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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
Aug152017

The Feminist Reaction (to the pro-family world)

The Feminist Reaction

 

"Feminist theory...is passionate and salvationist in a similar way to Marxism, new religious movements, and occult enthusiasms: all of them know in advance not only the conclusions they will arrive at but the appropriate attitude toward those conclusions. Academically, it is mostly unsophisticated. A little light generalizing work is followed by polysyllabic decoration and some spray-on indignation."

~ Kenneth Minogue, Times Literary Supplement, June 7, 1991

 

 

          The modern feminist reaction to the pro-family arrangement outlined in my last post gathered steam throughout the early part of the 20th century, accelerated by the experience of two World Wars in which so many women were put to work out of the home. It was also reinforced by a growing world-wide egalitarianism expressed in various Statist movements – fascism and communism - themselves the contributory causes of those wars. Along with this came the vastly-increased wealth of all free Western nations, which meant in turn the possibility of historically unprecedented tax harvesting, and therefore the possibility of … ever larger governments, huge, as never before seen. This in turn meant that more and more government services for “the people” could be dreamed up and actually delivered on a massive scale as never before imagined – in the hope of votes to be gained. For such states – all now less-free “democratic” States – the greatest competitor for citizen loyalty was, (and remains) voluntary civil society and its mainspring, the private natural family. This in turn meant that governments vying for votes had what has turned out to be a socially-destructive motive to compete for citizen allegiance, against the inward pull of civil society and the family. New tax-funded “free” services were the State’s weapon of choice and became widely offered as replacements for those things families and their communities had always voluntarily arranged to provide for themselves. Soon local clubs, associations and art guilds and the like, faded in importance, to be replaced by government-subsidized recreational, cultural, and social equivalents. 

           Citizens were initially offered the big programs such as social security and unemployment protection, but before long they were offered everything from kiddie soccer to flower arranging, to courses in personal and business finance, to beginner guitar and dance courses. All free, state-funded or subsidized. In order to provide such things “equally” the State had to begin an “atomization” of society by changing the historical focus on the family unit, to a new focus on autonomous individuals. In this manner, without regard for any private or economic or circumstantial family differences, the State was re-engineering the former State/society relationship, into a new State/individual one. For this to succeed, civil society and the natural family as its foundation had to be weakened in influence, and when it came to the rising ideological imperative of “equality” this meant that biological gender as the deciding factor in family formation and sex-role differentiation had to be neutralized. The public schools and education Ministries of the State would do that job. Enter modern feminism as an arm of the autonomizing State. That is the general background for the corrosive forces worming away at all modern societies.   

             More specifically, the rise of feminism in the 20th century was directly linked to the Marxist anti-capitalist movement through Simone de Beauvoir’s influential book The Second Sex - basically a treatment of the condition of women. There was much of originality in it, but she herself volunteered that its underlying philosophy was derived largely from the work of her philandering companion, Jean-Paul Sartre. In it, de Beauvoir was militantly anti-capitalist, anti-property, anti-marriage, and anti-family. She admired the Soviet model of society, of all things: “Marriage was to be based on a free agreement that the spouses could break at will; maternity was to be voluntary; pregnancy leaves were to be paid for by the State, which would assume charge of the children . . . .”[1] Much of that has indeed come to pass. She was talking about Soviet society as her ideal, but it might as well have been about Canada, 2017, because that is still our radical feminist song! De Beauvoir was succeeded by serious North American feminist writers like Millet, Friedan, and Steinem, most of whom shared her admiration for socialism under one name or another, which “can be considered virtually a further distinguishing mark of feminism.”[2]  These first-line modern feminists were in turn succeeded by a virtual army of post-modern feminists whose turgid works are still visible on any bookstore shelf devoted to their ever more creative forms of envy-and-oppression theory. But it doesn’t matter. When it comes to putting a finger on just what feminism’s basic beliefs are, we can encapsulate the philosopher Michael Levin’s four points (his words in quotes) as follows. Feminists believe:

 

1.  That “men and women are the same”—anatomical differences apart. [This is a version of the Equality Illusion at work, and a lot of recent science on sex differences blows that argument right out of the water – see “Brain-Sex,” below].

2.  That “men unfairly occupy positions of dominance” because they have been raised in the myth that boys are more aggressive than girls, and have been taught mastery, while girls have been taught people skills instead [a version of the Determinist Illusion]. Without this stereotyping, all “leadership would be equally divided between the sexes.”

3.  “Traditional femininity is a suffocating and pathological response” to women’s restricted lives and must be abandoned. Everyone must reject the idea that sex has any significant effect on one’s nature.

4.  All the above changes “will require the complete transformation of society.” [The principal tool here is the Rights Illusion. See the quote by Dulude at the head of this chapter].

 

Do The Feminist Assumptions Hold Up?

          In order to do their work of attacking a traditional, biologically-based natural society, radical feminists have had to argue “there are no innate differences” between men and women. Accordingly, and on this – as I shall show, false – assumption, they have pushed for (and won) various “pay equity” statutes, state-funded abortion-on-demand laws, and continue to argue that state-funded daycare is a right. All these claims and the programs linked to them are seriously flawed. In what follows, I will show why.

          A major shot across the bow attacking the “no biological differences” claim – the foundation stone of all feminist theory - was an early report on the assumption of male-female sameness by Eleanor Maccoby and Carol Jacklin, two feminist psychologists from prestigious Stanford University, published in their exhaustive two-volume work, The Psychology of Sex Differences.[3] These two social scientists set out to survey the entire field of studies on psychological sex differences, under the assumption there were none. But what they learned was that clear and important differences exist between boys and girls even before birth. There are wide, and universal differences across whole ranges of physical sensitivity, illness, perception, learning, tactility, language, spatial abilities, pain threshold, and on and on. Of course, there are great similarities, too. But significant differences are detected in all areas studied, through the various stages of development. This would not surprise most parents, for as Levin humorously reminds us, “Any veteran of adolescence and parenthood still able to believe that boys and girls are born alike has already withstood more evidence than any laboratory can provide.” The best known difference is the general superior female ability with language, and general superior male ability with mathematics and spatial relations—both noticed early and continuously throughout life. (My own case is quite the opposite.) But the most important difference, one I am sure Maccoby and Jacklin  hoped they would not find, but certainly did, was in “aggression.” In their chapter on “power relationships,” here is what they report: “It is time to consider whether the sex difference in aggression has a biological foundation. We contend that it does”:

 

1.  “Males are more aggressive than females in all human societies for which evidence is available.”

2.  The sex differences are found early in life, at a time when there is no evidence that differential socialization pressures have been brought to bear by adults to “shape” aggression differently in the two sexes.

3.  Similar sex differences are found in man and subhuman primates.

4.  Aggression is related to levels of sex hormones, and can be changed by experimental administrations of these hormones.

             For anyone who seriously considers the whole subject of male-female sex differences, this early and sweeping survey must be conclusive, especially because these authors were working hard to discount male/female differences in the scientific literature. Quite clearly, there are no grounds whatsoever for the pivotal feminist claim that males and females are fundamentally the same, and “the accessibility of the immense volume of material on sex difference makes the continued respectability of feminism no less than a scandal.”[4]

 

                                                           ~

 

            Even though most sensible people can see that boys and girls, and men and women have always behaved differently, and normally desire different kinds of lives, many modern social scientists and ideologues caught up in the feminist egalitarian myth have resisted this truth. So strong was this resistance that by the 1960s radical feminists actually set out to change biology, mostly by ignoring it entirely, disputing its findings, or attempting to reverse male and female behaviours through social conditioning. As biologist Glenn Wilson emphasizes, they were interested not in what is but in what they felt ought to be. If boys are too aggressive, let’s punish aggression. If girls are not aggressive enough, let’s reward aggression. My own high school, formerly a boys-only school, is now co-ed and boasts of teaching boys and girls “against the grain.” In a recent school brochure teachers and parents were urged to make sure that boys and girls “spend time in activities that they may not be ‘hardwired’ to choose of their own accord.” I think that “make sure,” means “force them.” The underlying faith of such teachers is - has to be - the strange belief that boys and girls start life exactly the same and that all human differences are therefore “socially constructed.” Most honest social scientists thinking in this strange way end up discovering that their egalitarian ideals have biased their research results.

              In the past twenty years, however, much more, and more in-depth scientific work has been done on sex differences of all sorts, much of it with the help of modern technology, and I have summarized many of these studies in The Book of Absolutes under the rubric “Brain Sex.”[5] The scientific evidence in support of innate, natural and universal male-female differences must now be considered overwhelming and conclusive. However, because many of these differences are matters of degree it helps to think of overlapping circles when imagining such things. In other words, science has found that although a large number of skills and behaviours are shared between the sexes, the averages for each sex are distinctly non-aligned. This means we can never say all men or all women do so and so or behave in such and such a way. But we may say that ‘on average,” they do. Suffice it to say for now, however, and merely to whet the appetite, that such brain-sex differences - most of them universal and cross-cultural (in all societies studied to date) - are presumed to have a biological basis, whether hormonal or brain-based, but usually both. Patterns found show clear differences in such things as: levels of sense awareness, verbal abilities, math abilities, spatial abilities (both imagined and actual), throwing and targeting skills, fine-motor skills, rotational and directional skills, skills in games like chess (spatial emphasis) and scrabble (verbal emphasis),  problem-solving psychology, and more.  

                  My next post will be about "Brain Sex," as it has been called - which is to say, about the basic  biologically-determined differences between boys and girls, who, as some truth-telling observer once noted, "Are as different above the neck, as they are below."

 

 


[1] Levin, Feminism and Freedom, p.26.

[2] Levin, Feminism and Freedom, p.20.

               [3] Eleanor Maccoby and Carol Jenkins, The Psychology of Sex Differences (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1974), vol. 1. This volume was at the time a thorough survey of the entire field of sex-differences research. Despite their expressed hypothesis that there would be no inherent differences between males and females, scholarly objectivity won out: both scholars conclude that there are indeed inherent, genetically and hormonally produced differences.

 

               [4] Levin, Feminism and Freedom, p. 70

[5] William D. Gairdner, The Book of Absolutes: A Critique of Relativism and a Defence of Universals (Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008), pp.

Saturday
Aug122017

The Feminist Mistake(s)

             Let us begin by pointing out that there have always been “feminists” around. There were female protest movements in ancient Rome where women tired of home-making would insist on their right to fight in battle “just like men” - and even to do this bare-breasted, if they wished. Most men would likely agree that the mere sight of a pack of half-naked women rushing toward them in battle would be a very effective deterrent to warfare.

           At any rate, then as now, discussions of feminism can get over-heated, so I want to clearly distinguish my topic - radical feminism - from the ordinary concern of reasonable men and women to be fair-minded with respect to the sexes. Most women who think of themselves as “feminists” today simply mean they believe that fairness, or equality, ought to be applied evenly to men and women in our society - unless there exists a good reason for differential treatment. For in some cases women have some advantages over men, and they don’t want to lose them. Couches in women’s washrooms, job exemptions from lifting heavy objects, immunity from military conscription, lots of special legal dispensations and biases in favour of separated or divorced women and mothers, and so on, are just a few examples. Of course, these they describe as “justified” or positive discrimination. And so do I.

           But I also like to temper the whole issue of the war of the sexes by saying that there are many ways in which men have always been, and continue to be treated unequally (some of them reasonable). So woe betide us if men ever manifest the same lack of confidence in themselves as women have done for the past few decades and start a world-wide “masculinist” movement. They would have lots of fodder.

           For example, men carry a disproportionate “death burden” in society. They die much younger than women do; there is a “life gap” favouring women all over the world. They are also vastly more often the victims of violent crime than are women. They also suffer outright discrimination in war-time: over 120,000 Canadian men have been killed in battle; but only a handful of women. Men also suffer an unfair anti-emotional bias, and a stereotype-burden: we say “men can take it” - so listen, don’t even think about crying, eh? Society also unfairly expects men (not women) to compete financially for their entire lives, and face scorn and failure if they can’t hack it. Boys can feel this expectation in a big way when they are about fifteen. They don’t have the same safe-harbour, default option of home-making and child-rearing as women do. Men also suffer a considerable child-custody bias, and an alimony-bias in favour of women: the wife has to be a raving suicidal maniac for them to get custody of their own kids. Fathers are also often jailed for non-payment of child support and alimony, but never women. Most painfully, men suffer a grievous abortion/child-support bias: they have no legal say whatsoever in decisions over the life or death of their own children in the womb if a woman wants to abort them, but if she alone decides to keep them, the father is legally forced to pay support until the children are eighteen. Men also suffer a prison-term bias, receiving far longer sentences than female criminals for the same crimes. They also suffer a strip-search bias; female-to-male strip searches are allowed, but not the reverse. As for the death-penalty? Men in all countries are far more likely than females to receive a death penalty for the same crimes. Male punishment in life begins early, for even as very young children, boys at home or in school are punished more often, and more severely, than girls.

            Enough. I don’t want to whine (frowned upon in a male). I just wanted to set the record straight by saying that life is chock-a-block with biases and discriminations, some of them reasonable, some of them unreasonable. It’s just that a soft-minded and gullible public has let feminists get away with the “poor me” ploy as if, despite the fact modern Western females are the wealthiest, best-educated, most privileged class of women in world history, they were some kind of oppressed class of domestic slaves.     

          Radical feminism has gone even beyond this charge, however, and anyone who studies it in depth will soon see that in its most alarming form it is a program for the complete restructuring of society through government-funded social engineering of an insidious and unnatural kind. These angry people are not interested in equal opportunities for women; they want equal outcomes, or results, even if these have to be forced on everyone by the powers of the State; and even if men and women, left to their own free devices, would never choose such outcomes. Indeed, once dissected, every ill of socialism can be found in radical feminist practice: in its reliance on all the popular illusions described in this book; in its dependence on coercive power; in its Statist agenda; in its ignorance of the basics of economics; and in its angry psychology of resentment.  On its own, in other words, radical feminism would be a tempest in a teapot. But with the power of the State, the courts, and millions in funding, it has caused profound social and moral dislocation, to be explained. Lest anyone think this is chicken-feed funding, The Trouble With Canada ... Still! has a Snapshot in Chapter Ten that breaks out the $1.3 to $1.5 Billion spent on feminist programs in Canada since all this began to ramp up in1973, with notes that verify the sources.

Citizens of the future will be hard put to explain why government has so lavishly funded a feminist movement that has persistently mounted a fundamental attack on the whole idea of a free society as it has painfully evolved over the past five centuries, from principle to practice. We will look back at our crumbling walls and wonder: How did we so blithely allow the Trojan horse of radical feminism within our gates? Of course, sometimes moderate feminism can be just as dangerous as the radical form, because it alters social structures without this expressed intention. But whether the trigger be pulled by a sleepwalker or a revolutionary, the same explosive damage is done. Those of us who cherish the core values that have made this nation strong—freedom, family, free enterprise, individual responsibility, reward for effort, rule of law, and so on —must learn to recognize the very different values and tactics of those who are determined to destroy these core values, however unwittingly. In particular, we must learn not to be seduced by the gossamer language in which such aims are couched.

  Undoing the Successes of the Past

              In response to the widespread employment of women and children in factories that was threatening family life during the nineteenth century, social reformers fought hard to establish what was called a “family wage” sufficient to raise a family of five.[1] It was a policy created to protect men with families from unemployment. They would always be given preference over male or female singles in the search for jobs, because the social aim was to get children out of the workplace and into the home for proper care and schooling. Once it became established, the family wage - or “living wage” as it was sometimes called - was seen as a social contract fortifying the family, therefore all of society, and therefore the entire nation. Single women (or men who did not intend to found a family) vying for the jobs of men who had to support wives and children were quite normally seen as a direct threat to the general welfare of society, and maybe greedy to boot, because with no children or spouse to support, why did they want to, why should they, be paid more than their life-situation required? For this reason, women were regularly denied jobs, passed over, or even demoted or let go in favour of a male family-wage earner. After World War II women hired during war-time were let go in droves for this very reason—they held jobs needed by men returning from war. Everyone understood this reasoning.

            What an irony that just after more than a century spent consolidating and protecting the central role of the family in society and the importance of investing personal parental care in our children, we are now assiduously breaking all this apart, lobbying for both parents to work outside the home, and for universal, free (tax-funded) and, by definition, impersonal government daycare. In the recent past, society chose family and children over individual material wealth: so we grew as a nation by natural increase. Now we are choosing individual wealth over family formation and children: so we are not replacing ourselves. Then, reformers struggled to help women and children get off the streets, out of the factories, and back into the home so that children could be properly raised and educated. Today’s reformers have been busy stigmatizing “stay-at-home” wives and trying to drive women into the marketplace once again. The only thing common to the two sets of reformers is the use of State power to do this.

            Not long ago a commonly-held view was that it was not just money that brought social stature, as we tend to think so narrowly today, but a combination of the virtues for which rich and poor alike strove, the path to which was most often pointed out by the women of society. But modern women, thanks to sexual “liberation,” have yielded the high moral ground they once controlled. The good-better-best range of manners and morals that infused their world has been replaced by a general, feel-good, whatever-turns-you-on ethic. They may have wanted down from their pedestal, but that pedestal was also an altar at which men, however quixotically, worshipped. Having stepped down, however, they must now play on the same field as men. For this, alas, they are ill-suited, owing to their generally lesser offensive-aggression (which is not the same as the domestic control at which they tend to excel), and to the competitive handicap to which their biology leads - the natural desire to have and to care for their own offspring. Everyone knows, of course, that some women are just as defensively aggressive as men, or more so (especially when defending their children and families), and that men can look after children; but most men are unwilling, and to boot cannot carry them, bear them, or suckle them. Of course, in a free society any couple that wants to reverse such natural customs is utterly free to try, and for some this may be preferable. And if heads and hearts were interchangeable, an absolutely equal sharing of outside work (at least the banal, repetitive kind) might make something like that possible. But they are not.

            So the traditional familial division of labour has always had a purpose: simple efficiency. It is an arrangement that has enabled societies great and small to do the important work of ensuring their own continuation. What the important nineteenth-century social arrangement did so clearly was to consolidate the idea of marriage, family, and the crucial importance of superior child-rearing normally available only from parents (or relatives).[2] The inevitable result of this was to make men dependent on women for sex, family, and children—and women on men for physical protection and financial support. This implicit and universal sexual-social contract of humanity has always specified that men will provide and protect, while women will process and nurture. The man finds and brings home the bread and protects family from enemies; the woman cooks the bread and suckles the babies. Both sexes were seen to need each other equally, if differently. Women always knew they could bring men to heel by withholding what men wanted most. Men, in turn, could bring women to heel by threatening to withhold support and protection. In order to prevent the wanton occurrence of the latter—especially during a woman’s child-rearing phase when she was naturally handicapped in terms of competitive wage-earning power—there were always extremely strong social and legal sanctions upholding marital vows, parental responsibility, and child support.

            A key element in this division of labour was a general acknowledgement of the obvious fact that men and women are naturally and universally different in many, many ways (see the section on “Brain Sex,” soon to be posted). In short, “men are not better than women and women are not better than men; men and women differ.”[3] I would add that women and men are each in their own natural way, and in general, better at some things, and worse at others. Most women raise babies a lot better than men, and most men are better fighters than women. Much better. Everyone acknowledges such universal truths. However, in their effort to escape their own biology, it is these very differences that rile feminists so, because they correctly see that unless they can prove that men and women are the same, they haven’t got a case. Either men and women are naturally different, and these differences manifest themselves naturally in different values and life choices; or they are born exactly the same, and the different social outcomes are a result of oppression and discrimination. No sensible person has ever believed this feminist story-line, and so in considerable desperation feminists recently have adopted the lightweight so-called “post-modern” view that all human gender is “constructed,” or a product of the mind. This is a manifestly inadequate view of human reality that has traction only in university courses on gender politics, as the current battle against it fought so well by such as Professor Jordan Peterson at the University of Toronto makes so clear. 

But by way of staying focused only on what can be discussed reasonably, let’s take a closer look in my next post at the feminist case for sameness, keeping in mind that the main reason for exploring this in depth is to test the ideological grounds for the feminist attack on traditional society.

 


               [1] On the concept and history of the “family wage,” see Bryce Christensen, ed., The Family Wage: Work, Gender, and Children in the Modern Economy (Rockford, Illinois: The Rockford Institute, 1988); and David Popenoe, Disturbing the Nest: Family Change and Decline in Modern Societies (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1988). The latter traces the origins and changes in the family from mediaeval times to the present, then uses Sweden as the bellwether nation that went down the path of family destruction farther and sooner than the rest of us. In William D. Gairdner, The War Against the Family (Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1993), I have summarized Popenoe’s findings on Sweden, and also presented a thorough examination of modern anti-family policies and practices. See also Allan C. Carlson, Family Questions (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1988) for penetrating remarks on feminism and the demise of the natural family in modern times.

 

[2] Everyone knows that a good day-care facility may provide reasonably good care, equally to all the children in the center. But a parent will almost always give unreasonably good care to his or her own child; and it will unequal, which is to say - always better than what this parent would give to anyone else’s children. A daycare center must operate on an egalitarian basis, to the extent that a childcare worker will be scolded for giving better care, or more love to one child than to another. But a parent at home will always give the most possible care and love - will always favour - his or her own children. Children who grow up with that unreasonable love never forget it.

[3] Michael Levin, Feminism and Freedom (New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1987), p. 12. Readers will find this book remains a rigorous treatment and exposure of the philosophical and moral inadequacies of radical feminism.

 

Thursday
Aug102017

Radical Feminism: Attacking Traditional Society

         In view of the current public fixations with respect to so many topics rooted in confusion over male-female relations, I will be posting a series of selections from Chapter Ten of my book, The Trouble With Canada ... Still! (BPS Books, 2011), which is entitled "Radical Feminism: Attacking Traditional Society."

          The first few selections deal with important background influences, and then I move into discussion of the essential sexual and familial relations and tensions that have guided male/female life in the human community for eons, but which have been deeply disrupted by radical ideology of late.

          The thesis is that much of the current Anti-male/Anti-Biological Gender/Anti-Traditional Family attack began with Radical Feminism ... which was, and remains, rooted in the tired Marxist insistence on "systemic" oppression(s) that produce our contemporary inequalities and discontents. Marx was mostly blaming what he considered to be economic oppressions (owners of capital oppressing the workers of the world, etc).

          But that was just the beginning of a broader and deeper moral shift away from individual responsibility for one's own condition in life, to "blaming the system." And it signalled an ideological shift in the Western world away from what I call the "starting-line equality" we all used to believe was essential to human flourishing (the New World was considered the Fresh New Starting-Line for so many modern settlers and immigrants!), toward the present "finish-line equality" that today dominates the public mind (the notion that human inequality is intolerable because many classes of citizens are victims of systemic bias: economic, sexual, gender, racial, etc., etc.).

           And so ... government policies must now adjust every perceived inequality of outcome, by penalizing those with perceived advantages, and selectively subsidizing, and adjusting laws to equalize, the conditions of those with perceived systemic disadvantages.

           Anyone can sense the deep anger, and resolve to change the Finish-Line conditions of human life even in the handful of the early radical complaints listed below.  These are not people who want to soften, or tweak, or moderately alter some of the ordinary conditions of human life in the hope of a greater happiness for all. No. They hate human life as it is, and this can be seen in the words they use, such as as they "demand" "abolition", or the "Whole transformation" of society, or the complete "end of marriage"; or to "change the entire structure" of society, etc.In other words, if you can't improve something in the human condition, you decide to destroy it completely and start over.

            Violent language precedes actual violence. They all want to change the world as it is in the name of a perfect future world they imagine themselves to be creating and managing for the rest of us, but that no one has ever seen before in all of human history.  These are dangerous dreamlanders who are not above using the force of law and the violence of the state to re-organize everyone else's life to suit their personal preferences.

 

******************

"It will be plain that the first condition for the liberation of the wife is to bring the whole female sex into public industry, and that this in turn demands the abolition of the monogamous family as the economic unit of society."

 ~ Friedrich Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884) 

 

"You see, we want a whole transformation of society in the most revolutionary way . . ."

~ Louise Dulude, former President, of Canada's National Action Committee on the Status of Women (1987).

 

"The end of the institution of marriage is a necessary condition for the liberation of women. Therefore it is important for us to encourage women to leave their husbands ..."

~  US "Declaration of Feminism," November, 1971

 

"My goal in life is to change the entire social and economic structure of Western civilization, to make it a feminized world."

~ From obituary notice for Canadian activist Marilyn French (National Post, May 7, 2009).

 

 

Thursday
Jun152017

How Libertarian-Socialism Works

This is the brief email I just sent off to an intellectually-curious Brazilian physician who writes to me from time to time about the condition of the West:

************

 

Frankly, I think the West is on a flawed course at this point in its history. But (forgive the flagrant self-promotion) as I have outlined in The Great Divide, and elsewhere, what I call "Libertarian-socialism" (not perfectly either, but a fusion of these two ideologies), is now the main regime-type of the Western world.
This was a type that had to be created by the West to resolve the deep contradiction into which it had fallen by embracing two conflicting political philosophies at the same time: classical liberalism, and egalitarianism. You can't put these two ideologies - the most freedom, and the most public control - together, without eventual doctrinal confusion and collapse. 
The confusion was avoided by fission and fusion: by splitting our former unified body-politic into two new bodies: a private body, and a public body - to produce libertarianism of the private body; and socialism of the public body, then fusing them in what I call "libertarian-socialism."
This fusion satisfies all parties: our mass publics, because they get the a broad range of once-forbidden sexual and bodily pleasures and acts (free-love, homo-sex; easy divorce; abortion; pornography; easy access to drugs; transgendering; etc); and also our egalitarian-type social-engineers, because once such publics are stupefied by their own pleasures and bodily liberties, political reality can be manipulated with minimal protest, coast-to-coast.
This type is has never been seen before in human history. It was not possible in the past because our two clashing public ideologies did not exist, and in any case there was not enough wealth to provide states with sufficient tax harvests to bring about such regimes. But the rapidly-increasing wealth of the West over the past hundred years (and still rising fast), is sufficient to provide immense tax-harvesting to fund all achievable quasi-socialistic programs. When understood in this way, you might say the publics of the West have lulled themselves into a kind of statist-passivity by way of indulgence of their own once-forbidden appetites.
 
What can be done about the vastly-increased top-down control now so visible in these regimes? 
Nothing much. This is far too vast, deep, and novel a movement, combining three powerful and natural things: the human desire for sexual and bodily self-indulgence (never before permitted to such a degree); the equally-powerful human desire to be free of all external control of these aspects of private life; and finally, the egalitarian idealism and desire to control others (the libido-dominandi) of the bureaucratic classes of these regimes - all floated thanks to enormous tax harvests unprecedented in human history.
As long as Western publics continue to accept the Faustian deal: to surrender so many of their former ideals of personal, and family, and political, economic, and property rights and principles of self-reliance, and responsibility to their own governments, in exchange for their new sexual and bodily liberties, libertarian-socialism is here to stay! 

 

 

Tuesday
Jun132017

Medicine As Instrument of Power

This is a powerful bit of truth-telling that should give pause to all those involved in modern medicine. It illustrates the truth that medicien is too important to be left in the hands of doctors. Those who wish to follow this theme in an even deeper and more chillng way, should read the powerful and damning book by the psychiatrist Michael Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors (1986).  

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Matthew Hanley, The Catholic Thing, Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The news cycle now revolves so rapidly that even highly hyped issues can recede from view – and from memory – in no time. If you missed the wall-to-wall coverage of the “March for Science” recently, not to worry – it will be back. The narrative is just too useful to retire: brave souls defending science from antediluvian forces – until an enlightened politician can restore it to its “rightful” place.

Near peak frenzy, the following headline appeared: “The Perils of Trumping Science in Global Health.” It could come from almost anywhere – the Washington Post or the New York Times, MSNBC, NPR – right? It came, alas, from that erstwhile bastion of science, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The authors are Stanford MDs and their complaint is a tired, flimsy one: the lack of contraceptives and the discontinuation of U.S. funding for abortion abroad are recklessly unscientific propositions that endanger health.

Articles like these convey an interest not in objective outcomes but in advancing a politically motivated cause – often the destruction of one class of persons or another. Not a good premise for an argument, scientific or otherwise. In support of that contention, let’s turn not to the Catechism but to another article in the NEJM.

 

It begins bluntly by stating: “Science under dictatorship becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy of the dictatorship.” It identifies the guiding philosophical principle, one of “rational utility,” as Hegelian in nature and laments that it has “replaced moral, ethical, and religious values.”

That’s not normally something you can get away with saying. How then do we reconcile these radically different entries – in the same medical journal?

Well, I guess I should mention the latter came from 1949. Its title was: “Medical Science Under Dictatorship.” Written by Dr. Leo Alexander, a contributor to the Nuremberg Code, it was a reflection on his investigation into the complicity of the medical profession (“community” not yet being a thing) in the horrors of WWII.

Alexander stressed the astonishing rapidity of decline in professional ethics, manifested in the wholesale extirpation of the useless, unwanted, chronically sick, and disloyal. Medical “science” at that time found diagnoses such as “inveterate German hater” to facilitate their liquidation.

The overall medical research program was fixated on “destroying and preventing life.” Indeed, Alexander refers to this kind of enterprise as the “science of annihilation.” The conclusion that it’s good to be an enemy of “science” in such a context would seem to be a moral imperative.

He even coins the term “ktenology” for this science of killing; it may not be in everyone’s dictionary, but with all the means of riding roughshod over life we employ today – and seek tomorrow – some sort of term should be in common usage. (“Culture of death” may come closest).

Abuses by the Nazi regime obviously reached massive proportions, but what became evident to investigators like Alexander was that “they had started from very small beginnings.” They began with just a subtle shift in attitude – an acceptance of the basic premise of the euthanasia movement that some lives are a meaningless drain. Better off dispatched.

Not everyone caved. (Occupied) Dutch physicians saw through innocuous-sounding appeals, resisted cajoling, and endured brutal crackdowns – but did not participate in euthanasia or sterilizations. The Third Reich is long gone today, yet the Netherlands has since become euthanasia’s ground zero, which suggests that ideas the Nazis embraced – at least their “cold-blooded” utilitarianism – have triumphed, much like Soviet-like rule lives on in the domineering absurdities of political correctness.

Alexander’s article recounts many disturbing episodes, but is nevertheless edifying due to its clear-headedness. Reading it is akin to watching an old black and white movie that has aged well. Or to anything that induces a feeling of exile. Borders may not have changed, but the landscape of ideas has – to such a seismic extent that the present rather than the past, as they say, has become a foreign country.

The very “same” NEJM caused a bit of stir last month, in giving space to MD-turned-politician Ezekiel Emanuel’s view that “professional societies should declare conscientious objection unethical.”

Emanuel is talking about objecting to various means of destroying, preventing, or mutilating human life that fall under his warped rubric of “care” – means that Alexander had pilloried when Nuremberg was a painfully fresh memory. So you read that right: Emanuel says it should be unethical to object to these things; his apologia amounts, as Wesley Smith succinctly put it, to a demand that pro-lifers get out of medicine.

Drawing parallels to Nazi atrocities can at times be overwrought. But Alexander’s insights into the attitudes that brought about disaster do seem quite applicable to the mentality of Emanuel and his ilk. They sure seem to be attempting what Himmler demanded and ultimately got: the cooperation of physicians and German medical science in patent monstrosities deemed necessary to advance a larger (and obviously unscientific, inhumane) agenda.

Emmanuel is seeking to revive the intimidating tactic Alexander decried: “any hint of faintheartedness or lack of enthusiasm for the methods of totalitarian rule is considered a threat to the entire group.” Like those preceding him in ignominy, Emmanuel intuits that the one who won’t kill is a threat to the designs – and bad consciences – of those who will.

That “scientists” such as Emanuel want a kind of “progress” that abandons the ethos of the Nuremburg Code should clue us all in. What Emmanuel and company are interested in is, to paraphrase C. S. Lewis, power exercised by some men – such as themselves – over other men, with “science” as its instrument. They are ultimately bent on the final conquest Lewis envisaged: The Abolition of Man.

That is what we should be marching against.

 

Monday
Jun122017

Why The Odds Favor Islam

Here is a sobering piece by William Kilpatrick, published in Crisis Magazine, June 12, 2017. It will perk the spirits of Christians, and give pasue for deep thought to secularists.

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Why The Odds Favor Islam

William Kilpatrick

June 12, 2017

On May 22, an Islamic suicide bomber detonated himself outside a pop concert in Manchester, England, killing and wounding dozens, many of them young children.

The terrorist was a 22-year-old named Salman Abedi. A few days after the attack, I was reading an article about the mosque he attended—the Didsbury Mosque. “That’s funny,” I thought looking at the accompanying photo, “that doesn’t look like a mosque, it looks like a church.”

Sure enough, as I discovered, the Didsbury Mosque was once the Albert Park Methodist Chapel. It had been bought by the local Syrian Muslim community and transformed into a Muslim place of worship.

Similar transformations have been taking place in other parts of the UK. St. Mark’s Church in London is now the New Peckham Mosque, St. Peter’s Church in Cobridge was sold to the Madina Mosque. The Brick Lane Mosque in London was originally a Methodist church. But church-to-mosque conversions are only part of a larger story. There are now 423 mosques in London, and the number is expected to grow. Meanwhile, 500 London churches have closed since 2001, and in all of England 10,000 churches have closed since 1960.

The transformation of the Albert Park Methodist Church to the Didsbury Mosque is emblematic of one of the most significant shifts in history: the transformation of Europe from a largely Christian continent to a largely Islamic one. The transformation is far from complete, and there’s an outside chance the process can be reversed, but time and demographics favor Islam.

In several of Europe’s cities, the Muslim population now hovers around the thirty percent mark. In ten years’ time, that will be forty percent. Of course that doesn’t mean 40 percent of highly committed Muslims facing 60 percent of deeply devout Christians. Both faiths have their share of half-hearted “nominals” for whom religion is more a cultural inheritance than a deeply held conviction. Still, the “nominal” problem is a much greater problem for European Christians than for European Muslims. In many European countries, Sunday church attendance is the 5-10 percent range whereas mosque attendance is very high in relation to the size of the Muslim population. In England, there are already more Muslims attending Friday prayers than there are Christians attending Anglican services on Sundays. A study by Christian Research predicts that by 2020 the number of Muslims attending prayer service in England and Wales will exceed the number of Catholics attending weekly Mass.

It’s also noteworthy that the expanding Muslim population in Europe is relatively young, whereas the declining “Christian” population is an aging one. Sixty-forty seems like good odds until you realize that the average age of the 60 percenters will be around 55 while the average age of the 40 percenters will be around 25.

You may object that if there is any fighting to be done, most of the fighting on the “Christian” side will be done by the army, not by citizens in walkers and wheelchairs. But keep in mind that the military draws its recruits from the ranks of the young. As the population of the people that Islamists refer to as “crusaders” ages, European governments will be forced to draw more of their new recruits from the Muslim population. The same goes for the police forces. Many Muslims will serve their country or their city faithfully, but many will have divided loyalties, and some will have signed up in the first place with mutiny in mind.

Most likely, however, the transformation will be effected without major battles. It won’t be a matter of numbers or of military strength, but of strength of belief. Those with the strongest beliefs will prevail. Those who are not sure what to believe will submit without a fight.

Will Europe Defend its “Values”?
That’s the theme of Michel Houellebecq’s Submission, a novel about the gradual Islamization of France. The protagonist, a middle-aged professor, has a number of qualms about the Islamic takeover of the university system, but nothing sufficient to resist it. The things he values most—literature, good food, and sex—are, in the end, no impediment to accepting Islam. True, he is offered several inducements to convert—career advancement, plenty of money, and several “wives”—but one gets the impression that, even without these incentives, he would still eventually convert. At one point prior to his submission, he thinks about joining a monastic order as his literary hero, J.K. Huysmans, had done, but he soon realizes that he lacks the necessary Christian conviction. Indeed, he has no strong convictions.

His plight is the plight of contemporary Europe in a nutshell. Many Europeans see no sense in resisting Islamization because they have nothing worth defending. To be sure, European leaders still talk about “our values,” but they can’t seem to specify what those values are, beyond appeals to “diversity” and “pluralism.” For example, after the Manchester massacre, British Prime Minister Theresa May stated that “our values—the liberal, pluralistic values of Britain—will always prevail over the hateful ideology of the terrorists.”

I’m not so sure of that. In an earlier era, Brits would have connected their values to God, country, family, and honor. In other words, things worth fighting for. But “liberal, pluralistic values”? That’s not very solid ground on which to take your stand. Who wants to die for diversity? Indeed, it can be argued that the worship of diversity for its own sake is what allowed terrorists to get a foothold in England in the first place. No one wanted to question all those diverse preachers spreading their diverse message about Jews, infidels, and homosexuals. The trouble is, unless there are higher values than diversity, there’s no way of judging between good diversities and bad diversities—between, say, honoring your wife and honor-killing her if she displeases you.

The same is true of freedom. Freedom is a fundamental right, but what you do with your freedom is also important. There has to be some higher objective value that directs our choices to good ends rather than bad ones. Otherwise, freedom becomes a license to do anything one pleases.

An Attack on Childhood
Here we touch on a very touchy subject. I would not like to be in Theresa May’s shoes when, after a horrifying attack, she has to come up with just the right words. But one thing she said struck me as not quite right. She said: “We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish, but as an opportunity for carnage.”

It’s possible to fully agree with May’s sentiments while, at the same time, noting that there once was a time when a room full of children watching an Ariana Grande concert would not be considered “a scene to cherish.” “Her dress, dancing, and song lyrics,” wrote one columnist, “are deliberately decadent and immodest.” And, after watching some YouTube clips of her performances, I would have to agree. I’m pretty sure that most of the parents I know would not want their children to attend one of her concerts.

While the world was justly outraged at Salman Abedi’s attack on innocent children, no one seems to notice the attack on childhood innocence that the typical pop concert represents. The two “attacks” should not be equated, of course. The producers of pop concerts are not the moral equivalents of a suicide bomber. Still, the fact that so many parents saw nothing wrong with dropping their children off at the Manchester concert suggests a great deal of moral confusion in the West.

Unfortunately, such moral confusion leaves people vulnerable to those who are absolutely certain about their beliefs. The moral relativism of the West is one of the chief reasons why the Islamic cultural jihad has been so successful. People who can’t see that the soft-porn style of Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Ariana Grande is not good for children will have difficulty seeing the problem with polygamy, child marriage, and other aspects of sharia law. In a relativistic society, the safest default position is “who’s to judge?”

Relativism Leads to Islamic Dominance
Earlier I said that Europe is being transformed from a Christian culture to an Islamic culture, but that’s not quite accurate because it’s actually a three-stage transformation. Much of Europe has already transitioned out of its Christian stage and into a post-Christian or secular stage. There are still many Christians in Europe, but Europe’s Christian consciousness has been largely lost. The next stage is the transition from secularism to Islam. That’s not inevitable, but it’s likely because without a framework of Judeo-Christian beliefs, secularism becomes relativism and relativism can’t offer much resistance to determined true believers.

Back in 2014, Theresa May said “we celebrate different ways of life, we value diversity, and we cherish our freedom to lead our lives as we choose.” But if your culture stands for nothing more than the freedom to shop for different lifestyles, it won’t last long. The contemporary Western fascination with pop culture highlights the problem. Pop culture is by its very nature a transient phenomenon. What is pop today won’t be pop tomorrow. Indeed, the popular culture of tomorrow may very well favor burqas, multiple wives, and male supremacy. There may still be a place for singer-dancers like Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus, but that place would most likely be as a harem dancer in a Sultan’s palace or as entertainment for a Saudi prince who has bought up a country estate in Oxfordshire.

It’s hard to beat transcendent values with transient values. That’s especially the case when the transcendent crowd are willing to die (and kill you in the process) for their values. Most Brits, on the other hand, are not willing to lay down their lives for the sake of keeping bacon on the menu or porn on the telly.

Christianity vs. Two Forms of Totalitarianism
When I use the word “transcendent,” I refer only to a belief in an eternal life beyond this worldly existence. Quite obviously, as in the case of Salman Abedi, transcendent values can be twisted. The idea that God will reward you for murdering innocent young women in Manchester by furnishing you with virginal young women in paradise is a truly twisted concept. But apparently it is widely shared in the Muslim world. When, during a World Cup qualifier in Australia, a minute of silence was called to commemorate the London terror victims, the whole Saudi soccer team refused to observe it. As Sheik Mohammad Tawhidi later explained:

In their eyes the attackers are martyrs who are going to paradise. And if they stand for a minute of silence they are against their Muslim brothers who fought for jihad and fought the infidels.

As twisted as these values may be, it’s beginning to look as though secular values aren’t up to the job of opposing them. The trouble with secular values when they are cut off from their Judeo-Christian roots is that they are arbitrary. Autonomy? Dignity? Equality? Says who?

“If there is no God,” wrote Dostoevsky, “everything is permitted.” Secularism has no God and, therefore, no ultimate standard of judgment. The end result is that each man becomes his own god and does his own thing—even if that “thing” involves the exploitation of childhood innocence. Islam, on the other hand, does believe in God, but not the God Dostoevsky had in mind. The God of Islam is an arbitrary despot whose commands are not rooted in reason, love, or justice.

So we have two arbitrary systems vying for control of the West—the soft totalitarianism of secularism and the hard totalitarianism of Islam. Both are really forms of slavery. Muslims are slaves of a tyrannical God, and secular man becomes the slave of his own desires and addictions. It may seem unthinkable that the West will ever submit to Islam, but many Western citizens are already in submission mode. Submission to their desires has put them in a bad spot. As a result, they are looking for something bigger to submit to—something outside and above their own fragile selves. Some have already turned to Islam. Many more will unless…

Unless, that is, there is a recovery of the Judeo-Christian belief that God is a God of love, justice, reason, and goodness—and that we are made in his image (a concept which does not exist in Islam). In the context of that vision, belief in human dignity and the rights of man is thoroughly justified.

People who believe that they and their neighbor are made in the image of God will generally have a strong sense of their responsibility to act accordingly. Such people will be far from perfect, but they will at least realize that it is wrong to submit both to Islam’s warped image of God and to secularism’s degraded image of man.

In the end, the choice for the West is not between Islam and pluralistic secularism. A rootless secularism will almost certainly submit to Islam. The only real hope for the West is the recovery of the faith that once inspired Christians to build a beautiful church near Albert Park in West Didsbury, England.