Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

A closer look at how education funding REALLY works

original article: I’m an Educator Who Disagrees with Teacher Walkouts
January 18, 2020 by Ajalon J. Stapley

This is a post from my blog that I wrote back in 2018 when the “Red for Ed” frenzy, to increase Arizona’s education funding, was happening.

I’m an educator with a different perspective from what you probably see in the media regarding Red for Ed protests. I worked in public schools for 12 years, as an afterschool provider, teacher, administrator and more. I’ve taught in three states and don’t claim to be an expert in everything education, but I have my experiences, and don’t agree with what’s happening. Let me explain.

1. We chose to be teachers and knew it didn’t pay much. Most of us don’t pick this field for the money, but we are accountable for our choices. You can easily research pay scales, benefits, etc. for districts and states. We do our searching, make our choice and sign the contract. I had a professor spend an entire class explaining how he supported his family on a meager teacher’s salary, with sacrifices, but he made it work, and encouraged us to really ponder this before moving on in the program.

But, some argue, the hours, all the hours and little pay don’t balance out. I know the hours dedicated teachers put into their jobs, I’ve been there. We do what’s expected, then more because we care. I cried when I got my first paycheck, after deductions, it wasn’t much more than what I made in college. In time though, I came to appreciate the other benefits of my job, like healthcare, retirement plan, and days off.

Yes, days off. I enjoyed the flexibility of choosing to relax, travel, catch up on work, or find ways to earn extra money. Teachers are nine, maybe ten-month employees. I know they take work home, often go in on weekends and holidays, and prep during the summer, but ask your friends in the private sector, I’m sure they don’t get the time off you do. Also, I’ve seen the breakdown of teacher salaries into $/hour. It’s low, but we’re not alone. My husband is active-duty infantry in the army; you want to compare little pay per hour spent at the job? It’s no contest, he wins. Or rather–he loses.

2. Have you done your due diligence? Outdated supplies and grotesque conditions in schools are understandably frustrating and should be fixed. But are administrators always making the right decisions? I worked at a high school of 1,100 students with a principal and three assistant principals — three! Their combined salaries were almost $500,000. In another district, schools hadn’t seen updates in years, but administrators were able to get brand new tablets. Is this the wisest use of district funds?

According to the Auditor General Report in Arizona, “…between fiscal years 2004 and 2016, the percentage of resources spent on instruction declined…. At the same time, the percentages spent on administration, plant operations, food service, transportation, student support, and instruction support have all increased.” In this chart, you see Arizona falls below the national average for dollars going towards instruction, yet they spend the same or more in other areas. Why isn’t the money going directly to the classroom? Can every person who is protesting say, with 100-percent assurance, that their district uses every dollar wisely and there’s nothing that can be done better?

But my administrators are wonderful, they’re not the bad guys! Them — the legislature! They’re the bad guys!

This isn’t a good guy, bad guy thing. It’s about honestly assessing if any improvements can be made. So before marching off to the capital, try scrutinizing your district’s budget reports. Sure it’s not as exciting — and doesn’t make for good selfies — but give it a go.

3. Demands on teachers increase every year. This — I wholeheartedly agree with — 100 percent! New federal and state requirements, district policies, the work keeps piling up and never stops. But why? My mentor teacher said something that’s always stuck. She said when she was younger, schools were responsible to teach reading, writing, math, science, and social studies–go figure? Now add in character education, health, hygiene, sex ed, food programs, psychological services, the list never ends; for decades schools have implemented programs to fill the gaps from home and they are overstretched. Schools are failing because parents are failing. Why are we not having this conversation? Of course, quality teaching is important to student learning, but so is quality parenting. As one veteran teacher remarked, “They don’t make parents like they used to.” And that is the truth.

Teachers and schools are not miracle workers. What can they do about the student who can barely read, but falls asleep in class every day because he’s up till 10 playing video games? Or the 5th-grade boy who cusses, gets in the face and verbally threatens his teacher, and when dad gets to school, all blame goes to the 5’3″ woman. Or the girl caught blatantly cheating on a test, but still gets her birthday bash that weekend. Or the boy suspended for drawing violent pictures about teachers from school, and his mom takes him to Disneyland the next week. (Yes, you read that correctly.) This is just a smidgen in my slew of personal stories; ask anyone who’s worked with kids, they have their own. What has happened in our culture?! Let’s start that conversation! As educators, we are some of the leading experts on how a child’s home life impacts their success at school, why are we so mum about it?

Because it’s out of our control, we might offend people, there’s no easy solution.

True, true, and true, but what’s the alternative? You put all your frustration on a small group of people — point finger, blame, dehumanize, yell, and hate. Such is the pattern in our society these days.

4. Make realistic requests.

Have you read the demands of the Oklahoma Education Association? The state boosted the average teacher pay 16 percent by proposing the state’s first tax increase in 28 years. This would bump the average OK teacher salary to $51,376, slightly higher than the state’s median household income of $50,943. But this didn’t meet all their demands, so on strike they went. For nine days. What were the demands? Included in the expensive list was a cost of living increase for retirees — sooo more money for people who don’t work with kids anymore, and a $5,000 raise for school-support staff. I know it sounds nice but giving people money, just because, is not realistic. Is bus driving now a highly skilled, highly trained job? As wonderful as the crossing guard is, does she impact student achievement? Giving employees money as a thank you for being great is a privilege the private sector has, not the public sector, whose pay is funded by taxpayers.

When I taught in Washington, there was an initiative on the state ballot, and more on local ballots, to decrease class sizes. Also, that year districts were picketing and striking for more funding, specifically higher pay. Taxpayers heard, “make my job easier and pay me more money.” Pick one! In a teacher’s lounge discussion about this, one staff member snickered, “We really just want to get paid more.” And you know, I’m ok with that! Who doesn’t?! But when you are at the mercy of the taxpayers, be reasonable and realistic. I know the protesting states have seen funding cuts, years without raises, and more. Most people wouldn’t argue with some change, but be careful what you ask for, or rather what you demand. Talk to your friends in the private sector, how often have they dealt with years of stagnant pay, pay cuts, and layoffs? Can they demand a 20 percent raise and walk out of the job if they don’t get it?

5. You’re either with us or against us in the fight to fund education.

Really? So either I completely agree with your movement or I hate teachers and kids? What if I am a teacher, what if I have kids, in the public schools? Why do things have to be so polarized? This is neither fair or realistic as life is not so black and white. I know many people who appreciate teachers and don’t’ like to see schools struggle but they simply don’t want to get taxed more. They’re struggling too, your parents, the voters, they want to keep money in their paychecks like you want to see more. Both are fair. I know small business owners who, between the recession, Obamacare, and minimum wage spikes, are strapped. You can’t nickel-and-dime people because you think you have the moral high ground.

Then tax the big corporations! Remember things are not just black and white. Take my home state, Arizona. Many businesses have been relocating to AZ because of low corporate taxes, especially from their highly taxed neighbor to the West. Businesses bring jobs, growth, and money, do you want that to leave? And the “us against you” mentality isn’t reserved only for the public. In Washington, I heard stories of past strikes where teachers, who had the nerve to show up to work, had rocks thrown at their cars. Speaking of strikes…

6. A strike will hurt the people you claim to love. It’s difficult to make-up curriculum missed from an assembly let alone days of striking. Kids will lose out on learning, period. And their parents? They are left scrambling to find a place to send them. You care so much, what about a parent who has to miss work and lose pay to watch their kid? In Arizona, there was talk of graduation dates being pushed back due to the strike. Think about the implications and how this makes you look. I respect other tactics, but I don’t agree with going on strike. In the words of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

[…a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.

7. Playing the martyr. I had a professor warn us not to eat lunch in the teacher’s lounge because of the negative cesspool that sucks you in like a poison. He was right; many teachers have a “woe is me” attitude. I know disrespectful students, crazy parents, and piled-up demands can suck the soul out of you … just suck it right out! But all the complaining, coupled with the chip on some’s shoulder that what they do is so important, and soo unappreciated, and they are sooo superior to their peers, who (gasp) work only for the money, irks me. I didn’t go into teaching for the praise of my peers or accolades from society; if you did, you chose the wrong profession. When I was a teacher I knew what I did mattered and that it made a difference, I knew it was unappreciated and hard, but I had my reasons for choosing it; I didn’t need a bumper sticker or t-shirt telling the world that cared about kids and therefore was amazing for all my sacrificing. Plenty of people sacrifice for their jobs and many jobs help our communities; we’re not the only ones.

Once I was waiting for a staff meeting to start, it was the usual gripe session: unruly kids, apathetic parents, late nights for conferences, data reports, etc. Don’t get me wrong … I was right there with them. This job is taxing. But as I looked around at our library, humble but nice, the pleasant view out the windows, the tasty pot luck my wonderful principal organized, my thoughts turned to my husband. Weeks away in the hot desert for job training with almost no communication, where he slept on the ground, ate MREs, and used a wet wipe for a bath, I thought to myself, Gosh, we are such whiners. Can’t we just look at the positive, be grateful for what we have, and do our jobs. And maybe try to find joy in it.

“But I have done my job!” shouts the menopausal teacher as she bangs her fists on the desk. “I’m done looking for the positive, it’s time to show my wrath!” She’s met with a roar of applauds, cheers, likes, and shares.

Ooo-kay, you’re entitled to your feelings. So am I. Can we please stop with the self-righteous indignation? Maybe it’s just me, but when people go fishing for sympathy — or scream for it in my face — I just get annoyed.

“But it’s justified because teachers have the most important job in society!”

Mmmm…

Parents do. And they’re failing.

8. Money isn’t a magical fix. Yes, increased funds and higher teacher pay can make some difference, but it will not solve everything. Here are two articles that say increased spending improves student achievement.

And here are two that say it doesn’t.

In my ever, ever humble opinion, it’s not the answer. Families are. Education is already the number one expenditure in most states. In 2015, New York ranked first in per-pupil spending ($19,818), Utah ranked last ($6,555), yet Utah’s students consistently outperformed New York’s.

I lived in western Washington where they just love to vote themselves into higher taxes. I think they confuse taxation with charity; they’re not the same thing. The result was a very expensive place to live with average schools. The teachers I worked with were dedicated, the district had program after program to help students, yet they ran across the same problems I’ve seen elsewhere. We can give our hearts and souls to our students and make some impact, but what happens in the walls of their own homes (or doesn’t happen) has the greatest impact.

In conclusion: I understand the frustration. However, I would like to see more personal research and less bandwagon jumping, more facts and responsible spending by all, and mostly, let’s start the conversation — the campaign — to advocate for stronger families. I’ll wear those shirts every day. “Stronger families, stronger schools, stronger communities.” Or, “Where have all the fathers gone?” Or, “That device will never replace you as their parent.”

If we truly care about kids, we need to advocate for what most matters to them: safe, stable, caring, responsible families. That is the bedrock of a society.

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children, crisis, culture, education, family, funding, public policy, tragedy, unintended consequences

Filed under: children, crisis, culture, education, family, funding, public policy, tragedy, unintended consequences

Moral credibility hangs in the balance

original article: Black Demagogues and Pseudo-Scholars
July 20, 1992

During the past decade, the historic relationship between African Americans and Jewish Americans — a relationship that sponsored so many of the concrete advances of the civil rights era — showed another and less attractive face.

While anti-Semitism is generally on the wane in this country, it has been on the rise among black Americans. A recent survey finds not only that blacks are twice as likely as whites to hold anti-Semitic views but — significantly — that it is among the younger and more educated blacks that anti-Semitism is most pronounced.

The trend has been deeply disquieting for many black intellectuals. But it is something most of us, as if by unstated agreement, simply choose not to talk about. At a time when black America is beleaguered on all sides, there is a strong temptation simply to ignore the phenomenon or treat it as something strictly marginal. And yet to do so would be a serious mistake. As the African-American philosopher Cornel West has insisted, attention to black anti-Semitism is crucial, however discomfiting, in no small part because the moral credibility of our struggle against racism hangs in the balance.

When the Rev. Jesse Jackson, in an impassioned address at a conference of the World Jewish Congress on July 7, condemned the sordid history of anti-Semitism, he not only went some distance toward retrieving the once abandoned mantle of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s humane statesmanship, he also delivered a stern rebuke — while not specifically citing black anti-Semitism — to those black leaders who have sought to bolster their own strength through division. Mr. Jackson and others have learned that we must not allow these demagogues to turn the wellspring of memory into a renewable resource of enmity everlasting.

We must begin by recognizing what is new about the new anti-Semitism. Make no mistake: this is anti-Semitism from the top down, engineered and promoted by leaders who affect to be speaking for a larger resentment. This top-down anti-Semitism, in large part the province of the better educated classes, can thus be contrasted with the anti-Semitism from below common among African American urban communities in the 1930’s and 40’s, which followed in many ways a familiar pattern of clientelistic hostility toward the neighborhood vendor or landlord.

In American cities, hostility of this sort is now commonly directed toward Korean shop owners. But “minority” traders and shopkeepers elsewhere in the world — such as the Indians of East Africa and the Chinese of Southeast Asia — have experienced similar ethnic antagonism.

Anti-Jewish sentiment can also be traced to Christian anti-Semitism, given the historic importance of Christianity in the black community.

Unfortunately, the old paradigms will not serve to explain the new bigotry and its role in black America. For one thing, its preferred currency is not the mumbled epithet or curse but the densely argued treatise; it belongs as much to the repertory of campus lecturers as community activists. And it comes in wildly different packages.

A book popular with some in the “Afrocentric” movement, “The Iceman Inheritance: Prehistoric Sources of Western Man’s Racism, Sexism, and Aggression” by Michael Bradley, argues that white people are so vicious because they, unlike the rest of mankind, are descended from the brutish Neanderthals.

More to the point, it speculates that the Jews may have been the ” ‘purest’ and oldest Neanderthal-Caucasoids,” the iciest of the ice people; hence (he explains) the singularly odious character of ancient Jewish culture.

Crackpot as it sounds, the book has lately been reissued with endorsements from two members of the Africana Studies Department of the City College of New York, as well as an introduction by Dr. John Henrik Clarke, professor emeritus of Hunter College and the great paterfamilias of the Afrocentric movement.

Dr. Clarke has recently attacked multiculturalism as the product of what he called the “Jewish educational Mafia.” And while Dr. Leonard Jeffries’s views on supposed Jewish complicity in the subjection of blacks captured headlines, his intellectual cohorts such as Conrad Muhammad and Khallid Muhammad address community gatherings and college students across the country purveying a similar doctrine.

College speakers and publications have played a disturbing role in legitimating the new creed. Last year, U.C.L.A.’s black newspaper, Nommo, defended the importance of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious Czarist canard that portrays a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world. (Those who took issue were rebuked with an article headlined: “Anti-Semitic? Ridiculous — Chill.”)

Speaking at Harvard University earlier this year, Conrad Muhammad, the New York representative of the Nation of Islam, neatly annexed environmentalism to anti-Semitism when he blamed the Jews for despoiling the environment and destroying the ozone layer.

But the bible of the new anti-Semitism is “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” an official publication of the Nation of Islam that boasts 1,275 footnotes in the course of 334 pages.

Sober and scholarly looking, it may well be one of the most influential books published in the black community in last 12 months. It is available in black-oriented shops in cities across the nation, even those that specialize in Kente cloth and beads rather than books. It can also can be ordered over the phone, by dialing 1-800-48-TRUTH. Meanwhile, the book’s conclusions are, in many circles, increasingly treated as damning historical fact.

The book, one of the most sophisticated instances of hate literature yet compiled, was prepared by the historical research department of the Nation of Islam. It charges that the Jews were “key operatives”in the historic crime of slavery, playing an “inordinate” and “disproportionate” role and “carv [ ing ] out for themselves a monumental culpability in slavery — and the black holocaust.” Among significant sectors of the black community, this brief has become a credo of a new philosophy of black self-affirmation.

To be sure, the book massively misrepresents the historical record, largely through a process of cunningly selective quotation of often reputable sources. But its authors could be confident that few of its readers would go to the trouble of actually hunting down the works cited. For if readers actually did so, they might discover a rather different picture.

They might find out — from the book’s own vaunted authorities — that, for example, of all the African slaves imported into the New World, American Jewish merchants accounted for less than 2 percent, a finding sharply at odds with the Nation’s of Islam’s claim of Jewish “predominance” in this traffic.

They might find out that in the domestic trade it appears that all of the Jewish slave traders combined bought and sold fewer slaves than the single gentile firm of Franklin and Armfield. In short, they might learn what the historian Harold Brackman has documented at length — that the book’s repeated insistence that the Jews dominated the slave trade depends on an unscrupulous distortion of the historic record. But the most ominous words in the book are found on the cover: “Volume One.” More have been promised, to carry on the saga of Jewish iniquity to the present day.

However shoddy the scholarship of works like “The Secret Relationship,” underlying it is something even more troubling: the tacit conviction that culpability is heritable. For it suggests a doctrine of racial continuity, in which the racial evil of a people is merely manifest (rather than constituted) by their historical misdeeds. The reported misdeeds are thus the signs of an essential nature that is evil.

How does this theology of guilt surface in our everyday moral discourse? In New York, earlier this spring, a forum was held at the Church of St. Paul and Andrew to provide an occasion for blacks and Jews to engage in dialogue on such issues as slavery and social injustice. Both Jewish and black panelists found common ground, and common causes. But a tone-setting contingent of blacks in the audience took strong issue with the proceedings. Outraged, they demanded to know why the Jews, those historic malefactors, had not apologized to the “descendants of African kings and queens.”

And so the organizer of the event, Melanie Kaye Kantrowitz, did. Her voice quavering with emotion, she said: “I think I speak for a lot of people in this room when I say ‘I’m sorry.’ We’re ashamed of it, we hate it, and that’s why we organized this event.”

Should the Melanie Kantrowitzes of the world, whose ancestors survived pogroms and, latterly, the Nazi Holocaust, be the primary object of our wrath? And what is yielded by this hateful sport of victimology, save the conversion of a tragic past into a game of recrimination? Perhaps that was on the mind of another audience member. “I don’t want an apology,” a dreadlocked woman told her angrily. “I want reparations. Forty acres and a mule, plus interest.”

These are times that try the spirit of liberal outreach. In fact, the Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, himself explained the real agenda behind his campaign, speaking before an audience of 15,000 at the University of Illinois last fall. The purpose of “The Secret Relationship,” he said, was to “rearrange a relationship” that “has been detrimental to us.”

“Rearrange” is a curiously elliptical term here: if a relation with another group has been detrimental, it only makes sense to sever it as quickly and unequivocally as possible. In short, by “rearrange,” he means to convert a relation of friendship, alliance and uplift into one of enmity, distrust and hatred.

But why target the Jews? Using the same historical methodology, after all, the researchers of the book could have produced a damning treatise on the involvement of left-handers in the “black holocaust.” The answer requires us to go beyond the usual shibboleths about bigotry and view the matter, from the demagogues’ perspective, strategically: as the bid of one black elite to supplant another.

It requires us, in short, to see anti-Semitism as a weapon in the raging battle of who will speak for black America — those who have sought common cause with others or those who preach a barricaded withdrawal into racial authenticity.

The strategy of these apostles of hate, I believe, is best understood as ethnic isolationism — they know that the more isolated black America becomes, the greater their power. And what’s the most efficient way to begin to sever black America from its allies? Bash the Jews, these demagogues apparently calculate, and you’re halfway there.

I myself think that the great French aphorist Rochefoucault put his finger on something germane when he observed, “We can rarely bring ourselves to forgive those who have helped us.” For sometimes it seems that the trajectory of black-Jewish relations is a protracted enactment of Rochefoucault’s paradox.

Many American Jews are puzzled by the recrudescence of black anti-Semitism, in view of the historic alliance between the two groups. The brutal truth has escaped them: that the new anti-Semitism arises not in spite of the black-Jewish alliance but because of that alliance.

For precisely such trans-ethnic, trans-racial cooperation — epitomized by the historic partnership between blacks and Jews — is what poses the greatest threat to the isolationist movement.

In short, for the tacticians of the new anti-Semitism, the original sin of American Jews was their involvement — truly “inordinate,” truly “disproportionate” — not in slavery, but in the front ranks of the civil rights struggle.

For decent and principled reasons, many black intellectuals are loath to criticize “oppositional” black leaders. Yet it has become increasingly apparent that to continue to maintain a comradely silence may be, in effect, to capitulate to the isolationist agenda, to betray our charge and trust. And, to be sure, many black writers, intellectuals, and religious leaders have taken an unequivocal stand on this issue.

Cornel West aptly describes black anti-Semitism as “the bitter fruit of a profound self-destructive impulse, nurtured on the vines of hopelessness and concealed by empty gestures of black unity.”

After 12 years of conservative indifference, those political figures who acquiesced, by malign neglect, to the deepening crisis of black America should not feign surprise that we should prove so vulnerable to the demagogues’ rousing messages of hate, their manipulation of the past and present.

Bigotry, as a tragic century has taught us, is an opportunistic infection, attacking most virulently when the body politic is in a weakened state. Yet neither should those who care about black America gloss over what cannot be condoned: that much respect we owe to ourselves. For surely it falls to all of us to recapture the basic insight that Dr. King so insistently expounded. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,” he told us. “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” How easy to forget this — and how vital to remember.

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american, bigotry, culture, demographics, discrimination, diversity, extremism, opinion, racism, victimization

Filed under: american, bigotry, culture, demographics, discrimination, diversity, extremism, opinion, racism, victimization

The dehumanizing effects of the fear of failure

original article: The Deadly Dance of Perfectionism: How the Rhetoric of Family Planning Hurts Children
November 21, 2019 by Susan Martin

As a child, I never knew exactly what my dad did, but I knew that his office was the first place where I had ever seen anatomical pink and magenta models of the uterus and the embryo. I remember sitting with my mother in our family station wagon and looking up into the exotic jungle of scarlet bougainvillea that pressed against the glass of his beautiful corner office, displaying its deeply ridged flowers, just like the pink plastic model.

My father and I used to race each other up the stairs of the Population Center, and I remember the feeling of my heart pounding in my chest as I reached the last step before he did. I would triumphantly turn around and wait for his brown shoes and white cotton socks to appear on the top step before jumping out so that he could pretend to be surprised. Beating my father up the stairs confirmed my feeling that someone wanted me. I was strong and fast, and thus worthy of my father’s love. (Later, this would develop into a mania for long-distance running and endurance training.)

“Wantedness” was originally a term coined to describe a mother’s attitude toward the birth of a child. Sociologists decided that the degree to which a birth was wanted could be measured by accounting for less than perfect timing, less than perfect finances, or simply emotional hesitancy on the part of the mother. Yet its wider applications had more to do with phenomenology than with science. It could describe a person’s value in the social economy and the environmental factors limiting that value.

As I grew older, moved out, went to college, and began a career, my father would return periodically to the question of wantedness. He would ask me if I was content with my life’s circumstances, my partner or boyfriend, and so forth. It was his way of measuring my happiness. He taught me that there was nothing more important than arranging your life in such a way as to create a balance between your “wantedness” and the events of your life. It was essential to make careful choices in order to achieve the outcomes you wanted. Yet, to me, it seemed even more important to make the right choices to ensure that I would continue to be wanted by others. At any of life’s crossroads, I might slip into a state of “unwantedness” simply by making the wrong decision.

Where family planning stated that educated reproductive choices resulted in better families, the unspoken assumption was that educated sexual choices would help separate sex from reproduction. As a child, I concluded that the “right” behaviors were those that resulted in being continually wanted by my parents, and then by friends and peers. Surprisingly enough, the result of being exposed to wantedness was not conformism, but a rigid perfectionism based on achievement. My conclusions were shared by a whole generation of women and men who could only prove self-worth through professional achievement. As adults, we switched academic institutions and professional specializations frequently, and did not let ourselves be taken in by marriage or even by long-term professional commitments. Being depressed or heartbroken was just the price of having a career. The unspoken promise that was embedded in perfectionism was that the political system would eventually reward high-achieving people by having our sexuality set free from the conditions of biology through advances in contraceptive technology—a promise especially aimed at women academics: do everything right, and the political system will make sure that sex stayed far away from sexual reproduction.

The Gospel of Public Health

I grew up within the emerging culture of population studies and maternal and child health. My father, J. Richard Udry, and his colleagues sought to bring the new science of fertility measurement to third-world countries, thereby preventing an imagined population explosion of unwanted births. Behind the new science of population studies, however, lay the old science of eugenics. North Carolina, like many other southern states, still had sterilization programs in place until the mid-nineteen-seventies. Politically and culturally liberal social scientists reframed eugenics in updated language, emphasizing the need to give women control over their fertility and then rewarding them if they made decisions to have fewer children.

In the fairy tale world of public health, no mother would ever again have a baby and then suffer with feelings of guilt or regret, and no child or teenager would ever again feel pressured into gender roles that didn’t suit his or her deepest inclinations. Potential fathers would voluntarily register for sterilization rather than produce children in less than ideal environments or prevent their wives from pursuing educational and financial opportunities. All this would come about by discipling communities in the new science of family planning. The gospel of public health said that women’s desire to have children and nurture the young could be modified through education. Educating the mother of the household about contraceptives would result automatically in smaller families, because that’s what “everyone wanted.” Public health continuously projected the image of reproductive progress: a perfectible male and a perfectible female to go along with a perfectible human family, shorn of excesses to fit into a modern world.

One of the target geographical areas for the new science of fertility control was southeast Asia, and Thailand in particular. As the Population Center’s funding grew, it began to attract large numbers of students from Thailand and India. On Friday nights, graduate students from Thailand would gather at our house to play table tennis and talk shop in the basement. Part of the idea of these get-togethers was to introduce the graduate students to American academic culture and to model the benefits of family planning and fertility control. The family was presented not just as a procreative and biological unit, but as an aesthetic and social one. The symmetrical ideal was a family of four, and this “family planning pyramid” began to appear everywhere on posters and flyers related to family health. As one part of a two-child family, my sister and I were supposed to model this ideal—the lower the number of children, the more likely it is that the individual child will be intelligent, gifted, and nurtured. I felt this pressure keenly. To be loved and wanted, and to do my part to spread the gospel, I knew that I had to play my part perfectly.

A Dangerous Dance

In his work, my dad made numerous trips to Bangkok. Once, he brought me a little dancing golden prince from Thailand, with crescent shoes and a hat shaped like a little, upside-down golden cup. He danced with one arm up and one arm down, standing on the end of one of his long, pointed shoes.

In spite of his placid expression, the prince’s dance looked very difficult. If he moved too quickly to one side or the other, the pagoda hat might slide off. If he did not stand correctly, his shoes would surely bend, and he would stumble to the ground. To me, negotiating friendships felt like the dance of the Thai prince: my ankles ached and my arms throbbed, but I didn’t dare stop proving that I was worthy of being wanted. One day, in the fourth grade, we learned a polka in which we had to change partners. I was so upset at the thought of my best friend dancing with someone else that I walked up to the new girl and kicked her sharply in the shins. Any time I was rejected in a friendship, I interpreted it as a final judgment on my worth as a human being. Any time I attempted a new undertaking, it had to be perfect. I already knew that I had to continually win my parents’ approval and attention to continue to be “wanted.” It was only natural that the same should apply to my other relationships.

When I was ten years old, my father’s sister died after an overdose of sleeping pills. My parents told me it was because “she could not control her own fertility.” I did not know if they meant that she had suffered through an unplanned pregnancy and abortion, or if my four cousins were just too much for her. In any case, I concluded that motherhood had gotten in the way of what my aunt really wanted: fewer children. Clearly, “being in control” was very important. I must learn to do it very well, for if I failed, I might pay with my life. The prospect that losing control over fertility could so quickly lead to lethal “unwantedness” made the idea of having a family very dangerous. Since I was female and soon to enter puberty, it seemed to make me dangerous, too.

The gospel of family planning was not only preached in Southeast Asia. It was also taught to us at school. “Health class” now meant “sex” class, and sexual experimentation seemed to be the only acceptable way to become a healthy person. I was taught to apply the new philosophy of sexual freedom to constructing myself. Any conclusions based on biological clues as to my sex were to be ignored on the grounds that they were too conservative and would constrain me to follow traditional gender roles. All conclusions based on my individual gifts, inclinations, and predispositions were to be evaluated according to the social standard of progress, and I was rewarded for making decisions that went counter to my own biological sex.

Well into college and graduate school, my perfectionistic quest to be wanted corroded my soul, mind, and body. There were now so many conditions being placed on what could make me desirable—as a student, as a potential mate, or as an employee—that I couldn’t win. I could no longer reliably know how to make myself desirable in the eyes of the world. It was better, I decided, to work on fulfilling my own wants and desires. The fear I had developed about friendships in grade school turned into a tendency to verbally tear down other women who dared to challenge my fragile ego. Sarcasm had been the daily catechism in our house—a form of verbal warfare in which science always won. Contempt was heaped on those of differing political, cultural, or intellectual views. Even as an adult, these lessons lingered. I had a pathological need to prove that I was smart by putting others down—a practice that has sadly become a standard feature of social science.

The Language of “Wantedness” Hurts Children—and Adults

Today, we are living in a society where the ideals of family planning that were envisioned in the seventies have largely been realized. The way couples talk about family size and fertility in casual settings has been so touched by “the magic wand of family planning” that we imagine there is one-hundred-percent correspondence between an imagined number of births and the shape of the families we have. Not only family size, but the sex and genetic makeup of a birth are subject to the rubric of “wantedness.”

Even when people talk about their personal fertility, no one questions the logic of “wanted vs. unwanted births.” Yet when this kind of rhetoric permeates a society, the first thing to go is the capacity to form and sustain long-term relationships of the kind that hold the family together, like marriage. The decision to have children ceases to be something that people plan for by becoming married. Instead, it is viewed as extraneous to marriage as an institution.

The effects of the family planning rhetoric of the 1970s changed a generation. One can hear the echoes in the way we talk about the family today. Classifying human beings as “wanted” and “unwanted” has insidious and enduring effects. Instead of family bonds, it creates groups of human beings who have to prove they are worthy of life before receiving it. For my generation of late baby-boomers, we were not so much career-driven as driven to achieve in any area. We delayed child-rearing, and opted for long-distance relationships that lasted only until the next academic opportunity arose. Instead of being resilient, we were unable to endure conflict and were crushed under criticism, a disease that ruined collegial cooperation and stifled academic discourse. Our assumptions could not be criticized, and any challenge had to be met with total resistance.

The ideology behind the perfect family was not nearly as pretty as the sterile plastic models of the womb looked. The beautiful pink and magenta models of the womb in the big, sunny office never became what they should have become: life. The ideology said that families would be improved when sex was kept far from birth, and that when a relationship or a person was no longer wanted, one simply did away with it, setting it aside to die like one of my father’s potted plants. Over time, anatomical models became frightening to me, because they never changed—the embryos were always suspended, never complete. The plants in the office window continued to fascinate me though, especially the “Crown of Thorns,” a tangled tree that forced scarlet flowers up through wooden thorns. Messy, tangled, and uncontrolled, it was a survivor, a desert tree, that continued to produce life even in old age.

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abortion, biology, children, culture, eugenics, family, feminism, health, ideology, philosophy, sex, unintended consequences

Filed under: abortion, biology, children, culture, eugenics, family, feminism, health, ideology, philosophy, sex, unintended consequences

Gay writer pens blistering commentary on the ‘shame’ and ‘horror’ of ‘pride celebrations’

original article: This Pride, let’s celebrate shame
Few gay men are proud to have surrendered their movement to a hostile takeover by Democrats, corporations, Marxists, and racial identitarians
June 17, 2019 by Chadwick Moore (h/t to LifeSite)

New York Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill has formally apologized for the raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan, 50 years ago. The proclamation came as the city’s Department of Tourism gears up to host World Pride, making it the official epicenter of Pride Month activities around the globe. Think of it as the Olympics for meth, alcoholism, public fornication, corporate pandering, and hairy asses shoved in the faces of children.

The Stonewall raid of June 28, 1969 sparked riots in New York, and is recognized as the moment the gay rights movement began. Unfortunately, Commissioner O’Neill may have apologized for the wrong reasons. The man in the strippergram uniform should have said:

‘We’re sorry. We were only doing our jobs. We couldn’t have known that a routine check on an illegal business five decades ago would unleash the horror of Pride parades onto the world for the next 50 years.’  

Stonewall is a legend, and the mythology keeps evolving. Back then, all the gay bars in New York were owned by the Mafia. In 1966, ‘Fat Tony’ Lauria of the Genovese crime family purchased Stonewall, then an unassuming family-friendly restaurant, and converted it into a festering dump for gays. The toilets constantly overflowed. There were no fire exits and no soap to wash the glasses. The liquor was watered down and stolen. Employees trafficked prostitutes, and dabbled in blackmailing patrons with threats to ‘out’ them. The cops constantly raided Stonewall and other mob-owned businesses in the area but, because the mob paid off the police, the cops usually gave warnings or came in the middle of the afternoon when no one was there. It’s unknown whether on that fateful night in 1969 the cops were cracking down on the mob, or on corruption in their own ranks, or if the owners of Stonewall simply didn’t get the tip-off in time. What is clear is that Stonewall was not targeted simply because gays hung out there.

Rather than today’s trendy Evil Cop vs. Angelic Minority narrative, historians say the Stonewall riots were as much about gays being fed up living under the heel of the mob as about protesting the laws that criminalized homosexuality. It’s a wonderful thing those laws don’t exist anymore and we owe a lot to the gays of that era. I’ve met some of the men who rioted outside Stonewall. No-nonsense, grisly old fags, they rightfully look with disdain at today’s generation of whiners and crybabies.

But when it comes to historical revisionism, gays are the worst offenders. Most Americans still believe Matthew Shepard, the world’s favorite ‘hate crime’ victim, was killed because he was gay. In fact, it had nothing to do with his sexuality. He was killed during a robbery and drug deal gone terribly wrong, and he was even friends with one of his killers, a gay-for-pay prostitute. Even the bar that President Obama declared a national historic landmark isn’t the location of the original Stonewall, which is an abandoned nail salon next door.

Today, lesbians and Marxists have commandeered the gay rights movement and built up the vast LGBT Industrial Complex. They’re now attempting their most brazen lie yet, that the Stonewall uprising was actually led by ‘trans women of color’. They want everyone to believe gay liberation is owed exclusively to a scrappy band of black drag queens ripping parking meters out of the cement with their teeth to fend off the invaders. This is a lie, but it’s working.

To canonize this falsehood and to posthumously baptize into the cult of transgenderism, which wasn’t even a word in 1969, Marxist powerbrokers have dug up Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two self-identified transvestites — men who dress in women’s clothing, as opposed to men who think they are women. This year, historical revisionists successfully lobbied the city of New York to install a statue of these two crossdressers outside Stonewall. The problem, historians theorize, is that Rivera was blacked out on heroin 30 blocks north in Bryant Park as the riots unfolded, and Johnson admitted in interviews he wasn’t there when it started. If you believe Johnson chucked the first Molotov cocktail outside Stonewall and started a global revolution, Jussie Smollett is waiting to show you MAGA country.

The gay rights movement was founded by gay men who were almost entirely white. But the taxpayer-funded advertisements for World Pride 2019, plastered on subway cars, streetlights, and billboards in New York City, and in magazines and websites, intentionally feature no images of white people and very few men. It’s mostly obese, sassy black lesbians. And the Pride 50th Anniversary banner a block away from Stonewall features the image of a Muslim woman in a hijab.

This Pride month, let’s acknowledge what gay people can teach us about the virtues of shame. Let their movement be cautionary and instructive. Let us use this month to reflect on how we may be more humble and palatable to our fellow man. Let’s appreciate all the wonderful things that shame has brought to our lives.

Few gay men are proud to have surrendered their movement to a hostile takeover by Democrats, corporations, Marxists, and racial identitarians. There’s also nothing to be proud of when the powerful LGBT lobby thinks so lowly of its own people that all its political gains have been based on lies and misinformation, and all its public figures are scrubbed and sanitized.

The only sense of ‘pride’ I ever felt at being gay came from knowing my forefathers included cultural icons like Oscar Wilde, Quentin Crisp, and Freddie Mercury. Today we’re left with sexless 3D printout Pete Buttigieg, drag-queen story-time in elementary schools, chemically castrated ‘transgender children,’ and an entire generation of privileged little brats addicted to fantasy oppression porn, boycotting chicken sandwiches, and hauling elderly bakers into the Supreme Court. Time to put it away, guys. That’s nothing to be proud of.

As you watch naked, leathery old men with nipple rings waddle down the street, testicles knocking at their knees, or third-rate drag monsters expose their buttholes to crowds of children, just remember that this is not the behavior of an honorable — or even rebellious — people. Everyone knows it, but no one is allowed to say it. It’s hardly even Pride in the Biblical sense. In Christianity, Pride is the first sin, and the most deadly. Pride got Satan expelled from Heaven and Adam and Eve cast out of Paradise. Today’s gay Pride is just corny and mildly uncomfortable.

Of course, the great irony is, come Monday morning after World Pride, millions of gay people will experience some of the deepest, darkest shame of their lives as they wake in a seedy apartment in a mysterious zip code, Cher’s Farewell Tour blaring from the television, a mountain of cocaine on the table, with a sore backside and limbs of indiscriminate origin flung about them. We’ve all been there; it’s part of the Pride experience.

And they should feel ashamed. In psychology, modern affect theory asserts that shame is not learned. It is in our genes, and acts as a kind of emotional circuit-breaker. In his 1872 survey of human emotions, Charles Darwin concluded that shame is universal across human cultures and expressed in exactly the same way by all people. Pop sociologist Brené Brown calls it our most powerful ‘master emotion’, a force that steers us to do good.

As psychologist Joseph Burgo said, American culture over the last 100 years has been at rebellion against shame, particularly related to sex. This revolt has reached fever-pitch in many areas. The more people have given in to abandon, the less happy they have become. They feel they’re entitled to live shame-free lives. But they aren’t. We fail to acknowledge the benefits of healthy, productive shame — constructive criticism, as it is sometimes called — as opposed to the crippling, nuclearized shame of early Puritanical movements and contemporary Islam.

Perhaps if someone told this to Big Gay during those tacky Pride orgies that intend more to shock and offend than to celebrate, then huge swaths of mankind might actually grow to appreciate the gay community, in the way that I once did, rather than merely tolerate it. Maybe, also, many of us would be happier, more stable people.

culture, diversity, extremism, homosexuality, philosophy, sex

Filed under: culture, diversity, extremism, homosexuality, philosophy, sex

Getting Real About Reparations

original article: Getting Real About Reparations by Roger D. McGrath
May 24, 2019 the Larry Elder Show

42 Chronicles
SINS OF OMISSION Roger D. McGrath
Getting Real About Reparations

The call for slavery reparations is reverberating throughout the land once again. It will be entertaining to watch the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 position themselves on this topic. They must know the very idea is irrational and entirely impractical, but at the same time they will worry that one candidate or another will endorse the idea and leave them outflanked.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has already introduced a bill that would create a commission to study the issue of reparations. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren likes the idea of reparations not only for American blacks but also, not surprisingly, for American Indians. She must be counting on her share of the largesse for her possible 1/1024th Cherokee heritage. California Sen. Kamala Harris thinks reparations might be a course of action to help lift blacks out of poverty. Former Texas Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, like Cory Booker, wants a commission to study the issue. Former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro is out in front of them all, declaring monetary reparations should be issued to those who have slave ancestors. “If under the Constitution we compensate people because we take their property, why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were property?” he asked CNN host Jake Tapper.

There’s a tacit assumption in all this: The U.S. government—i.e., the American taxpayer— is the one who should be paying the reparations. The U.S. government, however, never owned any slaves. Moreover, the U.S. government fought a war, though not initiated to abolish slavery, which ended the evil practice. The casualty figures for the Union forces are staggering, upwards of 400,000 killed and probably 300,000 wounded. Now descendants of these dead and maimed soldiers are, through taxation, supposed to pay descendants of the slaves freed by those same soldiers. Black slavery was established in North America long before there was a United States.

The U.S. didn’t come into being until 1788 when the Constitution was ratified. People who talk about “250 years of slavery,” whether they know it or not, are not talking about the United States. Slavery existed in the United States for only 77 years. Before that was the brief period of the Confederation government and the Continental Congress, and before that we were the British North American colonies. The 250-year claim comes from the sale of a handful of African slaves in 1619 in the British colony of Virginia. The slaves were sold by the captain of an English privateer, sailing under Dutch authority, which intercepted and captured a Portuguese slave ship in the Caribbean en route from Africa to Mexico. The captain knew better than to try to sell the slaves at an island port in the Caribbean and instead sailed north to Virginia. But this was not a typical event.

European slavers normally purchased slaves at a port in equatorial West Africa from a tribal chieftain in exchange for rum and other European trading goods. Africans most often were enslaved as a consequence of losing a war to a more powerful tribe or being captured in a raid—or being sold by their own families to cover debts. One could say European slave traders, and later Americans, who were engaged in the despicable business never enslaved anyone but merely changed the location of enslavement. Logic would therefore suggest that reparations be sought from the descendants of the more powerful tribes of equatorial West Africa, who attacked and enslaved their weaker neighbors mercilessly.

The best evidence suggests Africans had been enslaving each other for thousands of years by the time Europeans arrived on African shores. By then, Arabs had been trading for slaves from equatorial West Africa for several hundred years. Instead of loading slaves onto ocean-going ships, Arab slavers took them up the Niger River or on overland trails to Timbuktu, the point of departure for caravans that crossed the Sahara Desert to Egypt and other points east.

Europeans transported slaves in the opposite direction, westward across the Atlantic to South America, especially Brazil, and to the Caribbean and Central America. Only a small minority of the slaves came to the British North American colonies. Yet, the largest population of blacks in the Western Hemisphere today is in the U.S. There’s a reason for that. The voyage to Brazil was relatively quick and easy, making slaves there fairly inexpensive, which meant they were expendable. The opposite was the case for the voyage to Virginia.

Slaves were expensive and became more so when American participation in the international slave trade was ended in 1808, as required by the Constitution. Slaves were far better fed, clothed, housed, and treated medically on these shores than they were in other places, particularly Brazil, simply because an owner would lose a bundle of money should a slave die. None of this is to condone or justify slavery in the American colonies or later in the U.S., but it is to say that the treatment of slaves varied greatly in the Americas, and given the abominable institution, the planters of the Old South were generally far more concerned with the welfare of their slaves than were their counterparts elsewhere. This concern did not extend to white laborers, who were hired when a job was considered too exhausting or too dangerous for a black slave.

Frederick Law Olmstead, the architect of New York’s Central Park, traveled throughout the South on the eve of the Civil War and was surprised to find, again and again, that Irishmen were used instead of slaves for the work of draining swampland, felling trees, digging ditches, quarrying rock, and clearing forests because “it was much better to have Irish do it, who cost nothing to the planter if they died, than to use up good field-hands in such severe employment.”

At a landing on the Alabama River, Irish deckhands caught and stowed heavy bales of cotton after they had come hurtling down a long chute from a towering bluff. When Olmstead asked why slaves were not doing the work, the ship’s captain replied, “The niggers are worth too much to be risked here; if the Paddies are knocked overboard, or get their backs broke, nobody loses anything!”

The death rate among Irish laborers was shocking and had been for several decades before Olmstead toured the South. The New Basin Canal, which connected New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain, was built by Irish labor during the 1830’s. The Irish workmen dug the canal with hand shovels, excavating more than half a million cubic yards of earth. Lacking dynamite, they used axes to fell huge bald cypress trees along the route. They were paid $20 a month and given room and board. Tyrone Power, a famous Irish actor of the period, visited his countrymen and described the scene in 1834, saying he found:

…hundreds of fine fellows labouring here beneath a sun that at this winter season was at times insufferably fierce, and amidst a pestilential swamp whose exhalations were fetid to a degree scarcely endurable even for a few moments … mid-deep in black mud … bearing  burdens it made one’s shoulders ache to look upon; exposed meantime to every change of temperature, in log huts, laid down in the very swamp. … Here they subsist on the coarsest fare … often at the mercy of a hard contractor, who wrings his profits from their blood.

More than 10,000—some estimates put the number as high as 30,000—Irish workers died in the process. They died of cholera. They died of yellow fever. They died of alligator attacks. They died of water-moccasin bites. They died in accidents. They were buried where they fell, often in mass graves. White privilege.

Meanwhile, there were more than a quarter-million free blacks in the South and nearly 4,000 of them were slavemasters who owned more than 20,000 black slaves. William Ellison, only one of several hundred black slaveholders in South Carolina, owned 63 slaves as recorded in the U.S. Census of 1860. In Charleston, 125 free blacks were slaveholders, and in Charleston City, the port city for Charleston, the largest owner of slaves was a black woman.

Black partners Justus Angel and Mistress Horry owned 84 slaves each and were notorious for slave trading. In neighboring North Carolina, 69 blacks were slaveholders. The most prominent of them was John Stanly, who owned three plantations and 163 slaves. One of dozens of black slavemasters in Maryland, Nat Butler owned a farm but made his real money from slave trading. He lured runaway slaves to his farm and then, depending on the size of the reward, either returned them to their owner or sold them to plantations in the Deep South.

The largest concentration of black slave owners was in Louisiana. Marie Metoyer owned 287 slaves and more than 1,000 acres of land. The widow C. Richards and her son P.C. Richards had 152 slaves working their sugar plantation. Antoine Dubuclet had 100 slaves on his sugar plantation. Cotton planter Auguste Donatto owned 70 slaves, as did Antoine Decuire. Verret Polen owned 69. Dozens of other blacks owned 30 or more slaves.

Every one of the 13 states and most of the major cities that would become part of the Confederacy had substantial numbers of black slaveowners. New Orleans by both  numbers and by proportion had the most. A staggering 28 percent of free blacks in the Crescent City owned slaves.

With the Civil War imminent, free blacks in New Orleans pledged their support of the Confederacy, declaring:

The free colored population of Louisiana … own slaves, and they are dearly attached to their native land … and they are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for abolitionism; no love for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana. … They will fight for her in 1861 as they fought in 1814-1815.

Black slavemasters are omitted from most textbooks in American history or mentioned only as having bought a family member to free him. That occurred, but only in a minority of cases. Moreover, if that were the intention of the black slaveholder, why was the family member not immediately manumitted but instead listed as a slave in census data?

Also, regularly omitted in discussions of American slavery is the person who established the precedent for it all: Anthony Johnson. He was one of those slaves sold in 1619 in Virginia. By law, though, he was sold as an indentured servant. When he had served his term of indenture, he was freed and awarded with land. He became a successful tobacco farmer and bought indentured servants, both black and white, to work his land. When he refused to release black field hand John Casor from indenture, a white neighbor, for whom Casor wanted to work, supported Casor in suing for his freedom. Johnson argued Casor had never signed a contract of indenture but had always been a slave, and therefore Johnson was under no obligation to release him. In 1654 the court decided in Johnson’s favor, making him—a former black slave from Africa—the first legal slaveholder in the American colonies.

If blacks owned thousands of black slaves so, too, did American Indians. By the middle of the 1700s, various tribes, especially the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast, began to acquire black slaves. By the end of the century the Cherokee owned nearly a thousand and the Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw several thousand more. The numbers grew sharply during the early nineteenth century. When the tribes were removed to Indian Territory, mostly during the 1830s, they took thousands of black slaves with them.
Accompanying the Cherokee on their “Trail of Tears” were some 2,000 black slaves. They were put to work on Cherokee farms in the new tribal home, raising cotton, corn, and garden crops, and tending hogs and cattle. “As far as they are able … even the very poor Indians will manage to get possession of one or two negroes to perform their heavy work,” noted Henry C. Benson, a Methodist minister to the newly relocated Indians. “Indians are known to cherish an invincible disgust for manual labor.”

The tribes enacted their own slave codes that grew progressively harsher as the years of the 19th century passed. The Cherokee constitution of 1827, for example, prohibited slaves from owning property, selling goods, marrying Indians, voting, or consuming alcohol. The Cherokee subsequently adopted laws that prohibited teaching blacks to read, instituted the death penalty for a slave who raped a Cherokee, and prohibited free blacks from living within the Cherokee Nation. Slaveholders were given great latitude in dealing with their chattel property. While some masters were lenient, others were brutal. One Cherokee buried a slave alive as punishment for robbery. Other slaves were beaten to death or maimed as punishment. After a black slave killed his Choctaw master in a conspiracy of sorts, the slave and his aunt, also a slave, were tied to a wood pile and burned to death.

The Five Civilized Tribes cooperated fully with the enforcement of the fugitive slave laws, whether this meant returning slaves to white owners or to Indian slavemasters. In 1842, in an organized action, some 20 black slaves stole firearms and ran away from their Cherokee owners. Stealing horses and mules along the way, they headed south into the Creek Nation and were joined by another 15 runaway slaves. The combined group came upon a white man, James Edwards, and his Delaware Indian sidekick, Billy Wilson, who were returning some runaway slaves to the Choctaw—and killed them both. Meanwhile, a force of Cherokee and Creek, in an unusual instance of cooperation, were hot on the runaways’ trail. They captured them near the Red River. Five of the slaves were later found guilty of the murders of Edwards and Wilson and put to death. The rest were returned to their owners. What punishment they suffered is unknown.

During the antebellum decade, slavery reached its peak among the Five Civilized Tribes. The Cherokee, numbering only about 20,000 themselves, owned nearly 5,000 black slaves; the Choctaw 2,500; the Creeks 2,000; and the Chickasaw and Seminole about a thousand each. To protect their slave property, the Five Civilized Tribes, except for a few dissident factions, sided with the Confederacy when the Civil War erupted. “The war now raging,” declared the Cherokee, “is a war of Northern cupidity and fanaticism against the institution of African servitude; against the commercial freedom of the South, and against the political freedom of the States.”

Nearly 20,000 Indians from the Five Civilized Tribes served in more than a dozen Indian units in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. The more prominent of the units included the Cherokee Mounted Rifles, the Thomas’ Legion of Eastern Cherokee, the Cherokee Cavalry, the Chickasaw Cavalry, the Chickasaw Infantry, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles, the Choctaw Cavalry, the Creek Mounted Volunteers, and the Seminole Mounted Volunteers. In 1864 the Indian Cavalry Brigade was organized and commanded by Cherokee Nation leader Brig. Gen. Stand Watie. Watie did not surrender his brigade until June 1865, making him the last Confederate general to surrender.
American Indians not only served in the Confederate Army but also in the Confederate Congress. One of several to serve in both was Elias Cornelius Boudinot. He was a lieutenant colonel in the army, fighting in the battles of Pea Ridge, Locust Grove, and Prairie Grove, as well as the Cherokee delegate to Congress.

The 13th Amendment, ratified during the fall of 1865, abolished slavery in the U.S. as a whole but not among the Five Civilized Tribes. Although the Indians were “under the protection of the United States,” it was unclear how the Constitution applied to them. As a consequence, blacks remained as slaves in Indian Territory until July and August 1866 after the U.S. government had negotiated new treaties with the individual tribes that included specific clauses prohibiting slavery. Even then, some slaveholders among the Five Civilized Tribes didn’t comply until 1867.

Unfortunately, these complexities and uncomfortable facts of slavery in the United States are unknown to the majority of Americans today. I suspect those now talking about reparations are among them.

 culture, history, indoctrination, racism

Filed under: culture, history, indoctrination, racism

Euphemising language to sanitize killing

original article: My visit to Auschwitz reminded me why I oppose abortion
June 1, 2014 by Rebecca Frazer

“When I learn about this mass killing process and see the tools and the remains and the pictures…I block the humanity…My heart still is not accepting that each one of them was an individual, intricate, valuable, hand-crafted human being.  But my head knows.  …If I accept the humanity in my heart, what have we done?”

I journaled those words in March of this year, crouched in a bottom bunk in a hostel in Krakow, Poland.  I was not writing about abortion.  I was writing about the Holocaust—writing out of stunned pain and confusion—having spent the day touring the sprawling, well-preserved complex known as Auschwitz concentration camp, a killing machine unlike any other.  Over one million people died at Auschwitz during its five years of operation, the vast majority of them Jewish.  Ninety percent of prisoners who entered Auschwitz died, most by immediate execution in one of the camp’s five gas chambers.

I had walked through an original gas chamber, where 2,000 people could be killed in 30 minutes.  I had gazed at piles of thousands and thousands of shoes—shoes that Jewish men, women, and tiny children had removed just before entering the “showers” to be gassed to death.  I had stood three feet from black ovens with special chutes for shoving in bodies—ovens that created endless heaps of human ash.  The harsh reality—that 1.1 million people had been sanitarily, systematically, efficiently “exterminated” in the very place I had stood was literally beyond my comprehension.    I concentrated on the statistics and blocked the human faces; it was simply too painful.

I visited two other concentration camps the same week: Sachsenhausen and Dachau, both in Germany.   Sachsenhausen (located just outside of Berlin), left me equally reeling with horror.  Perhaps the most horrific part of the camp was the pathology building, where bodies had been stacked high in the basement’s white-plastered holding rooms before being hauled upstairs to be examined by doctors on white-tiled “autopsy” tables.  Each of the thousands of bodies of Sachsenhausen victims was processed through the pathology building before being cremated.  For me, standing in those deathly rooms where everything was bright and shiny white was absolutely surreal.  I was overcome by the stark realization that during the Holocaust, these killings were government-sanctioned; they were overseen by physicians; they were sanitized, euphemized, and standardized.

I gave a speech years ago when I was in middle school that made a comparison between the Holocaust and abortion (not an equivocation, a comparison).  I wrote it after a field trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (in D.C.) that left me terrified of being apathetic to evil.  A woman who heard the speech told me that any such comparison was very disrespectful to Holocaust victims.  Her words always concerned me, and they kept me from presenting abortion as a modern-day Holocaust with the frequency or vigor I otherwise would have employed.  But after visiting three concentration camps in the span of a week, I am convinced that my listener was totally wrong.  The greatest disrespect I could possibly lend to the victims of the Holocaust is the refusal to apply the lessons of that horrific history to the horrors of today, thus repeating the deadly mistakes of the past.

So, if you haven’t already made the connections, let me be perfectly clear: the parallels between the mass murder of the Holocaust and the over fifty million unborn children legally killed in abortion clinics all across our nation should horrify you.  What are those parallels?  The first is the failure of Americans (even the nominally pro-life) to truly, internally, accept and embrace that the unborn are human, with fingers, toes, smiles, and heartbeats.  The second parallel is the presence of an efficient, perfected, now even legal system of mass murder that exists in the backyards of America’s neighborhoods, with the vast majority of Americans living their daily lives as if this system of killing simply did not exist.  As I journaled the night after visiting Sachsenhausen, between the Holocaust and abortion exist “parallels of sanitized killing, standardized body disposal, euphemized language, government sanctioning, and lack of public outcry.”

Think I’m exaggerating?  The efficient standardization of the abortion industry can best be described in the words of the industry workers themselves:

“I refused to reassemble the body parts after a late-term abortion…tissue was the code word for bodies in our clinic.  We stored them in plastic bags, which were kept in a freezer until they were picked up weekly…The Parts Room, as we called it, was narrow, with washbasins on one side and medical supplies on the other.  Against one wall was a white freezer with the lock broken off… At the beginning of each week, a service truck would come by and pick up the body parts, which were taken to a lab.”

–Norma McCorvey (former abortion worker and “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade), from her auto-biography, Won by Love

“they would still have to put it [referring to a 23-week gestation baby] in, like, a jar, a container, with solution… all of our specimen have to go out to the lab.”

–abortion counselor, Dr. Emily’s Woman’s Clinic (abortion clinic), New York

“so the fetus and everything that goes along with it…they’re cremated, and then the ashes we spread out in the desert…”

–Dr. Laura Mercer, Family Planning Associates Medical Group (abortion clinic), Arizona

And yet, perhaps third parallel between the Holocaust and abortion stands most clearly: public apathy.  The final camp I visited was Dachau, near Munich, Germany.  Dachau was the first concentration camp built by the Germans and was the model camp and experimenting grounds for the hundreds of other camps that followed.  When one method of execution proved too slow, too dirty, or too expensive, the leaders at Dachau would devise new, improved methods to exterminate prisoners and would pass their ideas to the other camps.  Of Dachau, I journaled, “Here, death is a science, a process, something to be perfected and honed.”  But another essential piece of Dachau’s history bears repeating.  Dachau was located quite literally in the backyard of local civilians, most of whom ignored its existence completely.  When the allied troops liberated Dachau at the end of the war, they forced the local German civilians to tour the camp—to walk past the piles of bodies waiting to be cremated—to see the tortures and smell the death that they had ignored.  The civilians were shocked, horrified, and traumatized.

Almost 1800 abortion providers exist in our backyards here in the United States.   One day, I am absolutely convinced you and I will be those Dachau civilians.  In one fashion or another, we will come face to face with the horrors we have ignored.  And just as the civilians of Dachau wept, you and I will weep for our apathy.

Unless we take a stand—now and forever–against the greatest horror of our generation…

…that they may have life.

Shoes of Gas Chamber Victims at Auschwitz (Poland)

Shoes of Gas Chamber Victims at Auschwitz (Poland)

Sachsenhausen Pathology Building—“Autopsy” Tables (Germany)

Sachsenhausen Pathology Building—“Autopsy” Tables (Germany)

abortion, culture, ethics, extremism, history, ideology, oppression, propaganda, public policy, relativism, tragedy

Filed under: abortion, culture, ethics, extremism, history, ideology, oppression, propaganda, public policy, relativism, tragedy

Displacing girls, the (hopefully) unintended consequences of the transgender moment

original article: 8th Place: A High School Girl’s Life After Transgender Students Join Her Sport
May 6, 2019 by Kelsey Bolar

When two high school athletes who were born male but identify as female tookfirst and second place at Connecticut’s girls indoor track championship this year, it wasn’t just a local news story.

To some, it was a story of triumph and courage. The winner, a junior from Bloomfield High School, set a girls state indoor record of 6.95 seconds in the 55-meter dash, and went on to win the New England titles in both the 55-meter dash and the 300-meter dash.

To others, it was a story of shock and disappointment: Is this the end of women’s sports?

To Selina Soule, a 16-year-old runner from Glastonbury, it was personal.

A junior, Selina missed qualifying for the 55-meter in the New England regionals by two spots. Two spots, she said, that were taken by biological boys.

Had the boys who identify as girls not been allowed to compete, Selina would have placed sixth, qualifying to run the 55 in front of college coaches at the New England regionals.

Instead, she placed eighth, watching the 55 from the sidelines after qualifying in only the long jump, an event in which the transgender athletes didn’t compete.

“It’s very frustrating and heartbreaking when us girls are at the start of the race and we already know that these athletes are going to come out and win no matter how hard you try,” Selina told The Daily Signal. “They took away the spots of deserving girls, athletes … me being included.”F

While the debate over transgender athletes and fairness is complex, the situation in Connecticut has brought forth another complicating layer: Plenty of parents and high school girls appear to object to the participation of biological boys in girls sports, but fearing public bullying and backlash, they’re not speaking out.

Publicly, at least.

The stakes of remaining silent are high: Policies are being formed in real time at the local, state, and federal levels regarding transgender individuals, student athletes, and sports.

Most prominently, on March 13, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced HR 5, the Equality Act, a bill that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal civil rights law.

The legislation would create a civil right for male athletes to self-identify as females at any time, critics say, without any evidence of physical changes to their bodies.

A Voice for the Voiceless

Selina Soule, a 16-year-old runner from Glastonbury, Connecticut, shares what it’s like being forced to compete against biological boys. (Photo: The Daily Signal)

When the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, or CIAC, said biological boys who identify as girls can compete as girls in sports, most track athletes remained mum.

Connecticut is one of 17 states that allow transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions, according to Transathlete.com, a website that tracks state policies in high school sports across the country.

Encouraged by her mother, Bianca Stanescu, who has been in the forefront in challenging the state policy, Selina is one of the few students, if not the only one, giving a voice to countless others who appear to feel the same way.

“Everyone is afraid of retaliation from the media, from the kids around their school, from other athletes, coaches, schools, administrators,” Selina explained. “They don’t want to drag attention to themselves, and they don’t want to be seen as a target for potential bullying and threats.”

In a visit to the Nutmeg State, The Daily Signal spoke with four other track athletes from two high schools in Connecticut. Echoing Selina’s sentiments, they asked to remain anonymous.

“I think it’s a very important thing for people to really understand where we’re coming from, instead of just immediately going to, ‘We’re transphobic,’” one said. “Just the way that our society is built, it snaps on people so quickly.”

“We live in such a cruel world, and society is just so hard to figure out sometimes,” another girl told The Daily Signal. “You never know what the reaction is going to be. It’s so hard because you want your voice to be heard … but, how can you know what to say that will affect things positively, instead of people twisting what you’re saying and turning it against you?”

‘An Equality Issue’

The girls’ parents, too, expressed a high level of concern for protecting their daughters’ identities, not even wanting to identify them by high school.

Connecticut is made up of small towns, the parents explained, and given the relatively small number of athletes affected, people can connect the dots.

“There’s really nothing else you can do except get super frustrated and roll your eyes,” the first girl said, “because it’s really hard to even come out and talk in public just because of the way with the far left, and how just immediately you’ll just be shut down.”

“It’s not like we’re saying that we don’t like transgender people,” she added. “It’s just an equality issue where these girls are trying their absolute hardest to try and get those good things on their college resumes, and then it just gets completely taken away from them because there’s a biological male racing against them.”

The athletes say they don’t fear only being bullied or portrayed as a bigot. They also hope to attend college, and are afraid their politically incorrect views could hurt their prospects.

“I personally want a future in athletics in college,” a third girl told The Daily Signal, “but I feel like if there’s a coach that disagrees with my personal opinion, or a board that disagrees with it, then they’ll already have a predisposition with me and then it’ll affect maybe playing time or my ability to get into that college.”

“We have college down the road—I’m scared that that could get impacted,” a fourth girl said. “Sometimes the coaches will just like look at the lists … and if you’re not No. 1 then they won’t choose you.”

“I have heard opinions where coaches are just going to look at your times, and that they don’t really care where you place,” the first girl added. “But college coaches are going to these bigger meets, and when they don’t see you there, they’re not necessarily focusing on you. They’re focusing on the people that are there.”

“It kept Selina from getting to New Englands, where she had the opportunity to be running in front of college coaches, which is just unfair,” she added.

Uncomfortable Opinions

The athletes’ hesitation to speak out publicly begs the question:

How did society get to the point where high school girls now fear their uncomfortable opinions could prevent them from being admitted to the very institutions where uncomfortable opinions are supposed to be explored?

Whatever the answer, few could blame them, given the vitriol on display in today’s public square.

Business Insider removed a writer’s article defending the casting of Scarlett Johansson to play a transgender man in an upcoming film, for example. The publication said the article violated its “editorial standards,” and the writer later quit.

Authorities in Canada allegedly threatened to arrest a father if he refers to his biological daughter as a female in private or in public because she identifies as a boy.

And in schools, The Daily Signal has documented multiple cases of biological girls being forced to share locker rooms or bathrooms with boys, despite their safety concerns and discomfort.

But again and again, those on the “wrong side” of this conversation are too afraid to speak out.

‘Door Is Open for Any Other Sport’

A junior in high school, Selina Soule is asking for fairness to be returned to her sport.

Selina’s mother, Stanescu, told The Daily Signal that she has done “everything that I thought would be possible to help this and just open a conversation” about what’s happened in Connecticut and what could happen should Congress pass the Equality Act.

“The doors have been shut over and over again,” Stanescu said. “People are afraid to speak.”

In addition to potentially instating a nationwide bathroom requirement, health care mandate, and a “preferred pronoun” law based on gender identity, the Equality Act would enshrine in federal law the right of biological boys to compete as girls in all sports.

If the measure passes, Stanescu warned, “women will be completely eradicated from sports.”

What’s happening in Connecticut, she added, will happen across the country—and not just in track and field.

“Yes, it has been affecting track and field in Connecticut, but the door is open there for any sport, and that is something that could become also a safety issue,” Stanescu said. “It’s taking away the opportunity to win for the girls, but in sports that have physical contact, [it] could become a serious safety issue.”

“It could be potentially very dangerous if you have a transgender female that’s competing in basketball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey because they are so physically superior to females,” her daughter Selina added.

Selina says all this while making clear she supports athletes “being true to themselves.”

“I have friends in school who are transgender and I know when they are struggling to come out or deciding to come out, I was there supporting them,” she said. “And when they were freshly out, I was caring towards them. I was never rude or disrespectful.”

But the situation in sports has “nothing to do with their gender identity and how they feel,” Selina said. “It has to do with what is right and what is fair in athletics.”

Looking forward to her senior year, Selina said she hopes to run track in college. She referred to the long jump event as her “safe haven” where “the results were fair no matter what, because it was girls competing against girls.”

“But now, unfortunately,” she said with a disappointed look on her face, “one of those athletes has started to compete in long jump. So now none of my events are safe.”

children, culture, diversity, extremism, ideology, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, unintended consequences

Filed under: children, culture, diversity, extremism, ideology, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, unintended consequences

Socialism ethically compromised

original article: Unitarian leftist: Socialism is not ethically superior to capitalism
April 26, 2019 by REV. BEN JOHNSON

Socialism has made a resurgence in this generation, not least because of its deceptive moral appeal. Secular Millennials join liberal priests, pastors, and rabbis in saying that profits corrupt, unequal outcomes are immoral – and perhaps even Jesus would have been a socialist. Yet numerous people, secular and faithful, have weighed collectivism in the balance and found it wanting.

One of the people who found socialism ethically inferior to capitalism came from an unlikely source: the Unitarian Church.

His verdict? Socialism “is the necessary outcome, not of religion but of irreligion,” he said. Redistribution of wealth slows moral development and creates evils worse than capitalism.

The minister in question, A. Powell Davies, was once one of the most influential church leaders in the United States. He crusaded for civil rights as pastor of All Souls Church in Washington, D.C. He counted Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black among his friends, and Justice William O. Douglas edited a book of his sermons. The Religious Left leader was honored by the liberal Americans for Democratic Action posthumously.

Reverend Arthur Powell Davies (1902-1957) was a British-born Methodist who converted to Unitarianism – if “convert” is the proper noun for such a change. Davies embodied William F. Buckley Jr.’s caricature of the Unitarian who believed in “at most” one God. “This ancient God of miracles and interventions … is really dead,” wrote Davies, who styled himself a “theological radical,” in his 1946 book The Faith of an Unrepentant Liberal. “There is no God in the sky,” he wrote in another context. “There is no army of angels, no hosts of seraphim and no celestial hierarchy. All this is man’s imaginings.” Any belief in the supernatural, he believed,“represses growth. It keeps the mind always childish.”

However, his lack of faith (from a traditional perspective) underscores the point. Although there is a high correlation between secularism and socialism, Davies revealed at least a few of socialism’s failures.

Davies, who provided weekly analyses of national issues from his pulpit, turned his glance upon socialism in an address titled “Is Socialism More Ethical Than Capitalism?” which was delivered on October 16, 1949.

Despite the title of his address, Davies actually explored only the morality of compulsory wealth redistribution as was practiced by Labour government-era Britain. But even a radical non-theist found that the welfare state did not pass muster as a moral economic system.

“Socialism is not an ethical advance; socialism is an ethical compromise,” he said.

First, Davies rejected Marxism because of its belief that human nature could not be improved. Socialism compels people to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, something Davies supported. But compulsion “is not ethically nobler” than choosing to give one’s own goods to the poor. “[E]thically they are better for what they do voluntarily than for what they are compelled to do, even though they themselves consent to the compulsion,” he said.

The very decision to turn to the state implies that people cannot be trusted to exercise their freedom responsibly. Socialism comes about “not because of idealism, but because of despair.”

Davies also denied socialism is more ethical than capitalism for a second reason, which echoed the most famous dictum of Lord Acton:

From the viewpoint of religion, there is no more evil in the profits of a capitalist than in the vanity of a socialist politician. The one seeks money, the other, notoriety. … [H]uman nature under either system would exploit the weaknesses of that particular system, and I fear the weaknesses of compulsory systems more than those of voluntary ones.

In 1949, the Unitarian lamented that Americans “would even give away a part of their freedom because they could not trust themselves and each other to act fairly on a voluntary basis.”

But collectivism’s greatest harm is its view of human character, Davies said.

Ultimately, socialism retards humanity’s moral progress:

[C]apitalism leaves more room for liberty and encourages ethical maturity and voluntary righteousness. Compulsory systems, paternalistic and authoritarian, foster attitudes which are ethically not grown up.

Since socialism is an ethical retreat from free moral action, it cannot embody the goal of any religion:

When therefore, churchmen draw closer to socialism and say it is the necessary outcome of religious idealism, they are mistaken. It is the necessary outcome not of religion but of irreligion; that is to say, it is the necessary outcome of the evils of the human heart which prevent us from doing voluntarily what we are therefore obliged to do from compulsion.

Traditional Christianity taught for millennia that believers should diligently cultivate wealth so that we can freely distribute it to those in need. Almsgiving, a pillar of all three Abrahamic religions, benefits the giver by freeing him from greed and allowing him to express love for the recipient.

The notion that it is morally superior for Christians to ask the government to forcibly redistribute others’ possessions is so fatuous that it was once exposed by a non-believer in the pulpit.

capitalism, christian, culture, economics, ethics, government, ideology, left wing, philosophy, progressive, socialism

Filed under: capitalism, christian, culture, economics, ethics, government, ideology, left wing, philosophy, progressive, socialism

Public education and hyper speed sex ed

original article: Sex Ed and Stalinism at the Local School Board
February 13, 2018 by AUSTIN RUSE

I usually avoid really sick, appalling spectacles. I skip movies like Saw. But last Thursday I saw something worse. I went to the sex-education committee meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. I have never seen anything as shocking.

Understand, that I have sat through years of shocking meetings. My day job is monitoring and lobbying the United Nations. But, I have never seen or heard anything like this. This meeting was a horror show. And a Soviet one at that.

The Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC, pronounced flea-cack) advises the Fairfax County School Board for the content of the sex-education lessons taught to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

This group has come up with over 80 hours of sex-education for these poor kids. And some of it is straight-up pornography.

Rich, Leftist, and Libertine

This school district in Northern Virginia, one of the largest and richest in the country, is among the most leftist in the country. No big surprise there. Twenty-five years ago, they were already promoting “Two Mommies” to the little tots.

But the sexual revolution ideology kicked into hyper speed a few years ago. Fairfax leftists put transgender ideology into schools a full year before Barack Obama’s Department of Education mandated it for the rest of the schools in the country. Last year the Trump administration cancelled the mandate, though Fairfax County is clinging onto it.

This committee has long embraced the rest of the LGBT program. “Oral sex” is introduced to kids as young as 12.  Thirteen year olds are told about “anal sex” 18 separate times in one year’s lessons.

The FLECAC committee is made up of about two dozen people. They’re appointed by the overwhelmingly leftist Fairfax County School Board. Four voting members are students, chosen no doubt because they’re members of student LGBT clubs, and most other members appear to be teachers and administrators.

If the idea behind the committee is to get community input, why stack it with people on the county payroll?

The School Board’s Supreme Soviet

Last Thursday night, two regular citizen members of the committee tried to offer amendments to the curriculum. What happened to them is right out of the Politburo of the Supreme Soviet.

The subject was the phrase “sex assigned at birth,” which appears numerous times in the lessons. This is a politically-charged slogan that teaches that it’s wrong for a delivery room doctor to say a penis means boy or a vagina means girl. A child should be left to his own gender choice later in life.

One citizen member made a motion to remove this phrase from the lessons and to simply use the word “sex” instead. Through parliamentary maneuvers, other members of the committee made sure the amendment was put off indefinitely without debate. The vote to cut off debate and never speak about it again passed 23-3.

The member who offered the amendment asked for a roll call, so that those voting to keep in “sex assigned at birth” would have their names associated with their votes. The motion for a roll call was killed by voice vote.

No debate, no accountability.

Another citizen member made a motion that, somewhere in the numerous lessons about various contraceptive methods taught beginning in eighth grade, there ought to be something about the possible health risks of certain contraceptives.

This, too, was shut down without debate, by a vote of 23-3. A roll call of the vote was shouted down by voice vote.

Hush, Adults Are Listening

The first citizen member made a motion to include a discussion in the lessons about the health risks associated with hormonal and surgical “transitioning.” This, too, was not allowed.

One county employee member asked why there was no lesson on anal sex for the seventh graders. There was oral sex, but why was anal sex missing? The chairman of the committee assured her that the anal sex begins with lessons in the eighth grade.

This revealing moment was followed by another: The chairman actually apologized, with a nervous laugh, for using those graphic terms.

Did it not occur to her, or anyone else on the committee, that she was apologizing to the adults in the room for using words that are scripted into the lessons they have created for children?

It was clear to me that much of the reaction to these motions was a kind of animus toward traditional morality. The glee with which the majority cut off the legitimate concerns of the minority was breathtaking.

Christians as the Taliban

One new member of the committee is a democratic activist named Daniel Press. He was the one who was most vociferous that these motions not only be trashed, but that they not even be discussed. On his Facebook page he calls Christians the Taliban and has an image of Christ on the cross over the mocking words: “Total Winner.”

The other thing that struck me was the sheep-like attitude of most of the members of the committee. There were a few loudmouth ideologues, to be sure.  One student member treated us to an anti-American diatribe ending with the charge that transphobia stems from white supremacy. For the most part the members were silent. But they were lickety-split to raise their hands whenever called upon to vote against debate, discussion, and accountability. That they could not allow.

Finally, it’s remarkable how fast such new and fantastical notions have entered the leftist mindset. The notion of “sex assigned at birth” was itself born just a few years ago. And yet, these people are so certain of its truth, they clap hands on their ears to avoid hearing anything contradictory. Even more, they clap their hands on the mouths of anyone who might want to question this new tenet of faith.

Blind Faith, False Faith

This brings to mind two things: brainwashing, and bad religion. The committee members may not know it, but they have been brainwashed to believe things that are simply not supported by either science or reason. Theirs is faith plain and simple, and the worst kind of faith, the kind that contradicts reason, the kind that can only be imposed. Theirs is a blind faith, taking as gospel whatever the sexual zeitgeist vomits forth.

And so what are parents to do? Opt their kids out of Family Life Education and take over the school board. One is easy, but both are necessary. Sexual Stalinism, of the kind I witnessed a few nights ago, has no place in the education of our children.

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anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

Filed under: anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

The religion of sex: is rape in the eye of the beholder?

In the 1990s Whoopi Goldberg played wise, ancient sage in a popular TV show. In one episode her character and another were discussing matters of truth, and Goldberg’s character voiced this popular tenet of progressivism: “Truth is in the eye of the beholder”.

This was nothing innovative even back in the 90s. It was merely another example of how the political left revels in customizable reality. But the quote is a good reminder of the underlying problem: some people don’t know the difference between fact and opinion.

People who wish to genuinely understand the world freely recognize the difference between fact and opinion. We recognize there is no such thing as “your truth” or “my truth” or “true to you but not to me”. If something is “true to you”, it’s your opinion, not truth. Your opinion is yours, reality is not yours.

Truth is reality, what ever reality happens to be. Our views, preferences, beliefs, feelings about reality matter not to the universe. Reality is what it is, regardless of what you or I wish it to be. We can change some aspects of reality, which is best accomplished one heart and mind at a time, by persuasion and understanding. This is the antithesis of modern progressivism, both in the acknowledgement of truth and in the peaceful, non-coercive means of accomplishing change.

Recently, another Hollywood-ite once again entered the light of controversy. Quentin Tarantino once defended known pedophile Roman Polanski. There is now a published audio recording from 2003 of Tarantino stating “I don’t consider him a rapist”.

Consider what he’s saying here. Social norms and sexual mores, even the law, are irrelevant as far as Tarantino is concerned. What matters is the fact someone wanted to have sex, and that should be the end of it.

Consider this attitude in some other contexts. Business owners don’t have the right to do anything and everything they want with their businesses, and people don’t have the right to do anything and everything they want with their money. Given the more recent limitations imposed on us all via political correctness, one could legitimately argue we no longer have the right to free speech either. But never mind all the areas of life where limitations imposed by culture or by law are widely considered good, healthy, and necessary.  On the matter of putting one’s genitals where one wishes, in this one area, our same progressive culture would have us believe any limitations here constitute a grievous form of oppression.

So we find this curious contradiction in progressivism. On matters related to money, ownership, speech, and more, progressive culture has no problem imposing limitations on individuals who challenge societal pressure (such as florists, bakers, photographers, or pizzaria owners). The culture gets to dictate what is acceptable, such as the transgender controversy taking the United States by storm. But on matters of sexuality the opposite is demanded, society must acquiesce to the demands of individuals who challenge cultural norms. Here, it is the outlier individual who gets to dictate what is acceptable, and the broader community must give way.

And that leads us back to the failure of progressive culture to distinguish between fact and opinion. Reasonable people recognize words mean things. If we intentionally distort the meanings of words we can find ourselves in a heap of trouble where no one wanted to go, such as the asinine but inevitable position of a pedophile raping girls as young as age 6 claiming he is a 9 year old boy trapped in an adult’s body. This is where customizable reality leads us. An acknowledgment of genuine truth protects us from such things.

Tarantino offers us another example of the insanity Western culture has embraced, an insanity where actual rape is not to be considered rape, but false allegations of rape are treated as unquestionable, depending on who the accused happens to be (such as Roman Polanski or Bill Clinton on one hand, and the Duke Lacrosse team on the other.)

Rod Dreher has good insight into this problem in his short piece “The Religion of Sex“. Give it a read.

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crisis, culture, diversity, ethics, hypocrisy, ideology, law, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism, scandal, sex, unintended consequences

Filed under: crisis, culture, diversity, ethics, hypocrisy, ideology, law, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism, scandal, sex, unintended consequences

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