Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Black people lost ground under Obama

Host Tavis Smiley argues black people have lost ground in every major economic category over the last ten years.
April 6, 2016

https://video.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=4834072253001&w=466&h=263

Democrats, economy, government, politics, president, public policy, reform, tragedy, unintended consequences

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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

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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

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HOW THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION BECAME A DOGMA

original article: THE ZEALOUS FAITH OF SECULARISM
January 2018 by Mary Eberstadt

 

Begin with a sobering fact. During the past ten years, some of the sharpest observers of our time have come to believe that the tectonic plates underlying Western civilization have shifted momentously. One result is a deep, creative struggle among the thoughtful for new imagery and fresh analogies to illuminate what’s perceived as a darkening time.

Thus, nine years ago, the late Richard John Neuhaus called this new place “American Babylon.” Today, in another eponymous book, Rod Dreher speaks of a “Benedict Option.” George Weigel called in his 2017 Simon Lecture for a new Great Awakening, and elsewhere for what he dubs “the Panula option” after the recently deceased Fr. Arne Panula, a tireless evangelizer. Using T. S. Eliot as a touchstone, First Things editor R. R. Reno argues for Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society. In Strangers in a Strange Land, Archbishop Charles Chaput develops an analogy between our time and that of the Book of Exodus. And in yet another book just published, Anthony Esolen evokes the image of the phoenix with Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture.

As this profusion of literary and historical analyses goes to show, to be Christian today is to be a sailor in search of an astrolabe. And no wonder: We are in open, roiling, uncharted waters, so looking up to fixed points would help. One other way to orient ourselves is to peer down beneath the currents and focus on what’s done most to shape the “post-Christian” or “ex-Christian” world: the sexual revolution.

That the revolution is what’s catapulted us to this place is a fact that more and more analysts now affirm. What may be less obvious, though just as important, is what the widespread Western embrace of the revolution has wrought not only in individual lives, but macrocosmically: It has given rise to an increasingly systematic, zealous, secularist faith. We cannot understand either the perils or opportunities of Christianity today without first understanding this developing, rival body of beliefs with which it contends.

To begin with a point to which many Christian thinkers would agree, the United States and other nations rooted in Judeo-Christianity have entered a time of paganization—what we might also call “re-paganization.” The gravitational pull of traditional religion seems to be diminishing, even as a-religious and anti-religious elements accumulate mass. This paganization is especially ascendant among the young, now famously more prone than any other group to checking “none of the above” when asked for their religious affiliation; according to the Pew Research Center and others, the combination of self-described atheists and self-defined “nones” is now the fastest-growing “religious” group.

Wider manifestations of this ongoing paganization have also become commonplaces: the proliferation of religious liberty court cases, legal and other attacks on Christian student groups at secular universities, demonization and caricature of religious believers, intimidation aimed at those who defend Judeo-Christian morality, and other instances of what Pope Francis himself has dubbed the “polite persecution” of believers in advanced societies. Paganization is also evident in the malignant conflation of Christianity with “hate speech,” a noxious form of ideological branding destined to unleash new forms of grief on believers in the time ahead.

So far, so familiar. And yet, we’ve not fully understood this new paganism after all.

According to the dominant paradigm shared by most people, religious and secular alike, the world is now divided into two camps: people of faith and people of no faith. But this either-or template is mistaken. Paganization as we now know it is driven by a new historical phenomenon: the development of a rival faith—a rival, secularist faith which sees Christianity as a competitor to be vanquished, rather than as an alternative set of beliefs to be tolerated in an open society.

How do we know this? We know it in part because today’s secularist faith behaves in ways that only a faith can.

Consider, for example, the scene on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States on June 27, 2016, following the announcement of the decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a decision about Texas abortion clinics that was taken as a victory by proponents of abortion on demand. After that decision was made public, videos documented the outdoor party that resulted, spilling from the court steps on out into the city: a gyrating, weeping, waving, screaming sea of people, mostly women, behaving as if they were in the throes of religious ecstasy. Occam’s razor says they were in religious ecstasy—their kind of religious ecstasy, in which abortion on demand becomes the gnostic equivalent of a central sacrament, the repetition of which is judged essential to their quasi-religious community.

Or consider another snapshot: the so-called Women’s March on Washington following the election of Donald Trump. This public demonstration, too, was driven in large degree by a single force: animus against traditional Judeo-Christian moral teaching—specifically, teaching about sex. The totemic hats used to brand the event were named not for any conventional political concern—jobs, taxes, defense, the economy, health care, immigration—but for female genitalia. To clinch the point, the only women’s organization disinvited from this supposedly universal “women’s march” was a pro-life group. When forced to choose between women and abortion on demand, the women in charge chose abortion. That’s because, within this new church of secularism, pro-life women are heretics: despised transgressors of a religious community’s teaching and norms.

If the so-called right to choose were truly an exercise of choice—if the rhetoric of the people who defend it matched the reality of what they actually believe—one would expect its defenders to honor choosing against it here or there. But this does not happen: No “pro-choice” group holds up as an example any woman who chooses not to abort.

That this doesn’t happen tells us something noteworthy. For secularist believers, abortion is not in fact a mere “choice,” as their value-free, consumerist rhetoric frames it. No, abortion is sacrosanct. It is a communal rite—one through which many enter their new religion in the first place. The popular, Internet-driven rage for “telling one’s own abortion story”—the phenomenon known as #shoutyourabortion—illustrates this point. Each individual story is a secularist pilgrim’s progress into a new faith whose community is united by this bloody rite of passage. Add the suggestively popular term “woke”—today’s gnostic version of “awakened”—and there’s more evidence that secularist progressivism has erected a church.

So the fury directed at Christianity can be pressed into a single word, sex. Christianity today, like Christianity past and Christianity to come, contends with many enemies. But the adversary now inflicting maximal damage on the Church is not dreamed of in Horatio’s philosophy. It is instead the absolutist defense of the sexual revolution by its faithful.

Christians and other dissidents aren’t being heckled from Hollywood to Capitol Hill for feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, or defending the commandments against lying and stealing. Bakers aren’t landing in court because of trying to follow what’s said in the Song of Songs. All of the expressions of animosity now aimed against Christianity by this new secularist faith share a common denominator. They are rooted in secularist dogma about the sexual revolution, according to which that revolution is an unequivocal and fundamental boon.

This substitute religion pantomimes Christianity itself in fascinating ways. It offers a hagiography of secular saints, all patrons of the sexual revolution: proselytizers for abortion and contraception such as Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem. Every year, Planned Parenthood confers on pro-abortion journalists, politicians, activists, and others prizes known affectionately as the “Maggies,” for Margaret Sanger—its “highest honor,” in the organization’s words, awarded in recent years to luminaries such as Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.

This brings us to another feature of the new secularist faith: its lack of transparency. For decades, scholarship has established Sanger’s moral roots in eugenics, her faith in the inferiority of certain other people, her cynical use of African-American ministers to evangelize the black population about birth control in the hope of bringing their numbers down, and related beliefs out of odor today. Yet in a moment when Confederate statues are targets in the name of scrubbing racism from the public square, Margaret Sanger remains immune from moral revisionism. Why? Because she is the equivalent of a secularist saint of the revolution, off-limits from second thoughts.

Similar status and protection are accorded to pseudo-scientist Alfred C. Kinsey, founder of the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, whose fabled “reports” on human sexuality included allowing so-called research “subjects” to inflict what is now called child sexual abuse. According to biographer James H. Jones in Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life, the icon also filmed sex acts of employees and subordinates, walked in on students as they showered, had sex with people involved in his “research,” wrote letters of erotica to assistants and others, and otherwise appears to have fallen short of today’s standards concerning sexual harassment and coercion. Even before “Harvey Weinstein” became global shorthand for such depredations, Kinsey’s legacy would have been reviled—were he anything but Kinsey, a founding father of the new secularist faith. Instead, Kinsey and all his works, like Sanger’s, remain untouchable.

The rival faith sports foreign “missionaries,” too, in the form of progressive charities and international bureaucracies—those who carry word of the revolution and the pseudo-sacraments of contraception and abortion to women around the planet. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to name one prominent example, recently made the provision of contraception a centerpiece of its overseas work. It hopes thereby to reach “an additional 120 million women and girls in the poorest countries by 2020.”

Who, exactly, are these women? Judged by the photos on the Gates Foundation website, they do not hail from Iceland or Denmark. As the foundation explains, “Less than 20 percent of women in Sub-Saharan Africa and barely one-third of women in South Asia use modern contraceptives”—making these women targets of quasi-religious zeal.

In fact, preoccupation with the fertility of certain other people is a constant theme in the church of the new secularism. In July 2017, French president Emmanuel Macron revealed his own fealty to the faith when he dilated at an appearance in Germany—of all places—upon the “civilizational” challenges facing Africa, singling out the fact that women in some countries still have “seven or eight children.” Elsewhere that same summer, Canada’s minister of international development, Marie-Claude Bibeau, called abortion “a tool to end poverty.” In 2009, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made a similar slip in an interview with The New York Times Magazine, reflecting that “at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

Again, it’s the lack of transparency that makes this faith go round. Under any other circumstances, if well-heeled white people were to proclaim that the solution to the world’s problems is to have fewer dark people, public outrage would be the result. Yet in secular quarters, these statements above, and others like them, get a pass. This is what happens when one’s religion takes as its cornerstone the teaching that the sexual revolution and its consequences are beyond question—eugenics, sexual violations, and other transgressions be damned.

Traditional religious believers should strive to bring the hidden premises of this rival faith into the open. For example, when people say that they hope the Church changes its position on marriage or birth control, they are not talking about one religious faith—i.e., the Christian one. What they really mean is that they hope the Church will suborn or replace its own theology with the theology of the new church of secularism. Or when politicians say they are “privately opposed to abortion”—even as they vote for policies that will ensure its ubiquity—they are using language to conceal rather than clarify their intention. What they really want is to enjoy a kind of dual religious citizenship, according to which they are “Catholic” or “Christian” in some circumstances, and followers of the church of secularism in any circumstances bearing on the sexual revolution.

This effort to keep a foot in both churches won’t work, any more than one can be simultaneously Muslim and Buddhist. Even so, the effort to enjoy dual religious citizenship, particularly among politicians and others in the public eye, remains commonplace. It should be understood for what it is: an attempt to serve two very different—indeed, competing—religious masters.

The fact that two faiths now compete in the West also explains the vehemence aimed at public figures who are practicing Christians—in particular, practicing Catholics. In September 2017, at the confirmation hearing of judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic, several senators remarked upon and denounced her faith. The most telling rhetorical moment may have been Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s declaration that “the dogma lives loudly within you”—an expostulation more fitted to an exorcist preparing for battle with Satan than to an American elected official charged with ascertaining the judicial fitness of a highly qualified candidate. Which is exactly the point.

In sum, secularist progressivism is less a political movement than a church, and the so-called culture war has not been conducted by people of religious faith and people of no faith. It is instead a contest of competing faiths. One believes in the books of the Bible, and the other in the evolving, figurative book of orthodoxy about the sexual revolution.

What does this tour of the new church of secularism mean for those outside its congregation? First, traditional believers need to distinguish the competitive character of this new religion from the cooperative qualities of other, more familiar ones. At long last and after great troubles, Americans have grown accustomed to the peaceful coexistence of multiple faiths and denominations. The rival church of secularism seeks no such comity, as today’s unprecedented attacks on Christian schools, charities, colleges, and other works go to show. The new church of secularism serves a very jealous god.

We see this, again, in the new church’s chronic, self-perceived imperative to interfere with the fertility of other people. This spectacle—of pale people in increasingly barren societies telling certain other people not to have their own children—is going to look grotesque in history’s rearview mirror. It also shows that the Christian idea of the intrinsic dignity and worth of all human beings stands as an especially vivid sign of contradiction to secularism’s understanding that certain people would be better off dead, or otherwise not among us. And it’s at least ironic that a movement known by the slogan “keep your rules off my body” has no trouble telling other people what to do with theirs.

Its missionary aggression also explains why the new secular faith has insinuated itself successfully into many Christian institutions, and why this insinuation has been invariably destructive. At the micro level of personal behavior, the new faith tempts people toward disobedience and cafeteria Christianity. At the macro level, it’s institutionally divisive like no other issue of our day. It turns the followers of Christ into political interest groups. The scramble over doctrine in the Catholic Church today, conducted entirely by advocates who mistakenly believe that the dogmas of both faiths can be somehow reconciled, is a powerful example of the sexual revolution’s virulent workings within Christianity itself.

The most insidious threat to the real Church, and even to religious liberty, is not the new secularist church in itself. The greater threat is self-censorship. There is understandable temptation, including among Christians, to preemptively accommodate to this new faith, for all kinds of reasons: saving face, not being “judgy,” preventing the ostracism of one’s children, and other motivations plumbed so searchingly in Rod Dreher’s work, especially. As he also proves, it’s hard to find comity with a foe that wants to drive one’s own Church to perdition. Christians need to know that what’s paramount is confronting secular religion and its sex-fixated dogmas, not accommodating them.

This vocation of religious opposition is necessary not only for the protection of the Church, but also for the sake of the sexual revolution’s real and many victims. The new church of secularism, rooted in a false anthropology that mismeasures humanity and deprives it of redemption, generates human misery throughout Western societies. The malign consequences of secularist doctrine are playing out especially tragically among the young. The scene on many American campuses, to offer one example, has become surreal, replete with demonstrations and high emotional drama and seemingly inexplicable animosities. But why are more and more students behaving so bizarrely in the first place?

One novel thought is this. Maybe they’re claiming to be victims because they are victims—not so much of the “isms” they point to as putative oppressors, but of the church of the new secularism and its toxic works. Up until the sexual revolution, expectations remained largely the same throughout the ages: that one would grow up to have children and a family; that parents and siblings and extended family would remain one’s primal community; that one would have parents and siblings and extended family in the first place.

The revolution has upended every one of these expectations. It has erased the givenness into which generations are born. “Who am I?” is a universal human question. It becomes harder to answer if other questions are out of reach. Who is my brother? Who is my father? Where, if anywhere, are my cousins, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and the rest of the organic connections through which humanity up until now channeled everyday existence—including our relations with God?

It’s this loss of givenness that drives the frenzied search for identity these days, whether in the secular scholasticism concerning how to speak about ethnicity, or in the belligerent fights over “cultural appropriation.” Such phenomena are indeed bizarre, if we examine them under the rationalist assumptions of the pre-revolutionary world. But if instead we understand them against the existential reality of today—one in which the family has imploded, and in which many people, no matter how well-off or privileged, have been deprived of the most elementary of human connections—we can grasp why “identity politics” is the headline that just won’t go away.

“Who am I?” An illiterate peasant of the Middle Ages was better equipped to answer that question than many people in advanced societies in this century. He may only have lived until age thirty—but he spent his days among family and in towns, practicing a shared faith, and thus developed a vivid sense of those to whom he was elementally connected, not just in the course of his life but before birth and after death. Post-Pill, confusion rules the earth. No wonder itinerant erotic leanings and ethnic claims have become substitute answers to that eternal question, “Who am I?” Many people, especially younger people, experience these as the only reliable answers to that question of identity—or at least, as the answers that seem less ambiguous and fraught than answers that refer back to their family, or families, or lack thereof.

In this ongoing catastrophe over the fundamental question of who we are,there is great opportunity. It is shocking but true: The overbearing secularist culture is itself sowing the seeds of a religious revival.

The wide range of fresh cultural and religious analysis mentioned earlier is one measure of a counterculture that’s thriving in this hour of paganization. Even the dominance of the secularist church in familiar venues looks to be less monolithic than is usually understood. Witness again how the conflagration that started with Harvey Weinstein has gone on to illuminate wrongdoing elsewhere, on the part of others who have acted on the premise that women are available for recreational sex anywhere and anytime. Meanwhile, new Catholic and other Christian associations proliferate on campuses and elsewhere, despite fierce secularist pushback. If the rise in “nones” is one emblematic story of our time, so too is the birth of countercultural campus communities like the Thomistic Institute, the Love and Fidelity Network, and FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students); the sharp rise in high schools grounded in classical education; the Leonine Forum for young professionals in Washington, D.C., now expanding into other cities; related ongoing intellectual projects like the Tertio Millennio Seminar in Poland, the Free Society Seminar in Slovakia, and more; and many other organic responses, both protective and proactive, to competition from the rival church of secularism.

These and other platoons like them will transform the American landscape. They encourage the search for transcendence in a world where neo-paganism insists there is none; they help those damaged collaterally by the sexual revolution to find answers to the question “Who am I?” The rival church of secularism shortchanges humanity, and humanity, plodding and delinquent though it may be, still shows signs of wanting more than the church of the new secularism can deliver.

Two such witnesses to that reality appeared in Washington, D. C., a few months ago, in the middle of a heat wave. They had gotten in touch with me to discuss a documentary they were creating to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae. Their studio in D.C. turned out to be their hotel room. The entourage for the shoot included their three very young children, with whom they took turns throughout the interview. They had made many sacrifices and traveled hundreds of miles because, they said, they were on a mission to tell the truth.

The young woman had grown up without knowing who her father was. Her mother, a radical feminist, raised her to fear and hate men. The young man came from Scandinavia, growing up as secular as Scandinavians can be. Both, if encountered earlier in their lives, would have been categorized as “nones.”

In their own estimations, they had escaped from behind enemy lines of the sexual revolution. Somehow, they found each other. Somehow, falling in love led them to question what had happened in their pasts. Somehow, they encountered a priest. Somehow, they read some books by faithful authors. And what with one improbable development and another, both ended up converting to Catholicism. Now they want to share with others the truths they discovered the hard way. That’s how the Church of the future will be rebuilt: stone by stone, picked up from the rubble, by witnesses to the initial blast.

Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles has connected our moment in the West to Juan Diego’s in Guadalupe, almost five hundred years ago. Today’s world, like Diego’s then, overflows with human damage. Today’s world, like his, has now raised up whole generations of men and women subjected to an inhuman account of human life. The resulting deformations are everywhere, and confusion can’t help but abound. Even so, the secularist faith remains vulnerable for the same reasons that a once-triumphant Marxism did: because its promises are false and its anthropology deluded.

The church that the sexual revolution has built is thriving, all right, and those outside need to know what’s in there. But its pews are packed with casualties—every one of them a convert waiting to happen, for the Church that does keep its promises.

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abortion, american, anti-religion, atheism, crisis, culture, ideology, liberalism, philosophy, progressive, religion, sex, study, theology, unintended consequences

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Slaves sold in open market in 2017. Really?

original article:
Africans are being sold at Libyan slave markets. Thanks, Hillary Clinton.
November 27, 2017 by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Black Africans are being sold in open-air slave markets right now, and it’s Hillary Clinton’s fault. But you won’t hear much about that from the press or the foreign-policy pundits, so let me explain.

Footage from Libya, released last week by CNN, showed young men from sub-Saharan Africa being auctioned off as farm workers in slave markets.

And how did we get to this point? As the BBC reported back in May, “Libya has been beset by chaos since NATO-backed forces overthrew long-serving ruler Col. Moammar Gadhafi in Oct. 2011.”

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And who was behind that overthrow? None other than then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Under former president George W. Bush in 2003, the United States negotiated an agreement with Libyan strongman Gadhafi. The deal: He would give up his weapons of mass destruction peacefully, and we wouldn’t try to depose him.

That seemed like a good deal at the time, but the Obama administration didn’t stick to it. Instead, in an operation spearheaded by Clinton, the United States went ahead and toppled him anyway.

The overthrow turned out to be a debacle. Libya exploded into chaos and civil war and refugees flooded Europe, destabilizing governments there. But at the time, Clinton thought it was a great triumph — “we came, we saw, he died,” she joked about Gadhafi’s overthrow — and her adviser Sidney Blumenthal encouraged her to tout her “successful strategy” to the press as evidence of her fitness for the highest office in the land.

It’s surprising the extent to which Clinton has gotten a pass for this debacle, which represents a humanitarian and strategic failure of the first order. (And, of course the damage is still compounding: How likely is North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons, after seeing the worthlessness of U.S. promises made to Gadhafi?)

Back during his brief stint in the Democratic Primary, former Sen. James Webb raised the issue, saying:  “We blew the lid off of a series of tribal engagements. You can’t get to the Tripoli Airport right now, much less Benghazi.” But as the Libya disaster continues to unfold, Clinton’s role in it gets surprisingly little attention.

Maybe it’s buried under the other Clinton/Obama debacles in the Middle East, like the botched Syrian policy that The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt called ”a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions.” Remember Obama’s “red line” that Syria crossed, and that Obama didn’t enforce?

That led to a destabilizing flood of refugees hitting Europe, too.

And, of course, there’s the Yemen policy, which Obama bragged about as a model for the war on terror. But now Yemen is another war-wracked humanitarian and strategic disaster.

Still, Libya is in a class of its own. In Syria and Yemen, at least, the situation was already bad. Libya, before Clinton got involved, was comparatively stable and no strategic threat to the United States or its allies. Now it’s a shambles, with people literally being sold in slave markets.

Back in the 2012 presidential campaign, former vice president Joe Biden told a group of African Americans that the GOP was going to ”put you all back in chains.” But it turned out that it was Clinton’s policies that led to black people being sold. As some ponder another Hillary Clinton run in 2020, that’s worth pointing out.

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corruption, Democrats, foreign affairs, government, ideology, politics, scandal, tragedy, unintended consequences, war

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This, above all else, is why Roy Moore has as much support as he does

original article: ‘Reckoning’ Attempts Display A Left Still Unable To Face Bill Clinton’s Alleged Sex Crimes
November 15, 2017 by Daniel Payne

It is fascinating and welcome to see liberals discovering their consciences on Bill Clinton’s alleged rapist tendencies. True, this moral revelation comes about two decades later than it should have, and at precisely the moment the Left can no longer reasonably ignore it and not a moment sooner.

Just the same, it is nice to finally see some honesty on this issue. It is nice to see liberals, having no more use for the Clintons, finally undertaking what MSNBC host Chris Hayes calls “a real reckoning” with the very real possibility that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick nearly 40 years ago.

And yet. One is tempted to believe we’re witnessing not a “reckoning” but a quick and guilty kind of moral shrug, a sort of Kansas City shuffle meant to absolve a bunch of deeply culpable people of their own deep and stinking culpability. For a real “reckoning” of American liberalism’s wink-nod approach to Bill Clinton’s alleged sex crimes would implicate American liberalism itself, or at least the last few decades of it. That is understandably not something many liberals are willing to do.

Still Too Scared to Face Themselves In the Mirror

A great example of this evasive genre can be found at The Atlantic, where Caitlin Flanagan has written an article titled, simply, “Bill Clinton: A Reckoning.” The article itself is actually not a reckoning of Bill Clinton or even an overture toward a reckoning.

Indeed, Flanagan only comes to the sexual assault allegations leveled at Clinton only about two-thirds of the way through, after bringing up Clarence Thomas’s alleged sexual harassment of Anita Hill. She places most of the blame for Clinton on “machine feminism” rather than Democratic opportunism, then lamely asserts Democrats need to “come to terms” with how they “abandoned some of [their] central principles” in their unthinking defense of Clinton.

At The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg offers a similar pastiche of self-serving pseudo-reflection. “I Believe Juanita,” her most recent column declares upfront. After that she spends a great deal of time grumbling about Breitbart, “the right’s evident bad faith,” “right-wing propaganda,” “the right-wing press,” “epistemological warfare,” and “various figures in conservative media.” Only after six paragraphs do we get to Broaddrick, after which Goldberg quickly returns to the conservative-led “blizzard of lies” that led progressives to doubt Broaddrick 20 years ago.

Almost as an afterthought, Goldberg writes: “It’s fair to conclude, that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society.” Goodness, after two decades this is the best we can manage?

Even Hayes’s own viral tweet is couched in a tired and evasive formula. “As gross and cynical and hypocrtical [sic] as the right’s ‘what about Bill Clinton’ stuff is,” he wrote, “it’s also true that Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.” Got it: so the Right is “gross and cynical and hypocritical” regarding the Left’s steadfast avoidance of Bill Clinton’s alleged sex crimes, but we’re also correct? Are liberals capable of discussing Clinton’s sordid history without having to obsessively refer back to conservatives?

They Let Bill Clinton Keep Legitimacy for 18 More Years

There is a deeper and more cynical politics at work here. “Reckoning” with Bill Clinton’s alleged crimes is not just a matter of the Democratic Party saying sorry for not believing Broaddrick in 1999. Bill Clinton has remained a prominent fixture of the party in the intervening 18 years, including as a major fundraiser during his wife’s two failed campaigns for president and as a stump for other Democrats, including President Obama.

Progressives, meanwhile, adore him. “Bill Clinton couldn’t keep it in his pants, but he was a great president!” one very liberal woman told me years ago. Broaddrick would surely agree with the first part. Summing up the feelings of millions of progressive millennials, comedian John Mulaney described Clinton as a “smooth and fantastic hillbilly who should be declared emperor of the United State of America.” This kind of hero-worship is only possible if one disbelieves Broaddrick’s testimony entirely—testimony that, 20 years on, remains very credible.

A “reckoning” of the accusations against Bill Clinton must thus also function as a reckoning of the last couple of decades of Democratic politics, a politics that has featured Bill Clinton as an ancillary yet still near-permanent fixture. Every Democrat has known of Broaddrick’s accusations for years. Yet Bill Clinton was still eagerly accepted within “decent society,” and his wife—who is quite reasonably seen as both an apologist for her husband’s perverted behavior and possibly a criminal conspirator regarding his crimes—became the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party itself in the last election.

To reckon with all of this means to reckon with the Democratic party in toto—its political instincts, its morals, and its public credibility and future viability. The Left predictably isn’t very keen to do that. So we get what we’ve witnessed in the past week: liberals feigning a kind of come-to-Jesus public confessional over Bill Clinton while ultimately just complaining about conservatives.

It is true that, in the end, we do not know if Bill Clinton raped Broaddrick. It is virtually impossible to prove it one way or the other, as it generally is with these types of claims. It would not be wholly unreasonable for someone to doubt Broaddrick after a careful review of the evidence. Then again, her claim, and the evidence surrounding it, is compelling enough to be believable, more so than many.

So what does it say about the Democratic Party that it has nevertheless allowed Bill Clinton a revered and permanent spot in its ranks? And what does it say about liberals that, even now, after all of this time, they cannot truly come to grips with it?

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abuse, bias, corruption, culture, Democrats, elitism, ethics, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, politics, progressive, relativism, scandal, sex, unintended consequences, victimization

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Government is not enough to rebuild a broken society

original article: Why America Will Not Solve Its Existential Crisis Without A Rebirth Of Faith
November 8, 2017 by Emilie Kao

Country music legend Johnny Cash had hit rock bottom. Exhausted by his struggle with drug addiction, he literally crawled into a cave to die. But then, as he described it later, a feeling of tranquility came over him and drew him back from the brink: “There in Nickajack Cave I became conscious of a very clear, simple idea: I was not in charge of my destiny. I was not in charge of my own death. I was going to die at God’s time, not mine.”

Cash’s spiritual awakening gave him new hope. His story of redemption rings true among countless Americans who credit faith with helping them overcome addiction and other self-destructive behaviors.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of Americans are living only the earlier part of Cash’s story—the misery, futility, and sense of hopelessness. The Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Index of Culture and Opportunityreports that Americans are now four times more likely to die from opioid overdose than in 1999. Teens are 13.5 percent more likely to use drugs than in 2006, with just under a quarter of high school seniors reporting drug use last year. President Trump was right to recognize that the opioid crisis is really a national emergency.

The suicide rate has risen so sharply that the overall life expectancy of Americans is declining for the first time since the 1930s. Meanwhile, the marriage rate continues to decline. A likely related trend is the unemployment of young men, which has doubled in the last 15 years.

Money and Programs Can’t Provide Existential Meaning

Clearly, many Americans are stressed out—economically, emotionally, and psychologically. But what ails America cannot be remedied with just money or counselling. A genuine cure must include cultural revival in which religious communities come alongside individuals and families to reweave the frayed ends of broken relationships. Empirical research demonstrates that religion contributes to individual and societal prosperity. In his book, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” J.D. Vance shows how religion can help generate holistic flourishing.

Like Cash’s story, Vance’s memoir brings to life the statistics about divorce, domestic violence, and drug addiction. He credits his own upward trajectory to acquiring “social capital.” Through personal networks, he learned “soft skills” like conflict resolution and financial management that fueled his upward mobility. He cited both the military and churches as critical institutions that form social capital.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber’s research has demonstrated a causal connection between children’s church attendance and their ability to stay off drugs and out of prison. After analyzing religious attendance, Gruber also observed an “incredibly strong correlation” with higher education, more stable marriages, higher income, and lower likelihood of being on welfare. A study at Harvard showed that those who attend religious services at least once a week are five times less likely to commit suicide.

A Commitment to Morality Increases Social Trust

The role of faith in preventing and treating opioid addiction is increasingly evident. New Hampshire and West Virginia present a contrast in addiction and religiosity. New Hampshire confounds purely economic explanations of addiction, since it has both high employment and high addiction. It doesn’t fit in well with mainstream media narratives, but states like West Virginia, Utah, and those in the Deep South have both high levels of religiosity and low levels of addiction.

As the Trump administration builds a strategy to combat this public health emergency affecting 21 million Americans, it should consider not only criminal punishments and opioid alternatives, it should also take into account the empirical evidence of faith’s role as seen in the states. Similar to Gruber’s observations about faith’s effects in the lives of individual Americans, a Chinese economist saw faith’s effects on business transactions in America’s national economy. Zhao Xiao traces America’s prosperity back to the Puritans.

He sees a relationship between their transcendental motives and a high degree of personal integrity, which generated trust and minimized friction in economic transactions. Zhao’s research has influenced policymakers in the Chinese Communist Party, who are increasingly emphasizing the role of morality in fostering trust.

Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen also attributes America’s economic success to civic virtues religious communities teach, such as obedience to the law, respect for private property, and honesty. While earlier generations created the cultural momentum that led to American prosperity, Christensen warns that momentum is dissipating as religious belief wanes: “If you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police”

Religion Is Important for a Thriving Country

The importance of personal virtue for society is something Vance takes seriously. He urges Americans to incorporate cultural causes into our discussions of the structural factors that contribute to poverty. When individuals feel hopeless, marriages dissolve, and children get caught up in families’ breakdown, government solutions are not enough to make up the difference. Religious communities, however, are there when life falls apart.

Just how critical are religious organizations to the fabric of American life? Religious networks provide $161 billion in medical services annually. Religious schools and colleges provide $138 billion in education. Religious charities contribute $95.2 billion, religious businesses $438 billion, and religious congregations $326 billion. Eliminate religious organizations, and Americans would lose $1.2 trillion in services.

Communities also benefit greatly from partnerships between government and religious groups. Consider the relief efforts needed to deal with natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Nonprofits provide 80 per cent of recovery efforts, and they are mostly faith-based. But faith is equally as powerful in less visible day-to-day interactions. In Gadsden County, Florida, partnerships between faith leaders and city officials have transformed programs in women’s prisons and schools.

In the words of the town sheriff, “We cannot incarcerate our way out of crime. When all else fails, you sometimes have to appeal to the spiritual side of offenders.” Local churches in Gadsden send members to teach inmates the Bible and life skills. Other churches help find jobs and housing for newly released inmates. Gadsden County’s story is one of countless examples showing the “spiritual capital” that religion provides on top of its tremendous economic value—more than that of Facebook, Google, and Apple combined, according to the research of Brian Grim.

Faith Provides Private Accountability We All Need

Faith infuses lives with greater meaning, and faith communities help us make and keep wise commitments. They help us to stay engaged in the lives of our spouses, children, and friends. They help us to stay in school and at jobs when we might prefer to quit. Most of us are more likely to keep commitments when others help. But this kind of accountability, which requires face-to-face contact over a long period of time, is not something the government is well-equipped to provide.

Religious communities help parents raise their children. They provide counseling to individuals while they are dating, after they get married, and even when they lose a spouse. They provide assistance, loans, and job contacts to those who are unemployed. And they are a source of encouragement and hope for people desperate to stay out of addiction.

The American Dream is still alive, but it needs renewal. Government can help. But it takes communities of faith to fully rebuild what has been broken and to restore hope where it’s been lost.

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crisis, culture, economy, ethics, family, ideology, religion, study, unintended consequences

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After tearing down the old religious sexual barriers, is feminism rebuilding them?

original article: From chaperones to modesty wear, a sexual reformation is underway
November 4, 2017 by Lara Prendergast

Quick note: there is no such thing as “ethical porn” and being fearful of harmful allegations is not “prudish”.

Nell Minow, an American film critic, recently described how in 2010 she had interviewed the Friends actor David Schwimmer. When the noise in the restaurant grew too loud, he asked her whether she might like to move to a room upstairs with him, and if so, would she like a chaperone present. She praised him for this behaviour. ‘He understood what it is like to have to be constantly on the alert and he wanted to make sure I understood I was safe.’

When I read Minow’s story, my reaction was to think what a patronising arse Schwimmer must be. A woman journalist shouldn’t need a chaperone when she is doing her job. But, in the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein allegations, it has become clear that, for many women, safety is starting to trump liberty. We are moving towards a chaperone culture, in which women, delicate lambs that we are, must be protected at all times.

A new schism is opening up between men and women. Women are incessantly told to be vigilant of predatory men and are increasingly scared to be out in public. Men, meanwhile, are becoming more nervous around women for fear that their very nature is itself threatening to the opposite sex. The wrong words, gestures or body language might now render them guilty of one of the new crimes popping up on social media — for example, ‘creeping’ on someone or being ‘too handsy’. The spotlight is on Hollywood and Westminster — or ‘Pestminster’, as it has been dubbed — but it will soon turn to other industries. More sex pests will be exposed or their peccadillos gossiped about on WhatsApp groups. The internet jury will then make its decision.

It’s not hard to see why this is happening. There have always been rapists and men who exploit women for kicks, and the sexual revolution of the 1960s has done nothing to stop them; worse, perhaps, it has given them licence to operate without the old boundaries. We live in a time that is almost defined by seedy characters such as Donald Trump and Weinstein, so it’s natural that women feel they must be on their guard.

Sexual abuse allegations are coming thick and fast. If real crimes are uncovered because women feel emboldened to come forward, that can only be good. It should go without saying that any woman who has been the victim of sexual abuse deserves sympathy and to be believed. Unfortunately, that still has to be said, because too many women are not believed when they tell their stories. And if they took a while to speak, they are doubted because of the delay or told not to cause trouble. Just this week, activist Bex Bailey claimed that she was raped by a senior Labour official six years ago — but was advised by a party official not to report it in case it damaged her career.

But if you look beyond the current hysteria, something sinister is happening. Barriers between men and women that had been knocked down by feminists are being resurrected — in the name of feminism. Whereas it used to be religious groups that enforced sexual morality, in our modern, secular culture, the loudest voices on the internet are taking over that responsibility.AdTech Ad

Think of it as a new sexual reformation. Five hundred years ago, Luther posted his 95 theses on the door at Wittenberg; today, prominent women have begun issuing edicts about appropriate male behaviour. Like Luther, these women think it is their mission to change the world.

Earlier this month, the writer Helen Rosner published a guide to ‘20 things men can do to support women, beyond just literally ceasing to sexually harass us’. It included suggestions for men such as ‘seek out women to be your heroes’, ‘talk less. At all times’ and consume ‘ethical’ porn made by women, queer people and people of colour. I wonder what Luther would have made of that.

A lot of this boils down to that boring ancient impulse to separate men and women. There is political chatter about the possibility of ‘women-only carriages’ on trains. The orthodoxy of ‘safe spaces’ —which began as part of the women’s movement before becoming a university campus cliché — is starting to infiltrate public life.

Last year, a survey showed that 70 per cent of British women have taken steps to guard themselves against harassment. The poll included ten different strategies those polled had used, including avoiding parks or public transport, missing school or work or taking a chaperone. ‘Modesty wear’ — clothing which offers an alternative fashion for those who want to cover up — is becoming more popular on the catwalks. In February, more than 40 designers took part in the first ‘London modest fashion week’.

The old feminist trope says that it is not a woman’s responsibility to worry about her own safety; it is a man’s job not to harass her. Yet women are clearly taking increasingly extreme measures to protect themselves because a small number of vocal campaigners are telling us that all our worst fears about men are true — and we must take action. And if this means reinstating old-fashioned segregation at the expense of hard-won freedoms, so be it.

The #MeToo hashtag, which trended on social media in the days after the Weinstein story broke, revealed just how many women considered themselves victims of sexual abuse. But also, how alarmingly wide that definition ran. On my own Facebook feed, the experiences described stretched from rape to ‘feeling as if a man once looked through me’. The implicit message of all these confessional posts was clear: if it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’ve just been lucky. Or perhaps you are in denial. It’s as if a new feminist movement is advocating victimhood, rather than equality. And women who protest about this new reality are denounced as traitors to their sex.

The paranoia isn’t confined to women. Understandably, plenty of men are starting to feel anxious about what this might all mean. Each day brings fresh stories in the newspapers of prominent figures tumbling from positions of power because of a major — or minor — misdemeanour. A sexual abuse accusation, or even a snifter of gossip published online, has the power to sabotage a career and ruin a life.

So men are also starting to think about how best to defend themselves. Nobody wants to be daubed with the pervert brush. Older men tell me that they are nervous that something in the distant past that would once have been dismissed as silly behaviour will now be dredged up as damning evidence. Younger men, meanwhile, seem even more reticent about approaching women or making a move. I heard a story recently about a woman who had been on a date with a man who was younger than her. After a few drinks, they ended up back at her house. The woman was keen to go to bed with him, but he refused because he was so worried about doing something that might later lead to recriminations. In the current climate, who can blame him?

Professional life is becoming a nightmare. Young women feel uneasy about the lay of the land. What career can you choose that won’t involve creeps? And men in positions of authority will inevitably become more anxious about hiring women. It must just seem easier to hire other men, who are less likely to interpret a clumsy comment as sexual assault. Across a wide range of industries, men are being given guidance as to how they should behave so as to avoid getting caught out by this new sexual counter-revolution. Consent classes have been compulsory at British universities for a few years, but law firms and banks are also starting to introduce them. In the military, some officers have been advised that they should ask for a woman to give them consent, filmed on their phone, before taking things further.

It’s a surprise, really, that anyone is having sex these days, given the reputational risk involved. One single girlfriend tells me she is worried about what this all means for her hopes of finding a husband. What sensible man would try it on after a few drinks? Then again, what happy romantic relationship didn’t start with a lunge? Sexual relations are never black and white.

The paradox is that all this paranoia comes during an era of intense sexual libertinism — the decade of Fifty Shades of Grey, one of the bestselling books of all time. We live in an age of chemsex parties and ‘hi-tech sex toys’. Hard-core porn is always a few clicks away. It’s never been easier to hook up, via dating apps or the internet. While embracing so much freedom, society is moving towards prudishness. We all talk about sex all the time, but the safest sex is no sex at all.

This new sexual reformation may leave women feeling safer in a domestic environment, surrounded by other women — or chaperoned when out in public. So what started off as an attempt to give support to abused women mutates into a movement that undoes everything women’s rights campaigners have fought for. Men, too, may cut themselves off, retreating into the company of other men, and we will be back where we were a century ago. How’s that for a sexual revolution?

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culture, ethics, feminism, freedom, reform, sex, unintended consequences

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The importance of society being rooted in marriage between one man and one woman

original article: Defense of Marriage Is a Social Justice Issue, Scholar Says
October 10, 2013

 

Maintaining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is a matter of social justice, said Ryan Anderson, a political scholar and editor of the online journal Public Discourse, in a recent talk.

Speaking to students at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Anderson acknowledged that efforts to redefine marriage are often characterized as being rooted in a sense of justice.

However, he said, the case against redefining marriage is actually an argument based upon justice, “precisely because marriage exists as the prime institution of social justice that guarantees and protects the rights and well-being of children.”

“If you care about social justice and you care about limited government; if you care about the poor and you care about freedom – it’s better served by a healthy marriage culture than by government picking up the pieces of a broken marriage culture.”

Anderson, a Ph.D. candidate in political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, is also co-author of the book, “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.”

Determining marriage’s definition and limits is the primary concern of the marriage debate, Anderson said in his Oct. 9 talk.

“Everyone wants marriage equality: we all want the government to treat all marriages as equal, but that begs the question – what is marriage?

He explained that many of those who promote the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples understand marriage to be an intense kind of romantic relationship between sexual partners. In this view of marriage, adult desires and sexual needs are of primary concern, and the needs of children produced by such a union are secondary.

However, this understanding of marriage is lacking, Anderson said, as it does not take into account the needs of children, “nor can it describe or define or defend” the norms surrounding marriage, such as why government is involved in it; its restriction to two people; why it is sexual; and why it should be permanent.

This understanding of marriage “makes it more about the desires of adults and less about children” and their needs, said Anderson, adding that “the consequence of redefining marriage is that more people will think of their relationship in those terms and that it will produce bad social outcomes, especially for children.”

But across diverse societies and throughout history, he contended, marriage has been understood as a “comprehensive union” in which man and woman become “one flesh,” particularly in their ability to create children. As a whole, in this understanding, “marriage is ordered to the comprehensive good in the creation and raising of children.”

This understanding is also “based on the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father” and that “there’s something about gender that matters” in the raising of children.

“There is no parenting in the abstract: there is mothering and there is fathering,” he said, and both mothers and fathers “bring different gifts” to children.

He pointed to studies examining socio-economic factors, which show that children raised by their biological mothers and fathers fare better than those raised by other family structures, particularly same-sex parents.

In addition, Anderson observed that “the breakdown of the family” in the latter half of the 20th century was accompanied by a rise in social dysfunction, marked by a widespread number of indicators ranging from school performance to crime rates to decreased adult happiness. These indicators show a marked correlation with fatherlessness rates in the home.

Mothers are always present at a child’s birth, the scholar continued. “The question for culture is whether a father will be present, and if so, for how long?”

“If you redefine marriage in law, there will be no institution left that even holds as an idea the right of a child to have a relationship with both a mother and a father.”

Such a redefinition “holds up in law that men and women are functionally interchangeable” thus preventing the law from teaching “that fathers are essential.” Rather, it “will make fathers optional,” likely compounding the already-existing consequences of fatherlessness in society.

“If you care about the poor, what can we do to make it more likely that these men commit to the women that they are in relationships with, and then take responsibility for the children that they create?” Anderson asked.

“The reason why the state is in the marriage business is to maximize the opportunity that every child will be raised by a mother and a father, and preferably by the mother and the father that created the child,” he said.

“The state wants to ensure that a man and a woman commit to each other as husband and wife, permanently and exclusively,” he stressed, “and when this doesn’t happen, the social costs run high.”

children, culture, family, ideology, philosophy, public policy, reform, relativism, unintended consequences

Filed under: children, culture, family, ideology, philosophy, public policy, reform, relativism, unintended consequences

Protesting athletes have forgotten what “pastime” means

The recent athletic protests of the U.S. national anthem highlight some important points we all know but are worth reiterating. First, no matter how important some may think they are, professional sports are a pastime. Second, how other people view your actions is not in your control.

Let’s expound on the nature of professional sports. The United States is a country of such opportunity and prosperity that millions of us have enough time and money to watch athletes play a game, and pay them for the pleasure of doing so. This is no chump change. Do you realize how much money we the people pour into professional sports each year? It’s a lot. The professional athletes protesting our national anthem are paid very well to play a game. And why do so many of us have the ability to make those athletes filthy rich to play a game? Because we live in a country based on freedom, and we have people who put on the uniform to protect that freedom. Respect for those who risk their lives to defend the American experiment was built into our sports tradition long ago. Those who make a living (becoming filthy rich) playing a game should respect that.

There are multi-millionaires taking a knee out of protest of the country, not out of respect for it. Professional sports are a pastime. We the people engage in pastimes to get away from things like politics.

And what are these professional athletes protesting? Well that brings us to the second point: we don’t control how other people view our actions.

The infamous Colin Kaepernick, the catalyst for the controversial displays of protest, lays out his reasons at NFL.com:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…

Keep in mind there are multi-millionaire athletes who get to play a game for a living who are basically calling America a racist country. That brings us to a problem of intellectual dishonesty.

Kaepernick, and many others, would have us believe the United States is a racist country. And, of course, when I ask where are the Jim Crow laws, where did the poor white unemployed whose kids are stuck in bad schools put their privilege, and how did a racist country let a black guy get elected for the most powerful office in the world not once, but twice, the inevitable lame response is to accuse me of falsely claiming there is no racism here anymore. Which is hogwash.

No one is claiming racism has been eliminated, no one. Accusing people of thinking that doesn’t make it so. But where are the Jim Crow laws? Today Jim Crow HAS BEEN eliminated (except in institutions of higher education, where leftwing extremists are once again demanding racial segregation, renewing a long standing Democrat tradition).

On the contrary, affirmative action is the rule of the day. Historically disadvantaged people groups now have privileges while folks (who invented and implemented Jim Crow) used to enjoy. (Did you notice that? Right here I’ve acknowledged slavery and racism actually happened. No one denies these things happened, so it’s really quite ridiculous to suggest anyone is. And it’s intellectually dishonest to accuse anyone of denying these things.)

But the tables have been turned. The Duke Lacrosse team showed us a glaring example (one of many) of how while folk can now be falsely accused of a crime and deprived of their civil rights, not least of which is the the right to due process. Thankfully the anti-white racism was noticed and refuted, despite getting a jump start by a complicit media and over 80 Duke faculty who had already convicted the accused before the facts were made known and then incredulously tried to deny they jumped the gun, and called for the dismissal of the accused boys by claiming they were “merely” trying to bring greater attention to the abuse of women.

So, yes, racism still exists. But institutional racism does not. Racism still happens but it does not lurk around every corner. Given the scare stories the media has published about white supremacy, it is absurd to think an inherently white supremacist nation would elect a black guy to the most powerful position in the world. It is asinine to suggest white supremacists let Obama win the presidential election as a “token” black guy, yet the same white supremacists were so upset he won that they let it happen a second time.

Besides, do you realize how insulting it is to suggest Obama didn’t actually win the 2008 or 2012 elections, but he was merely allowed to win so white supremacists could have their token black guy? In a slightly “you didn’t build that” way, it is profound partisan blindness to think those elections were merely handed to him. If you think Obama’s critics opposed him because they’re racist, the last thing you should do is act like Obama didn’t win two terms of the presidency because of his own abilities. It sounds racist when you do that.

While those who get paid to find racism even when it isn’t there continually stir up strife and manufacture fear that racism lurks around every corner, filthy rich athletes protest the flag and the national anthem. It doesn’t look like they are protesting oppression, since it is we the supposedly racist middle-America types who spend our hard earned dollars that make them rich. People don’t pay to watch professional sports despite the skin color of the athletes, they watch professional sports because they DON’T CARE about the skin color of those athletes. The only begrudging thing about this is the fact we are paying these athletes and then watching them accuse us of racism.

That’s precisely how millions of Americans feel when professional athletes protest the anthem or the flag. We feel we are being called racist, by the multi-millionaires taking a knee during the anthem. When a white supremacist waves the Confederate flag and says “it’s not about race, it’s about heritage” do you buy that? I don’t. So when the protesters say “I’m not anti-America, I’m protesting oppression of people of color” I don’t buy that either. Protesting against bad cops is one thing, something all reasonable people agree with, but acting like ALL cops are bad is ridiculous. If it’s not okay to think all Muslims are evil, it’s not okay to think all cops are evil (or all Republicans, or all conservatives, or all Christians either).

If rich athletes really want to protest oppression, there are plenty of other venues for doing that, and they will have a much easier time than I would in building an audience simply because they’re famous.

Actual racists don’t care about being called racist. People who are NOT racist are offended by such accusations. Athletes have the right to protest as they wish. And I have the right to respond as I wish. I’m not going to pay for that. And many other people feel the same.

american, bias, bigotry, culture, Democrats, discrimination, diversity, free speech, ideology, pandering, progressive, propaganda, scandal, unintended consequences

Filed under: american, bias, bigotry, culture, Democrats, discrimination, diversity, free speech, ideology, pandering, progressive, propaganda, scandal, unintended consequences

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