Sunday, September 22, 2019

Deciphering "gender"

I have known about gender for over 50 years.  It was that pesky continental habit of assigning sex to words.  In German, for instance, a dinner fork is feminine (die Gabel), spoons are masculine (der Loeffel) and knives are neuter (das Messer).  So Germans have pretty sexy dinner tables.

In English, of course, we have no such nonsense.  We do other crazy things, like spelling our words according to how they were pronounced 600 years ago (all the "silent" letters in "knight" were once pronounced, for instance)

So for centuries "gender" was a property of words, foreign words in our case.  Around two decades go, however, the Left, with their usual abuse of words, decided to use "gender" as a description of people.  Your preferred use for your penis was described as your gender. If you made normal use of that organ you were "cis", for some obscure reason. 

But the sex drive is a strong one, as Freud emphasized, so the sex urge did occasionally get derailed in various ways for various reasons.  And your preferred derailment became your gender, according to the Left.  So the BBC recently announced that there are 100 genders.

Being myself very "cis", such extensive creativity rather surprises me but I can see no obvious harm in it.  Why the rest of us need to be bothered by it, however, I have no idea. All I can make out of it is that the derailed folk want to be praised for their derailment.  Good luck with that!

So let the Left prattle on about gender.  I suppose it draws our attention to the fact that there are a variety of sexual practices -- but we have always known that -- JR.

Why Nothing is Near Your Office

How Land Use Rules Make Life Inconvenient

It’s 11 a.m. You’re at your desk. Your stomach rumbles. You could use a hamburger. You work until 5:30, with enough time to pick up your kid before the daycare starts charging late fees at 6. Soccer practice starts at 7:30. Somewhere in between, you need to pick up the dry cleaning and get cash from an ATM. Your stomach rumbles again, a reminder that you need to feed everyone at some point. It’s going to be another whirlwind evening. You slouch into your chair with a peanut butter sandwich, resigned to the fact that you’ll spend hours in traffic after a long day of work.

Days like this play out all the time in America. Even when commutes are short, the retail establishments we frequent often aren’t close to our jobs, and some types of stores are clustered in far-flung parts of town. That’s by design. For a century, the foundation of American land use policy has been the separation of different land uses from each other under the belief that this minimizes negative spillover effects. But the legal separation of land uses makes life inconvenient, paid for in late nights, long drives, and errands that never get done.

Separating uses does have benefits. Keeping development patterns uniform in small areas is convenient for the public. It helps keep demand for infrastructure predictable and stable, making heated debates over traffic, water, power and such less frequent. Keeping commerce out of neighborhoods tempers complaints about noise and parking—landmine issues for local politicians. But use-based zoning restrictions aren’t the only way to manage local infrastructure debates, and we have alternative options for dealing with negative spillovers from mixing homes and places of commerce and industry.

State and local politicians could make a number of changes in land use regulation to tip the scales toward a mix that favors convenience over minimizing negative spillover effects. The most complete reform would be for states to endorse a form of hierarchical zoning, where zoning is based on the intensity of activity rather than the use itself. High intensity activities generate noxious spillover effects—heavy industry being the highest intensity activity of all—while residential uses generate the least intense activity. In a hierarchical system, developers are allowed to build any type of building up to the maximum intensity category. This allows housing to be built in areas home to more-intense activities like retail and office complexes, and allows retail to be built in areas home to primarily industrial uses.

Japan has long used a hierarchical zoning system, and has largely avoided the high rents people face in most large American cities. Given its success in keeping rents stable in a region as large as Tokyo, states should consider legislation to make hierarchical zoning the predominant mechanism used by municipalities when they undertake substantial zoning reform.

But for shorter, more convenient trips, zoning reform need not be a large, state-led overhaul of municipal zoning laws. In states with home rule powers, municipalities have broad discretion to implement their own land use regulations with limited interference from state governments. In these states, changing existing zones to allow more uses would open the door to more retail near offices and industrial concerns as well as more homes near retail. These changes could happen in two ways. First, towns could expand existing mixed-use zones to include most or all retail areas in an effort to allow more homes within a walk or short drive from neighborhood-serving retail. Second, towns could expand the list of allowed uses in existing zones, granting the right to develop new types of buildings in existing industrial or office areas.

American governments have been overly cautious in organizing land uses to separate our homes from where we work and where we shop. Life is easier when the places you need to go are close to each other, when you can find an ATM and a dry cleaner close to home and have time to run errands and make dinner in the evening. With zoning reform—either a new hierarchical system or an expansion of allowed uses—you could swap the peanut butter sandwich for the burger you really want.


Muslim barbarism

Three “canoodling” couples were cruelly whipped in a humiliating public punishment in Indonesia for violating local sharia law.

After the backs of the six men and women had been flogged more than 20 times each, some collapsed, bleeding, crying with severe pain and had to be carried off stage.

The couples were punished in Banda Aceh for showing affection in public, and their whipping — using a rattan cane — came after they’d already been jailed for several months, according to Gulf News.

They were beaten by a masked officer for behaving “amorously”.

Merdeka reports the “Islamic sharia violators” were whipped at Bustanus Salatin Park “in the middle of the city”, near the town hall.

The publication said not many residents attended the punishment, but students from Malaysia, studying at the Ar-Raniry State Islamic University, witnessed the distressing beating.

Wincing with pain, some collapsed after the caning, while one man was so badly injured paramedics tried to stretcher him off the stage, but he refused, and was instead carried down by police.

The mayor of Banda Aceh, Animulla Usman, said the aim of flogging the couples in public was to “make them repent”.

He said carrying out the whipping in the middle of a park, on a stage, was not to encourage people “to laugh at the perpetrators but to serve as a lesson to us all”.

Mr Usman said none of the couples were local residents but had violated strict sharia laws while in the city of Banda Aceh.

The Indonesian province routinely flogs gamblers, adulterers and homosexuals.

Mr Usman told children they were banned from watching the punishment, as it could affect their “psychological development”.

Amnesty International says caning is an “inhuman and degrading form of punishment that may amount to torture which should never be used in any circumstances”.

“The Aceh authorities’ decision to cane unmarried couples and sex workers, in front of hundreds of spectators, is an act of utmost cruelty,” Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said.


Groundbreaking $4.8M Lawsuit Threatens to Unearth SPLC's Secrets

Over the past two years, the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has faced numerous lawsuits for defamation and other claims. The SPLC earned its reputation by suing the Ku Klux Klan, and in recent decades it has accused various organizations of being "hate groups," listing them along with the KKK in a cynical attempt to raise money and destroy its political enemies. While the SPLC paid a $3.375 million settlement to Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz last year, none of the many lawsuits against the SPLC has threatened to reveal its secrets — until now.

Every lawsuit against the SPLC has been stalled or dismissed or settled, with none reaching the discovery process — a legal process by which a plaintiff can investigate the internal documents of the organization or person he or she is suing. On Tuesday, a judge dismissed a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) lawsuit, claiming CIS attempted to shoehorn a defamation claim into a racketeering claim. CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian told PJ Media his group is considering an appeal.

The discovery process threatens to reveal the SPLC's hidden documents. This is a big deal because the organization had a serious shake-up in March, when it fired its co-founder and cleaned house at the top in response to claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination. The secretive SPLC did not even reveal the employee letter that led to this massive shake-up, and there is likely more dirt still to be uncovered.

In July, District Court Judge Roseann Ketchmark in the Western District of Missouri rejected part of the SPLC's motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit, allowing the case to enter the discovery process. Yet this huge news has received almost no media attention, presumably because there is no big law firm behind this lawsuit.

In Craig Nelsen v. Southern Poverty Law Center, the Kansas City-based pro se plaintiff Craig Nelsen is suing the SPLC for defamation and asking $4.755 million in damages. Nelsen, a former heroin addict, had started the Robinson Jeffers Boxing Club (RJBC), a 13-week residency "life treatment" program for men with opioid addictions or who are otherwise in distress. The program called for a healthy diet, morning exercise, and a rigorous academic program with math, philosophy, literature, music, history, and poetry. The core of the program centered on a daily two-hour intensive boxing training, in order to give men confidence to face the world.

Nelsen attempted to start the program in late 2017 in the small town of Lexington, Mo., with specifically white males in mind. Yet RJBC was always open to people of all races, and Nelsen had made that clear from the get-go.

According to the lawsuit, Nelsen "expressed his theory that, as evidenced by official statistics on suicide and opioid abuse, white males were in a crisis of self-loathing. He argued that the Robinson Jeffers Boxing Club—designed to address the particular challenges faced by white males in modern America—could save lives, repair broken families, and help alleviate the ocean of suffering across the country."

On his website and in literature for RJBC, Nelsen made it clear that while the program was "designed to address the specific challenges unique to white males in the United States, the program was open to, and would benefit, men in distress of any race."

Unfortunately, some Lexington residents got the wrong impression, fearing that RJBC was a white supremacist organization. This was absurd, since Sherman Davis, a black resident of Washington, D.C., came to Lexington to help Nelsen launch the program. The lawsuit notes that it is "impossible to imagine that Davis, an African-American, would uproot himself from his home town and set out with Nelsen on a journey halfway across the country in the dead of winter on a speculative effort to establish a beachhead for white supremacy."

Yet Lexington resident Deborah Starke Bullock found 15- to 20-year-old SPLC attacks against Nelsen, which claimed he was an anti-immigrant racist supported by neo-Nazis. She shared them on a Facebook group and ginned up a mob against Nelsen. The SPLC piled on with a new article restating the old attacks and claiming that Nelsen "isn't convincing anyone" that his club is open to non-whites.

The backlash was deafening. A popular football coach who had supported RJBC and made a fundraising video for the program denounced Nelsen and said he had been hoodwinked. The City of Lexington filed a stop-work order — even though Nelsen hadn't started renovating the site for RJBC, a former grocery store. Pat Welch, the owner of the property and a supporter of the project, said it was time to throw in the towel.

During this public battle, Nelsen and Davis met Ryan Wilson, a 24-year-old man described in the lawsuit as "intelligent, addicted to heroin, and the father of an infant boy." He was excited about RJBC. It was a cold night, and Nelsen wanted to invite Wilson to spend the night in the store, but decided against it — since residents had posted online messages saying they would take matters into their own hands if the city would not get rid of the "Nazis on Main St." He thought taking Wilson in would give the authorities an excuse to arrest him.

Wilson was killed by a hit-and-run driver that evening.

"In the wake of Wilson's death, Nelsen and Davis's frustration grew at the sheer needlessness of it. He and Davis had traveled to Lexington expressly to help distressed men like Wilson, but had been prevented for political reasons—reasons supplied primarily by the SPLC's and Bill Sellers' false and defamatory statements. It was an outrage that the SPLC could do so much damage with such impunity," the lawsuit states.

After an aborted attempt to launch RJBC in Baltimore, Davis returned to D.C. and Nelsen lived in his van on the streets of Baltimore. The SPLC attack has done Nelsen continued damage, as potential business partners have googled his name and discovered the SPLC article.

Last November, Nelsen sued the SPLC on six counts of defamation, claiming the SPLC attempted to slander him as a neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant, and racist — and specifically accusing him of opening a whites-only club.

Judge Ketchmark struck down the suggestions that Nelson is a neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant, and racist, but she allowed Nelsen's lawsuit to move forward on the SPLC's false claim that Nelsen was opening a whites-only club.

Indeed, the article reads, "Nelsen claimed the club is open to all races, but he isn't convincing anyone." The lawsuit dissects this sentence in detail, explaining that the sentence is a blatantly false assertion of objective fact. Not only was the SPLC accusing Nelsen of lying, but that statement arguably revealed actual malice against the former addict.

According to the lawsuit, the SPLC knew that statement was false, since the article concluded with this sentence: "The meeting drew a large crowd, but in the week since, Nelsen has only resorted to getting in virtual boxing matches with residents and his grand plan for Lexington remains, at least for now, between rounds."

According to the lawsuit, the SPLC "could only make the statement if it was monitoring the Facebook group" where the debate about RJBC was taking place. "Among those participating in the Facebook discussion were those who counseled a more moderate position, who had read the website, recognized the potential for good and the undeniable need for something to be done, and who pointed out that the RJBC was open to men of any race. In other words, they were 'convinced' by [Nelsen]. Therefore, [the SPLC] knew that its claim that [Nelsen]wasn't convincing anyone was false."

The SPLC embedded this allegedly defamatory claim in an article insinuating that Nelsen is anti-immigrant, racist, and neo-Nazi. Nelsen had run the group ProjectUSA, which advocated for an immigration time-out to give the "assimilation magic a chance to work." According to Nelsen, the U.S. has experienced many waves of immigration, often punctuated by a time-out period allowing immigrants to assimilate.

"Organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center label those who advocate for remaining true to the traditional immigration pattern as hate groups and extremists and stealth Nazis," Nelsen claims in the lawsuit. He notes that the SPLC savages "anyone who suggests a time-out or any reduction at all in either legal or illegal immigration as anti-immigrant and a 'hate group.'"

Indeed, the SPLC attacks a broad swath of organizations as "anti-immigrant hate groups." The article attacking Nelsen notes that he sat on the advisory board for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the SPLC accuses of being a "hate group."

"The SPLC seems to think that any deviation from their political ideology amounts to hate," FAIR Media Director Ira Mehlman told PJ Media. While the SPLC goes to great lengths to connect FAIR with racism, Mehlman insisted that "there’s nothing in FAIR’s record that we discriminate for or against any immigration based on race, religion, ethnicity. We believe immigration needs to be more limited, that people need to obey our laws and we need an immigration policy that selects people based on some rational basis, they need to contribute."

He insisted that FAIR welcomes "qualified people" from "just about any place on Earth."

Interestingly, the SPLC attack on Nelsen does not just note his connection with FAIR but also cites a Lexington resident who compared Nelsen to a neo-Nazi who moved to North Dakota to set up a colony. As the lawsuit notes, this is "not only guilt by association, it's guilt by association even where there is no association."

Nelsen's entering the discovery process has huge implications for lawsuits against the SPLC. In addition to Nelsen and CIS, D. James Kennedy Ministries, Baltimore lawyer Glen Keith Allen, and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes have sued the far-left group.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Christian nonprofit branded a "hate group" by the SPLC, told PJ Media that more than 60 organizations are considering their own lawsuits against the SPLC. He said Nelsen's lawsuit will likely "bolster other cases; there's no question about it."

Staver noted that any documents Nelsen files in court are public record for others to inspect, report on, or use in other lawsuits — unless they're sealed.

After CIS filed its RICO lawsuit, the SPLC asked the court to penalize CIS for filing a frivolous lawsuit. While the judge struck down the lawsuit, she did not say it was frivolous and did not penalize CIS. This development also bodes well for those considering a lawsuit against the SPLC.

"I think that the SPLC itself is inspiring more people to file lawsuits by its reckless labeling of people 'hate groups,'" Staver told PJ Media. "The SPLC is the real inspiration for these lawsuits."

He noted that litigation often follows a "typical pattern of suits that were not successful and then began to get some traction and eventually began to get a significant amount of traction."

Citing the SPLC's settlement with Nawaz, Staver said the lawsuits against the SPLC may be crossing the threshold. "There's more traction building," he insisted.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Friday, September 20, 2019

Comedians endangered

A podcast from September 2018 was circulated in which Shane Gillis mocked Chinese people and described his remarks as "nice racism". In another episode from the same month, Mr Gillis was heard using homophobic slurs to describe Hollywood producer Judd Apatow and comedian Chris Gethard

I hope this offends someone...

Ed Driscoll put it best on Instapundit yesterday when he said, "Cancel Culture Collects Another Scalp." In case you missed it, a young comedian just had the career opportunity of a lifetime taken away because some emotionally-limited morons were determined to be aggrieved:

The details of Gillis's supposed transgressions are all over the internet, but they are irrelevant to the point I am going to make here.

It doesn't matter what he said. I don't care what the subject matter was or what kind of pathetic, poorly-parented emotional weaklings were offended by it. Heck, I don't care if he was talking about my mom. In fact, I hope that after this, Gillis goes on tour and does jokes about everyone's moms.

Of the myriad assaults on free speech -- most of which are coming from politically correct leftist scolds -- the assault on stand-up comedy is the most ominous. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a comic.

Just around this time last year, I wrote a lengthy post about the PC crowd's full-frontal assault on stand-up, noting that the slippery slope to the death of free speech gets much more slippery if they're successful in shutting up comedians.

Lorne Michaels' posturing via a spokesperson (at the Instapundit link) was timid, pathetic, and disturbing.

"Saturday Night Live" was once cutting-edge sketch comedy and satire. Now it's firing people for upsetting some snot-nosed Twitter scolds.

I am forever grateful that social media wasn't around during my early days as a comic. I'm pretty sure everything I did for the first five years on stage could have offended someone enough to ruin my career. I'm proud of that too.

Cancel culture needs to be canceled. The future of entertainment is well and truly bleak if left to these perpetually outraged emotional midgets.


California’s Travel Bans Are the Lamest Virtue-Signaling Tactic Yet

California is becoming an unhappy mix of serious problems and unserious policy ideas.

The Golden State is grappling with skyrocketing homelessness rates, net negative migration, nation-leading poverty rates, and an outbreak of disease that hearkens back to the Dark Ages.

It’s the perfect storm of ugly circumstances that cry out for bold leadership.

But rather than tackle these problems, state leaders are shifting the focus to other states who apparently deserve a moral lecture from California: The state has now added Iowa to its “travel ban” list.

According to Fox News, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that as of Oct. 4, “California will no longer offer taxpayer-funded trips to Iowa for any public employee or student at a state-run university.”

Why? Because the state will no longer spend Medicaid dollars on gender transition surgeries, thanks to a newly passed Iowa law.

Becerra said in a statement:

The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming health care. California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it.

Apparently, not paying for someone else’s transgender surgery is beyond the pale.

This isn’t the first time California has issued a travel ban.

In 2017, the state announced a ban on taxpayer-funded travel to states deemed “discriminatory” toward LGBT people. The list of banned states has grown to 11 with the recent addition of Iowa.

No surprise, those states are almost entirely red or red-leaning.

The policy may be getting lots of press, but it’s barely having any impact. Though the policy prohibits public universities from partaking in events in states on the list, it hasn’t interfered with the college sports schedule, according to The Sacramento Bee.

And, no surprise, the law makes clear exceptions for tax collectors traveling out of state.

Apparently, social justice takes a back seat to good ole cash revenue.

As I noted when California first started implementing this law, it was telling that California placed a ban on these states while suing the Trump administration for its own travel ban on terrorist hotbeds like Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, where same-sex sexual activity is illegal and in some cases is punishable by death.

Apparently, California sees red states as more of a threat than terror states.

This laughable double standard was noted by Assembly Minority Leader Marie Waldron, a Republican. She pointed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s April trip to El Salvador, which is not exactly a gay-friendly country.

“El Salvador doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry or adopt children and discrimination is rampant. Where was the outrage from legislative Democrats when Gov. Newsom traveled there?” Waldron asked, according to the Los Angeles Times.

She called the governor’s trip “virtue-signaling at its worst.”

California’s travel-ban frenzy is full of irony. If anything, other states have better reasons to place California on a travel ban.

As mentioned, California is reeling from an outbreak of infectious diseases, and its residents are fleeing by the thousands. Moreover, when they leave, they take their political ideology with them to their newly adopted homes—which are often in red states.

Be careful, California: You might just find yourself on the receiving end of a travel ban.


Baltimore’s Police Exam Isn’t Racist

The U.S. Department of Justice has recently sued the Baltimore County government alleging that its written test for police officer recruits was unfairly biased against black applicants.

It turns out that black applicants failed the written test at a rate much greater than white applicants. That results in fewer blacks being trained and hired as police officers.

John A. Olszewski Jr., Baltimore County executive, said: “A law enforcement agency should look like the community it serves. As I have said repeatedly since taking office, I am committed to increasing diversity in the county’s police department.”

Baltimore City uses the Municipal Police Selection Test. You can examine some sample questions at its website. I’d like to know which of the questions are either unrelated to police work or racist.

Many jurisdictions use The National Police Officer Selection Test. You can examine some of the sample questions at its website. Again, I’d like to know which of the questions are unrelated to police work or are racially biased questions.

In addition, it has been found that MPST and POST are successful predictors of law enforcement training success and job performance.

Black performance on police exams is simply the tip of the iceberg of a truly tragic cruelty. That cruelty stands front and center when one examines the education that most blacks in Baltimore receive.

Several years ago, Project Baltimore began an investigation of Baltimore’s school system. What it found was an utter disgrace.

In 19 of Baltimore’s high schools, out of 3,804 students, only 14 of them, or less than 1%, were proficient in math. In 13 of Baltimore’s 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math. In five Baltimore City high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math or reading. Despite these academic deficiencies, about 70% of the students graduate and are conferred a high school diploma.

A high school diploma attests that the holder can read, write, and compute at a 12th-grade level. Obviously, the diplomas conferred on students who have not mastered reading, writing, and computing are fraudulent.

When a person who cannot read, write, and compute very well takes a written employment exam, including that to become a police officer, he is going to encounter difficulties. His difficulties are not caused by any racially discriminatory aspect of the test. His difficulties are a result of not having acquired what he should have acquired by the time he finished high school.

But that is not how such a person sees it. He sees that he has a high school diploma just as a white applicant has a high school diploma. To him, any difference in treatment and outcomes must be the result of racial discrimination. Thus, the U.S. Department of Justice sued, claiming that the written test for police officer recruits was unfairly biased against black applicants.

The conclusion that Baltimore County’s written test for police officer recruits was unfairly biased against black applicants is tragic. It allows Baltimore public schools to continue to produce fraudulent education.

You say: “Hold it, Williams! You can’t blame everything on schools.” You’re right. One cannot blame schools and teachers for students who are hostile to the education process. One cannot blame schools and teachers for a rotten home environment or derelict parents.

But there is one thing entirely within the control of educators. That’s their power to issue diplomas. When they confer high school diplomas on youngsters who cannot read, write, and compute at or near a 12th-grade level, they are engaging in fraudulent conduct.

Thomas Sowell’s research in “Education: Assumptions Versus History” documents academic excellence at Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High School and others. This academic excellence occurred during an era when blacks were much poorer and faced gross racial discrimination. It’s worthwhile reading for black people to learn the capabilities of other blacks facing so many challenging circumstances.

I’m wondering when the black community will demand an end to an educational environment that condemns so many youngsters to mediocrity.


Australia: Jacinta Price not the first indigenous person to fall foul of Coffs Harbour City Council

When the Coffs Harbour City Council last week attempted to ban Warlpiri/Celtic woman, Alice Springs councillor and former Coalition federal candidate Jacinta Nampijinpa Price from speaking on her Mind the Gap tour, it was merely continuing a long tradition of being seen to act in the best interests of indigenous people.

For example, nearly 70 years ago, one Councillor (President) Harry Bailey told the Dorrigo Shore Council, as it was then, that it was wrong for the NSW Government to accommodate Aboriginals within the town, or nearby for that matter.

“The aborigines are a vanishing race and we owe a great deal to them,” said Bailey, as quoted in the Coffs Harbour Advocate on November 19, 1948. “They should be treated with all the consideration and kindness we can bestow on them.” According to him, this involved allocating them “a natural setting — an area of land close to a beach, served with a stream or two and with some natural brush in which they could erect some dwellings and fish and work and live in keeping with their way of life”.

Bailey was wrong in believing the demise of indigenous people was nigh. Nonetheless, his romanticised and simplistic depiction, together with his belief that isolation and patronising were the answer, mirrors the views of many other officials, activists, and commentators today who purport to speak on behalf of indigenous people. Less enlightened folk refer to this phenomenon as the racism of low expectations.

Bailey, sometimes referred to as “the father of modern Coffs Harbour” died in office in 1965 but the WH Bailey Memorial City Library still bears his name, or at least it will until some professional offence-taker discovers his “vanishing race” utterance. Now a female mayor, Denise Knight, heads the council. No doubt she too would say it was acting as with consideration and kindness this month in writing to Price, who had booked the Jetty Memorial Theatre for her tour, saying it would “appreciate” her “requesting permission from Gumbaynggirr Aboriginal people to enter the land”.

A question for the non-indigenous folk who have stayed in Coffs Harbour — was your visit preceded by a similar instruction from council or were you allowed to go about your business as if you were an adult with the ability to make decisions for yourself? Memo to Mayor Knight and her mostly fair-skinned fellow councillors: the days of indigenous people not being allowed to travel unless they have a permit from a white government inspector are long gone.

Price has ample grounds to make a complaint of racial discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission, although for some unknown reason the normally noisy so-called anti-racists have not urged her to do so.

This is the same mayor who said only last month: “It’s vital in an inclusive community that we learn as much as we can about each other’s cultures so that we can better understand the different ways we view the world.”

The occasion was the launching of ‘Yandaarra — Shifting Camp Together’, an “Aboriginal cultural awareness and engagement guide”. Get ready for a good laugh: the guide specifies: “It is important that the Aboriginal community is provided with opportunities to openly share information and discuss issues that may impact on their community, culture, heritage and traditional lore.”

That is exactly what Price’s tour is about, thus proving that Coffs’ council chambers are full of mealy-mouthed hypocrites. Admittedly Price has some controversial views, for example, she says indigenous empowerment is realised through people taking responsibility for themselves rather than rely on government welfare. She also maintains colonisation is used to excuse epidemic levels of violence by indigenous men against women and children, and that the vulnerable in these communities are silenced through intimidation. Those views are uncomfortable facts, otherwise known in progressive parlance as “hate speech”.

Price is also dismissive of that ancient indigenous ritual, the so-called “Welcome to Country” ceremony. So ancient in fact that the two indigenous men who invented it, Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley, are still alive. The custom has become so widespread that no official function can claim moral legitimacy if it dispenses with it. And as the council’s guide specifies: “In providing cultural services such as Welcome to Country, artistic performances … it is important to acknowledge the intellectual property of the Aboriginal people through appropriate payment for their services.”

The ceremony serves two purposes. First, it reinforces the guilt industry by continually reminding whitey he is stained by the sins of his forefathers; and second, it makes for much moolah in return for doing very little. For example, in 2013, Matilda House of the Ngambri clan was paid $10,500 for officiating at the opening of the 44th Parliament. No wonder so many indigenous activists loathe Price. As Herald-Sun columnist Andrew Bolt pointed out last year, some of the foulest misogyny directed at her — including exhortations she “die a painful death” — was from indigenous men paid by government departments to conduct these ceremonies.

Price herself knows only too well the threat of impending death. In 2008 her then-partner struck her in the head with a lamp. Bleeding profusely, she escaped from the house, fearing she would be murdered if she did not. Her message is that men in her community must take action to end domestic violence. If she were a white woman, she would be feted by the leftist commentariat.

Instead Fiona Poole, an ABC Coffs Coast presenter who attended Price’s function, described her as “very divisive”. Her ABC colleague Claire Lindsay spoke with members of the Gumbaynggirr community groups who had objected to Price’s visit. As national affairs associate editor Chris Kenny noted this week, neither journalist sought Price’s input. In addition, Lindsay blithely repeated on air a defamatory excerpt from an indigenous community media release that Price “spreads racist vitriol, vilifies and ridicules Aboriginal people and cultures”. The ABC later released a statement, saying the organisation was “remiss in not offering Ms Price the opportunity to respond to criticism”.

As for the ABC dissing an indigenous woman on the grounds she is “very divisive”, this must be a new thing. There was no such criticism from the national broadcaster when indigenous activist Tarneen Onus-Williams declared at an “Invasion Day” rally in Melbourne last year “F**k Australia, hope it burns to the ground”. In a column titled “Australia Is Tearing Down Another Woman of Colour for Daring to Have an Opinion,” then Junkee news and political editor Osman Faruqi defended her from conservative critics, stating: “The goal is not just to silence Onus-Williams, but to discourage anyone like her from speaking up.” Faruqi is now deputy editor of ABC Life. Surely any day now it will be running his article: “Progressive Australia is Tearing Down a Woman of Colour for Daring to Have a Contrary Opinion”. Right?

Then there is the case of indigenous woman, actor and playwright Nakkiah Lui. In 2016, the star of ABC’s “Black Comedy” tweeted: “My main concern in Indigenous Affairs atm is our use of the saying ‘White Dogs’. Dogs are innocent, sweet and loyal. Let’s not insult dogs.” All in the name of reconciliation, I am sure. Interviewed on ABC Radio National regarding a negative review of her play How to Rule the World by Daily Review critic and ABC senior producer Jason Whittaker this year, Lui attributed this to “white supremacy”, and suggested he no longer be allowed to review any works by “people of colour”.

Joining her in the studio and metaphorically holding her hand as Lui told of how Whittaker had “hurt” her “feelings” was Gamilaroi/Eualeyai woman, academic, and host of ABC’s Speaking Out, Larissa Behrendt. You might remember in 2011 she tweeted “I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I’m sure it was less offensive than Bess Price,” referring to Jacinta’s mother, who like her daughter is outspoken about reducing Aboriginal violence and who supported the Northern Territory intervention. But of all these indigenous women it is only the Prices who are divisive, at least in the eyes of Aunty.

As to why this is the case, it is best explained by the reality that many indigenous activists see perpetual bemoaning of the status quo as a livelihood, and a lucrative one at that. Working in tandem with them is a sympathetic progressive media eager to portray itself as the stalwart defender of the wretched. Any indigenous person who publicly challenges that narrative can expect to be labelled a pariah by the former and treated with cold indifference by the latter. The fact that even local government now takes part in this bullying, ostracising and groupthink shows how pervasive the censorious ideology of identity politics has become.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Another rapid slide away from reality by the Left

During the third Democratic debate on Thursday, ABC News ran an obnoxious ad from the Sinclair Media Group. The ad opened with the face of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) getting lit on fire, revealing the skulls of people killed under Pol Pot's horrific regime in Cambodia. While the ad's imagery deserves to be condemned, it aimed to make an important point about command and control big-government regimes.

Rather than addressing the concerns that socialism gives way to communism and government tyranny, AOC attacked the ad as racist.

"Know that this wasn’t an ad for young conservatives of color - that was the pretense. What you just watched was a love letter to the GOP’s white supremacist [base]," AOC tweeted.

Setting AOC's face on fire is incendiary rhetoric, and it comes at a time when both liberal and conservative politicians have faced threats to their lives. But the optic was not about racism — it was about ideology. In fact, Cambodian-American Elizabeth Heng, a woman of color whose father almost died in the horrors of Pol Pot's regime, narrates the video.

Heng took offense at AOC's suggestion that she was abetting white supremacy. "Not Republicans. Me. Are you really calling me a racist [AOC]? I’m calling all Democrats out for supporting an evil ideology. Or are you just in Congress to hang out with celebrities and tweet out ridiculous ideas like the green new deal?" the Cambodian American tweeted.

Heng later claimed that AOC's "response is the Democratic party in a nutshell. They are more offended by truthful words than the acts of their political ideology that has killed millions of innocent victims. I don't care about [AOC's] feelings - I care about stopping her lies about the lies of socialism."

During the debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who pioneered the "proud democratic socialist" argument that AOC has embraced, claimed that his view of democratic socialism is entirely different from the socialism practiced by Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.

"Anybody who does what Maduro does is a vicious tyrant. What we need now is international and regional cooperation for free elections in Venezuela so that the people of that country can make -- can create their own future. In terms of democratic socialism, to equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair. I'll tell you what I believe in terms of democratic socialism," Sanders said.

"I agree with what goes on in Canada and in Scandinavia, guaranteeing health care to all people as a human right. I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave. I believe that every worker in this country deserves a living wage and that we expand the trade union movement," he added.

Yet Sanders historically embraced the communism of the Soviet Union. He and his wife took their honeymoon in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. As for Bernie's constant refrain about America falling behind every other "major country son Earth" — by which he means OECD countries, excluding Russia, China, and India, among others — America's poorest 20 percent consumes more resources than the average person in 64 percent of OECD countries.

The U.S. is not a tiny, largely culturally and ethnically homogenous country like those in Scandinavia. Ironically, Scandinavian countries like Denmark are reforming in the direction of free markets, moving away from socialism. Furthermore, America has a unique role in the modern world, providing protection for Europe — a position that affords European countries the ability to spend more money on social programs.

If America were to become a socialist country, with its tremendous military apparatus, it would be less like European socialism. In order to mandate government control of industry, the government may have to use force. Democratic socialists like AOC and Bernie Sanders do not have anywhere near the evil radical agenda of Pol Pot, but power corrupts — and liberals are already trying to redefine American history as a story of evil rather than of expanding liberty.

Nationalization of industries in the style of Venezuela would arguably result in poverty like Venezuela currently experiences. Worse, America has the world's largest economy, so derailing the U.S. economy with socialism would have a ripple effect across the world.

Most importantly, Americans take our unprecedented freedom and prosperity for granted. We easily forget that the natural human condition is poverty and tyranny. Governments abused their monopoly of force, using it to force subjects to construct monuments to the glory of kings rather than allowing the people to live as they pleased. We easily forget that conveniences like running water, central air and heat, refrigeration, and microwaves represent a level of wealth unimaginable even just 200 years ago. The institutions of liberty, free markets, and limited government grew up over time, and can be lost quickly.

In the 20th century, totalitarian ideologies like Nazism, Soviet communism, and the communism of Pol Pot reared their ugly heads — proving that modern humans are still susceptible to the same forces of tyranny that dominated the pre-modern world. In the 1920s, some of these command-and-control tyrants were seen as pioneers of the future. They grew from socialist movements that aimed to bring back state control and a pre-modern collectivism seen as the answer to modern angst.

The fact that these totalitarian governments fell should not give lovers of liberty and prosperity a false hope. China has embraced a new form of communism, and even after the death of the Soviet Union, the college professors Russia aimed to indoctrinate are teaching American youth about the virtues of big government.

Bernie Sanders and AOC are no Pol Pot. But the big government socialist "Revolution" they seek to bring to America would open the path for a communist tyranny to prevail even in this country.

The very fact that AOC rushed to connect Elizabeth Heng's video to white supremacy shows just how insistent liberals like her are in their efforts to redefine America's past and present. If a Cambodian American woman of color can be accused of supporting white supremacy, then white supremacy has lost its meaning. Heng did not attempt to set up a system of government where whites are in control over other races — she attempted to warn against the threats to liberty and prosperity that big government movements like socialism really do pose.

Heng's imagery went too far, but it had nothing to do with white supremacy. AOC's rush to those terms suggests the kind of totalitarian insistence on redefining everything according to a power-seeking ideology. Pol Pot erased Cambodia's history using such an ideology, and the left's tactics are eerily similar.

Rather than just rightly complaining about the optics, AOC had to link the video to white supremacy — even though the woman behind the video is a woman of color.


NYC to Drop 'Conversion Therapy' Ban after Jewish Therapist Mounts Legal Challenge

New York City will act swiftly to repeal a ban on psychotherapy to address unwanted same-sex attraction, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced last week. Johnson, who is himself gay, insisted that he would rather not repeal the "conversion therapy" ban, but he insisted that a legal challenge forced his hand.

"Obviously I didn’t want to repeal this. I don’t want to be someone who is giving in to these right-wing groups," Johnson told The New York Times. "But the Supreme Court has become conservative; the Second Circuit, which oversees New York, has become more conservative. We think this is the most responsible, prudent course."

The law, enacted in December 2017, prohibited psychotherapists from charging patients for "services intended to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity." Therapists would be fined $1,000 for each violation.

In January, Dr. David Schwartz, an Orthodox Jewish therapist based in New York, filed a legal challenge to the bill. The lawsuit attacked the ban on free speech and religious freedom grounds, condemning it as "the Counseling Censorship Law." The New York City Council reportedly put out bulletins seeking anonymous complainants. Schwartz faced a threat of up to $10,000 in fines.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing Schwartz. In a statement to PJ Media on Monday, ADF senior counsel Roger Brooks celebrated the city's move to strike the counseling censorship law.

"All New Yorkers and all Americans deserve the right to private conversations, free from government control. By trying to regulate and censor private sessions between an adult and his counselor, New York City directly violated freedom of speech—a core right protected by the First Amendment," Brooks said. "The city council appears to have realized its error and correctly concluded that this censorship is unconstitutional. The city council’s move toward repeal is a win for Dr. Schwartz, his patients, and all New Yorkers."

"The patient-psychotherapist relationship requires giving patients the ability to express themselves without fear of reprisal and allowing therapists the freedom to respond to that expression with understanding; it is the last possible place where the government should be dictating what topics or ideas are off limits," the lawsuit states.

Psychotherapists should have the freedom to explore a wide range of issues in therapy. Unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion often has psychological roots. People who previously identified as transgender but grew to reject that identity discovered that abuse in childhood had contributed to their gender confusion.

Yet LGBT activists stigmatize therapy that seeks to address issues behind unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. The term "conversion therapy" is itself a weapon against therapy freedom.

Arthur Goldberg, founder of the therapy referral service Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) objected to the term. "Conversion therapy is not even a term of art. It’s a misnomer. It’s a pejorative term that talks about emotional trauma and physical trauma," he told PJ Media last month. JONAH did not recommend or carry out so-called "conversion therapy." It gave people "references for therapy for underlying issues which may result in same-sex attraction."

As ex-gay leader Christopher Doyle explains in his book The War on Psychotherapy, "One of the strategies that far-left advocacy and gay activist organizations use to smear professional psychotherapists assisting clients distressed by sexual and gender identity conflicts is to intentionally conflate professional therapy with religious practice and/or unlicensed, unregulated counseling. They do this by labeling all efforts—therapeutic, religious, or otherwise—to help clients distressed by sexual and gender identity conflicts [as] ‘conversion therapy.'"

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Christian law firm defending ex-gays who challenge counseling censorship bans, explained that these laws have "prohibited counselors from providing — and clients from receiving — any counsel to change their unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, or identity, or gender confusion. This forces counselors to override the objective and autonomous will of the client when the client asks them to help counsel the to change behavior and address their unwanted feelings."

Contrary to the fears of LGBT activists, "counselors don't push clients in a direction they don't want to go," the Liberty Counsel chairman insisted. "They're kind of like a GPS. The client sets the destination, and the counselor guides them to it."

These restrictive laws impede counselors from doing their jobs, Staver argued. "These laws are so intrusive that counselors are afraid to even counsel underlying issue with these individuals who are seeking to change or to align their feelings or behavior with their religious and moral objectives," he said.

Lawsuits against "conversion therapy" bans received a new lease on life thanks to the Supreme Court ruling NIFLA v. Becerra last June. In that decision, Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly struck down California's law forcing crisis pregnancy centers to advertise abortion under the argument that states can regulate "professional speech." In striking down California's law, Thomas referenced a case (King v. Governor of New Jersey) involving bans on sexual orientation change efforts.

"The Supreme Court cited the King case in New Jersey by name, rejected the professional speech category," Staver told PJ Media. Last year, he had interpreted the NIFLA case to mean that "the handwriting is on the wall that laws banning counsel for unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, or identity will fall under the First Amendment Free Speech Clause."

Dr. Schwartz is far from the first to challenge these restrictive counseling bans, and it seems unlikely he will be the last. The New York City Council may be willing to overturn its restrictive speech ban in order to prevent a legal precedent that could challenge more of these bans across the country. In doing so, the city may have merely delayed the inevitable.

Therapists should have the liberty to help their clients address any psychological issues, and that includes a struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. While many people with these conditions find community and affirmation in the LGBT movement, not all Americans with these conditions wish to join that movement.

One final note: The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) spearheaded lawsuits to effectively ban "conversion therapy" by getting certain types of counseling declared in violation of consumer protection laws. In March, the SPLC had a devastating scandal involving claims of racial discrimination and sexual harassment. That scandal also revealed that its list of "hate groups" is a cynical fundraising scheme. The SPLC has attacked both ADF and Liberty Counsel as "hate groups," and it has bragged about getting JONAH shut down.

Amazon has blacklisted organizations the SPLC has accused of being "hate groups." In July, the website removed counseling books that offered hope to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria.

The New York victory for Dr. Schwartz represents a key setback for the SPLC's legal strategy, but the far-left group will likely strike back. The battle against therapy censorship is far from over.


Media Hyped ‘Wrong’ Study Linking Trump Rallies To Hate Crimes, Then Ignored Second Study Debunking It

Establishment media outlets like The Washington Post hyped a now-disputed study that linked President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies to a spike in hate crimes, but they’ve yet to cover a second study that debunked the first one.

The first study, which three Texas university professors conducted, said counties that hosted Trump rallies in 2016 saw a 226% spike in hate crimes compared to places that didn’t host Trump rallies. Harvard University researchers found the political scientists had gotten it wrong when they tried to replicate the study.

“The study is wrong, and yet journalists ran with it anyway,” Harvard researchers Matthew Lilley and Brian Wheaton wrote on Sept. 6 in Reason, a libertarian magazine.

Establishment media outlets spread the first study’s conclusions but have largely ignored the second.

The Texas researchers published their findings in March in the Post in an analysis titled, “Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes.” The Post cited the study in several articles published since then.

Other media outlets echoed the analysis.

“US counties where President Donald Trump held a campaign rally saw a 226% increase in reported hate crimes over similar counties that did not hold a rally,” Business Insider reported in March, citing the article.

“Hate crimes reportedly jumped by 226 percent in counties that hosted Trump campaign rallies,” Vox reported in March.

The Associated Press cited the study in an August article titled, “Trump words linked to more hate crime? Some experts think so.”

CNN host John Avlon similarly promoted the apparently flawed study in an August segment titled “#RealityCheck.”

The Harvard University researchers found that “adding a simple statistical control for county population to the original analysis causes the estimated effect of Trump rallies on reported hate incidents to become statistically indistinguishable from zero.”

Lilley and Wheaton found using the criteria relied upon for the first study that rallies for former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “contribute to an even greater increase in hate incidents than Trump rallies.”

“Given how little scrutiny was required to reveal the flaws in the thesis that Trump rallies cause hate incidents, one cannot help but wonder whether its viral status was aided by journalists predisposed to believe its message,” they added.

Only Business Insider has updated its coverage as of Wednesday.

“In September 2019, two Harvard researchers published a refutation of this study in the Libertarian-leaning publication Reason,” reads the update, which Business Insider posted at the bottom of the article Wednesday following an inquiry from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Molly Gannon, a spokeswoman for the Post, said the original article was published on The Monkey Cage, an academic blog that runs on the Post’s website.

Gannon said the blog “operates independently” and directed the DCNF to the blog’s editor, John Sides. Sides declined to comment other than to recommend reaching out to the original study’s authors.

“The truth that is being masked by this entire back and forth is that to confirm model validity often requires many hours (and days) of testing and retesting. The idea that transforming a single variable invalidates a whole series of analyses and models produced by Ph.D. holding researchers lacks face validity,” Ayal Feinberg, one of the Texas researchers, told the DCNF in an email.

Feinberg said that “there are several methodological questions that [Lilley and Wheaton] have not answered and claims where we fundamentally disagree.”

The AP, Vox and CNN didn’t return the DCNF’s inquiries on whether they would update their coverage of the disputed study.


Australia: Vegan who wants to dictate to other people accuses OTHERS of Fascism

An animal rights activist, who wore a pigs mask and spread fake blood across the floor at a McDonalds resturant, has accused the legal system of 'wasting public money' after she was sentenced to 60 hours unpaid work.

Dylan Roffey, 24, who marched into a Brighton branch of the fast-food chain with around 10 to 20 protesters in May, also said that people should not be arrested for 'having basic compassion'.

The actress was convicted of criminal damage at Brighton Magistrates' court this month and ordered to pay £250 court costs, £50 compensation to McDonald's and an £85 victim surcharge, along with her unpaid work requirement.

It comes after the vegan was sentenced to 150 hours unpaid work for an unrelated incident, where she called a woman a 'piece of s***' and allegedly spat in her face at Brighton station after noticing she was wearing a £750 Canada Goose fur coat.

Speaking exclusively to Femail, Dylan branded the decision to arrest her 'ridiculous'. 'I think it's ridiculous that people's time and money was spent on people who are trying to save lives, instead of doing something about people who are profiting from people being killed,' she said, referring to the animals.

'I don't think people should be arrested for protests, or for having basic compassion, and that thinking that killing non-human people is an unacceptable thing to do.

'There isn't a gentle way to macerate a chick for the egg industry, or a passionate way to slit someone's throat. 'We're facing such fascism and animal exploitation on a scale that we've never seen before.'

Photos and videos from the protest in May show Ms Roffey sitting in a pool of fake blood, an edible mixture of flour and food dye, surrounded by activists.

They are holding up pictures of cows, chickens and pigs emblazoned with the phrase 'I want to live'.

She was arrested at the scene by police after making no attempt to move, and was later charged with criminal damage and resisting a police officer.

'I knew going into it I would be arrested', she said, 'that's why I stayed'. 'I knew it would get more attention and get more eyes on what's happening. 'And make people think that this isn't something that is done on a whim but something that people are really horrified by.'

During the hearing judge Amanda Kelly threw out the charge of resisting arrest, but sentenced Dylan for criminal damage.

'Not withstanding the fact that the mixture was flour, water and food dye... the damage need not be permanent in order to be criminal,' she explained, reported Sky News.

The judge went on to say that she was 'absolutely sure' that Miss Dylan' intention was to damage. 'I find that Miss Roffey's purpose was to raise awareness and attract publicity for her cause but that these purposes are too far removed from providing the animals' immediate protection.

'I have a lot of respect for a young woman with strong principles, which you clearly do, but this is not the way to go about it.'

Dylan became a vegan almost four years ago after deciding it would be 'morally inconsistent' to care for animals while she continued to 'hurt them' by eating them.

She has been an animal lover ever since she was small. At the age of two Dylan told off a group of hare-hunters, her mother fondly remembers.

Dylan was also convicted earlier this month for spitting in a woman's face. She was ordered to pay £500 court costs, £150 compensation to Ms Boyle and an £85 surcharge.

Although the CCTV footage was unclear, judge Kelly said the accounts of the two witnesses were compelling, reports The Daily Express.  'I am absolutely sure that Dylan Roffey did spit at Ms Boyle because she was angry and upset at not being listened to. She lost her temper.

'It may have been completely out of character. She is a pleasant young woman with strong beliefs. But to deliberately spit at someone is a serious offence.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Docs cheered for standing up for 'trans' children

Several medical associations are urging the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, to issue a warning over transgender surgeries for children.

The letter to Dr. Adams was penned by the American College of Pediatricians.

ACP executive director Dr. Michelle Cretella tells OneNewsNow that sex-change hormones and life-altering surgeries are not backed by scientific research. Instead, children are subjected to sterility, blood clots, strokes, malignancy, elevated rates of suicide, and more.

"There is no science,” she insists, “to establish that this is safe or effective in children."

Medical groups in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Sweden have also issued warnings, she says, and that takes courage to do so because it means standing up to far-left, trans-affirming activists.

"These physicians who are standing up and going against the tide,” she says, “are risking their very careers and social standing."


Transgender group Mermaids says children as young as 12 who question their gender should be offered puberty-blocking medication

Children as young as 12 who question their gender identity should be offered puberty blockers, according to a transgender group.

Teachers were told in a training session led by a trainer for the group Mermaids the hormones give the children 'immense relief' and are 'completely reversible'.

The meeting was held at Newman University in Birmingham last December with around 20 teachers and pastoral staff.

A recording obtained by the Sunday Times was made by an audience member in which the trainer says: 'Puberty blocker medication doesn't make any changes, so [is] completely reversible.

'What it does is put a pause button on the pituitary gland and freezes puberty where it is. Not growth, just puberty. Take the blockers away and biological puberty will recommence.'

The training session is believed to be a blueprint for Mermaid's training in schools nationwide.

The advice have been criticised by an Oxford academic who said it could push children towards early medical intervention.

Michael Biggs, associate professor of sociology at St Cross College, also pointed to evidence which shows most children who are prescribed blockers at a young age progress to surgery.

He said he has unpublished evidence that children experience psychological problems a year on from taking blockers.

Professor Biggs has previously been accused of transphobia by the Oxford Student newspaper after allegedly posting offensive tweets on a pseudonymous account.

One tweet from the account said: 'Transphobia is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.'

Michael Conroy, who took the recording of the training session, has worked in pastoral support in schools for 15 years.

He said he fears Mermaids is encouraging children to believe they are born in the wrong body.

School Girls Enter And Leave Church (stock)    +2
Mermaids said the blockers are reversible and can give children relief if they are experiencing gender dysphoria

Information on Mermaid's website states: 'The blockers do not change your child’s body, but they do pause puberty to give them time to explore their gender further without the adolescent physical changes that can bring great distress.

'If a young person decides that they are happy in their birth gender then they can stop the treatment.'

They also point out that the earlier the intervention, the less surgery will be required later on, allowing trans people to appear more as their chosen gender.

Mermaids said in a statement: 'The information in our sessions is based on a wealth of international scientific study and 25 years of experience in this field.

'Since this training session in 2018, we have been funded by the Department for Education in a schools training programme overseen by the Government Equalities Office.'


British census to let you CHOOSE your sex: Experts warn that new trans-friendly guidelines could wreck crucial plans for Britain's future

People filling in the national census are to be told officially that they can say their sex is different from the one on their birth certificate.

The new guidance runs the risk of affecting vital data regarding the population the Government needs to plan for the future.

The advice for England and Wales is set to come in from the next census, to be held in 2021.

Transgender people will be told that when asked in the survey if they are ‘male’ or ‘female’ they can choose whichever option they feel best describes their sex.

The advice will apply to both adults and children, with parents being able to choose to record a sex for their child that differs from the one on their birth certificate.

It will also be applicable to individuals who are ‘non-binary’, meaning they do not identify as either men or women, and people who have both male and female sex characteristics – known commonly as ‘intersex’.

The move by the Office for National Statistics is a departure from the last census where no such written guidelines were provided and typically people would opt for the sex they were born.

It reflects a growing trend among public bodies such as the NHS, prisons and schools to allow individuals to erase their biological sex from official records and register as the gender they feel they are – even if they have not undergone any physical changes.

The guidance is set to accompany census questions when for the first time they are sent out electronically rather than in the post to 26 million households in March 2021.

An ‘information paper’ published by the ONS this month revealed that the compulsory question which is likely to be posed is ‘What is your sex?’. The response options – as has been the case in previous censuses – will be ‘male’ or ‘female’.

But in its advice on answering this question, an accompanying statement says: ‘If you are one or more of non-binary, transgender, have variations of sex characteristics, sometimes also known as intersex, the answer you give can be different from what is on your birth certificate. If you’re not sure how to answer, use the sex registered on your official documents, such as passport or driving licence, or whichever describes your sex.’

Last night, legal and medical experts warned that failing to accurately record the numbers of females and males in the population could lead the Government to misallocate funds for vital services.

NHS paediatrician Dr Julie Maxwell said: ‘Almost every kind of illness behaves differently in men and women. If the national statistics are skewed in this way so you don’t know how many biological men or women there are, and if you add on to that the fact people are already changing their sex on medical records, you lose any meaningful knowledge of how often health problems are happening in men and women.

‘And my biggest fear for children is they are not going to get appropriate health services allocated for their needs because of messing around with statistics.’

Professor Rosa Freedman, an expert on LGBT human rights law, added: ‘To understand how ludicrous this is – if people could just pick a race or disability, we would all be up in arms.

‘The purpose of the census is to understand what the population is and plan for those demographics. The census is not there to validate someone’s gender identity. The census is there to allow the Government to plan for the next ten years in terms of its funding for programmes and where it should focus its resources. Conflating gender with sex as the ONS are doing with this guidance does not allow for population planning.’

The next census is also set to ask adults over 16 an additional ‘voluntary’ question on whether their gender is the same as the sex they were registered at birth for the first time. If the answer to this question is ‘no’ they are given the option to enter a term they use to describe their gender. The ONS said it was advised by a number of transgender lobby groups in devising this question on gender such as Mermaids, which supports young people, but also consulted potential objectors such as feminists.

It insisted that while there has never been written guidance for transgender people on how to answer the question on sex, there had been no change in their advice. A spokesman said if a trans person called one of their advisers on how to answer this section in the last 2011 census, they would have been verbally told to select the sex they believed was correct for them.

Mermaids also advised ITV in the making of a series on transgender children called Butterfly – a drama last year in which Anna Friel played a mother who supports her 11-year-old son to begin living as a girl called Maxine.


Where has our resilience gone?

How Australians live has changed over time. Much of it is for the better. We are richer, more worldly, better travelled, more inclusive: the advancement of women, for starters, has transformed the way we live and work. But we seem to be lacking one important quality that was there in spades a generation ago: resilience. Last century, small communities across Australia were not only resilient, they were also mightily creative and cooperative.

I grew up in just such a community. Terang, 200km west of Melbourne, had just 2400 people in the 1960s. No one locked their cars in Terang. When we went to the beach for a week in January, we didn’t lock the house. You might think this was an extraordinarily trusting thing to do, but there was nothing of value in the house to steal.

On some weekends, my father and three of his mates would borrow a flat-tray truck from work and collect and cut firewood for their families. They pooled funds to buy a chainsaw to make the job easier. There was such joie de vivre about the excursion: packing lunches in a sugar bag; preparing flasks of tea; the unfailing cheeriness of the men; the celebratory beer at the end of the day as they laughed and joked – and smoked – around the kitchen table.

It seemed that the whole community was endlessly engaged in organising working bees, contributing to cake stalls, attending Mother’s Club meetings. Everyone had a place and a purpose. A neighbour did the flowers for Sunday mass. People met in church halls to play euchre. On Saturday nights, the “young ones” would attend dances in country halls.

In 1963, we were one of the first families in our clutch of Housing Commission houses to get a television set. A neighbour’s teenage daughter would come to our house to watch Bonanza on a Monday night. When the TV went “on the blink”, another neighbour who had trained in electronics back in England would arrive with a visor and soldering iron to fix it. Today we would call this “building stronger communities” but back then it was just something everyone did. You shared, you co-operated, you pooled expertise.

There was football, netball, swimming, cycling, cricket, tennis and golf as well as music, including a pipe band, a brass band, Caledonian and Irish dancing, an amateur theatrical society. I am surprised any work was done, such was the social and sporting vitality of the town. And I don’t recall anyone complaining about the lack of facilities. The mindset seemed to be to at least try to help yourself first through cooperative effort. It was like living in an Australian kibbutz.

The town had its stratification, of course. The Catholics and Protestants; the doctors, pharmacists, lawyers and business owners who lived on the hill, and those of us who lived on the flat. The district had its landed gentry, too. But there didn’t seem to be any enmity; everyone got on. The local co-op had a staff picnic, there was an agricultural show, Anzac Day parades and an Australia Day parade of floats down the main street.

A few generations later we seem to be struggling to build the self-reliance, the resilience we had in that post-war era. Our town was remote; we had to make do, to get along, to make our own fun, to find and share pooled knowledge. There’s a lot about this era, such as smoking, that is best left in the past but there are other things, like an esprit de corps, a community camaraderie, that remains truly inspiring. I wonder what older Australians of the 2060s will recall as being truly inspiring about our way of life today.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Deceptive feminist fiction

The position of women in the UK has changed beyond recognition in my lifetime, mostly for the better, and mostly in ways I very much approve of.

In education, the workplace, politics, the law, the church and the media, in advertising and in their portrayal in films and on TV, the transformation has been gigantic. In our school and university system, girls are now better off than boys, with most forms of selection tilted in their favour.

The question of equal pay for equal work has also been solved as far as humanly possible, as Kate Andrews of the Institute of Economic Affairs has shown and will patiently explain to anyone who doubts it. But those who doubt it do so because they want to doubt it, so they are uninterested in facts. I'll come to that.

So why are we being subjected to a great flood of media pigswill about how the oppression of women is a great and growing problem?

Well, partly it is thanks to the frantic, overblown promotion of a tiresome and rather embarrassing book by Margaret Atwood, The Testaments. Enter any bookshop and it is piled upon the front table. The BBC is giving it the free promotion it reserves for those books it deeply approves of.

The Atwood dragon

Women garbed in red dressing gowns and white lampshades are roaming London to publicise it.

Ms Atwood is actually an accomplished author, and her 1985 book The Handmaid's Tale was a clever fantasy about a world in which women's liberation went into reverse.

Well, actually it wasn't much of a fantasy. It was clearly based on the 1979 revolution in Iran, which (as well as being murderously repressive) imposed a stifling version of Islam on men and women alike.

The Iranian Ayatollahs forced that country's women to huddle and cringe in black veils and robes, after many years in which they had been free to dress as they liked.

It might also have referred to Saudi Arabia, but in that country the status of women has always been pretty strictly controlled.

In more recent years it might more justly have described the growing pressure on formerly free women in such countries as Egypt and Iraq to adopt the hijab and niqab and accept second-class citizenship. Or even the appearance on the streets of Western cities of women in black veils.

By setting it in America, she made it all the more shocking. But it was also a nonsense. Did anyone really believe, in 1985, that the USA was going to start forcing women to go about in shrouds? Of course not. Nor do they now.

I know of no significant Christian sect or church that even believes in any such thing. But they pretend to.

Here, from the esteemed columnist in the London Times, Alice Thomson, is a possible explanation.

Ms Thomson declared last week: 'Since I read The Handmaid's Tale as a student 33 years ago, women's rights have progressed, only to regress.' She added: 'It was the #MeToo movement that made women realise just how little had changed and introduced my daughter as well as three sons to feminism.

'But it also created a backlash. 'We pretend that women's rights are still progressing, with more jobs for the girls and in some areas more equal pay, but in many ways Britain feels increasingly like Atwood's theocracy of Gilead.'

This is pure drivel. The fictional Gilead, which most people have discovered through a nasty, explicitly anti-Christian sensationalised TV series rather than through the duller, more tempered book, is a totalitarian terror state of torture and arbitrary executions in which women are banned from the professions and power, denied education, subjected to licensed rape and reduced to domestic servitude.

The TV version contains scenes of almost pornographic cruelty involving chains, muzzles and torture, plus a profanity-flecked mockery of the Lord's Prayer. The heroine is raped.

Just in case any of us didn't get the message, the crime takes place to the background of church organ music.

In case any viewers still don't understand the point (Christians are bad!), the rapist reads chunks out of the Bible as he proceeds.

In what way, Alice, does Britain resemble or 'feel like' this? Do tell. Can you find me a single significant Christian who advocates such a society?

How did you escape from your misogynist captors for long enough to write this comical drivel? How did you then get it published in a national newspaper?

Talk about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

There is another important aspect of this, which I have to keep mentioning. There are places where women are indeed oppressed.

There is a religion which – in some versions – expects women to be veiled and submissive and gives them legal rights inferior to those of men.

But the liberal intelligentsia, always happy to pelt the Christian faith with slime, is strangely reluctant to mention this.

Odd that the supposed champions of women's freedom fall silent on this subject. Odder still that, having won so much, they still pretend they are oppressed losers.

I'm not even sure that these third-wave feminists care all that much about women. Their aim is not the improvement of the lot of women, but a complete overthrow of the Christian society in which we live.


Liberal Pro-LGBT Church Hosts Pagan Idol in Art Exhibit

Last week, a fifteen-foot-tall totem meant to represent a pagan god from Eastern Europe was put on display in a historic 200-year-old mainline Protestant church in Binghamton, N.Y. The church hosted the image of the idol as part of the LUMA Projection Arts Festival.

"Sviatovid will materialize on the altar of Binghamton United Presbyterian Church with additional content," the festival website announced. "In an homage to the striking 19th century architecture of the church, the students of the BARTKRESA academy will build an original 3.5 minute pre-show. The church spire, pipe organ and stained glass inform the new work."

Theologically, Presbyterian churches do not have altars, but rather communion tables. As Juicy Ecumenism's Josiah Aden pointed out, the pagan image was displayed in the church's chancel, not on its nonexistent altar. The prominent placement of the idol — and the claim that the church's spire, pipe organ, and stained glass "inform the new work" — are worrisome, however.

"A fifteen-foot-tall faceted totem, Sviatovid is inspired by a ninth century Slavic deity and a medieval sculpture of the same name. With four faces, Sviatovid was not omniscient, but could take in the world from literally all four cardinal directions," the LUMA festival website explained. "In keeping with the deity’s origin story, Sviatovid is on an intercontinental expedition to bring people closer together."

As Aden explained, the totem is based on an archaeological artifact discovered near the Zbruch River in Western Ukraine. While it is possible the idol was a forgery, some scholars have argued that it depicts the pagan god Perun, the god of war, fertility, and abundance — a god historically viewed as being in competition with the Christian God.

"According to the early Ruthenian chronicles, Prince Vladimir the Great erected a cult statue of Perun (along with other Pagan idols) outside of his palace in Kiev shortly after he started his rule in 980," Miko?aj Gli?ski wrote for Poland's culture web portal. "As the greatest Slavic god, Perun was considered equal in power to the new Christian God. This however was no mitigating circumstance, as in 988 shortly after the Kiev Duchy adopted Christianity, the same ruler ordered that the pagan idols be destroyed. The greatest of them, Perun, was tied to a horse, dragged down a hill, and repeatedly beaten with sticks, before being eventually thrown into the Dnieper River. Vladimir then ordered that the statue be floated downstream until it passed the Dnieper Rapids."

Yet Binghamton United Presbyterian Church displayed an image of this idol inside the church on September 7 and 8.

The first of the Ten Commandments reads, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image ... You shall not bow down to them or serve them" (Exodus 20:2-5).

When asked "What is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus replied, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:36-40).

In the second century B.C., the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes set up an altar to Zeus in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and set up an idol of Zeus made after his own likeness. According to some reports, he also sacrificed pigs. This desecration led the Jews to revolt under Judas Maccabeus, establishing an independent Israel for the first time in more than 100 years.

Christians consider the true church of Jesus — His body — to be the believers, not the physical church buildings (1 Corinthians 6:19, 12:27). Even so, there is something sacrilegious about a church hosting an image of a pagan idol in a building dedicated to the worship of God.

The church may have agreed to host the idol in the spirit of multiculturalism or as a celebration of art. If so, this seems to illustrate the danger of going too far to embrace foreign cultures and forgetting that Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6). Many liberal congregations have embraced universalism, the doctrine that people can be saved without Jesus. This doctrine is a clear rejection of the Bible's teaching, and it belittles Jesus' Death and Resurrection.

Many prominent Christians have drifted away from the faith as they reject the claims that Jesus is the only way to salvation and embrace the culturally popular LGBT sexual morality.

For its part, Binghamton United Presbyterian Church affiliates itself with More Light Presbyterians, a pro-LGBT group of Presbyterians that advocates for same-sex marriage, rejecting the Bible's teaching of marriage as between one man and one woman. It describes itself as a "proudly open and affirming congregation" welcoming to "nontraditional families."

A member of the PC(USA) liberal denomination, Binghamton United Presbyterian Church experienced a drop in its congregation from 2013-2017 (from 220 to 178 members, 19 percent), while Sunday attendance declined from 64 to 53 (17 percent). While the church prizes diversity, the congregation is not diverse. It only includes four nonwhite members, with 72 percent of members age 65 or older.

The church did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment by press time.


Urban Agglomeration: More Growth, More Benefits

This is an alternative to the failed Leftist idea of "smart growth"

As Urbanized Areas Grow, They Develop Complex Economies that Further Drive Innovation and Prosperity.

Can urban areas grow too much? The answer is subject to people’s lifestyle preference, based on where they want to live and what tradeoffs in time and money they’ll accept. But according to one theory, the answer, economically speaking, is no. The bigger an area gets in space and population, the more that businesses and people increase their productivity. The name of the theory is “economies of agglomeration”, or for this column’s purposes, “urban agglomeration.”

Economist Edward Glaeser, a proponent of the theory, defines urban agglomeration as “the benefits that come when firms and people locate near one another together in cities and industrial clusters.” Similar to network effects and economies of scale, agglomerations develop through proximity. Continues Glaeser:

The only real difference between a nearby firm and one across the continent is that it is easier to connect with a neighbor. Of course, transportation costs must be interpreted broadly, and they include the difficulties in exchanging goods, people, and ideas. The connection between agglomeration economies and transport costs would seem to suggest that agglomerations should become less important, as transportation and communication costs have fallen. Yet, a central paradox of our time is that in cities, industrial agglomerations remain remarkably vital, despite ever easier movement of goods and knowledge across space.

Agglomerations happen, adds Chuanglin Fang, an urban planner for the Chinese Academy of Sciences, “when the relationships among cities shift from mainly competition to both competition and cooperation.”

That is to say, it happens when separate urban areas have enough outward growth and collaboration that they become part of the same region. Or it occurs through further growth within a given metropolitan area. The agglomeration in either case provides four benefits, writes Nicolae Sfetcu, of the consulting blog

It lowers transportation costs, since local supply chains are closer to each other.

It develops local markets, by bringing a larger customer base into an area.

It gathers a labor force that is larger, more specialized, and easier to access.

It creates knowledge spillovers between firms, sparking ideas and innovation.

Here are microeconomic examples of how agglomerations work: fast food chains locate (as Americans have probably noticed) near each other. People who like McDonalds also likely enjoy Burger King and Wendy’s, and by clustering, the chains benefit from each other’s customers. Or a tech startup locates in Silicon Valley to access educated workers and advanced machinery, which is already there thanks to existing tech firms. Or a poor rural migrant emigrates to an urban area to find a menial job, and after working awhile, develops more advanced skills due to tutoring from her co-workers. At macroeconomic level, urban agglomerations infuse whole regions or countries with this economic complexity, in ways that benefit everybody.

“The effect of a city’s population on wages is highly significant and large in magnitude,” writes economist Harry Krashinsky. “Various studies have demonstrated that doubling the population of an individual’s city would cause wages to rise by three to seven percent, and moving from a city of less than 500,000 people to one with more than half-a-million residents would increase wages by over 20 percent.”

The downside of urban agglomerations is that they can be victims of their own success. The population increase inflates housing costs (perhaps offsetting the higher wages); creates congestion (perhaps offsetting the proximity advantages); and leads to the growth of large, unaccountable governments. Some economists think urban regions become less productive once growing above a certain population.

Some of the world’s largest agglomerations include places like Jakarta and Manila, perhaps validating that point. In America, our agglomerations aren’t as intense, and vary in size. For example, metro Charleston, WV (pop. 211,000) is one place not in full agglomeration mode; it’s hemmed in by mountains, reliant on the state government, and does not intensively partner with nearby rival metros like Pittsburgh and Columbus.

The Big Four metros in Texas – Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio – may have once viewed each other as rivals. But they’ve now nearly grown into each other, and are now thought of as the “Texas Triangle” megaregion. When a big corporation moves to Dallas, it doesn’t hurt the other three metros; they too attract many corporations, which is partly a spillover result of Dallas’ growth. By contrast, Oklahoma City, which is 200 miles north of Dallas, still views itself as a competitor to the Texas Triangle. It would not be surprising, though, if a decade from now, the further growth of both areas causes them to merge, creating an informal Texas-Oklahoma megaregion.

America’s more long-standing agglomerations – New York City, Southern California, The Bay Area, Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia – have larger economic output than others nationwide. But they are also where the disadvantages are clearer, as they have higher home prices and more congestion. Much of my work is dedicated to figuring out how they can continue to grow while mitigating these problems. It will mostly involve letting markets work, so that housing supply meets population growth, and transport infrastructure uses price mechanisms to manage congestion and increase capacity.

But either way, these urban agglomerations are crucial. They may be sprawling, congested, and somewhat ugly. But they drive our economy and create opportunity. Their further growth should be encouraged.


Crowds running us over a cliff

Courtesy of the Left, many once marginal ideas are now once widely preached -- leading to widespread conflict and destroying social harmony.  The Leftist talent for destruction did not end with the downfall of the Soviet Union

We are going through a great crowd derangement. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant. The daily news cycle is filled with the consequences.

Yet while we see the symptoms everywhere, we do not see the causes. Various explanations have been given. These tend to suggest that any and all madnesses are the consequence of a presidential election or a referendum. But none of these explanations gets to the root of what is happening.

For far beneath these day-to-day events are much greater movements and much bigger events. It is time we began to confront the true causes of what is going wrong. Even the origin of this condition is rarely acknowledged. This is the simple fact we have been living through a period of more than a quarter of a century in which all our grand narratives have collapsed.

One by one, the narratives we had were refuted, became unpopular to defend or impossible to sustain. The explanations for our existence that used to be provided by religion went first, falling away from the 19th century onwards.

Then over the past century the secular hopes held out by all political ideologies began to follow in its wake. In the latter part of the 20th century we entered the postmodern era. An era that defined itself, and was defined, by its suspicion towards all grand narratives. However, as all schoolchildren learn, nature abhors a vacuum, and into the postmodern vacuum new ideas began to creep, with the intention of providing explanations and meanings of their own.

It was inevitable that some pitch would be made for the deserted ground. People in wealthy Western democracies today could not simply remain the first people in recorded history to have absolutely no explanation for what we are doing here and no story to give life purpose.

Whatever else they lacked, the grand narratives of the past at least gave life meaning. The question of what exactly are we meant to do now, other than get rich where we can and have whatever fun is on offer, was going to have to be answered by something.

The answer that has presented itself in recent years is to engage in new battles, ever fiercer campaigns and ever more niche demands. To find meaning by waging a constant war against anybody who seems to be on the wrong side of a question that may itself have just been reframed and the answer to which has only just been altered.

The unbelievable speed of this process has been principally caused by the fact a handful of businesses in Silicon Valley (notably Google, Twitter and Facebook) now have the power not just to direct what most people in the world know, think and say, but have a business model that has accurately been described as relying on finding “customers ready to pay to modify someone else’s behaviour’’.

Yet although we are being aggravated by a tech world that is running faster than our legs are able to carry us to keep up with it, these wars are not being fought aimlessly. They are consistently being fought in a particular direction. And that direction has a purpose that is vast. The purpose — unknowing in some people, deliberate in others — is to embed a new metaphysics into our societies: a new religion, if you will.

Although the foundations had been laid for several decades, it is only since the financial crash of 2008 that there has been a march into the mainstream of ideas that were previously known solely on the obscurest fringes of academia. The attractions of this new set of beliefs are obvious enough. It is not clear why a generation that can’t accumulate capital should have any great love of capitalism. Likewise it isn’t hard to work out why a generation who believe they may never own a home could be attracted to an ideological world view that promises to sort out every inequity, not just in their own lives but every inequity on earth.

The interpretation of the world through the lens of “social justice”, “identity group politics” and “intersectionalism” is probably the most audacious and comprehensive effort since the end of the Cold War at creating a new ideology.

To date “social justice” has run the furthest because it sounds — and in some versions is — attractive. Even the term itself is set up to be anti-oppositional. “You’re opposed to social justice? What do you want, social injustice?” “Identity politics”, meanwhile, has become the place where social justice finds its caucuses. It atomises society into different interest groups according to sex (or gender), race, sexual preference and more. It presumes that such characteristics are the main, or only, relevant attributes of their holders and that they bring with them some bonus.

For example (as American writer Coleman Hughes has put it), the assumption that there is “a heightened moral knowledge” that comes with being black or female or gay. It is the cause of the propensity of people to start questions or statements with “Speaking as a …”. And it is something people living and dead need to be on the right side of. It is why there are calls to pull down the statues of historical figures viewed as being on the wrong side and it is why the past needs to be rewritten for anyone you wish to save. Identity politics is where minority groups are encouraged to simultaneously atomise, organise and pronounce.

The least attractive-sounding of this trinity is the concept of “intersectionality”. This is the invitation to spend the rest of our lives attempting to work out each and every identity and vulnerability claim in ourselves and others and then organise along whichever system of justice emerges from the perpetually moving hierarchy we uncover.

It is a system that is not just unworkable but dementing, making demands that are impossible towards ends that are unachievable.

But today intersectionality has broken out from the social science departments of the liberal arts colleges from which it originated. It is now taken seriously by a generation of young people and has been embedded through employment law (specifically through a “commitment to diversity”) in all the major corporations and governments. New heuristics have been required to force people to ingest the new presumptions.

The speed at which they have been mainstreamed is staggering. As economist and writer Eric Weinstein has pointed out, phrases such as “LGBTQ”, “white privilege” and “transphobia” went from not being used at all to becoming mainstream. As he went on, while there is nothing wrong with trying out new ideas and phrases, “you have to be pretty damn reckless to be leaning this hard on so many untested heuristics your parents came up with in untested fields that aren’t even 50 years old”.

Similarly, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt have pointed out (in their 2018 book The Coddling of the American Mind) how new the means of policing and enforcing these new heuristics have become. Phrases such as “triggered” and “feeling unsafe” and claims that words that do not fit the new religion cause “harm” really started to spike in usage only from 2013 onwards.

It is as though having worked out what it wanted, the new metaphysics took a further half-decade to work out how to intimidate its followers into the mainstream. But it has done so, with huge success.

The results can be seen in every day’s news. It is behind the news that the American Psychological Association feels the need to advise its members on how to train harmful “traditional masculinity” out of boys and men.

It is why a previously completely unknown programmer at Google — James Damore — can be sacked for writing a memo suggesting that some jobs in tech appeal more to men than they do to women. And it is why the number of Americans who view racism as a “big problem” doubled between 2011 and 2017.

Having begun to view everything through the new lenses we have been provided with, everything is then weaponised through the resulting prism — with consequences that are deranged as well as dementing. It is why The New York Times decides to run a piece by a black author with the title: “Can my Children be Friends with White People?” And why even a piece about cycling deaths in London written by a woman can be framed through the headline, “Roads Designed by Men are Killing Women”. Such rhetoric exacerbates any existing divisions and each time creates a number of new ones.

And for what purpose? Rather than showing how we can all get along better, the lessons of the past decade appear to be exacerbating a sense that in fact we aren’t very good at living with each other.

For most people some awareness of this new system of values has become clear not so much by trial as by very public error. Because one thing that everybody has begun to at least sense in recent years is that a set of trip-wires has been laid across the culture. Whether placed by individuals, collectives or some divine satirist, there they have been waiting for one person after another to walk into them. Sometimes a person’s foot has unwittingly nicked the trip-wire and they have been immediately blown up. On other occasions people have watched some brave madman walking straight into the no-man’s land, fully aware of what they were doing. After each resulting detonation there is some disputation (including the occasional “coo” of admiration) and then the world moves on, accepting that another victim has been notched up to the odd, apparently improvisatory values system of our time.

It took a little while for the delineation of these trip-wires to become clear, but they are clear now. Among the first was anything to do with homosexuality. In the latter half of the 20th century there was a fight for gay equality that was tremendously successful, reversing terrible historic injustice. Then, the war having been won, it became clear that it wasn’t stopping. Indeed it was morphing. GLB (gay, lesbian, bi) became LGB so as not to diminish the visibility of lesbians. Then a T got added. Then a Q and then some stars and asterisks.

And as the gay alphabet grew, so something changed within the movement. It began to behave — in victory — as its opponents once did. When the boot was on the other foot something ugly happened. A decade ago almost nobody was supportive of gay marriage. A few years down the road and it has been made into a foundational value of modern liberalism. People may agree with that rights claim, or disagree, but to shift mores so fast needs to be done with extraordinary sensitivity and some deep thought. Yet we seem content to steam past, engaging in neither.

Instead, other issues followed a similar pattern.

Women’s rights had — like gay rights — been steadily accumulated throughout the 20th century. They, too, appeared to be arriving at some sort of settlement. Then just as the train appeared to be reaching its desired destination it suddenly picked up steam and went crashing off down the tracks and into the distance. What had been barely disputed until yesterday became a cause to destroy someone’s life today.

Whole careers were scattered and strewn as the train careered along its path. Phrases such as “toxic masculinity” entered common use. What was the virtue of making relations between the sexes so fraught that the male half of the species could be treated as though it was cancerous? Or the development of the idea that men had no right to talk about the female sex? Why, when women had broken through more glass ceilings than at any time in history, did talk of “the patriarchy” and “man­splaining” seep out of the feminist fringes and into the heart of places such as the Australian Senate?

In a similar fashion the civil rights movement in America, which had started to right perhaps the most appalling of all historic wrongs, looked as if it were moving towards some hoped-for resolution. But yet again, near the point of victory everything seemed to sour. Just as things appeared better than ever, the rhetoric began to suggest that things had never been worse. Suddenly — after most of us had hoped it had become a non-issue — everything seemed to have become about race.

As with all the other trip-wire issues, only a fool or a madman would think of even speculating — let alone disputing — this turnaround of events.

Then finally we all stumbled, baffled, into the most uncharted territory of all. This was the claim that there lived among us a considerable number of people who were in the wrong bodies and that as a consequence what certainties remained in our societies (including certainties rooted in science and language) needed to be utterly reframed.

In some ways the debate around the trans question is the most suggestive of all. Although the newest of the rights questions also affects by far the fewest number of people, it is nevertheless fought over with an almost unequalled ferocity and rage. Women who got on the wrong side of the issue have been hounded by people who used to be men. Parents who voice what was common belief until yesterday have their fitness to be parents questioned.

Among the things these issues all have in common is that they have started as legitimate human rights campaigns. This is why they have come so far.

But at some point all went through the crash barrier. Not content with being equal, they have started to settle on unsustainable positions such as “better”. Some may counter that the aim is simply to spend a certain amount of time on “better” to level the historical playing field.

What everyone does know are the things that people will be called if their foot even nicks against these freshly laid trip-wires. “Bigot”, “homophobe”, “sexist”, “misogynist”, “racist” and “transphobe” are just for starters. The rights fights of our time have centred on these toxic and explosive issues.

But in the process these rights issues have moved from being a product of a system to being the foundations of a new one. To demonstrate affiliation with the system people must prove their credentials and their commitment.

How might somebody demonstrate virtue in this new world? By being “anti-racist”, clearly. By being an “ally” to LGBT people, obviously. By stressing how ardent your desire is — whether you are a man or a woman — to bring down the patriarchy.

And this creates an auditioning problem, where public avowals of loyalty to the system must be volubly made whether there is a need for them or not.

But there is more trouble in all of this, and it is the reason I take each of the bases of these new metaphysics not just seriously but one by one. With each of these issues an increasing number of people, with the law on their side, pretend that both their issue and indeed all these issues are shut down and agreed upon. The case is very much otherwise.

The nature of what is meant to be agreed upon cannot in fact be agreed upon. Each of these issues is infinitely more complex and unstable than our societies are currently willing to admit. Which is why, put together as the foundation blocks of a new morality and metaphysics, they form the basis for a general madness.

Indeed a more unstable basis for social harmony could hardly be imagined. For while racial equality, minority rights and women’s rights are among the best products of liberalism, they make the most destabilising foundations. The products of the system cannot reproduce even the stability of the system that produced them. If for no other reason than that each of these issues is a deeply unstable component in itself.

And so we are asked to agree to things we cannot believe. It is the central cause of the ugliness of both online and real-life discussion. For we are being asked to perform a set of leaps and jumps that we cannot, and are perhaps ill-advised to, make.

We are asked to believe things that are unbelievable and being told not to object to things most people feel a strong objection to. The pain that comes from being expected to remain silent on some important matters and perform impossible leaps on others is tremendous, not least because the problems (including the internal contradictions) are so evident.

As anyone who has lived under totalitarianism can attest, there is something demeaning and eventually soul-destroying about being expected to go along with claims you do not believe to be true and yet cannot hold to be true. That distraction — or crowd madness — is something we are in the middle of and something we need to try to find our way out from. If we fail then the direction of travel is already clear. We face not just a future of ever-greater atomisation, rage and violence, but a future in which the possibility of a backlash against all rights advances — including the good ones — grows more likely.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here.