Saturday 8/20/16

  1. The faddishness of trans
  2. My God, he’s going to run as Donald Trump!
  3. This is not about Donald Trump
  4. Neither is this
  5. But this is about the Clintons
  6. Dilbert Does Donald
  7. Our brother who was in despair

1

David French has hit it out of the park on the faddishness of transgender, the ideological bludgeons to accept all claims of transgender, and the contemptible complicity of the culture and the medical profession.

When thinking about transgender issues, you can choose to believe either the Left’s comforting lie or the messy — and sometimes quite sad and scary — truth. Here’s the comforting lie: that there are a certain class of people who live in “a state of emotional distress” because their sex “assigned at birth” conflicts with their “gender identity.” For these people it is the height of cruelty to ask them to live according to their “assigned” sex. So, when even children demonstrate the allegedly objective criteria of “consistence, insistence, and persistence,” then they can and often should begin the process of transitioning to a new gender.

It’s all science, you see. And denying that science not only makes you a Neanderthal, it makes you a bigot.

According to this lie, parents should rejoice when their children finally identify as transgender. After all, it’s the first step to becoming their “true selves.” According to this lie, there is nothing to fear except discrimination itself. Once individuals embrace their true identity, only intolerance can destroy their lives. Thus the fury at dissenters. Thus the academic censorship. Because of high suicide rates in transgender populations, endorsing ideological conformity becomes a matter of life and death.

The truth, however, is stubborn. Human experience simply doesn’t conform to ideological models, and the far worse damage is done when we try to impose radical ideology onto the complexities of individual, troubled lives. In reality, people are far more vulnerable to suggestion and fashion than the Left lets on. Rather than affirming an immutable identity, our culture is ratifying and rendering permanent what often amounts to little more than a troubled youthful phase — one that is subject to all the whims of fashion that mark any other cultural trend.

Nothing and no one can be permitted to contradict the narrative. Indeed, some on the Left respond to the women in the videos above by claiming that they’re still actually “trans.” To accomplish this trick, they do what the Left so often does — redefine common terms. To prominent trans journalist Julia Serano, “transgender” means people who “defy societal expectations regarding gender.”

But this makes no sense. By that definition, every female but Barbie herself is transgender because no girl has a personality that conforms in all ways to classical, stereotypical femininity. By that definition, Barbie’s boyfriend Ken is thoroughly transgender. What’s “manly” about him?

Moreover, for activists, “discrimination” is the catch-all answer for every inconvenient fact. Why did fewer people come forward to transition even a few short years ago? More discrimination. Why do so many more come forward now? Less discrimination. Why are they still so troubled? Discrimination is still terrible. In other words, our society is accepting enough that people are “transitioning” in record numbers, but it’s still such a discriminatory hellhole that all problems within the trans community can be laid at the feet of bigots.

Yet anyone who spends times with teens — and isn’t drinking the ideological Kool-Aid — knows that these explanations are complete bunk. There are always nonconforming subcultures of teens. Some of these subcultures are deeply troubled (often for good reasons) and can act out in extraordinarily destructive ways, intentionally defying perceived societal norms. Even self-harm can be a fad. Cutting? Suicide clusters?

But we live in a world where if a troubled girl wants to become a man — to begin immediate hormone treatment that will dramatically alter her physiology, with the immediate hope of undergoing painful, life-altering surgery – she is encouraged, even celebrated ….

I did not take 27+ minutes to watch the two videos (women who reconsidered their “transition”), but what French wrote or quoted is, with a few exceptions, what I’ve been thinking and more, expressed uncommonly well.

What are my exceptions?

  • I don’t know that assigning ownership of the “comfortable lie” to “the Left” is accurate or helpful, unless all of pop culture is “Left.”
  • French seems a little too categorical: “People who identify as trans …are not …trapped in the wrong body.” Allowing that “trapped in the wrong body” is a figure of speech for “would be helped by eventual surgical body modifications,” I can’t (yet, and probably ever) deny any such cases (such as ambiguous genitalia combined with gender dysphoria).

2

It’s not easy being Pat Buchanan in 2016. He’s got a pretty low batting average. But here’s a solid double:

“I am who I am,” Trump told a Wisconsin TV station, “It’s me. I don’t want to change. … I don’t want to pivot. … If you start pivoting, you are not being honest with people.”

The remarks recall the San Francisco Cow Palace where an astonished Republican, on hearing the candidate speak out in favor of “extremism in the defense of liberty,” blurted out, “My God, he’s going to run as Barry Goldwater!”

And so he did. And Goldwater is remembered and revered by many who have long forgotten all the trimmers of both parties who tailored their convictions to suit the times, and lost.

Trump believes populism and nationalism are the future of America, and wants to keep saying so. Nor is this stance inconsistent with recapturing the ground lost in the weeks since he was running even with Hillary Clinton.

The twin imperatives for the Trump campaign are simple ones.

They must recreate in the public mind that Hillary Clinton who 56 percent of the nation thought should have been indicted for lying in the server scandal, and who two-thirds of the nation said was dishonest or untrustworthy. (sic)

Second, Trump must convince the country, as he had almost done by Cleveland, that he is an acceptable, indeed a preferable, alternative.

(Emphasis added) I bolded the best part, with the caution that history merely rhymes, not repeats. I continued the block quote not because I support Trump, but because that does seem to be Trump’s challenge.

3

I already spoke my peace on why I cannot support Donald Trump. This item is about why Jerry Falwell, Jr. is a creep.

We have lived through nearly eight years of weak leadership from a president who did not sign the charter to create the Islamic State but whose policies had the intended or unintended effect (we will be debating that for decades) of breathing life into the lungs of the terrorist group.

(Jerry Fallwell, Jr.) No, “we” will not be debating that for decades. “You” and other alt-right idiots may be debating whether that insinuation of intent can be perfumed to where it passes a smell test. The rest of us may be feeling nostalgia about how good we still had it these last eight years — or not — but we won’t be debating your fantasy.

More:

I chose to personally support Donald Trump for president early on and referred to him as America’s blue-collar billionaire at the Republican National Convention because of his love for ordinary Americans and his kindness, generosity and bold leadership qualities. My family has grown to love all of the Trumps because they are wonderful people willing to sacrifice much for their country. The public perception of Trump that has been created by the media is simply false.

No, the public perception of Trump was created by Trump himself, starting with his self-promoting book The Art of the Deal (and continuing through some Playboy appearances).

If it weren’t for the media, Donald Trump would be back in his office trying to steal land from “ordinary Americans” (who he loves as P.T. Barnum loved them) by fake eminent domain proceedings, or bankrupting another one of his corporations, or canoodling with his next wife (reveling in the “stamina” that confirms).

4

Donald Trump … is at it again on the question of Hillary Clinton’s stamina, or alleged lack thereof.

“To defeat crime and radical Islamic terrorism in our country, to win trade in our country, you need tremendous physical and mental strength and stamina,” he said in Wisconsin. “Hillary Clinton doesn’t have that strength and stamina.”

And a day earlier, in case you missed it, “Importantly, she also lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS, and all the many adversaries we face.”

It’s obvious what’s going on here. The strength-stamina combo is a gender-age twofer, a double whack at Clinton for the price of one. Strength, what men have and women lack; stamina, with its intimations of go-all-night virility. Clinton, in this depiction, is both a weak girl and a dried-up old crone.

(Ruth Marcus) No, it wasn’t obvious until you said it, because I hadn’t even heard The Donald say it.

But it looks pretty obvious now. And if Pat Buchanan is right, it’s off-message.

5

Of course, the unfairness of Trump’s attack is not proof of Clinton’s suitability.

After years of claiming that the Clinton Foundation poses no ethical conflicts for Bill and Hillary or the U.S. government, Bill Clinton now admits the truth—sort of. If his wife becomes President, he says the Super PAC masquerading as a charity won’t accept foreign or corporate contributions. Bill will also resign from the foundation board, and Chelsea will stop raising money for it.

Now they tell us.

If such fund-raising poses a problem when she’s President, why didn’t it when she was Secretary of State or while she is running for President? The answer is that it did and does, and they know it, but the foundation was too important to their political futures to give it up until the dynastic couple were headed back to the Oval Office. Now that Hillary is running ahead of Donald Trump, Bill can graciously accept new restrictions on their pay-to-play politics.

(Wall Street Journal)

6

In June [Dilbert creator Scott Adams] formally endorsed Mrs. Clinton, “for my personal safety.” It sounds like a put-on, but Mr. Adams insists he’s serious: It’s “definitely funny,” he allows, but “it’s only a joke by coincidence.”

He notes that detractors “have literally been comparing Trump to Hitler—an actual comparison to Hitler. . . . That is a call for assassination. There’s no other way you can [expletive] interpret that. . . . And you’ve seen how many Trump people have been beaten by crowbars for wearing his shirt, or beaten up [outside a rally] in San Jose, my backyard.”

Yet if its purpose was serious, the endorsement was not, in the sense that there is no substance behind it. Mr. Adams tells me he doesn’t vote, disagrees with both candidates on policy, and thinks both are too old: “There’s no 70-year-old I would think is capable to be president of the United States.” And he hasn’t let up in his praise for Mr. Trump’s skills.

Even so, his empty gesture had its desired effect. “The weird thing is, people don’t care why,” Mr. Adams says. “They only care if you’re on their side. So it actually made most of the problems go away. Almost instantly, people stopped calling me Joseph Goebbels. In terms of my safety, it absolutely worked, exactly as I imagined it would work. . . . I’m actually safer because I’ve endorsed Hillary Clinton.”

(Wall Street Journal Weekend Interview)

If you’re not aware of it, Adams early on spotted something, began analyzing it, and early on blogged a prediction that Trump would be nominated and elected in a landslide. He’s backed off the “elected” part, but hasn’t repudiated it. Check out the Wall Street Journal Weekend Interview and then, if you want to dig deeper into Adams’ theories about Trump: Master Persuader, go to his Dilbert.com blog.

7

Today is the 40th day since the death of a troubled friend who moved away after a divorce. He died at his own hand, leaving (I believe) five children no older than college freshman.

As has the Church always, so too now is this viewed as an extremely grave sin, mostly because the suicide as perpetrator leaves no opportunity to repent. But even so, we may pray for our brother. A priest found Russian Orthodox prayers when his cousin committed suicide, including:

O Master, Merciful Lord and the Lover of Mankind, we pray to you for the sinner [name] who broke Your law, who betrayed Your saving commandments and betrayed Your love and betrayed Your Gospel, for our [brother/sister] who was in despair. O Lover of Mankind, do not show him Your wrath and do not punish him in anger, but give rest, heal the sorrow in our hears, and let Your boundless generosities overcome the chasm of our sins, and let the abyss of Your unending blessings cover the sea of our bitter tears ….

* * * * *

“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.