Sunday, April 04, 2010
The Abolition of the Family
America is headed down an extremely dangerous path to a potential catastrophe that is rarely discussed. It is the eradication of the family.
The top priority of Marxism was the abolition of the family; Marx laid down the strategy for its destruction. His thesis was simple: Eliminate capital -- exterminate the family [i]. More and more empirical evidence is piling up to show that this is exactly what is happening in America.
Whether or not it is being done intentionally, the federal government, using money from the TARP and Stimulus bills, has taken precise steps to undermine the family. An article titled "How a New Jobless Era will Transform America" in the March 2010 edition of The Atlantic says this:
The weight of this recession has fallen most heavily upon men, who've suffered roughly three quarters of the 8 million job losses since the beginning of 2008. Male dominated industries (construction, finance, manufacturing) have been particularly hard-hit, while sectors that disproportionately employ women (education, health care) have held up relatively well. ... [It] looks possible that within the next few months, for the first time in U.S. history, women will hold a majority of the country's jobs.
Yet very little of the stimulus money has been funneled into the male-dominated industries. Contrary to the popular impression, only a small fraction of the stimulus money has gone into shovel-ready constructions projects (where more men are employed). Outside of the initial tax breaks ($250 billion of $850 billion in the first stimulus bill), the vast majority of the money has been distributed to local and state governments, education, and the health care industries. Almost none of the funds have gone to support small businesses, where the majority of start-up jobs are created in America.
The distribution of the stimulus money is part of the reason why the unemployment rate of young black men in America is nearing a staggering 50%. There are very few shovel-ready construction, manufacturing, or other private enterprise jobs for young men (of any race) in this country. The bulk of the federal money is going into the service industries. The spending strategy of the Obama administration and the current Congress seems intended to ensure that private-sector jobs for men do not appear.
Marx stated that the family would cease to exist with the disappearance of capital. He meant that the family, private businesses, and private property were intimately entwined. And he was right.
Well over a hundred banks have closed their doors in the last two years. Young men (or women) wanting to start and grow a new business have less and less opportunity to borrow capital for such an enterprise. No new businesses means no new jobs.
That economic recessions and depressions destroy the careers of more male than female workers has been long known and often studied. Mirra Komarovsky, in her groundbreaking work The Unemployed Man and His Family (1940), showed that during the Great Depression,
The economic crisis hit blue-collar occupations harder than service jobs; as a consequence, working-class men often found it harder to find work than did their wives. And yet, traditional views of masculinity prevented many men from sharing bread-winning responsibilities: "I'd rather turn on the gas than let my wife work!" one man told her (76).
In my forthcoming book, The Idea of the Family, I demonstrate that it is not "the traditional view" of masculinity that instills in a man the desire to provide for his family. I prove, rather, that work for the male is a biological, psychological, and even philosophical necessity for the preservation of the family.
Once his participation in coitus is over, the man plays no biological part in the creation of his offspring. Unlike the woman, who carries her baby to term and then nourishes the newborn infant at her breast, the man's role in the family is necessarily ideal. He is biologically and psychologically separated from the procreative process. The man needs a reason to stay with his wife and family. If he is to remain with his family, his role (at least initially) can only be that of provider and protector [ii].
The surest and quickest way to eliminate the family is to make certain that a young man (who might wish to marry and start a family) does not have access to a job. This ensures that the young man has no reason to remain with an impregnated female.
It is not by accident that over 70% of black children in America are born out of wedlock. Almost 50% of young black men in America are unemployed. And without a job, a man has no incentive to start or remain with his family.
The Obama administration has done next to nothing to stimulate those parts of the economy that provide employment for young men and, therefore, protect and strengthen the family. This is the dirtiest and nastiest of not-so-secret secrets that no one seems to want to address.
Meanwhile, Karl Marx is laughing in his grave.
Leading British Conservative defends freedom for "Bed & Breakfast" owners
Says that they should be treated like the private homes that they mostly are
DAVID CAMERON was last night embroiled in a row over his party’s views on homosexuality after a member of the shadow cabinet was taped arguing that bed and breakfast owners should not have to offer rooms to gays, writes Isabel Oakeshott.
Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said he believed that people who ran B&Bs should have the right to decide whether to have homosexuals staying in their homes. Under equality laws introduced in 2007, B&B owners cannot turn away gays.
According to a report in The Observer, Grayling told a meeting of the Centre for Policy Studies think tank: “I personally ... took the view that if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home.”
He drew a distinction with hotels, which he said should admit gay couples. “I really don’t think that it is right in this day and age that a gay couple should walk into a hotel and be turned away,” he said.
Labour claimed that the comments showed the Conservatives were prejudiced against homosexuals.
Christianity's Easter is welcome and protected in Jewish Jerusalem
Celebrating Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the most important holy day for Christians of all denominations, can be deadly in the Middle East. Reciting a Scripture or humming a hymn could cost your head in Saudi Arabia, and you could risk other highly valued body parts in the similarly benighted ninth-century neighborhoods abounding in the lands of caliphs, imams and ayatollahs.
Beheading is something of the national sport of Saudi Arabia, where the government has scheduled for Friday the gruesome ritual for a man, the father of five, accused of sorcery for "making predictions" in his native Lebanon. (Punditry can be risky there, too.)
Better to take your celebration to Israel, where the government will assist your visit. It's the difference between Middle East and the cultural West, between the 8th and 21st centuries, between civilized and not-so-civilized. The Israeli guarantee of religious freedom, taken for granted in the nations of the West, is part of what invites hostility and belligerence from Israel's neighbors.
Pilgrims proceed under protection today along the Via Dolorosa, believed to be the path that Christ took with His cross to the crucifixion at Calvary, and on to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Many Christians, particularly Roman Catholics, believe Christ was buried on the site three days before the Resurrection. Christians and everyone else are welcome to join the procession. Unless a suicide bomber or other evil-doer slips through security, no one will be harmed. The Israeli government guarantees it.
The Israeli Declaration of Independence, adopted in 1948, declares Israel to be a Jewish state, but further declares that the nation "will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions." It's a promise bereft of Jeffersonian eloquence, but it's plain and to the point.
In that long-ago day, in a burst of naive enthusiasm, certain idealists imagined that this example would spread to other places where religious freedom is understood to mean that you have the freedom to keep your head so long as you believe what the imams in the government tell you to believe. Israel has since enacted comprehensive legal codes to protect the hundreds of Christian, Muslim and Jewish monuments and markers and to guarantee universal access to them. Jordan, before the Six-Day War in 1967, controlled Jerusalem, and Jews were forbidden entry. Many Jewish holy sites were routinely vandalized.
Moshe Dayan, the defense minister who led the Israelis to victory in the Six-Day War, was clear about religious tolerance and protection in a radio broadcast the morning Jerusalem was captured. "This morning," he said, "the Israel Defense Force liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour - and with added emphasis 'at this hour' - our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights."
This clearly includes the right to disagree. Not every Christian regards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the site of Christ's burial. A tomb in a garden below Calvary was discovered in 1867 and, popularized by Gen. Charles George "Chinese" Gordon, an eccentric Bible scholar once assigned to the British military in Palestine, became known as "the Protestant tomb." The Anglican church once recognized it as the authentic tomb. Scholars are divided today on whether this is so.
The tomb fits the description in Matthew 27:58, when Joseph of Arimathea begged Pilate for the body of Jesus: "Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. And laid it in his own, new tomb, which he had hewn out of a rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed."
The stone is there today, and the track on which it was rolled away is visible in the rock. The tomb and the garden lie beneath a large stone outcropping, vaguely resembling a skull, marked by two gaping holes, as if eye sockets. Hence the name "Golgotha," or "skull," given to the site of the crucifixion.
The argument continues, as with so much about the meaning of the Scripture. But Christians agree on the Resurrection as the story of Easter, the central fact that gives the Gospel meaning. The pilgrims continue to make their way in peace to Jerusalem, scene of the holiest and most horrific events of history, watched over now with respect and reverence by Jews.
Why humanists shouldn’t join in this Catholic-bashing
The reaction to the paedophile priest scandal is as guilty of scaremongering, illiberalism and elitism as the Catholic Church has ever been
With all the newspaper headlines about predatory paedophiles in smocks, terrified altar boys and cover-ups by officials at the Vatican, it is hard to think of anything worse right now than a sexually abusive priest. Yet today’s reaction to those allegations of sexual abuse is also deeply problematic. For it is a reaction informed more by prejudice and illiberalism than by anything resembling a principled secularism, and one which also threatens to harm individuals, families, society and liberty.
When considering the problem of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, it is important to distinguish between the incidents themselves, some of which were of course horrific, and the way in which those incidents are understood in today’s political and cultural climate. The acts of sexual abuse themselves were no doubt a product of various problematic factors: the Catholic Church’s culture of celibacy, its strange views on sex, the fact that in some institutions priests were given ultimate authority over young boys and girls. But the way in which those acts are understood today – as supremely damaging to individuals and the inevitable consequence of people ‘deciding it is a good thing to abandon any commitment to fact and instead act on faith’ – is powerfully informed by two problematic contemporary trends: the backward cult of victimhood and the dominant ‘new atheist’ prejudice against any institution with strong beliefs.
With all the current claims about Pope Benedict XVI himself being involved in a cover-up of child abuse by an American priest and a German priest, and newspaper reports using terms like ‘stuff of nightmares’, the ‘stench of evil’, and ‘systematic rape and torture’, anyone who tries to inject a bit of perspective into this debate is unlikely to be thanked. But perspective is what we need. Someone has to point out that for all the problems with the Catholic Church’s doctrines and style of organisation – and I experienced some of those problems, having been raised a Catholic before becoming an atheist at 17 – the fact is that sexual abuse by priests is a relatively rare phenomenon.
Even in Ireland, whose image as a craic-loving nation has been replaced by the far-worse idea that it was actually a nation of priest rape, incidents of sexual abuse by priests were fairly rare. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, which was launched by the Irish government in 1999 and delivered its report last year, intensively invited Irish-born people around the world to report on incidents of abuse in Irish religious-educational reform schools, where the majority of clerical abuse is said to have occurred, between the period 1914 to 1999. For that 85-year period, 253 claims of sexual abuse were made by males and 128 by females. It is important – surely? – to note that these are claims of sexual abuse rather than proven incidents, since the vast majority of them did not go to trial.
The number of sexual abuse claims in these institutions fell for the more recent period: for males, there were 88 claims from the pre-1960s, 119 from 1960 to 1969, 37 from 1970 to 1979, and nine from 1980 to 1989. The alleged sexual-abuse incidents ranged in seriousness from boys being ‘questioned and interrogated about their sexual activity’ to being raped: there were 68 claims of anal rape in reform institutions for boys from 1914 to 1999. Not all of the sexual abuse was carried out by priests. Around 65 per cent of the claims pertain to religious workers, and 35 per cent to lay staff, care workers, and fellow pupils.
Of course, one incident of child sexual abuse by a priest is one too many. But given the findings of Ireland’s investigation into abuse in religious-educational institutions, is there really a justification for talking about a ‘clinging and systematic evil that is beyond the power of exorcism to dispel’? As Ireland is redefined as a country in recovery from child sexual abuse, and the ‘scandal of child rape’ spreads further through Europe into Germany and Italy, it might be unfashionable to say the following but it is true nonetheless: very, very small numbers of children in the care or teaching of the Catholic Church in Europe in recent decades were sexually abused, but very, very many of them actually received a decent standard of education.
The discussion of a relatively rare phenomenon as a ‘great evil’ of our age shows that child abuse in Catholic churches has been turned into a morality tale – about the dangers of belief and of hierarchical institutions and the need for more state and other forms of intervention into religious institutions and even religious families. The first contemporary trend that has turned incidences of sexual abuse into a powerful symbol of evil is the cult of the victim, where today individuals are invited not only to reveal every misfortune that has befallen them – which of course is a sensible thing to do if you have been raped – but also to define themselves by those misfortunes, to look upon themselves as the end-products of having being emotionally, physically or sexually abused. This is why very public revelations of Catholic abuse started in America and Ireland before more recently spreading to other parts of Western Europe: because the politics of victimhood, the cult of revelation and redefinition of the self as survivor, is more pronounced and developed in America and Ireland than it is in continental Europe.
In Ireland, for example, the state has explicitly invited its citizens to redefine themselves as victims of authority rather than as active agents capable of moving on and making choices. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse discusses at length the ‘debilitating’ impact that abuse can have on individuals, to the extent that many of Ireland’s social problems – including unemployment, poverty, drug abuse and heavy drinking – are now discussed as the products of Ireland’s earlier era of abuse rather than as failings of the contemporary social system.
This, I believe, is why claims of sexual abuse in Ireland’s religious-educational institutions were so much higher for the period of 1960 to 1969 (nearly half of all claims of sexual abuse against boys during the period of 1914 to 1989 were made for that decade). It is not because priests suddenly became more abusive in the 1960s than they had been in the far harsher Ireland of the 1940s and 50s, but because the people who attended the institutions during that period were in many ways the main targets of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. They would have been in their mid-40s to mid-50s when the commission began in 1999 and many of them had suffered long-term unemployment, health problems, and other disappointments. Reporting their misfortunes to the commission offered them the chance, not only of getting financial compensation, but also of validating their difficult life experiences as a consequence of their having been abused. In a grotesquely convenient marriage, the state redefined social problems as consequences of Catholic abuse and the individual redefined himself as a sufferer from low self-esteem who did not bear full responsibility for the course of his adult life. In such a climate, not only are incidents of abuse by priests more likely to surface, but they are also more likely to be heavily politicised, turned from undoubtedly distressing and possibly criminal acts into modern-day examples of evil capable of distorting society itself. Thus did the contemporary cult of victimhood ensure that Catholic abuse was blown out of proportion.
The second contemporary trend that has elevated something quite rare into a social disaster is the rise of the ‘new atheism’. Now the dominant liberal outlook of our age – in particular in the media outlets that have most keenly focused on the Catholic abuse scandals: the New York Times, the Irish Times, and the UK Guardian – the new atheism differs from the atheism of earlier free-thinking humanists in that its main aim is not to enlighten, but to scaremonger about the impact of religion on society. For these thinkers and opinion-formers, the drip-drip of revelations of abuse in Catholic institutions offers an opportunity to demonise the religious as backward and people who possess strong beliefs as suspect.
Many contemporary opinion-formers are not concerned with getting to the truth of how widespread Catholic sexual abuse was, or what were the specific circumstances in which it occurred; rather they want to milk incidents of abuse and make them into an indictment of religion itself. They frequently flit between discussing priests who abuse children and the profound stupidity of people who believe in God. One commentator wildly refers to the Vatican’s ‘international criminal conspiracy to protect child-rapists’ and says most ordinary Catholics turn a blind eye to this because ‘people behave in bizarre ways when they decide it is a good thing to abandon any commitment to fact and instead act on faith’.
Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, unwittingly reveals what draws the new atheists towards the Catholic-abuse story: their belief that religion is itself a form of abuse. ‘Odious as the physical abuse of children by priests undoubtedly is, I suspect that it may do them less lasting damage than the mental abuse of bringing them up Catholic in the first place’, he argues. He admits that physical abuse by priests is rare, but only to flag up what he sees as a more serious form of abuse: ‘Only a minority of priests abuse the bodies of the children in their care. But how many priests abuse their minds?’ In this spectacularly crude critique of religion, no moral distinction is made between being educated by a priest and raped by one – indeed, the former is considered worse than the latter, since as one Observer columnist recently darkly warned: ‘We have no idea what children are being taught in those classrooms…’
If ‘bringing a child up Catholic’ is itself abuse, there can only be one solution: external authorities must protect children not only from religious institutions but from their own religious parents, too. One new atheist has proposed an age of consent for joining a religion: 14. In an Oxford Amnesty Lecture popular amongst new atheists, a liberal academic argued that children ‘have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas’, and parents ‘have no god-given licence to enculturate their children in whatever ways they personally choose’. Here, a simplistic leap is made from protecting children from paedophile priests to protecting them from their own parents, since in the new-atheist view strong beliefs and freedom of religion – which, yes, includes the freedom of parents to bring up their children as they see fit – are the real problem. They exaggerate the extent of Catholic sexual abuse in order to strengthen their prejudicial arguments.
Whatever you think of the Catholic Church, you should be concerned about today’s abuse-obsession. Events of the (sometimes distant) past which nobody can change are being used to justify dangerous trends in the present. A new kind of society is being solidified on the back of exposing abusive priests, one in which scaremongering supersedes facts, where people redefine themselves as permanently damaged victims, where freedom of thought is problematised, and where parents are considered suspect for not adhering to the superior values of the atheistic elite. Seriously, radical humanists should fight back against this.
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.
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