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Philadelphia Insists on Worship of the Progressive gods

Welcome to the new “inclusive” paradigm:

Over the past 25 years, Sharonell Fulton has been a mother to more than 40 children through foster parenting in Philadelphia.

She has opened her heart and home to children who have suffered abuse and trauma, offering them an oasis of love and comfort during tumultuous times. …

When Philadelphia recently severed ties with Catholic Social Services, Fulton said that she felt fully “the pain of rejection.” Fulton, who had been using the Catholic Social Services program for her own foster parenting, said that seeing “the city condemn the foster agency that has made possible my life’s work fills me with pain.”

Sadly, nothing is as important to progressive governments as fealty to their gods.  Everybody must proclaim the truth of the progressive religion.  In ancient Rome, Christians were persecuted and executed if they would not go through the motions of worshiping Roman gods.  Very often, the early martyrs weren’t required to explicitly reject their own beliefs (by, for example, speaking ill of Jesus) so much as to bend a knee to the supposedly more powerful ones under a supposedly divine caesar.

Just so, Philadelphia Catholics aren’t forced to proclaim the falsehood of their beliefs, but only to behave as if their beliefs must be false for all practical purposes.  This modern variation is so much the worse because it doesn’t exact its punishment on the believers, but on the suffering and disadvantaged people whom the Catholics wish to help.

We’ll see how history judges secularists who believe it is better that children should suffer than that they be helped by Christians acting according to their beliefs.  Of course, those of us who believe in God also believe there is a much more important judge than credentialed chroniclers of the past.

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UPDATED: Latest Stunning Display of Incompetence by Raimondo Involving our Most Vulnerable May Cost Taxpayers Tens of Millions

Both the Providence Journal‘s Kathy Gregg and WPRI’s Ted Nesi are reporting today that the State of Rhode Island, more specifically, the Executive branch’s Office of Health and Human Services (the Rhode Island Executive Branch being currently occupied, we should note, by Gina Raimondo), missed a critical court deadline to appeal a court ruling and thereby may have put state taxpayers on the hook for “$8 million annually for each year starting in 2016-17″. From Ted Nesi’s story about this disturbing and jaw-dropping situation:

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Maine Council of Churches Finds Inclusiveness to Require Exclusion

We should expect to see more of this sort of news:

After the Maine Council of Churches changed its decision-making process earlier this year, the Bishop of Portland was forced to withdraw from the group, the Portland Press-Herald reported Tuesday.

The council had previously required unanimous agreement before advocating on a public policy issue, but in February adopted a simple majority vote. This meant that continued membership in the group could have forced the Diocese of Portland to be represented by views at odds with Catholic teaching.

This shows the typical progressive approach to tolerance. When the radicals were in the minority, they were satisfied with an organizational neutrality and acceptance that allowed the group of religious leaders to work together on issues on which they all agreed.  As soon as the radicals had secured a majority, the organization shifted its focus to excluding those who disagree on a very narrow range of cultural (essentially sexual) questions.

Being inclusive, you see, means excluding.  Acknowledging agreement on just about every area of social interaction is sublimated to the LGBTetc agenda.

This is not so new.  Progressives like to think that they’re at the cutting edge of human evolution, but their impulses are very old.  An in-group defines a moral necessity, and as soon as they’re able to enforce it as the mandatory law, they will.

Western civilization has had a pretty good run advancing pluralism and the ability to coexist while disagreeing.  Perhaps it is ironic that the (abstract, arguably demonic) forces of intolerance would manage to reverse that progress in the name of tolerance, but I fear that our education system has too long tilted toward propagandizing over truly educating younger generations for us to recover without drifting a while into darker times.

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Yes, That Racial Gap on the NAEP

Yes, I recoil from talk about race gaps on standardized tests like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), because the focus on race misses the underlying problems and undermines our ability to fix them.  Still, one can’t deny that they exist:

RI-NAEP-subjects-BvW--2000-2017

 

The difference of opinion, ultimately, is what to do about this.  More money gifted to the same failing system is not the answer.  Finding ways to give black families, proportionally, the same opportunities as white families probably is.  In other words:  The answer is a combination of responsibility and freedom.

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A Warning to Watch Across the Pond

The story of Tommy Robinson’s arrest may very well prove to have been a key bellwether of the modern West, so it’s worth highlighting here.  For that purpose, I’ll turn to Mark Steyn, who has long been a clear (and entertaining) voice on the broader topic of free speech in the face of Wester Civilization’s cultural collapse:

On Friday, Robinson was livestreaming (from his telephone) outside Leeds Crown Court where last week’s Grooming Gang of the Week were on trial for “grooming” – the useless euphemism for industrial-scale child gang rape and sex slavery by large numbers of Muslim men with the active connivance (as I pointed out to the Sky guys) of every organ of the state: social workers, police, politicians. Oh, and also the media. …

he was outside the Crown Court in Leeds. He was not demonstrating, or accosting or chanting, or even speaking. He was just pointing his mobile phone upon the scene from a distance. Within minutes, seven coppers showed up in whatever they use instead of a Black Maria these days, tossed him inside it and drove off. In other words, these were not “investigating officers” called to the scene: They showed up with the intent to take him away. Within hours, he was tried, convicted and gaoled – at HM Prison Hull, a Category B chokey, or one level below maximum security. The judge in the case, one Geoffrey Marson, spent all of four minutes on trying, convicting and sentencing Robinson. It is not clear whether that leisurely tribunal included his order expressly forbidding “any report on these proceedings” (the case is Regina vs Yaxley-Lennon because that’s Robinson’s real name).

The gag order on reporting about the arrest has apparently been lifted, but that doesn’t drive the chill from the air.  Steyn contrasts Robinson’s treatment with the kid-gloves handling by authorities that allowed these “grooming gangs” to become true, systemic atrocities.

We’re approaching a time in history that calls for clarity, and in cases like this, clarity should be easy.  The question that will determine the future may be how able we are to clear the identity politics from our eyes.

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Deserving of Poetry on Memorial Day

Casting about for something new (and yet sincere) to write this Memorial Day, I happened upon Mark Steyn’s quoting of his daughter’s poetry.  In his New Hampshire town, apparently, the tradition is for fifth graders to read selected or self-authored poems in remembrance of the deceased heroes who have safeguarded our freedom and our way of life.

Fille Steyn’s offering is sweet and simple and not but so original and raises the question of poetry in our age.  We don’t hear of adults’ reading poetry at such events anymore, and when we do, it seems contrived (not the poetry, necessarily, but the reading).  Appreciation of the art seems to have faded.  Perhaps the fault lies with the pill of modernism, deathly to the arts, that found a subject for mockery in the effort of crafting profundity and making it rhyme.  Perhaps we’re not training ourselves to be as literate as once we were.

Or perhaps (and causal of the other possibilities) with a surfeit of entertainment soaking up our boredom, we’ve lost appreciation for the task of creating and understanding depth.  My mother’s father, when we was old, took to writing poetry.  One imagines the practice was once more common, and a population that writes poetry for leisure is more likely to read the pros for pleasure.

In 2012, I placed my grandfather’s picture over the first of two poems I wrote on successive Memorial Days.  Here’s the second.  I have to confess that it took some sitting with the poems, this morning, to find the meaning.  That is the point of poetry, isn’t it?  Poetry is rich and thick and, when it works, leaves us with memorable lines that somehow hint at the fertile contextual soil from which they sprang.  Poetry is work.

On this day, last year, my subject was the quasi-debate about our proper attitude on Memorial Day… celebratory or somber?  That question seems related to the loss of poetry.  Simple words easily understood allow us to tread lightly on the ideas beneath.  We nod at sentiment and congratulate the fifth-grade author.

There is most definitely a place for that, not the least in the training of the young to honor the dead.  Still, the effort of deeper communication enriches the honor, and the richest of honors is due to those whom we recall on Memorial Day.

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Fire Your Personal Assistant Devices

To take a little detour from our usual subject matters around here, I think you’re crazy if this is you:

The woman, who was identified only by her first name in the news report, said every room in her family’s home was wired with the Amazon devices to control her home’s heat, lights and security system.

This particular woman is in the news because an Amazon Echo device (aka “Alexa”) mistakenly acted according to a series of cues that its owners didn’t actually speak and sent a recording to somebody on their contact list whose name happened to be similar to a word from their conversation.

It’s not encouraging that something like this could happen by accident, but more disturbing is that the mechanisms for it to happen are in place to begin with.  At some point, a payoff in convenience or the “neat” factor ceases to be worth the creeping loss of our privacy.  For my part, the fact that computers, tablets, and phones don’t have hard-wired shut-off switches for cameras and microphones already puts us past that line.  Bugging our own homes goes well beyond that.

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The Many Ripples of Upending the Culture

Not that long ago, this would have been a satisfactory explanation:

Carruthers said 98 percent of the spa’s clientele is female, and he employs no male staff. The spa has waxed the arms and backs of male clients, but has never hidden its inability to accommodate a Brazilian wax for a male.

“When we’ve been asked about a male Brazilian wax [which removes hair from the client’s genital area] in the past we tell them we’re not able to provide that service and they move on,” Carruthers told the Windsor Star. “It’s never been an issue.”

So what’s changed?  Well, as PJMedia’s Tyler O’Neil explains, in the view of some people, having male genitalia no longer makes one male.  Thus, a man who says that he’s a woman feels entitled to sue a waxing salon for $50,000 because its female Muslim employee will not play along with his view of reality.

One suspects that the money is not really the issue.  Our society has cultivated a toxic system of self-interest, activism, and moral euphoria.  For a more-local example, look to a sensationalizing article in GoLocalProv.  When a lesbian couple inquired about preschool at a nearby Christian school, the school sent them, among other things, the affiliated church’s statement of faith, which included the phrase, “the Bible, the word of God, clearly identifies homosexual practices as sin and abhorrent to God.”

The applicants sought publicity against the school, and the response led the organization to take security measures.  The person who incited that response disclaims responsibility:

“The fact that he said he contacted law enforcement? I can’t help with what the Internet reaction was. I can’t help who called or who did any of that. If people are that incited, they’re incited for a reason. I was simply trying to raise awareness,” said [Lisa] Hazard.

Not that long ago, those inclined toward alternative lifestyles encouraged an attitude of “live and let live.”  If a school had found itself under threat because somebody had discovered that the headmaster was homosexual, and if the person who had promoted that discovery had denied responsibility because “people are upset for a reason,” Hazard’s ilk would have cited it as evidence of intolerance.

So what’s changed?  The radicals feel they have the upper hand, so all that talk about tolerance and diversity is no longer convenient as they seek to force universal conformity to their worldview.

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Well, This Is… Depressing

Ashley Welch reports in CBS News:

The highest rate of depression was in Rhode Island at about 6 percent, while the lowest was in Hawaii at 2 percent. Every state except Hawaii experienced rising diagnosis rates of depression over the course of the study period.

The report notes that a variety of factors contribute to depression rates as calculated using insurance data.  Obviously, areas in which doctors screen for depression more often will have higher rates, as will areas in which people are more likely to seek a doctor’s help when they’re feeling low.

To have the worst rate in the country, though, Rhode Island must surely have more going on than these technical reasons.  One suspects a healthier economy with more opportunity (that doesn’t require insider schmoozing) would help, as would freedom from the sense that powerful people are always trying to take advantage of you.

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Asset Forfeiture Reform in Rhode Island

Building off the successful “Justice Reinvestment” reforms that were enacted in by Rhode Island lawmakers in 2017, the state’s asset forfeiture laws should next come under scrutiny, as they can often lead to the unfettered government seizure of cars, cash, and other private property. While many policymakers might assume that such laws are directed at criminals, in reality, simply being accused of a crime or violating a regulation may be sufficient for the state to take your property.

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An Indicator or an Outlier at the University of Denver?

I fear the University of Denver is more an indicator than an outlier:

Members of two conservative groups at the University of Denver say their organizations are likely disbanding after investigations by the university and pervasive harassment by fellow students have made the campus a “toxic environment” for their groups.

The school’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom debated closing at the end of last year, with its members fearful that they would be unable to land jobs after being investigated for “hate speech” and labeled racists and white supremacists in, among other places, the school newspaper. The group remains on campus, but with severely reduced numbers.

The Federalist Society there, meanwhile, has dwindled to a single student, and is set to shut down at the end of the year when the last remaining member graduates. Pervasive bullying and concerns about being called racist induced many of its members to depart this year.

Conservative students are getting a taste of what it’s like to be constantly under attack, and many are explicitly worried about what might happen to their future job prospects when they’re publicly labeled — even with no basis whatsoever — as racists and -phobes.  When one side of public discourse treats the other side’s opinions as not only illegitimate, but a form of violence, and when the people who control our society’s institutions don’t enforce neutral rules, standing up for principles crosses over from a brave learning experience to a potentially reckless eccentricity.  Better just to keep quiet.

I’m still hopeful that the United States can snap back from this (with the help of us reckless eccentrics), but that isn’t assured.  In any event, we’re certainly getting a lesson in how a society can slide from freedom and dynamism into of suppression and injustice.

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Edging Toward the Future of Our Oppressive Past

Christine Rousselle draws attention to a story that seems like a significant slip in our country’s shared appreciation of civil rights and dialogue:

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian legal organization that promotes life, marriage and religious liberty, has been removed from the “AmazonSmile” charitable giving program after being designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

AmazonSmile is a program that allows users to choose a nonprofit foundation to receive a small percentage of their Amazon purchases. ADF has been part of the program since its inception in 2013.

It is no longer the case that we can have multiple sides defending their own rights and interests.  The SPLC — itself a hate group that has inspired violent attacks — can designate as unacceptable an entirely mainstream conservative organization that specializes in the legal defense of civil rights, and the organization’s funding will come under attack even from broad and neutral-seeming public accommodations like Amazon.

We’ve already seen YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter suppressing conservative views and conservatives’ ability to raise funds.  Add that to campaigns to remove corporate sponsorships.  The next milestone will likely be a decision by Amazon not to carry books by those with whom its executives disagree.

Let’s be direct.  This was a predicted outcome of government’s decision to use the power of law to redefine marriage under the moral mandate that the traditional definition of the institution had no rationale but bigotry.  Once that principle is accepted, rights are written off cheaply.

Even non-conservative Americans aren’t going to like where this assault winds up, whether it’s civil war or shared oppression, but by the time they awaken to the hangover of the “tolerance” happy juice, doing anything about it is going to be painful, indeed.

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On This Day in Old Rhode Island

Gail Heriot gives Rhode Island history some national attention today:

On this day in 1776, Rhode Island (officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations) renounced its allegiance to George III—a full two months before the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. For such a little squirt, Rhode Island was fiercely independent. It refused to send a delegation to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and for a long time refused to ratify the Constitution the Convention produced. Finally, after the Constitution was up and running, President Washington was inaugurated, and the 1st Congress was assembled, Rhode Island was reminded that if it isn’t part of the United States and America, then it’s a foreign country. If it’s a foreign country, then tariffs can (and likely will) be imposed. Meanwhile, Congress passed the Bill of Rights, which reduced some of the concerns of Rhode Island citizens. Rhode Island decided to be “in.”

As a naturalized Rhode Islander (so to speak), I find myself wondering… what happened to our state?  How did that independent spirit become a willingness to follow and to give other centralized power of us?

Or maybe there’s more consistency than that read would suggest.  What if underlying that old cantankerousness was really just an attempt of the insiders of the day to make sure that folks in other states couldn’t meddle with their “I got mine” arrangements.

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Good for the Rhode Island Womxns (to an Extent)

A sincere kudos to the Rhode Island Womxn’s Initiative, which originated as the Rhode Island branch of the National Women’s March for refusing to go along with the partisan mandate to ignore the bigotry of Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan.  The local group has principles, at least.

Of course, those principles come with a bit of the new left-wing craziness, as seen in the group’s name.  Womxn?  When did “x” become a vowel?  How does one pronounce that — “womzin”?

A more serious matter — fascinating, really — is how the concept of “an inclusive movement” winds up being so non-inclusive.  Most obviously, one of the two largest groups in the country, heterosexual white men, is clearly excluded, at least to the extent that we don’t repudiate our own identity as such.

But this new X dynamic also excludes women qua women to the extent that it denies the legitimacy of their having their own voice absent “trans women and all people who don’t identify as strictly male or female.”  That is, the group includes everybody up to, but excluding, those who identify as strictly male (although presumably those who are biologically women would get a pass on that, oddly), and it won’t recognize the unique identity of those who are biologically female and identify as such.

If one were to set out to construct a society in which nobody feels secure and settled except those who hold political power, and therefore feel untouchable, one could not do better than to concoct this ideology.

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A Quick Thought on the Politics of Choice

Progressive Democrat Representative Aaron Regunberg, currently running for the six-figure do-nothing gig of lieutenant governor of Rhode Island, has taken the opportunity of a Planned Parenthood endorsement to remind potential donors that his grandmother was an executive director for that abortion provider in the days before Roe v. Wade:

Her name was Bunny Regunberg. But “Bunny” was a bit of a misnomer. Grandma Bunny was not friendly and fluffy, she was a fighter. And she had to be, as executive director of her local Planned Parenthood in the years before Roe v. Wade.

My grandmother’s work stressed the importance of empowering people to make choices for themselves. Grandma Bunny passed away in 2016, but she left me with a deeply held commitment to stand up and fight for reproductive justice for all.

“Empowering people to make choices for themselves.”  One wonders how far support for such empowerment goes for Regunberg.  Choices about the schools that their children attend?  Choices about how their money should be spent?  Choices about work conditions and compensation?  The list of choices that progressives like Regunberg seek to remove from people’s range of freedom goes on and on.

Apart from self-destructive “choices” that tend to put people under the loving wing of government, progressives’ devotion to “choice” seems to be limited to this “reproductive justice,” which is the farthest thing from justice for the unborn children whom it kills.

In most areas, progressives understand that “choice” and “justice” can be in conflict.  I’m inclined to disagree with them about the circumstances in which that’s the case, but it would explode their rhetoric about abortion if they were forced to admit the trade-offs.

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Being Able to Meet Your Son

The short documentary, I Lived on Parker Avenueis very moving.  As a CNA article by Maggie Maslak explains, it’s about a meeting between David Scottons — who was seconds away from being aborted, but was instead put up for adoption — with his birth parents.

“I hope those who watch will see what the adoption option can do. Without the adoption option, I would not be here today…my parents would not have the gift of their only child; nor would my grandparents have the gift of their only grandchild. That’s what adoption does. It can save lives and build families,” he said.

Moving forward, David plans on “always keeping in touch” with his birth parents, saying, “I am looking forward to seeing my biological sister and half-sister grow up as well.”

Pro-abortion advocates will likely call the film emotionally exploitative and self-serving for the young pro-life advocate at its center, but the subject is inherently emotional.  To warn of exploitation would be to forbid pro-lifers from telling the compelling, true stories that support their views.

The question of whether David Scottons is serving his own interests as an activists gets to a curios rhetorical device that we see often from the left.  On one hand, as we’ve seen with recent school shootings, nobody is presumed to have authority to speak on an issue unless they’ve been personally affected by something.  On the other hand, somebody on the right who advances his or her message through a compelling personal story is presented as trying to cash in.  The common theme, obviously, is that one is never presumed to be advocating in good faith for culturally or politically conservative issues.

Give I Lived on Parker Avenue a viewing.  Then do what you can to find and support similarly compelling productions.  On abortion as on a great many issues, we’re so clearly in the right that the only way we lose the battle of ideas is to back down when we’re attacked unfairly and illogically.

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Some Obvious Observations About Population Growth

Sadly, the modern age sometimes requires us to restate blindingly obvious things, as Glenn Stanton does for The Federalist:

It’s a terribly stubborn demographic truism: Somewhere close to 100 percent of babies never born will never become customers of your business. This is true of the more than 55 million American babies who never made it past the womb since abortion was legalized in 1973. It’s true of the untold millions who were never conceived because a potential mom and dad thought they had better things to do.

Of course, there is an inestimable, inherent worth and dignity to every human life, but we cannot ignore the social significance at play here as well. These invaluable lives-never-realized are a whole lot of missing customers. Not good for business. Not good. Nor will they be paying into social security or pensions to provide your part when that time comes either. …

Many countries have been noting this with tremendous concern for more than a decade. Rather than the apocalyptic “population bomb” which was supposed to wipe out countries and lead to the starvation of millions, the exact opposite has happened. Governments across the world are working hard, and often with desperate creativity, to boost the number of new home-grown citizens in their nations.

Understanding the economic value of people, a society shouldn’t do things like make the public bill for raising children so high the public turns away from it, or use the law to deny unique status to the types of relationships that create children, or perpetuate public policy that drives productive people away.

Unfortunately — in part, but not only, because of that old “population bomb” rhetoric — a strain of belief runs through our civilization that there are simply too many people already.  That belief implicitly implicitly relates to a great many of the issues that vex our public dialogue.  People are bad and racist, so we need to impose restrictions on their free association and speech.  People are a blight on the planet, so they’re causing catastrophic climate change.  People are selfish and ignorant, so we require central planning to take decisions out of their hands.

With such beliefs, the obvious thing probably seems to not have children.

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Arthur Brooks Of AEI Inspires Audience at Center’s Leadership Luncheon

This last week, one of America’s leading conservative thinkers, Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, inspired over sixty local leaders at our Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity leadership luncheon. One guest said: “Every once in a while I get the opportunity to experience something that will change my life in such a profound positive way, that was exactly what happened to me yesterday as I listened to Mr. Arthur Brooks’ words of wisdom. I was further empowered and assured that together we all can and should make that needed difference!”

With “life entrepreneurship” as his central theme, Brooks encouraged the lawmakers and civic leaders in the audience to advance a “start up your life” attitude among the people of Rhode Island. Brooks said that by taking the risk of investing love, time, and commitment to the important people and self-improvement opportunities in one’s life, that this “start up your life” attitude will bring happiness, prosperity, and overall returns on that investment many times over.

The feedback from the bipartisan attendees, whether liberal or conservative, was overwhelmingly positive. As only Arthur Brooks can do, he challenged us intellectually to consider the kind of moral, family, and work culture we want to have in our state. Click here now to see pictures of the event.

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Once Again with the Plain Rebuttal to “Equal Pay Day”

Well, as long as people are willing to repeat discredited and obvious nonsense like the “Equal Pay Day” rhetoric, I suppose we’ll have to continue to recite the obvious responses.  Mary Katharine Ham has apparently drawn the short straw this time around:

These differing priorities understandably impact pay. Women are more likely to take a job that pays less to gain flexibility and work-life balance. I’ve done it myself many times.

Yet, as AEI’s Mark Perry points out, there is no widespread recognition of “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” to highlight men’s overrepresentation in very dangerous fields (coal mining, line work, and law enforcement among them), which often pay more to compensate for risk. …

There is no big “Equal Commute Day,” to acknowledge the gender commute gap …

Male college graduates, on average, also entertain employment options further afield from their universities than do women, thereby opening up more and possibly higher-paying opportunities. They also work several hours more per week on average than women.

Maybe I’m just idealizing the past, but it seems like talking points used to go away when they were shown to be utterly without merit.  In today’s polarized society, the strategy seems more to keep pressing on because the risk of losing one’s base is so much more substantial than the risk of never being able to persuade after a loss of credibility.

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Discrimination and a One-Way Establishment Clause

I’ve got an op-ed in the Rhode Island Catholic, pointing out how progressives seem to think the Establishment Clause only blocks other religions than progressivism:

If the clause in the First Amendment that forbids “an establishment of religion” within government means anything, it means that government can’t enforce one set of beliefs as the law to the exclusion of others. Unfortunately, too many people in an increasingly powerful ideological group don’t much care about the objective meaning of words. To them, the Establishment Clause is a one-way street. They get to establish, you have to follow their dogma.

Diaz may have pulled her bill when people didn’t treat it as the feel-good filler that she intended, but Catholics should consider it to be a warning shot. After all, if people in the state government believe they should have the right to come into our schools and determine whether our teachings discriminate, they must also believe they have the right to tell our children how they ought to live and, ultimately, what our relationship with God must be.

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What’s in a Word or Pronoun?

One thing I never could understand as hysteria over The N-Word became mainstream was why people let the word have any power over them.  Basically, granting it power implies some mixture of two assumptions:

  1. That it has some power over white people, in an irresistible call to racist arms, as if uttering the word leaves us with no personal agency and no choice but to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who share our hue.
  2. That it points to a real inferiority that we must perpetually pretend doesn’t exist for moral reasons.

Neither of these propositions is true, but at least one must be assumed for the n-word to have any power.  Either it must have an effect on other people’s actions, or it must have an effect on the listener him or her self, bringing to mind something like an actual handicap, as if uttering it shatters an illusion of self worth.  In the absence of the mindless mob, the obvious cure is confidence in one’s self worth and denial of the word’s power, not fixation on it.

Something similar seems to be going on with the not-yet-mainstream hysteria over misgendering, only in an inverse sort of way.  The n-word shouldn’t have power because the implied inferiority is, in fact, the illusion, and giving the word power gives force to something that isn’t real.  An undesired pronoun does have power because the presumed identity is the illusion, and it loses its force if others don’t acknowledge it.

Whether we should bend to the demands of identity politics in this case depends on whether morality requires the illusion, which would cut against the better part of philosophical thought, including Christianity.  Only the Truth can be morally binding.  The most insidious imposition of recent faddish philosophy is its holding that other people can define their own truths and make them morally binding on everybody else.

Thus, we’ve come around to the use of the word “bigot” as the latest power word, perversely defined as somebody who holds to objective reality despite somebody else’s assertions.  Unsurprisingly, we see the word given its force through the use of mobs.

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