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$21.95 hardcover · 224 pages
9978-1594037641-January 2015

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The theme of The Great Divide is that the populations of the democratic world, from Boston to Berlin, Vancouver to Venice, are becoming increasingly divided from within, due to a growing ideological incompatibility between modern liberalism and conservatism. This is partly due to a complex mutation in the concept of liberal democracy itself, and the resulting divide is now so wide that those holding to either philosophy on a whole range of topics: on democracy, on reason, on abortion, on human nature, on homosexuality and gay marriage, on freedom, on the role of courts … and much more, can barely speak with each other without outrage (the favorite emotional response from all sides). Clearly, civil conversation at the surface has been failing -- and that could mean democracy is failing.

This book is an effort to deepen the conversation. It is written for the non-specialist, and aims to reveal the less obvious underlying ideological forces and misconceptions that cause the conflict and outrage at the surface -- not with any expectation the clash of values will evaporate, but rather that a deeper understanding will generate a more intelligent and civil conversation.

As an aid to understanding, the book contains a handful of Tables directly comparing modern liberal and conservative views across a range of fundamental moral and political “issues” so that curious readers can answer the book’s main question: “Where Do You Stand?” An interesting result in testing this exercise has been the number of people who find they “think” one way, but “live” another.    

 

Good Reading
Essays (37)
Tuesday
Oct172017

Ten Comandments for Climate Skeptics

 

Here is an excellent summary for those skeptical of the claim of climate scientists that the world is warming due to human causes.

It is posted under "Core Principles" on the website of the International Climate Science Coalition. www.climatescienceinternational.org

Those wanting more of the background may wish to read my own "Global Warming In A Nutshell" to be found in the Archive of this website.

 

 

1.        Global climate is always changing in accordance with natural causes and recent changes are not unusual.

2.        Science is rapidly evolving away from the view that humanity's emissions of carbon dioxide and other 'greenhouse gases' are a cause of dangerous climate change.

3.        Climate models used by the IPCC* fail to reproduce known past climates without manipulation and therefore lack the scientific integrity needed for use in climate prediction and related policy decision-making.

4.        The UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers and the assertions of IPCC executives too often seriously mis-represent the conclusions of their own scientific reports.

5.        Claims that ‘consensus’ exists among climate experts regarding the causes of the modest warming of the past century are contradicted by thousands of independent scientists.

6.        Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant - it is a necessary reactant in plant photosynthesis and so is essential for life on Earth.

7.        Research that identifies the Sun as a major driver of global climate change must be taken more seriously.

8.        Global cooling has presented serious problems for human society and the environment throughout history while global warming has generally been highly beneficial.

9.        It is not possible to reliably predict how climate will change in the future, beyond the certainty that multi-decadal warming and cooling trends, and abrupt changes, will all continue, underscoring a need for effective adaptation.

10.     Since science and observation have failed to substantiate the human-caused climate change hypothesis, it is premature to damage national economies with `carbon' taxes, emissions trading or other schemes to control 'greenhouse gas' emissions. 

Wednesday
Oct112017

Cycling in France, The e-bike Revolution, and Paleolithic Cave-Art

My wife and I recently completed a two-week cycling trip in the Dordogne region of France. And what a good time we had. We both figured that for sight-seeing, a car is too fast, and walking too slow, but a cycling pace is just right. And the bonus of cycling is that you can go all sorts of places with a bicycle that you can't go with a car. Like ... down nifty little medieval side-streets, or up onto sidewalks, and, if you have touring tires, you can even go off-road on dirt pathways when you want to take a shortcut across a farmer's field to see how they make foie gras - which we did. Also, with a car, you often have to park a long way from the cathedral or castle or scenery you want to see. But with a bike, you can pedal right up to the spot. It feels very free.

I have been a reasonably strong cyclist all my adult life. But cycling trips, of which we have done a dozen together, were becoming a thing of the past because my wife, being more sensible than me, doesn't like grinding up long hills. We wanted to go to Dordogne to see the cave-art. But this region of France is mostly one long hill after the other, interspersed with lovely river valleys (and great downhills!).

This was a problem. So, to make the cycling-difference between us evaporate, I suggested we try using electric bicycles - e-bikes - for this trip.

It took a little attitude adjustment for this purist to accept the idea of using an e-bike. I thought it would be somehow like cheating, or that I wouldn't get a decent workout. But ... a vacation is not supposed to be a workout. So we planned a self-guided e-bike trip with a company called Discover France. And, with enthusiasm, I can report that from the moment we got on these bikes, there were just great big smiles. Wow. What fun! That is the bottom line of the e-bike revolution that is underway. They are just so much fun. And at the very first hill, my wife, who had broken into the biggest smile as she took off, with hair blowing in the wind and a lively hurrah! shouted: "You feel like the hand of God is pushing you up the hill!"

We are hooked on e-bike travel now, and can't wait to do another trip. We cycled for about 8 days, averaging about 35 miles (60km) per day, with total (cumulative) climbing per day of around 1,500 - 1,800 ft (500 - 600m or so). To a hard-riding cyclist that doesn't sound like a lot. But by the time you add in the stops for sightseeing, a meal, and yes, buying stuff that you end up taking back for the grandkids, you are spending about five hours a day on and off the bike. We had a Garmin gps system programmed for each day's route, so all we had to do was "follow the arrow." Okay, they made a few mistakes, but it was easy to get back on the arrow.

Most electric bikes use the Bosch battery system, and you have to pedal when you ride to activate the "assist". No coasting, except downhill. But when pedaling, you can use any of four "pedal assist" modes: - eco, tour, sport, or turbo. Well, this was fascinating for us. Using mostly eco and tour, you can pedal 100km if you want, and will get a decent assist. We used those levels on the flats and slight rises. On long hills at around 5-7% grade, we used "sport", and for very steep short hills, "turbo." Turbo indeed feels like God is pushing you up the hill. But ... the battery will not last long - maybe 25 miles if you stay in Turbo. At the end of each day, we unhooked the batteries from the bikes and took them inside our hotel room(s) to recharge them, which takes a few hours.

As for "the workout"? Most e-bikes (we had Scott bikes) weigh around 55 pounds. When you add the battery, your day-baggage, like binoculars, water bottle, rain clothing, some food, and so on, you end up pushing about 65 pounds. So without turning the power on, and even with very forgiving gearing, it is very tough to push this much weight up a steep hill. I turned off the assist once and tried it, and the bike quickly came to a grinding halt then would have gone backwards if I hadn't braked! So, being a stronger cyclist than my wife, I easily got my workout just by using a lower assist level than the one she used, some of the time. So keeners beware - you can exhaust yourself easily on an e-bike if that's what you want. A case in point: we met an American couple on the road who had decided he would ride his regular road bike, and she would ride an e-bike. Frankly, he looked exhausted, and I said, "I bet she has to wait for you at the top of every hill! She smiled, and he groaned.

I now agree with a friend who said the e-bike is "a disruptive technology." No doubt about it. I predict that over the next few decades, our cities are going to change radically to facilitate electric cycling. So my last word on this aspect of our trip is: try an electric bike as soon as you can, and you will be hooked for sure.

As for France? What can I say? This was our third cycling trip there. We did the Loire and Normandy regions once. Did Provence another time, and now, Dordogne. France is a beautiful country almost everywhere you go. We were delighted by the scenery, the quiet medieval villages, with their simple homes of blond stone and red-tiled roofs, and above all ... the absence of advertising! Where else do you go in the world where there is so little advertising pollution?

As for French food today? The cheeses were to die for, the wines were occasionally quite good (though I generally prefer northern California reds), and the meats always had good sauces. But ... it was hard to find tender lamb or beef (and I think that is why the French invented great sauces!). One man's opinion ... I think it is harder today than it used to be to find good food in France. Places like New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Vancouver, Montreal, and so on, have more than caught up in the culinary arts. We had our very best meal in a little open-air restaurant overlooking the quaint village of Belvès. It was a nondescript bistro that happened to be owned by a passionate foodie.

Finally, I really recommend doing this trip to see the cave art. The most famous cave of all is Lascaux. It was discovered in the 1940s by three teen-aged boys. Well, actually, it was discovered by their dog, who started sniffing and scratching at a hole in the ground, and then ... fell down the hole!

He didn't come back up when they called, so the boys went home for shovels and flashlights, and then came back, and within moments had opened up a large crawl-space. So they went down. It led to a huge series of caves, and when they shone their lights upward, they were simply stunned into silence. There, unseen for 20,000 years or so, were some 600 large and very colourful cave-drawings of bison, mammoths, wolves, bear, deer, and more. Some drawings even had hand-prints on the wall beside them, like an artist's signature.

Lascaux is virtually chock-a-block with incredible cave-drawings, but is now closed to the public because the CO2 and moisture from human breathing was starting to erode the drawings. So the French government has created a complete reproduction called LascauxII, which is true to the original by the millimetre, and so is very much worth seeing. Stunning, actually. It faithfully represents what those boys saw, and these reproductions were created with the same dyes and minerals as the Paleolithic artists used. We then cycled to a few more caves that had original cave-art. One of them has a touching drawing of a female deer licking the face of her young fawn. You can feel the moment the artist felt, so long ago.

Then we visited two geological cave-sites (there are many in the region) that are quite astonishing, and still under exploration, some of them extending for miles underground, and cavernous - like, almost 300 feet from bottom to top. Jaw-dropping sights, really.

We ended our trip with a transition day in London England, and what a city that is. After some time at the National Gallery, and the Portrait Gallery, we had an hour or two - not enough - to visit the Churchill War Museum - which was unexpectedly both astonishing and rewarding - before heading to the airport for our flight home.

Friday
Sep292017

Supreme Incoherence: Transgender Ideology and the End of Law

 

A superb article of this title was published last March in the American journal First Things by Mr. Jeff Shafer, Senior Counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom.

It takes serious concentration to get the most out of this piece, and I post it here as a fine example of how clear thinking at its best will always rout ideological confusion. 

*******

 

In The Trouble with Principle, Stanley Fish recites an observation that John Milton included in his Areopagitica: “No law, Milton points out, can permit activity that constitutes an assault on it, no law, that is, that ‘intends not to unlaw itself.’” Even more self-cancelling is for a law to permit an interpretation of its text that abolishes the very concepts on which its edict depends. In such case, both the law and its interpretation stall in mutual nullification.

Two questions, then. One: Does the federal law prohibiting “sex discrimination” forbid us to countenance the category of “sex”—and thus of “sex discrimination”? Two: Can the rule of law survive a yes answer to question one?

In order to do away with the legal decisiveness of the binary of male and female bodies, legal advocates for transgender ideology now brandish the federal ban on sex discrimination in Title IX—which itself depends on the legal decisiveness of the binary of male and female bodies. But banishing the sex binary concurrently banishes the (dependent) prohibition of sex discrimination. And that, in turn, leaves the transgender legal theory empty-handed, having eviscerated the structure on which its own claims rely.

While requiring equal educational opportunity for both sexes, federal law in Title IX and its implementing regulations authorizes schools to maintain “separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.” Does the federal authorization for sex-separation facilities also forbid schools to keep those facilities sex-separated? That odd question (among others) is presented in the now-famous case of G.G. v. Gloucester County. (The Supreme Court was to hear oral arguments in that case this week, but due to the Trump administration’s reversal of the Obama administration’s guidance on the law at issue, the Court remanded the case to the lower court for renewed consideration.) The Gloucester case presents an ironic dispute over whether the federal law enacted to provide equal educational opportunities to students of the female sex requires that schools do away with the category of sex from which the law’s solicitude for female students originates, and on which its effectuation depends.

The plaintiff in the case (“G.G.”) is Gavin Grimm, a female student at Gloucester High School in Virginia. She wishes to use the restrooms reserved for the male student population, as she identifies as a transgender male. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled in her favor, offering that “the individual’s sex as male or female is to be generally determined by reference to the student’s gender identity.”

Among the demerits in that assertion is the court’s conflating categories that are distinct and incompatible. Indeed, their conflict is the basis of Gavin’s claim in her lawsuit. She is, to her chagrin, of the female sex. (“I was born in the wrong sex,” she testified.) Her female body is precisely what she wishes to erase from legal visibility, to be replaced by the mental state that she announces: a male “gender identity.” If Gavin, who has a female body, has a male gender identity, it is not clear what “male” means in this context, or why her male gender identity should determine which bathroom she uses. What is clear is that “male” with reference to gender identity does not have (in her case, certainly) the same meaning as “male” when the school district employs it to demarcate admittance to restrooms.

And by declaring herself a boy, Gavin dissolves the category she claims to occupy. By denying the identity significance of her body, she has also dispensed with an anchoring referent for her claim to maleness. What, then, is that “male” identity referring to? Nothing. It is a self-referential condition of mind. As such, to apply the word “male” to a body-denying gender identity is an act of both defiance and deceit. But at this stage of its deconstruction project, transgender ideology must equivocate. It trades on the resonance of concepts it wishes to destroy.

Transgender ideology instructs that the body does not reveal the person; the mind does. Except that the mind is invisible, and so reveals nothing. The pragmatic need of gender-identity dissenters from sex, then, is a mechanism by which the mind’s determination may be made visible. This need is ordinarily met by such persons’ adopting the appearance, fashion, and practices associated with male or female bodies, in a display intended either to conform to or confound those physical categories—but in either event relying on the social authority of the categories and the visible cues and institutions reflecting them. Thus do those persons who deny the physically manifest nature of identity end up scurrying back to the physicality of identity so as to avoid disappearing from view. Being committed to both the abolition and exploitation of meaning in the physical realm, transgender ideology is a case study in dialectical tension.

Transgenderism—at least in its current advocacy posture—refuses to commit itself fully to slaying the categories of reality it denounces, because it needs them alive if its destabilizing demands are to be met. This makes things tricky. If transgender theory were to enjoy complete success in replacing the legal relevance of male and female bodies with reports of gender-states-of-mind, the means to reveal those states of mind would disappear. Consider: names (Gavin changed hers), wardrobe selection (she changed this, too), single-sex restroom access (which she demands in her lawsuit)—these are all dependencies of the publicly meaningful sex-binary. While aiming to replace sex with gender identity, Gavin insists on access to the male facilities that exist only because the public acknowledges the meaningfulness of bodies that she denies have meaning. Her novel theory of identity and her claim for restroom access are mutually refuting.

To disqualify the legal authority of the sex binary won’t leave intact its corresponding institutional expressions; these would die and disappear right along with their reason for existence. In such case, the parasitic gender identity construct would be without its host, now invisible and without a context in which its body-revolt could register. Sex-less persons would be absorbed into the undifferentiated mass of others of infinitely variable mental states with no physical referent to serve as the in-terms-of-which these mental states could be deemed sensible, meaningful, or publicly identity-defining. An androgynous nirvana. And if bodies are but neutral, mute substrata in which minds reside and travel about, their mute features hardly seem cause for personal crisis, or for much concern about what we do with them.

As transgender identity is mental, having no enduring physiological referent or other physical-material presence, it also has no necessary persistence. Unlike physical bodies, mental states contain no impediment to moment-by-moment fade or alteration. And due to its voluntaristic rather than given character, gender identity need not hew to rationality. It is a stipulation, not a constituent of reason.

When in a male or female locker room, nobody is in a position to know whether he or she is sharing the facility with those identifying as Gender Female, Two-Spirit, Pangender, Genderqueer, Androgynous, Gender Fluid, or any other of the innumerable possibilities within the abstract category of gender identity. The ability to know others’ identities depends on their announcing it. And the accuracy and honesty of that announcement is never confirmable. It is thus a baffling proposal urging that the impossible-to-confirm, non-binary mental states of persons who would enter one of the two sex-binary shower facilities are relevant—or even interesting—in the context of policy-making on who may enter which one.

A summary of the obvious: Bathrooms are not specified in terms of mental states; there’s no reason for respective bathroom access to depend on one’s mental state; and there’s no viable way to regulate admission to separate bathrooms on the grounds of mental states. Why, then, do transgenderism policy proponents counter-intuitively announce their constituents’ deep need for cross-sex facility access, rather than merely campaign against the error of binary sex-separation in the first place? Because their demands are not about those facilities, as such.

Cross-sex bathroom access serves two roles, one for each category of participant in the transgenderism policy project. First, for the dysphoria-sufferer, bathroom access presents (as explained above) a social signaling opportunity. A female’s invisible “male” gender identity is powerfully broadcast upon her authorized use of the male restroom. (Gavin thus objected to her school district’s merely practical offer that she avail herself of the unisex single-user restrooms. That defeats the whole point.) Second, for the transgender advocacy industry, cross-sex restroom access disrupts and destabilizes the otherwise still-stable public practices and institutions that reflect the sex binary that gender theory marks for ultimate annihilation. In neither case is the demand for cross-sex restroom access related to the justification or function of that sex-specific facility.

And in the meanwhile (as Ed Whalen has explained), it is not gender-identity discrimination to exclude males from female restrooms (or vice versa) because of their sex. Gender identity plays no role in that policy enforcement. The law has no reliable access to a person’s gender identity. Nor does anyone else. Nor (again) in this context does the law care. On the other hand, for a school to allow a male student who identifies as female into a woman’s shower facility while refusing such shower access to a male student who identifies as male (or as androgynous, or pangender, etc.), does discriminate on grounds of gender identity. If “discrimination on grounds of gender-identity” is what the law forbids (thus consuming and nullifying the incompatible category of sex discrimination), here again, the existence of sex-specific facilities themselves (being binary) and any attending enforcement of the policy would be unlawful. All “toilet, locker room, and shower facilities” that Title IX regulations explicitly authorize to be separated on the basis of sex must now be open to all persons without distinction. Sex-specific facilities disappear along with the legal category of embodied sex.

Behold the regime wherein Title IX is interpreted to unlaw itself.

The created truth manifest in sexed bodies cannot endure in law as “one among many” incompatible human identity markers. It can only either be (1) the norm, or (2) subservient to some other norm. There is no sharing of power in these precincts. Once male or female embodiment no longer legally anchors human identity, the venerable practices and policies dependent on the identity-profundity of male and female bodies only survive as fugitives, or in a tentative position of contingent state permission, ever vulnerable to the in-fact erasure already accomplished in principle. So, for instance, draining legal meaning from body and its natural functions correspondingly drains legal weight from the body-concepts of motherhood, fatherhood, kinship, and ancestry—from family itself. All to say, this trip doesn’t terminate at the bathroom.

Transgenderism public policy advocates are not proposing a compromise at the margins, and indeed they cannot. Their program is totalistic, as its ambition is to redefine humanity writ large. If the law governing us all says Gavin is a boy and not a girl, then “boy” and “girl” no longer mean for anyone what they always meant before. We’ve then all been redefined.

Transgenderism is supremely incoherent not only because it is irrational, but because that irrationality doesn’t diminish its appeal or social standing. Its irrationality is not a defect but its principle feature, its point of pride and perverse strength. Judge Niemeyer wrote in dissent to a ruling in Gavin’s case that, as against transgender policy, “[v]irtually every civilization’s norms on this issue stand in protest.” Well yes; that’s rather the point. For transgender ideology, the unanimous testimony of human civilization not only has no authority, but civilization is precisely the foe it aims to vanquish. Settled categories—of law, logic, or physical creation—are targets for subversion.

There is therefore a vital difference between our charitable concern and compassion for the exceptional individual who suffers from dysphoria, and the revolution of making that person’s confusion a reason to overthrow the universe in order that dysphoria itself cannot endure as a sensible category. While individuals suffering from transgender confusion desire a different body, the gender ideologues exploiting the condition of those individuals desire a different cosmos. The dysphoric student, then, should be treated quite differently than her handlers. Transgenderism is not a matter for policy compromise or compatible addition to our sex discrimination laws. It is a form of total negation. And law, already besieged, cannot survive its triumph.

Jeff Shafer serves as senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom.

Sunday
Sep102017

On Vacation

I will be away on a cycling vacation in the Dordogne region of France for two weeks+, and back home near the end of September.

Meanwhile, I hope the world stays in one piece.

Until then, visitors to this site who are new, are encouraged to browse the many essays posted on the right side of the home page, and check out my blogs from years past, most of which still speak to our time. I am confident in saying this only because I have always been more interested in the enduring issues and truths than in things ephemeral.

Enjoy,

William

 

 

Tuesday
Sep052017

Feminism, Abortion, and Egalitarian Democracy

"All Who Support Slavery Are Free, and All Who Support Abortion Are Alive"

          Abortion has for so long now been considered a right in the Western world that even millions of ordinary, non-radical women defend it passionately. But that is not my topic here. I am going to discuss abortion as the third fundamental plank of the radical feminist platform; which is to say, the so-called “right” to abortion as a tax-funded service of the State claimed as a means to equality with men.

         All women understand that the work of birthing, suckling, and the early care of children fall disproportionately to them, and so no society can be “equal” in the gender sense, unless this natural consequence of human biology is somehow transformed into a chosen consequence of a woman’s Will, rather than of her sexual behavior. Laws permitting abortion-on-demand achieve this result by enabling women to eliminate their unwanted children, leaving them only with wanted children, thus removing any grounds for complaint about an unchosen inequality.

         What this distinction tells us is that all modern major democracies (with the exceptions only of Poland, where it is outlawed) locate their moral justification for abortion in the Will of the woman, and not in her biology. In this sense, all modern abortion regimes are an expression of the modern Triumph of the Will over Nature. In the past, this triumph of Will over nature was expressed by careful women prior to the sex act, rather than after the sex act. A woman refused sex entirely if she didn't want the risk of pregnancy, or she indulged, but with the help of contraceptives. What has changed is that the control of the Will over nature to sustain one's freedom exerted before pregnancy, now includes control over the life or death of the unborn child in order to sustain one's freedom after pregnancy. Presto! You can be free at all times.

           Radical feminists have been extraordinarily successful in procuring this objective. Canada, for example - perhaps the most radical abortion regime in the world - currently has no law whatsoever against abortion. An unborn eight-pound child, say, may be aborted in Canada even m

oments before natural birth without breaking any law (though this is unlikely to happen, but as I say, there is no law against it). In short, in most Western nations the survival of an unborn child is now completely dependent on its Mother’s Will. In most of those same nations citizens are warned sternly on wine bottles and cigarette packets not to drink or smoke, for fear of “harming the fetus,” but they may kill their own unborn child with impunity at any time prior to the moment of natural birth and send it to the garbage.  Get it? You shouldn't harm your own unborn child; but you can legally kill it.

          I include the “Three Questions on Abortion” below because, although I was once in favour of abortion for hard cases (though never as a general or contraceptive right), both the facts of this grisly reality and what I believe is the inescapable logic of the arguments against it presented below, have convinced me that abortion as practiced in all modern democracies must be judged a distinct moral evil no different in character from the early programs of death-by-infanticide practiced by the Nazi regime in Germany, and the genocidal programs engaged in by many other totalitarian regimes.

          Now it grieves me to characterize my own country in this way. However, all who doubt this statement but want to see how we got here, are encouraged to read The Nazi Doctors by Robert Jay Lifton, which details very precisely the amoral gradualism by which very highly-educated German scientists, intellectuals, and lawyers developed arguments for the tax-funded liquidation of those having what they called “lives not worth living.” The fundamental legal trick that enabled this for the Nazi regime is the same as that used by the Canadian Supreme Court: they simply invented a kind of “category law” to redefine disabled children as non-persons or not “human beings.”  Canada has declared that an unborn child in Canada is not a human being until "it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother." (Section 223 of Canada's Criminal Code). This is often called the "born alive" rule. Point is, the unborn child is considered non-human prior to birth.

            Now it so happens that this was the same legal trick used by all former slave-owning regimes in history (Canada was also a slave-owning society). They legally-defined blacks and other slaves, as property, or chattels, or non-persons, rather than as full human beings. I am arguing that we are doing the same thing with unborn children.

             Looking more deeply into the history of democracy in particular, we find plenty of ancient thinkers in places like Greece and Rome who argued that democracy as a political system is impossible without slavery. They realized that in order for democracy to function properly, citizens had to be freed from the drudgery of labour. In short, slavery was considered essential so that free citizens could think, read, debate and engage fully in democratic life. Rousseau argued the same thing in the 18th. century: a functioning democracy is impossible without slavery. So ... guess where this train of thought is leading?

             Right to our front door. I argue that with the exception of Poland, all the major modern democracies have mutated into slave-regimes of a new kind. Here's why. When they were rooted in liberty, the Western democracies expected the full and free expression of human differences. Free societies would inevitably and naturally become unequal. Some would be smart, some stupid; some hard-working, some lazy; some rich, some poor, etc. etc. But once what looked like a permanent underclass became a reality in democratic systems, thinking switched from our original, non-coercive start-line equality (come to our shores and begin life with equal opportunities!), to our present coercive, state-guranteed finish-line equality (gosh, we can't stand all this inequality, so it is not sufficient to make opportunities equal; we have to make outcomes equal for as amny as possible).

             Enter womb-slavery. There is no way that women could have lives equal to those of men, with the same freedom from biology as men have always had naturally, unless they had a right to kill their own children in the womb. But ... there was a hitch. Women are sweet and compassionate, right? So, the only way to provide them with such a killing right was to redefine human life in the womb as non-human. Unborn children would henceforth be defined as non-human, or as property. Presto! You are not killing a baby; you are getting rid of an annoying bunch of meaningless cells that are interfering with your life and will condemn you to a life of inequality

           Well ... as I say, that is exactly what all slave regimes in history have done. They just legally transormed living human beings into morally meaningless material things that could be bought, sold, or killed at will. And now, all democracies that permit abortion are doing the same. That's why I say all modern democracies have become slave regimes of a new kind in which in order to make women equal to and as free from biology as men, they have enslaved all unborn children.

           The proof of this argument is the following syllogism. A syllogism is a logical structure with a major and minor premise, and a conclusion. If the premises are true, the conclusion has to be true. The ancient example was:

Major premise: All men are mortal

Minor Premise: Socrates is a man

Conclusion: Therefore Socrates is mortal

That is undeniably true. Now, here is the same argument concerning abortion and slavery:

Major Premise: All slaves are defined as non-human

Minor Premise: Unborn children are defined as non-human

Conclusion:  Therefore unborn children are slaves

         This is an undeniable conclusion. And what it is telling us is that in order to purify the current underlying ideology of radical egalitarianism by way of resolving its internal contradictions (the fact that there is no way men and women can ever be equal in natural biological terms), modern democracy in the West, like many other political systems of the past, has had to sacrifice a whole class of human beings to make its ideological purity possible.

         In ancient times, in places like Greece and Rome, human beings outside the womb were made chattel slaves to sustain a political ideology resting on victory in war, disdain for labour, democratic rights, and so on. Human slavery was a systemic necessity. In Hitler's regime, and Stalin's, the sacrifices to the system, so to speak, were Jews, ordinary liberal and conservative protesters, artists, and so on. In our time, the only thing that makes our radical egalitarianism possible, is the killing of humans in the womb, which removes the impediment of natural biology and frees (equalizes) the half of the population chained to their babies.

***********

          Many libertarians and conservatives part company with me on all this, because they are staunch supporters of individual freedom. But I suggest they have not followed their own logic far enough to see that their liberty-license - the code for which is the word "choice" - has produced a plain and obvious evil: the deaths to date of several million perfectly healthy unborn children in Canada from 1968 (the year Pierre Trudeau relaxed the law against abortion and opened the floodgates for abortion (averaging now around 100,000 per year, down from a peak of 120,000), and over 40 million in America (now at 1,000,000 per year, down from a peak of 1.5 million). However, these numbers must be inflated by all the unregistered abortions.

          I challenge all doubters, here and now, to read what follows sincerely and honestly, and to face their own honest answers to these questions.

                                        Three Questions on Abortion

            Some time has passed since Canada disgraced itself by conferring its highest citizen honour, The Order of Canada, upon the late Henry Morgentaler, a doctor who devoted his entire adult life to legalizing abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy, as a political right. It was pretty strange to see a Jewish man doing this all his life, when the same technique for making an enmey of the unborn child, was used with chilling effectiveness against Jews in Germany (and elsewhere). Ironically, at the press conference for this nefarious presentation he offered the opinion that abortion has helped to reduce violent crime because “there are people out there who would otherwise have been murdered.” In the days that followed there were a few cries of moral outrage concerning who, exactly, was doing the murdering, and a number of distinguished citizens returned their Order of Canada pins to the government.

            But we need to ask: What happened? How did we in the West change from a people that once so valued human life that we universally criminalized abortion (with only a few exceptions having to do with rape, or a real medical threat to the life of the mother), to a people that now permits and publicly subsidizes the right to terminate human life in the womb - in Canada, at any stage of pregnancy up to the moment of birth?  Some will immediately object to my use of the phrase “human life” on the ground that many courts in many nations, as I say, have declared that a “fetus” is not a “person” or a “human being” until it is born alive. That is true, but I think the facts will expose the bogus use of these terms for the following reasons.

         Even if we all were to agree that what a pregnant woman is carrying is not a fully-developed person, or “human being” we nevertheless cannot deny that in every case what she is carrying is alive, for if this were not so there would be no need for anyone to claim a right to “terminate” a pregnancy. In other words, we are talking about actual life, and not in any degree a “potential life,” as some Judges have archly argued. Once we have secured what must be unavoidable agreement on this point, we are then forced to agree that in every case, absolutely, the life a pregnant woman is carrying is a human life. No one believes she is carrying a developing puppy, or a swan.

          So having come this far, and only once we decide to face this singular truth as honestly as possible, any reasonably informed person will be led to the ultimate question of whether or not it is morally acceptable for one person in full possession of his or her own human life, to terminate another human life at any stage of development.

          Reasonably informed? By any measure, most people who adamantly support abortion are grievously uninformed. They simply don’t know how we arrived at the new moral ground we seem to be standing upon; what changes in the law have enabled such a strange about-face; or what the current practices of abortion are that this very recent thinking has permitted.

     The answers, explored below, are each followed by a plain question that readers are challenged to think deeply about and to answer as honestly as possible.

How we got this way – the change in our moral thinking

        Until about the middle of the nineteenth century, all philosophers, and all religious and political leaders in the Western world accepted as obvious the idea that we live – and ought to live – under a common moral bubble, so to speak. Which is to say that moral standards were considered public by their very nature, rather than private. The mere idea that morality should be something sourced in a personal point of view aimed at serving the purposes of solitary individuals or, even more fickle, something constructed to suit the occasion, had always been considered absurd, if not a sign of moral sickness.

       But with the advance of egalitarian democracy came an increasingly shrill demand for individual rights divorced from duties, and with this a weakening of shared moral consensus and an entirely new idea: that each human being lives under his or her own private moral bubble. The most famous articulation of this historically bizarre alteration in the public conception of morality was by J.S. Mill in his little booklet On Liberty in 1859. Within certain confusing limits he basically argued that morality is a private matter and the only case for concern is when we directly harm someone else by our conduct. This is today called Mill’s “harm principle” and it has rapidly become the most common Western ideal of what it means to live a free and moral life. Indeed, Canada’s own Supreme Court, in R. vs. Labaye (2005), in which a citizen complained that it was indecent and against community standards to allow a swingers’ sex club in a residential neighbourhood, ruled in favour of the club, and in doing so wrote that “The philosophical underpinnings of the … harm-based approach are found in the liberal theories of J. S. Mill. This philosopher argued that the only purpose for which State power can be rightfully exercised over a member the community is to prevent harm to others.”

          And so it has come to pass by edict of our highest court that there is no longer a common moral bubble; that we have no duty to be concerned for others, nor for the greater good, nor for society as a whole understood as a social entity comprised of real relationships, that is more than the sum of its   individual parts.

First Question: How is it possible for a civilization to thrive and for a people to arrive at any consensus of the common good when the most fundamental questions of human life are to be decided solely by will of self-interested individuals without regard to the common good of all?

 

The flimsy legal right

       Unfettered abortion in Canada has been possible since 1988 when the existing law placing minimal conditions on abortion was struck down as “unconstitutional.” Several efforts were subsequently made to replace it with a compromise law that failed due to a tie vote in the Senate (where 23 Senators did not bother to vote at all). The result is that Canadian law, as mentioned, does not presently say that abortion is right or wrong. It says nothing at all – even though no poll has ever shown that a majority of Canadians accept unlimited abortion on demand. Quite the reverse. In fact, when you tell a Canadian there is no law whatsoever against abortion in his country, and that you can abort a six-pound baby in the womb without legal impediment, they are appalled.

       The conjuring began the moment judges decided, mostly for radical feminist reasons having to do with the growing demand for individual freedom and moral autonomy (as explained above), that a woman ought to have a “right” to abort. This meant that all unborn human life had to be redefined as a valueless non-human so as to remove it as a matter of concern from the legal arena. As it happened, the legal category of non-human was well-known. It is a very old device introduced throughout history whenever States, tribes, or courts, want to justify the elimination of an enemy. As such it was easy to adapt for the purpose of facilitating abortion. 

           For example, slave-holding regimes (Canada and the United States were no exception) have always defined their slaves as less than fully human to make enslavement morally acceptable. They even developed a separate category of laws to define and defend the master-slave relationship and to justify the unequal rights and obligations of each party. Jews, and many other groups in the horrific Nazi and Soviet regimes were defined as non-persons, or more aggressively, as sub-human (if not as vermin, or some other such despised creature).

          Such linguistic and moral contortionism and the official justifications for it have been almost exactly duplicated by the abortion regimes in all Western nations, and this parallel is far more than an analogy. For with the sole distinction of the existence of the victim either outside, or inside, the womb, there is no difference between a declaration of non-personhood that creates a class of born-alive victims that enables, sustains, and makes invisible to its perpetrators a regime of chattel slavery, and a declaration of non-personhood that creates a class of alive but not-yet-born imminent victims, that enables, sustains, and makes invisible to its perpetrators the abortion regimes currently defended in the name of egalitarian democracy.                

        The reasoning produced in Canada for granting a pregnant woman a “right” to decide the life or death fate of her unborn child, a right that has priority even over the will of society at large (and, not incidentally, even over the will of the child’s father), is that if the mother does not want her child, then the “security” of the mother’s person (which now means her psychological “health” as a self-flourishing and freely-choosing individual) has been put at risk (ironically, also by her own will). She is therefore said to be justified in protecting herself from such a threat by demanding the tax-funded professional removal of the offending object, or enemy, from her womb.

       The same sort of legal and verbal legerdemain was used in the United States where the justifying ground for this practice was not security of the mother’s person, but her right to “privacy.” There, if the life within is unwanted by its mother it is considered a kind of enemy “occupying” the mother’s womb without her consent - an illegal trespasser invading her privacy.

       This is a very brief overview of the constitutional artifices required in both countries to justify ending human life in the womb. Note that in both cases, whether with respect to the artificial grounds of security, or privacy, what I have called a developing human life, once considered sacred and of the highest value in itself, and without regard to the opinion of the moment of any other human being, may now by the sole and god-like edict of its own mother be declared of no value whatsoever – or, of a supreme value, as she may decide, even calling upon the unlimited and heroic resources of the medical profession and the State (and the taxpayer) to save its life, if necessary.

Question Two: Can it be right and good for any civilization that the most fundamental question - whether or not another human life has value, and so whether it is to be protected or killed - should be decided by the private and changeable will of a single individual?

 

The practice of abortion                                

        Now let us ask what is actually being done to unwanted human life. How many unborn lives are ended? How large are they? What are the methods? Once abortion enthusiasts learn a little of the bald truth, many are horrified, backpedal a lot, and start to suggest ways to severely restrict abortion, if not to end it entirely. This grisly aspect will only be touched upon here.

      Suffice it to say that of the average of approximately 106,000 abortions performed annually in Canada over the past decade (that’s about 290 per day, or 1,060,000 per decade, the vast majority of whom would have been perfectly healthy citizens), most are in the first trimester of pregnancy. The routine methods of abortion at this stage involve injecting saline solutions that burn and kill babies, to scraping the womb, and so on. Many people who don’t know much about this subject say abortion is acceptable because they falsely believe all abortions take place during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and that this involves getting rid of what they consider to be a microscopic cluster of valueless human cells. 

           But many are changing their minds because the debate surrounding abortion has been altering rapidly not, as we often think, due to religious or moral claims, but because of neo-natal science, neurology, DNA studies, cell biology, CAT scanning, surgery on infants in the womb, and so on. We now know that a human heart starts beating around 21 days, because we can see it and hear it; that a human life in the womb has a distinct and unique personal genetic endowment (and thus is in every strictly biological sense, a genetically complete and unique, if undeveloped human life); and studies with tiny digital cameras show clearly terrified second and third-trimester babies trying desperately to escape the vacuum tube (or other devices) inserted into their mother’s wombs to suck away their lives or tear off their limbs. And who has not seen the incredible photo of Baby Samuel’s tiny hand reaching out of a small incision in his mother’s belly to grasp the surgeon’s finger during an operation to save his life?  

            This latter situation is bizarre, because once taken outside the womb for surgery such a child is considered a full person with all normal human and civil rights (because “born alive”). But when put back in the womb to finish gestation, it again disappears as a human being, or person, and is without value, or any such defence or rights until eventually born alive once again (if Mommy so wills).

          These are simply facts. And so is the distressing reality that about 10 per cent of all abortions in Canada and the United States (perhaps 100,000 annually there) take place in the second trimester. At this point, many unborn babies are about 12 inches long, and weigh up to a couple of pounds. At this 5-6 month stage of development (when the human life to be terminated looks in every way like a small human being) there are often “evacuation” problems, and so the most efficient and “safe” way to get a sizeable baby out of an unripe womb is in pieces, by first ripping off its arms and legs and crushing its head with forceps for easy extraction, after which all the pieces are counted and thrown into a garbage pail. Those who want to read a viscerally upsetting description by an American physician of his real-life accidental encounter with recently-aborted babies that fell out of a hospital garbage bag from a truck onto the street in front of him, should read the essay “The Street of the Dead Fetuses” on my website. Be prepared. And those who want to see shocking photos of babies acid-burned to death or torn apart in this way, can simply Google “abortion photos” and a lot of upsetting websites will pop up.

        There is more. About 40 U.S. States have restricted or banned third trimester abortions because unborn children at this stage are very large – about 20 inches and between 6 and 8 pounds. Canada has no law whatsoever against late abortions , as mentioned, and it is true that even where they are allowed (or, not prohibited) many abortionists will refuse to perform them. But when it comes to women who want to get rid of their large second or third-trimester babies, there is an especially gruesome practice called “partial-birth abortion” (formally called “intact dilation and extraction”) that I am obliged to describe briefly here, because although it was successfully banned by President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton before him refused outright to ban it, and President Obama, when a Senator, refused to vote against it on several occasions, and one of his first acts as President was to reverse Bush’s ban on American funding of abortion in other countries. It is impossible to verify if, where, or when this method may have been used or is now used. But there is nothing to stop it in Canada, and no one is telling. In the last year for which I have seen numbers for America, the National Coalition of Abortion Providers estimated that there were 4,000-5,000 partial-birth procedures in the U.S. (New York Times, Feb. 26, 1997).

        For this method, the unborn child’s position in the womb is manipulated until it can be pulled out of the birth canal feet first. When the abortionist sees the back of the baby’s head, he stops pulling, takes a pair of scissors and jabs them into the back of the baby’s skull. Observers have said that at that moment the child startles, as if falling. The abortionist then inserts a vacuum hose and sucks out the brains. He must do this before the child leaves the birth canal alive and is transformed by law into a person, possibly exposing the medical staff to charges of murder. An alternative method is by “disarticulating at the neck,” which means the abortionist manually breaks the baby’s neck prior to extraction. Then home for supper goes the doctor.

Question Three: Once a people is aware of such practices, which necessarily implicate all citizens morally because they are not forbidden by the laws of the people and (in Canada) are paid for through the tax system, is it possible for any reasonable person to say that these practices are right, and good, or that a country that sanctions them is right and good? And if they are evil, as they clearly seem to be, is not a country that refuses to forbid them, indeed, that promotes them, also evil?

        All "civilizations" must ask such questions, and by their answers they shall be known.

Wednesday
Aug302017

Feminist Mothers: What Is Daycare Doing to the Children?

 

"Working parents want daycare. What children want... is their parents."

~ Wendy Dreskin, author of The Daycare Decision: What's Best For You and Your Children.

              Now I turn to the second program demanded by feminists. So-called “universal daycare” has been promoted by feminists from the start as an essential government service that would enable all women, regardless of income, to free themselves from the natural consequences of their own biology – the responsibilities (to many of them, the burdens) of homemaking and childrearing. As men cannot bear children, feminists set themselves the target of equalizing the parental work of childrearing. But they cannot force men to stay home and share that load. So instead, they seek to force all taxpayers to share it via tax-funded daycare. Then, free of their own children at last, feminists would be free to sally forth and compete with men as equals in the capitalist jungle. So this is at bottom a program of unknown expense – estimates range from $5 to $10 billion per year - designed not to give children the best care, as we shall see, but to level the gender playing field that radicals are convinced is stacked against women.

                    So my immediate concern, once I understood the depth of the attack on traditional society this would mean, was then to ask what it would mean for the nation’s children? Right after the original of this book appeared I got busy researching, and published The War Against the Family.[1] What follows is a revised segment that addressed this very issue. I present it here as a critique, not of normal and reasonable use of good daycare, but of the feminist notion of long-term daycare as a tax-funded woman’s “right.” There was no need to update the alarming science, because nothing has changed – the story has only gotten worse. Readers will find all the relevant references, and more, in War. And it’s not as if radicals have given up, or that the ideological war against the family is over. Far from it. In the 2009 Pink Book of the Liberal Party of Canada’s Women’s Caucus, over which then leader Michael Ignatieff gushed enthusiastically, a national tax-funded daycare program was once again promoted. Now the current PM, Justin Trudeau is at it again. They never give up. Such a plan may be a dream come true for radical feminists, or for androgynists, and for socialists; but … is it the best thing for the nation’s children? Read on, and decide. 

                                                              ~                                                                 

         We are in the midst of a terrible impasse, whereby in a pursuit of economic survival that is very real for some (the truly needy), a matter of economic comfort for most (yuppie daycare mothers), and endemic in a consumer society's pursuit of a flashier lifestyle, we are forcing children to pay a terrible price. This is going to haunt us as long as they live. For as the old Jewish saying goes: "If you aren’t there for a needy child when he's young, you'll be there when he's old." That quote came from an article by Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Elliot Barker, who spent many decades working with angry killer psychopaths. I spoke with him. From his window he watches their anguished parents bent with sadness as they arrive to comfort their criminal children, and says "I cannot help wondering where they were when it mattered most." He says that the psychopaths he treats invariably have the same history: shortly after birth the child is separated from his mother and given into the care of a multitude of surrogate parents. From Barker, from criminologist Stanton Samenow, from legions of researchers, the evidence has cascaded off the presses in a crescendo of damnation. It is a finger of shame pointed at a society that is rapidly breaking the bonds of the natural family, that has succumbed, encouraged by the shrill goading of tax-funded radicals, to an increasing abandonment of its children.

           What all honest researchers are re-discovering, however, is what the popular wisdom has always known: young children need an uninterrupted, intimate, continuous connection with their mothers, especially in the very early months and years of life. We all know that there are a lot of excellent daycare centers and dedicated childcare workers. What follows is not a critique of any particular facility or person. It is a critique of the notion of daycare as an adequate substitute for mom and dad, a report on some of the scientific findings concerning the effects of extended daycare on the behaviour and health of young children.

 

Breaking the Bonds: Women Oppressing Children.           

        Quite contrary to the radical feminist insistence that "parenting" is a gender-free matter (either parent, or even a surrogate, will do), or that "mothering" is an oppressive role constructed to trap women and recruit them as slaves for a patriarchal society, highly respected social scientists such as John Bowlby have been tirelessly reiterating the obvious: that “the attachment relationship that a young child forms with its mother is the foundation stone of personality." We are discovering much too late that when this primal attachment is missing, or inadequate, children, especially young boys, develop into adults who lack any ability to form meaningful relationships with other people. In Attachment and Loss, and again in A Secure Base, Bowlby insists that "the young child's hunger for his mother's presence is as great as his hunger for food," and that "her absence inevitably generates a powerful sense of loss and anger." Woe betide us.

         A veritable avalanche of "attachment” studies has shown that although fathers are crucially important to any child's development, attachment bonding is overwhelmingly a matter of the quality and continuance of the relationship between the mother and her children in the early stages of life. Through a variety of current experiments based on the "Strange Situation" used by psychologist Mary Ainsworth in the 196Os, it is now devastatingly clear that when babies are placed in "other than mother" care during the first year of life - even very good quality care - "about 5O percent are insecurely attached to their mothers." Ainsworth's technique of asking mothers to leave their children in a room with a total stranger abruptly and without explanation to the child (the strange situation), to reappear some minutes later, were decisive. During the mother's sudden absence, and on her reappearance, the children demonstrated clear differences in attachment, ranging from callous indifference and anger, to joy on re-uniting. Penn State's Jay Belsky, who originally argued for the harmlessness of daycare, now says that daycare erodes a child's sense of trust and order in the world, and Belsky, Barglow and others argue that when mothers leave children in daycare as infants, especially for more than 2O hours per week, children read this as parental rejection. Belsky argues that daycare weakens the father-child bond as well, because when full-time working mothers get home, they monopolize the child's attention during evenings and weekends.

             Belsky says he has since been "smeared" by feminists for turning against daycare, but that his newly-critical perspective is shared by many specialists who are fearful of incurring the wrath of daycare partisans. This truth, shared quietly by many Canadian specialists, is being hidden from Canadians through an academic and media blackout. Chillingly, Ainsworth has discovered that whereas only 3O% of children demonstrated poor attachment in the 196Os, by 199O fifty percent did so. She concluded that "It's very hard to become a sensitively reponsive mother if you're away from your child ten hours a day, it really is." Recently, work by Mary Ainsworth, Mary Main, and Alan Stroufe, researchers from three major but different university research centers, has clearly and consistently shown that the pattern of attachment developed in infancy and early childhood is profoundly influenced by the mother's ready availability, her sensitivity to her child's signals, and her responsiveness to the need for comfort and protection.

           Jay Belsky now calls extensive daycare in the 2O+ hours range a "risk condition" for children - and therefore, for society as a whole. Why? Because - there is near professional unanimity on this point - poorly attached children are sociopaths in the making. They feel anger and aggression toward their parents and other children. Study after study shows that the ranks of the aggressive, of angry children, of drop-outs, of detention centers, of welfare and unemployment roles, of drug and drunk tanks, of the homeless hordes, and the jails, are increasingly occupied by those - who missed out. Mostly, who grew up, first without full-time mothers, then without a father model, or both. As young children they are less cooperative with adults, more aggressive in their play, fight more, cry more, hit more, cling more, are more rebellious, have far less tolerance for frustration, and are far more at risk for personality disorders in later life.  Predictably, those in the lowest quality daycare had the highest number of such disorders. And such profiles are very common in low-income strata. But even children from affluent homes, left with one-to-one nannies, showed significant attachment insecurity. Psychiatrist Graeme Taylor, of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto, concluded what all natural mothers already know by instinct, and can deny only by self-deception: that the infant-mother relationship is "an interactional system that organizes and regulates the infant's behaviour and physiology from birth," including such intimate and sensitive matters as heart-rate, enzyme levels of growth hormone, thermo-regulation, responsiveness of the immune system, and upwards to psychological States of mind. This regulation comes about through the mother's direct and intimate attention and holding behaviour, and if it is lacking, can result in conditions of physical and personality inadequacy that endure for a lifetime. The point here, simply put, is that prolonged daycare serves to negatively restructure the mother-infant relationship, and thus may be dangerously restructuring society itself. A clear sense of this can be grasped from the turnover rates of childcare workers – sometimes 4O to 6O per cent per year. "Attachment" is impossible under such circumstances. Some Swedish researchers report that in Sweden the average Swedish child may have 50 to 1OO different "caregivers" by the age of ten (perhaps the word should be "caretakers"). Because of this, we can be sure that extensive daycare facilities will be matched by increases in the number of divorces, social violence, psychiatric beds, and jail cells. That's why Dr. Burton White, of Harvard University's Pre-School Project, once America's leading authority on the first three years of life, declared daycare to be "a disaster" for children, saying that it is impossible in daycare centers to manufacture "large doses of custom-made love." After more than thirty years of research on how children develop well, he said “I would not think of putting an infant or toddler of mine into any substitute care program on a full-time basis, especially a center-based program...I urge you not to delegate the primary child-rearing task to anyone else during your child's first three years of life "

 

Breaking Their Bodies

           As if the production of generations of children who grow up lacking empathic capacities were not enough, daycare facilities, by their very nature, are also hosts for all sorts of illnesses and diseases, some of them extremely dangerous to children and their families. Dr. Harrison Spencer, Chief of Parasitic Diseases at the Atlanta Centre for Disease Control (CDC), describes a fascinating Minnesota experiment in which researchers created a video showing how a disease organism can start in a child's diaper, and travel to other children and workers. They placed a tablespoon of tapioca pudding combined with a dye that becomes fluorescent under a black light, in just one child's diaper. Eventually the diaper oozed. One child, then another touched it, "and pretty soon it spread all over the whole room.” They've got a video showing exactly how this happened. They took pictures at timed-intervals which showed “a gradual progression as the dye spread onto the daycare worker's hands, the furniture, and so forth." Dr. Harrison said that daycare children "are at risk anywhere from two to eighteen times as much for certain infectious diseases that run the gamut from diarrheal diseases to respiratory and flu-like illnesses," and that "as many as 8O per cent of children in daycare excrete cytomegalovirus (CMV) in their urine and saliva." Other studies show 1OO per cent for daycare children (compared to 5O per cent for all children). Scandinavian children have higher rates than others, likely due to more widespread daycare there. CMV is a herpes-type viral infection that doesn't seem to bother young children much, but can cause a mononucleosis type illness in older children and adults, and if contracted by a pregnant woman, can cause deafness, birth defects, mental retardation, and even death in her newborn. 

        Joanne Braithwaite, an infection expert with the city of Toronto Health Department said daycare centers are "high risk institutions, just like hospitals," they act as "a community reservoir" for infection - a place where bacteria and viruses are always present, ready to infect others. Winnipeg disease expert Dr. Ron Gold said the 2OO,OOO plus Canadian children in daycare are twice as likely to get sick as those cared for at home (Canadian Press, February 2, 1988).  And … there's a horrible litany of "Daycare-Related Illnesses" (DCRI's) as they are called: over 7O per cent of clinical cases of Hepatitis A can be traced to a daycare setting, as can so many other fecal-oral enteric (bowel) diseases, including viral gastroenteritis, salmonellosis, shigellosis, giardiasis (found in 3O-5O per cent of daycare inmates, with an estimated 6OO per cent increased risk in centers with children under two), and pinworms, many of which have their highest "attack rates" for children under one year of age. It's the same story for respiratory diseases, the various forms of pneumonia, Influenza B, the various pathogenic "strep" bacteria, and the deadly meningococcus diseases. In most cases it is useless to "isolate" such sick children in a daycare setting, because they are often badly infected long before symptoms show up, and may well have already infected dozens of other children (and thus their families). Even worse, anxious mothers often resort to "masking" a child's illness with drugs so the sickness or fever will be undetected until after Mom is at work. Studies show up to 12 times greater risk for such diseases in daycare children, and many of these bacterial and viral conditions can have sequelae like scarlet fever, nephritis (kidney inflammation), rheumatic fever (inflammation of heart), septicemia, meningitis, septic arthritis, and osteomyelitis.

        Enough said. So alarmed are some authorities, that even the cautious US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that "large, licenced daycare centers...are major transmission centers for hepatitis, severe diarrhea, and other diseases." Dr. Stanley Schuman, of the Medical University of South Carolina blames daycare for the outbreak of all sorts of illnesses, saying that the situation "is reminiscent of the pre-sanitation days of the seventeenth century."

         Daycare centers can also be magnets for certain types of workers: one study of sexual abuse in Michigan said 75 per cent of the victims were daycare children (it didn't say whether the abuse occurred in the centers or not). But some does. U.S. Senator Hawkins told of a daycare center in Florida where "dozens of children were found to have gonnorhea of the mouth." The University of New Hampshire reported that from 1983 to 1985 there were 1,639 confirmed cases of sexual abuse of children in U.S. licenced daycare centers; in some cases, the children were used for the production of child pornography.

         The current fear is that many unnattached youngsters, utterly lacking in empathy, in a truly vicious social cycle are becoming the angry radicals of tomorrow. Disappointed with the real world, they understandably become dependent on illusory utopian goals for the reformation of society, trying to force society to give them what they missed, and punishing their parental generation at the same time. Radical feminists, I'm afraid, are rather cornered, and will not succeed in negating or reconstituting human biology or gender or reforming society to their liking through daycare, no matter how many children they sacrifice to it. A nation-wide Globe and Mail-CBC News Poll (November 5, 1991), revealed the deep feelings of the public on this issue: a huge majority of anxious Canadians (76%) said "children's well-being is being sacrificed" because both parents have to work. The poll said "they have tremendous nostalgia for the way the family used to be run." So radicals would be better to reform themselves. In writing on this point for Harvard Business Review, no-nonsense feminist Felice Schwartz said that some women are "career primary," but that following this urge "requires that they remain single or at least childless or, if they do have children, that they be satisfied to have others raise them." Pretty honest, even though she refrained from commenting on the satisfaction of the children. At any rate, we cannot prevent radicals from forcing their own children into heavy-duty daycare, but we ought to prevent them from restructuring society with our money in order to normalize this practice.            

 

 

 


[1] William D. Gairdner, The War Against The Family (Toronto: BPS Books, 2008). The book is available directly from www.williamgairdner.com