Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

The Harvey Weinstein story goes much deeper than one big creep

original article: The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story Is Worse Than You Think
October 09, 2017 by Lee Smith

The New York Times last week broke the story of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long record of sexual harassment. Actresses including Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd came forward to detail Weinstein’s depredations, and so did former employees of the man who founded one of the most important independent film companies of the last 30 years, Miramax. The details were so jarring and the trail of abuse so long, that it was impossible to read the story and not come away wondering: How did no one know what he was doing?

But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story. And Miramax was a major advertiser. Her editor at the TimesJonathan Landman, asked her why it mattered. After all, he told Waxman, “he’s not a publicly elected official.”

Manhattan’s district attorney knew, too. In 2015, Weinstein’s lawyer donated $10,000 to the campaign of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance after he declined to file sexual assault charges against the producer. Given the number of stories that have circulated for so long, Weinstein must have spread millions around New York, Los Angeles, and Europe to pay off lawyers and buy silence, including the silence of his victims. But he had something else going for him, too. He knew his victims would be reluctant to go public because it might suggest that some of their success, their fame even, was a function of their inability to protect themselves from being humiliated by a man who set the bar for humiliating others at the precise level of his own self-loathing.

Hollywood is full of connoisseurs like Weinstein, men whose erotic imaginations are fueled primarily by humiliation, who glut their sensibilities with the most exquisite refinements of shame. A journalist once told me about visiting another very famous Hollywood producer—you’d know the name—who exhibited for my friend his collection of photographs of famous female actresses—you’d know their names, too—performing sexual acts for his private viewing. As with Weinstein, this man’s chief thrill was humiliation, and the more famous the target the more roundly it was savored: Even her, a big star—these people will do anything to land a role; they’re so awful, they’ll even do it for me.

One of the refrains you hear today from media experts and journalists is that they’d known about Weinstein’s transgressions for a long time. The problem, they say, was that no one was able to nail down the story.

Nonsense. Everyone had it, not just Waxman. Sure, reporters hadn’t been able to get any stars to go on the record. But that means the story journalists were pursuing wasn’t really about Weinstein’s sexual depredations. It means that what they wanted was a story about actresses, junior executives, or assistants who had been humiliated, maybe raped, and chose to remain quiet in exchange for money and/or a shot at fame.

Of course no one was going to get that on the record—very few journalists would even want to publish a story like that. But journalists always had the actual story of how a Hollywood producer humiliated and sexually assaulted women. How? Because he victimized journalists.

Fox News reporter Lauren Sivan told Huffington Post that a decade ago, Weinstein masturbated in front of her. She says she didn’t say anything at the time, when she was an anchor on a local cable show, because she was “fearful of the power that Weinstein wielded in the media.” She was right and her fear was understandable.

Writing in New York Magazine, Rebecca Traister remembers the time when she asked Weinstein an interview question at a book party, he screamed at her, spit in her face, called her a “c—t,” and then put her boyfriend in a headlock and dragged him to the street. Traister said nothing at the time because she figured she had little chance against “that kind of force.”

I don’t blame her or Sivan for not saying anything, never mind reporting the story. Weinstein is violent, vindictive, and litigious—as well as sexually abusive—facts that the entertainment and political media knew for years. No one wanted to publish that story. But that’s not the same thing as “not being able to nail it down.” “Nailing it down” would have amounted to nothing more than printing a collection of facts under a byline.

The real issue, as Traister notes, was that “there were so many journalists on his payroll, working as consultants on movie projects, or as screenwriters, or for his magazine.” Traister is referring to Talk, the magazine Weinstein started at Miramax with Tina Brown. The catchword was “synergy”—magazine articles, turned into books, turned into movies, a supply chain of entertainment and information that was going to put these media titans in the middle of everything and make them all richer.

Traister and I worked at Talk together in the late ’90s. There were lots of talented journalists but it was still a mess. Outside of “synergy,” there was no idea driving the magazine, and Tina’s search for a vision was expensive. She spent lavishly on writers, art directors, photographers, and parties. Harvey got angry. Every time Tina went downtown to meet with him he screamed at her the whole time. He humiliated her. At least this was the story that went around the office every time she went down there, a story circulating through, and circulated by, several dozen journalists.

Or, to put it another way: More than 20 people in one magazine office alone all had the story about Harvey Weinstein’s “mistreatment” of women.

So why didn’t anyone write it? Not to take anything away from Jodi Kantor’s excellent New York Times piece, but the reality is that everyone had the story.

The reason no one wrote it is not because the press wanted to get Weinstein, but couldn’t prove the story. No, it’s because the press was protecting Weinstein.

Why wouldn’t they? He made terrific movies and he was a big mover in Democratic party politics, raising millions for local and national campaigns, including the Clintons. (Hillary, some readers will recall, was on the cover of Talk’s first issue.)

John Kennedy, Jr. tried to blend politics and entertainment with the magazine he founded, George. His basic insight was correct; but he misunderstood something crucial. And John John misunderstood it because he was, by all accounts, a good man.

You know the old joke about Washington: That it’s Hollywood for ugly people. Kennedy thought that this was unfair to Washington and that the people in the nation’s capital had the capacity for glamour, too.

But it turns out that the joke works in the opposite direction: Hollywood is for ugly people, too. That was Harvey Weinstein’s essential insight, and how he managed to combine the worlds of politics, entertainment, and media. They’re all repulsive—and I know they’re disgusting or else they wouldn’t be courting, of all people, me.

Thus his fortress was quarried from the misshapen material of human vanity, ambition, and greed. Writers and journalists—the intellectuals, in his mind—were nearly as contemptible as actors. They wouldn’t dream of crossing a guy who could turn them into culture heroes with a phone call. Hey, I just optioned your novel and I already know who’s going to make the movie. And oh yeah, please confirm that you don’t, like I think I may have heard, have a reporter looking into a story about me.

A friend reminds me that there was a period when Miramax bought the rights to every big story published in magazines throughout the city. Why mess with Weinstein when that big new female star you’re trying to wrangle for the June cover is headlining a Miramax release? Do you think that glossy magazine editor who threw the swankiest Oscar party in Hollywood was trying to “nail down” the Weinstein story? Right, just like the hundreds of journalists who were ferried across the river for the big party at the Statue of Liberty to celebrate the premiere of Talk—they were all there sipping champagne and sniffing coke with models in order to “nail down” the story about how their host was a rapist.

That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.

Look at Vanity Fair, basically the in-house Miramax organ that Tina failed to make Talk: Condé Nast demanded massive staff cuts from Graydon Carter and he quit. He knows they’re going to turn his aspirational bible into a blog, a fate likely shared by most (if not all) of the Condé Nast books.

Si Newhouse, magazine publishing’s last Medici, died last week, and who knows what will happen to Condé now. There are no more journalists; there are just bloggers scrounging for the crumbs Silicon Valley leaves them. Who’s going to make a movie out of a Vox column? So what does anyone in today’s media ecosystem owe Harvey Weinstein? And besides, it’s good story, right? “Downfall of a media Mogul.” Maybe there’s even a movie in it.

Rebecca Traister says the stories are coming out now because “our consciousness has been raised.” Between Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Donald Trump, argues Traister, people are now accustomed to speaking and hearing the truth about famous, sexually abusive men.

This is wrong. It has nothing to do with “raised consciousness”—or else she wouldn’t have left off that list the one name obviously missing. It’s not about raised consciousness or else the Democratic party’s 2016 presidential campaign would not have been a year-long therapy session treating a repressed trauma victim with even its main slogan—“I’m with her”—referencing a muted plea for sympathy for a woman who’d been publicly shamed by a sexual predator.

Which brings us, finally, to the other reason the Weinstein story came out now: Because the court over which Bill Clinton once presided, a court in which Weinstein was one part jester, one part exchequer, and one part executioner, no longer exists.

A thought experiment: Would the Weinstein story have been published if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency? No, and not because he is a big Democratic fundraiser. It’s because if the story was published during the course of a Hillary Clinton presidency, it wouldn’t have really been about Harvey Weinstein. Harvey would have been seen as a proxy for the president’s husband and it would have embarrassed the president, the first female president.

Bill Clinton offered get-out-of-jail-free cards to a whole army of sleazeballs, from Jeffrey Epstein to Harvey Weinstein to the foreign donors to the Clinton Global Initiative. The deal was simple: Pay up, genuflect, and get on with your existence. It was like a papacy selling indulgences, at the same time that everyone knew that the cardinals were up to no good. The 2016 election demolished Clinton world once and for all, to be replaced by the cult of Obama, an austere sect designated by their tailored hair shirts with Nehru collars. “That is not who we are as Americans,” they chant, as Harvey Weinstein’s ashes are scattered in the wind.

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Teachers abuse authority to bash Trump, but student recordings are ‘disruptive’

original article: Professors ranting about Trump in class? Court order could protect students who record them
May 26, 2017 by JEREMIAH POFF

The burden is on the school to show recording is disruptive

With increased scrutiny on students using technology to document what happens in the classroom and on school property, a federal judge has recognized broad rights for students to make recordings on school grounds.

If other judges agree with the logic of the order, which pertains to a Maine middle school, college students will have the green light to legally record their professors’ political comments in the classroom, a First Amendment expert told The College Fix.

The case, Pollack v. Regional School Unit 75, involves two parents who sued their school district because it wouldn’t let their autistic son bring an audio recording device to school. They wanted to find out why the 18-year-old, who has “very limited expressive” abilities, came back from school crying and bruised.

The parents cited a 2011 precedent from the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Glik v. Cunniffe, that affirms a person’s right to record public officials who are working in public, including police making an arrest.

Like a person who records police to expose the excessive use of force, the son’s parents wanted to “expose wrongdoing” against him in class. (The 1st Circuit’s precedents are binding on the Maine district court.)

MORE: Professor tells students: Trump’s election an ‘act of terrorism’ (VIDEO)

District Judge Nancy Torresen instead chose an older, narrower and more familiar precedent that governs the First Amendment rights of students in a public school setting.

Under the Vietnam war-era Tinker standard, a school cannot stifle the speech of students unless the speech creates a “substantial disruption or material interference with school activities.”

Tinker “takes into account the unique features of the school environment and it allows schools to restrict expression—even based on viewpoint—where the schools can forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities or collision with the rights of other students,” Torreson wrote.

The school district tried to argue that the recording device did infringe on student activities and privacy, and it didn’t even bother addressing Tinker in its first motion to dismiss the case.

When the parents cited Tinker as their second choice, the school district responded that “Tinker does not apply because the privately-owned electronic device policy is content-neutral, and Tinker is limited to cases involving content and viewpoint-based restrictions on speech,” Torreson summarized.

The judge told the school district it must reconsider the parents’ request under the Tinkerstandard.

“Even if I bought the District’s argument that the policy is content-neutral, the Plaintiffs have also alleged that the District has applied its policy to [the student] in a viewpoint-based manner” because officials feared the scrutiny from being recorded, and they had earlier allowed the autistic student to wear a GPS device, Torreson wrote.

Federal judge says students have the right to record at school unless officials can show it’s disruptive by The College Fix on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/349479257/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-ZuaAbp4f83EX6JwXJvWp&show_recommendations=true

The new danger: Waive your right to record or get out?

While seemingly unrelated to the rights of student journalists, the implications of this order could extend to “newsgathering” by students, Student Press Law Center Executive Director Frank LoMonte wrote in a blog post.

LoMonte told The Fix in an email the judge’s order could be a “really interesting opening” for student journalists in both secondary and postsecondary institutions.

It is a “very logical application” of Tinker “to apply to gathering news as well as publishing news,” he said: “That makes perfect sense since gathering information is a necessary prerequisite to sharing it, but it’s rare that a court has been asked to rule on the right to gather information in the school setting.”

The Fix asked LoMonte how the order could affect a situation like what happened at Orange Coast College, where a student was suspended for recording his psychology professor ranting about Donald Trump’s election as an “act of terrorism.”

LoMonte said “if the Pollack case becomes accepted as the standard, you will see students successfully asserting a First Amendment right to record in the college classroom as well.”

MORE: Student who recorded prof’s anti-Trump rant suspended

But he was less sanguine about whether that First Amendment defense by students would hold up as consistently in a college classroom, as opposed to a public school where children’s presence is required by law.

“The college classroom is arguably a little different because taking any particular class is optional – nobody’s compelled to be there – so if a professor were to say that waiving the right to record is a required prerequisite to taking the class, it might hold up,” LoMonte said.

Orange Coast College’s trustees withdrew the sanction in response to a public backlash, but the professor was not disciplined for using class time inappropriately or “bullying” students who support Trump, as the student’s lawyer (below) argued she had done.

Torreson’s order could be quite useful for students trying to demonstrate wrongdoing by officials, LoMonte wrote in his blog post, citing a student who recorded another student being slammed to the ground by a police officer in a South Carolina high school.

“The student who shot that nationally publicized video was threatened with serious disciplinary charges – charges that, under the Pollack ruling, would be subject to challenge on First Amendment grounds.” LoMonte wrote.

Regional School Unit 75 did not respond to a Fix email query Wednesday, and its voice mailbox was full.

MORE: College rescinds suspension of student who recorded professor’s anti-Trump rant

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Academia is lost

original article: The Left is forcing Christians out of colleges. That’s actually good news for conservatives
May 10, 2017 by Robert Oscar Lopez

In the eighth chapter of the Book of John, Jesus Christ makes two statements in rapid succession. They encapsulate in a few phrases wisdom to cure many Christians of the anxieties that afflict the conservative movement. In 8:31, Jesus says, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” A few lines later, Jesus adds, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.”

Academic Casualties

My Twitter feed has exploded in recent weeks, with plentiful panic about the pitiable state of free speech on college campuses. Big cases—big because they both worsen and reveal the deep structural wounds caused by the purge of Christian and conservative professors—played out this week: John McAdamsAnthony EsolenRebecca TuvelPaul McHughCarol SwainKeith Fink, and Paul Griffiths.

I know of other professors, and of people who know of still others, who are in similar purges but who have to stay silent because of confidentiality gags. Then you must account for all the adjuncts like Mary Grabar who never got tenure-track jobs, earlier exiles like John Zmirak who got out of the academy for better lives, and the many conservatives in grad school who sold their souls to liberals, ran out of the hallowed halls screaming, or were chased out by the usual mobs of screeching race hucksters, homofascists, feminazis, climate-change cabalists, and Marxophonies before they could get their doctorates.

When the dust settles on this sandstorm, there will be many, many, many, many academics on the list of casualties. Seven in one week are but the tip of a big iceberg untouched by global warming.

Okay, the Time to Stay Calm is Over, Conservatives!

We don’t know how many conservatives the liberal academy is surgically removing in what can no longer be denied or ignored for what it is—a concerted putsch. This is the big political story of our era: money, propaganda, conspiracies, corruption, fraud, sex, lies, and hidden bodies.

This is bigger than McCarthyism, and way more expensive. It has involved financial corruption, tuition-based price-gauging, nepotism, and conspiracy to use publicly funded charities (universities) to advance one political party and stifle dissent. Besides persecuting political opponents, academia has corrupted research, knowingly spread profligate falsehoods (especially about sex, gender, and race), and defrauded millions of college graduates who went into debt for an overpriced education that left them dysfunctional, unemployable, mentally unstable, and brainwashed.

We have witnessed a criminal transfer of wealth from hard-working poor and middle-class families to fund managers and university administrators swimming in a deluxe swamp of untaxed endowments that are not being used to advance the common good.

Save the Evidence-Because It’s Really Bad for the Left

The left perpetrated this and must be held accountable, not only through shaming and a thorough accounting for the history books, but also, through some kind of massive restitution. The liberal corruption of academia coincided with enormous increases in tuition and student debt (discussed in my book).

Some estimates of student loan debt range between one and two trillion dollars, but this does not count all the money funneled into university tax shelters, which are not being taxed, and all the payments to colleges for tuition, books, fees, and other expenses, in exchange for a faulty product people were forced to buy through false advertising and a crooked credentialing system. A massive part of the nation’s economy—and of countless families’ budgets—went into a black hole of waste, creating a drag on our country’s economic growth and productivity, which nobody has yet fully theorized. And the people who did this were insufferably smug and completely wrong about everything, on top of all that. (Who will do a study on this when all the economists are paid by or scared of universities?)

Several months ago, when I came out with a book on higher education called “Wackos Thugs & Perverts,” people thought the title was outrageous. Now, as Berkeley has seen three riots and three guest speakers blocked by politically correct outrages, the harsh title seems almost too gentle. Isn’t there something deeper going on?

Everything is getting worse every day. Remember when it was only conservatives who saw their freedom crushed and they were generally deemed deserving of such treatment? I remember. I remember when even conservative watchdogs thought lots of us who came forward with stories were just loonies because why else would so many people in the academy think we were crazy?

At last, some who caviled are now realizing what is afoot. The AAUP responded to my SOS calls in 2014 with unworried emails, saying there was no tenure or academic-freedom issue there. They had the usual routine down, which they use, presumably, when being forced to deal with a kook: “My job is to make you go away, here’s a cookie; this gentleman with the holstered Taser and a security badge will see you out the back way. Good afternoon, Sir.” Now the AAUP is actually starting to sweat (too late to help me, of course—I left that job.)

But Conservatives Need to Get Serious

We can’t get it twisted, though; large numbers of conservatives were either complicit with the racket or contributed to it by their own foolishness. In 2015, I remember trekking to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican lawmakers about academic freedom, with the explicit aim of alerting them to the Higher Education Act and provisions therein, which would enable them to intervene in persecution cases like mine.

After months of trying to get appointments, my friend and I arrived to be told no lawmakers could meet with us, but instead two charming twentysomethings would greet us in their dungarees and flats, with mugs of coffee and yellow legal pads, the pages of which I am sure did not survive five minutes after my departure. These were interns or clerks or something—I wasn’t quite sure.

They told me they were concerned and keeping watch over academic freedom, mostly by reading stories about Laura Kipnis. Prof. Kipnis was a liberal Northwestern professor who wrote a column defending the practice of professors sleeping with students, and alluding to an ongoing rape investigation with dismissive comments about the (unnamed) accusers. As a result of this, the individuals who had raised the rape charges filed a Title IX retaliation charge against Prof. Kipnis, which resulted in her being investigated for two months and then cleared of all charges. I asked the Hill interns, “are you aware of other cases, for instance conservatives opposed to homosexuality, where people were actually investigated for years and then lost their jobs?”

They replied something to the effect of, “I am sure such cases exist.”

My friend stepped in to say, “It would be a very sad thing if you guys diddled around talking about academic freedom while Dr. Lopez, who’s been under investigation for 9 months already, had to leave his job in California, and nothing got done about this. Think of all the others who will lose their jobs.”

The writing could not have been darker on the wall than it was on that day. But the Hill interns said I should email them with any updates (I did, with no response) and they would keep an eye on things and let the appropriate lawmakers know they met with me. My friend and I got phone calls with various staffers over the next year, with nothing other than repetitive references to the case of Laura Kipnis. “We sent a letter to Northwestern about Laura Kipnis’s case,” one told me. I responded, with growing unease, “great! She seems a great lady! But she was cleared of all charges and has a job. Do you think you might send a letter to my college?”

“We don’t want to make things worse,” they said.

“You need hearings!” I was screaming like a crazy person screaming, “soylent green is people!” My dean, who would be named the head of the Clinton Global Initiative on campus and got elected to be president of the National Council of Deans of Arts and Sciences (which is interesting since she is dean of neither arts nor sciences), methodically loaded up my personnel file with reprimand letters and procedural annoyances until at last I decided the only fate worse than losing tenure at Cal State Northridge would be having tenure at Cal State Northridge. But as I was on my way out, I had some consolation that finally Congress was going to hold hearings about academic freedom.

The “hearings”

Professor Robert George, distinguished with his grey locks and gleaming spectacles, appeared before Congress alongside a bunch of his students and a leftist who was told he could not hang up Bernie Sanders posters at Georgetown.

They spoke about the importance of free thought and exchange of ideas, etc., etc., etc., while I proceeded to pull out most of my hair screaming at the wall, “this is it? These are your hearings? These people aren’t about to be fired. When will we talk about defunding the colleges and subpoenaing all the creepy Medusa figures in the administration who keep landing millions of dollars in grants and harassing conservative Christians until they leave?”

Get ready for the death toll-but stop diddling

On many campuses that pushed out conservatives, the routine was frighteningly similar. Well aware of FIRE and other groups devoted to academic freedom, the administrators had learned, by a few years ago, that they could not attack conservatives by openly repudiating their conservatism. They either frame them for some unrelated procedural violation (falsifying files if they have to), or else drag them into a complicated investigation that they know will not survive an academic-freedom challenge, but will likely lead to the victim breaking a rule like confidentiality, notification, disclosure, or non-retaliation.

Because this was how the system worked and still works, countless people live now under investigation, facing certain ousters. They are hostages but we do not know where they are, since they are cowed by confidentiality rules, gag orders, and the observation that courts are siding with liberal oppressors.

Reality Check

If you want to save academic freedom, be aware of some hurtful truths.

First, conservatives dropped the ball. Nothing they’ve done worked and if they don’t try new approaches, this will become even worse.

Second, no painless strategy can fix this. You love homecoming, reunions, the football games, and the friends you made in college. You may have nostalgia for all you learned and the warm professors who guided you into adulthood. But those charms chain you to an oppressive system that threatens our democracy.

Universities are utterly hostile to your values and to God—even the vast majority of religious colleges. They got this bad because they rely on a steady stream of money that has never slowed or stopped, no matter how outraged the nation became. The only strategy that will work will be financial. The federal government must cease all public funding for colleges and universities, save for trade or vocational programs and seminaries (which are vocational). Our nation’s debt matches, roughly, the enormous amounts of cash that this corrupt system has funneled out of the functioning economy into their twisted Wonderland of emotional torture, sexual depravity, and fiscal recklessness.

People you love in the university system will experience pain if this system is to be fixed. Grants, backing of student loans, and tax exemptions on donations must all cease. Forget the conservative refrain of local and state control—the federal government got thoroughly entangled in all this and must take the lead. These are not non-profit charities so that loophole smacked of fraud from the beginning. In the case of most Catholic colleges, the non-profit status actually constituted charities fraud since the church has not yet reversed its stance on chastity yet these Catholic colleges not only fund homosexual social groups but even persecute people who defend Biblical sexuality on their own campuses.

Were such a strategy pursued, we would see massive job losses, the abolition of tenure, the closing of many struggling colleges, and cuts in pay. The wasteful and parasitic administrative class would have to go, causing painful unemployment to possibly millions of people who have made their living off the fat of this monstrous system. So many good people with good intentions would be hurt in the process. For that we must grieve.

But I left my job and quit tenure. It can be done. The universities and their workers brought this infernal crisis on themselves. They had adequate warnings and have no excuse for why they let the situation get this far.

Let go of “academic freedom”

Lastly, you must realize that this is not about academic freedom in the way we have discussed it thus far.

If you are truly conservative, your end goal is not a state of academic freedom, which would imply a situation in which all ideas are expressed and allowed on campus forums, and nobody is blocked from or suffers retaliation for their statements. Such a world would lack all discernment. It would be without virtue, without distinctions, constantly doubting its morals, and incapacitating the triumph of any position over others even in matters of grave importance. It would be demonic.

If you are conservative, and especially if you are Christian, what you seek is the Truth. The Truth is from God and exists as wisdom un-darkened by confusion and sinful thoughts. The Truth is not only what is, but what is right. With our imperfect minds, we cannot rush to decide what Truth is. We cannot censor competing views, except when we can show certainty. But academic freedom within such a system is a means to an end, a tool to build our monument to the Truth. In debates eventually we must acknowledge Truth where it lies, not remain uncommitted.

The left became horrendous because the left was wrong. Their prescriptions about improving race relations did not work because they were wrong. They were wrong about homosexuality and now we see the falsehoods of the LGBT movement growing more arrogant and multiplying as people who were celebrated for their errors now see further false affirmations as their entitlement, and Truth as an attack on their fragile sense of self.

The Truth is on our side. Now as we see all of higher education declare war on Truth, and on us because we championed it, we have nothing to lose. Do not hide behind caveats of academic freedom, as if all we want is to be given a chance to speak, a slush fund to bring Ann Coulter for a speech, a seat on a panel beside people peddling lies—that is not what we want. We want the left to stop lying. We want to proclaim the Truth so people see it, and stop listening to the left, and start listening to God. If this means that academia crashes and turns into ruins of a lost past, do not be mournful. Rejoice, for God has given us victory. Do not worry for tenure or being published somewhere prestigious or stuffing your resume with awards and grants. God gave you legs to walk and a tongue to shout His Word from the rooftops.

Academia is lost. We will never get our desks and library carrels back. Harvard will not ask us to speak what we know from behind a podium with a brilliant seal while the future leaders of America applause and smile. We have won our freedom. Enjoy it.

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Progressives Eat Another One of Their Own

original article: Progressives Eat One of Their Own in the Latest Campus Controversy
May 8, 2017 by DAVID FRENCH

Every single time I think the academy has reached peak intolerance and peak insanity, it proves me wrong. There is no argument that is too stupid for academic radicals. There is no lie that these “scholars” aren’t willing to tell to advance their agenda.

Just ask liberal-feminist philosophy professor Rebecca Tuvel, the latest victim of the ritual “two minutes hate.” Her crime was serious: She had the audacity to write a paper exploring the arguments “for and against transracialism” and argued that “considerations that support transgenderism extend to transracialism.” In other words, she took the question that millions of Americans asked when Rachel Dolezal was exposed — if a man can “really” be a woman, why can’t a white person “really” be black? — and explored it through a liberal, feminist lens.

Judging from the reaction, you would have thought she burned a cross in the quad. A fully woke University of Tennessee professor named Nora Berenstain fired the first shots. Her (now-private) Facebook post reads like an Onion parody of political correctness. It’s worth quoting at length:

Tuvel enacts violence and perpetuates harm in numerous ways throughout her essay. She deadnames a trans woman. She uses the term “transgenderism.” She talks about “biological sex” and uses phrases like “male genitalia.” She focuses enormously on surgery, which promotes the objectification of trans bodies. She refers to “a male-to- female (mtf) trans individual who could return to male privilege,” promoting the harmful transmisogynistic ideology that trans women have (at some point had) male privilege. In her discussion of “transracialism,” Tuvel doesn’t cite a single woman of color philosopher, nor does she substantively engage with any work by Black women, nor does she cite or engage with the work of any Black trans women who have written on this topic.

For those who don’t know, “deadnaming” is the practice of using a transgender person’s “old” name. In this case, she had the audacity to type the name “Bruce Jenner.” This, friends, is deemed to constitute actual violence. As is the notion that Bruce — when he was an Olympic champion and featured on cereal boxes from coast to coast — could have ever enjoyed male privilege. That’s violence. All of it. Perhaps now you can see why radicals riot. They’re not committing crimes, they’re engaging in acts of collective self-defense.

Berenstain was hardly alone in her anger. Furious philosophers penned an open letter to Hypatia, the peer-reviewed journal that published Tuvel’s paper, accusing her, among other things, of using “vocabulary and frameworks not recognized, accepted, or adopted by the conventions of the relevant subfields,” mischaracterizing “various theories and practices related to religious identity and conversion,” and failing “to seek out and sufficiently engage with scholarly work by those who are most vulnerable to the intersection of racial and gender oppressions (women of color) in [her] discussion of ‘transracialism.’”

These critiques — in addition to their typically intolerant intersectional incoherence — were plainly false, as New York Magazine’s Jesse Singal pointed out: “All in all, it’s remarkable how many basic facts this letter gets wrong about Tuvel’s paper. Either the authors simply lied about the article’s contents, or they didn’t read it at all.” The only word I’d quibble with here is “remarkable.” It’s entirely normal for radicals to either refuse to read work they purport to hate or to lie about its contents. Just ask Charles Murray.

Rather than defend Tuvel, Hypatia’s board of associate editors responded with one of the most craven and cowardly statements in the history of craven academic cowardice. It begins:

We, the members of Hypatia’s Board of Associate Editors, extend our profound apology to our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy, especially transfeminists, queer feminists, and feminists of color, for the harms that the publication of the article on transracialism has caused.

“Harms”? Are “transfeminists, queer feminists, and feminists of color” really so delicate that they can’t withstand the publication of a paper they don’t even have to read? Apparently. But back to the letter, which gets better (or worse, depending on how you look at it):

In addition to the harms listed above imposed upon trans people and people of color, publishing the article risked exposing its author to heated critique that was both predictable and justifiable.

“Predictable,” yes, but “justifiable”? At this point, “scholars” are threatening Tuvel’s future in the profession, and she’s been deluged with hate mail and denunciations. How is any of that “justifiable”?

In all of this madness, there are — perhaps — some seeds of hope. There has been a backlash to the backlash. Singal’s excellent piece in New York unequivocally condemned the attacks on Tuvel as a “witch hunt.” Vanderbilt philosophy professor Kelly Oliver wrote a thoughtful essay calling for “critical debate and philosophical arguments instead of cyber-shaming and personal insults.” Other academics have weighed in on Twitter and elsewhere in Tuvel’s defense.

But in reading these pieces, a troubling subtext becomes apparent: It seems that the outrage isn’t only the attack on free expression and academic freedom, it’s that it was directed at a liberal in good standing. For example, in a Chronicle of Higher Education piece called “Academe’s Poisonous Call-Out Culture,” writer Suzanna Danuta Walters begins with this:

We are in the midst of the Trumpian apocalypse. Actual bigoted provocateurs like Charles Murray and Ann Coulter throw flames in the academy. Hate crimes against trans people and people of color and Muslims are on the rise; women’s reproductive rights are on the line, as are just about every other aspect of bodily autonomy and gender justice. So what’s making scholars hyperventilate in outrage? A feminist academic whose body of work is clearly on the side of progressive social justice.

Is she even aware of the irony? I suppose the “call-out culture” is only poisonous when directed at progressives. Otherwise, Charles Murray is fair game. Otherwise, hyperventilation is fine. After all, abortion and “just about every other aspect of bodily autonomy and gender justice are on the line.”

Academic freedom cannot and will not flourish if its alleged defenders reserve their outrage only for when their ideological allies fall victim to the online mob. If progressives feel they have to torch conservative straw men before mustering up the courage to defend free inquiry, then academic freedom has a dark future indeed. Conservatives will be walled out entirely, and progressive discourse will be jammed into ever-tighter ideological spaces as a brave few liberals fight a desperate rear-guard action against the true radicals.

One hopes that professor Tuvel’s ordeal will serve as yet another wake-up call, teaching professors that there is no safe space from social-justice warriors. But if the Left’s defense against the far-Left is limited to calls for unity against the true enemy (men such as Charles Murray, apparently), then it’s just disguised intolerance. “We should want academics to write about complicated, difficult, hot-button issues, including identity,” Singal wrote. “Online pile-ons cannot, however righteous they feel, dictate journals’ publication policies and how they treat their authors and articles.” One wonders how many campus progressives are likely to agree with his sentiment.

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Western feminism now defends restrictive, intolerant patriarchy

original article: Upside-down Down Under
April 12, 2017 by Kay S. Hymowitz

Here’s a riddle for our politically twisted times: when is a black woman a white supremacist? Answer: when she speaks out against female genital mutilation, sharia law, and jihadism.

This is the tortured logic of the feminist Left in Australia, which helped stop a lecture tour by the human rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Anonymous protestors warned venues and insurers not to have dealings with the Somali-born, anti-radical-Islam activist if they wanted to avoid “trouble.” The “Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia, Inc.” accused Hirsi Ali of being part of the “Islamophobia industry . . . that exists to dehumanize Muslim women.” Another group, “Persons of Interest,” took to Facebook to describe her ideas: “This is the language of patriarchy and misogyny. This is the language of white supremacy. This is the language used to justify war and genocide.”

Hirsi Ali canceled her trip in early April, only days before she was due to speak in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Auckland, New Zealand. In Australia, as in the UK, the costs of security have to be borne by event organizers, not the government, as is the case in the U.S. Perhaps there were disagreements between the speaker and her sponsors about security. In any case, Hirsi Ali travels with armed guards, but it was still too dangerous for her to speak in public. Yes, in Australia.

Anyone familiar with Hirsi Ali’s personal and ideological history is doubtless picking their jaws up off the floor at the Orwellian nature of these goings-on. She “dehumanizes” Muslim women? But it was Hirsi Ali who was dehumanized when as a girl she was subjected to a clitoridectomy, a barbaric and horribly painful ritual still visited upon girls in many Islamic countries to prevent them from experiencing sexual pleasure. She speaks “the language of patriarchy and misogyny?” But as a vocal opponent of the forced marriage of young girls to older men, which she describes as “arranged rape,” Ali vehemently attacks the patriarchy in its most oppressive manifestation. The Muslim feminists who seek to silence her are the ones linking arms with misogynists.

How has Western feminism come to a point where up is down, and a restrictive, intolerant patriarchy must be defended? Hirsi Ali blames it on the naïveté of liberals, besotted by political correctness in the face of religious extremism. “In liberal societies, those on the left [are] in the grip of identity politics,” she said after announcing the cancellation. “This fascination is not caused by the Islamists, but the Islamists exploit it.” Radicals know the social-justice drill—minority identity is good, regardless of any of the actual precepts of that identity, and its critics are by definition white supremacists. Within this mental universe, accusations of “Islamophobia” are a cudgel for silencing moderates and advancing the cause of radicals.

It’s worth recalling that the feminist Left’s silence on the Islamic treatment of women precedes the advent of microaggressions and race and gender obsessions. In fact, it goes back as far as the early days of second-wave feminism. Sent to Iran to cover the revolution in 1978, the French philosopher Michel Foucault, an intellectual godfather of contemporary leftism, was enchanted by what he viewed as the religious revolutionaries’ anti-globalist authenticity and “political spirituality.” When Ayatollah Khomenei took power after the fall of the Shah, he reintroduced polygamy, reduced the age of marriage for women from 18 to 13, and restored the punishment of flogging for those who violated compulsory veiling laws. Neither Foucault nor his comrades in the anti-colonial, feminist-influenced Left were troubled by this dramatic retreat from women’s most basic rights.

Over the years, some feminist organizations have protested female genital mutilation, but for the most part the sisterhood has focused its ire on a mythical Western patriarchy rather than the real thing making headlines in Muslim countries and immigrant enclaves at home. Now that feminists have adopted an updated form of anti-colonialism called “intersectionality,” there’s virtually no chance that the principle of basic rights will prevail over special pleading for medieval cultural norms. Intersectionality refers to overlapping and self-reinforcing marginalized identity-group identity; hence a black woman suffers two levels of oppression, while a black gay woman struggles with three. Intersectionality leads directly to the conclusion that Muslim women must be protected from a racist and sexist West. Any hint that Muslim culture could be a source of oppression against its women is tantamount to a colonialist war on native identity.

That this latest example of feminist Orwellianism comes from generally moderate Australia is not entirely surprising. The country’s Muslim population is small; as of the last census in 2011, Muslims made up only 2.2 percent of the population. But over the past several years, the country has endured a number of stabbings, thwarted attacks, and a shooting by a radicalized 15-year old. The most infamous Islamist attack, in which three people died, took place in a 2014 siege of the Sydney Lindt chocolate cafe by a lone-wolf gunman, who brandished a black flag emblazoned with the Muslim statement of faith.

Stirring up tension has been the Trumpian figure of Pauline Hanson, a senator from Queensland and a founder of One Nation, Australia’s populist party. As her party’s name hints, Hanson has been hostile to immigration. In recent years, she has taken an aggressive rhetorical posture toward Islam, calling it “an evil faith.” One Nation suffered a decisive defeat in Western Australia in March, but populist victories abroad have put many Australians, both Labourites and Liberals (conservatives, in our parlance), on edge.

In a feedback loop similar to that existing in other Western countries, including the United States, One Nation’s populism is in part a reaction to political correctness but winds up prompting more of it. Conservatives are a rare breed at Australian universities, whether as professors or speakers. Meanwhile, accusations of racism, sexism, hate speech, and Islamophobia are becoming almost as commonplace in Australia as marsupials. One of the biggest political contretemps these days involves Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, which includes prohibitions on any speech that might “offend, insult, and humiliate” on the basis of race. Alert to potential dangers to free speech, Liberals want to tone down the language of the provision, while Labourites argue that it serves as a vital protection against hate speech.

Labour might want to look more closely at the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In a country where the woman who speaks out against forced marriage and jihadism is an extremist and the people who threaten her are praised as virtuous representatives of diversity, who exactly requires protection?

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Healthy masculinity is exactly what our young boys need

original article: The ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Trend Blames Boys For Being Born Male
April 12, 2017 by Nicole Russell

The term “toxic masculinity” is en vogue now, from college campuses to Playboy. But the term implies there’s a problem with masculinity, and teaching our boys and men that their innate wiring is wrong, stupid, and even toxic creates far worse problems. If anything, society doesn’t need less toxic masculinity, we need more men embracing their natural masculinity.

The latest in the explorations and denigrations of toxic masculinity is the University of Regina, a school in Canada. They’re hosting a program called “Man Up Against Violence,” which asks male students to sit in a Catholic-style confessional booth and confess their sin of “hypermasculinity.”

What’s that? You weren’t aware masculinity, hyper or otherwise, was a problem? Well, universities want guys to own it and apologize for it—not just inwardly, but outwardly too. After a female colleague wrote about toxic masculinity, New Zealand’s Martin Van Beynen observed, “Toxic masculinity is the new male burden.” He is also trying to figure out what it means.

You then have to ask what aspects of manliness its accusers don’t find toxic. Surely they can appreciate the masculinity that builds cities and roads and fixes things. Maybe they could also find the hardiness associated with masculinity commendable and worthwhile.

Of course, some men do rape and beat up their partners and make excuses for rude behavior. But nothing suggests a rape culture is endemic to the male psyche—not anywhere close to the majority of men are rapists—and to stigmatize masculinity on the strengths of some bad attitudes among teenage boys and some men is simplistic, counter-productive, and unfair. Labeling masculinity itself as toxic is hardly going to change attitudes, particularly among teenage boys, or enlist the help of men who can make a difference.

Do the Actions of a Few Men Characterize Them All?

While I applaud that Regina University is hosting a “Healthy Relationships and Healthy Masculinity” workshop—who’s not for “healthy masculinity?”—I’m afraid the whole initiative reinforces the myth that men are toxic just because of their natural biology, not because they’ve done anything wrong. Man Up Against Violence says, “[W]e challenge mindsets and behaviors about the social construction of masculinity and its relationship with violence. We work together to bring light to the causes of all types of violence related to gender, race, socio-economic status, ability level and beyond.”

The phrase “social construction of masculinity and its relationship with violence” carries an assumption that some men, even all men, are violent. Some women are prostitutes too, but does that mean it’s healthy for society, particularly universities tasked with shaping young minds, to automatically equate females with selling sex? Of course not.

Even Playboy has started using the term. Earlier this month the publication said British singer Ed Sheeran had a “Toxic Masculinity Problem”: “[Sheeran] sometimes comes off as sad and out-of-control. And his attempts to own that—in both his music and his interviews—is what makes it feel like he’s dealing with a severe case of toxic masculinity, one that is continually fueled by binge drinking and sex.”

What this author describes isn’t a toxic male but an immature one. This kind of behavior has been common among musicians and Hollywood celebrities for a long time. In the 80’s, Eddie Murphy joked the band The Busboys made his fish stop swimming because of their propensity to, “f–k anything that moves.” But this says more about Hollywood culture than “toxic masculinity.”

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Even advocates of this thinking can’t agree on what “toxic masculinity” is, save for things men do that women don’t like. Of course, rape, misogyny, and abuse are toxic. Any civilized society should demand that criminal or abusive behavior to be dealt with as a legal and moral imperative.

But if the “We-hate-toxic-masculinity” crowd were just referring to this, they wouldn’t have a confessional booth set up on a college campus for the average male student, and abuse is more serious than that. Criminalizing manhood is a sure way to trivialize actual crimes by comparison by lumping two completely unlike things under the same heading.

Suggesting men confess a crime they didn’t commit, or confess to a crime that’s not even a crime (being a man) is progressive virtue-signaling in overdrive.  Such a scheme is framed in such a way to deliberately hurt young men and thus our society at large, which benefits most from men meeting their masculine potential.

What We Need Is Healthy Masculinity

Our culture is so wrapped up in trying to blur the lines of sexuality, and women have become so obsessed with their warped concept of feminism, we seem dead-set on confusing, even hating, men for their masculinity. Equality doesn’t mean sameness. Yes, society should strive for equality between men and women, but no phrase, whether “cisgender,” “toxic masculinity,” or “gender binary attack helicopter,” will ever change that men and women are not the same. Nor should it mean men shouldn’t be as proud to be masculine as women can to be feminine.

Camille Paglia once said, “Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.”

Masculine men are as much the bedrock of society as strong, nurturing women. Don’t think so? Read a bit of history about the men and women who traversed this country’s wilderness and winters with minimal belongings on horseback and in carriages during the pioneer era. Talk about the sexes working together. Without each other, they likely may not have survived. Even though survival is easier today, men and women still need each other. We both have unique and complimentary things to offer each other and society.

Because feminists are so clueless and careless about the differences between men and women they seek to emasculate even an “average” guy as opposed to calling out men who are actual misogynists.

Instead of teaching our boys to embrace a healthy masculinity that includes what at first glance appears to be trivial—such as holding doors, carrying groceries, or throwing a coat over the shoulders of a wife or girlfriend—society forces them to not only to eschew such chivalrous gestures but to repent of exuding masculine strength.

I have two boys and believe teaching them the value of healthy masculinity is as imperative as teaching girls it’s good to embrace their femininity. Even the simple truth that maleness is nothing to be ashamed of seems to be a radical concept. Healthy men and boys know their strengths, and instead of seeking to annihilate these traits, we need to encourage them to use their strengths for good. Society needs it far more than we need men to apologize for existing.

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Can gay bakeries refuse service?

original article: This evangelist asked a gay bakery to make a traditional marriage cake. Now he may face charges.
April 9, 2015 by Kirsten Andersen

Joshua Feuerstein was just trying to make a point. Now, he may face legal action, as a bakery that refused to provide him with a cake opposing same-sex “marriage” threatens to sue him for taking their conversation public. The bakery owner is also threatening to press charges related to the recording of the phone call.

In the wake of heated national debate over whether business owners should have the right to refuse to participate in same-sex “weddings” that violate their religious beliefs, Feuerstein, an internet evangelist, decided to see if pro-gay business owners would give him the same deference as a Christian that homosexual activists are demanding Christian business owners give to same-sex couples, even if they disagreed with his worldview.

He made a tape of himself calling Florida-based bakery “Cut the Cake” and asking them to make a cake decorated with the words, “We do not support gay marriage.” As Feuerstein expected, the bakery – which calls itself LGBT-friendly and advertises same-sex “wedding” services in gay publications – refused and hung up the phone.

“We wanted to see if a pro-LGBT bakery would bake a cake for something that it was opposed to what they believed in,” Feuerstein told Florida’s WESH 2 News, “and you know what, I actually believe that Cut the Cake has every right as an American to refuse to print that on a cake.”

Feuerstein posted video of the phone call to YouTube with commentary explaining his position. “Cut the Cake[‘s owner]…refuses to make an anti-gay ‘marriage’ cake, so it obviously violates her principles, and so she doesn’t feel like she should be forced to make the cake,” Feuerstein said in the video. “And yet…there’s all of this hoopla going around because Christian bakeries think that they shouldn’t be forced.”

“Look, this is not about discrimination,” Feuerstein said. “This is about them having the freedom.”

But Cut the Cake’s owner, Sharon Haller, didn’t appreciate being made an example of by Feuerstein. She claims that as soon as Feuerstein’s video was posted, she began receiving dozens of phone calls from his fans and followers placing “fake orders” and telling her and the rest of her bakery staff to “kill ourselves.”

“I’m just afraid because of the type of calls that we were getting that someone is going to attack me in my home,” Haller told News 13.

Feuerstein took down his video as soon as he became aware that Haller was receiving harassing phone calls. “I never asked people to call, be hateful or boycott them,” Feuerstein told WKMG 6.

But Haller quickly reposted the video to YouTube, along with a description classifying Feuerstein’s phone call as an “attack.” She asked people to “put a stop to people like Joshua Feuerstein” by donating to her GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $14,000.

Haller is also threatening to press charges, saying Feuerstein’s recording of the phone call without her consent violates Florida law. She has reached out to the FBI and is considering pursuing a criminal case.

The fiasco echoes similar cases making news around the nation, as cake shops have become the front line battleground in the culture war over the definition of marriage.

In December, blogger Theodore Shoebat recorded himself calling 13 “pro-gay” bakeries to ask if they would make a cake with the words “Gay marriage is wrong.” Shoebat says all 13 bakeries refused to cooperate. Some simply hung up the phone as soon as he made his request. Others called him names and used obscenities when confronted by Shoebat over the perceived double-standard. Shoebat contrasted his own experience with that of a baker in Ireland who suffered “tremendous loss to his business” after resisting attempts by gay activists and the Irish state to force him to create a cake featuring the words “Support Gay Marriage.”

“Christian bakeries that refuse to make pro-homosexual marriage cakes are getting sued left, right, and center,” Shoebat wrote in a blog post explaining the motivation behind his videos, which he called a “social experiment.”

“They get fined, they get death threats, and they lose their businesses. This experiment proves beyond doubt that the gay agenda is not just about their freedom to practice a sexual orientation, but the suppression of free speech,” he said.

Last year, Bill Jack filed a discrimination complaint against Denver’s Azucar Bakery, claiming the owner violated his religious rights by refusing to decorate Bible-shaped cakes with the words “God hates sin. Psalm 45:7″ and “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:22.” He also wanted one cake to feature an image of two men holding hands in front of a cross with a red “X” overlaid on the image.

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission rejected Jack’s claim early this week, ruling that the bakery owner rejected his message because it violated an established policy of refusing to decorate cakes with “derogatory language and imagery,” not because of his faith.

The heightened controversy over wedding cakes comes as several states are debating Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) to protect religious business owners’ right to refuse to provide goods and services that violate their deeply held beliefs. Homosexual activists have decried such laws, claiming they will be used as an excuse for people to discriminate against gays.

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Examining the redefinition of gender and sexuality

original article: Blurred Lines: Understanding The Effort To Redefine Gender And Sexuality
March 22, 2017 by B. Christopher Agee

While civil-rights movements of decades past were met with fierce resistance, the current effort to promote tolerance of wide-ranging sexual and gender identities faces unique challenges.

Numerous advocacy groups have dedicated a large part, if not all, of their resources to LGBT issues; meanwhile, even some of those who marched alongside these activists in previous movements believe the current push is a bridge too far.

The only consensus, it seems, is that the topic of sexuality and gender identity in America is one fraught with polarizing points of view.

A generational shift

Studies continue to show younger Americans are more likely to identify as something other than strictly heterosexual. Even between the young adults of the Millennial generation and their mostly teenage counterparts in Generation Z, there exists a significant gap in sentiment regarding gender roles in general.

While nearly 7 in 10 Millennials, broadly defined as those in their early 20s to mid-30s, are comfortable describing themselves as heterosexual, less than half of those in the younger generation are willing to make such a distinction.

Teens are also far more likely to identify as transgender, research indicates. According to one study, almost 150,000 teenagers living in the U.S. would describe themselves as something other than their gender at birth. In some states, that number is believed to be about 1 in 100. Last year, analysts determined the number of transgender Americans to be about twice as high as previously estimated at approximately 1.4 million adults. That study found young adults — between the ages of 18 and 24 — were more likely than older adults to identify as transgender.

As with many aspects of the topic, there is plenty of debate among experts and academics regarding the cause of this generational shift.

Artist and designer Pablo Solomon is a longtime civil-rights activist who said he and his wife “were active in gay rights in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before it was either hip or safe to do so.”

He told Western Journalism, however, that he believes the current incarnation of the movement has been influenced heavily by “several generations in which sex requires no boundaries, no responsibilities, no feelings — only immediate pleasure.”

That hedonistic lifestyle, he posited, has led each passing generation to see less behavior as off limits.

Others, including social worker and LGBT-rights advocate Brieanna Scolaro, believe the gender identities being expressed today have been felt all along by generations of people with no mechanism to process them.

“Before recent times,” she told Western Journalism, “we didn’t have these ways to think about gender identity and expression, nor did society allow for it.”

She went on to suggest people generally identify “on a spectrum, somewhere between straight and gay as well as somewhere between male and female.”

As society has become more accepting, Scolaro concluded, “it makes complete sense that an increasing number of Americans choose to express somewhere in between.”

Silencing opponents

While advocates in academia, politics and pop culture have aided in ushering in a society more tolerant of gender issues, those on the other side of the debate often describe a growing intolerance aimed at their viewpoints.

Reports last year, for example, indicated landlords and employers in New York were at risk of incurring fines up to $250,000 for failing to use an individual’s preferred pronoun. Furthermore, business owners have been hit with huge fines for refusing service to individuals based on a personal objection to their lifestyle.

A growing sector of the American population has begun advocating for laws and policies that dictate individual behavior related to the LGBT community. A vocal group of detractors, however, continues to insist such compulsory rules run afoul of the First Amendment.

Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for policy studies, told Western Journalism he does not believe “anyone should be fired or disciplined for declining to use a transgender person’s preferred pronouns.”

Furthermore, he said his organization’s position is that sexual orientation and gender identity should not qualify as protected classes for the purpose of non-discrimination laws.

“Sexual orientation and gender identity involve behavior factors which — unlike race or sex — are not inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous or in the U.S. Constitution,” he said. “However, even in states which have included these as protected categories, we do not believe that declining to participate in the celebration of a same-sex wedding, for example, constitutes sexual-orientation discrimination.”

Allowing Americans to freely express their opinion on the subject, Sprigg said, clearly falls under the umbrella of constitutional liberty.

“For someone who sincerely believes that maleness and femaleness are biological characteristics that are immutable from birth, being forced to use the pronouns of the opposite sex for someone amounts to being forced to lie,” he said. “no one should be put in that position.”

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb generally agrees with Sprigg’s assessment, telling Western Journalism it is “problematic” to enact such laws.

“If the use of pronouns is simply reflecting the reality of a person’s sex, without intent to harass or otherwise harm the other, it should not be punished,” he told Western Journalism. “Importantly, Title IX [of the Education Amendments Act of 1972] does not regulate the content of speech, and the First Amendment is hostile to compelled speech.”

McCaleb asserted the Constitution also “forbids the government from forcing creative professionals to promote messages, produce art, or celebrate events against their will.”

Where Scolaro wants to see “federal and state law [mandating] the provision of services, which would tell these business owners how they should behave when faced with a question of morality,” Solomon wants to see laws protecting those on the other side of the debate.

“Any group from Black Lives Matter to gay rights to KKK who threaten any business with boycotts or anything else for not supporting their events should be libel for resultant damages and possibly face criminal charges,” he said.

Identity vs. biology

A primary source of disagreement within this societal debate relates to whether gender is determined by biology or a person’s individual identity. This fundamental disagreement has been on full display as governments and businesses wrestle with whether to allow individuals to use restrooms corresponding with the gender of their choice.

Another realm in which this debate frequently rages is organized sports. Where many LGBT-rights activists insist transgender athletes should be allowed to compete according to their gender identity, many others believe biological differences between the genders works to the obvious disadvantage of female competitors.

“If biological males compete against biological females,” Sprigg said, “in the vast majority of sports females will be the losers.”

He went on to assert the “fundamental reality of human nature that the average biological males is taller, heavier, stronger and faster than the average biological female.”

These differences, Sprigg said, were behind the creation of gender-specific sports.

McCaleb agreed, pointing to “well-established physical characteristics, which reflect real differences between male and female skeletal development, musculature, endocrine systems and so on” as reason to maintain separate leagues based on gender.

Scolaro represents the competing view that the issue “isn’t about biological males or females” but “how a person chooses to identify.”

She said transgender athletes should be allowed to compete on the teams of their choice, calling the “psychological harm” of excluding them “far worse than the potential harm of inclusion.”

This issue is being hashed out across the nation with a few states, including Oregon, issuing guidelines to allow transgender students on sports teams corresponding with their identity.

Cyd Ziegler wrote this week on Outsports about a higher-stakes platform on which the transgender athlete issues is being debated.

New Zealand weightlifter Larel Hubbard, who was born male and competed in the sport as a man before transitioning, recently broke a national record while competing as a woman. Hubbard also has dreams of entering the 2020 Summer Olympics, which is already sparking controversy among those who believe such an appearance would be inherently unfair to rivals who were born female.

Cultural influences

The spike in gender fluidity and sexual nonconformity among younger generations has corresponded with a notable increase in references to these lifestyles across much of the cultural landscape.

Some believe the entertainment industry is simply acting as a reflection of changing societal norms while more cynical observers believe there is a deliberate effort to introduce and normalize lifestyles many Americans believe to be immoral.

“I think the producers of popular entertainment have been promoting an agenda more than they have been responding to any change in consumer tastes,” Sprigg said.

Solomon took the thought a step further, declaring the entertainment industry has already “achieved the goals of their leftist agenda,” noting it has “destroyed the family, any sort of morality and any sort of responsibilities connected to sex.”

According to Scolaro, the increased sexual and gender diversity on television and elsewhere is a result of America’s changing culture.

“As society has grown, so has our portrayal of stories and the characters involved,” she said.

She later noted advancements in broadcasting, such as popular content-streaming services, have also led to a wider representation of LGBT groups.

“Networks such as Netflix and Amazon are not bound by as many restrictions as ABC, NBC and so on,” Scolaro explained. “With shows like Orange is the New Black and Transparent, viewers across all gender identity and sexual orientation spectrums are finding characters like themselves on television.”

Still, she sees a need for even more on-screen depictions of minority groups.

“As a cisgender gay woman, I see far more characters that look and feel like me than a transgender person of color,” she said. “But overall what we see is that of a white, straight, cisgender world.”

How young is too young?

With an increasing number of children, including some as young as preschool age, expressing a desire to transition to the opposite gender, activists and members of the medical community are left to determine which responses they believe are appropriate. Even among those who believe minors should be allowed to undergo some level of gender reassignment or transitioning, there is clearly no consensus on an appropriate age to begin considering such options.

Dr. Sherman Leis, who founded The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, told Western Journalism his practice generally only operates on individuals 16 year old or older.

“Parents and medical practitioners must take care before approving gender confirmation surgery, or transgender surgery, at an age that is too young,” he advised.

Scolaro, on the other hand, made the case for introducing hormones prior to puberty in some cases to avoid physiological changes that might make an individual more closely resemble his or her birth gender.

“Increased gender-based violence is seen when someone doesn’t pass for their desired gender expression,” she said. “When young males transition to female after puberty, they will have had their growth spurt, have their Adam’s apple, larger features, which can often put them at greater risk of violence and verbal assault.”

She suggested any “decision made involving a child should be considered carefully, and no overall age should be articulated that one should start transitioning.”

In Sprigg’s assessment, introducing hormones to pre-pubescent children is “fundamentally unethical” becasue of the lifelong effects such procedures have on young patients.

“Even a social transition to a new gender identity is unwise, in my opinion, for a minor,” he concluded. “I would recommend that young people wrestling with their gender or sexuality should wait until at least age 18 before making such a decision. Unfortunately, many parents have been influenced by the cultural messages of the LGBT movement on this subject, and are thus supporting their children in these unwise decisions.”

McCaleb also pointed to the permanence of certain gender-altering procedures performed on pre-pubescent children, noting “virtually all such children, left untreated, revert to their natal sex following puberty.”

The next frontier

The LGBT-rights movement saw significant achievements during the Obama era, most notably in a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

While Leis pointed to “the changing political climate” as the cause for “uncertainty among the transgender community and its advocates about the continuity and pace of this progression,” he said he believes activists will continue to advance their cause under a new administration. He cited a desire to see more specialized training in the field of transgender medicine as an area he would like to see progress in coming years.

As for what the future holds, Scolaro said activists “still have many other fronts, including workplace discrimination and provision of services to overcome.”

Sprigg offered his take on the viability of the transgender-rights movement in particular, predicting it will not gain widespread acceptance in America as quickly as prior efforts — including gay rights.

“Homosexuals were able to make a more libertarian argument that others should not care about what they do in the privacy of their own bedroom,” he said. “But the transgender movement is inherently about what people do in public, not just in private. I think there is much greater resistance to being forced to use certain pronouns, being forced to share locker rooms and showers with the opposite biological sex, and so forth.”

With a wave of college students choosing a major in gender studies or a related field, Scalaro envisions these “leaders of tomorrow” will influence further change in the nation’s opinions on gender and sexuality.

Solomon dismissed the idea with his assertion that graduates of gender-studies programs will be qualified to “teach gender education” — and little else. Sprigg echoed his sentiment, suggesting professors in the field are not providing graduates with a well-rounded education or a firm professional foundation.

“My impression is that while other academic fields such as political science or economics are capable of looking at contemporary issues from a range of perspectives,” he said, “it is difficult for any one in gender studies to take any view other than a strict pro-feminist, pro-LGBT approach. This limits its ability to be taken seriously as a truly academic discipline, rather than merely an activist one.”

While only time will tell what shape the LGBT-rights effort will take in the future, one thing seems clear: As Zeigler concluded in his report about Hubbard, “this issue isn’t going away anytime soon.”

Western Journalism reached out to Lambda Legal, a nonprofit organization advocating on behalf of gay and transgender individuals, for comment. Representatives did not respond to our request.

bullies, civil rights, culture, diversity, extremism, feminism, freedom, government, homosexuality, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, progressive, public policy, relativism, sex, unintended consequences

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Catholic teacher fired for promoting traditional marriage

original article: When our reporter called this Catholic teacher fired for defending marriage, she broke down in tears
April 2, 2017 by Ben Johnson

Which two words best describe the reason LifeSiteNews exists? I could answer that a lot of ways – unborn babies, traditional marriage, Christian worldview – but I think I’ll use these two words: Patricia Jannuzzi.

If you haven’t heard of Patricia Jannuzzi, she’s the high school theology teacher at a Catholic school who is being persecuted for posting a message on Facebook upholding traditional marriage.

In response to a story on her news feed about vile and vicious comments made by gay activist Dan Savage, Jannuzzi said the argument in favor of redefining marriage is “bologna.”

That’s it. That’s the whole outrage. But ever since she said “bologna,” she’s been put through the grinder.

Unfortunately, one of the people who saw this message – on her private Facebook account – was the nephew of actress Susan Sarandon. She got her far-Left Hollywood friends to swoop down on the town and demand the school shut her up.

But here’s where the story gets really terrible: The school turned its back on Jannuzzi – and some say the bishop lied to cover it up.

Bishop Paul Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey, said that Jannuzzi had been placed on leave, but she has not been fired, and “there has been no interruption in her pay and benefits.”

But then Jannuzzi’s lawyer released a series of emails that show that may not exactly be true.

The principal at Immaculata High School in Somerville, Mrs. Jean G. Kline, sent an email saying, “I have decided to place you on administrative leave without pay effective immediately.”

In another email, her lawyer accepted a deal for the school to continue paying her salary and benefits – but it appears it was conditioned on Jannuzzi not being rehired next fall.

We personally feel very badly for this heroic, faithful woman who deserves much praise, or at the very least fair reporting of her firing, rather than condemnation. And we are trying to do whatever we can to help her.

All this woman did was share the Catholic Church’s position on gay “marriage” on her own social media page, and even students who disagree with her fidelity say she is a kind and effective teacher who always has her students’ best interests at heart.

But instead, the Catholic school – and the leadership of this diocese – decided to disregard her 30-year teaching career and throw her to the Hollywood lynch mob.

Jannuzzi can’t afford to fight this on her own. She is a 57-year-old breast cancer survivor with one son in college and another in a parochial high school.

Until LifeSiteNews brought her story to light from a traditional perspective, all the media coverage had been hostile. Supposedly “impartial” media sources branded her post an “anti-gay rant” and hinted she was full of “hate.” (Come to think of it, that’s the same thing they say about you….)

After our story, one of our reporters spoke with Patricia Jannuzzi. She couldn’t say much for legal reasons, but she broke down in tears and thanked him for our media coverage. She also asked him to pray with her right there on the phone.

That’s the reason LifeSiteNews is so necessary.

It’s no secret that there’s a war in America. But that war isn’t just between “their” side and “our” side: it’s taking place within the church.

When a beloved, veteran teacher can’t disagree with the Hollywood jet set without fear of her diocese taking away her livelihood, things have gotten terribly out of control.

LifeSiteNews exists to inform you about what’s going on in the world, from a faithful perspective. But we also exist to make sure people like Patricia Jannuzzi can have their story told, truthfully and without fear of being demonized. We want to give them a voice that all others are denying them.

We’re here to hold everyone equally accountable – inside the church and out.

And our reporting is accurate – a little too accurate for some people’s liking. Because we refuse to let “our” side slide when they step over the line, we can never count on them for financial support.

We have to rely on you. We have no one else.

Your generous support for LifeSiteNews helps us bring you the facts you need and the stories that other news outlets are afraid to touch – the stories they refuse to tell the truth about. We desperately need your help at this time to keep working at this mission.

In the last few days of Lent, do yourself two favors: Say a prayer for Patricia Jannuzzi, and make a donation of any size to LifeSiteNews.

God bless,

Ben Johnson, U.S. Bureau Chief
LifeSiteNews.com

abuse, bullies, corruption, education, extremism, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, scandal, tragedy, victimization

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Yale deems essay condemning rape as ‘unnecessarily provocative’

original article: A Lawsuit Accuses Yale of Censoring Even Inoffensive Ideas
April 2, 2017 by PETER BERKOWITZ

A class essay condemning rape was ‘unnecessarily provocative,’ the Title IX coordinator allegedly said.

Yale’s president, Peter Salovey, took to these pages last October to affirm that “we adhere to exceptionally strong principles of free expression.” He invoked Yale’s exemplary 1974 Woodward Report, which states that the university’s educational mission is inextricably bound up with “the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.”

A February lawsuit tells a different story. Tucked inside the amended complaint, Doe v. Yale, is the extraordinary claim that Yale punished the anonymous male plaintiff for writing a class essay in which he condemned rape.

Like dozens of lawsuits now working their way through state and federal courts, Doe v. Yale alleges that university officials grossly mishandled sexual-assault allegations. According to the complaint, a university panel found in spring 2014 that Doe had engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent. He alleges that the woman expressly consented and on that evening she harassed him. He adds that Yale’s disciplinary procedures were stacked against him and administered by biased officials who presumed his guilt.

This case is unusual in several respects. Doe advances one relatively new and one completely novel legal theory. The relatively new one revolves around Title IX, the 1972 federal law that provides that “no person” may be discriminated against based on sex in educational programs that receive federal assistance.

In April 2011, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague” letter declaring that Title IX imposed a duty on colleges and universities receiving federal funding—as virtually all do—to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate sexual-assault allegations and impose punishments where appropriate. The letter also directed schools to reduce due-process protections for the accused, typically men.

Doe insists that Title IX must protect men as well as women. In punishing him for sexual assault on the basis of allegations that were either unfounded or refuted by facts to which both sides of the dispute agreed, the lawsuit argues, Yale discriminated against him on the basis of his sex in violation of Title IX.

The novel legal theory flows out of a reading of “state action” doctrine developed by Jed Rubenfeld of Yale Law School, who served as Doe’s faculty adviser during the university’s sexual-assault proceedings. Doe argues that through the “Dear Colleague” letter, the Education Department conscripted Yale to enforce criminal law—thereby transforming the private university into an agent of the government.

That would subject the university to constitutional limitations. Thus Doe alleges Yale violated his 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection of the law.

This case also involves free expression because it began, Doe alleges, with Yale’s draconian regulation of his speech. According to his lawsuit, in late 2013 a female philosophy teaching assistant filed a complaint with the university’s Title IX office about a short paper Doe had written. In the context of Socrates ’ account in Plato’s “Republic” of the tripartite soul, the paper argued that rape was an irrational act in which the soul’s appetitive and spirited parts overwhelm reason, which by right rules.

According to the lawsuit, Pamela Schirmeister, Title IX coordinator and an associate dean in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, summoned Doe to her office and told him his rape example was “unnecessarily provocative.” She ordered him to have no contact with the teaching assistant and directed him to attend sensitivity training at the university’s mental-health center. She also informed him that he had become a “person of interest” to Yale, which meant that the university had to intervene to ensure he “was not a perpetrator himself,” in the lawsuit’s words. A few months later, the same Title IX office initiated the sexual-assault investigation against him.

Through a spokeswoman, Yale described the lawsuit as “legally baseless and factually inaccurate” but declined on confidentiality grounds to address any specific factual allegations.

If the lawsuit’s account is accurate, Yale has reached a new low in the annals of campus policing of speech. Surely no female student would incur criticism, much less censorship or punishment, for providing weighty philosophical authority in support of the proposition that rape is wrong.

If Doe’s story is true, Yale is no longer satisfied in enforcing correct opinions. To utter the correct opinion, Yale also demands that you be the correct sex. Far from protecting the right to “discuss the unmentionable” in accordance with the Woodward Report, Yale is stretching the boundaries of censorship by abridging the right to discuss even the uncontroversial.

abuse, bias, bigotry, bullies, civil rights, corruption, culture, discrimination, education, ethics, feminism, government, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, scandal, victimization

Filed under: abuse, bias, bigotry, bullies, civil rights, corruption, culture, discrimination, education, ethics, feminism, government, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, scandal, victimization

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