The ever eloquently NSFW Razorfist explains just how negligable that memo really is.
I’ve wondered about the connection between identity politics and un-met needs to belong and to be part of a “tribe,” a community, but I hadn’t yet followed that train of thought far enough back.
In The Primal Scream of Identity Politics, Mary Eberstadt provides as assessment of identity politics and our culture that takes us back to the foundation: the family. She examines several other authors’ analyses of identity politics (and our cultural climate) and concludes that while some have noticed important factors, no one has gone deep enough in their questions and conclusions. The whole thing is worth a read.
“Mine! Mine! It’s mine!” The manifest panic behind cries of “cultural appropriation” is real—as real as the tantrum of a toddler. It’s as real as the developmental regression seen in the retreat to campus “safe spaces,” those tiny non-treehouses stuffed with candy, coloring books, and Care Bears. In social science, the toddler’s developmental “mine!” is called the “endowment effect”—the notion that humans ascribe extra value to possessions simply because they’re theirs. Some theorists consider it a subset of another human proclivity: loss aversion.
Maybe that cultural scream of “mine!” is issuing from souls who did have something taken from them—only something more elemental than the totemic objects now functioning as figurative blankies for lost and angry former children. As of today, less than 65 percent of American children live with both biological parents, even as other familial boughs have broken via external forces like the opioid crisis, criminality and incarceration, and globalization. Maybe depression and anxiety have been rising steadily among children and teenagers for a reason. Maybe the furor over “appropriation” unveils the true foundation of identity politics, which is pathos.
Did anyone really think things would turn out otherwise—that the massive kinship dislocations of the past 60 years wouldn’t produce increasingly visible, transformative effects not only in individual lives and households, but on politics and culture, too?
After all, it defies common sense to believe that the human surroundings during one’s formative years have no effect on the life to come. There’s also a library of social science, now over half a century in the making, tracing the links between fatherless homes and higher risks of truancy, criminality, psychiatric trouble, and the rest of the ledger suggesting that ripping up primordial ties hasn’t done society any favors. It’s all there, no matter how many of us have deep reasons for wishing otherwise.
One irony is certain. While identity politics has become an object of conversation in the left-leaning circles of Anglo-American and European political thought, deliverance from today’s disfigurations cannot come from the same quarter. The reason is simple. Not only identitarians but also liberals and progressives who are now anti-identitarian or identitarian-skeptical all agree on one big thing: The sexual revolution is off-limits for revision anywhere, anytime. It is their moral bedrock.
No-fault divorce, out-of-wedlock births, paid surrogacy, absolutism about erotic freedom, disdain for traditional moral codes: The very policies and practices that chip away at the family and drive the subsequent flight to identity politics are those that liberals and progressives embrace.
Then there are related family-unfriendly social realities that they also deem benign. Pornography, which once upon a time some feminists objected to, is now the stuff of their full-throated enthusiasm. Prostitution has been re-defined as the more anodyne “sex work.” And, of course, abortion is—in the unnervingly theological modifier applied to it by Hillary Clinton and many others on the left—“sacrosanct.” In the end, asking liberals and progressives to solve the problem of identity politics is like asking the proverbial orphan with chutzpah who murdered his parents.
Yes, conservatives have missed something major about identity politics: its authenticity. But the liberal-progressive side has missed something bigger. Identity politics is not so much politics as a primal scream. It’s the result of what might be called the Great Scattering—the Western world’s unprecedented familial dispersion.
Anyone who’s ever heard a coyote in the desert, separated at night from the pack, knows the sound. Maybe the otherwise-unexplained hysteria of today’s identity politics is just that: the collective human howl of our time, sent up by inescapably communal creatures who can no longer identify their own.
My very simplified conclusion after reading all of The Primal Scream of Identity Politics is this: maybe all the immature, hysterical acting out going on in this country really can be traced back to the destruction of the family or put more personally, mommy and daddy weren’t there to provide a stable, loving childhood. Today’s adults were yesterday’s children who were spoiled rotten in many ways, but not given what they really needed to be able to grow-up into mature human beings.
Little Charlie Gard passed away last week. He died in the hospital because his parents were not permitted to take him home to die in the peace of home.
What kind of evil is it that claims to be magnanimously keeping an individual’s best interests at the heart of its decisions, but won’t let that person be cared for by the people who love him most in all the world — his parents? Won’t let that person seek alternative care elsewhere, even when it has been offered by more than one hospital and doctor, and generous strangers have donated over million dollars for his care? Won’t let that child and his parents have the comfort of having clergy visit and pray with them? Won’t let him, in the end, die at home? All this in the name of doing what is good and right for that person. We know best… your wishes, your family’s wishes, are irrelevant… we are the ones with power… you will submit…
Jenny Uebbing had this to say about Charlie and what happened to him and his family (a good summary of which can be found here):
But, but, he was going to die anyway. Extraordinary means! The Catechism says! Etc. Etc. Etc.
True. All true. And yet, his parents wanted to pursue further treatment. His mother and his father, the two human beings who, entrusted by the God with whom they co-created an immortal soul, were tasked with the immense, universe-altering task of making decisions on his behalf.
It’s called parenting.
And when the state steps over the bounds of parental interests – nay, tramples upon them – insisting that government knows best what is best for it’s citizens, (particularly when government is footing the medical bills as is the case with the socialized NHS) then we should all of us, no matter our religions or our socioeconomic statuses or our nationalities, be alarmed.
Charlie Gard was a victim of the the most heinous sort of public power struggle: a child whose humanity was reduced to a legal case and an avalanche of global publicity. And no man, not the President of the United States or the Pope himself, could do a thing to turn the tide in little Charlie’s favor once the momentum was surging against him.
The British courts and the Great Ormond Street Hospital, convinced of their own magnanimity and virtue, ruled again and again against the wishes of Charlie’s parents, frustrating at every turn their attempts to seek a second option, to try experimental treatments, to spend privately-raised funds to secure care for their child not available in their home country.
To no avail.
Charlie Gard, baptized earlier this week into the Catholic Church, went home to be with Jesus today. His innocent soul in a state of grace, we can be confident of his intimate proximity now to the sacred heart of Jesus and to the sorrowful heart of Mary. May his parents feel the comfort of knowing that they fought the good fight, and that they brought their child to the font of eternal life by baptizing him into Christ’s Church and surrendering him into heaven’s embrace as he passed from this life.
And may they find, through the powerful intercession of their little son, now whole and free from suffering, the grace to forgive his tormentors and executioners here on earth.
Charlie Gard, pray for us.
Move over, Brianna Wu, you’ve got competition!
Virginia native Danica Roem is running for a seat in her state’s House of Delegates. Should she emerge victorious from the June 13 Democratic primary, the 32-year-old would challenge longtime Republican incumbent Bob Marshall to represent Virginia’s 13th district and become the first openly transgender representative in the chamber.
A win in the general election would also make Roem the third openly transgender state legislator to ever hold office in the U.S., and one of only a few openly trans elected officials in the world.
Despite facing three other Democrats in the primary, Roem is optimistic. She has received several endorsements, including one from the Victory Fund, a national LGBTQ political organization.
“We are making 2017 the year of the trans candidate,” Victory Fund President Aisha C. Moodie-Mills said. “We have more transgender people running this cycle than almost all other cycles combined.”
Roem is one of at least 20 transgender candidates currently running for office across the U.S., according to the LGBTQ Representation and Rights Initiative.
Dear old Brianna is also running against several other Democrats. The party is so weak and degenerate that the crazies are coming out of the woodwork to eat it alive.
Jonathon Van Maren thinks so. His recent blog post is entitled “Grim poll: Conservatives are losing catastrophically on every single issue…except this one”
If certain enthusiastic public figures are to be believed, there is a wave of iconoclastic and libertarian youth who are fed up with political correctness and ready to turn the Left on its head. When I attended a campus event featuring the recently disgraced and even more recently resurgent Milo Yiannopoulos last fall, he made the claim loudly and boldly: “I might be the only one who has noticed this trend, but young people hate the Left. I have thirteen-year-olds emailing me. I even have children attending my campus events.”
Ignoring for a moment the obvious problem with a child attending an event put on by the self-described “Dangerous Faggot,” this sort of optimism is entirely unwarranted—unless, as is obviously the case with Milo, you do not see moral issues as indicative of national health overall. On that front, Americans continue to shift to the left, and continue to abandon Judeo-Christian values—if they even know what those are anymore. Gallup recently released new polling data for their annual Values and Beliefs poll, and the results were very sobering.
He goes on to talk about all the “sobering” data points covering views on marriage, sexuality, the family, etc. — all with predictable and completely unsurprising revelations. None of this is news. How did Van Maren miss that we were no longer living in a Christian society, that we had long since passed into a pagan one? That traditional Christian morality is not the standard by which most people live shouldn’t be surprising or discouraging.
He notes that the polls didn’t show a large increase in support of abortion, which he believes is due to massive efforts of pro-lifers to educate people:
On every moral issue, social conservatives are losing ground—except for abortion.
Looking at the raw data, it’s hard to see where someone like Milo Yiannopoulos gets his optimism from. He may not care about most moral issues—his relaunch party, after all, featured male and female strippers—but even on free speech and free markets, the numbers look grim. Millennials are embracing socialism, rejecting the fundamental idea that freedom of speech and freedom of expression are bedrock values in a democracy, and turning university campuses into totalitarian safe spaces that exclude any idea they find threatening to their fragile progressive worldviews.
The truth is that an entire generation has grown up more or less disconnected from the Christian past of the West, and that activists must fight tooth and nail to educate the public on each and every issue. We see what happens when massive educational efforts are undertaken: On abortion, we are not losing ground—and even under the most pro-abortion president in American history, over 300 laws were passed on the state level. Pornography, while still prevalent, is now attracting the ire of government bodies across the West who are recognizing it for the public health crisis it is. Social conservatism as a worldview may be on the fringe, but there are many, many opportunities to change that.
Here Van Maren recognizes that kids have grown up in a non-Christian world; so why the surprise at the poll results? His faith in the “raw data” of the poll is misplaced. Polling isn’t exactly a hard or perfect science (anyone remember 2016?). Who’s to say we really should trust a poll’s conclusions over our own observations or the anecdotal evidence presented by someone else? Then he talks about millennials, but Milo isn’t talking about millennials; he’s talking about the next, even younger generation. It can also be noted that Milo specially said he didn’t have any proof, any hard data for his hopeful statement, but that it came from his experience of meeting and talking to, and receiving messages from young people. Milo isn’t the only person who has noted this trend of the younger generation leaning more conservative.
Even the one place where Van Maren strikes a hopeful, positive tone, he’s probably at least partly wrong. You can understand why, being part of the pro-life movement, he would be quick to attribute the lessening support for abortion to the efforts of the prolifers. I hope he’s right that all those efforts have helped, that education does help. But there’s something else powerful that is influencing young people to turn conservative: they have seen and felt the consequences of their parents and others leading a life without conservative morals or standards. They may be the unwanted children of selfish parents, the products of divorce or homes where they never had two parents to begin with. They may have seen older siblings or relatives or friends make terrible choices and suffer for them. Those with eyes to see can see the wreckage caused by abandoning traditional morals. And the liberals, feeling assured of victory, have turned up the heat too fast; things they are pushing for are so obviously against nature that people with will to think for themselves can see we are headed in the wrong direction. But cultural trends do not reverse directions overnight. The problems we are seeing today began long before Van Maren was born. Some would argue they began even before his parents were born.
Van Maren himself is a contradiction to this poll. He’s young, conservative, Catholic, pro-life and fighting for it. And surely he works alongside other young people.
Other than being overly pessimistic and incorrect in his interpretation how we are losing the culture war — rather we have already lost, but perhaps have hope of rebuilding from the ashes — he is wrong about Milo. Previously, I had noticed that he was particularly critical of Milo (and the Alt-Right) as unacceptable for Christians to follow. He objects to Milo’s lifestyle, vulgar humor, and that he isn’t very nice to people. Van Maren also tends to exaggerate Milo’s behavior (can you believe that’s possible?!): Milo’s re-launch party, as aired on youtube (surely Van Maren didn’t have an invitation?), did not have “male and female strippers.” Milo calls them “models” for his photo shoot, and they are scantily, and one might say tastelessly, clad (and waving prop guns around), but they do not strip any clothes off which I think would be the definition of “stripper.” They might be strippers elsewhere, I don’t know, but at Milo’s party they were just eye candy — which is problematic in its own way, but let’s not over-exaggerate things.
I was surprised to see Van Maren had actually attended a Milo speech so I read what he had to say about it. It was the same old attitude so many on the Right have towards those they deem impure. They are like Pharisees who don’t want to associate with sinners for fear of contaminating themselves. Milo is definitely a sinner, but Jesus frequently ate with and talked to sinners. Jesus did not worry about being made unclean. God often uses sinners and unlikely people to carry out His work, sometimes even people who do not know Him.
It doesn’t matter to Milo’s critics on the Right if he is effective or that we really need to reach people where they are — and where they are isn’t necessarily ready to listen to Christian moralizing or preaching. Milo has a point about reaching people with humor and fun (even if he does take it a bit too far at times); humor and fun are attractive, especially to young people. Free speech, for which Milo has made himself a standard bearer, is an important battle. If Christians are silenced completely, there will be no chance of educating people or changing hearts and minds through dialogue. Milo is an ally in that battle, even if he is a public sinner.
We handed them everything they could have wanted on a silver platter. And they all cucked. Rush hits the nail on the head:
So Obamacare gets funded. Sanctuary cities get funded. The EPA gets funded through September. Planned Parenthood gets funded. The wall does not. So if you’re asking yourself, “Why am I voting Republican?” you have a good question. Why is anybody voting Republican, if this is what happens when we win?
It’s not a surprise that they stabbed us in the back. It’s been clear that the GOP had no interest in winning since they picked McCain as a presidential candidate. They are indeed merely part of a “bi-factional ruling party.” And it’s time to get rid of them.
Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option has received a good deal of commentary recently. Certainly we are living in post-Christian times. This review makes me more interested in reading it.
In Fearing Dreher: Why the Benedict Option Scares Christians, Thomas Ascik writes:
But it is most interesting that Mr. Dreher barely talks about the curriculum of public elementary and secondary schools. He emphasizes, instead, the peer culture of the school environment. Christian parents may try very hard, but everything can be undone by “the toxic peer culture” of public schools. In addition, the parents themselves may neither understand nor be capable of resisting. The effects are pervasive. Mr. Dreher quotes communications to him from parents of children in public schools who describe the startling number of public-school students who have come to believe that that they are transgender or bisexual. In the bluntest statement of his whole book, and one aimed directly at Christian parents, Mr. Dreher asserts that “two or three hours of religious education weekly is unlikely to counteract the forty or more hours spent in school or school-related programming.” The conclusion: Christian parents should remove their children from public schools.
A senior in a large public high school located in a major western city recently told this reviewer that he did not know any Christians at his school. Now, since there are obviously students there who are Christians, that means that the Christian students never identify themselves as Christians nor say or do anything identifiably Christian. Plainly, those students think that a public school is not an environment where it is appropriate or even permissible to be an open Christian. So, we may ask, if you never express who you really are, aren’t you inevitably changing who you really are?
In order to combine Christian education with an education in the liberal learning of Western civilization, Mr. Dreher endorses the classical Christian school movement and gives both Catholic and Evangelical examples. If such schools are too expensive or not available, the alternative is to homeschool.
I couldn’t agree more that the public schools in our country are a disaster and the best thing you could do for your kids is to keep them out. Here are a couple recent examples of the sort of negative influences in school he’s talking about.
A Florida teacher demanded her 9th grade student remove a cross necklace that she was wearing. The teacher’s room is full of LGBT posters and rainbows. She’s allowed to proselytize the kids, but the kids can’t even wear a symbol of their faith? Although the girl obeyed the teacher’s demand at the time, she and her parents aren’t taking this without a fight:
Together with her attorneys, this brave ninth grader is asking for the right to express her faith, which is already guaranteed to her by the Constitution. Students should never have to check their beliefs at the school house door — or anywhere else for that matter.
Emily Zinos writes “A ‘transgender’ kindergartner registered at my kids’ school. That’s when the madness began.” She goes on to describe what happened in her school district: the school’s attempts at accommodation, the “trans” kid’s parents suing anyway, school sponsored meetings telling the rest of the parents they had to comply and when these parents funded a meeting to counterpoint the school’s presentation, “Well over a hundred local pro-LGBTQ protesters came to the presentation, prompting the local police to send a sergeant and two patrolling squads as protection.” Because tolerance, folks!
The rest of Ms. Zinos’ article is interesting, especially that a group of feminists has joined the fight against transgender activism because of common ground of ensuring the rights of biological women. Here is her conclusion about what’s happening in the schools:
institutionalizing gender ideology will require that schools ignore the evidence that it causes real harm to children. You can’t extol the virtues of gender ideology and question its soundness at the same time. By celebrating transgenderism as a valid identity, schools are promoting a body-mind disconnect that may very well bring on the gender dysphoric state they were attempting to prevent. And when the widely accepted “affirmative” medical treatments of gender dysphoria in children are both poorly studied and glaringly injurious, we have nothing to celebrate.
We’re building a school-to-gender-clinic pipeline that will feed this new pediatric specialty with young patients. There are now more than thirty gender clinics specializing in youth across the United States, and the young patients who are under their care are often given bone-destroying puberty blockers at eleven, potentially sterilized with cross-sex hormones at sixteen, and permanently mutilated by plastic surgery soon after that.
Make no mistake, schools that endorse and celebrate transgenderism as valid are endorsing child abuse.
Given examples like those (and those are only two, only the tip of the ice berg where trans-issues are but one problem among many), I’d say Dreher isn’t wrong about the state of education in America. He also opines that most of the American colleges may be beyond saving – unless they are replaced by truer places of secondary learning. What about his other ideas?
Mr. Dreher, who visited the Benedictine monastery at Nursia, Italy, in preparing his book, holds that the Rule is a “manual of practices, and its precepts simple and “plain enough to be adapted by lay Christians for their own use.” He derives eight main principles from the Rule and states why each would literally be a godsend for Christians in the modern, secular world. Against the disorder and loss of tradition of the modern world, the first principle is that it is order—ordered daily life, rather than today’s randomness—that sets the stage for “internal order.”
The second is prayer. “Prayer is the life of the soul,” Mr. Dreher quotes a Benedictine monk, and time must be set aside for it. The monastic emphasis on regular, daily prayer is the precisely needed antidote to the maniacal busyness of the contemporary world. Echoing the standard understanding of the role of prayer in Christian life, Mr. Dreher suggests that “if we spend all our time in activity, even when that activity serves Christ, and neglect prayer and contemplation, we put our faith in danger.”
Third, against the intellectualizing of everything today, Benedict’s Rule understands that the involvement of the body in manual labor is an essential part of human work. Again, Christians today, having been forced out of some of the professions, may have to resort to more labor by hand, Mr. Dreher concludes.
Fourth, contrary to the supreme modern principle of satisfying one’s own desires, “relearning asceticism—that is, how to suffer for the faith—is critical training for Christians living in the world today and the world of the near future.”
Fifth, even that most monastic principle of stability—that is, staying in one place—has some relevance to lay Christians, for what is the overall benefit of our constant mobility?
Sixth is community, the human architecture of a monastery, but also of a family, a neighborhood, a city, a society, and a polity. We readers might add to Mr. Dreher’s analysis the observation that we now increasingly live without a sense of shared life, without a “collective consciousness,” as Emile Durkheim put it. We are “free, equal, and independent,” but, pace John Locke, we are alone.
Seventh, contrary to Mr. Dreher’s critics and to a true understanding of the Rule, hospitality is a daily duty not only of monastic life but also of lay Christian life. Pilgrims and visitors are to “be received like Christ.” But hospitality, like all the virtues, must be practiced with prudence and according to the other principles of the Rule. A visitor cannot disturb or disrupt the community.
Mr. Dreher adds an eighth principle—balance, partly derived from the Benedictines but also from his own reflection and observation. By being too strict, some Christian communities have fallen apart or become “cultlike.” On the other hand, since abandonment to the will of God is the goal, Christian communities cannot be based on “spiritual mediocrity.”