Thursday, 5/19/16

  1. Plastic vomit art
  2. Cartes blanche
  3. The law to supplant all laws
  4. Third rails
  5. A fly-on-the-wall moment

1

Of Team Obama’s Potty Guidance:

Mr. Obama’s DOJ decided to antagonize large numbers of males and females by coercing them to consort with transgender people, threatening to take away federal school funding if they didn’t allow persons of ambiguous sexuality to use whichever bathroom they felt like.

This reveals the fantastic smug certainty of the political Left in assuming that such matters as the nature of transgender behavior are adequately understood and settled — for instance, that transgender is actually a real sexual category rather than a psychological disturbance, a developmental problem, an extreme fashion statement, or a fantasy. I’m not at all persuaded that this is settled, despite the pervasive wishful thinking of the social justice corps that it were so.

It should be clear after some years of social justice hysteria in this country that coercion is now the method of choice on the Left side of the culture war battlefield: you must believe what we believe, or face punishment. As a Vietnam-era registered Democrat I hugely resent this oppressive political approach. I resent even more the supposed public intellectuals and thought leaders in government, academia, and the media who go along with this despotic conduct — which includes ruining the livelihoods and careers of respectable colleagues among them.

… You may have noticed that more and more we live in a society where anything goes and nothing matters.

… I suspected then and still do that the crusade for gay marriage was more a seeking of official state approbation for homosexual behavior as much as a legal issue. In other words, it was about feelings — which has become the basis of argument for practically everything in our politics these days. Anyone disagreeing with those feelings was labeled a “homophobe,” and their ideas on the matter could be simply dismissed as a phobia, a terrible fear, a bad feeling rather than a reasoned position about the workings of society. I was not phobic or fearful about people who identified as gay. But I didn’t then and still don’t believe that we completely understand that behavior, and that it is a settled matter — contrary to the shibboleths of the moment.

The case is similar with transgender. We only pretend to know what it’s about because doing so affords comfortable feelings of superiority — that we are better people for going along with it because the transit of human progress is ever upward, and we are on the cutting edge of that journey to utopia. I don’t happen to buy that story, anymore than I believe that an “installation” of plastic vomit on the floor of the Whitney Museum is as much a work of art as Edouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass.

(James Howard Kunstler, emphasis added)

2

We now live in a world where a prudent scientist, not independently wealthy but with kids who need food and shoes and stuff, dare not broach certain topics or implications of research:

Not long ago, I was talking to a university-based research scientist in New York City about a particular project he’s working on. It was interesting stuff, and I said that his research might have fascinating implications for broader society in light of the radical and relatively swift changes in social norms around sex, marriage, and gender. Ever thought about exploring that? I asked.

The scientist said he wouldn’t even begin to think about it. In his work, he stays far away from anything related to race, sex, and gender, unless it can’t be avoided, and even then he treads very, very carefully. Too risky politically. You never know where the land mines are hidden. You could say something you think is entirely uncontroversial and scientifically neutral, but if someone decides to make trouble for you, and call you a racist, homophobe, transphobe, or whatever, it can ruin your academic career.

(Rod Dreher) We all pay a price when someone salts scientific fields with social justice land mines.

But wait! There’s more!

The Social Justice Warriors have done their work well. Especially in New York City.

Eugene Volokh reports that in NYC, the Human Rights Commission advises that you can be fined if you don’t refer to someone by the name and crackpot pronoun (“ze,” “hir”) that they prefer. How can you avoid trouble under the NYC Human Rights Law? Says the Commission:

Covered entities may avoid violations of the NYCHRL by creating a policy of asking everyone what their preferred gender pronoun is so that no individual is singled out for such questions and by updating their systems to allow all individuals to self-identify their names and genders. They should not limit the options for identification to male and female only.

… And, according to the Commission’s guidance, it “can impose civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.”

They could ruin you if you failed to understand this bizarre gender babble, and apply it correctly.

Dreher concludes: Three of the scariest words in the English language are “Human Rights Commission.” Boy, does that ring true. Four more are “Title VII” and “Title IX,” Team Obama’s flimsy justifications for Culture War aggressions. Among them, they’re cartes blanche for governments to do all kinds of weird things nobody ever voted for.

As I have said before, I’m no fan of Ayn Rand, but I do have a favorite Randian quote:

Did you really think that we want those laws observed? . . . We want them broken . . . . There’s no way to rule innocent men.  The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals.  Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them.  One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws.  Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens?  What’s there in that for anyone?  But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted — and you create a nation of lawbreakers — and then you cash in on guilt.

(From Atlas Shrugged, quoted by Herbert Schlossberg in Idols for Destruction, 1983, in the chapter on Idols of Power)

3

Why don’t we just pass a law that says

(1) Everybody be nice now.

(2) The Human Relations Commission shall have power to implement this law by fanciful regulations, impenetrable jargon, and Orwellian imposition.

4

I got a chuckle a few decades ago when my (then) Protestant denomination was all atwitter over welcoming “multi-ethnic people.” The problem was, they weren’t talking about Eurasians or other offspring of parents from different ethnicities, but about single-ethnic people whose ethnicity wasn’t Dutch and whose skin typically was some shade darker than most in the denomination.

I was reminded of this by the Washington Post column How the world feels about LGBT people, which third rail I now grasp brush because I’ve reached a station in life where I dare broach certain topics that others dare not.

In other words, if someone gets their/xir/hir knickers in a knot over sober comments or questions I write, it’s their/xir/hir problem, not mine. It’s a nasty job, but somebody needs to do it.

So what, pray tell, is an “LGBT person”? Is this an aging term for what more recently is called “gender fluid”? Nah. I don’t think so.

Isn’t this term a dubious conflation of four (or more) somewhat distinct things? Is “feeling” the focus, or is it rational “conviction”? If feeling, does anyone really “feel” the same about Lesbians, Gay men, Bisexuals and Transexuals?

I doubt it. (In fact, the column is essentially about various legal and cultural reactions to mostly male homosexual deviation from norms.)

Pornography featuring two women together used to be pretty popular with men, and I assume it still is, but I suspect the popularity was (is?) tied more to adjectival fantasies like “ravenous,” “insatiable,” an “adventuresome” than to “Lesbian.” I also suspect that very few men who liked it would have liked — even one little bit — viewing pornography featuring two men together, or that many women, for different reasons, would have enjoyed that, either.

And when it comes to “feelings,” I venture that transexuals who are less than utterly convincing and discrete about their birth certificates trigger a rather primal consternation, whether or not that consternation can be overcome to allow a more-or-less normal human interaction.

You can fly your freak flag, but don’t you dare take umbrage if it sort of freaks people out.

So I beg to be excused from swallowing the equivocal and dubiously-helpful “LGBT” hook, which conceals as much as it reveals while giving, as Kunstler puts it, “comfortable feelings of superiority — that we are better people for going along with it because the transit of human progress is ever upward, and we are on the cutting edge of that journey to utopia.”

5

I occasionally have the dubious privilege of becoming privy to <TermOfArt>Batshit Crazy Rightwing</TermOfArt> opinion. Wednesday was one of those days.

One Michael Connelly of the United States Justice Foundation wrote and circulated “Brace Yourselves!” He argues, among other things, that:

  1. Obama is obsessed with sex.
  2. That the things even more important to Obama than LGBT sex “include seeing the final destruction of the Constitutional Republic that is the USA, and cementing his own legacy as the architect of that destruction.”
  3. Obama “owns the Clintons,” and was counting on it that when she became POTUS, “she would do what she was told by Obama and that means continue to push his agenda” (so long as she and Bill could continue to “amass a fortune in illegal donations from foreign governments”).
  4. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are reducing the chance of a third Clinton presidency, so Obama is rushing ahead with “illegal Executive orders.” That’s “Plan A.”
  5. “Plan B” is “[i]f Obama becomes convinced that Trump will win … he is capable of unleashing the dogs of war by encouraging his radical allies like the Black Panthers, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, the communist party, and others to launch all out assaults on the Republican National convention in Cleveland. This would include riots, physical attacks on delegates and the police, and wholesale destruction of property.” [He will also unleash random thunderstorms this summer. You just watch!]
  6. After the same happens at the Democratic National convention in Philadelphia [There will be local droughts, too, and he’ll be behind them!], he’d consider himself justified in declaring martial law, suspending elections indefinitely, and taking personal control of the distribution of food, water, fuel, transportation, and medical care, and maintaining his Presidency.

This kind of thing makes me long for the relative sanity of the dingbat who earnestly urged, based on close study of his sinews and broad shoulders, that Michelle Obama is a man.

And it, of course, makes me, pissed as I am at Obama, sound like a dry academic.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.