Category: Robert Oscar Lopez

209012.jpg

Christians Who Oppose Conversion Therapy Need a Reality Check


Do you agree with the Anglican church’s ban on conversion therapy?

Yes or no.

Here’s why this question is urgent.  Butterfield, Allberry, and Perry are currently superstars in the world of Protestant Christianity, constantly summoned to discuss issues of sexuality in the church.  They all had experience with same-sex attraction.  They all say they believe in Christ.

And they all attack conversion therapy.  According to her profile on Alchetron, Rosaria Butterfield believes the following:

She does not identify herself as “ex-gay” and does not think any Christians should identify themselves as “gay Christians.”  She notes that “[t]he job of the adjective is to change the noun.”  Butterfield has criticized conversion therapy for contending that the “primary goal of Christianity is to resolve homosexuality through heterosexuality, thus failing to see that repentance and victory over sin are God’s gifts and failing to remember that sons and daughters of the King can be full members of Christ’s body and still struggle with sexual temptation.”  Butterfield suggests this is a version of the prosperity gospel.

The Alchetron page classes Butterfield with Matthew Vines and Alan Chambers.  What a club.

Sam Allberry’s group in London, Living Out, makes similar swipes at conversion therapy, though the prose below is actually attributed to Sean Doherty:

Why we do not support the idea of ‘gay cure’


1) Homosexuality is not an illness.  But using the language of ‘cure’ makes it sound like it is, which could be very damaging to vulnerable people (such as a young person coming to terms with their sexuality), making them feel ashamed of who they are at a very deep and fundamental level, and perhaps in some cases even contributing to suicidal feelings.  Thankfully, we are not aware of any organisations in the UK which do support the idea of a ‘gay cure’.  Our belief is that all of us have fallen sexual desires (whether heterosexual or homosexual), and that what we need isn’t more heterosexuality or less homosexuality, but the holiness found in Jesus Christ.

Lastly, Jackie Hill Perry has come forward with a statement entitled “Don’t Preach a Heterosexual Gospel,” which also blasts the notion of conversion therapy:

Perry, who used to be a lesbian but is now married to a man and has two daughters, warns that the “heterosexual gospel” is problematic because it “tends to put more emphasis on marriage as the goal of the Christian life than on knowing Jesus.”


“What the gay community needs to hear is not that God will make them straight, but that Christ can make them his,” she continues.


“Someone trying to pursue heterosexuality and not Christ is just as far from a right standing with God as someone actively pursuing homosexuality.  They have put their faith in a new ‘orientation’ rather than in knowing the living God.”

Unfortunately, all three of them arrogate to themselves the right to speak for “same-sex-attracted” Christians.  They do not speak for me.  In fact, I doubt that they speak for almost anybody.

People who see themselves as gay, and who do not want to become straight, exist in a social world different from mine.  They have both Vines and Chambers as go-to people to emulate.  Neither Vines nor Chambers will tell them that sodomy itself poses any problem at all.

But let us think through who these gay affirmers are and what they want to hear.  They do not want Allberry’s tortured celibacy.  Nor do they want Butterfield and Perry to exhaust them with long filibusters about how their identity is sinful but they have no hope of ever becoming straight, either.  People who see themselves as gay and who do not want to become straight generally want to be “gay Christians.” They want to hear about how they can walk with Jesus Christ while still having gay relationships, period.  They will not generally be fans of Allberry, Butterfield, or Perry.

So Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry’s popularity comes largely because straight Christians like to hear them talk about how they dealt with their homosexuality.  It makes straight Christians feel tolerant for giving them platforms.  Straight Christians imagine that gay people will respond positively to their message and will not reject the Christian position on sexuality as hateful.

People in the gay community who like being gay do not need their message since many churches are already okay with active, practicing homosexuals.  If gay people have a problem with their sexual orientation and want to change, they will likely want to cease homosexual behavior and be freed of homosexual thoughts and identity.  Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry denounce homosexual acts while claiming that it is equally wrong for them to engage in heterosexuality.

(It is not equally wrong, or wrong at all, for someone struggling with homosexuality to seek self-modification in hopes of getting married – again, to a member of the opposite sex, with whom alone marriage is possible.)

Butterfield and Perry, both of whom are married and raising children, come across as particularly annoying in that regard.  They tell gay people that it’s somehow ungodly for them to want the same godly life – marriage, parenthood – that both Butterfield and Perry have.

Another group of people has struggled with homosexuality and knows that it is a sin incompatible with Christianity.  Similarly in this position are people like Stephen Black, Daren Mehl, myself, and the people who follow David Pickup or Restored Hope Network.  

I won’t try to speak for others, but I can speak for where I am.  I find the rhetoric of Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry tiresome and callous.  Their reasons for rejecting conversion to heterosexuality feel muddled yet judgmental.  And terribly wrong.  Jesus Christ said faith can move mountains.  Jesus Christ also tells a parable about a persistent widow winning over a judge, as an exhortation to continue seeking the good things in life rather than surrender to discouragement.  Jesus consistently advises His believers to ask, so that they shall receive, noting that no father, if his son asked for an egg, would give him a snake.

Yes, many people claim to have failed at going from gay to straight, just as many obese people decide that after so much dieting and exercise, they will never lose weight.  Jesus Christ shares the powerful message that with faith, hope, and love, such great things do happen.  They have happened in my life.  Rosaria Butterfield has no place to tell me faith can’t make me straight.

The Apostle Paul said faith, hope, and love are the most enduring of all human feelings.  Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry suffocate all three.  They deny the power of people’s faith to heal themselves and live in obedience to God, largely because they assume too much when they predict that people’s attempts to change toward heterosexuality will necessarily fail.  They stifle people’s hope by telling them, falsely, that God will not answer their prayers if they pray for something godly and fair.  And they place stumbling blocks before people so they cannot feel love in the way God intended it, including the beauty of love for the opposite sex in all its splendor.

Also, they use straw man fallacies.  They say they oppose conversion therapy because other Christians who support it supposedly engage in bad doctrine. In truth they err in doctrine and the Christians they criticize speak righteously.  Hence, the Living Out statement accuses conversion therapy of harming young people, as if such young people do not already know, in many cases, that something is wrong with homosexuality anyway.

Rosaria Butterfield compares Christians who want to lead heterosexual lives to the widely reviled “prosperity gospel.”  She assumes that for others to have a goal – becoming heterosexual – their goal must necessarily be “the primary goal.” Nobody I know has ever said that Christianity’s primary goal is turning people into heterosexuals.  The parallel to the prosperity gospel is wildly unfair, since poverty is not a sin, but homosexuality is.  Also, heterosexuality is simply a word describing male-female intimacy, which is God’s design as set down in Genesis and upheld by Jesus in Matthew 19 and Mark 10.

Jackie Hill Perry conflates people who want to become heterosexual with people who “want to pursue heterosexuality and not Christ.” If someone is suffering in homosexuality, I bring glory to God by helping him out of it even if the person is not yet ready to confess belief in Christ. My charity may endear them to my God, and their better life may leave them more capable of drawing near to Jesus Christ later.

And what about people who want to pursue heterosexuality and Christ?  By ignoring the existence of such people, she creates an exaggerated extreme to distract people from the real crisis at hand, the crisis that all three of these speakers fail to acknowledge and end up worsening:

The gay movement is trying to ban homosexuals from getting help so they can turn toward heterosexuality.

While a dozen American states, many foreign governments, and the Church of England have banned conversion therapy, no widespread movement exists anywhere to force churches to exalt heterosexuality more than they honor Christ.

So why, when ex-gays are being besieged from all sides, do we have to deal with Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry attacking us, too? By setting themselves up as Christians with same-sex attraction, they can discredit conversion therapy.  The LGBT movement loves that.  The LGBT movement can afford to have three Christian speakers denounce sodomy in Biblical terms if they get three resounding denunciations of conversion therapy.

The LGBT movement wants there to be no conversion therapy, so the maximum number of people stays identified as “gay.”  Such an outcome would give the LGBT movement a huge population base, which translates into massive financial and political power.

But I could rest my doubts about their motives if they could answer one yes-or-no question.  In 2017, the Church of England banned conversion therapy.  Do they support this move?

If yes, then we know where Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry are taking us.  They serve the LGBT community, regardless of what they may claim.  They want gay people to remain identified with that community, even if they may take on some other name like “same sex-attracted.”  They want to block strugglers from identifying as straight so that the gay community can continue to have a large constituency deprived of any exit strategy.

If the answer is no, then I wonder where they have been for all these years.  Ex-gays like Stephen Black have been fighting a lonely battle for conversion therapy.  I have worked hard to help gay men who want to go straight.  It would mean the world to a lot of people if they could get off their high horses and encourage people instead of shooting down hopes and dreams that match God’s promises.  It would also hearten us to see them stand up to gay activists instead of just helping gay activists beat up on God-fearing Christians.

Follow Robert Oscar Lopez at English Manif.  Also, check out his new series at Mass Resistance, called “Save Our Churches.”

To be loving does not mean to be gullible.  Jesus Christ mentions that we will come across dishonest people, especially among those who have prestige (or are seeking it).  We should love people, but that does not mean we should let them take advantage of us.  Or fool us.  Or trick us.

In that spirit, I want Rosaria Butterfield, Sam Allberry, and Jackie Hill Perry to answer a simple yes-or-no question.  No long filibustering paragraphs.  No detours into extensive complaints about what other Christians are supposedly doing.  No lifeline block-quotes from Augustine.  Just yes or no.  Here:

Do you agree with the Anglican church’s ban on conversion therapy?

Yes or no.

Here’s why this question is urgent.  Butterfield, Allberry, and Perry are currently superstars in the world of Protestant Christianity, constantly summoned to discuss issues of sexuality in the church.  They all had experience with same-sex attraction.  They all say they believe in Christ.

And they all attack conversion therapy.  According to her profile on Alchetron, Rosaria Butterfield believes the following:

She does not identify herself as “ex-gay” and does not think any Christians should identify themselves as “gay Christians.”  She notes that “[t]he job of the adjective is to change the noun.”  Butterfield has criticized conversion therapy for contending that the “primary goal of Christianity is to resolve homosexuality through heterosexuality, thus failing to see that repentance and victory over sin are God’s gifts and failing to remember that sons and daughters of the King can be full members of Christ’s body and still struggle with sexual temptation.”  Butterfield suggests this is a version of the prosperity gospel.

The Alchetron page classes Butterfield with Matthew Vines and Alan Chambers.  What a club.

Sam Allberry’s group in London, Living Out, makes similar swipes at conversion therapy, though the prose below is actually attributed to Sean Doherty:

Why we do not support the idea of ‘gay cure’


1) Homosexuality is not an illness.  But using the language of ‘cure’ makes it sound like it is, which could be very damaging to vulnerable people (such as a young person coming to terms with their sexuality), making them feel ashamed of who they are at a very deep and fundamental level, and perhaps in some cases even contributing to suicidal feelings.  Thankfully, we are not aware of any organisations in the UK which do support the idea of a ‘gay cure’.  Our belief is that all of us have fallen sexual desires (whether heterosexual or homosexual), and that what we need isn’t more heterosexuality or less homosexuality, but the holiness found in Jesus Christ.

Lastly, Jackie Hill Perry has come forward with a statement entitled “Don’t Preach a Heterosexual Gospel,” which also blasts the notion of conversion therapy:

Perry, who used to be a lesbian but is now married to a man and has two daughters, warns that the “heterosexual gospel” is problematic because it “tends to put more emphasis on marriage as the goal of the Christian life than on knowing Jesus.”


“What the gay community needs to hear is not that God will make them straight, but that Christ can make them his,” she continues.


“Someone trying to pursue heterosexuality and not Christ is just as far from a right standing with God as someone actively pursuing homosexuality.  They have put their faith in a new ‘orientation’ rather than in knowing the living God.”

Unfortunately, all three of them arrogate to themselves the right to speak for “same-sex-attracted” Christians.  They do not speak for me.  In fact, I doubt that they speak for almost anybody.

People who see themselves as gay, and who do not want to become straight, exist in a social world different from mine.  They have both Vines and Chambers as go-to people to emulate.  Neither Vines nor Chambers will tell them that sodomy itself poses any problem at all.

But let us think through who these gay affirmers are and what they want to hear.  They do not want Allberry’s tortured celibacy.  Nor do they want Butterfield and Perry to exhaust them with long filibusters about how their identity is sinful but they have no hope of ever becoming straight, either.  People who see themselves as gay and who do not want to become straight generally want to be “gay Christians.” They want to hear about how they can walk with Jesus Christ while still having gay relationships, period.  They will not generally be fans of Allberry, Butterfield, or Perry.

So Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry’s popularity comes largely because straight Christians like to hear them talk about how they dealt with their homosexuality.  It makes straight Christians feel tolerant for giving them platforms.  Straight Christians imagine that gay people will respond positively to their message and will not reject the Christian position on sexuality as hateful.

People in the gay community who like being gay do not need their message since many churches are already okay with active, practicing homosexuals.  If gay people have a problem with their sexual orientation and want to change, they will likely want to cease homosexual behavior and be freed of homosexual thoughts and identity.  Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry denounce homosexual acts while claiming that it is equally wrong for them to engage in heterosexuality.

(It is not equally wrong, or wrong at all, for someone struggling with homosexuality to seek self-modification in hopes of getting married – again, to a member of the opposite sex, with whom alone marriage is possible.)

Butterfield and Perry, both of whom are married and raising children, come across as particularly annoying in that regard.  They tell gay people that it’s somehow ungodly for them to want the same godly life – marriage, parenthood – that both Butterfield and Perry have.

Another group of people has struggled with homosexuality and knows that it is a sin incompatible with Christianity.  Similarly in this position are people like Stephen Black, Daren Mehl, myself, and the people who follow David Pickup or Restored Hope Network.  

I won’t try to speak for others, but I can speak for where I am.  I find the rhetoric of Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry tiresome and callous.  Their reasons for rejecting conversion to heterosexuality feel muddled yet judgmental.  And terribly wrong.  Jesus Christ said faith can move mountains.  Jesus Christ also tells a parable about a persistent widow winning over a judge, as an exhortation to continue seeking the good things in life rather than surrender to discouragement.  Jesus consistently advises His believers to ask, so that they shall receive, noting that no father, if his son asked for an egg, would give him a snake.

Yes, many people claim to have failed at going from gay to straight, just as many obese people decide that after so much dieting and exercise, they will never lose weight.  Jesus Christ shares the powerful message that with faith, hope, and love, such great things do happen.  They have happened in my life.  Rosaria Butterfield has no place to tell me faith can’t make me straight.

The Apostle Paul said faith, hope, and love are the most enduring of all human feelings.  Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry suffocate all three.  They deny the power of people’s faith to heal themselves and live in obedience to God, largely because they assume too much when they predict that people’s attempts to change toward heterosexuality will necessarily fail.  They stifle people’s hope by telling them, falsely, that God will not answer their prayers if they pray for something godly and fair.  And they place stumbling blocks before people so they cannot feel love in the way God intended it, including the beauty of love for the opposite sex in all its splendor.

Also, they use straw man fallacies.  They say they oppose conversion therapy because other Christians who support it supposedly engage in bad doctrine. In truth they err in doctrine and the Christians they criticize speak righteously.  Hence, the Living Out statement accuses conversion therapy of harming young people, as if such young people do not already know, in many cases, that something is wrong with homosexuality anyway.

Rosaria Butterfield compares Christians who want to lead heterosexual lives to the widely reviled “prosperity gospel.”  She assumes that for others to have a goal – becoming heterosexual – their goal must necessarily be “the primary goal.” Nobody I know has ever said that Christianity’s primary goal is turning people into heterosexuals.  The parallel to the prosperity gospel is wildly unfair, since poverty is not a sin, but homosexuality is.  Also, heterosexuality is simply a word describing male-female intimacy, which is God’s design as set down in Genesis and upheld by Jesus in Matthew 19 and Mark 10.

Jackie Hill Perry conflates people who want to become heterosexual with people who “want to pursue heterosexuality and not Christ.” If someone is suffering in homosexuality, I bring glory to God by helping him out of it even if the person is not yet ready to confess belief in Christ. My charity may endear them to my God, and their better life may leave them more capable of drawing near to Jesus Christ later.

And what about people who want to pursue heterosexuality and Christ?  By ignoring the existence of such people, she creates an exaggerated extreme to distract people from the real crisis at hand, the crisis that all three of these speakers fail to acknowledge and end up worsening:

The gay movement is trying to ban homosexuals from getting help so they can turn toward heterosexuality.

While a dozen American states, many foreign governments, and the Church of England have banned conversion therapy, no widespread movement exists anywhere to force churches to exalt heterosexuality more than they honor Christ.

So why, when ex-gays are being besieged from all sides, do we have to deal with Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry attacking us, too? By setting themselves up as Christians with same-sex attraction, they can discredit conversion therapy.  The LGBT movement loves that.  The LGBT movement can afford to have three Christian speakers denounce sodomy in Biblical terms if they get three resounding denunciations of conversion therapy.

The LGBT movement wants there to be no conversion therapy, so the maximum number of people stays identified as “gay.”  Such an outcome would give the LGBT movement a huge population base, which translates into massive financial and political power.

But I could rest my doubts about their motives if they could answer one yes-or-no question.  In 2017, the Church of England banned conversion therapy.  Do they support this move?

If yes, then we know where Allberry, Butterfield, and Perry are taking us.  They serve the LGBT community, regardless of what they may claim.  They want gay people to remain identified with that community, even if they may take on some other name like “same sex-attracted.”  They want to block strugglers from identifying as straight so that the gay community can continue to have a large constituency deprived of any exit strategy.

If the answer is no, then I wonder where they have been for all these years.  Ex-gays like Stephen Black have been fighting a lonely battle for conversion therapy.  I have worked hard to help gay men who want to go straight.  It would mean the world to a lot of people if they could get off their high horses and encourage people instead of shooting down hopes and dreams that match God’s promises.  It would also hearten us to see them stand up to gay activists instead of just helping gay activists beat up on God-fearing Christians.

Follow Robert Oscar Lopez at English Manif.  Also, check out his new series at Mass Resistance, called “Save Our Churches.”



Source link

208952.jpg

The NY Times Op-Ed: Another Page from the Left's Utopian Playbook


Before we lose our minds over the New York Times’ anonymous op-ed, we should remind ourselves about who the leftists are.  And how they play their game.

Who are they?  As conservatives, why do we not agree with them?  That answer varies, but usually it is because we find their ideas foolish.  Ideas like “equality,” “tolerance,” “flourishing,” and “social justice” sound like wonderful concepts.  Conservatives are not against these ideals, which leftists claim to tout.  The problem for most conservatives is that we don’t believe that these goals are attainable through the methods the left provides, if at all.

The vision the left has of a good society seems, to most conservatives, like a lot of dreams that don’t match anything in the real world.  They are the descriptions of a society that exists nowhere and never will exist.

The left believes, in other words, in Utopia.  Thomas More wrote an entire book in Latin about that, back in the sixteenth century.  In Utopia, More satirizes the idea of a perfect society.  The book focuses on an island nation on which someone named “Raphael” claims he spent five years.  The word “utopia” means, literally, no place or “nowhere.”  The society of Utopia is a collection of ideal situations that look a lot like the left’s fantasies of social justice.

We hear that the Utopians “have very few laws” (87) because their cultural means of encouraging virtue work smoothly and do not require onerous enforcement.  In fact, so deeply are the fruitful habits of the Utopians imbued in their personality that their “first principle is that every soul is immortal and was created by a kind God, Who meant it to be happy” (71).

Most illustrative for readers of the New York Times op-ed is what the Utopians do to protect themselves from violent invasion without having to fight wars.  Take a look at this passage:

So the moment war’s declared they arrange through secret agents for lots of posters to go up simultaneously at all points on enemy territory where they are most likely to be seen.  These posters carry the official seal of the Utopian government and offer a huge reward for killing the enemy king.  They also offer smaller but still very considerable sums for killing certain individuals whose names appear on a list and who are presumed to be the chief supporters, after the king, of anti-Utopian policies.  The reward for bringing such people in alive is twice as much as for killing them – and they themselves are offered the same amount of money, plus a free pardon, for turning against their own associates.


The immediate result is that everyone mentioned on the list becomes suspicious of everything in human shape.  They all stop trusting one another and stop being trustworthy.  They live in a constant state of terror, which is perfectly justified for it’s often been known to happen that all of them including the king himself are betrayed by the very person that they pinned the most faith on. (92)

More describes the artful but sinister form of psychological manipulation, which history remembers from the Spanish Inquisition and wars of the Reformation.  In Utopia, this form of psychological operation constitutes “peaceful means” of achieving one’s political ends.

Should it surprise us that the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times seems to engage in Utopian warfare?  People exist who want the Trump administration to fall apart and who want a reinstatement of the Obama-Clinton cabal.  They have situated themselves in various posts across entities that would deliberately collaborate to wage some version of More’s Utopian mind games.  The idea is to breed maximum distrust among Trump’s allies and then cause them to fall apart.  Then the Democrats do not have to spend money or do the hard work in order to build a base of support, engineer intelligent policies, or execute their plans faithfully.

Every day, more information comes to light about the coordination among people in the major media outlets and members of the seventeen organizations in the Intelligence Community.  That is not to mention, as well, the disturbing links between intelligence and academia, as well as the churches.  Consider for instance what I came across in my recent study of the American Academy of Religion.  The published program from the 2017 conference of the Academy included Session “P17-241,” which states the following:

In the years following the 1993 confrontation between the FBI and a religious community called the Branch Davidians, religion scholars have occasionally offered the FBI advice regarding dissident religious groups who are less commonly well-understood and who come into conflict with law enforcement.  The American Academy of Religion has served as an interlocutor for the Critical Incident Response Group and has also established a relationship with the FBI Academy through its National Academy.  The mutual hope of religion scholars and the FBI officials with whom they have interacted has been that consultation might lead to better outcomes than occurred with the Branch Davidians.  This panel will reflect on the interaction between religion scholars and law enforcement officials over the past 25 years and what may be learned from the experience to inform interaction going forward.

In looking at this innocuous entry in a conference program that is hundreds of pages long, you may wonder how American society became so blasé about its totalitarian psy ops.  Here you have Harvard brokering a “collusion,” literally, between spies and the people studying religions that people don’t like.  If you think by “dissident religions” the Harvard pontiffs refer to Islam, you are probably not paying close enough attention.  The new Branch Davidians, at least in the mind of people engineering this modern-day Inquisition, are probably Christian sects that disagree with Democrats and might defy Democrat-led governments.

In order to defray the possibility of conflict, Barack Obama’s old alma mater has gathered together “religion scholars” whose field research involves spying on the religious opposition to the Democrats and feeding information to the FBI.  You do not have to go far to connect the dots from here to the media, either.  According to a press release by the American Academy of Religion on July 16, 2018, the Academy grants awards for “Best In-Depth Newswriting on Religion.”  The top three winners this year were:

Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor … Jack Jenkins, national reporter for Religion News Service, second; and Kelsey Dallas, faith writer for Desert News, third[.] …


Jurors described Burke’s winning articles on the mysteries, complexities, and divisiveness of religion involving Neil Gorsuch’s background, Roy Moore, LGBT rights, and the debate between moral evil and natural[.]

So the Academy’s top prize went to a “religion reporter” who works for CNN and did “in-depth reporting” on Neil Gorsuch, Roy Moore, and LGBT rights as they relate to people of faith.  The Academy giving him this award sits on an information pipeline between the FBI and the colleges whose faculty evaluated his work for a prize.  The runner-up:

Jack Jenkins presented a “smart, varied thematic approach to an issue at the heart of the national conversation – the resurgence of white nationalism,” commented one juror.  He approached the topic through the lenses of faith, history, Trump, the Charlottesville protest, and the presence of white nationalism in church pulpits.

Are you starting to smell the rat? Note who made up the jury:

The jury make-up included Evan Berry, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, American University, and member of [Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion]; Michelle Boorstein, religion reporter for the Washington Post; and Jaweed Kaleem, national race and justice correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

When you come across a column as provocative as the New York Times op-ed, you may be tempted to react to the cues immediately available to you.  It looks at first glance like the statement by someone working in the Trump administration sincerely worried about the future of the country.  But to reach print, such a document had to have passed through many sieves.

See the connections among academia, the intelligence community, the churches, and the press.  Because obvious networks of people with similar sympathies occupy key posts in all these institutions, they can coordinate and know how to do so.  They have a purpose: to bring the Obama regime’s cronies back to absolute power and to destroy the “dissident religion” represented by Trump’s evangelical base, which the Harvard Estate views as racist and anti-LGBT.  They have a strategy: avoid high financial costs, avoid difficult conflict, and give as much cover as possible to the colluders.

The idea here is to breed anxiety, distrust, and division in Trump’s camp.  Part of this involves culling key terms from the Christian and conservative base that girds Trump and developing emotionally fraught storylines that can turn such constituencies against each other.  They have the researchers who are paid (by tax-exempt non-profit colleges!) to look into the workings of the conservative Christian world as their full-time jobs.  They have collaborators in the churches who can spy on all information about Trump’s evangelical base through ministries on the ground.  They have the intelligence community ready to execute the dirty work.

And they have the media to spin the whole affair so people get distracted and don’t see the vicious inquisition right before them.

But here is one thing they can’t take from us: Thomas More.  He gives us the playbook.  We should read it and work from it.

Follow Robert Oscar Lopez at English Manif.  Also, keep an eye for a series he hosts for Mass Resistance called “Save Our Churches.”

WORK CITED

Thomas More.  Utopia.  Trans. Paul Turner.  New York: Penguin, 2003.

Before we lose our minds over the New York Times’ anonymous op-ed, we should remind ourselves about who the leftists are.  And how they play their game.

Who are they?  As conservatives, why do we not agree with them?  That answer varies, but usually it is because we find their ideas foolish.  Ideas like “equality,” “tolerance,” “flourishing,” and “social justice” sound like wonderful concepts.  Conservatives are not against these ideals, which leftists claim to tout.  The problem for most conservatives is that we don’t believe that these goals are attainable through the methods the left provides, if at all.

The vision the left has of a good society seems, to most conservatives, like a lot of dreams that don’t match anything in the real world.  They are the descriptions of a society that exists nowhere and never will exist.

The left believes, in other words, in Utopia.  Thomas More wrote an entire book in Latin about that, back in the sixteenth century.  In Utopia, More satirizes the idea of a perfect society.  The book focuses on an island nation on which someone named “Raphael” claims he spent five years.  The word “utopia” means, literally, no place or “nowhere.”  The society of Utopia is a collection of ideal situations that look a lot like the left’s fantasies of social justice.

We hear that the Utopians “have very few laws” (87) because their cultural means of encouraging virtue work smoothly and do not require onerous enforcement.  In fact, so deeply are the fruitful habits of the Utopians imbued in their personality that their “first principle is that every soul is immortal and was created by a kind God, Who meant it to be happy” (71).

Most illustrative for readers of the New York Times op-ed is what the Utopians do to protect themselves from violent invasion without having to fight wars.  Take a look at this passage:

So the moment war’s declared they arrange through secret agents for lots of posters to go up simultaneously at all points on enemy territory where they are most likely to be seen.  These posters carry the official seal of the Utopian government and offer a huge reward for killing the enemy king.  They also offer smaller but still very considerable sums for killing certain individuals whose names appear on a list and who are presumed to be the chief supporters, after the king, of anti-Utopian policies.  The reward for bringing such people in alive is twice as much as for killing them – and they themselves are offered the same amount of money, plus a free pardon, for turning against their own associates.


The immediate result is that everyone mentioned on the list becomes suspicious of everything in human shape.  They all stop trusting one another and stop being trustworthy.  They live in a constant state of terror, which is perfectly justified for it’s often been known to happen that all of them including the king himself are betrayed by the very person that they pinned the most faith on. (92)

More describes the artful but sinister form of psychological manipulation, which history remembers from the Spanish Inquisition and wars of the Reformation.  In Utopia, this form of psychological operation constitutes “peaceful means” of achieving one’s political ends.

Should it surprise us that the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times seems to engage in Utopian warfare?  People exist who want the Trump administration to fall apart and who want a reinstatement of the Obama-Clinton cabal.  They have situated themselves in various posts across entities that would deliberately collaborate to wage some version of More’s Utopian mind games.  The idea is to breed maximum distrust among Trump’s allies and then cause them to fall apart.  Then the Democrats do not have to spend money or do the hard work in order to build a base of support, engineer intelligent policies, or execute their plans faithfully.

Every day, more information comes to light about the coordination among people in the major media outlets and members of the seventeen organizations in the Intelligence Community.  That is not to mention, as well, the disturbing links between intelligence and academia, as well as the churches.  Consider for instance what I came across in my recent study of the American Academy of Religion.  The published program from the 2017 conference of the Academy included Session “P17-241,” which states the following:

In the years following the 1993 confrontation between the FBI and a religious community called the Branch Davidians, religion scholars have occasionally offered the FBI advice regarding dissident religious groups who are less commonly well-understood and who come into conflict with law enforcement.  The American Academy of Religion has served as an interlocutor for the Critical Incident Response Group and has also established a relationship with the FBI Academy through its National Academy.  The mutual hope of religion scholars and the FBI officials with whom they have interacted has been that consultation might lead to better outcomes than occurred with the Branch Davidians.  This panel will reflect on the interaction between religion scholars and law enforcement officials over the past 25 years and what may be learned from the experience to inform interaction going forward.

In looking at this innocuous entry in a conference program that is hundreds of pages long, you may wonder how American society became so blasé about its totalitarian psy ops.  Here you have Harvard brokering a “collusion,” literally, between spies and the people studying religions that people don’t like.  If you think by “dissident religions” the Harvard pontiffs refer to Islam, you are probably not paying close enough attention.  The new Branch Davidians, at least in the mind of people engineering this modern-day Inquisition, are probably Christian sects that disagree with Democrats and might defy Democrat-led governments.

In order to defray the possibility of conflict, Barack Obama’s old alma mater has gathered together “religion scholars” whose field research involves spying on the religious opposition to the Democrats and feeding information to the FBI.  You do not have to go far to connect the dots from here to the media, either.  According to a press release by the American Academy of Religion on July 16, 2018, the Academy grants awards for “Best In-Depth Newswriting on Religion.”  The top three winners this year were:

Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor … Jack Jenkins, national reporter for Religion News Service, second; and Kelsey Dallas, faith writer for Desert News, third[.] …


Jurors described Burke’s winning articles on the mysteries, complexities, and divisiveness of religion involving Neil Gorsuch’s background, Roy Moore, LGBT rights, and the debate between moral evil and natural[.]

So the Academy’s top prize went to a “religion reporter” who works for CNN and did “in-depth reporting” on Neil Gorsuch, Roy Moore, and LGBT rights as they relate to people of faith.  The Academy giving him this award sits on an information pipeline between the FBI and the colleges whose faculty evaluated his work for a prize.  The runner-up:

Jack Jenkins presented a “smart, varied thematic approach to an issue at the heart of the national conversation – the resurgence of white nationalism,” commented one juror.  He approached the topic through the lenses of faith, history, Trump, the Charlottesville protest, and the presence of white nationalism in church pulpits.

Are you starting to smell the rat? Note who made up the jury:

The jury make-up included Evan Berry, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, American University, and member of [Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion]; Michelle Boorstein, religion reporter for the Washington Post; and Jaweed Kaleem, national race and justice correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

When you come across a column as provocative as the New York Times op-ed, you may be tempted to react to the cues immediately available to you.  It looks at first glance like the statement by someone working in the Trump administration sincerely worried about the future of the country.  But to reach print, such a document had to have passed through many sieves.

See the connections among academia, the intelligence community, the churches, and the press.  Because obvious networks of people with similar sympathies occupy key posts in all these institutions, they can coordinate and know how to do so.  They have a purpose: to bring the Obama regime’s cronies back to absolute power and to destroy the “dissident religion” represented by Trump’s evangelical base, which the Harvard Estate views as racist and anti-LGBT.  They have a strategy: avoid high financial costs, avoid difficult conflict, and give as much cover as possible to the colluders.

The idea here is to breed anxiety, distrust, and division in Trump’s camp.  Part of this involves culling key terms from the Christian and conservative base that girds Trump and developing emotionally fraught storylines that can turn such constituencies against each other.  They have the researchers who are paid (by tax-exempt non-profit colleges!) to look into the workings of the conservative Christian world as their full-time jobs.  They have collaborators in the churches who can spy on all information about Trump’s evangelical base through ministries on the ground.  They have the intelligence community ready to execute the dirty work.

And they have the media to spin the whole affair so people get distracted and don’t see the vicious inquisition right before them.

But here is one thing they can’t take from us: Thomas More.  He gives us the playbook.  We should read it and work from it.

Follow Robert Oscar Lopez at English Manif.  Also, keep an eye for a series he hosts for Mass Resistance called “Save Our Churches.”

WORK CITED

Thomas More.  Utopia.  Trans. Paul Turner.  New York: Penguin, 2003.



Source link

208890.jpg

Is the Queer Reckoning upon Us?



LGBT oppression against the American majority may finally have hit its peak. Hopefully, we will soon see sanity restored.



Source link

Sex and the Midnight Sun


In a classic Twilight Zone episode called “Midnight Sun,” a female artist faces the dreadful fate of being burnt alive in an abandoned New York City.  She and her landlord remain in an apartment building after everyone else has escaped.  The Earth’s orbit has wobbled off course, and the planet is inching closer to the Sun each day.  Night disappears.  All waters dry up.  The neighbors flee Manhattan in droves.  The temperature rises steadily until they face certain death.  The female painter loses all modesty, casting off all clothes but a slip as she waits to shrivel up and perish.

But then she wakes up to find that the doomsday amounted to nothing but a ruse.  In fact, her dark world will freeze.  Her landlady stands over her bundled in winter coats, while she lies swaddled in blankets.  Snow pelts the window of her building.  In reality, the Earth is drifting away from the sun, and all face death by hypothermia.

My forty-something generation remembers the fifties and sixties so condescendingly as a Stone Age of sexism, prejudice, and Eisenhowerian conformity.  But The Twilight Zone remains as a testament to the artistic genius of those decades.  

“Midnight Sun,” like the vast majority of the series’s episodes, pointed to a deeper truth with a timeless relevance.   The human mind faces danger by managing nightmares with counter-nightmares.  Cold is easier to suffer if one has plunged into a nightmare of insufferable heat.

Today’s “Midnight Sun” hangs over sexuality.  This truth has become evident with the strange events of the last three years.  With the Obergefell v. Hodges decision nationalizing the compulsory recognition of same-sex relationships as marriages, not only the LGBT movement, but also feminism could claim “mission accomplished.”  The stodgiest and crustiest institution of America – that Supreme Court of Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson – had gazed over the heads of America’s unwashed homophobic masses and winked to the professors of Women’s Studies at Harvard and Yale.

“We’re on the same page,” Anthony Kennedy – white and male enough for Reagan – said to the purveyors of sexual utopianism.  By deciding that sexual tolerance and love came as basic entitlements, Anthony Kennedy gave feminists and sexual radicals everything they wanted.  They could do as they pleased and receive moral credit, social affirmation, and tax breaks for it.  The power of the state served at their beck and call, available as a form of coercion to fine, enjoin, censure, and (one day soon) imprison any who could impede them.

Nothing ruins victory quite as much as getting what one fought for.  In “Pyrrhic” achievements, winning kills a combatant worse than losing would have.  

After Obergefell, it would have made sense for the LGBT movement to wind down and for the women’s movement to take a calm, reflective posture.  Both movements had run out of enemies, in a sense.  But instead they went into overdrive.  Suddenly, the LGBT movement took to wall-to-wall coverage of a wave of “transphobic” violence, nightmares of men who consider themselves women being beaten by hordes of Southern Baptists.  (In reality, fewer than thirty trans people were murdered last year, and transphobia did not motivate almost any of the killings.)

In keeping with the way the LGBT movement usually operates, the appetite shifts quickly to the punitive.  They abandoned plans to combat sexually transmitted diseases or relationship instability within the gay community.  They focus instead on more lists of people to ban, censor, no-platform, and destroy.

The women’s movement has attained success that earlier feminists could only have imagined.  Even sensible measures such as banning abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy have no hope of passing.  The March for Life gathers each year, assembling hundreds of thousands of pro-life idealists.  A cottage industry of conservative commentators pats them on the head, cheers on their courage, and then cuts every imaginable backdoor deal to keep abortion facilities open for business.  Homosexuality and abortion flourish, championed by movements that have lost no ground.  They have gotten what they wanted.

They wanted a world in which sex did not matter and chastity posed no demands on them.  Unfortunately, this comes with a nightmare.  In a world where sex does not matter, sexual intercourse is meaningless, and no commitment really stands for anything.  The less guidance we receive about how to relate intimately to others based on the self-evident design of our actual bodies, the more confused and lonely we feel.  If I can change my sex at will, so can anyone I am dating.  So what value do I gain by proclaiming my sexual orientation?

If they can change their sex at will, they can change their preferences for a partner just as easily.  Where does that leave me?  Us?  Anyone?  Did anybody have a contingency plan in case loneliness ended up being worse than allowing Anglican churches to preach Romans 1?

Without chastity, it turns out, there can be no charity.  A society that blithely rushes into sexual congress will rush just as quickly into mass judgment.  Forgiveness and mercy require patience and equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Not coincidentally, chastity also rests upon patience, equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Hasty love goes hand in hand with hasty hate.  So our society now traffics in condemnations based on little snippets of things people said decades ago, offhand comments that linger online and never go away, and watch lists compiled by paid character assassins who take everything out of context.

The list of people fired or ruined for making supposedly homophobic or sexist remarks should have served as a warning bell.  Maybe nobody said, “We are all Brendan Eich now,” because we all knew we were Brendan Eich, and we accepted it.  So now the list of people fired or ruined for supposedly “harassing” or being “sexually inappropriate,” even based on accusations from forty years ago lacking any real evidence, has exploded.  The rampage of judgmental condemnation shows no sign of abating.

The LGBT and feminist movements live like the Manhattan painter in the Twilight Zone.  They inhabit a fictional nightmare of their own conception.  They believe that their greatest threat consists of a deadly evangelical menace that stands to shut down screenings of Call Me by Your Name, or a world of toxic masculinity that encourages male co-workers to ask them out on dates.  Sexism and intolerance loom on all sides as ever present dangers.  Their greatest nightmare is facing people who view sex differently from the way they do.  This includes people who see kinky sex as gross rather than exciting.  It includes people who do not interest them sexually yet who express sexual interest to them.  Like the woman about to freeze to death painting pictures of a blazing sun about to fry her alive, these fear-mongers imagine a world of sexual order, conformity, and predictability as the worst type of existence imaginable.

Meanwhile, sexual chaos consumes them and wrecks them more each day.  The loneliness will catch up with them.  Perhaps they know this.  It might comfort them to imagine that lusty men yearn to bed them while homophobes will continue praising chastity.  Those inconveniences seem, at last, soothing for someone who faces long hours at a dull job and an empty apartment full of solitude and sadness.

Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed at English Manif.

In a classic Twilight Zone episode called “Midnight Sun,” a female artist faces the dreadful fate of being burnt alive in an abandoned New York City.  She and her landlord remain in an apartment building after everyone else has escaped.  The Earth’s orbit has wobbled off course, and the planet is inching closer to the Sun each day.  Night disappears.  All waters dry up.  The neighbors flee Manhattan in droves.  The temperature rises steadily until they face certain death.  The female painter loses all modesty, casting off all clothes but a slip as she waits to shrivel up and perish.

But then she wakes up to find that the doomsday amounted to nothing but a ruse.  In fact, her dark world will freeze.  Her landlady stands over her bundled in winter coats, while she lies swaddled in blankets.  Snow pelts the window of her building.  In reality, the Earth is drifting away from the sun, and all face death by hypothermia.

My forty-something generation remembers the fifties and sixties so condescendingly as a Stone Age of sexism, prejudice, and Eisenhowerian conformity.  But The Twilight Zone remains as a testament to the artistic genius of those decades.  

“Midnight Sun,” like the vast majority of the series’s episodes, pointed to a deeper truth with a timeless relevance.   The human mind faces danger by managing nightmares with counter-nightmares.  Cold is easier to suffer if one has plunged into a nightmare of insufferable heat.

Today’s “Midnight Sun” hangs over sexuality.  This truth has become evident with the strange events of the last three years.  With the Obergefell v. Hodges decision nationalizing the compulsory recognition of same-sex relationships as marriages, not only the LGBT movement, but also feminism could claim “mission accomplished.”  The stodgiest and crustiest institution of America – that Supreme Court of Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson – had gazed over the heads of America’s unwashed homophobic masses and winked to the professors of Women’s Studies at Harvard and Yale.

“We’re on the same page,” Anthony Kennedy – white and male enough for Reagan – said to the purveyors of sexual utopianism.  By deciding that sexual tolerance and love came as basic entitlements, Anthony Kennedy gave feminists and sexual radicals everything they wanted.  They could do as they pleased and receive moral credit, social affirmation, and tax breaks for it.  The power of the state served at their beck and call, available as a form of coercion to fine, enjoin, censure, and (one day soon) imprison any who could impede them.

Nothing ruins victory quite as much as getting what one fought for.  In “Pyrrhic” achievements, winning kills a combatant worse than losing would have.  

After Obergefell, it would have made sense for the LGBT movement to wind down and for the women’s movement to take a calm, reflective posture.  Both movements had run out of enemies, in a sense.  But instead they went into overdrive.  Suddenly, the LGBT movement took to wall-to-wall coverage of a wave of “transphobic” violence, nightmares of men who consider themselves women being beaten by hordes of Southern Baptists.  (In reality, fewer than thirty trans people were murdered last year, and transphobia did not motivate almost any of the killings.)

In keeping with the way the LGBT movement usually operates, the appetite shifts quickly to the punitive.  They abandoned plans to combat sexually transmitted diseases or relationship instability within the gay community.  They focus instead on more lists of people to ban, censor, no-platform, and destroy.

The women’s movement has attained success that earlier feminists could only have imagined.  Even sensible measures such as banning abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy have no hope of passing.  The March for Life gathers each year, assembling hundreds of thousands of pro-life idealists.  A cottage industry of conservative commentators pats them on the head, cheers on their courage, and then cuts every imaginable backdoor deal to keep abortion facilities open for business.  Homosexuality and abortion flourish, championed by movements that have lost no ground.  They have gotten what they wanted.

They wanted a world in which sex did not matter and chastity posed no demands on them.  Unfortunately, this comes with a nightmare.  In a world where sex does not matter, sexual intercourse is meaningless, and no commitment really stands for anything.  The less guidance we receive about how to relate intimately to others based on the self-evident design of our actual bodies, the more confused and lonely we feel.  If I can change my sex at will, so can anyone I am dating.  So what value do I gain by proclaiming my sexual orientation?

If they can change their sex at will, they can change their preferences for a partner just as easily.  Where does that leave me?  Us?  Anyone?  Did anybody have a contingency plan in case loneliness ended up being worse than allowing Anglican churches to preach Romans 1?

Without chastity, it turns out, there can be no charity.  A society that blithely rushes into sexual congress will rush just as quickly into mass judgment.  Forgiveness and mercy require patience and equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Not coincidentally, chastity also rests upon patience, equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Hasty love goes hand in hand with hasty hate.  So our society now traffics in condemnations based on little snippets of things people said decades ago, offhand comments that linger online and never go away, and watch lists compiled by paid character assassins who take everything out of context.

The list of people fired or ruined for making supposedly homophobic or sexist remarks should have served as a warning bell.  Maybe nobody said, “We are all Brendan Eich now,” because we all knew we were Brendan Eich, and we accepted it.  So now the list of people fired or ruined for supposedly “harassing” or being “sexually inappropriate,” even based on accusations from forty years ago lacking any real evidence, has exploded.  The rampage of judgmental condemnation shows no sign of abating.

The LGBT and feminist movements live like the Manhattan painter in the Twilight Zone.  They inhabit a fictional nightmare of their own conception.  They believe that their greatest threat consists of a deadly evangelical menace that stands to shut down screenings of Call Me by Your Name, or a world of toxic masculinity that encourages male co-workers to ask them out on dates.  Sexism and intolerance loom on all sides as ever present dangers.  Their greatest nightmare is facing people who view sex differently from the way they do.  This includes people who see kinky sex as gross rather than exciting.  It includes people who do not interest them sexually yet who express sexual interest to them.  Like the woman about to freeze to death painting pictures of a blazing sun about to fry her alive, these fear-mongers imagine a world of sexual order, conformity, and predictability as the worst type of existence imaginable.

Meanwhile, sexual chaos consumes them and wrecks them more each day.  The loneliness will catch up with them.  Perhaps they know this.  It might comfort them to imagine that lusty men yearn to bed them while homophobes will continue praising chastity.  Those inconveniences seem, at last, soothing for someone who faces long hours at a dull job and an empty apartment full of solitude and sadness.

Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed at English Manif.



Source link

Postcard from a Coal Mine: CPAC 2018


What on Earth?

At its main website, CPAC describes itself as a lodestar for authentic conservatism.  Its summary includes a warm reference to Ronald Reagan and a claim that its yearly February gathering fosters a praetorian guard of “activists and campaign managers.”

Only a year ago, CPAC found itself in controversy for having scheduled as a keynote speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, the potty-mouthed homosexual enfant terrible.

When old video revealed that Milo had once been frighteningly blasé about sex with teenage boys, CPAC made a dramatic show of disavowing Milo.

Many fellow travelers came forward to defend Milo.  We viewed child molestation as detestable, but we consistently condemned it, even if this meant denouncing homosexual subculture.  Milo’s survival of childhood sex abuse explained much of his aberrant and disorderly behavior.

Why did so many conservatives goad Milo on for years, then turn on him once his past abuse cast a pall on his public witness?  For the type of conservatives who flock to CPAC – think-tank parvenus, Ann Coulter fans, Fox News oracles, College Republicans, emulators of Laura Ingraham and Steven Crowder – conservatism mixes rebellion, wit, professionalism, and prestige.  They sense that pointy-headed political correctness and taxes are bad, while anti-liberal snark and a rising Dow Jones are good.  They delight in mocking liberals who embarrass themselves and relish the indignant outrage they feel when gazing on liberalism at its worst: transgender bathrooms, campus madness, Harvey Weinstein hypocrisy, or historical illiteracy.  Such mainstream, young, and urbane conservatives do not necessarily like being told to show restraint, self-critique, and repentance.

They want conservatism to stay fun.  They turned against the left particularly because the left grew preachy, ugly, and glum.

It’s hard to know what left and right are anymore

In each institution the left has invaded, leftists have expelled all dissent and left themselves no check on their own errors.  In the wake of their collapse, opportunities will abound for enterprising and plucky people to mine the wreckage for profit.

Some will seize upon these opportunities to advance conservative beliefs because their traditional beliefs matter so much to them.  Others will seize upon such opportunities because they are opportunists.  If conservatives fail to discern their allies’ true motivations, they run many dangerous risks.

Will conservatism work if it rests on rejecting the left rather than on edifying traditional principles?  A practicing homosexual can say he is against something the left does (for instance, driver’s licenses for illegal aliens), but he cannot justify himself by citing tradition.  No tradition supports sodomy.

Therein lies the rub.  The assumption that conservatism means traditionalism can no longer go unquestioned, since so much of what we call “conservatism” lately entails opposition to the left, which can come from many sources that have nothing to do with tradition.

My first scholarly monograph, the long-forgotten Colorful Conservative: American Conversations with the Ancients from Wheatley to Whitman, diagrammed four political squares in American politics rather than two poles of left and right.  Back then, I had no clue that the model I suggested would play out vividly in my own life.




 

Untraditional

Traditional

Conventional

The left

Burkeans

Unconventional

Libertarians

Colorful Conservatives

The two axes that divided Americans politically, I posited, were convention and tradition.  While many dictionaries position these words as synonyms, their word roots betray a key difference.  Conventions come from the Latin sense of “coming together.”  Conventional beliefs and practices arise out of peer review, social approval, consensus, and Jefferson’s “decent respect to the opinions of mankind.”  Conventional conservatives can suppress some of their own impulses to respect the judgment of living peers.  They may be liberal, at times, in the sense that they will accept change or at least accommodate it if it seems a change has attained massive support among people whose opinions seem to matter.

Traditions have roots in a distant, mythical past, almost always a time so remote from the present that it cannot be edited or altered based on the fluxing whims of people alive now.  Many but not all traditions are rooted in godly faith.  Some traditions matter deeply to people because a traditional temperament leads people to trust, above all, what is time-honored, time-tested, and impervious to careless trends.  Traditional people are almost always conservative in their temperament.

As I argued in Colorful Conservative, Americans are not merely left-right, but really oriented toward four corners of political discourse.  The architects of the present-day left rejected anarchy and individualism in the twentieth century, when leftist intellectuals sided implicitly with the socialists’ emphasis on progress, collectivism, and egalitarian consensus.  Hence, what we call “the left” today, while dizzyingly fragmented, shares a conventional but untraditional sensibility.  Today’s left actively rejects the authority of the distant past, which explains much of the left’s problem with religions rooted in antique origins.  The left loves peer review and discourse based on pronouncements of experts while suffering from the chronic problems of groupthink and fads.

What now passes for the “conservative” movement is really an enormous smattering of disparate groups that have come to resist and repudiate the left.  Some “conservatives” share the left’s love of convention but resist the left because of the left’s allergy to tradition.  These, whom I called the “Burkean” conservatives in my 2011 monograph, defend ancient beliefs and time-honored customs by trying to persuade peers to join in honoring them.

These conservatives support religious doctrines but value tact and decorum. They will criticize the left-wing intelligentsia but will never criticize the idea of tenure; they do not want to destroy the lofty bureaucracies that issue political doctrines but rather wish to join and excel in such bureaucracies.  Their ideal ceremony is a wedding where plentiful guests cheer on elegant lovers while they recite vows written centuries ago.  From everything I have observed as an American Thinker contributor, these are not the conservatives who tend to prevail on this website.

American Thinker seems to gather people whom we call “conservative” today, who resist the left and also resist the very notion of convention – they are unconventional but traditional, so they have limited common ground with the Burkean conservatives and nothing but animosity toward the modern left.  These I call the “colorful conservatives,” whom I trace as a persistent vein in American arts and letters.  These socially defiant traditionalists tend to view the approval of peers as something to be sacrificed in order to stay true to foundational principles.  Among the religious, these conservatives exalt the Scriptures that tell us, “What is exalted before men is an abomination before the Lord.”  People who inhabit this square will reject not only specific peers, but popularity contests in general.  They will decry not only a worrying trend in academia, but the notion of a tenured professoriate functioning as a godless priesthood.  The colorful conservatives steer clear of groupthink but may be vulnerable to nostalgia.

One more group today falls into the same label of “conservative” only because of their hostility to the left.  Here I speak of those who are both unconventional and untraditional, the freethinking individualists who base all moral questions on their own conscience.  Whether they manifest their individualism as anarchy, libertarianism, or nihilism, they share a common propensity to rebuff the standards imposed by peers and the standards imposed by tradition.  They have nothing in common with the Burkeans and share with the colorful conservatives only a willingness to irritate and alienate their fellows.  They reject the left because of its political correctness, Orwellian insistence on forcing language on them, and taxes, even if they share with the left a rejection of tradition.

Can this a conservative movement make?

Trumpism is the ongoing struggle to make a chorus out of this anti-leftist din.  Why on Earth do we group libertarians, evangelical Christians, and Ivy League Republicans together in the same “conservative” movement these days?  They have little in common, but they all find reasons to fault the left.  The left’s tremendously successful takeover of cultural institutions, accompanied by the left’s utter failure to build anything socially functional, has created a vacuum that provides opportunities to the three other squares.  Yet if the left is finally defeated, who will rule the right?

Those who cannot surrender their principled objections to homosexuality serve as the canaries in the coal mine.  Conventional-traditional conservatives may pay lip service to heterosexual chastity but will respect the growing acceptance of homosexuality rather than alienate pro-gay peers.  They may say they support marriage, but they will lash out against other “conservatives” who violate the unspoken law against behaving crudely or disrespectfully in front of others.  Hence, Mass Resistance, full of Bible-quoters who fearlessly scream down principals and mayors to defend God’s design for sexuality, must be shunned by the conservatives who share the left’s love of convention.

The unconventional and untraditional types pose another challenge to the conservative movement.  Whether we call these libertarians, nihilists, pure individualists, or anarchists, the reality is that they are not conservative.  They are no friends to morality, antiquity, precedent, or decency.  They want most of all to have fun and feel good.  They have joined the conservative movement because in institutions controlled by the left, the political camp that attacks the left offers them the fewest rules and the most opportunities to let their hair down and have a good time.  Unfortunately, this libertine square provides the bulk of support for conservative causes among the young.

The influence of libertarians in the CPAC universe explains what happened with Milo and provides some context for the banishment of Mass Resistance.  Milo provided too much fun for anyone to slow him down until the seriousness of his past with sexual abuse made “conservatives” reconsider their allegiance to him.

When Milo was de-platformed, I thought he was the canary in the coal mine.  Maybe not.  By trying to get a seat at CPAC’s table, Mass Resistance tested the viability of the Burkean-colorful-libertarian alliance.  I lead Mass Resistance’s Texas chapter.  I know that our partisans defend their beliefs with dogged sincerity.  I also know that libertarians find us embarrassingly old-fashioned and Burkean mainstream conservatives fear we will not play well in Georgetown.

I spoke to Brian Camenker, the president of Mass Resistance, a few weeks before the CPAC brouhaha exploded.  At the time, I thought CPAC was a long shot, but I figured that if CPAC did not spike us, we would know that the ragtag alliance known as today’s “conservative” movement really had a chance.

The unconventional traditionalists, I believe, constitute the lion’s share of the Christian rank and file and Trump voters.  But we – I count myself among them – cannot fool ourselves that bons vivants or grant-starved bowtie-wearers want us at their shindigs.  For now, the Milo fanboys and Harvard graduates have joined ranks against us and made a separate truce with the left, brokered by the gays.  We were the canaries in the coal mine; we sniffed the gas and fell by the wayside.  What happens to the rest of the conservative movement is anyone’s guess.

One thing is clear: the 2018 midterms will be a difficult time for all.

You can follow Robert Oscar Lopez on English Manif.

As reported at the Resurgent, Breitbart, Barbwire, and LifeSiteNews, this year, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) chose to embrace the sponsorship of the Log Cabin Republicans, a pro-homosexual organization, while denouncing and banishing Mass Resistance, a reputable grassroots network that defends traditional morality in schools and municipalities.

CPAC’s decisions stem from their belief that gay Republicans are socially acceptable while people who militate powerfully against LGBT curriculum in schools are not.

What on Earth?

At its main website, CPAC describes itself as a lodestar for authentic conservatism.  Its summary includes a warm reference to Ronald Reagan and a claim that its yearly February gathering fosters a praetorian guard of “activists and campaign managers.”

Only a year ago, CPAC found itself in controversy for having scheduled as a keynote speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, the potty-mouthed homosexual enfant terrible.

When old video revealed that Milo had once been frighteningly blasé about sex with teenage boys, CPAC made a dramatic show of disavowing Milo.

Many fellow travelers came forward to defend Milo.  We viewed child molestation as detestable, but we consistently condemned it, even if this meant denouncing homosexual subculture.  Milo’s survival of childhood sex abuse explained much of his aberrant and disorderly behavior.

Why did so many conservatives goad Milo on for years, then turn on him once his past abuse cast a pall on his public witness?  For the type of conservatives who flock to CPAC – think-tank parvenus, Ann Coulter fans, Fox News oracles, College Republicans, emulators of Laura Ingraham and Steven Crowder – conservatism mixes rebellion, wit, professionalism, and prestige.  They sense that pointy-headed political correctness and taxes are bad, while anti-liberal snark and a rising Dow Jones are good.  They delight in mocking liberals who embarrass themselves and relish the indignant outrage they feel when gazing on liberalism at its worst: transgender bathrooms, campus madness, Harvey Weinstein hypocrisy, or historical illiteracy.  Such mainstream, young, and urbane conservatives do not necessarily like being told to show restraint, self-critique, and repentance.

They want conservatism to stay fun.  They turned against the left particularly because the left grew preachy, ugly, and glum.

It’s hard to know what left and right are anymore

In each institution the left has invaded, leftists have expelled all dissent and left themselves no check on their own errors.  In the wake of their collapse, opportunities will abound for enterprising and plucky people to mine the wreckage for profit.

Some will seize upon these opportunities to advance conservative beliefs because their traditional beliefs matter so much to them.  Others will seize upon such opportunities because they are opportunists.  If conservatives fail to discern their allies’ true motivations, they run many dangerous risks.

Will conservatism work if it rests on rejecting the left rather than on edifying traditional principles?  A practicing homosexual can say he is against something the left does (for instance, driver’s licenses for illegal aliens), but he cannot justify himself by citing tradition.  No tradition supports sodomy.

Therein lies the rub.  The assumption that conservatism means traditionalism can no longer go unquestioned, since so much of what we call “conservatism” lately entails opposition to the left, which can come from many sources that have nothing to do with tradition.

My first scholarly monograph, the long-forgotten Colorful Conservative: American Conversations with the Ancients from Wheatley to Whitman, diagrammed four political squares in American politics rather than two poles of left and right.  Back then, I had no clue that the model I suggested would play out vividly in my own life.




 

Untraditional

Traditional

Conventional

The left

Burkeans

Unconventional

Libertarians

Colorful Conservatives

The two axes that divided Americans politically, I posited, were convention and tradition.  While many dictionaries position these words as synonyms, their word roots betray a key difference.  Conventions come from the Latin sense of “coming together.”  Conventional beliefs and practices arise out of peer review, social approval, consensus, and Jefferson’s “decent respect to the opinions of mankind.”  Conventional conservatives can suppress some of their own impulses to respect the judgment of living peers.  They may be liberal, at times, in the sense that they will accept change or at least accommodate it if it seems a change has attained massive support among people whose opinions seem to matter.

Traditions have roots in a distant, mythical past, almost always a time so remote from the present that it cannot be edited or altered based on the fluxing whims of people alive now.  Many but not all traditions are rooted in godly faith.  Some traditions matter deeply to people because a traditional temperament leads people to trust, above all, what is time-honored, time-tested, and impervious to careless trends.  Traditional people are almost always conservative in their temperament.

As I argued in Colorful Conservative, Americans are not merely left-right, but really oriented toward four corners of political discourse.  The architects of the present-day left rejected anarchy and individualism in the twentieth century, when leftist intellectuals sided implicitly with the socialists’ emphasis on progress, collectivism, and egalitarian consensus.  Hence, what we call “the left” today, while dizzyingly fragmented, shares a conventional but untraditional sensibility.  Today’s left actively rejects the authority of the distant past, which explains much of the left’s problem with religions rooted in antique origins.  The left loves peer review and discourse based on pronouncements of experts while suffering from the chronic problems of groupthink and fads.

What now passes for the “conservative” movement is really an enormous smattering of disparate groups that have come to resist and repudiate the left.  Some “conservatives” share the left’s love of convention but resist the left because of the left’s allergy to tradition.  These, whom I called the “Burkean” conservatives in my 2011 monograph, defend ancient beliefs and time-honored customs by trying to persuade peers to join in honoring them.

These conservatives support religious doctrines but value tact and decorum. They will criticize the left-wing intelligentsia but will never criticize the idea of tenure; they do not want to destroy the lofty bureaucracies that issue political doctrines but rather wish to join and excel in such bureaucracies.  Their ideal ceremony is a wedding where plentiful guests cheer on elegant lovers while they recite vows written centuries ago.  From everything I have observed as an American Thinker contributor, these are not the conservatives who tend to prevail on this website.

American Thinker seems to gather people whom we call “conservative” today, who resist the left and also resist the very notion of convention – they are unconventional but traditional, so they have limited common ground with the Burkean conservatives and nothing but animosity toward the modern left.  These I call the “colorful conservatives,” whom I trace as a persistent vein in American arts and letters.  These socially defiant traditionalists tend to view the approval of peers as something to be sacrificed in order to stay true to foundational principles.  Among the religious, these conservatives exalt the Scriptures that tell us, “What is exalted before men is an abomination before the Lord.”  People who inhabit this square will reject not only specific peers, but popularity contests in general.  They will decry not only a worrying trend in academia, but the notion of a tenured professoriate functioning as a godless priesthood.  The colorful conservatives steer clear of groupthink but may be vulnerable to nostalgia.

One more group today falls into the same label of “conservative” only because of their hostility to the left.  Here I speak of those who are both unconventional and untraditional, the freethinking individualists who base all moral questions on their own conscience.  Whether they manifest their individualism as anarchy, libertarianism, or nihilism, they share a common propensity to rebuff the standards imposed by peers and the standards imposed by tradition.  They have nothing in common with the Burkeans and share with the colorful conservatives only a willingness to irritate and alienate their fellows.  They reject the left because of its political correctness, Orwellian insistence on forcing language on them, and taxes, even if they share with the left a rejection of tradition.

Can this a conservative movement make?

Trumpism is the ongoing struggle to make a chorus out of this anti-leftist din.  Why on Earth do we group libertarians, evangelical Christians, and Ivy League Republicans together in the same “conservative” movement these days?  They have little in common, but they all find reasons to fault the left.  The left’s tremendously successful takeover of cultural institutions, accompanied by the left’s utter failure to build anything socially functional, has created a vacuum that provides opportunities to the three other squares.  Yet if the left is finally defeated, who will rule the right?

Those who cannot surrender their principled objections to homosexuality serve as the canaries in the coal mine.  Conventional-traditional conservatives may pay lip service to heterosexual chastity but will respect the growing acceptance of homosexuality rather than alienate pro-gay peers.  They may say they support marriage, but they will lash out against other “conservatives” who violate the unspoken law against behaving crudely or disrespectfully in front of others.  Hence, Mass Resistance, full of Bible-quoters who fearlessly scream down principals and mayors to defend God’s design for sexuality, must be shunned by the conservatives who share the left’s love of convention.

The unconventional and untraditional types pose another challenge to the conservative movement.  Whether we call these libertarians, nihilists, pure individualists, or anarchists, the reality is that they are not conservative.  They are no friends to morality, antiquity, precedent, or decency.  They want most of all to have fun and feel good.  They have joined the conservative movement because in institutions controlled by the left, the political camp that attacks the left offers them the fewest rules and the most opportunities to let their hair down and have a good time.  Unfortunately, this libertine square provides the bulk of support for conservative causes among the young.

The influence of libertarians in the CPAC universe explains what happened with Milo and provides some context for the banishment of Mass Resistance.  Milo provided too much fun for anyone to slow him down until the seriousness of his past with sexual abuse made “conservatives” reconsider their allegiance to him.

When Milo was de-platformed, I thought he was the canary in the coal mine.  Maybe not.  By trying to get a seat at CPAC’s table, Mass Resistance tested the viability of the Burkean-colorful-libertarian alliance.  I lead Mass Resistance’s Texas chapter.  I know that our partisans defend their beliefs with dogged sincerity.  I also know that libertarians find us embarrassingly old-fashioned and Burkean mainstream conservatives fear we will not play well in Georgetown.

I spoke to Brian Camenker, the president of Mass Resistance, a few weeks before the CPAC brouhaha exploded.  At the time, I thought CPAC was a long shot, but I figured that if CPAC did not spike us, we would know that the ragtag alliance known as today’s “conservative” movement really had a chance.

The unconventional traditionalists, I believe, constitute the lion’s share of the Christian rank and file and Trump voters.  But we – I count myself among them – cannot fool ourselves that bons vivants or grant-starved bowtie-wearers want us at their shindigs.  For now, the Milo fanboys and Harvard graduates have joined ranks against us and made a separate truce with the left, brokered by the gays.  We were the canaries in the coal mine; we sniffed the gas and fell by the wayside.  What happens to the rest of the conservative movement is anyone’s guess.

One thing is clear: the 2018 midterms will be a difficult time for all.

You can follow Robert Oscar Lopez on English Manif.



Source link

A Peloponnesian Pep Talk: Trump's Hoplites Storm Washington


Fortunately, in 2017, conservatives (though not all) came to understand that our political fight is not a roundtable symposium or a pie contest at the county fair.  Hallelujah!

We face a leftist enemy who hates us and seeks to replace us with complacent gender-confused pajama boys shaking in fear that they may be shot through a biodegradable cannon by race-baiting rioters into a mob of lesbian sexual harassment lawyers.  An astonishing swath of the right has rebuffed the NeverTrumps with their calls for civility.  This signals that we aren’t crazy if we’ve been acting like troops in a kulturkampf for years.

Five years ago, when I described a certain political battle as “our Pharsalus” or defined certain tactics as “Carthaginian,” people bristled.  “Oh, no, we are going to be civil!” I would hear.  That’s changed lately.

When I attended the World Congress of Families in Budapest last May, one of the plenary speakers even quoted the lines from Ephesians I am often too shy to drop into articles: “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (6:11).

Hungary’s president, Viktor Orban, hosted the conference, and he knows a lot about this lately.  The gist is, we promise not to shoot or stab anyone, but we will crush foolhardy attempts to corrupt our souls.  And if you steal our stuff, we will get back at you.  Just ask Edith Macías.

Somebody call Pericles’s publicist

Some past wars are more applicable to our current situation than others.  For instance, I can see World War II working as a comparison, but I do not see the left and right as massive conglomerations of forces going at it in open hostility.  I see a lot of strong parallels right now to the Peloponnesian War.

Thucydides’s classic history depicts a scattered, dizzying clash among many city-states with shifting and unclear goals.  Much of the challenge for the players in that ancient war was simply figuring out what they were doing, who their enemies were, and whether it was worth fighting.  Camps within each of many cities were warring and betraying each other.  That is how I feel about our current battle with the left.

In Book II of Thucydides’s history, the great commander Pericles appears and gives two speeches at different junctures.  The first is his famous speech on the burial of the first fallen in the battle against Sparta.  Pericles distinguishes the Athenians’ motivation for fighting from the motives of others.  The Athenians, Pericles emphasizes, are free and fight because they enjoy the spiritual and cultural benefits of privacy, choice of how to live their lives, and frankness in speech with each other.

Pericles understood that what we call political correctness is poisonous.  Athenians would fight all the harder because they did not live under its censorship.

Again, in our enterprises we present the singular spectacle of daring and deliberation, each carried to its highest point, both united in the same persons[,] although usually decision is the fruit of ignorance, hesitation of reflection.  But the palm of courage will surely be adjudged most justly to those who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure yet are never tempted to shrink from danger.

Pericles does not always sound like this.  His words here reflect the heady feeling of a war’s beginning, when the young soldiers are still fit and well fed, the people still not confronted by severe losses.  Grief for the first fallen has more ceremonious hope than one will see in the second speech by Pericles to the people, toward the end of Book II.

In the second year of war, everyone is turning on each other inside Athens.  There are strong possibilities that some are bribed by foreigners or even cowards within the city, tired of fighting.  A plague breaks out.  Numerous rural dwellers have had to burn their fields and then take refuge in Athens among city-dwellers unhappy about the strains and disease.  The particular sickness racing through the Athenian population is bizarre and gruesome, causing lesions and fevers.

While still trying to uphold morale, Pericles scolds the people with these lines:

I have called an assembly to remind you of certain points, and to protest your being unreasonably cross with me, or cowed by your sufferings.  I am of the opinion that national greatness is more for the advantage of private citizens[] than any individual well[] being coupled with public humiliation.  A man may be personally ever so well off, yet if his country be ruined he must be ruined with it[,] whereas a flourishing commonwealth always affords chances of salvation to unfortunate individuals.

In the second speech, Pericles cannot sugarcoat words.  He has to acknowledge that the people are legitimately worn down and want the fight to end.  But he has to be blunt with them that the fight is far from over.  It would be tactless and ineffective to make high-minded appeals to the city’s democratic culture at this point.  His audience is burying loved ones who died from diarrhea and heat blisters, not because they charged courageously into danger’s way to defend the city they loved.

Which speech now?  It’s a toss-up.

Right now, we are where Athenians were on the occasion of Pericles’s first speech.  Our first casualties are being carried to the funeral pyre – Omarosa, Roy Moore, Milo, some of the Alt-Right, Mooch, the NeverTrumps.  Though we know there are a lot of internal divisions on our side, we still feel the thrill of having won so many victories against daunting odds.  We like winning.  Overall, our position looks strong, with the economy picking up, taxes going down, and Trump coming across very presidential.  Now is a good time to give the lofty pep talks about our strong values and remind ourselves that we fight for a good reason.

But keep Pericles’s post-plague speech handy, because it will likely be necessary within a year.

I foresee that 2018 will be like the year when Athens had ulcers and diarrhea.  We are going to see many of our Pericles figures get attacked even by their closest friends and our closest friends.  Greater scrutiny will reveal that some of our allies have been bribed and have hustled us.  Some will be exposed for having not truly fought for us, while others will be smeared in rear-guard sabotage and mutinies within their own camps.  Trump is going to disappoint us with some whoppers at some point – it is inevitable; all leaders are imperfect – and 2018 might be such a year, especially with pressure for him to arm for foreign adventures.

Certain fault lines, seemingly dormant, wait to awaken and quake Trump’s Christian coalition: Protestants vs. Catholics, Calvinist vs. traditionalist, charismatic vs. strictly Bible-based.  There are still strong pockets of gay conservatives who have avoided the disapproval of the mass of Trump-supporters who believe that homosexuality is a sin and will never compromise on that issue.  The latter tension, I have concluded, was fundamental in sinking Roy Moore because pro-gay conservatives in the Trump camp pulled away and let Moore get torpedoed by the NeverTrumps.

We will need the second Pericles to appear, scolding us, slapping us out of our whining, and reminding us that if high principles cannot bind us, fate will.  If MAGA crashes and burns, we all will burn, heroes and scoundrels together in flames.

Speeches to Avoid

With a successful year behind us, perhaps now is the time to clean our rhetorical house.  I suggest we retire the following obsessions so that any emerging Pericles can reach us within minimal background noise.  Since we are in a war, we must economize our limited time and resources, prioritizing efforts that need support now before the GOP may lose control of Congress.

“Conservative Speaker Treated Badly on Random Campus.”  We are decades into the liberal ruination of universities.  If anyone knows something about this, I do!  But there are four basic functions that the higher education industry is supposed to fulfill: training of students, scholarship by researchers, service to the community, and administration of university resources.  All four of these areas are dominated by full-time employees, with full-time conservative employees approaching zero percent.  Guest speakers, whom most students don’t hear and who have no long-term influence on campus, are so irrelevant to the core corruption killing education that we need to shift our attention to the problems of tenure, financial waste, and bogus research.

“Don’t make me bake a cake.”  I wish Jack Phillips all the best in his Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  Certainly, the Alliance Defending Freedom is to be commended for its fine work in this case.  The problem is that to bring this case to the Supreme Court, our side had to define the controversy so narrowly that a host of threats from the LGBT lobby will be untouched even if Jack Phillips wins: the LGBT invasion of our schools from K to Ph.D., the eradication of counseling to help people get out of homosexual behavior, and the tens of millions of people who are not artistic business owners doing work for weddings and therefore unprotected even by a positive outcome at the Supreme Court.  The LGBT issue is perhaps the biggest flashpoint threatening the explicitly religious constituency under Trump, and the most serious questions are simply being neglected.

“Isn’t it great to see liberal men destroyed in sex scandals?”  There is nothing funny about a wave of punitive hysteria combining female narcissism and angry white-knight mobs.  It’s true that liberal men seem to be the bigger losers in the game of “Sluts or Prudes – Who Will Kill You First?”  After the Foley-Haggard-Craig trifecta of Republicans tarred as closeted gay perverts, we cannot avoid some schadenfreude.  But I saw firsthand the collapse of due process with Title IX, and I know that the mobs are coming for Christians already.  Don’t feed the beast that will kill us.  Spend your time harassing Planned Parenthood night and day until it breaks down and closes up shop.

“Let’s get somebody fired for a tweet.”  I will not defend George Ciccariello-Maher, who was recently compelled to quit his post at Drexel University.  He seems cruel and unlikely to have any interest in defending my job against censors.  Academic freedom is a dead end, after all.  But the general trend of turning into howling lunatics over fragments of language floating in cyberspace is extremely unhealthy.  Make a pledge to stop doing screen shots.  Never rush to get someone fired over a statement.  Let’s try to keep it classy even as the left slithers in the gutters.

Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed on Twitter at @Baptist4freedom.

Culture wars are wars.  When I go on Twitter, I am going downrange.  I approach my tweeting, retweeting, blocking, and replying as such.

This is still war even if (for now) the conflict is not an armed clash between us conservatives and our leftist nemeses.  As I have elaborated in previous posts, Carl von Clausewitz noted that much of what we call “war” is mastering our thoughts, our troops’ thoughts, our allies’ thoughts, and our enemies’ thoughts.  Of his nine principles of war, some, such as “objective” and “surprise” and “unity of command,” point as much to what goes on in all these players’ heads as to violent conflict.

Fortunately, in 2017, conservatives (though not all) came to understand that our political fight is not a roundtable symposium or a pie contest at the county fair.  Hallelujah!

We face a leftist enemy who hates us and seeks to replace us with complacent gender-confused pajama boys shaking in fear that they may be shot through a biodegradable cannon by race-baiting rioters into a mob of lesbian sexual harassment lawyers.  An astonishing swath of the right has rebuffed the NeverTrumps with their calls for civility.  This signals that we aren’t crazy if we’ve been acting like troops in a kulturkampf for years.

Five years ago, when I described a certain political battle as “our Pharsalus” or defined certain tactics as “Carthaginian,” people bristled.  “Oh, no, we are going to be civil!” I would hear.  That’s changed lately.

When I attended the World Congress of Families in Budapest last May, one of the plenary speakers even quoted the lines from Ephesians I am often too shy to drop into articles: “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (6:11).

Hungary’s president, Viktor Orban, hosted the conference, and he knows a lot about this lately.  The gist is, we promise not to shoot or stab anyone, but we will crush foolhardy attempts to corrupt our souls.  And if you steal our stuff, we will get back at you.  Just ask Edith Macías.

Somebody call Pericles’s publicist

Some past wars are more applicable to our current situation than others.  For instance, I can see World War II working as a comparison, but I do not see the left and right as massive conglomerations of forces going at it in open hostility.  I see a lot of strong parallels right now to the Peloponnesian War.

Thucydides’s classic history depicts a scattered, dizzying clash among many city-states with shifting and unclear goals.  Much of the challenge for the players in that ancient war was simply figuring out what they were doing, who their enemies were, and whether it was worth fighting.  Camps within each of many cities were warring and betraying each other.  That is how I feel about our current battle with the left.

In Book II of Thucydides’s history, the great commander Pericles appears and gives two speeches at different junctures.  The first is his famous speech on the burial of the first fallen in the battle against Sparta.  Pericles distinguishes the Athenians’ motivation for fighting from the motives of others.  The Athenians, Pericles emphasizes, are free and fight because they enjoy the spiritual and cultural benefits of privacy, choice of how to live their lives, and frankness in speech with each other.

Pericles understood that what we call political correctness is poisonous.  Athenians would fight all the harder because they did not live under its censorship.

Again, in our enterprises we present the singular spectacle of daring and deliberation, each carried to its highest point, both united in the same persons[,] although usually decision is the fruit of ignorance, hesitation of reflection.  But the palm of courage will surely be adjudged most justly to those who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure yet are never tempted to shrink from danger.

Pericles does not always sound like this.  His words here reflect the heady feeling of a war’s beginning, when the young soldiers are still fit and well fed, the people still not confronted by severe losses.  Grief for the first fallen has more ceremonious hope than one will see in the second speech by Pericles to the people, toward the end of Book II.

In the second year of war, everyone is turning on each other inside Athens.  There are strong possibilities that some are bribed by foreigners or even cowards within the city, tired of fighting.  A plague breaks out.  Numerous rural dwellers have had to burn their fields and then take refuge in Athens among city-dwellers unhappy about the strains and disease.  The particular sickness racing through the Athenian population is bizarre and gruesome, causing lesions and fevers.

While still trying to uphold morale, Pericles scolds the people with these lines:

I have called an assembly to remind you of certain points, and to protest your being unreasonably cross with me, or cowed by your sufferings.  I am of the opinion that national greatness is more for the advantage of private citizens[] than any individual well[] being coupled with public humiliation.  A man may be personally ever so well off, yet if his country be ruined he must be ruined with it[,] whereas a flourishing commonwealth always affords chances of salvation to unfortunate individuals.

In the second speech, Pericles cannot sugarcoat words.  He has to acknowledge that the people are legitimately worn down and want the fight to end.  But he has to be blunt with them that the fight is far from over.  It would be tactless and ineffective to make high-minded appeals to the city’s democratic culture at this point.  His audience is burying loved ones who died from diarrhea and heat blisters, not because they charged courageously into danger’s way to defend the city they loved.

Which speech now?  It’s a toss-up.

Right now, we are where Athenians were on the occasion of Pericles’s first speech.  Our first casualties are being carried to the funeral pyre – Omarosa, Roy Moore, Milo, some of the Alt-Right, Mooch, the NeverTrumps.  Though we know there are a lot of internal divisions on our side, we still feel the thrill of having won so many victories against daunting odds.  We like winning.  Overall, our position looks strong, with the economy picking up, taxes going down, and Trump coming across very presidential.  Now is a good time to give the lofty pep talks about our strong values and remind ourselves that we fight for a good reason.

But keep Pericles’s post-plague speech handy, because it will likely be necessary within a year.

I foresee that 2018 will be like the year when Athens had ulcers and diarrhea.  We are going to see many of our Pericles figures get attacked even by their closest friends and our closest friends.  Greater scrutiny will reveal that some of our allies have been bribed and have hustled us.  Some will be exposed for having not truly fought for us, while others will be smeared in rear-guard sabotage and mutinies within their own camps.  Trump is going to disappoint us with some whoppers at some point – it is inevitable; all leaders are imperfect – and 2018 might be such a year, especially with pressure for him to arm for foreign adventures.

Certain fault lines, seemingly dormant, wait to awaken and quake Trump’s Christian coalition: Protestants vs. Catholics, Calvinist vs. traditionalist, charismatic vs. strictly Bible-based.  There are still strong pockets of gay conservatives who have avoided the disapproval of the mass of Trump-supporters who believe that homosexuality is a sin and will never compromise on that issue.  The latter tension, I have concluded, was fundamental in sinking Roy Moore because pro-gay conservatives in the Trump camp pulled away and let Moore get torpedoed by the NeverTrumps.

We will need the second Pericles to appear, scolding us, slapping us out of our whining, and reminding us that if high principles cannot bind us, fate will.  If MAGA crashes and burns, we all will burn, heroes and scoundrels together in flames.

Speeches to Avoid

With a successful year behind us, perhaps now is the time to clean our rhetorical house.  I suggest we retire the following obsessions so that any emerging Pericles can reach us within minimal background noise.  Since we are in a war, we must economize our limited time and resources, prioritizing efforts that need support now before the GOP may lose control of Congress.

“Conservative Speaker Treated Badly on Random Campus.”  We are decades into the liberal ruination of universities.  If anyone knows something about this, I do!  But there are four basic functions that the higher education industry is supposed to fulfill: training of students, scholarship by researchers, service to the community, and administration of university resources.  All four of these areas are dominated by full-time employees, with full-time conservative employees approaching zero percent.  Guest speakers, whom most students don’t hear and who have no long-term influence on campus, are so irrelevant to the core corruption killing education that we need to shift our attention to the problems of tenure, financial waste, and bogus research.

“Don’t make me bake a cake.”  I wish Jack Phillips all the best in his Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  Certainly, the Alliance Defending Freedom is to be commended for its fine work in this case.  The problem is that to bring this case to the Supreme Court, our side had to define the controversy so narrowly that a host of threats from the LGBT lobby will be untouched even if Jack Phillips wins: the LGBT invasion of our schools from K to Ph.D., the eradication of counseling to help people get out of homosexual behavior, and the tens of millions of people who are not artistic business owners doing work for weddings and therefore unprotected even by a positive outcome at the Supreme Court.  The LGBT issue is perhaps the biggest flashpoint threatening the explicitly religious constituency under Trump, and the most serious questions are simply being neglected.

“Isn’t it great to see liberal men destroyed in sex scandals?”  There is nothing funny about a wave of punitive hysteria combining female narcissism and angry white-knight mobs.  It’s true that liberal men seem to be the bigger losers in the game of “Sluts or Prudes – Who Will Kill You First?”  After the Foley-Haggard-Craig trifecta of Republicans tarred as closeted gay perverts, we cannot avoid some schadenfreude.  But I saw firsthand the collapse of due process with Title IX, and I know that the mobs are coming for Christians already.  Don’t feed the beast that will kill us.  Spend your time harassing Planned Parenthood night and day until it breaks down and closes up shop.

“Let’s get somebody fired for a tweet.”  I will not defend George Ciccariello-Maher, who was recently compelled to quit his post at Drexel University.  He seems cruel and unlikely to have any interest in defending my job against censors.  Academic freedom is a dead end, after all.  But the general trend of turning into howling lunatics over fragments of language floating in cyberspace is extremely unhealthy.  Make a pledge to stop doing screen shots.  Never rush to get someone fired over a statement.  Let’s try to keep it classy even as the left slithers in the gutters.

Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed on Twitter at @Baptist4freedom.



Source link

Good Riddance, Evangelicalism Incorporated


Trump’s base in 2016 was defined not by race or class, but by belief in God.  Evangelical Christians and Catholics came together and pushed Trump to the win, in defiance of the media, academia, Hollywood, the professional class, elite Republicans, the Democrat masses, libertarians, and self-professed moralists.

Both the pope and many prominent Protestant leaders expressed antagonism toward Trump, so this mass of religious voters defied their church elders as well.

This was nothing less than stunning.  It was perhaps one of the great revolutions in America’s religious history.  Rather than a serious study of this event, we have had a spasmic flood of pedantry from the very people whose authority these Christian voters rejected in the first place.

I count myself among evangelical Trump voters.  As I am sure this issue is for almost everyone in America, the historical questions feel very personal.

I resent being mocked and reviled by secular liberals who I know hate all religion.

My patience has worn thin with people claiming to embrace a new liberal Christianity that I recognize as a warmed over version of the liberation theology my radical leftist family held in the 1970s and 1980s.

Conservative Christians who position themselves as valiant defenders of the Bible and Trump opponents have been exposed in brutal ways as the “Evangelical Deep State.”

Many so-called conservative Christians pulled a fast one on Alabama by handing a Senate seat to Doug Jones to banish Roy Moore for sins he probably never committed.  But my prediction is that in upcoming months, Doug Jones’s radical sexual agenda will terrify many Christians in Alabama. Black Christians will realize the Democrats will do nothing for them, while the national anti-Moore Christian voices will be remembered as detestable traitors.

After 2016, the left went slumming, scrambling to become experts in religion overnight and sending out an army of infiltrators to flip our churches to their politics.  Unfortunately, the left is still so beholden to the LGBT lobby that it must do this while still making no compromises on the question of homosexuality.  Stars like Rachel Held Evans and James Martin talk themselves in circles with the impossible goal of getting the faithful to accept sodomy with no complaints or resistance.

To cash in on the newly discovered power of the Christian vote, some on the left decided to pitch a not so novel alliance of feminists and Christian conservatives against the trans movement.  This strategy shined through at the Values Voter Summit in October 2017.  The panelists told a crowded room of faith-based voters that they had three rules to resist trans ideology: (1) cite no religious arguments, (2) include but do not attack gays, and (3) do not express any resistance to homosexuality.

The esprit of “common ground” reprised the 1980s, when Ed Meese allied with Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon against pornography, because Christians objected to depravity and feminists objected to exploitation of women.  Pornography continued to proliferate, feminists grew ever more anti-Christian, and Christians never found their renaissance of chastity.

History repeats itself in 2017.  The fruit of this hopeful alliance of lesbian feminist Julie Bindel and Catholic activists pushing for female safety in restrooms was no headway against the trans agenda at all; a feminist-emboldened #MeToo movement that Christians got roped into; and a new war on men, patriarchy, and heterosexuality.  It was, in other words, a flaming Hindenburg.

Meanwhile, carefully scripted religious “leaders,” meant to win over Christian conservatives, play both sides, stressing the importance of upholding the Bible’s sexual mores while camouflaging their concessions to the LGBT lobby.

This “have your cake and eat it too” game has led to preposterous and downright dangerous positions.  We have key leaders in the Catholic Church refusing to change doctrine on homosexuality but also refusing to discipline or banish rogue parishes that teach children that God made them gay.

In the Southern Baptist convention, some leaders say homosexual orientation is innate (and by implication God-given, though they will not say this directly) and condemn efforts to change sexual orientation.  Yet they proclaim that homosexuality is a sin.  For someone who has been sexually abused or otherwise prompted to feel unwanted sexual attraction, this incoherent position means that it would be a sin for him to say he wants to stop being gay and a sin to do anything gay.

The backdrop for our current moment is a massive, systematic failure of religious leaders to provide for the spiritual needs of the Christians they lead.  The endlessly repetitive articles promising to diagnose a nonexistent spiritual crisis among evangelicals all serve to mask the true problem.  Evangelicalism is doing what it has always done.  Evangelicalism, Inc., has imploded.

While many Christian leaders condemn Trump voters for bringing politics into their faith, that charge is best leveled at the Christian leadership.  They gave the faithful no hope that anyone but Trump could hear them and help them live their faithful lives without being constantly oppressed by ungodly forces like the LGBT lobby.

For all the reasons above, Timothy Keller’s recent piece in the New Yorker, sporting the utterly hackneyed title “Can Evangelicalism Survive Donald Trump and Roy Moore?,” was not bad, but offensive.  The opening paragraphs belabor the etymology of terms, perhaps to intimidate the reader into thinking Keller’s insights are beyond criticism.  Catty swipes about people who support conservative politics appear intermingled with self-important reminiscences of his life planting a church in Manhattan.

We get it.  Tim Keller is a famous author.  He is well connected, and liberals like him.  But he speaks for a cadre with fading relevance.  Evangelicalism will survive.  His class and vision will not.  That’s sad in some ways.  In other ways, it is biblical.  Isaiah 5:8: “Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field until there is no more room and you alone are left in the land.”

Trump’s base in 2016 was defined not by race or class, but by belief in God.  Evangelical Christians and Catholics came together and pushed Trump to the win, in defiance of the media, academia, Hollywood, the professional class, elite Republicans, the Democrat masses, libertarians, and self-professed moralists.

Both the pope and many prominent Protestant leaders expressed antagonism toward Trump, so this mass of religious voters defied their church elders as well.

This was nothing less than stunning.  It was perhaps one of the great revolutions in America’s religious history.  Rather than a serious study of this event, we have had a spasmic flood of pedantry from the very people whose authority these Christian voters rejected in the first place.

I count myself among evangelical Trump voters.  As I am sure this issue is for almost everyone in America, the historical questions feel very personal.

I resent being mocked and reviled by secular liberals who I know hate all religion.

My patience has worn thin with people claiming to embrace a new liberal Christianity that I recognize as a warmed over version of the liberation theology my radical leftist family held in the 1970s and 1980s.

Conservative Christians who position themselves as valiant defenders of the Bible and Trump opponents have been exposed in brutal ways as the “Evangelical Deep State.”

Many so-called conservative Christians pulled a fast one on Alabama by handing a Senate seat to Doug Jones to banish Roy Moore for sins he probably never committed.  But my prediction is that in upcoming months, Doug Jones’s radical sexual agenda will terrify many Christians in Alabama. Black Christians will realize the Democrats will do nothing for them, while the national anti-Moore Christian voices will be remembered as detestable traitors.

After 2016, the left went slumming, scrambling to become experts in religion overnight and sending out an army of infiltrators to flip our churches to their politics.  Unfortunately, the left is still so beholden to the LGBT lobby that it must do this while still making no compromises on the question of homosexuality.  Stars like Rachel Held Evans and James Martin talk themselves in circles with the impossible goal of getting the faithful to accept sodomy with no complaints or resistance.

To cash in on the newly discovered power of the Christian vote, some on the left decided to pitch a not so novel alliance of feminists and Christian conservatives against the trans movement.  This strategy shined through at the Values Voter Summit in October 2017.  The panelists told a crowded room of faith-based voters that they had three rules to resist trans ideology: (1) cite no religious arguments, (2) include but do not attack gays, and (3) do not express any resistance to homosexuality.

The esprit of “common ground” reprised the 1980s, when Ed Meese allied with Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon against pornography, because Christians objected to depravity and feminists objected to exploitation of women.  Pornography continued to proliferate, feminists grew ever more anti-Christian, and Christians never found their renaissance of chastity.

History repeats itself in 2017.  The fruit of this hopeful alliance of lesbian feminist Julie Bindel and Catholic activists pushing for female safety in restrooms was no headway against the trans agenda at all; a feminist-emboldened #MeToo movement that Christians got roped into; and a new war on men, patriarchy, and heterosexuality.  It was, in other words, a flaming Hindenburg.

Meanwhile, carefully scripted religious “leaders,” meant to win over Christian conservatives, play both sides, stressing the importance of upholding the Bible’s sexual mores while camouflaging their concessions to the LGBT lobby.

This “have your cake and eat it too” game has led to preposterous and downright dangerous positions.  We have key leaders in the Catholic Church refusing to change doctrine on homosexuality but also refusing to discipline or banish rogue parishes that teach children that God made them gay.

In the Southern Baptist convention, some leaders say homosexual orientation is innate (and by implication God-given, though they will not say this directly) and condemn efforts to change sexual orientation.  Yet they proclaim that homosexuality is a sin.  For someone who has been sexually abused or otherwise prompted to feel unwanted sexual attraction, this incoherent position means that it would be a sin for him to say he wants to stop being gay and a sin to do anything gay.

The backdrop for our current moment is a massive, systematic failure of religious leaders to provide for the spiritual needs of the Christians they lead.  The endlessly repetitive articles promising to diagnose a nonexistent spiritual crisis among evangelicals all serve to mask the true problem.  Evangelicalism is doing what it has always done.  Evangelicalism, Inc., has imploded.

While many Christian leaders condemn Trump voters for bringing politics into their faith, that charge is best leveled at the Christian leadership.  They gave the faithful no hope that anyone but Trump could hear them and help them live their faithful lives without being constantly oppressed by ungodly forces like the LGBT lobby.

For all the reasons above, Timothy Keller’s recent piece in the New Yorker, sporting the utterly hackneyed title “Can Evangelicalism Survive Donald Trump and Roy Moore?,” was not bad, but offensive.  The opening paragraphs belabor the etymology of terms, perhaps to intimidate the reader into thinking Keller’s insights are beyond criticism.  Catty swipes about people who support conservative politics appear intermingled with self-important reminiscences of his life planting a church in Manhattan.

We get it.  Tim Keller is a famous author.  He is well connected, and liberals like him.  But he speaks for a cadre with fading relevance.  Evangelicalism will survive.  His class and vision will not.  That’s sad in some ways.  In other ways, it is biblical.  Isaiah 5:8: “Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field until there is no more room and you alone are left in the land.”



Source link

The Time Has Come: Higher Ed-a-geddon


Last summer, my essay for Dissident Prof prompted a challenge from Julie Ponzi, who suggested I write a brief essay with proposals of what to change about academia.  I waited several months, and now I have my proposals.  I mentioned most of these in Wackos Thugs & Perverts: Clintonian Decadence in Academia, which I published with MassResistance in February 2017.  They are also in earlier writings such as Colorful Conservative.

My plan involves a sixfold apocalypse.  Yes, apocalypse.

The best starting point is total depravity.  Higher education as we know it is indefensible.  It presumes a false model of human development.  People between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two cannot be trusted moving to a campus away from their parents, protected from any real consequences for stupid decisions, and taught random concepts by a professoriate anesthetized by the tenure system.

In reality, these four years of human development should be spent in conditions closer to basic combat training: they need physical regimentation.  Swift punishments must impress upon them the costs of behaving foolishly.  Their sexuality needs to be heavily circumscribed.  Between eighteen and twenty-two, women need to be closely protected from rape.  Men need guidance to transform themselves from impulsive sex maniacs into responsible providers and decent fathers.

The wasteful use of young adulthood for 40% of the American adult population is catastrophic.  Overpriced tuitions force a large chunk of family savings into an inefficient economic sector (“higher education”), meaning that their money cannot go into productive industries.  Youths are not being trained for citizenship.  Instead of courting, marrying, and starting families in their prime, they accustom themselves to promiscuity, irresponsible thrills, and single lives burdened with debt.  They have late – and few – children, whom they are ill equipped to raise.

In certain contexts, it is wise to burn the edges of a dry forest rather than let a wildfire rage at a time and in a manner out of our control.  I suggest the following concrete steps, via congressional action.

Cut all federal financial favors to colleges that do not adhere to a strict, revised standard for higher education and its obligation to the public good.  By “favors,” we mean direct subsidies plus tax exemptions and deductions (such as on endowments, gifts, and waivers), as well as any backing of student loans at rates below market interest.  These remaining favors would all hinge upon their suitability to “the public good.”  Accreditation for new programs must be streamlined.  They must favor all of society rather than one institution, one individual, or one class of people.  Here would be the conditions:

1. An associate’s degree or certificate precedes a bachelor’s degree.  In other words, nobody can enroll in a liberal arts program without first doing one to two years learning a practical trade.  By “trade” we mean plumbing, bookkeeping, culinary arts, sewing, computer repair, etc.  I count church ministries in this, which would cover seminaries.

2. No non-religious post-secondary institution should have any department or program that excludes a political perspective.  There should not be feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, or sustainability studies.  Title IX went haywire because gender studies faculty acted as investigators and faculty simultaneously – an example of how an entire campus is damaged by the existence of these departments.  Such material should be taught within generally accepted disciplines like English, biology, political science, etc.

3. Congress needs to earmark funds for a unit under the Department of Justice devoted to an academic version of RICO (the Racketeering, Influencing & Corrupt Organizations Act).  An institution claiming to be for the public good should not strive to influence an election – especially with the potential to profit financially from the favors of the elected officials.  For instance, the dean who took many adverse actions against me was part of the Clinton Global Initiative.  This is a serious conflict of interest and should be investigated.

4. Congress needs to earmark funds for a unit under the Department of Labor to review schools that receive federal favors.  The peer review, publishing, retention, and promotion system within higher education is arguably the worst of any industry.  Schools that receive federal favors should not violate basic transparency and fairness standards.

5. No schools that receive federal funding should have tenure.  Tenure does not protect academic freedom.  Tenured faculty know they will be parked in the same institution for decades and are by far the people least willing to jeopardize collegial relationships in order to take a stand.  The tenure system can exist only on the backs of adjunct labor, whose conditions are atrocious.  Tenured faculty waste resources teaching few students and spending too much time on “research.”  Their “service” refers to busywork on committees nobody needs.  Nobody should be a professor if he cannot carry out research and teach a normal load of four classes per semester.  So colleges choose: eliminate tenure or lose funds.

6. Colleges that charge expensive tuitions should be deprived of federal favors.  They should be taxed at the rates we apply to any rich corporation.  Many schools simultaneously charge high tuitions, have huge endowments, and then get large grants, all the while maintaining a tiny rank of tenured faculty and loading up their classrooms with adjuncts.  This has to stop.  It hurts learning and scholarship. There must be a massive trimming of school budgets.  Personally, I contend that there should be no dormitories, student associations, duplicative student services, investigative offices, compliance officers, cultural programs, or anything that adds to tuition or fees.  Colleges should be buildings where people come to take classes and study, then go back to their communities where they continue their emotional development with the help of their families, churches, jobs, and neighborhood friends.

Could these six ideas ever come to pass?  Yes!  They will come to pass, but in one of two ways.  Either we carry out the bloodletting under careful, clean conditions or else, when academia crashes, wow, will it crash.

Last summer, my essay for Dissident Prof prompted a challenge from Julie Ponzi, who suggested I write a brief essay with proposals of what to change about academia.  I waited several months, and now I have my proposals.  I mentioned most of these in Wackos Thugs & Perverts: Clintonian Decadence in Academia, which I published with MassResistance in February 2017.  They are also in earlier writings such as Colorful Conservative.

My plan involves a sixfold apocalypse.  Yes, apocalypse.

The best starting point is total depravity.  Higher education as we know it is indefensible.  It presumes a false model of human development.  People between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two cannot be trusted moving to a campus away from their parents, protected from any real consequences for stupid decisions, and taught random concepts by a professoriate anesthetized by the tenure system.

In reality, these four years of human development should be spent in conditions closer to basic combat training: they need physical regimentation.  Swift punishments must impress upon them the costs of behaving foolishly.  Their sexuality needs to be heavily circumscribed.  Between eighteen and twenty-two, women need to be closely protected from rape.  Men need guidance to transform themselves from impulsive sex maniacs into responsible providers and decent fathers.

The wasteful use of young adulthood for 40% of the American adult population is catastrophic.  Overpriced tuitions force a large chunk of family savings into an inefficient economic sector (“higher education”), meaning that their money cannot go into productive industries.  Youths are not being trained for citizenship.  Instead of courting, marrying, and starting families in their prime, they accustom themselves to promiscuity, irresponsible thrills, and single lives burdened with debt.  They have late – and few – children, whom they are ill equipped to raise.

In certain contexts, it is wise to burn the edges of a dry forest rather than let a wildfire rage at a time and in a manner out of our control.  I suggest the following concrete steps, via congressional action.

Cut all federal financial favors to colleges that do not adhere to a strict, revised standard for higher education and its obligation to the public good.  By “favors,” we mean direct subsidies plus tax exemptions and deductions (such as on endowments, gifts, and waivers), as well as any backing of student loans at rates below market interest.  These remaining favors would all hinge upon their suitability to “the public good.”  Accreditation for new programs must be streamlined.  They must favor all of society rather than one institution, one individual, or one class of people.  Here would be the conditions:

1. An associate’s degree or certificate precedes a bachelor’s degree.  In other words, nobody can enroll in a liberal arts program without first doing one to two years learning a practical trade.  By “trade” we mean plumbing, bookkeeping, culinary arts, sewing, computer repair, etc.  I count church ministries in this, which would cover seminaries.

2. No non-religious post-secondary institution should have any department or program that excludes a political perspective.  There should not be feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, or sustainability studies.  Title IX went haywire because gender studies faculty acted as investigators and faculty simultaneously – an example of how an entire campus is damaged by the existence of these departments.  Such material should be taught within generally accepted disciplines like English, biology, political science, etc.

3. Congress needs to earmark funds for a unit under the Department of Justice devoted to an academic version of RICO (the Racketeering, Influencing & Corrupt Organizations Act).  An institution claiming to be for the public good should not strive to influence an election – especially with the potential to profit financially from the favors of the elected officials.  For instance, the dean who took many adverse actions against me was part of the Clinton Global Initiative.  This is a serious conflict of interest and should be investigated.

4. Congress needs to earmark funds for a unit under the Department of Labor to review schools that receive federal favors.  The peer review, publishing, retention, and promotion system within higher education is arguably the worst of any industry.  Schools that receive federal favors should not violate basic transparency and fairness standards.

5. No schools that receive federal funding should have tenure.  Tenure does not protect academic freedom.  Tenured faculty know they will be parked in the same institution for decades and are by far the people least willing to jeopardize collegial relationships in order to take a stand.  The tenure system can exist only on the backs of adjunct labor, whose conditions are atrocious.  Tenured faculty waste resources teaching few students and spending too much time on “research.”  Their “service” refers to busywork on committees nobody needs.  Nobody should be a professor if he cannot carry out research and teach a normal load of four classes per semester.  So colleges choose: eliminate tenure or lose funds.

6. Colleges that charge expensive tuitions should be deprived of federal favors.  They should be taxed at the rates we apply to any rich corporation.  Many schools simultaneously charge high tuitions, have huge endowments, and then get large grants, all the while maintaining a tiny rank of tenured faculty and loading up their classrooms with adjuncts.  This has to stop.  It hurts learning and scholarship. There must be a massive trimming of school budgets.  Personally, I contend that there should be no dormitories, student associations, duplicative student services, investigative offices, compliance officers, cultural programs, or anything that adds to tuition or fees.  Colleges should be buildings where people come to take classes and study, then go back to their communities where they continue their emotional development with the help of their families, churches, jobs, and neighborhood friends.

Could these six ideas ever come to pass?  Yes!  They will come to pass, but in one of two ways.  Either we carry out the bloodletting under careful, clean conditions or else, when academia crashes, wow, will it crash.



Source link

Experts Killed Epistemology


But 2017 is also ending on a note of embarrassment.  Fortunately, I do not feel embarrassed and should not.  Nor do most pro-Trump people allied to me.  But the firestorm surrounding Roy Moore’s candidacy for the Alabama Senate seat played out like a scene from an Aeschylus play.  Imagine a chorus, like the matrons in Seven against Thebes or Egyptian refugees in Suppliant Women, waiting for the next herald to bring more bad news.

“Yea, verily, I come to bring news of another traitor, who hath laid a hex upon Judge Moore, unleashing with the dark force of the winged harpies from the far-off wind caves, another warrior with well-crafted arrows, crying out the name of a fair maiden who tells of Moore the Tamer of Courthouses and his dark lusty deeds in the days of his unbearded youth.  Hark!  Here cometh another National Review column.”

Life is short, so I suggest you follow this link to see my explanation for why the claims against Roy Moore are absolutely, 100% garbage.  Let us just consider the baseline.

A few weeks before an election, a newspaper owned by Jeff Bezos publishes a rambling set of memories about dates that Roy Moore went on roughly forty years ago.  Three stories involve Moore dating teenage girls of legal age when he was in his early thirties but courting them with nothing more than a kiss and respecting their families and honor.  A fourth involves a far-fetched tale about Moore luring a fourteen-year-old out of a courthouse, stripping down to his underwear, and trying to molest her.

A din rises from the lairs of angry LGBT advocates who have hated Roy Moore for years. They just happen to have come under fire with unprecedented attention to pederastic grooming in gay Hollywood. Joining these longstanding antagonists of Moore are the familiar voices from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the predictable squad of NeverTrumps – Ross Douthat, David French, Ben Shapiro, etc. – rushing to drop more of the headlines we have come to expect from them.

The straw men multiply and start marching into the bonfire on cue.  The scrupulous solons tell us that Christians should not defend evil just because they are Republican.  They remind us that we should be as willing to hold our allies accountable as our friends.  Their many missives all overlook the fact that we are giving Roy Moore a pass not because he is Republican, but because he is innocent, and the charges are obviously phony.

They are convinced that the Washington Post accusations are “credible” based on what the Washington Post reported about the process of gathering the women’s testimonies.  After all, in 2017, if there is one thing you can trust, it is a newspaper.  “Credible” becomes like “edgy” and “full of heart” and other catchphrases used by people peddling screenplays in the San Fernando Valley.

Given the propensity of the Moore-haters to quote Bible verses, it is ironic that nothing in the Bible encourages us to rush into condemnation of people based on recent and suspicious claims.  Much in the Bible supports my view that we should rebuke foolish claims using our God-given sense of reason.

Proverbs 9:13 states, “The woman Folly is rowdy; she is gullible and knows nothing.”

Proverbs 26:11 states, “Like a dog returning to his vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.”

Proverbs 26:24 states, “A hateful person disguises himself with his speech and harbors deceit within.”

Proverbs 30:12 states, “Do not slander a servant to his master,” just in case Christians think the Bible thinks it’s great to send social media mobs to get people fired and blacklisted over allegations they read about online.

And of course, there is Psalm 9:9: “For there is nothing reliable in what they say, destruction is within them, their throat is an open grave.”

Nothing in the Bible implies that women never lie, even about something serious like rape.  The Mosaic code has quite deliberate rules about how to deal with rape accusations and what due process must be followed.  This is not surprising, given the tales of Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:7), Jezebel’s charge of treason against Naboth (1 Kings 21:10), and the whore who lied to Solomon to steal another woman’s baby (1 Kings 3:26).

Nowhere in the Bible does God glorify people who believe unsubstantiated gossip.  Evil forces use lies and manipulation in the way Satan tries to contrive a case against Job.  These themes complement the important lines from Jesus Christ, so often misquoted: “For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2).

Many Christians have had to explain to gay people that this does not mean we cannot describe homosexuality truthfully as a sin.  But perhaps in the wake of the Roy Moore scandal, some Christians need clarification on what these lines mean.  Would any of you want to be called a “child-molester” because random people scored an interview with the Washington Post and said you raped little girls 40 years ago?  If that is how all of us must be judged, then we should dig mass graves, because we will all soon be executed and laid to rest.

As I discussed in Wackos Thugs & Perverts, 40% of American adults now get a bachelor’s degree.  The vast majority of these people are forced to take distribution requirements that ostensibly foster “critical thinking” and “critical reading” skills.  But the Moore controversy is final proof that higher education is an expensive cancer on society.  The people defending Moore as they should are largely unknown commentators standing up to the Big Lie through Facebook and Twitter posts.  Like much of Trump’s base, they did not go through college under the regime of “Composition & Rhetoric” feminists showing Jon Stewart monologues in class to explain rhetorical strategy.  In fact, the single best predictor of someone’s ability to see through a ridiculous political fraud is the absence of a liberal arts degree on his résumé.

Never has a more stunning indictment of the humanities presented itself.  Think of the following narratives, in no particular order: Music Man, Chicago, Elmer Gantry, 1984, Brave New World, Little Orphan Annie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Scarlet Letter, House of the Seven Gables, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Coquette, Sport of the Gods, “Narrative of the Life of William Wells Brown,” Invisible Man, Wag the Dog, True Colors, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Blithedale Romance, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the list goes on.  American arts and letters are full – absolutely overflowing! – with stories about the classic tradition of the political fraud.  If our forsaken English departments would stop teaching seminars on Harry Potter and The Vagina Monologues, maybe they could prepare people for citizenship.

But how will critical thinking ever return to the American mind?  Only people with Ph.D.s are allowed to teach these great texts.  The people with fancy degrees are mostly believing the preposterous story that Moore stripped down to his underwear and tried to molest a little girl in 1979, whom he picked up at his job in a district attorney’s office of a small Alabama town without having been caught or called out on it for 38 years.  These are not people who would have noticed that the photos of Elmer Gantry with Lulu Baines were an obvious forgery.

I must put in a plug for the great books program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I teach.  Proudly I force my undergraduates to get through the great literature of civilization in eight semesters.  This semester, by luck, I was teaching the Medieval Literature seminar.  We were studying William Ockham as the sex hysteria broke out!

As Ockham scholar Stephen F. Brown explains Ockham’s most famous contention about truth: “We are not allowed to affirm a statement to be true or to maintain that a certain thing exists, unless we are forced to do so either by its self-evidence or by revelation or by experience or by a logical deduction from either a revealed truth or a proposition verified by observation” (xx).

I can state this in simpler terms: most things we hear are not true.  We should give the title of “true” to things only if (1) they are immediately obvious; (2) they are divinely revealed to us, as in Scripture; (3) we saw them with our own eyes; or (4) we can test the reasonableness of them by seeing them as upheld by divine revelation, or we observe something that proves them.

If you can’t prove it, don’t believe it.  This is the beauty of the medieval science of epistemology, the quest to determine how we can know that something is true.  Thinkers like Ockham drew liberally from Aristotle, whose Categories and Nicomachean Ethics established clear terms to help us sort through confusing details.  Aristotle gave us the terms “kind” and “degree” so we would not be duped by people trying to group together a serious charge like child rape with a harmless claim like “he went out on dates with eighteen-year-olds when he was thirty and even tried to kiss one or two, forty years ago, when he was single.”

In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle laboriously schematizes various levels of “responsibility” and “cause” to help philosophers examine the ethics of individuals.  He talks about intention, volition, wish, opinion, desire, and deliberation – all nuances that matter and demand thorough consideration before we publish an essay casually referring to Roy Moore as a man “credibly accused of molesting teenagers.”

Even among people who are experts in these very texts, a dam seems to store up analytical knowledge and keep wisdom from leaking out into the world in which we live.  We are truly living in a scary age.  I blame the thinkers whose job it was to prepare Americans for a civic realm that was bound to include the eternal dangers of demagogues, liars, tricksters, creeps, and con artists.  The thinkers may have been doing some thinking, but something went wrong.  Like the residents of River City incensed about a pool table, they lost their ability to reason and became the very thing they never wanted to be: a loud, stupid mob.

WORK CITED

Stephen F. Brown. Introduction. Ockham: Philosophical Writings. Trans. Philotheus Boehner, O.F.M. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1990.

Well, 2017 is almost over, and what a year it has been.  A retrospective could leave you happy or depressed, depending on your focus.

Donald J. Trump is president.  The left has decided that its fundamentalist enemies were right about Bill Clinton’s impeachment. I held a conference attacking the LGBT agenda from every imaginable angle two weeks ago, without being thrown in a gulag.  Hope springs eternal.  None of this would have been conceivable only eighteen months ago.

But 2017 is also ending on a note of embarrassment.  Fortunately, I do not feel embarrassed and should not.  Nor do most pro-Trump people allied to me.  But the firestorm surrounding Roy Moore’s candidacy for the Alabama Senate seat played out like a scene from an Aeschylus play.  Imagine a chorus, like the matrons in Seven against Thebes or Egyptian refugees in Suppliant Women, waiting for the next herald to bring more bad news.

“Yea, verily, I come to bring news of another traitor, who hath laid a hex upon Judge Moore, unleashing with the dark force of the winged harpies from the far-off wind caves, another warrior with well-crafted arrows, crying out the name of a fair maiden who tells of Moore the Tamer of Courthouses and his dark lusty deeds in the days of his unbearded youth.  Hark!  Here cometh another National Review column.”

Life is short, so I suggest you follow this link to see my explanation for why the claims against Roy Moore are absolutely, 100% garbage.  Let us just consider the baseline.

A few weeks before an election, a newspaper owned by Jeff Bezos publishes a rambling set of memories about dates that Roy Moore went on roughly forty years ago.  Three stories involve Moore dating teenage girls of legal age when he was in his early thirties but courting them with nothing more than a kiss and respecting their families and honor.  A fourth involves a far-fetched tale about Moore luring a fourteen-year-old out of a courthouse, stripping down to his underwear, and trying to molest her.

A din rises from the lairs of angry LGBT advocates who have hated Roy Moore for years. They just happen to have come under fire with unprecedented attention to pederastic grooming in gay Hollywood. Joining these longstanding antagonists of Moore are the familiar voices from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the predictable squad of NeverTrumps – Ross Douthat, David French, Ben Shapiro, etc. – rushing to drop more of the headlines we have come to expect from them.

The straw men multiply and start marching into the bonfire on cue.  The scrupulous solons tell us that Christians should not defend evil just because they are Republican.  They remind us that we should be as willing to hold our allies accountable as our friends.  Their many missives all overlook the fact that we are giving Roy Moore a pass not because he is Republican, but because he is innocent, and the charges are obviously phony.

They are convinced that the Washington Post accusations are “credible” based on what the Washington Post reported about the process of gathering the women’s testimonies.  After all, in 2017, if there is one thing you can trust, it is a newspaper.  “Credible” becomes like “edgy” and “full of heart” and other catchphrases used by people peddling screenplays in the San Fernando Valley.

Given the propensity of the Moore-haters to quote Bible verses, it is ironic that nothing in the Bible encourages us to rush into condemnation of people based on recent and suspicious claims.  Much in the Bible supports my view that we should rebuke foolish claims using our God-given sense of reason.

Proverbs 9:13 states, “The woman Folly is rowdy; she is gullible and knows nothing.”

Proverbs 26:11 states, “Like a dog returning to his vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.”

Proverbs 26:24 states, “A hateful person disguises himself with his speech and harbors deceit within.”

Proverbs 30:12 states, “Do not slander a servant to his master,” just in case Christians think the Bible thinks it’s great to send social media mobs to get people fired and blacklisted over allegations they read about online.

And of course, there is Psalm 9:9: “For there is nothing reliable in what they say, destruction is within them, their throat is an open grave.”

Nothing in the Bible implies that women never lie, even about something serious like rape.  The Mosaic code has quite deliberate rules about how to deal with rape accusations and what due process must be followed.  This is not surprising, given the tales of Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:7), Jezebel’s charge of treason against Naboth (1 Kings 21:10), and the whore who lied to Solomon to steal another woman’s baby (1 Kings 3:26).

Nowhere in the Bible does God glorify people who believe unsubstantiated gossip.  Evil forces use lies and manipulation in the way Satan tries to contrive a case against Job.  These themes complement the important lines from Jesus Christ, so often misquoted: “For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2).

Many Christians have had to explain to gay people that this does not mean we cannot describe homosexuality truthfully as a sin.  But perhaps in the wake of the Roy Moore scandal, some Christians need clarification on what these lines mean.  Would any of you want to be called a “child-molester” because random people scored an interview with the Washington Post and said you raped little girls 40 years ago?  If that is how all of us must be judged, then we should dig mass graves, because we will all soon be executed and laid to rest.

As I discussed in Wackos Thugs & Perverts, 40% of American adults now get a bachelor’s degree.  The vast majority of these people are forced to take distribution requirements that ostensibly foster “critical thinking” and “critical reading” skills.  But the Moore controversy is final proof that higher education is an expensive cancer on society.  The people defending Moore as they should are largely unknown commentators standing up to the Big Lie through Facebook and Twitter posts.  Like much of Trump’s base, they did not go through college under the regime of “Composition & Rhetoric” feminists showing Jon Stewart monologues in class to explain rhetorical strategy.  In fact, the single best predictor of someone’s ability to see through a ridiculous political fraud is the absence of a liberal arts degree on his résumé.

Never has a more stunning indictment of the humanities presented itself.  Think of the following narratives, in no particular order: Music Man, Chicago, Elmer Gantry, 1984, Brave New World, Little Orphan Annie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Scarlet Letter, House of the Seven Gables, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Coquette, Sport of the Gods, “Narrative of the Life of William Wells Brown,” Invisible Man, Wag the Dog, True Colors, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Blithedale Romance, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the list goes on.  American arts and letters are full – absolutely overflowing! – with stories about the classic tradition of the political fraud.  If our forsaken English departments would stop teaching seminars on Harry Potter and The Vagina Monologues, maybe they could prepare people for citizenship.

But how will critical thinking ever return to the American mind?  Only people with Ph.D.s are allowed to teach these great texts.  The people with fancy degrees are mostly believing the preposterous story that Moore stripped down to his underwear and tried to molest a little girl in 1979, whom he picked up at his job in a district attorney’s office of a small Alabama town without having been caught or called out on it for 38 years.  These are not people who would have noticed that the photos of Elmer Gantry with Lulu Baines were an obvious forgery.

I must put in a plug for the great books program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I teach.  Proudly I force my undergraduates to get through the great literature of civilization in eight semesters.  This semester, by luck, I was teaching the Medieval Literature seminar.  We were studying William Ockham as the sex hysteria broke out!

As Ockham scholar Stephen F. Brown explains Ockham’s most famous contention about truth: “We are not allowed to affirm a statement to be true or to maintain that a certain thing exists, unless we are forced to do so either by its self-evidence or by revelation or by experience or by a logical deduction from either a revealed truth or a proposition verified by observation” (xx).

I can state this in simpler terms: most things we hear are not true.  We should give the title of “true” to things only if (1) they are immediately obvious; (2) they are divinely revealed to us, as in Scripture; (3) we saw them with our own eyes; or (4) we can test the reasonableness of them by seeing them as upheld by divine revelation, or we observe something that proves them.

If you can’t prove it, don’t believe it.  This is the beauty of the medieval science of epistemology, the quest to determine how we can know that something is true.  Thinkers like Ockham drew liberally from Aristotle, whose Categories and Nicomachean Ethics established clear terms to help us sort through confusing details.  Aristotle gave us the terms “kind” and “degree” so we would not be duped by people trying to group together a serious charge like child rape with a harmless claim like “he went out on dates with eighteen-year-olds when he was thirty and even tried to kiss one or two, forty years ago, when he was single.”

In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle laboriously schematizes various levels of “responsibility” and “cause” to help philosophers examine the ethics of individuals.  He talks about intention, volition, wish, opinion, desire, and deliberation – all nuances that matter and demand thorough consideration before we publish an essay casually referring to Roy Moore as a man “credibly accused of molesting teenagers.”

Even among people who are experts in these very texts, a dam seems to store up analytical knowledge and keep wisdom from leaking out into the world in which we live.  We are truly living in a scary age.  I blame the thinkers whose job it was to prepare Americans for a civic realm that was bound to include the eternal dangers of demagogues, liars, tricksters, creeps, and con artists.  The thinkers may have been doing some thinking, but something went wrong.  Like the residents of River City incensed about a pool table, they lost their ability to reason and became the very thing they never wanted to be: a loud, stupid mob.

WORK CITED

Stephen F. Brown. Introduction. Ockham: Philosophical Writings. Trans. Philotheus Boehner, O.F.M. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1990.



Source link

Our National Obsession Does Not Help Abuse Victims


I cannot join one group though it is relevant to me: the “survivors.”

I was exposed to pornography and sexual gestures at very young ages.  My first sexual encounter occurred in 1984 at the age of 13, when two older teens got me drunk.  When one combines the activity I engaged in as a boy with the many times that I was coerced, drugged, or roughhoused as an adult male, one drifts into a numb zone of horror.  I used to have many ways to describe what happened to me in gentle terms.  Now I have the vocabulary of an educated man.  I was repeatedly abused and survived it.  You would think I am the prime candidate to join a support group for abuse survivors.

Think again.  Such support groups strike me as toxic.  Here’s why.

A community of abuse victims has high stress and alarm.  Everybody constantly misreads, picks apart, mischaracterizes, and overreacts to everyone else.  In the early 1990s, I attended a group for boys who had overcome sexual abuse.  I knew I could not stay.  Too much tension arose over the confidentiality policy and rules about how we were supposed to communicate.  I decided I would rather go hang out with guy friends who’d never been abused.  The latter group enjoyed the benefit of not projecting their distortions onto mine.

There are many of us.  According to the Department of Justice, 25% of girls and 17% of boys are sexually abused before the age of eighteen (using a fairly broad definition).  The overwhelming majority involves male aggressors.  This creates a schism.  For millions of females, rape is an issue tied to patriarchy.  For millions of males, rape is an issue tied to the gay subculture that arose against patriarchy.  There is no way to reconcile this schism.  I’ve tried.

Male-dominated traditions and feminist-informed countercultural movements both feature too much rape.  This is rather because sex is connected to the larger web of social interactions that involve conflicting expectations, goals, values, and interests.

Human beings clash over work, family relationships, friendships, business ventures, politics, religion, and virtually anything that impassions us.  Sex plays out in this battleground.  For much of history, sex was set apart because of its unique power over our emotions.  Chastity protected people from miscalculation.  (I am a fan of chastity.)  In the twentieth century, bourgeois society developed a schizophrenia about the exceptionalism of sex.  On the one hand, they wanted sex to be subject to modernization and liberalism like every other part of human activity.  On the other hand, they elevated feminism and gay politics to higher sensitivity and urgency.

How to help?

Decide first whether to treat sexual abuse as other kinds of abuse or as something different.  If it’s like other kinds of abuse, then address the plight of workers or the corruption in schools instead of only talking about “sexual harassment” and “campus assault.”  Many alleging harassment in Hollywood and Washington were not harmed primarily by moments of being sexually pursued.  They were harmed because of how Hollywood and Capitol Hill treated entry-level staff and kept them scared and powerless.  Even without sexual harassment, there is still an abusive work system.  (Why do we downplay people who get fired for political reasons or nepotism but not people who get fired due to sexual intrigues?)

If sexual abuse exists in a unique category, then define what sexual abuse is and is not.  For instance, a man who flirts with girls is not guilty of sexual abuse; a man who ravishes a woman who does not want to have sex with him is guilty.  A man who asks a woman out after she says she is not interested is not guilty; a man who refuses to stop an act of sexual intercourse when a woman says, “Please, stop, I don’t want to go farther” is guilty.

Society’s schizophrenia sexualizes political issues that are political, not sexual.  The same society defines sexual wrongdoing so generally that we must live in a perpetual police state.  In a state of normalcy and safety, people can flirt, make passes at one another, and test possible interest.  All that is healthy and safeguarded by boundaries.  Survivors share an agony over boundaries, so responding to sexual abuse by suppressing or confusing boundaries is a non-starter.

I Did It My Way

Like many other survivors, I embarked on a long career of self-destructive behavior.  I did not enjoy sodomy.  It actually triggered nausea and uneasiness.  In a cycle of reinforced dysfunction, I had to prove to myself that I did enjoy it, because in the world where I was living, my past doomed me to being gay forever and I could not get out.  The use of drugs made sodomy and intoxication mutually escalating.  I needed more drugs to get through the act.  I needed more sodomy to justify doing more drugs, especially as my tolerance grew.

I wrote a lot of fiction that I withdrew or never published.

While all this scarred me, I reject the current fixation with “consent.”  The “consent” standard equates the survivor’s struggle with punishing a perpetrator.  We have age of consent laws based on the notion that below a threshold, some will want and even initiate sex that it would be wrong to indulge.  Taken farther, one can extrapolate that “consent” does not solve the problem of sexual pain or even abuse.  Sometimes we feed the problem by consenting to it and inviting the problem into our lives.

We need chastity, not a culture of consent.  Chastity is not virginity.  Chastity is recoverable, but it means we take responsibility for our own unchaste decisions.  Consenting to something does not make it any better for you than a sexual evil that you were tricked into.  Once you decenter the discussion away from “consent,” you can look at these painful experiences as symptoms of cultural failure that everyone must take part in correcting – even someone like me who was victimized.

One odious lesbian challenged me online to publish the names of men who abused me.  I will not do that.  We were in a cultural setting where their behavior was normal.  I was never too young to be ignorant of the implications of what I did and where I went.  The past is the past.  I have decided instead to fight a culture war so other boys get nowhere near the dangers that ensnared me.  I hold conferences and fight the LGBT lobby.  Let the hundreds of men who hurt me go and deal with their hurt, for they were also wounded.

While I experienced all this sexual trauma, I also have a political mind.  I know that from a societal standpoint, litigating the voluminous cases of past abuse would drain our nation emotionally, not satisfy victims, and turn our democracy into a police state.  I opt out of that approach.

The road more often traveled

Does camaraderie always help?  Is the best remedy to pain always knowing that other people are also feeling pain like yours?

According to the narrative circulating in the press, Alyssa Milano started the #MeToo campaign.  Variety explains it like this:

With her #MeToo campaign, actor Alyssa Milano launched a movement, encouraging survivors of sexual assault and abuse to come forward. “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” she tweeted.

Alyssa Milano co-starred with actress Rose McGowan in Charmed.  Mere days before Milano’s launching of #MeToo, Rose McGowan was gaining traction on social media.  She led the way in exposing abuses by Harvey Weinstein.  She focused particularly on Weinstein’s alleged rape of McGowan in the 1990s.  As Bizpac Review notes, Milano was blasted for her “deafening silence” about Rose McGowan’s suffering for so many years.

Alyssa Milano’s #MeToo campaign must be understood in context as abusive.  It furthered the alienation of McGowan and the trivialization of her story after years of Milano’s silence.  Did it really help Rose McGowan for an overwhelming flood of unsubstantiated, vague tweets alleging sundry forms of aggression ranging from violent rape to “unwanted advances”?  McGowan was allegedly raped and then pressured into taking a large payment from Weinstein on the condition that she never expose him.  If her story is true, she walked around with a great deal of pain for twenty years, fearing she would never be believed and seeing her perpetrator hold the admiration of all her friends in entertainment.  Because of #MeToo, the specifics and magnitude of McGowan’s pain lost their exceptionality and their hard-earned moment in national attention.  

On the heels of #MeToo came countless accusations against public figures, the vast majority of which I ceased taking seriously weeks ago.  Here I will undoubtedly offend many, but I think it must be said.  No, George Takei’s alleged pass at a man in 1981 is not relevant.  No, Kevin Spacey’s overtures to a fourteen-year-old in the mid-1980s is not relevant.  Accusations about who sodomized Corey Haim in the 1980s, Roy Moore’s dating habits in the 1970s, or various reporters’ “sexual harassment” against women speaking to the press “under condition of anonymity” area not actionable or even appropriate to talk about.  All these accusations fall into three major categories: (1) too old to be reliably remembered, (2) not serious enough to class with “rape” such as Rose McGowan endured, and (3) probably not true.  By flooding the discussion with a bunch of stuff that’s just not as important as a serious, substantiated case like Rose McGowan’s, people foster a crippling, overwhelming confusion.  That helps nobody.

#MeToo was dizzying enough before people weaponized the discussion of sexual assault in a nuclear arms race of hyperbole and defamation.  I have recorded a serious of videos explaining why the why, when, how much, where, who, and what questions involving Roy Moore all point to the overwhelming likelihood that the allegations against him are a hoax.  If I had more time, I would do the same for many of the other people targeted in this wave of sexual hysteria.  I do not, for instance, think anything is accomplished by revisiting Bill Clinton’s problems or ousting Al Franken.

The survivor’s reality is a strange one.  But it is not so strange that we need to throw out all scale and perspective.  The moment when you lost your innocence and someone violated your self-governance is like an emotional black hole.  You can never rewrite that moment.  It is insulting to yourself to place a price tag on it or to submit it to an angry mob for agreement or refutation.  If you want to help survivors, work hard on every aspect of politics and culture, so there are no more survivors in the future.  That, and only that, would make my pain worth it.

 Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed on Twitter.

Many groups to which I am supposed to belong should command my allegiance.  Yet I avoid some like the plague.  For instance, I find it tiring to be around veterans who get self-righteous about the fact that I spent very little time in the Reserves.  The little time I was in the military completely upended my life.  Still, I do not want to explain that to fellows who see their own experiences as fundamentally more authentic than mine.  I like Latino groups generally as long as they are not partisan.

“Survivor” Status: The Nadir of Identity Politics

I cannot join one group though it is relevant to me: the “survivors.”

I was exposed to pornography and sexual gestures at very young ages.  My first sexual encounter occurred in 1984 at the age of 13, when two older teens got me drunk.  When one combines the activity I engaged in as a boy with the many times that I was coerced, drugged, or roughhoused as an adult male, one drifts into a numb zone of horror.  I used to have many ways to describe what happened to me in gentle terms.  Now I have the vocabulary of an educated man.  I was repeatedly abused and survived it.  You would think I am the prime candidate to join a support group for abuse survivors.

Think again.  Such support groups strike me as toxic.  Here’s why.

A community of abuse victims has high stress and alarm.  Everybody constantly misreads, picks apart, mischaracterizes, and overreacts to everyone else.  In the early 1990s, I attended a group for boys who had overcome sexual abuse.  I knew I could not stay.  Too much tension arose over the confidentiality policy and rules about how we were supposed to communicate.  I decided I would rather go hang out with guy friends who’d never been abused.  The latter group enjoyed the benefit of not projecting their distortions onto mine.

There are many of us.  According to the Department of Justice, 25% of girls and 17% of boys are sexually abused before the age of eighteen (using a fairly broad definition).  The overwhelming majority involves male aggressors.  This creates a schism.  For millions of females, rape is an issue tied to patriarchy.  For millions of males, rape is an issue tied to the gay subculture that arose against patriarchy.  There is no way to reconcile this schism.  I’ve tried.

Male-dominated traditions and feminist-informed countercultural movements both feature too much rape.  This is rather because sex is connected to the larger web of social interactions that involve conflicting expectations, goals, values, and interests.

Human beings clash over work, family relationships, friendships, business ventures, politics, religion, and virtually anything that impassions us.  Sex plays out in this battleground.  For much of history, sex was set apart because of its unique power over our emotions.  Chastity protected people from miscalculation.  (I am a fan of chastity.)  In the twentieth century, bourgeois society developed a schizophrenia about the exceptionalism of sex.  On the one hand, they wanted sex to be subject to modernization and liberalism like every other part of human activity.  On the other hand, they elevated feminism and gay politics to higher sensitivity and urgency.

How to help?

Decide first whether to treat sexual abuse as other kinds of abuse or as something different.  If it’s like other kinds of abuse, then address the plight of workers or the corruption in schools instead of only talking about “sexual harassment” and “campus assault.”  Many alleging harassment in Hollywood and Washington were not harmed primarily by moments of being sexually pursued.  They were harmed because of how Hollywood and Capitol Hill treated entry-level staff and kept them scared and powerless.  Even without sexual harassment, there is still an abusive work system.  (Why do we downplay people who get fired for political reasons or nepotism but not people who get fired due to sexual intrigues?)

If sexual abuse exists in a unique category, then define what sexual abuse is and is not.  For instance, a man who flirts with girls is not guilty of sexual abuse; a man who ravishes a woman who does not want to have sex with him is guilty.  A man who asks a woman out after she says she is not interested is not guilty; a man who refuses to stop an act of sexual intercourse when a woman says, “Please, stop, I don’t want to go farther” is guilty.

Society’s schizophrenia sexualizes political issues that are political, not sexual.  The same society defines sexual wrongdoing so generally that we must live in a perpetual police state.  In a state of normalcy and safety, people can flirt, make passes at one another, and test possible interest.  All that is healthy and safeguarded by boundaries.  Survivors share an agony over boundaries, so responding to sexual abuse by suppressing or confusing boundaries is a non-starter.

I Did It My Way

Like many other survivors, I embarked on a long career of self-destructive behavior.  I did not enjoy sodomy.  It actually triggered nausea and uneasiness.  In a cycle of reinforced dysfunction, I had to prove to myself that I did enjoy it, because in the world where I was living, my past doomed me to being gay forever and I could not get out.  The use of drugs made sodomy and intoxication mutually escalating.  I needed more drugs to get through the act.  I needed more sodomy to justify doing more drugs, especially as my tolerance grew.

I wrote a lot of fiction that I withdrew or never published.

While all this scarred me, I reject the current fixation with “consent.”  The “consent” standard equates the survivor’s struggle with punishing a perpetrator.  We have age of consent laws based on the notion that below a threshold, some will want and even initiate sex that it would be wrong to indulge.  Taken farther, one can extrapolate that “consent” does not solve the problem of sexual pain or even abuse.  Sometimes we feed the problem by consenting to it and inviting the problem into our lives.

We need chastity, not a culture of consent.  Chastity is not virginity.  Chastity is recoverable, but it means we take responsibility for our own unchaste decisions.  Consenting to something does not make it any better for you than a sexual evil that you were tricked into.  Once you decenter the discussion away from “consent,” you can look at these painful experiences as symptoms of cultural failure that everyone must take part in correcting – even someone like me who was victimized.

One odious lesbian challenged me online to publish the names of men who abused me.  I will not do that.  We were in a cultural setting where their behavior was normal.  I was never too young to be ignorant of the implications of what I did and where I went.  The past is the past.  I have decided instead to fight a culture war so other boys get nowhere near the dangers that ensnared me.  I hold conferences and fight the LGBT lobby.  Let the hundreds of men who hurt me go and deal with their hurt, for they were also wounded.

While I experienced all this sexual trauma, I also have a political mind.  I know that from a societal standpoint, litigating the voluminous cases of past abuse would drain our nation emotionally, not satisfy victims, and turn our democracy into a police state.  I opt out of that approach.

The road more often traveled

Does camaraderie always help?  Is the best remedy to pain always knowing that other people are also feeling pain like yours?

According to the narrative circulating in the press, Alyssa Milano started the #MeToo campaign.  Variety explains it like this:

With her #MeToo campaign, actor Alyssa Milano launched a movement, encouraging survivors of sexual assault and abuse to come forward. “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” she tweeted.

Alyssa Milano co-starred with actress Rose McGowan in Charmed.  Mere days before Milano’s launching of #MeToo, Rose McGowan was gaining traction on social media.  She led the way in exposing abuses by Harvey Weinstein.  She focused particularly on Weinstein’s alleged rape of McGowan in the 1990s.  As Bizpac Review notes, Milano was blasted for her “deafening silence” about Rose McGowan’s suffering for so many years.

Alyssa Milano’s #MeToo campaign must be understood in context as abusive.  It furthered the alienation of McGowan and the trivialization of her story after years of Milano’s silence.  Did it really help Rose McGowan for an overwhelming flood of unsubstantiated, vague tweets alleging sundry forms of aggression ranging from violent rape to “unwanted advances”?  McGowan was allegedly raped and then pressured into taking a large payment from Weinstein on the condition that she never expose him.  If her story is true, she walked around with a great deal of pain for twenty years, fearing she would never be believed and seeing her perpetrator hold the admiration of all her friends in entertainment.  Because of #MeToo, the specifics and magnitude of McGowan’s pain lost their exceptionality and their hard-earned moment in national attention.  

On the heels of #MeToo came countless accusations against public figures, the vast majority of which I ceased taking seriously weeks ago.  Here I will undoubtedly offend many, but I think it must be said.  No, George Takei’s alleged pass at a man in 1981 is not relevant.  No, Kevin Spacey’s overtures to a fourteen-year-old in the mid-1980s is not relevant.  Accusations about who sodomized Corey Haim in the 1980s, Roy Moore’s dating habits in the 1970s, or various reporters’ “sexual harassment” against women speaking to the press “under condition of anonymity” area not actionable or even appropriate to talk about.  All these accusations fall into three major categories: (1) too old to be reliably remembered, (2) not serious enough to class with “rape” such as Rose McGowan endured, and (3) probably not true.  By flooding the discussion with a bunch of stuff that’s just not as important as a serious, substantiated case like Rose McGowan’s, people foster a crippling, overwhelming confusion.  That helps nobody.

#MeToo was dizzying enough before people weaponized the discussion of sexual assault in a nuclear arms race of hyperbole and defamation.  I have recorded a serious of videos explaining why the why, when, how much, where, who, and what questions involving Roy Moore all point to the overwhelming likelihood that the allegations against him are a hoax.  If I had more time, I would do the same for many of the other people targeted in this wave of sexual hysteria.  I do not, for instance, think anything is accomplished by revisiting Bill Clinton’s problems or ousting Al Franken.

The survivor’s reality is a strange one.  But it is not so strange that we need to throw out all scale and perspective.  The moment when you lost your innocence and someone violated your self-governance is like an emotional black hole.  You can never rewrite that moment.  It is insulting to yourself to place a price tag on it or to submit it to an angry mob for agreement or refutation.  If you want to help survivors, work hard on every aspect of politics and culture, so there are no more survivors in the future.  That, and only that, would make my pain worth it.

 Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed on Twitter.



Source link