Watcher of Weasels Keeping an eye on the weasels of the world 2017-12-15T22:50:36Z http://www.watcherofweasels.org/feed/atom/ WordPress Bookworm http://www.bookwormroom.com/ <![CDATA[The Bookworm Beat 12/15/17 — the humongous net neutrality edition]]> http://www.watcherofweasels.org/?p=15711 2017-12-15T22:50:36Z 2017-12-15T22:31:25Z The Left’s hysterics over net neutrality reveal an ideology in the midst of a mental breakdown — which is disturbing, but still good for political humor.

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The Left’s hysterics over net neutrality reveal an ideology in the midst of a mental breakdown — which is disturbing, but still good for political humor.

Net Neutrality

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FaustaW http://faustasblog.com/ <![CDATA[The two Hayeks: Madame Pinault (finally) speaks out on Weinstein]]> http://www.watcherofweasels.org/?p=15700 2017-12-15T22:02:10Z 2017-12-15T22:02:10Z Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed Mexican actress Selma Hayek for a decade. She finally spoke out in a NYT article, Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too. I had already mentioned that I’m done with the sex scandals, since they are a distraction from the great moral question of our times, but I’ll make [Read More]

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Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed Mexican actress Selma Hayek for a decade. She finally spoke out in a NYT article, Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too.

I had already mentioned that I’m done with the sex scandals, since they are a distraction from the great moral question of our times, but I’ll make an exception.

Clearly, it took a of of agonizing for Hayek to come forward. As the wife of one of the richest men in the world, she must have decided that it’s worth the trouble to do so now.

But she had nothing to lose had she done it sooner.

Not to be nit-picky,

Photo by Nesster
Hayek says,

it was unimaginable for a Mexican actress to aspire to a place in Hollywood.

Hayek forgets Dolores del Río, who 92 years ago made her first Hollywood film. Del Río’s house, designed and decorated by her second husband, Cedric Gibbons, is an Art Deco classic.

Back to freedom, the great moral question of our age,
I highly recommend the other Hayek, who famously said,

We must face the fact that the preservation of individual freedom is incompatible with a full satisfaction of our views of distributive justice.

Cross-posted at Fausta’s Blog.

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Bookworm http://www.bookwormroom.com/ <![CDATA[Different takes on the Trump effect on the media and #NeverTrumpers]]> http://www.watcherofweasels.org/?p=15697 2017-12-14T23:54:52Z 2017-12-14T23:54:52Z A romance novel explains why Trump is destroying the media and a Jewish survival doctrine provides a road map for conservatives who want to win. These are strange times and I sometimes have a strange brain. That may explain why, in the days since the Alabama election, when I read [Read More]

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A romance novel explains why Trump is destroying the media and a Jewish survival doctrine provides a road map for conservatives who want to win.

These are strange times and I sometimes have a strange brain. That may explain why, in the days since the Alabama election, when I read about Trump’s clashes with the media or see the #NeverTrumpers willing to sacrifice America to their principles, some pretty strange analogies — analogies about romance novels and rabbinical rules — pop into my head. Let me explain:

Writing at the L.A. Times, Matt Welch discusses the fact that conservatives feel strongly that, in the many elections held since (and including) the presidential election 2016, the really big loser has consistently been the American media:

“Roy Moore Proves Media Only Destroys Itself in Elections” ran a headline Monday in The American Spectator. “The late Charles Manson seems to have gotten a more sympathetic press” than Republican Roy Moore, complained former human events editor Allan H. Ryskind in the Washington Times. “The real reason for a situation that allows the Roy Moores and Donald Trumps of the world to rise above mere laughingstock status,” opined former George W. Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer in Politico, “is that the media has totally lost its connection with a large portion of the nation.”

Meanwhile, the media’s been congratulating itself on scoring a victory in Alabama. Welch is intrigued by this disconnect, which he chalks up to insider and outsider criticism:

All political media criticism — whether it was the more left-leaning alternative and New Journalism of the ’60s and ’70s, the right-leaning AM radio revolution of the ’80s and ’90s or the social media cacophony we see today — begins as a necessary and bracing reminder to the big media fish that they, too, swim in water, even if they don’t feel it.

But soon, the outsider critique brushes up against the first iron law of media criticism: Partisan skepticism inevitably drifts toward media illiteracy. What starts out as a tool for more sophisticated news consumption eventually degrades into an excuse for those who choose not to believe inconvenient journalism.

Welch’s report triggered a slightly different train of thought in my brain: Trump is extraordinarily adept at baiting the media into intemperate behavior that shows the media at its worst — even if there’s some underlying virtue underlying the media’s position. And what does this remind me of? A Georgette Heyer novel, of course.

The novel, one of my favorites, is The Nonesuch. The book’s plot is the usual comedy of manners that Heyer handles with a touch as deft as Jane Austen’s, tempered only by a more modern sensibility. Here’s the quick rundown:

Ancilla is an intelligent, accomplished young gentlewoman with a strong sense of self worth and a good sense of humor (making her more empowered than the American women born of the Women’s Liberation Movement). Owing to her family’s impoverishment, instead of becoming a charge on her family, she’s chosen to work as a governess. Ancilla has two charges: her employer’s daughter and her employer’s niece. The niece, Tiffany, is an extremely wealthy, staggeringly beautiful, selfish young woman who is charming when happy and a termagant when crossed. It takes very little to cross Tiffany.

Sir Waldo Hawkridge comes into the town to set up an orphanage, as he is charitably inclined. He’s quite modest, so he keeps secret the reason for his coming. The gentry in the town have no interest, in any event, in exploring his motives for visiting. He is “The Nonesuch,” meaning that, when it comes to looks, wealth, athletic ability, and charm, there is none such as Sir Waldo. The only person unimpressed is Ancilla, who erroneously believes him to be a dissolute gambler, which he is not. The meat of this delightful story involves Sir Waldo’s efforts to woo Ancilla.

One of the engines driving the romance is the fact that Sir Waldo’s cousin Lord Lindethl a sweet-natured young man, has accompanied him. Unfortunately, Lord Lindeth spots Tiffany in a charming moment and falls head over heels in love with her. Both Ancilla and Sir Waldo wish to nip this passion in the bud, because both understand that Tiffany is poison for any man unlucky enough to marry her, notwithstanding her wealth and beauty.

Of course, the easiest way to end the affair is for Tiffany to show her worst side to Lindeth. Ancilla, though, struggles with this notion. On the one hand, she wants to save Lindeth from a terrible fate; on the other hand, Tiffany is in her charge and it goes against the grain for her to encourage bad behavior. Fortunately, Sir Waldo has no such constraints . . . and this is the point at which I finally bring the story back to Donald Trump.

Sir Waldo deliberately baits Tiffany by “sort of” flirting with her, which is very bad behavior coming from an older man of the “ton” (i.e., Britain’s uppermost class). Not only that, he blows hot and cold, alternately plying her with fulsome compliments and dismissing her with subtle, but vicious, put-downs. Tiffany, unaccustomed to being played, cannot control herself. She becomes both vicious and hysterical, even though it should be obvious to her that she is shattering her reputation in the eyes of the young men around her, including Lindeth.

Trump, believe it or not, rude, crude, Trump, is playing the role of handsome, suave, talented Sir Waldo. Those who are not blinded by hate know that Trump, a savvy businessman and reality-TV star, is perfectly capable of controlling himself if he wishes. When it comes to the media, that’s not his wish.

Like Sir Waldo, Trump is deliberately engaging in provocative behavior because he knows that the media, a collection of spoiled Tiffanys, will be unable to control itself. Moreover, he understands that, once it’s lost control, the media’s bad behavior — it’s lies, insults, hysterics, and manifest bias — will drown out any improper conduct on his part.

Because I understand what Trump is doing, and I see how well it’s working, I’m not bothered by Trump’s Twitter excesses or his off-the-cuff comments. He is using high-level persuasion here. As he proved during the campaign, he understands that it’s irrelevant if he makes himself look clumsy or crude, provided that he makes his opponents look stupid, vicious, biased, and hate-filled.

If Trump were keeping points, he would award himself double or triple points when his opponents, in their rage, don’t remember to train their fire on Trump alone but, instead, turn it on his supporters as well. Hillary’s unforced “Deplorables” error is a perfect example of a winning round for Trump.

I guess I’m probably one of the few who can analogize Trump’s behavior around the press to an old (but wonderful) romance novel, but it does help me keep perspective about what’s going on.

I promised one other strange analogy and I always try to deliver on my promises. This one has to do with #NeverTrumpers.

For many years, I’ve been a huge fan of National Review. I was such a big fan that last fall I treated myself to the cruise. I really wanted to be around the writers I admire, men such as Jonah Goldberg, David French, and Kevin Williamson. They are superb writers, extremely well-informed and, in Goldberg’s case, incredibly funny.

I know that Don Surber (who should be a daily read for all of you, as he’s as good a Trump analyst as Scott Adams) has absolutely no respect for these men because they are #NeverTrumpers. Because Surber believes (as I do) that Trump is an extremely good executive, despite the theatrics, and has the ability to become the most consequential president since Abraham Lincoln, he also believes that those who lack the vision to see Trump’s worth are hidebound, unprincipled morons.

I actually see the National Review types in a different light. They are principled — too principled. To them, conservativism is an exquisite vision that must by treated with reverence. To see Trump soil it with  his instinctively-reached ideology and his periodic willingness to meet the Left horrifies their sensibilities. At least Goldberg and French are periodically (and honorably) able to give Trump credit where it’s due, although you can see them choking on doing so. Williamson, however, has immured himself behind a wall of Trump hatred, which can’t be good for his soul and certainly doesn’t help his writing.

Incidentally, people such as McCain, Romney, and Kristol are not principled. They’re utterly faux conservatives who hide behind elitist behavior to justify consistently siding with Democrats on substantive matters against Trump and other constitutional conservatives. McCain is worse, by letting is pique against Trump (and he’s justifiably pique-ish) get in the way of what should be his greater loyalty to America itself.

And no, I’m not crazy to call Trump — a Democrat for most of his life and someone who reaches political conclusions based on instinct,  not intellect — a constitutional conservative: he respects separation of powers much more than any president since . . . well, before Wilson; he’s appointing strict constructionists (i.e., constitutional conservatives) to the federal bench; he’s obeying America’s laws; and he’s reining in the disgraceful, and completely unconstitutional, expansion of the federal bureaucracy.

But back to those who see “conservativism” as something too pure to be sullied. They keep making it clear that they would rather hand the country over to Democrats, not because, like Bill Kristol, they support Democrat policies, but because they see that as the only way to preserve perfect and exquisite conservativism from Trump’s crudity, vulgarity, narcissism, and unseemly showmanship. If the orchid isn’t cultivated, it will die, right?

They’re wrong, of course, and I think the rabbis would agree me. (Rabbis? Who are these rabbis? Why is Bookworm suddenly talking about rabbis?)

I’m talking about rabbis because it was rabbis who came up with the doctrine of פיקוח נפש (English: Pikuach Nefesh). This doctrine holds that human life is so important that preserving it transcends every Jew’s obligation to follow the rules in the Torah:

In Judaism, human life is essential and so pikuach nefesh, the obligation to save a life in jeopardy, is considered a major value to uphold. This obligation applies to both an immediate threat and a less grave danger that has the potential of becoming serious. Pikuach nefesh is derived from the biblical verse, “Neither shall you stand by the blood of your neighbor” (Lev. 19:16). According to pikuach nefesh a person must do everything in their power to save the life of another, even donate bodily organs. Ovaday Yosef, the former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, ruled that one may donate an organ to a person in critical need, so long as it does not put the donor’s life at risk.

It is also permissible to travel on Shabbat to save a person’s life. Maimonides declared that a Jew should take the individual, even if a gentile is present, in order to encourage “compassion, loving-kindness and peace in the world” (Mishneh Torah, 2:3). The laws of the Sabbath may be suspended to provide any necessary medical care to a critically ill individual or to an individual in the likelihood of danger to life. However, if a person has only a lesser infirmity or physical ailment, any violation of Shabbat should be minimal or, if viable, performed by a gentile. The laws of Shabbat may also be deferred for a woman who has just given birth within the last three days, to provide more comfort. A patient is allowed to eat non-Kosher food if it is essential for recovery and, on Yom Kippur, a sick person is forbidden to fast if it will impair their recovery and health.

I first came across this concept when reading about Jews in the death camps who ate non-kosher food and did not fast on Yom Kippur. They understood — and any rabbis among them agreed — that surviving the Nazis was a paramount obligation.

The United States, of course, is not a human life. But it is the aggregate of 300,000,000 million human lives.

America stands at a crossroads now. The path of Hillary, the Democrat party, and the utterly unprincipled, un-American “Dissent” is a path to the grave. There is no case ever in which people have thrived under totalitarianism, but that totalitarianism is what America’s Leftists desire.

Rather than deluging you with my own tortured arguments to make this point, a few Milton Friedman quotations will suffice to explain the benefits of freedom and the dangers of anything else. Although these quotations state broad principles, you can readily supply the facts that underlie them:

“Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp.”

***

“A society that puts equality — in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.”

***

“The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another.”

***

“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or it they try, they will shortly be out of office.”

***

“Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority. The preservation of freedom requires the elimination of such concentration of power to the fullest possible extent and the dispersal and distribution of whatever power cannot be eliminated — a system of checks and balances.”

Lastly, in light of the appalling implications flowing from revelations about the way in which bureaucrats in the Justice Department perverted American law to derail Trump’s campaign and, now, his presidency, here’s a truly prescient Friedman quotation: “Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.

It’s no defense to these principles to point to Europe. The reality is that it’s never had true socialism in the years since WWII. It’s had a Kabuki version of socialism that America funded throughout the Cold War. Americans worked much longer hours than Europeans to provide the taxes that allowed Europeans to boast to us about their phenomenal “free” cradle-to-grave care.

With the Cold War over and American funds gone, we can watch Europe’s slow-motion degradation — now, they have neither true freedom nor the virtues of their American-funded socialism. To offset their decline, they are importing tyranny, one refugee at a time.

America is the last remaining bastion of classical liberty in an increasingly tyrannical world. If this freedom goes, we’re all Venezuela, or Cuba, or China, or (God forbid) North Korea. That’s 300,000,000 lives sacrificed.

So maybe the doctrine of Pikuach Nefesh should apply to nations too. And maybe when a nation is balanced on the knife’s edge, with one direction promising a rough-and-ready, kind of shabby freedom and the other direction promising a slow descent into slavery — well, maybe then people cannot afford to be too precious. Maybe they have to stop being completely kosher and recognize that survival requires sacrifice of obsessive adherence to rules and ritual.

Certainly understanding Pikuach Nefesh would have resulted in a different outcome in Alabama. Yeah, Moore’s a crazy dude, and Karl Rove is right to point out that kooky candidates lose. (Lefty candidates, of course, are never “kooky.” Once the media’s finished buffing and polishing them, they’re refreshingly eccentric or genuine; it’s only conservatives who are crazy and evil.) But if the purists had looked at the big picture, which is America’s survival, they could have decided that, while Moore wasn’t kosher, he would be one more vote for keeping America healthy.

Of course, if the purists, players, and political prostitutes on the right had cared about liberty as a long-term principle, they would have backed Mo Brooks, not Luther Strange. Brooks would have been palatable to the grassroots, and would have been much less vulnerable to the harpies on the Left. But that’s water under the bridge; all we can do now is move forward and get it right the next time around.

And now I think I’ve said enough.

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JoshuaPundit http://joshuapundit.blogspot.com/ <![CDATA[The Real Importance Of The Alabama Election]]> http://www.watcherofweasels.org/?p=15689 2017-12-14T07:34:50Z 2017-12-14T07:34:50Z While I’m not pleased with the result of the Alabama election, I admit to being amused at all the furor and fuss it is causing. Especially since I know that if it had gone the other way,the usual suspects would be downplaying it as ‘Well Alabama, buncha rednecks, y’know? No [Read More]

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While I’m not pleased with the result of the Alabama election, I admit to being amused at all the furor and fuss it is causing. Especially since I know that if it had gone the other way,the usual suspects would be downplaying it as ‘Well Alabama, buncha rednecks, y’know? No big deal.’

Actually,the  Alabama Election is a big deal, but not because Roy Moore lost by 21,000 votes. That is actually less than the total of the write in votes, thanks to a Democrat financed ‘Republican’ who came in at the last minute. To win the election by a hair ,the Left had to spend millions of dollars more than campaigns generally cost in Alabama and go all out to gin up black turnout. Given the number of Democrat senate seats up for grabs in states Trump won and the demographics, they won’t be able to repeat that performance in a lot of the coming midterms.

It’s especially costly seeing as Doug Jones won’t be seated until 2018 and will have to run for re-election in a Red trump state in November of the same year.

The Democrats are delusional to get into a frenzy over this one. And Republicans are just as dumb thinking this is the beginning of the end. In every war, battles are fought and you don’t necessarily win all of them. This was one of them, simple as that.

But the real big deal in Alabama, the reason it was important is because it marked the success of a new spin on an old tactic of the left, demonization. Roy Moore was primarily defeated because of unproven allegations of sexual harassment 40 years ago megaphoned and broadcasted by the Democrat’s trained seals in the media.

While the mistreatment of women or others in the workplace is a definite and legitimate concern, what we’re seeing now is a successful perversion and weaponization of this for partisan political purposes.

In the current climate and given the bias of most of the media, when one of these allegations is made, the women are believed, and the accused men aren’t. The presumption of innocence central to both our justice system and our moral code is thrown away. The men involved are forced into the impossible position of having to prove a negative, and the accusers aren’t called on to prove anything at all.

Now that this tactic worked so well in Alabama, count on the Left to use it where ever possible. Rest assured that even as I write this, targets are being picked and strategies planned to use this again and again.

If a male conservative/Republican political candidate has ever looked at a girl the wrong way or kissed someone on a date when she didn’t exactly want that to happen even as a teenager, he will be painted as a sexual predator, no matter how moral his conduct has been in the decades since then. The Left will unearth all kinds of #metoo women to pile on with even more bogus accusations. And why not? The women are always to be believed even if they have no proof and the men always to be found guilty as charged no matter what.

Even men who haven’t done anything in terms of harassing mistreating or abusing a woman will still be accused of doing just that, because the Roy Moore campaign showed the Left that this can work.

The moral argument against bearing false witness and destroying an innocent man’s character means nothing to these people. Remember how former Democrat Majority leader Harry Reid accused 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in print and on TV repeatedly of cheating of his taxes? Eventually, after the campaign was over,&nbsp; those accusations were proven to be false and Reid retired, he was asked if he regretted what he had done, and his reply is classic:

“Why? It worked didn’t it? He lost.”

Rest assured that the same mind set will assure that bogus sexual abuse accusations be unleashed time and again by the Left to try and win elections. And as this becomes more commonplace, after a while, it’s likely that as this gets overused, as any successful tactic does, fewer and fewer women who really have been harassed and molested are going to be believed. That in itself is shameful.

Another negative effect of this political weaponization is that that the relationships between men and women is going to be increasingly soured, charged with animosity, over-caution and estrangement. Women still expect men to take the initiative in asking them out and starting relationships, but this new climate that’s being created makes it far riskier for men to do that and gives women with any sort of grudge against a man a powerful weapon to use against him, no matter what he did or didn’t do.

The end result if this continues will be a lot of bitter, lonely women in their late thirties,many of who are in that position through no fault of their own and wondering where all the good men are.

We’re already beginning to see that happen.

Rob Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com, Yediot and other publications.

Follow him on Twitter here and on Facebook here.

And connect with him on Linked In.

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Bookworm http://www.bookwormroom.com/ <![CDATA[The pathetic legacy of feminism’s Women’s Liberation Movement]]> http://www.watcherofweasels.org/?p=15690 2017-12-14T04:33:12Z 2017-12-14T04:33:12Z The Women’s Liberation Movement failed true feminism by creating a generation of women who deem themselves unworthy of a defense against sexual bullies. We often talk about three waves of feminism, but I think there were actually three-and-a-half. The first two were necessary and appropriate; the next one-and-a-half were not. [Read More]

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The Women’s Liberation Movement failed true feminism by creating a generation of women who deem themselves unworthy of a defense against sexual bullies.

We often talk about three waves of feminism, but I think there were actually three-and-a-half. The first two were necessary and appropriate; the next one-and-a-half were not. This post is about that “half a wave” that began in the 70s and still grinds on, not empowering women, but somehow dis-empowering them.

First Wave feminism was the 19th century push for women to have the vote. A subset of this was for women to have independent legal (and financial) standing separate from their fathers and husbands. I am very grateful for those First Wave feminists.

Second Wave feminism was the push from the 1960s and 1970s to give women equal pay for equal work and allow them equal opportunities for equal abilities. Had that been the standard in the 1950s, when my Mom was working at Bechtel as a draftswoman to support the family while my Dad was temporarily unemployed, she would have earned the same salary as the draftsman at the desk next to her. He earned more than she did, she was told, because “he had a family to support.” Because Second Wave feminists fought for these principles, I had the opportunity to get a law degree and millions of other women got the chance to learn and work to the full extent of their abilities and interests.

(This was not an entirely unmixed blessing. Many women found that they were supposed to be both Ward and June Cleaver. Other women found that they didn’t like being Ward Cleaver, but that social pressure kept them away from being June. Given the stresses on the Middle Class because women had these opportunities, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many in the post-Millennial generation are very conservative and dream of a world in which men work and women make a home for the family.)

Third Wave feminism is what we’re seeing on college campuses, with unpleasant seepage into American life outside of those campuses. This is the feminism that holds that women are equal to men only when they’re not better than men. This is the feminism that speaks of “toxic masculinity.” This is the feminism that proclaims every man a rapist and every woman an avatar of honesty. This is an ugly battle of the sexes that seeks not to temper men’s best qualities for the betterment of all, but to emasculate and degrade them. It’s ugly and damaging and evil.

But what about the famous Women’s Liberation Movement? Where’s that fit in? To me, the Women’s Liberation Movement is the “half” movement, the one that comes between and is also a part of both Second and Third Wave feminism. This was the empowerment phase of feminism. It was women:

This Women’s Liberation, “Second and a Half Wave” feminism has never gone away. If you have children in school, you get bombarded from kindergarten on up with endless messages about how the school is working (and you should work with the school) to empower female students — never mind that girls already do better in school than boys and now comprise more than 50% of the students in most colleges and universities across America. It shows up in “take your daughter to work” days that never have paired “take your son to work days.” It’s part of the endless push to empower women by getting more of them into STEM programs. It’s quotas and mandates and women in combat. And of course it’s sex, endless, endless “consequence-free” (i.e., baby-free) sex, powered by drugs and alcohol to overcome any revulsion women might feel about pretending they are men, with men’s sexual appetites.

The Women’s Liberation Movement, that bridge between Second and Third Wave feminism, might be summed up as follows: We are women and, with enough government programs, public service announcements, and Planned Parenthood outlets, we can eventually be invincible!

Except after forty years of this “you are woman, you are strong, you are invincible” yadda, yadda, yadda talk, the daily sex scandals are revealing that the whole empowerment thing has been a sham. It turns out that, when confronted with an unprincipled alpha male, women are weak. Women do not fight back when these brutes sexually bully, humiliate, or assault them. Women are victims not warriors.

Just today, everyone is lauding Salma Hayek for putting up with abusive sexual crap and threats from Harvey Weinstein to get her movie Frida made. I’m less impressed. Hayek was willing to play the submissive sex object in order to get a film going and then she sat silently for another 15 years allowing Weinstein to prey on a whole other generation of women.

I don’t admire mafia types for their Omerta code of silence around crime “in the family,” and I don’t admire all these Hollywood women either. They were “empowered” women who consciously decided to keep silent to protect their careers, rather than protect the “sisterhood.”

Not admiring these women doesn’t necessarily mean I blame them. As I said, they made a choice that their careers were important and they played the game the way it was played. Ordinary people make choices all the time and don’t need to demand that everyone weep for them.  Moreover, bad things happen in life and ordinary people put on their big boy and big girl pants and get on with it.

But….

But I’m still surprised that all these empowered women were such victims. What happened to all that empowerment we were promised over the last 40-plus years? And please, don’t blame men.

I mean, you can properly recognize that each of the men who actually did what they now stand accused of doing are morally reprehensible, disgusting human beings. I mean, though, that you can’t justify or explain these women’s passivity on the ground that certain men, given power or opportunity, are lechers and bullies. No matter how bad the men are, the women, many of whom have hectored American women for years about feminist principles, were still passive, not active, in their dealings with these moral monsters.

So maybe women aren’t that strong after all.

Or maybe all the women speaking up now do deserve some sort of pass. Maybe generations of Leftist women who have been raised without boundaries; who have been told they can do anything men can do but not that their bodies and souls are precious; who lead men on (yes, I used that phrase) because the culture tells them not to be uptight prudes . . . well, maybe these young women don’t feel they’re worth defending. Their men won’t defend them, and no matter how important their careers are (yes, Second Wave feminism drove the career ethos hard into them), they don’t feel that they themselves are worthy of defense. Even worse, once they’ve empowered themselves by keeping up drink for drink with the men, the possibility of defense retreats ever further from their minds and their alcohol incapacitated bodies.

Men inclined to do evil know that these women are going through Kabuki rituals about empowerment. They know that these women are mentally incapable of slapping the man and telling him that he’s “no gentleman” and that they’re “not that kind of girl.” They know that a vengeful father or brother won’t descend on them. They know, as I wrote years ago at American Thinker, that we’ve raised several generation of young women who have no sense of ownership over their own bodies. They are grist for the predator’s mill.

Second-and-a-Half Wave Feminism has proven to be a big joke, with the cruel, derisive laughter on the women themselves.

(In the same vein, I highly recommend Kyle Smith’s Dear Cat-Person Girl.)

Photo credit: Demonstration for Women’s Rights: 1970 #2, by Washington Area Spark. Creative Commons license; some restrictions apply.

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Bookworm http://www.bookwormroom.com/ <![CDATA[The poison pill hidden in America’s welfare programs]]> http://www.watcherofweasels.org/?p=15686 2017-12-13T21:30:58Z 2017-12-13T21:30:58Z Rather than alleviating poverty, are America’s welfare programs set up to perpetuate poverty? Here’s an essay compellingly arguing that the answer is “yes.” I was lucky enough, while on Facebook, to read a private post that Alex Lekas wrote about the paradoxical fact that the federal War on Poverty has [Read More]

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Rather than alleviating poverty, are America’s welfare programs set up to perpetuate poverty? Here’s an essay compellingly arguing that the answer is “yes.”

I was lucky enough, while on Facebook, to read a private post that Alex Lekas wrote about the paradoxical fact that the federal War on Poverty has a vested interest in keeping people impoverished. Alex was kind enough to give me permission to re-print his post here. The remainder of this post is from Alex, not from me:

***

Pull up a chair, this will take a few minutes. On the upside, there are no personal attacks, no profanity, no partisanship; just us talking like adults.

A friend of mine posted a Newsweek article about a UN delegation’s visit to Alabama to look at poverty. I’m sure the subject, location, and timing of the article’s release have nothing to do with the election, but that doesn’t really matter.

The article says roughly 41-million Americans live in poverty. According to the House Budget Committee, there are at least 92 federal programs with a combined budget of almost $800-billion. Per capita, that’s about $20,000 per recipient, except per capita benefits isn’t how this works. The $800-billion is also salaries and over head, and every single person on that payroll is invested — and I mean invested — in seeing that those dollars keep flowing and will fight for them. Dare to question the dollars or how they’re spent and you’ll be accused of starving kids and killing old folks. Which raises the question: Is the goal to alleviate poverty or perpetuate it?

The $800-billion is also this fiscal year’s spending. Trillions have been spent since the war on poverty was declared 50 years ago and there is no ceasefire in sight. There’s not even an honest appraisal of the programs to see which are or are not effective. Why would there be? Every one of the at-least 92 federal programs is someone’s livelihood. If you peel the onion for a cost-benefit analysis or to measure ROI, there might be uncomfortable questions raised. These are not just programs ostensibly designed to help people in need; they are an industry with various special interest groups dedicated to maintaining, and without a hint of cynicism, growing the industry.

Bureaucrats and admins are the most obvious interest group but there are also the non-profits whose life blood is federal grants and they employ people, too. There are the activists whose existence hinges on the perception of a problem that needs fixing. And there are, of course, the elected officials for whom spending is power. Eventually, you get to the beneficiaries but they’re almost an after-thought, especially if you get on the ground level.

Get a job, get a raise, get more hours and increased pay, and government will almost instantly take away an equivalent amount of aid. I’ve seen people turn down raises for that reason, seen them stay on unemployment because it paid more than two part-time jobs they would have to get as a stop-gap measure, seen how more income meant a decrease in rent subsidies. I can’t blame them; those people are also acting in their self-interest but the malicious truth is a perverse system that makes self-responsibility self-defeating.

Wrap your head around that for a second. Programs that, in principle, are meant to help people wind up, in practice, making those people dependent. This is not policy, it’s practically evil. People are not pawns to be shuffled around for the aggrandizement of politicians and the lifestyle maintenance of bureaucrats. And a government that purports to want to help the least among it does not build a system that virtually locks them into dependency which, over time, becomes entitlement.

Look, this isn’t anti-help; it’s anti insulting the intelligence of those paying the bills and killing the spirit of those the programs claim to help. And if you’re wondering if I have an idea instead of pointing out what you know but don’t want to say out loud, yes I do and that will come in a future missive.

Photo credit: Holding money in hands, by CafeCredit.com. Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.

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JoshuaPundit http://joshuapundit.blogspot.com/ <![CDATA[Trump Honors Hanukkah, Israel and The Jewish People]]> http://www.watcherofweasels.org/?p=15679 2017-12-13T09:06:52Z 2017-12-13T06:23:16Z Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, and President Trump made a moving speech to honor the occasion…with his Jewish grandchildren in attendance: This is the official White House video. By the way, the attendance of Orthodox Rabbis and other Orthodox Jews at this White House Hanukkah celebration means that [Read More]

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Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, and President Trump made a moving speech to honor the occasion…with his Jewish grandchildren in attendance:

This is the official White House video.

By the way, the attendance of Orthodox Rabbis and other Orthodox Jews at this White House Hanukkah celebration means that unlike President Barack Hussein Obama’s Passover Seders at the White House, the refreshments and food at President Trump’s Hanukkah celebration are kosher and actually honor the Jewish faith, its halacha (laws) and its traditions.

May the lights of freedom shine in all our hearts. Hanukkah Sameach!

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Bookworm http://www.bookwormroom.com/ <![CDATA[Thoughts on the Alabama election and Donald Trump]]> http://www.watcherofweasels.org/?p=15680 2017-12-13T05:57:42Z 2017-12-13T05:57:42Z It would have been nice to have kept the Alabama seat in Republican hands, but the truth is Trump doesn’t need it for now — he’s doing great on his own. I’d be lying if I said I was pleased about what happened tonight in Alabama. I strongly feel that [Read More]

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It would have been nice to have kept the Alabama seat in Republican hands, but the truth is Trump doesn’t need it for now — he’s doing great on his own.

I’d be lying if I said I was pleased about what happened tonight in Alabama. I strongly feel that no Republican candidate should be taken down at the last minute by scurrilous claims based upon long ago memories from women who have shown themselves to be unreliable or even dishonest.

The reality, though, is that the media has been pounding away for weeks (“pedophile, pedophile, pedophile”) and that stuff seeps into people’s brains subliminally. It’s like old commercial jingles. Just being alive in the 1960s and 1970s meant that you could then (and probably still can now) sing a word-perfect rendition of the Oscar Meyer Weiner song.

Thanks to the media, Alabamans were starting to sing, “My candidate is a pedophile,” something that was grossly untrue even if one gave maximum credence to the WaPo’s attack dogs. Even if one assumed solely for the sake of argument that those women had no agenda and were remembering with perfect accuracy events from 40 years ago, the worst facts adduced were that Moore liked teenage girls, which does not pedophile make. That didn’t stop anyone on the Left, though, and apparently affected enough people on the Right.

Here are a couple of other thing to consider is that, while Moore is a stalwart conservative, he’s also a loose cannon. Anything he did that was the least bit . . . um, eccentric, would have been used to tar Trump and Republicans. While it’s true that Trump is successfully beating back the media, his life will be easier if he doesn’t have to deal with a whackadoodle Republican in his train.

The second thing to think about is that, had Moore been elected, the media and the Democrats (as if there’s a difference!) would have used him as a cudgel to drive Trump out on sex scandal grounds. I’ve already explained why I think that’s a ridiculous standard in Trump’s case (the voters knew who he was and elected him anyway) but, again, this deprives Lefties of some ammunition.

That’s the Moore issue. I want to make the rest of this post about Trump. Let me start by repeating Trump’s pitch-perfect congratulations to Doug Jones, along with his cheerful reminder to supporters that the ideological battle is scarcely over:

As I see it, Trump has gotten little mileage out of Congress until just a few weeks ago, when the Stupid Party finally got its act together about taxes. Before that, Trump may as well not have had a majority in Congress. Moreover, if tax reform is as good for America and Americans as I think it will be, the elections in November 2018 really will be a whole new ball game for Trump and those Republicans who’ve learned any lessons from his presidency to date. And what would those lessons be?

Trump’s biggest successes as president have had nothing to do with Congress. He’s successful despite it.

An email is making the rounds among my conservative friends in which they share what they think about President Trump. The consensus is that they don’t like the man, but they sure do like what he’s doing. And that’s what I’ll talk about here.

I’ve decided that, unlike my friends, I like Trump quite a lot. I like him because, as Evan Sayet said, “he fights.” McCain and Romney were too “dignified” to fight, so they lost ignominiously.

Trump’s texts and bizarre statements are part of his pugilistic charm. He makes the Left crazy and he keeps drawing Lefties into unforced errors on their part. We’ve certainly seen that in the past week as an unhinged media published one false story after another.

Those mis-typed tweets or off-the-cuff statements usually prove that Trump isn’t a moron but is, rather, crazy like a fox. It was thanks to his Pocahontas remark at a ceremony honoring Code Talkers that most Americans got introduced to a fact that previously only conservatives knew: namely, that Elizabeth Warren had lied about her ancestry in order to obtain a staff position at Harvard. Americans don’t like liars and cheaters.

I definitely like Trump’s appointments to the federal judiciary, from Justice Gorsuch on down. As you may recall, I was one of those who argued during both McCain’s and Romney’s candidacies that the Supreme Court mattered and that people had to hold their noses and vote for those jokers. As Justice Scalia’s untimely death reminded us, we were fools to hope that elderly Leftist judges would leave the bench during Obama’s presidency. Sadly, it was an elderly conservative justice who did.

Thinking about it, though, maybe we’re lucky that McCain and Romney missed the presidential boat. Both would undoubtedly have nominated squishy conservatives who, in an effort to appease the writers at the New York Times, began to trend hard Left over the years. Trump, bless his heart, has managed to get Gorsuch on the Supremes and several stalwart strict constructionists into the lower courts.

With Jones in Congress, that’s going to stop, but I hope only temporarily. By November 2018, voters should realize that Trump needs a Republican Congress if for no other reason than to rein in a maddened judiciary that believes it’s a little bit legislative, a little bit executive, and a whole lot unconstrained by the Constitution.

I truly like that Trump has allowed the military to run wars. He sets the goals and the parameters and then lets them fight. The result is that ISIS, which seemed unstoppable while Obama led from behind and micromanaged minimal military action, is now a squealing bunch of former bullies who need to be obliterated as thoroughly as the Nazis were.

I love that Trump finally followed through on the long-standing American promise to move its embassy to Jerusalem. This isn’t just because I’m a Zionist and believe that Jerusalem is not only the historic capital of the Jewish people (the de jure capital, if you will), but is also the de facto capital of the modern state of Israel. Pretending otherwise is not only foolish and cowardly, it allowed the Palestinians to have a cause. That cause is gone now and, with Sunni Arabs making nice with Israel over their fear of Iran, it’s high time the Palestinians acknowledge that the caravan has moved on. They need to stop barking and stop building a healthy community. Trump’s decision to align American reality with Israeli reality will help.

I really like that Trump believes in America and Americans. Instead of telling us that we’re racist, lazy, and selfish, as Obama did, Trump tells us that we’re a great people — and clearly expects us to live up to his praise. I know people associate Trump with Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking,” but I also associate Trump will Dale Carnegie. Carnegie understood that, while there’s a time for constructive criticism, no one inspires people by berating them; instead, virtuous and charismatic leaders inspire people by recognizing that which is good in them and encouraging them to live up to their own best qualities.

But most of all, I really like Trump because he is slowly but steadily returning America to the rule of law. The single most toxic thing Obama did was to abandon the rule of law. He did this through executive orders that violated Congressional laws. He did this by allowing his agencies to avoid the normal review process and write actual laws. He did this by refusing to implement America’s laws, most notably the laws about immigration. (As always, I like immigration. I just believe that a nation must follow its own laws. If it doesn’t like the outcome, it changes the laws, rather than flouts them.) He did this by allowing his Justice Department to become completely politicized — so much so that it’s entirely possible that the DOJ and FBI used a fake, Democrat-produced Russian dossier to obtain a FISA order to spy on the opposition candidate during a presidential election, something that dwarfs Watergate, the Teapot Dome scandal, and any other scandal in federal history.

A nation without the rule of law is a banana republic. Business gets done in a banana republic through corrupt and brute force. It is the antithesis of what America was and what America should be.

Trump, by reversing unconstitutional executive orders; reining in rogue agencies; and seeding the federal court system with judges constrained by the Constitution, statutes, and case precedent, rather than using their emotions as a legal yardstick, is well on his way to becoming the most consequential president since Lincoln or Jefferson.

And here’s the really good news: While it would have been nice to have an entirely Republican Congress, the fact is that, having passed the tax law, Trump will manage just fine for the next few months without a bunch of lying, campaign pledge breaking, cowardly, querulous politicians doing nothing but degrading the conservative brand.

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JoshuaPundit http://joshuapundit.blogspot.com/ <![CDATA[Victor Davis Hanson: Fake News, Fake Truth]]> http://www.watcherofweasels.org/?p=15676 2017-12-13T02:00:00Z 2017-12-13T02:00:00Z Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on fake news and the damage it’s doing… The most effective way for the media to have refuted Donald Trump’s 24/7 accusations of “fake news” would have been to publish disinterested, factually based accounts of his presidency. The Trump record should have been set straight [Read More]

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Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on fake news and the damage it’s doing…

The most effective way for the media to have refuted Donald Trump’s 24/7 accusations of “fake news” would have been to publish disinterested, factually based accounts of his presidency. The Trump record should have been set straight through logic and evidence.

So one would think after a year of disseminating fake news aimed at Donald Trump (Melania Trump was leaving the White House; Donald Trump had removed the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the West Wing; Trump planned to send troops into Mexico, etc.) that Washington and New York journalists would be especially scrupulous in their reporting to avoid substantiating one of Trump’s favorite refrains.

Instead, either blinded by real hatred or hyper-partisanship or both, much of the media has redoubled their reporting of rumor and fictions as facts—at least if they empower preconceived and useful bias against Trump. But after the year-long tit-for-tat with the president, the media has earned less public support in polls than has the president. It is the age-old nature of politicians of every stripe to exaggerate and mislead, but the duty of journalists to keep them honest—not to trump their yarns.

A Dangerous Tic
Last week, ABC News erroneously reported that Michael Flynn, in a supposed new role of cooperation with the prosecution, was prepared to testify that Trump, while still a candidate, ordered him improperly to contact (and, by inference, to collude with) Russian government officials.

For a while, the startling news sent the stock market into a fall of over 300 points. Was the purported pro-business Trump agenda shortly to be derailed by “proof” of a possible impeachable offense? A little while later, however, ABC was forced to retract that story, to suspend Brian Ross (the reporter involved), and to offer a correction that Trump actually had been president-elect at the time of the contact and completely within his elected purview to reach out to foreign governments.

Reuters, likewise eager to fuel the narrative of a colluding Trump, asserted that the Mueller investigators had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank records of Trump and his family. Again, the leaked inference was that the inquiry suddenly was coming near to hard evidence of Trump wrongdoing and was thus entering its penultimate stage. In truth, Mueller has more routinely subpoenaed the records of Trump associates, not Trump himself or his family.

In the most egregious example of peddling fake news, CNN reported that candidate Trump had once received an email entrée to unreleased Wikileaks documents—again suggesting some sort of collusion with Russian or pro-Russian interests. But that narrative was soon discredited, too. CNN failed to note that the email was sent 10 days later than it had originally reported, and instead referred to information already released into the public domain by Wikileaks.

In this same brief period, Washington Post reporter David Weigel, perhaps eager to suggest that Trump’s popularity among his base was at last waning, tweeted a sardonic captioned photo of half-empty seats at a Trump rally in Pensacola, Florida. He soon offered a retraction and noted his tweeted image wrongly showed the venue well before the actual start of the event—a fact he surely must have known.

The mainstream media has developed a dangerous tic: the more it warns about the dangers of Donald Trump deprecating the press for its fake news accounts, the more it cannot help itself in rushing out another news story about Trump that is poorly sourced and not fact-checked—and thereby substantiating his original accusation. The more it accuses Trump of exaggeration and prevarication, the more it fails to double- and triple-check its very accusations.

Lies Live On
Other unfortunate symptoms of the current epidemic of false assertions are the now familiar rounds of accusations of prejudice and bias in reporting of “events” that are soon revealed to be manufactured or staged. Next come the sometimes strange reactions to such retractions and corrections. In September, five cadets at the Air Force Academy alleged that racist threats were posted on their doors. That prompted Superintendent Lt. General Jay Silveria to lecture the student body with the stirring admonition, “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.” Silveria became a virtue-signaling rock star when his YouTube sermon went viral—only later to learn that the cadets themselves had staged the supposed hate threats.

Not much later, Marquie Little, a seaman on a U.S. aircraft carrier, posted photos that seemed to show his bed on the George H.W. Bush covered in trash and racial slurs. “I proudly serve the Navy and this is what I’m receiving in return,” Little lamented in a post. Later, Navy officials revealed Little himself had likely concocted the harassment.

The late Michael Brown likely never uttered the refrain “Hands up, don’t shoot”—a veritable rallying cry that persists for a variety of social justice movements. The Duke lacrosse players were not, as alleged, racist rapists. A University of Virginia fraternity was not a den of jock sexual predators, as Rolling Stone reported. Nor was Lena Dunham, as she wrote, sexually traumatized by a right-wing assaulter while a student at Oberlin.

What accounts for the latest epidemic of fake news and false allegations of prejudicial behavior? Examples above have preceded Trump’s presidency, but recently the trend has been reenergized by it.

The singular media hatred of Trump’s style and agenda have galvanized wider elite resistance, in which a willingness to achieve perceived noble ends of removing Trump should justify almost any means necessary. In such a larger climate of “the Resistance,” we have witnessed a new assassination chic of threatening the president, coupled with sometimes vulgar attacks on the Trump family. A spate of supposed racial harassment fosters a narrative of renewed intolerance in the age of Trump.

Fake news also channels the resistance of universities, Hollywood, and political operatives. And just as we have witnessed efforts to sue to overturn the tally of voting machines, and to nullify the Electoral College, or witness a House vote on impeachment, talk of invoking the 25th Amendment, and calls to sue under the emoluments clause, so, too, the media has substituted its original mission of disinterested reporting to keep everyone honest for one of trying to nullify the 2016 presidential election. Journalists such as Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times and Christiane Amanpour of CNN have at least confessed that, in such trying Trump times, journalists of character can no longer easily remain merely disinterested reporters.

Second, for over a generation, postmodernism in the universities has seeped into the larger culture. The new relativism has postulated absolute facts and uncontested “truths.” do not exist as anything other than “social constructs.” Assertions of truth instead reflect the efforts of a race/class/gender-based hegemony to construct self-serving narratives. (Never mind that asserting there is no truth is, itself, an assertion of truth.) Today, the elites believe that a cadre of mostly white, male, and rich sanctions its narratives with uncontested and unearned authority, through which it further oppresses in insidious fashion the relatively powerless “Other.”

“Truths” Bigger Than Facts
Instead, “truth” consists of endless “my truth” claims versus “your truth” claims. Competing stories are then adjudicated by respective accesses to power—the ultimate arbiter of whether one particular narrative wins authority over another.

In this context, if a sailor or cadet concocts a racist attack, what great difference do rather insignificant details of narrative make in the wider scheme of social justice and equality, given the larger and historical “true” canvass of racism?

Upon the revelation that the cadets at the Air Force Academy faked their stories, Gen. Silveria seemed not especially bothered by it. Instead, he renewed his calls for increased awareness of racism at the academy—as if the fake news account could (or even should) have been true and thus an occasion for remediation: “Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed . . . You can never over-emphasize the need for a culture of dignity and respect—and those who don’t understand those concepts aren’t welcome here.” A noble sentiment to be sure, but are words written in falsity just as valid as those written in truth?

When Brian Ross constructed a falsehood, or David Weigel concocted a fantasy about poor attendance at a Trump rally, the details apparently did not matter so much as the attention to the larger “Truth”: Trump surely must have collided with the Russians, or Trump by this point certainly must have been losing crowd appeal, so it does not matter all that much how reality is conveyed.

On the one hand, larger “truths” exist of cosmic social justice; on the other, bothersome so-called “facts” are largely predicated on the prejudices and resistance of the powerful who unduly give them authenticity. In such a postmodern environment, the “truth” that Donald Trump is purportedly a reactionary sexist and bigot is what mostly matters, not the bothersome details of counter-progressive narratives or stories that in one-dimensional fashion claim to follow rules of evidence, but instead serve an illiberal reality over a liberal one. What do a few dates on the calendar matter, concerning when Michael Flynn consulted with the Russians—given the larger truth that they surely once sought to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency?

(read the rest here)

 

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Puma ByDesign https://pumabydesign001.com/ <![CDATA[In the Pronoun Wars, Be Thankful for the Founding Fathers]]> http://www.watcherofweasels.org/?p=15673 2017-12-12T18:17:43Z 2017-12-12T18:17:43Z The Daily Signal by Jarrett Stepman It is sometimes astounding the kind of foresight the Founding Fathers had in protecting future generations from tyranny. The current international push to criminalize free speech in the name of various social movements should make us thankful that we have the First Amendment. Most [Read More]

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The Daily Signal by Jarrett Stepman

It is sometimes astounding the kind of foresight the Founding Fathers had in protecting future generations from tyranny.

The current international push to criminalize free speech in the name of various social movements should make us thankful that we have the First Amendment. Most other nations, even in the Western world, don’t have nearly the codified protection of speech that we in America have.

For instance, French President Emmanuel Macron recently called on his country to address the fact that France had no age of consent law (oh, France) and the more common global issue of sexual harassment. These were worthy goals, yet his proposal was a low that would have taken an ax to free speech rights.

Macron suggested his country criminalize gender-based offensive statements.

“Let’s seal a pact of equality between men and women,” he said. “It is essential that shame changes camp. Gender-based insults will be punishable by law. Offenders will face a deterrent fine.”

So if you say that Macron does tyranny like a girl, it seems you may be in hot water with the law.

According to The Daily Caller, France is also considering making cat-calling illegal.

To be sure, cat-calling is a particularly boorish and ungentlemanly behavior, yet one can see how such a law can be immediately abused. Additionally, similar measures in other countries haven’t been particularly effective.

The individual rights of citizens get curtailed, but the social pathology continues. The worst of all worlds.

Government control of speech in relation to gender has perhaps even deeper implications in the transgender debate, as some Western countries have taken to passing laws that effectively force citizens to use the pronoun of a person’s choice under the threat of fines, or even jail time.

One of the most far-reaching of these laws was passed in Canada earlier this year. It threatens people who refuse to use preferred or gender-neutral pronouns with legal punishment.

The law’s authors contend that it was created to prevent discrimination based on gender identity. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a “critical extension of human rights.”

Of course, it’s really a bald assault on the individual right of free speech. As The Weekly Standard’s Max Diamond wrote:

Those who refuse to use gender neutral pronouns such as ‘they’ or ‘zi’ and ‘zir,’ or who oppose the notion that gender is subjectively determined, may find themselves facing the full force of federal law.

Alas, Canada has nothing like the First Amendment that would have cut off such a law at the knees. Such laws criminalizing speech are much more difficult to enact in the United States because of the First Amendment.

Of course, getting smacked down in court hasn’t stopped some states from pushing the envelope. The New York City Commission on Human Rights adopted legal guidance in 2016 that threatened employers with fines of up to $125,000 for refusing to use a person’s preferred pronoun, and up to $250,000 for such “violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.”

In October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that criminalizes using the wrong pronoun to identify a transgender person in a nursing home. This law even puts jail time on the table for repeat violators of the law.

But as Hans Bader, an attorney for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote, laws that force individuals to use pronouns will likely be ruled in violation of the First Amendment by the Supreme Court.

One of the greatest gifts that the First Amendment and the culture of free speech has given the United States is our ability to deconstruct lies through free debate and dissent.

The Founders didn’t write free speech protections into the Constitution because they thought all speech would be good, or even truthful. No—the goal was to allow us all to rigorously pursue the truth. They placed more confidence in the people to find the truth out of a cacophony of views than in the government to be neutral in enforcing speech laws.

These latest Orwellian attempts to force people to use certain pronouns is exactly the kind of governmental overreach the Founders feared.

Laws designed to crack down on speech, or compel individuals to say things they don’t believe out of punishment, are not simply oppressive—they obscure reality itself and the possibility of debating, and finding, truth.

Permission to republish granted by The Daily Signal.

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