall crime rate for black people is three times higher than the national average. He should have noted how blacks commit homicide at a rate eight times higher than whites do, according to Department of Justice data. Even though blacks and Hispanics combined make up only 30 percent of the population, they make up more than 80 percent of all gang members in the United States. He should also have talked how even though black folks are only 13 percent of the population, we commit about 62 percent of all robberies and 56 percent of all carjackings. Obama should have then asked: “Is this really what Dr. King died for?”

2. ‘We Must Put the Black Family Back Together’

Even though the studies clearly show that children born into single-parent homes have worse outcomes in nearly every area, sadly, today about 72 percent of black kids are born to unwed mothers. This has created a whole new generation of troubled young men who have an increased likelihood of entering a life of crime and getting themselves into altercations with the police that create these divisive incidents we see on the news.

So putting the family back together so black children are born into stable, two-parent homes will go a long way to fixing many of the problems black people face today, including problems with the police. President Obama should have forcefully illuminated the broken state of black families, then outlined his ideas to put it back together. There are many ways to approach this, but one good place to start is to scale back well-intentioned but ineffective entitlement programs that encourage and enable single-motherhood, many of which the president himself unfortunately supports.

If he couldn’t have stomached this tough but true response, Obama could have at least given the example of how he leads his own family, which is indeed a stable two-parent black family.

3. ‘We Must Fix the Brokenness in Black Culture’

Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Data shows that thepopularity of black kids decreases as their GPA increases, a trend not seen for white public school children. This means black kids pay a high social price for pursuing academic excellence. Research from psychologist Angela Neal-Barnett shows that things like taking an Advanced Placement class, taking an honors class, or—gasp—speaking standard English were behaviors many black students saw as “acting white” and thus carried a social cost.

Researchers are still working out the reasons for this unfortunate phenomenon, but I suspect it exists simply because many young black people are rarely challenged by teachers, parents, communities, and the media. That’s because: 1) It’s much easier to just blame racism, and 2) Challenging black veneration of underachievement might be seen as racist.

However, President Obama should have avoided the easy, cowardly approach of blaming racism and instead forcefully illustrated the problem, proclaiming that achieving excellence does not have a race attached to it, and we will have zero tolerance for blacks who ridicule other black folks for pursuing distinction.

There is also a destructive thug culture among some strains of the black community. Black journalist Cynthia Tucker Haynes beautifully states: “Somewhere along the way, a cadre of young black men and women began glorifying violence, misogyny and thuggery, accepting incarceration as inevitable, resigning themselves to lives on the margins of mainstream society. They created a thug culture that has been commodified — celebrated in music and movies, sold to poor adolescents in wretched neighborhoods as well as affluent teenagers in upscale communities.”

What more can be said? President Obama should have uttered these powerful words last night, then ended them with, “Therefore, we must demolish this thug culture that is destroying young black Americans. We will treat it the same as terrorism: pursue it, confront it, and destroy it.” That’s right, I just compared thug culture to terrorism. September 11, 2011 killed about 3,000 Americans, yet about 5,500 black men kill other black men annually. That’s almost two black 9/11s per year! So where’s the War Against Thugs™?

4. ‘The Police Are Not the Main Problem’

Over the past 35 years, a mind-bending 323,820 black people have been killed by other black people in America, far exceeding the number of police officers killed during that same timeframe. The data showsabout 71 blacks are killed by other blacks for every one black person killed by a white police officer. It is clear then, the real problem is black people killing each other.

Yes, cases of police misconduct should be confronted and handled promptly when they occur. Absolutely. But black deaths due to the police account for less than 2 percent of all black murders, so attacking the police must never be the main issue. President Obama should thus have stated forcefully, “Let us stop blaming the police, for they are not the ones killing black folks. Sadly, it is black folks who are killing each other. Therefore, wemust solve the national problem of black murder.”

5. ‘Blaming Police Gets More Police Killed’

Rhetoric that frames police for the deep, systematic problems in the black community puts police lives in danger by riling up hatred and resentment towards them, and encourages the kind of cop killers we’ve seen in Dallas and Baton Rouge. This kind of rhetoric can’t be tolerated.

First, it’s not true. The police are the first line of defense in protecting black Americans from black criminals, who overwhelmingly target black victims. Second, it takes focus away from the real issues at the source of the problem: broken families, thug culture, entitlement programs that disincentivize family formation, and a culture of low achievement.

President Obama should have thus forcefully declared “We will never allow police lives to be put in jeopardy by dangerous rhetoric that blames them for brokenness in minority communities, a brokenness they did not cause and cannot fix.”

Thankfully for the president, I do not charge for this free post-mortem analysis. But for further consultations, we’ll have to talk.

bias, bigotry, culture, hate crime, hypocrisy, ideology, racism, relativism, tragedy

Filed under: bias, bigotry, culture, hate crime, hypocrisy, ideology, racism, relativism, tragedy

Who gets absolute moral authority?

original article: Malkin: Who gets absolute moral authority?
July 20, 2016 by Michelle Malkin

My 12-year-old son couldn’t remember the phrase “take a walk down memory lane” last week, instead describing a stroll through “nostalgia road.” I knew it would come in handy.

Put on your hiking boots and join me for an educational trip down good ol’ nostalgia road.

It seems like yesterday when Champion of Wimmin Maureen Dowd, bemoaning the lack of sympathy for anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan, declared in The New York Times that “the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.”

No ifs, ands or other hedging qualifiers. Absolutely absolute.

And it was just a blink of an eye ago that the same New York Times spilled barrels of adulatory ink on the 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls. Remember them? The quartet of Democratic women parlayed their post-terror attack plight into powerful roles as Bush-bashing citizen lobbyists.

Their story, the lib narrative-shaping paper of record reported, was a “tale of a political education, and a sisterhood born of grief.”

Moms and widows deserved special consideration in the public square, the argument went a decade ago. Their experience and their testimony warranted respect, deference and the national spotlight.

But then, as now, only a special class of victims is entitled to cash in the Absolute Moral Authority card. Not all parents and spouses who have lost loved ones can join the Club of the Unquestioned and Unassailable.

On Monday night at the Republican National Convention, Pat Smith shared her own tale of a political education born of grief after her diplomat son, Sean Smith, died in the Benghazi terrorist attack. Hillary Clinton, she passionately insisted, “deserves to be in stripes!”

GQ sports writer Nathaniel Friedman showed his compassion for Smith’s loss and pain by tweeting, “I don’t care how many children Pat Smith lost I would like to beat her to death.”

MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who had helped make Cindy Sheehan a media star and urged her to run for Congress based on her status as a grieving war mom, fumed that Pat Smith had “ruined” the entire convention with her heartfelt testimony. The smug Democratic political operative turned TV bloviator, who had also elevated the Jersey Girls’ celebrity status with multiple bookings on his show, couldn’t bear to speak Smith’s name:

“I don’t care what that woman up there, the mother, has felt. Her emotions are her own, but for the country in choosing a leader, it’s wrong to have someone get up there and tell a lie about Hillary Clinton.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chimed in on the same network that he was disgusted with how the GOP convention was using Smith to “exploit a tragedy.”

GOP-bashers heaped similar derision on father Jamiel Shaw Sr. and mothers Sabine Durden and Mary Ann Mendoza, who all spoke at the convention about losing children to criminals who had slipped illegally through open borders and revolving deportation doors. “Progressives” sneered at Shaw as an “Uncle Tom” for pointing out that Latino gangbangers targeted his black son because of his race. The intolerant tolerance mob also accused Durden of being “fooled” and Durden and Mendoza of being “exploited for apocalyptic theater.”

Will these horrified hang-wringers be as outspokenly offended next week when the Democratic National Convention dedicates an entire evening to the so-called Mothers of the Movement?

Among the sainted moms of the Black Lives Matter movement who will speak on Hillary Clinton’s behalf are Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; and Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland.

Each of these cases lumped under supposedly unjustified gun violence and systemic racism is complicated and distinct. For starters, Bland hanged herself when her friends and family wouldn’t bail her out of jail after she had kicked a police officer. Two of the “children” involved in police shootings (Brown and Hamilton) had assaulted cops during their fatal encounters.

But drop all questions and doubts. “These mothers have worked tirelessly to raise awareness around the issues that surround their children’s deaths,” the liberal Huffington Post reports.

Because these women endorse race-baiting, gun-grabbing narratives and left-wing candidates, no one working in the mainstream media will ever challenge their parental prerogative to participate in politics on behalf of their loved ones.

Moms who have lost their children to Democratic incompetence, corruption and open-borders treachery are out of luck. The dealers of Absolute Moral Authority play with a loaded deck.

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Making ‘Star Trek’s’ Sulu Gay Is A Lame Move By Bad Screenwriters

original article: Making ‘Star Trek’s’ Sulu Gay Is A Lame Move By Bad Screenwriters
July 18, 2016 by D.C. McAllister

I don’t know if Courtney Kirchoff of LouderWithCrowder originally came up with this, but her label of “straight character appropriation” by Hollywood is spot-on, especially now that we have more of it with helmsman Sulu transforming from a straight character to a gay one in the new “Star Trek Beyond” movie.

Let me first confess to being a Trekkie, so I’m a bit biased about messing with a franchise I love. If you make a change, it better be worthy of the change. I’m a “Star Trek” purist from the days of Jim Kirk making out with green women and having the first onscreen interracial kiss with Uhura, and I’m irritated by making Sulu gay, not because I have a problem with homosexuality (I don’t) or because I take issue with exploring controversial themes (“Star Trek” is famous for doing just that). I object because this is an affront to consistent storytelling without making a complete overhaul of the narrative (think of totally re-imagined “Battlestar Galactica”)—all for the sake of checking off the “we’ve got a gay character now” box.

Ultimately, this was just a thoughtless decision without creative merit. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. To Hollywood’s surprise, the gay actor who originally played Sulu says he isn’t on board and has called the switch “unfortunate.” Fellow actors are now jumping all over George Takei like he’s a gay Uncle Tom.

The Gayness Is Disproportionate

“Star Trek,” of course, isn’t the first to engage in straight character appropriation. It’s been a recent Hollywood trend to increase the presence of gays on the screen, even though, as Kirchoff rightly points out in her rant against Hollywood “gaying all things,” homosexuals make up only about 3.4 percent of the U.S. population. Despite this low number, gays composed about 14 percent of characters in films released in 2014—and that’s increasing with transgenders now being added to the mix.

Despite the reality of the population numbers, the push for more gays is unrelenting. Not only are more gay characters being introduced in shows and movies, straight characters are being transformed into gay ones. You might have heard about Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen,” Marvel’s Captain America becoming gay (wouldn’t that be symbolic?), and Jeri Hogarth in “Jessica Jones” who is a straight man in the comic books but has magically transformed into a gay woman in the Netflix series.

There are even disturbing rumors about making James Bond gay. Can you imagine the new “Bond guy” Robert Pattinson (just grabbing from the barrel of hot actors here) whispering “Oh, James …” Ummm. No. I’m with Daniel Craig on this one—it ain’t going to happen. Still, the way things are going, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

As an aside, if sexuality is that fluid, I wonder what would happen if we started converting gay characters to straight—and not in that bisexual dump-the-lesbian-for-a-guy Ellen Degeneres life story kind of way. Imagine if the dashing Loras Tyrell of “Game of Thrones” had suddenly said after all that business with Renly that he really is straight and would be delighted to marry a woman and make babies. Things might have turned out better for him this past season. But I don’t think Hollywood would be too excited about that, do you?

Anyway. In its push to drape everything in the rainbow flag, Tinseltown thought it would be a dandy idea to have the most recent installment of straight character appropriation be Sulu of “Star Trek.” Yet Sulu never had any on-screen love interests, he’s straight in the books, had the hots for Uhura (who hasn’t?), and had a daughter from a “one-night stand with a glamazon…A very athletic, powerful and stunningly gorgeous woman,” Takei explains.

Regardless of the history, we know from Takei himself that the character was straight, and this is what Gene Roddenberry, the series’ creator, intended. Roddenberry’s son says he understands why Takei isn’t thrilled about the change since “in a way, it’s George’s character” as well as his father’s creation, but he does think his father would have supported having a gay character.

But instead of creating a whole new character, the writer of “Star Trek Beyond,” Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in the new films, decided to have Sulu go through gay conversion therapy and repent of his straightness. Now we have a brief scene showing Scotty with his husband, holding his daughter. “Look everyone, Sulu is gay… now back to the action.” Instead of creating a whole new character, Pegg took the lazy route and decided just to appropriate a straight one.

It Doesn’t Even Make Any Plot Sense

“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” Takei told The Hollywood Reporter. “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”

When Takei first heard the idea of making Sulu gay, he tried to convince the team to develop a new character instead. “I told him [John Cho, who plays Sulu] ‘Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted.’”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Takei had enough negative experiences inside the Hollywood closet, he says, and strongly feels a character who came of age in the 23rd century would never find his way inside one.” Good point. Would a gay man really be hiding in the closet all these years in the extremely tolerant world of “Star Trek,” especially for someone from Earth and working in the all-inclusive Federation?

The Hollywood Reporter also makes the prickly point that this is even more twisted because the new film takes place before the old “Star Trek,” so we would actually have Sulu being gay and then going into the closet. That’s just weird. How do the “Star Trek” writers and all the actors rallying behind the decision to gay-up Sulu explain that little jewel of timeline inconsistency?

They can’t, but they don’t care. Instead of being faithful to a consistent science-fiction narrative, one actor after another is throwing his support behind the fictional gay Sulu and throwing the real-life gay actor who played straight Sulu under the bus. That includesZachary Quinto, who is also gay in real life, but plays straight Spock—for now. Pretty messed-up stuff.

It’s Not Positive for Gay People, Either

But it fits the Hollywood, pro-gay agenda, and in the long run it will probably undermine their cause. Like feminism, the homosexual militant agenda (as opposed to regular gay people who just want to live their lives in peace) has moved beyond wanting equality and tolerance. The Gay Gestapo, of which Hollywood is a part, wants power; they want to punish straights; they want to elevate themselves as the ones with enlightened gay consciousness; and they want to ram their agenda of approval and capitulation (not tolerance) down the throats of every American. In the process, they will push gay characters in your face, they will appropriate straight ones, and you will like it, damn it!

The sad thing is, this is only stirring up conflict and creating more division. A lot of people, and I include myself in this, are tolerant of homosexuality, love their homosexual friends, and really don’t care what people do in the bedroom. But I don’t need nor want gayness (nor feminism, global warming, environmentalism, gun control, and not even religion of any stripe) shoved in my face every time I turn on the television or go to a movie. If it happens, and continues to happen, I’ll just stop watching.

Most people want a good, well-written, well-acted story: realistic characters who are part of a beautifully crafted narrative that challenges us to think and makes us feel greater empathy for others. If that involves a gay character, great. If it doesn’t, if it’s about an agenda, the writers and producers have duped me into watching something that amounts to propaganda rather than good storytelling. That doesn’t make me a happy customer.

What the “Star Trek” writers are doing is a violation of quality art (and yes, even science fiction is a type of art—not high art, but still art) for the sake of a liberal agenda—or even worst, just to create conflict and buzz for marketing purposes (sometimes it really does come down to the almighty dollar). Either way, they don’t care about well-crafted storytelling or being faithful to the cohesiveness of a created universe. They just want to get gold stars for being progressive and tolerant, or they simply want to line their pockets. As a result, they’re just pissing everyone off.

Look, Good Art Is Possible

They could learn a lot from Alan Ball. He’s the gay screenwriter who created HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and wrote “True Blood.” He, probably better than many in Hollywood, mainstreamed homosexuality in television in a way that was artistic and effective (along with “Will and Grace”). Ball deftly created compelling homosexual characters who touched our hearts and revealed to us deep struggles gay people face today—a feat he accomplished while being artistically faithful and treating his own creations with the care and respect they deserve, even on those occasions when he was advancing his own commentary on homosexuality.

This is particularly true with the fictional character David Fisher in “Six Feet Under,” a beautifully crafted homosexual character with whom the viewer connects immediately, even if you’re not gay. The same is true of Lafayette Reynolds in “True Blood,” a complex character who tugs at our heartstrings in his quest for true love.

Ball gave us exceptional characters while maintaining quality storytelling. Does this mean he didn’t have an agenda? He certainly did. In a way, all writers have an “agenda.” They want to communicate something, and often it is something of social significance. In the case of “True Blood,” Ball had a gay agenda in the overall theme of the show, but he was clever enough to incorporate that into a story in a realistic way that lent itself to the narrative as created by the writer of the original series, Charlaine Harris.

This is what good writing looks like, and there are several other examples in television and film, including “Orange Is the New Black.” “Star Trek Beyond” in this instance isn’t one of them. They have taken good storytelling and turned it on its head just to make a cultural and political statement. This imposition of gayness by Hollywood is offensive not only on a social-cultural level, it’s insulting on a creative level.

Making Sulu gay did nothing to advance the plot or play into an overall narrative that actually promotes a significant message about homosexuality. Neither is it like “Battlestar Galactica” where Starbuck is now a woman in an entirely newly imagined story (and even that caused quite the uproar). “Star Trek” has not been re-imagined. Sulu is still Sulu, and nothing in the plot has called for a change in his sexuality—a change, as I stated previously, that cannot really be done retroactively because of the timeline of the story.

What the writers of “Star Trek” have done is lazy, banal, trivial, and, simply put, bad writing. As artists, they can do better. We as paying viewers deserve better. Instead, they just want to make a statement instead of creating something original. As a result, they will not convert anyone to their cause, and they won’t bring anything of worth to the art they are trying to create. Instead, they are diminishing themselves, undermining Roddenberry’s creation, and sewing discord from their soapbox perch instead of building bridges and opening hearts through imaginative storytelling.

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In some schools social indoctrination supersedes normal education

original article: Media touts 14-year-old’s poem APOLOGIZING for being white, but now the backlash is building
July 14, 2016 by Tom Tillison

A 14-year-old student‘s “slam poem” on white privilege is taking the country by storm.

Royce Mann, a private school student at The Paideia School in Atlanta, won a competition with a poem, “White Boy Privilege,” in which he apologized to women and people of color for being born a white male, according to CNN.

…for starting life “on top of the ladder while you were born on the first rung.”

Never mind that, according to the Census Bureau, there were 19.7 million white Americans living in poverty as of 2014.


“Dear women, I’m sorry. Dear black people, I’m sorry,” the poem begins. “Dear Asian-Americans, dear Native Americans, dear immigrants who came here seeking a better life, I’m sorry. Dear everyone who isn’t a middle or upper-class white boy, I’m sorry. I have started life on the top of the ladder while you were born on the first rung.”

Mann said he loves his privilege and doesn’t know what he would do without “my white boy privilege safety blankie to protect me.”

He even regurgitated the left’s false narrative of racist cops, saying, “I love it because when I see a police officer I see someone who’s on my side.”

But his distorted views get worse.

‘Because of my gender, I can watch any sport on TV, and feel like that could be me one day,” the student said. “Because of my race I can eat at a fancy restaurant without the wait staff expecting me to steal the silverware.

In a sane world, his offering would be cause to investigate for possible child abuse for a severe form of indocrination, but instead Mann has been applauded for being enlightened… for being “woke” in Black Lives Matter lingo, CNN reported.

Where did he get such notions?

“That was the first time I did slam poetry,” Mann told Fusion in a phone interview. “I wrote it because I became aware of white privilege this year. We have a class called Race, Class and Gender that everyone has to take, and I got really passionate about how unfair it is.”

And he concluded his liberal equality rant with a call to action.

“Hey white boys: It’s time to act like a woman,” he said. “To be strong and make a difference. It’s time to let go of that fear.”

While the mainstream media is touting the boy’s indoctrinated message far and wide, not everyone is buying it.

What school requires its students to be indoctrinated this way in a class on Race, Class, and Gender? According to the Atlanta Joural-Constitution it’s The Paideia School in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Does school choice work? It depends on whether you ask parents or education bureaucrats

original article: Even When School Choice Works, Critics Call It a Failure
July 11, 2016 by Vicki Alger

Thomas Paine recommended vouchers to help parents afford private schools for their children more than 200 years ago. While most college students today use vouchers to attend public or private colleges and universities, the concept remains needlessly controversial when it comes to parents using them for their school-age children.

For example, in a recent Washington Post article Emma Brown recently claimed school choice hasn’t worked based on evidence from New York City, where students are no longer assigned to public high schools based on their zip codes.

For starters, the Big Apple is hardly, as Brown calls it, “a real-life laboratory for questions of school choice” just because in 2004 the city deigned to allow parents of eighth-graders to choose up to 12 public high schools to attend out of a possible 400.

Currently, more than half of all states have parental choice programs that include private schools – not just public schools. New York isn’t one of them.

But Brown’s own evidence shows that empowering parents over their children’s education works. According to Brown, as of 2015 NYC’s overall public high school graduation rate has improved steadily and now exceeds 70 percent. Even neighborhood-based racial graduation rate gaps have diminished. Yet because they exist, school choice must be a failure. Brown seems to be implying (although she doesn’t say so explicitly) that returning to the old way of assigning students to schools would level the playing field.

It likely would…but not in a positive way since assigned schooling minimizes the likelihood students will be able to attend schools that are the best for for them. And, by removing competition for students schools have little (if any) incentive to customize instruction to individual students’ needs.

The reality is, parental choice programs are helping participating students (overwhelmingly those from disadvantaged backgrounds) as well as non-participating students who benefit from the effects of their schools having to compete for students and associated funding.

A new research synthesis helps shed light on the growing body of research proving that parental choice works.

Currently, there are 50 private school scholarship programs in 26 states and Washington, DC. What’s more, over half of them were implemented in the past five years. But do such programs work?

Experts from the University of Arkansas conducted a global review of “gold standard” studies, and using scientifically exacting methods concluded that private school choice results in statistically significant improvements in reading and math performance, 0.27 standard deviations and 0.15 standard deviations, respectively.

To put those results into perspective, 25 percent of a standard deviation represents approximately one year of academic growth on most measures of student achievement. These results are all the more remarkable because most private school choice programs limit eligibility to students from low-income families, and these students typically struggle academically.

Such results should come as welcome news for addressing chronic achievement gaps and high college remediation rates – but they likely won’t.

Parental choice in education, private-school parental choice in particular, remains a political hot button. Teachers and administrators unions, among others, fiercely oppose supporting parents’ right to choose non-public schools for their children.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has done everything in its power to shut down the successful DC Opportunity Scholarship Program – (although it was recently reauthorized) in spite of evidence from the US Department of Education “What Works” division that the program is effective, efficient, and popular. It’s also accomplishes more for a whole lot less.

Thankfully, parents and policymakers in the states are moving ahead with an ever-growing array of parental choice programs, including vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and education savings accounts (ESAs). Such progress will be difficult if not impossible to stop, no matter how loudly critics complain.

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A dynamic society is not perfectible – stop acting like cattle

In light of the US Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage we see the two fundamental social forces at work in the United States. These forces show us the human condition is dynamic, thus so is human society. Because society is not a static thing the idea of progress is not nearly as settled as many people would think.

The idea of progress is a very noble one, at its core. There is suffering and injustice in the world. A lot of it. ISIS is a good example of the evil that exists in the world. Indeed the desire for improvement of the human condition adds social pressure to a people to prevent its decay into a barbaric society like that of ISIS. A health society needs this desire to improve.

On the other hand, because society is dynamic and not static, we must remember that progress itself is not static. The idea that past improvements are here to stay is an assumption. There are good reasons for thinking progress is a permanent thing but there are also good reasons to doubt this assumption. It seems to me the idea of progress, while often viewed as achievement, is in practice really nothing more than trend.

In the gay marriage example, we have a group of people who are widely believed to have been oppressed. The alleged oppression prevented gay people from loving who they wanted to love and prevented them from living with who they wanted to live with. Of course neither of these forms of oppression are true in the United States, as gay people were living with and loving the people they wanted all along. Though these allegations are true in some regions of the world:

Thrown to death… for being gay

‘Kill the gays’ penalty proposed Malawi Muslim Association

UK Muslim Cleric: ’Okay to Kill Gays’

Horrific moment ISIS kill four gay men by throwing them from a roof

Iranian Gay Men To Be Hanged For Sodomy: Report

‘Gays’ and the Muslims who kill them

So Far, Media Downplaying Muslim Scholar Preaching Death for Gays in Orlando

Yes, yes, gay people have been murdered in the United States as well. In the US killing gay people is considered murder, while in many other parts of the world murdering gays is considered justice. But there are plenty of people who insist on treating the murder of gays in the US as no different from killing them elsewhere. In fact many go out of their way to argue conservatives and Christians are no different from Islamic extremists, yet would insist Muslims don’t hate gays. How are conservatives and Christians hateful homophobes no different from Muslim homophobes while Muslim homophobes are not homophobes at all? Don’t ask me. We live in a country where believing marriage is between one man and one woman is treated as equivalent to murdering gays, yet when gays are actually murdered by an Islamic extremists it is not Muslims who are to blame. Guess who is to blame:

ABC Blames Orlando Terror on Election Rhetoric and Guns in America

Anything But Islam: Media Attack Guns, Men, Christians, GOP Instead of Ideology in Terror Attack

NYT Columnist: Orlando Shows ‘How Potent’ Combination of ISIS, NRA Can Be

The View: Orlando Shooter Had No Ties to ISIS but Trump Is ‘Working With ISIS to Kill Us’

Vile Bee Prays NRA Is Plagued with Boils, Declares She Wants to Take Guns Away Post-Orlando

ThinkProgress Blames Christians For Orlando Shooting

Nets Censor Chick-fil-A’s Help in Orlando Blood Drives After Shooting

North Carolina NBC Reporter Blames Christians, Bathroom Law Advocates for Orlando

CBS Insinuates Christians ‘Promote the Kind of Violence’ in Orlando

Huffington Post Blames Orlando on Christians and Fox News Viewers

NY Times Again Blames Anti-Gay GOP, Not Radical Islam, for Orlando Massacre

The Logic Behind the Left’s Demonization of Conservatives

So we’ve got a convoluted notion of who is anti-gay and who is not but American culture tells itself redefining marriage to include same sex couples is progress, and this progress is here to stay.

That’s rather curious. In Europe in centuries past, it was one group or another of Christians who could be oppressed, abused and murdered merely for being the wrong kind of Christian. Some of those people left the old world to help forge a new world, one inherently based in a spirit of individual liberty where they could practice their beliefs freely. This idea would later be codified as the freedom of religion and made part of the law of the land. But that essential liberty is being undermined, along with a few other things.

There some fundamental problems with the way the American government dealt with the gay marriage issue. The tactics chosen to affect this type of change undermine many rights Americans currently enjoy and even some vital aspects of the government itself.

First, American society holds to a separation between church and state. This separation is widely and frequently cited as essential to the preservation of liberty. Throughout its history the United States has treated marriage as an inherently religious thing. But in 2016 the federal government usurped this religious institution, making it what a few oligarchs on the bench decided it should be. And gay activists demanded this. So much for keeping government out of the bedroom. It turns out keeping government and religion separate is only selectively important; apparently we don’t need this separation when government wants power over religion.

Second, American society holds to a separation of powers. The genus of the American experiment has several aspects, not least of which is the balance of power. In the Constitution of the United States, the supreme law of the land, the power to make law does not rest in the hands of the President or the Supreme Court. That power is reserved for the Congress. But the Supreme Court has decided it can make law by fiat. This is not the first time SCOTUS presumed the right to make law (Roe v Wade is another).

This episode in American history show us certain things presumed permanent can easily be undone. The separation between church and state and the separation of powers are being undermined, and are done so with celebration from the political left. In the aftermath of recent mass shootings we see an overt effort to defend Muslims against imaginary acts of meanness while undermining the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms (and even question the right to self defense, another aspect of the law of the land long thought to be permanent). Some people are willing to be honest about their true intentions in supporting gun control.

You think gay marriage is a great step forward? Will you think the same if it turns out changing marriage in this way was merely a step toward banning marriage altogether as activist Masha Gessen is candid enough to admit?

You think the right to free speech is a permanent fixture of a free society? Well, you’re right, but that doesn’t mean the United States is going to remain a free society, not with politicians clamoring to change the first amendment. In the United States it used to be taken as self evident that rights do not come from government but from a higher source. Today it seems half of Americans think rights are bestowed upon us by government. Some may call this progress; I would call it regress.

When our Progressive (by that I mean radically left leaning) society pushes for its idea of liberty I cannot help but notice this also means the restriction or even elimination of other liberties often taken for granted. Liberty is an achievement, but not a permanent one. The American experiment is an historical anomaly in a world where oppression and tyranny are the norm. Not seeing tyranny for what it is, Progressives tend to fight inequality not realizing they do so by sacrificing everyone else’s liberty and are pushing American society back towards the historical norm.

In his body of work on analyzing society Russel Kirk explains ten principles of conservatism. In principle 10 he explains it like this:

The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.

Let us embrace healthy change (an admittedly subjective concept) when it is needed (also a subjective notion) and not rush to it just for the sake of change. All actions have consequences. Changes we impose on society by fiat have not been vetted and consequences will ensue, often painful and often accomplishing the opposite of what was promised. As Kirk alludes to a balance between permanence and progression let us carefully consider the change we desire and especially the methods we employ to achieve it. Whether the change we affect hits its target or misses completely there will inevitably be unforeseen consequences either way. We cannot possibly know how future generations will interpret or distort our efforts and accomplishments of today.

Change should be viewed more like a pendulum rather than a ladder. As we see in our own lifetime some things previously taken for granted have been inverted. We now allow a man to claim to be a woman. We now allow a white person to claim to be black (though for some reason we won’t allow a murderous thug to declare himself Muslim). We officially claim the freedom of religion and use it as an excuse to restrict the freedom of religion. We restrict the freedom of speech and excuse it as the avoidance of hurting someone’s feelings. The more volatile an issue is, and the more controversial the methods of dealing with it, the more likely a strong reaction will upend what was once considered stable. You can push, but you should expect others to push back.

We humans are not perfectible. And neither is society. What was once achieved can be torn down. Humanity is a dynamic thing. Real solutions are elusive. Realistically we should expect to deal with the problems of life by finding trade offs rather than sweeping solutions. In this election season we would do well to remember every promise a politician makes has an underlying cost, a cost often obscured or ignored but will come back to bite us eventually. Don’t blindly accept what politicians and news media are selling.

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