Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Normalizing killing as a response to human suffering

original article: The left’s new response to mental illness: killing people
April 18, 2017 by Wesley J. Smith

Euthanasia/assisted suicide is NOT about terminal illness. The issue is about normalizing killing as a response to human suffering.

Sure, the initial sales pitch would restrict doctor-administered or prescribed death to the dying. But that’s just to get people comfortable with the concept. Once a society accepts the principle, logic quickly takes it to a broad euthanasia license.

Canada is a prime example. Before the Supreme Court imposed a national euthanasia right on the country, the debate was all about terminal illness. But now that euthanasia is the law throughout the country, the push is on to allow doctors to kill the mentally ill who ask to die.

The Globe and Mail’s pro-euthanasia health columnist, André Picard, uses the suicide of a mentally ill person to push that agenda. From, “The Mentally Ill Must Be Part of the Assisted Suicide Debate:”

We should not discriminate or deny people rights because it makes us queasy or because of our prejudices. This case reminds us just how severe mental illness can be. “Non-existence is better than this,” Mr. Maier-Clayton said. “Once there’s no quality of life, life is akin to a meaningless existence.”

Opponents of assisted death argue that those who suffer from mental illness cannot make rational decisions, that they need to be protected from themselves.

But we’re not talking about granting assisted death to someone who is delusional, or suffering from psychosis or someone who is depressed and treatable. The suffering has to be persistent and painful, though not necessarily imminently lethal.

I would hasten to add, as defined by the suicidal person and regardless of ameliorating treatments that could be administered. But anyone who is suicidal believes his or her suffering is unbearable. Otherwise, they wouldn’t want to die.

This ever-broadening death license is only logical. If killing is indeed an acceptable answer to suffering, how can it be strictly limited to people diagnosed with a terminal illness? After all, many people suffer far more severely and for a far longer time than the imminently dying.

The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and now Canada, demonstrate that over time, it won’t be.

Meanwhile, California has a regulation requiring state mental hospitals to cooperate with assisted suicide for their involuntarily committed patients with terminal illnesses–despite supposed protections in the law for those with mental conditions that could affect their decisions.

Meant to be compassionate, assisted suicide is actually abandonment most foul. Compassion means to “suffer with.” Euthanasia is about eliminating suffering by eliminating the sufferer. 

Or, to put it another way, euthanasia endorses suicide. It’s not choice, it is the end of all choices.

In any event, this is the debate we should be having. Whether one agrees or disagrees with my take, surely as we in the USA should debate the issue with intellectual integrity and honesty.

But we won’t because pro-euthanasia forces know they would lose. The obfuscating claim that assisted suicide will only be about the terminally ill for whom nothing else but death can eliminate suffering is just the spoonful of honey to help the hemlock go down.

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What happens when no one asks whether insurance is really a good way to deal with health care costs?

original article: How Obamacare Hurts Millions Of Americans By Robbing Peter To Pay For Paul
May 10, 2017 by Scott Ehrlich

In my prior article, I tried to outline the pre-existing condition issue. I concluded the amount of people potentially affected by this issue ranged somewhere between 500,000 and 1.9 million and, due to political reasons, it is much likelier to be on the lower end of that spectrum.

So for this article, I will use 1 million people as my number. Based on this data from Avalere, it’s a pretty sensible estimate, if you only count states that are solely Republican-run and therefore likely to seek a waiver.

This 1 million people are adults covered by the individual market, at the moment largely through the federal exchanges. People on group insurance are not affected by pre-existing conditions laws, as those plans do not do individual underwriting. People in government insurance such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Tri-Care are guaranteed issue upon meeting certain conditions. Children under 19 who aren’t covered by Medicaid are covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has no pre-existing condition exclusions. Futher, people in Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Washington have state laws that mandate guaranteed issue.

So our at-risk people are made up of the remaining 7 million or so people in the other 45 states who choose to self-insure, have pre-existing conditions that stop them from getting insurance, have states granted waivers under the American Health Care Act (AHCA, if it passes Congress in its current form), and have failed to keep continuous coverage.

Assuming your eyes glazed over a quarter of a way through that sentence, that shows just how many safety nets one has to fall through to be at risk of being denied coverage at the market rate, or any rate, for pre-existing conditions. Recall that just because someone has a pre-existing condition or is denied by an insurance company for one, doesn’t mean he will be denied by all. So that is why my numbers are lower than many others being reported.

Let’s Pin Down How Much These Folks’ Health Care Costs

So let’s go with that 1 million number, which is still a lot of people needing help. What can we do with them? That is the challenge. When enrolling a random assortment of 1 million Americans in a pool, theoretically about 27 percent could have some sort of ailment requiring immediate treatment. Depending on the mix of other people, it’s possible to make that pool actuarily sound.

But high-risk pools don’t work that way. In that pool, 100 percent of enrollees have pre-existing conditions. Therefore, it’s impossible to provide them insurance and keep a stable pool. You can’t insure someone for a condition he already has any more than you can insure a house that is already on fire or a car that has already crashed. There is no ability to pool risk.

So this group of people is very expensive to cover, as they are already sick and use a lot of health care. Average costs in the PCIP federal high-risk pool, the one the Affordable Care Act set up as a bridge to the exchanges, averaged more than $32,000 per enrollee per year. Based on those numbers, at 1 million enrollees, we’d be looking at more than $32 billion annually in costs for high-risk people. That $8 billion that got Rep. Fred Upton to vote yes on House Republicans’ Obamacare tweaks? That would cover only three months of expenses at full enrollment.

If the entire amount appropriated in AHCA were applied to pre-existing conditions, a whopping $123 billion, we’d only have enough to make it through four years if that cost were accurate.

Luckily, That Cost Is Likely Overstated

Reading deeper into the report, you find that, fortunately, it may not be. Not all people with pre-existing conditions are created equally: “4.4 percent of PCIP enrollees accounted for over 50 percent of claims paid, while approximately two-thirds of enrollees experienced $5,000 or less in claims paid over the same period.” So while Avalere used the $32,000 figure, it probably vastly overstates the cost of a program like this. That’s because the people most likely to have been enrolled in PCIP would be the sickest, who need the most care immediately.

Someone with early-stage diabetes with no side effects, like myself, who may currently be tough to insure may ignore a high-risk pool like this since it costs more than I spend on treatment, while someone with advanced cancer requiring frequent doctor visits, expensive medication, and consistent chemotherapy would seek something like this out. Therefore, if the pool of 115,000 enrollees in PCIP were expanded to the 1 million people who have pre-existing conditions but couldn’t be insured, we’d likely see many more costing about $5,000 per year than the ones costing $100,000 and up.

Therefore, I prefer the number $12,000 as the cost per additional enrollee. This uses the average benefit used by a person enrolled in Medicare based on the total benefits paid divided by the total people covered. Since these people are older, sicker, or disabled and have high health utilization, I think it makes a good proxy for the sort of person likely to seek a high-risk pool who would not have jumped at the opportunity to sign up for PCIP.

Adding 900,000 people at that cost to the 100,000 people at $32,000 in PCIP gives us a total annual cost of $14 billion. That means if people in these pools were to cover about 10 percent of their own health-care expenses, the money AHCA appropriates could cover the entire affected population of the high-risk pools for the entire 10-year budget window.

This Is Still a Lot of Money

So now we’ve seen the numbers. About a million people may need help. Pooling them with the healthy has real costs to a lot of people to help a few. But we have decided as a society that we can’t just let those few suffer. Yet helping pay for their care will be staggeringly expensive. Even in my example, with this smaller pool and smaller assumed costs, we would burn through the entire pool of $123 billion in a decade. These people will still need help at the end of that decade. How do we take care of our sick population into the 2030s without busting our budget?

That is why people argue we should keep the Affordable Care Act provisions regarding pre-existing conditions, which are community rating and guaranteed issue. The benefits are obvious, as they have been blasted all over the media. People getting operations they might not otherwise have had, seeing doctors they couldn’t otherwise see, getting care they wouldn’t have otherwise received. Who would be so heartless as to take that away?

This is a classic example of concentrated and observable risk and diffuse and hard to see benefits. Remember what has happened to premiums since ACA was implemented. All these people were not covered without a cost. That cost comes out of the pockets of everyone else in the exchanges. While much harder to see, and much less heart-wrenching in a soundbite or a video or a tweet, those costs did make a difference.

Adding a few hundred dollars a month to health premiums can mean the difference between eating terrible food and eating healthy, not working out and a gym membership, scrimping and stressing over every dollar and rationing essentials which adds mental and physical health costs, or a budget that more comfortably covers your fixed expenses.

More severely, higher premiums for lower-quality policies may mean that some people who may have formerly been able to afford some form of insurance now are going without, causing exactly the sort of problem ACA was supposed to fix. To act like the days, weeks, months, and years taken off the lives of some people due to the costs ACA imposes to help others is without consequence is sadly mistaken.

When Compassion Is Cruel

Those realities aren’t purely speculative, either. Rates are rising year over year. Even with rising subsidies, the plans get more expensive to both buyers and the taxpayers. And there is no sign these rising rates will abate, as more people for whom insurance has a marginal value will choose to go without, leaving a sicker pool, causing not only rates to rise but insurance companies to lose more and more money on these policies.

That leads to insurers dropping out of markets entirely. This is why doing it the “compassionate” way has not only costs for people whose rates will rise, but also costs for those this is supposed to help, as this adverse selection will result in many of them also having no insurance options. Guaranteed issue and community rating do very little good if no one is willing to sell policies because the cost risk is too high.

That is why, whichever way you lean politically, both the ACA and AHCA seem to be just a band-aid. Neither are sustainable, needing significant federal money pumped into them to survive. ACA will need it to subsidize the cost of policies to get healthy people to sign up while also subsidizing the losses insurance companies suffer in an effort to keep them on the exchanges when they don’t.

AHCA will need massive continued subsidies to fund high-risk pools, all as health-care gets more individualized and potentially more expensive. This is in addition to the increasing burden Medicare will put on state and federal budgets as baby boomers retire and live to a ripe old age, while higher birth rates among poorer Americans, in addition to ACA expansion, should cause a massive increase in Medicaid spending.

This is why any comprehensive health insurance reform is doomed to fail. Americans want great quality care at cheap prices that is abundantly available. At best, we can get two of those three. At worst, we get very expensive plans that provide very little real health care for the most vulnerable while making things worse for everyone else. That is why our efforts should focus on ways to provide better health care for everyone, increasing the size of the pie of good-quality, available health care rather than locking in the worst parts of our current system and merely fighting about who should pay for them.

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The problem with basing a diagnosis and irreversible treatment on people’s feelings

original article: Bravo to the Truth: What’s Wrong with Transgender Ideology
April 27, 2017 by Walt Heyer

A recent New York Post article tells the story of a Detroit mom named Erica who changed into a transgender dad named Eric. If that is not enough, his son had already changed genders: born a boy, he transitioned to living as a girl. Thus, mom became dad and son became daughter. Similarly, back in 2015, a fifty-two-year-old Canadian man made the news when he traded in his wife and seven kids to fulfill his “true identity” as a six-year-old transgender girl.

Stories like these remind us that transgender identity is a product of LGBTQ social ideology, not of each human person’s innate identity as male or female. Transgender identity is not authentic gender but man’s attempt to socially engineer the family, sex, and gender identity.

What Makes a Person Trans?

The accepted LGBTQ standard for being a “real” trans woman or trans man is simply that a person desires to self-identify as the opposite of his or her biological sex and to be socially accepted as such. If a person feels distressed about his or her birth gender, then the politically correct action is for everyone to affirm the new and “authentic” gender identity—the one that exists only in the trans person’s feelings.

In a recent interview on Fox News, transgender lawyer Jillian Weiss, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, was asked repeatedly by host Tucker Carlson, “What are the legal standards to be transgender?” Finally, the legal specialist admitted, “There are no legal standards.

That’s right—no legal standards or legal definitions of transgender exist. Yet, as Carlson pointed out, $11 billion of federal money is spent on sex-specific programs, such as the Small Business Administration investing in businesses owned by women. Without a legal definition, these funds become easy prey for, as Carlson puts it, “charlatans” who will claim to be women simply to get the money.

When people feel that their biological sex doesn’t match their internal sense of gender, they are typically diagnosed with gender dysphoria. This is defined as “discomfort or distress that is caused by a discrepancy between a person’s gender identity and that person’s sex assigned at birth.” In other words, the medical diagnostician simply listens to and affirms the patient’s own verbal self-identification and self-diagnosis.

No objective tests can prove that the transgender condition exists. No physical examination, blood test, bone marrow test, chromosome test, or brain test will show that a person has gender dysphoria. It is a condition revealed solely by the patient’s feelings. Yet the recommended treatment is extreme—cross-gender hormones and sex-reassigning surgery.

Don’t be duped when trans activists conflate the unrelated condition of intersexuality with transgenderism to gain sympathy for a trans agenda. People with intersex conditions are not the same as self-identified transgender people. Being intersex is verifiable in the physical body; being transgender is not. People who identify as transgender usually have typical male or female anatomies.

How to Become Transgender
The wikiHow article entitled “How to Transition from Male to Female (Transgender)” outlines a simple five-part system for men who want to become women. Here is a small sample:

Seek a qualified therapist. . . . Ask your friends in the trans community to recommend a therapist. Browse the internet in search of a therapist experienced working with members of the trans community. . . .

Receive a diagnosis. Over the course of a series of sessions, your therapist will evaluate your individual situation issuing a diagnosis. After determining that you have consistently experienced symptoms such as disgust with your genitals, a desire to remove signs of your biological sex, and or a certainty that your biological sex does not align with your true gender, your therapist will likely diagnose you with Gender Dysphoria.

These instructions are typical of the advice offered to those who believe they may be transgender. I myself followed a similar series of steps. Yet, in hindsight, after transitioning from male to female and back again, I see that many important topics are ignored by such advice, placing vulnerable people at risk. Four crucial omissions are most obvious and problematic.

First, these instructions fail to caution the reader about therapist bias. Asking friends in the trans community to recommend a therapist guarantees that the therapist will be biased toward recommending the radical step of transitioning.

Second, no mention is made or warning given about sexual fetishes. If a person has been sexually, emotionally, or physically abused or is addicted to masturbation, cross-dressing, or pornography, he could be suffering from a sexual fetish disorder. As such, he is probably not going to be helped by gender dysphoria treatment protocols.

Third, the high incidence of comorbid mental conditions is not mentioned. Those who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, oppositional defiance behaviors, narcissism, autism, or other such disorders need to proceed cautiously when considering transitioning, because these disorders can cause symptoms of gender dysphoria. When the comorbid disorder is effectively treated, the gender discomfort may relent as well.

Fourth, regret after transition is real, and the attempted suicide rate is high. Unhappiness, depression, and inability to socially adapt have been linked to high rates of attempted suicide both before and after gender transition and sexual reassignment surgery. My website gathers academic research on this topic and reports the personal experiences of people who regret transitioning.

Standards of Care?
In theory, the medical community follows certain standards of care for transgender health, now in the seventh revision, which were developed by The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). The standards provide guidelines for treating people who report having discomfort with their gender identity.

People think that because standards exist, people will be properly screened before undergoing the radical gender transition. Unfortunately, the overwhelming theme of these standards is affirmation. Again, clinical practitioners do not diagnose gender dysphoria. Their job is to approve and affirm the client’s self-diagnosis of gender dysphoria and help the patient fulfill the desire for transition. The standards also advise that each patient’s case is different, so the medical practitioners may (and should) adapt the protocols to the individual.

The patient controls the diagnosis of gender dysphoria. If a gender specialist or the patient wants to skip the screening protocols and move forward with hormone treatment and surgical procedures, they are free to do so. The standards of care do not come with any requirement that they be followed.

For example, the standards do, in fact, recommend that patients be pre-screened for other mental health conditions. But I routinely hear from family members who say that obvious comorbid conditions, such as autism or a history of abuse, are ignored. The physician or the counselor simply concludes that the psychological history is unimportant and allows the patient to proceed with hormone treatment.

When Real Looks Fake
As simple as it is to become a “real” transgender person, it’s even easier to turn into a fake one. “Fake” transgender people like me start out as real, but when they eventually see through the delusion of gender change and stop living the transgender life, transgender activists give them the disparaging label of “fake.”

If someone comes to the difficult and honest conclusion that transitioning didn’t result in a change of sex, then he or she is perceived as a threat to the transgender movement and must be discredited. Name-calling and bullying ensues. To be considered real, the transgender person must continue in the delusion that his or her gender changed. The problem with basing a diagnosis and irreversible treatment on people’s feelings, no matter how sincerely held, is that feelings can change.

My message attempts to help others avoid regret, yet the warning is not welcome to the advocates whose voice for transgender rights rings strong and loud. Some will find my words offensive, but then the truth can be offensive. Personally, I cannot think of anything more offensive than men diminishing the wonder and uniqueness of biological women by suggesting women are nothing more than men who have been pumped with hormones and may or may not have undergone cosmetic surgery.

Cheers and bravo to the offensive truth. Let’s reclaim the beautiful reality of male and female sexual difference and reject transgender ideology.

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Some refugees prefer to stay home. Who knew?

In the present environment of American politics, some say bringing refugees to the U.S. is THE solution to the Syrian crisis. But there are other perspectives, such as the perspective of some refugees themselves.

 

This refugee from Syria expresses gratitude for America’s military action in response to the gas attack on Syrian civilians, which appear to be the work of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. He also mentions the fact he and his fellow refugees don’t want to be forced out of their homes and into some foreign country. Some in the American media, such as CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, fish for criticism of President Trump and his immigration policies when interviewing refugees. Debora Heine at PJ Media wrote on this story in CNN Narrative Fail: Syrian Refugee Slams Clinton, Obama; Praises Trump.

“With all due respect, with all due respect,” Kassem began. “I didn’t see each and every person who was demonstrating after the travel ban…. I didn’t see you three days ago when people were gassed to death….I didn’t see you in 2013 when 1,400 people were gassed to death. I didn’t see you raising your voice against President Obama’s inaction in Syria that left us refugees,” he said, completely deflating her expectations.

“If you really care about refugees, if you really care about helping us, please — help us stay here in our country,” he continued.

Others who have looked into immigration have reached a similar conclusion. Rather than play politics and act as if racism or xenophobia are the motivation, those who are willing to make an intellectually honest assessment of the crisis recognize immigration is not the solution the refugees need. Just like the Syrian refugee who wants help remaining in his home, Roy Beck shows good reasons to question the open immigration narrative by discussing the practical details that actually affect the people involved.

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Western feminism now defends restrictive, intolerant patriarchy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Healthy masculinity is exactly what our young boys need

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do the Actions of a Few Men Characterize Them All?

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

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

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

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

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

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

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

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

What We Need Is Healthy Masculinity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Compulsory medicalized killing on the rize

So you thought you lived in a free country? How quaint. Two recent stories should prove that ignoring political and social issues is not the way to defend liberty.

Oh, you forgot liberty had to be defended? Don’t you remember the saying “if you can keep it”? That’s an American saying, sure, but it applies to all countries who purpose themselves a nation of free people. Most people seem to think merely living their lives in peace is enough. Sadly, that is simply not the case.

Take, for instance, the idea of a doctor who doesn’t want to violate the hippocratic oath and kill, ahem, “euthanize” a patient. Well, instead of actually killing patient, how about at least referring a patient to someone else who will? Currently, Canadian law protects a medical practitioner’s right to NOT do this. But in Ontario that may soon change.

Doctors shouldn’t be forced to comply with patients’ suicide. Ontario gov’t may change that by Alex Schadenberg

Doctors speaking out say they shouldn’t be forced to refer their patients to another doctor who is willing to help them die if they disagree with the practice.

“None of us ever envisioned whether we took our hippocratic oath 40 years ago or 4 years ago that we would one day be legislated to cooperate in the death of our patients.”

Another story stems from Sweden where a nurse was fired for refusing to participate in abortions. This is not a mere “referral” type situation. No, this nurse was told to actually participate in medicalized killing to keep her job.

Court Rules Nurse Fired for Refusing to Assist Abortions Must Do Abortions to Keep Her Job by Steven Ertelt

The Swedish Appeals Court decided Wednesday that the government can force medical professionals to perform abortions, or else be forced out of their profession. Because the ruling in Grimmark v. Landstinget i Jönköpings Län contradicts international law protecting conscientious objection, Grimmark is now considering whether to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

This nurse has tried to find work at several other locations in her city and been refused.

In Europe and in the new world we find a steady march away from respecting the rights of those performing work toward an environment of compulsory labor. Keep in mind conscientious objection is a big deal in most Western countries. Many (but not all) have done away with compulsory military service, for example. The right to NOT participate in religion is another example of the importance of letting people live by their own conscience. Bruce Springsteen shows us another example, where he refused service in Greensboro, North Carolina due to his personal conviction on what he perceives as a moral issue.

But on some issues it seems only one perspective is to be respected. On matters related to medicalized killing, the right to die and the right to kill one’s own child prevail over the right of medical personnel to refuse to participate in such killing. As should be obvious to all (and is to those who can think past the end of their own nose), if one group can be compelled into service against their beliefs, another group can be as well. It seems not to matter that the right to conscientious objection is being infringed upon, apparently the only thing that matters is whose right to conscientious objection is being infringed upon.

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Examining the redefinition of gender and sexuality

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

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

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

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

A generational shift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Silencing opponents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Identity vs. biology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cultural influences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How young is too young?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next frontier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The defense those who raped a 14 year old girl should wake us up

original article: Will ‘violating’ of teen girl in high school bathroom by illegal be wake-up call?
March 23, 2017 by Cal Thomas

A rough translation of Maryland’s state motto is “Strong Deeds, Gentle Words.” In the case of a 14-year-old girl who was recently raped and sodomized in a restroom at Rockville High School by two males students, both immigrants, one facing a deportation hearing, that motto in practice has been reversed.

The police report of the incident is so graphic that it cannot be printed in full, but the facts are these: Henry Sanchez, 18, a Guatemala native who has a pending “alien removal” case against him, and 17-year-old Jose Montano, who came to America from El Salvador eight months ago, have been charged with first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual offenses.

The two are alleged to have dragged the 14-year-old girl into a boy’s restroom where they raped and sodomized her after she repeatedly screamed “no.”

Compounding the physical and possible long-term psychological damage to the girl is the response of school authorities and state legislators.

A letter sent to parents from Rockville High School officials said, “Ensuring a safe, secure and welcoming learning environment for all of our students is a top priority. Our staff remains vigilant in the monitoring of our school each and every day.”

Apparently not.

Among the many questions that should be asked is why Sanchez and Montano — both old enough to be seniors — were placed in a freshman class in the first place? They were given a translator to help them understand what the teacher said in English, but the word that describes that ludicrous decision is easily understood in both English and Spanish — “estupido.”

Equally “stupid” is a bill in the legislature that would declare Maryland a “sanctuary state.” If it passes and survives a likely veto by Gov. Larry Hogan, it would shield illegal immigrants from federal immigration laws. The Republican leader in the House of Delegates, Nic Kipke, says the measure “ignores the rule of law” and would create “anarchy” in the state.

One of the things the left claims to always be concerned about are the rights of minorities and the disenfranchised. One hears that argument invoked often in debates over transgender individuals and which bathroom they can use. If that works for liberals in this case, what about the right of a teenage girl to be protected against a violation of her person by illegal immigrants?

A corollary argument is that most illegal immigrants are not violent criminals. We hear the same argument when it comes to Muslims, that not all members of the religion should be judged by the acts of a violent few. Ask the victims or relatives of people who have died or been injured by radical Islamists how they feel about that argument. In the case of the young Rockville High School girl, ask her and her parents, siblings and other relatives if they are OK with allowing people like Sanchez and Montano into their child’s school.

The high school from which I graduated is located not far from Rockville High. My school was a much safer place. Chewing gum and running in the halls were the worst offenses one could commit, and for repeat offenders that got you a trip to the vice principal’s office, or detention, and a note home to parents where further discipline was often applied.

If a law like the one under consideration by the Maryland legislature had been in force, Sanchez and Montano might have been shielded from a deportation hearing because authorities would have been prevented from asking them about their immigration status or even their country of origin.

If convicted of the rape charges, they should be punished and then deported. School officials and legislators who have helped create the environment that has allowed such a horrible incident to occur must be held accountable by the citizens of Montgomery County, Maryland, and voters statewide.

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May I Please Speak to My Daddy?

original article: May I Please Speak to My Daddy?
March 29, 2017 by Doug Mainwaring

When I was taking my first few steps out of the closet in the late 1990s, a guy who called himself Tex offered me a short version of his life story over drinks at a Dupont Circle bar. The conversation took an unanticipated turn: he explained that his current partner had moved halfway across the country, leaving behind an ex-wife and kids. Tex would sometimes answer the house phone (this was before cell phones) and would hear a small voice cautiously ask, “May I please speak to my Daddy?” This was his partner’s eight-year-old daughter calling from somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Tex said that it troubled him deeply that his partner’s daughter had to ask permission of a stranger in order to speak with her daddy.

When I think of this little girl, my thoughts drift to folks like Alana Newmanand others who have anonymous sperm donors for fathers, many of whom have daily asked that same question in their hearts. May I please speak to my Daddy?

When I started speaking out about the dangers of same-sex marriage for children, I found it difficult to get proponents of genderless marriage to engage in intellectually honest one-on-one discussions. Then I realized: at least half the people who wanted to clobber me with bumper sticker slogans were products of broken marriages.

In early 2013, following my participation in a panel discussion, a young man accused me of being unfair to gays, lesbians, and their children. So I took a chance and asked him point blank: “Did your parents divorce when you were a child?”

He was a little stunned by the personal question, but he answered, “Yes.” The smugness left his face.

“Did you live with your mother?”

“Yes.”

“Did you see much of your father?”

“No. I almost never saw him.”

“Did you miss him? Did you wish you could be around him more?”

“Yes. Of course,” he answered, with a bit of wistfulness.

“Did your parents’ divorce increase your happiness—or your sadness?”

“Sadness.”

“So your parents dismantled your home and set up two new structures that put their needs first, not yours. In fact, they were structures guaranteeing your continued unhappiness. You learned to live with it, because as a child you had no control whatsoever over their actions, but these new structures weren’t necessarily built with your best interest in mind.”

“Well, no. I didn’t get to vote on the matter. I was a kid.”

“Exactly. So why would it be different for children of gays and lesbians who are denied either their father or mother? Do you really think two moms or two dads is exactly the same as having both mom and dad around to love and care for you? Seriously? Would having an extra mom around the house really have satisfied you, or would you still have an unanswered yearning in your heart for your Dad?”

“I see.”

“Then why would you want to condemn other children to be fatherless? Or motherless?”

He got it. He didn’t like it, but he got it—and then he walked away. I have no idea if he changed his mind, but at least he had finally actually heard and listened to an opposing point of view—one that resonated with him.

As I walked away, I thought to myself, “To be intellectually honest, I can’t keep speaking publicly against the dangers of genderless marriage without also simultaneously speaking about the objective evil of divorce for kids.” Divorce is an exponentially larger, far more pervasive threat to children than the prospect of gays raising children without moms and lesbians raising children without dads. I sighed. There is a lot to undo and set straight.

The Prodigal Dad

After my wife and I had been divorced for a few years, it was not unusual for her to call and ask me to drive to her house because our youngest son was out of control. When I would arrive, I found turmoil. He had gotten angry about something, and that had triggered a rage completely disproportionate to the issue. He would yell and scream and kick, then isolate himself in his bedroom. No trespassers allowed. It was gut-wrenching to witness this. Thankfully, he would calm down after a while and return to normal.

His rage would, in turn, trigger discussions with my ex-wife. What were we going to do about his behavioral problem? Did he require medication? Did he need to be spanked? Did he need psychological help?

After this happened a few times it became abundantly clear to me exactly what he needed. Our son did not have a behavioral problem. He needed just one thing: he needed his parents to get back together and to love each other. The slicing and dicing of our family had thrust unbearable stress on this four-year-old’s tender psyche. His Dad and Mom were the culprits responsible for this, yet we were approaching this as if it were his problem.

Our little boy bore no blame, but I sure did.

It took a few more years for my ex-wife and me to fully come to our senses. In the meantime, our kids came to live with me. This was not a solution, it was simply a stopgap means of de-escalating an uncomfortable situation. While this solved some problems, it created others and remained a wholly unsatisfying answer.

To justify remaining divorced and maintaining two households, we adults were enforcing a charade, demanding everyone else around us—especially our own children—pretend that our selfish pursuits and our inability to “work things out” were just fine. In reality, we had done nothing more than slough off our problems and dysfunction on our kids. We were alleviating our own stresses by heaping them on our children.

Wonderfully, after a dozen years, we finally dropped the pretense and are once again husband and wife, married with children. There has been a lot of healing since then, some of which has been a complete surprise. And we’ll never know what additional potential difficulties our kids have been spared.

A Lesson from Hollywood

Never before in history have children been born with the explicit purpose of being deprived of either a mom or a dad. Yet children who are brought into this world to satisfy the wants of gay and lesbian couples enter the world in exactly this way. They live with the knowledge that one of their biological parents will remain forever an enigma, a phantom.

Until recently, children were viewed as a pure gift from God. Now new laws undefining marriage are producing the sad result of undefining children as well, reducing them to chattel-like sources of fulfillment. On one side, their family tree consists not of ancestors, but of a small army of anonymous surrogates, donors, and attorneys who pinch-hit for the absent gender in genderless marriages.

Though it may seem a strange source, the 1998 Disney movie The Parent Trap (a remake of the 1961 classic starring Hayley Mills) can teach us a lot about kids growing up with two gay dads or two lesbian moms.

In the movie, two girls who look remarkably alike, Hallie Parker and Annie James, bump into each other at an exclusive New England summer camp. They soon discover that they are twins who were separated shortly after birth, and they concoct a scheme to switch identities and trade places. Each so desperately wants to meet her missing parent that she is willing to change appearance, hairstyle, mannerisms, voice, and accent and to move to a foreign country just to have a few surreptitious, stolen days with the mom or dad for whom she longs.

Hallie lives with her dad in California wine country in a beautiful hillside mansion with a swimming pool and stables. She has a handsome dad who is a fabulously successful vintner. In short, she has everything—but she still yearns for the mom who has been denied her. Meanwhile, Annie lives in a mansion in a posh London suburb. Her beautiful mom is a world-famous dress designer. She has servants to wait on her and a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce at her disposal. Yet Annie likewise yearns for the dad who has been denied her.

Both these girls lead enviable fairytale lives. But viewers watching this film, the majority of whom enjoy far less material wealth and security, feel sorry for both girls, because each is missing a parent. This irony is precisely the point of the movie.

It’s interesting, too, that Hallie’s aunt lives in the home and serves as a sort of surrogate mother figure, while Annie’s maternal grandfather lives with her and her mom, serving as a paternal figure for Annie. Even though both these wonderful, upbeat, loving single-parent households have a closely related, caring family member of the opposite sex present, a Grand-Canyon-sized hole persists in Annie’s and Hallie’s hearts.

In the movie, adults are responsible for dividing children. In the case of children produced for genderless marriage, adults are responsible for depriving them. Deprivation is permanently, irrevocably etched into the hearts and souls of human beings created for genderless marriages. Children who are engineered for gay marriages face impoverished lives from the day they are born, as two men snatch a baby from their rented surrogate’s womb, denying their child perhaps the only opportunity he or she might have had to experience a mother’s embrace. This missed opportunity is as close as their child will ever have come to touching someone who is, sort of, their mom.

As she grows older, her yearning for mom will be dismissed, hushed, laughed away, and not taken seriously. After all, dad sees no need for a woman in his life. Why should his little girl or boy? To yearn for a mom becomes an insult to the wifeless man or male couple raising her. Better to suffer in silence than risk upsetting dad or dads by bringing up the greatest of taboo subjects.

Each one of us needs to thoroughly think through the unintended, unconsidered consequences that lurk—or are purposely obscured—behind our acceptance of genderless marriage, and more importantly, our society’s continued shrug of the shoulders over both divorce and single-parenting. We adults yawn when it comes to these issues. Children everywhere have a different response: they cry themselves to sleep.

When It Comes to Fatherhood, Men Need to Be Men

Men who divorce, men who marry other men in order to raise children, or who anonymously sell their sperm—all follow in Esau’s footsteps. Except it is not our own birthrights we are trading for a mere bowl of soup. It is our children’s. We do so callously, selling their greatest treasure—growing up with their biological parents, with an intact biological family—very cheaply.

This world does not need us men to selfishly take whatever we want, especially if the price is the welfare of our children. Men are supposed to do the opposite: men are meant to protect their children from unhappiness, loneliness, and other threats. Real men don’t victimize their own children for their own benefit. They protect, they shield, absorbing stress and hardship rather than deflecting it onto their children. Men stand in the breach.

When it comes to fatherhood, our culture needs men to be men. For some, that may mean relinquishing certain dreams or our own yearnings. More and more, our culture is dominated by men who are self-interested and cowardly. C.S. Lewis would tell us we are a generation of men without chests.

Pope Saint John Paul II informed us, “Original sin attempts, then, to abolish fatherhood, destroying its rays which permeate the created world, placing in doubt the truth about God who is Love” (emphasis his). During this current age, marriage, family, and even gender are undermined in every conceivable way, and fatherhood in particular is under relentless, violent attack. It is up to us men to courageously fight back.

Our children deserve better. They don’t need superheroes; just quiet, unsung, ordinary, everyday heroes who answer to the name “Daddy”—not spoken over a phone, but whispered into our ears as they safely and contentedly rest in our arms.

children, corruption, crisis, culture, family, health, homosexuality, ideology, philosophy, tragedy, unintended consequences, victimization

Filed under: children, corruption, crisis, culture, family, health, homosexuality, ideology, philosophy, tragedy, unintended consequences, victimization

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