Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Odds and ends 6/10/2015

“George Orwell devoted his later years to warning us that while the fascist method of destroying free expression was easily identified (albeit only with difficulty combatted), the leftwing totalitarian impulse to squelch unpopular speech was far harder to resist—couched as it was in sloganeering about the ‘people’ and ‘social justice.’” –Victor Davis Hanson

Kirsten Powers reprimands Mike Huckabee:

What’s ridiculous—and sad—is that Huckabee, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and his audience appear to believe that transgender people are perpetrating some sort of hoax so they can gain access to public restrooms or locker rooms. Or that they’ve chosen to identify with a particular gender on a whim. This disregards the actual lives of transgender people, some of whom (though not all) have described feeling trapped in the wrong body from a young age. What’s so funny about that?

What’s funny is that facts are being molded to conform to confusion, the logical conclusion of relativism. Abnormal is the new normal. The exceptions are the rules. Under the new constitution, we ask “Does it offend gays or trannies?” before “Is it true?”

Dr. Paul McHugh lays it all out there at Public Discourse:

Publicity, especially from early examples such as “Christine” Jorgenson, “Jan” Morris, and “Renee” Richards, has promoted the idea that one’s biological sex is a choice, leading to widespread cultural acceptance of the concept. And, that idea, quickly accepted in the 1980s, has since run through the American public like a revelation or “meme” affecting much of our thought about sex.

The champions of this meme, encouraged by their alliance with the broader LGBT movement, claim that whether you are a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, is more of a disposition or feeling about yourself than a fact of nature. And, much like any other feeling, it can change at any time, and for all sorts of reasons. Therefore, no one could predict who would swap this fact of their makeup, nor could one justifiably criticize such a decision.


What is needed now is public clamor for coherent science—biological and therapeutic science—examining the real effects of these efforts to “support” transgendering. Although much is made of a rare “intersex” individual, no evidence supports the claim that people such as Bruce Jenner have a biological source for their transgender assumptions. Plenty of evidence demonstrates that with him and most others, transgendering is a psychological rather than a biological matter.

In fact, gender dysphoria—the official psychiatric term for feeling oneself to be of the opposite sex—belongs in the family of similarly disordered assumptions about the body, such as anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder. Its treatment should not be directed at the body as with surgery and hormones any more than one treats obesity-fearing anorexic patients with liposuction. The treatment should strive to correct the false, problematic nature of the assumption and to resolve the psychosocial conflicts provoking it. With youngsters, this is best done in family therapy.

The larger issue is the meme itself. The idea that one’s sex is fluid and a matter open to choice runs unquestioned through our culture and is reflected everywhere in the media, the theater, the classroom, and in many medical clinics. It has taken on cult-like features: its own special lingo, internet chat rooms providing slick answers to new recruits, and clubs for easy access to dresses and styles supporting the sex change. It is doing much damage to families, adolescents, and children and should be confronted as an opinion without biological foundation wherever it emerges.

Via Rod Dreher, Father Robert Barron writes:

The gnostic heresy has proven remarkably durable, reasserting itself across the centuries. Its most distinctive mark is precisely the denigration of matter and the tendency to set the spirit and the body in an antagonistic relationship. This is why many thinkers have identified the anthropology of René Descartes, which has radically influenced modern and contemporary attitudes, as neo-gnostic. Descartes famously drove a wedge between spirit and matter, or in his language, between the res cogitans (thinking thing) and the res extensa (thing extended in space). In line with gnostic intuitions, Descartes felt that the former belongs to a higher and more privileged dimension and that the latter is legitimately the object of manipulation and re-organization. Hence he says that the purpose of philosophy and science is to “master” nature, rather than to contemplate it. One would have to be blind not to notice how massively impactful that observation has proven to be. Echoes of Descartes’s dualism can be heard in the writings of Kant, Hegel, and many of the master philosophers of modernity, and they can be discerned, as well, in the speech and attitudes of millions of ordinary people today.

All of which brings me back to Bruce Jenner. ... In justifying the transformation that he has undergone, Jenner consistently says something along these lines: “Deep down, I always knew that I was a woman, but I felt trapped in the body of a man. Therefore, I have the right to change my body to bring it in line with my true identity.” Notice how the mind or the will—the inner self—is casually identified as the “real me” whereas the body is presented as an antagonist which can and should be manipulated by the authentic self. The soul and the body are in a master/slave relationship, the former legitimately dominating and re-making the latter. This schema is, to a tee, gnostic—and just as repugnant to Biblical religion as it was 1,900 years ago.

For Biblical people, the body can never be construed as a prison for the soul, nor as an object for the soul’s manipulation. Moreover, the mind or will is not the “true self” standing over and against the body; rather, the body, with its distinctive form, intelligibility, and finality, is an essential constituent of the true self. Until we realize that the lionization of Caitlyn Jenner amounts to an embracing of Gnosticism, we haven’t grasped the nettle of the issue.

I might suggest the “true self” is none other than being God’s people.

Paul was a judgy pants:

I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 5:3-5)

A few verses later Paul permits the Corinthians to associate with sinners, for Christians and sinners share the world.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. (1 Corinthians 5:9-10)

He means to not associate with a hypocrite, one who sins willfully while under grace.

Practically speaking, we associate with the living because we are living. We serve as disciples and ministers of truth in a fallen world. We don’t withhold the gospel from sinners, for how would they be saved without hearing the good news? And if the gospel isn’t intended for sinners, who then is it for?

Michael L. Grable grasps the argument that ought to end the prospect of court-ordered same-sex marriage:

Race—as one Obergefell brief notes—is an immutable condition. Homosexuality isn’t. It’s a sexual activity. Applying the Equal Protection Clause to immutable conditions is one thing; applying it to sexual activities is another.

Too bad Anthony Kennedy is not listening.

Who do you think helped kill traditional marriage in Texas by leaving Texans vulnerable to an activist Supreme Court? The business lobby. WOAI reports:

The bill to prevent county clerks from issuing gay marriage licenses failed under pressure from traditionally Republican-oriented groups, like the Texas Association of Business. Those groups would be expected to again work to defeat the measure in a special session.

Big business is pro-gay. The cost-benefit analysis of defending marriage keeps coming up negative. There’s too much money to be lost by leaving your brand vulnerable to the gay mafia’s negative publicity racket.

I was too generous in my defense of Paul Ryan. There is a strong anti-social, materialist streak in Republicans’ business/libertarian/individualist wing. They have more neoliberal instincts than conservative ones. It’s become clear to me as they’ve taken cynical positions detrimental to social man and the civil society.

The same-sex marriage-toting National Review runs some common sense by Matthew J. Franck:

Clearly the makers of [anti-miscegenation] laws understood that marriage was naturally possible for interracial couples. Ironically, these laws were premised exactly on a recognition of childbearing’s centrality to the meaning of marriage; they were all about “mongrelization” and the “amalgamation” of the races. The Supreme Court that struck them down recognized them as a white-supremacist intrusion on a fundamental right to marry of couples who could marry, and who would marry if the law let them alone.

Contrast this with the “bans” on same-sex marriage enacted by many states in the past two decades. They actually prohibit nothing on the part of same-sex couples — forestalling only state recognition of their relationships as marriages. No act is criminalized, and no relationships of adults with each other or with children are targeted for disruption.

In our entire legal history, no one bothered to legislate a restriction of marriage to sexually complementary couples until the day before yesterday because everyone understood what “marriage” meant and would (if asked) have thought it naturally impossible for two men or two women to marry. No injustice to anyone was ever the intent or purpose of American marriage laws where same-sex couples are concerned—in stark contrast to the purposeful Jim Crow attack on men and women of different races. When states began in the 1990s and 2000s to legislate the man-woman definition of marriage, it was to protect the conjugal meaning from redefinition by culture warriors and judicial activists—not to interfere with marriages everyone recognized as actual ones but wished to prevent for the sake of a racist ideology. And this time the law’s salute to children’s centrality to marriage was embodied merely in the elementary recognition that the institution should be restricted to those who can be mother and father to a family built on their union.

“Scientists” adjusted the hot 1930s and the cool 1970s out of existence. Now they’ve ret-conned the inconvenient temperature flatline since 1997. The Los Angeles Times catapults the propaganda:

A fresh look at the way sea temperatures are measured has led government scientists to make a surprising claim: The puzzling apparent hiatus in global surface warming never really happened.

In a study published Thursday in the prestigious journal Science, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wrote that Earth’s global average surface temperature had climbed 0.2 of a degree Fahrenheit each decade since 1950, without interruption, due to the heat-trapping effects of greenhouse gases.

That conclusion seemingly negated an awkward piece of evidence in the debate over whether human activity is indeed warming the planet.


“It’s always good to go back and look at the data as carefully as possible and make sure it’s calibrated correctly,” said William Patzert, a climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. “But the hiatus is history and it was real.”

The future is determined. It’s the past that’s always changing.

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