Friday, August 03, 2012

The Rise of the Intolerance Brigade

When you accuse Leftists of intolerance they say.  "I'm not intolerant.  The only thing I won't tolerate is intolerance".  An easy reply to that is:  "Well, I shouldn't tolerate you, then, since you are intolerant of Christians" (or whatever group the Leftist  is being intolerant about)  -- JR

In recent days, the extreme intolerance, bigotry, and exclusivity of some gay activists and their straight allies has been on prominent display in their attacks against Chick-fil-A. What makes this all the more ironic, not to mention Orwellian, is that their campaign is being carried out in the name of tolerance, inclusion, and diversity. As expressed by jurist Marvin Frankel (in his book Faith and Freedom: Religious Liberty in America), “The powerless call out for tolerance. Achieving power, they may soon forget.”

Today, words like “diversity” and “inclusion,” which have been on the lips of gay activists for years, have taken on an ominous tone that would make Orwell proud.

Since March, students at New York University have been circulating a petition calling for Chick-fil-A to be removed from their campus for “human rights violations” (I kid you not). In classic doublespeak, the petition states that the fast food company doesn’t belong there because “NYU prides itself on being a diverse, open and inclusive campus community. . . . Unfortunately, maintaining a contract with an anti-gay vendor like Chick-fil-A undermines what makes this university so great.” So, Chick-fil-A should be banned because NYU “prides itself on being a diverse, open and inclusive campus community.”

In the same vein, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, stated, “As the country moves toward inclusion, Chick-fil-A has staked out a decidedly stuck-in-the-past mentality.” He further stated, apparently with a straight face, that “fair-minded consumers” can now “make up their own minds whether they want to support an openly discriminatory company.” It appears, then, that Griffin’s version of an “inclusive” America means that it’s either the gay way or the highway.

But it gets worse. In the now infamous words of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.”

It appears, however, that you can have a mayor in the city of Boston who discriminates against a population (namely, the scores of millions of Americans who do not want to redefine marriage) and against a business (namely Chick-fil-A, an exemplary company that has broken no laws, including laws of discrimination).

Mayor Menino continued (and with Orwellian eloquence at that), “We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” a stunning example of unintended irony if ever there was one.

In a similar example of unconscious doublespeak, New York City council speaker Christine Quinn, herself in a same-sex “marriage,” explained why she too wanted Chick-fil-A kicked off the NYU campus: “We are a city that believes our diversity is our greatest strength and we will fight anything and anyone that runs counter to that.”

That’s right, Chick-fil-A. We are so diverse that we will run you out of our city. And we are so open and inclusive that we have no room for a business like yours.

Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno also attributed his attack on Chick-fil-A to “diversity,” explaining to that his district is “a very diverse ward--economically, racially, and diverse in sexual orientation” – but not so diverse that it can welcome a Christian-based company. (The comments of the magnanimous mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel, require little commentary: “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents.” Perhaps he should have added, “No disrespect intended to my fellow neighbors and residents who oppose same-sex ‘marriage,’ and certainly, no disrespect intended to Minister Farrakhan, whose business is always welcome in our city.”)

Not to be left out in this remarkable display of tolerance, equality, and diversity, the Philadelphia City Council was considering “a resolution condemning Chick-fil-A for what one city leader called ‘anti-American’ attitudes that promote ‘hatred, bigotry and discrimination.’ City Councilman Jim Kenney sent a letter to Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy telling him to ‘take a hike and take your intolerance with you.’” (I am not making this up.)

Does Councilman Kenney not realize that he should be directing his statement to the face looking at him in the mirror? (To repeat: “take a hike and take your intolerance with you.”) Does the Philadelphia City Council not recognize that 31 states have so far voted to uphold marriage as the union of one man and woman? Are all these states, most recently North Carolina, with an overwhelming vote of 61-39%, “anti-American”? And isn’t it the Philadelphia City Council resolution that is actually an example of “hatred, bigotry and discrimination”? Yes, Chick-fil-A, we will discriminate against you because we oppose discrimination.

Already in 1994, Camille Paglia wrote in her book Vamps and Tramps, “One reason I so dislike recent gay activism is that my self-identification as a lesbian preceded Stonewall: I was the only openly gay person at the Yale Graduate School (1968-72), a candor that was professionally costly. That anyone with my aggressive and scandalous history could be called ‘homophobic,’ as has repeatedly been done, shows just how insanely Stalinist gay activism has become.” And Orwellian too.

So be on guard: The intolerance brigade is coming for you.


The San Francisco view:  Free speech for Leftists only

"When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves."

Those words, penned by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, were core to the court's 5-4 Citizens United ruling in 2010, which overturned the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. That decision set off a firestorm in liberal land.

As the storm raged this year, the California Legislature passed a resolution calling on Congress and states to ratify a constitutional amendment to overturn the big bench decision. Five other states have passed similar measures.

This week, San Francisco joined in by placing an anti-Citizens United advisory measure on the city ballot.

It is instructive to note that though Citizens United ended restrictions on independent political spending by corporations and labor unions, the San Francisco and California measures seek to curb only corporate speech. No mention of labor.

The San Francisco measure, authored by Supervisor John Avalos, declares it city policy to repeal "corporate personhood" and "opposes artificial corporate rights and giving corporations the same rights entitled to human beings." (By the way, corporations don't have the same rights as people; they can't vote, and they can't run for office.)

Speaking to the board before it unanimously passed the measure Tuesday, Avalos explained that the ruling allowed independent expenditure campaigns to air "commercials that can say just about anything on our televisions about candidates and about issues."

That's right, supervisor; it's called free speech.

When speech is inaccurate, the proper response is not to try to ban it but to argue against it -- that is, to trust voters to decide for themselves.

Campaign finance attorney Allison Hayward is appalled that California's progressive movement, which allegedly is premised on pushing back against power, has chosen to oppose a court decision that is "the most simplistic extension of free speech." As she sees it, "the whole notion of liberty as expression has just blown up."

Be it noted that political organizations qualify as corporations under the ruling. As the American Civil Liberties Union likes to point out, Citizens United applies not only to General Motors and Microsoft but also to nonprofit corporations, such as Planned Parenthood and the National Rifle Association.

"Our system of free expression is built on the premise that the people get to decide what speech they want to hear," an ACLU paper argued in March. "It is not the role of the government to make that decision for them."

The worst part: Once again, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is oblivious to its tendency to censor unwanted opinion. Sure, the supes love free speech -- right up until they realize that moderates or conservatives also get to use it.


How Times Have Changed

 Walter E. Williams

Having been born in 1936 has allowed me to witness both societal progress and retrogression. High on the list of things made better in our society are the great gains in civil liberties and economic opportunities, especially for racial minorities and women. People who are now deemed poor have a level of material wealth that would have been a pipe dream to yesteryear's poor. But despite the fact that today's Americans have achieved an unprecedented level of prosperity, we have become spiritually and morally impoverished compared with our ancestors.

Years ago, spending beyond one's means was considered a character defect. Today not only do people spend beyond their means but also there are companies that advertise on radio and TV to eliminate or reduce your credit card and mortgage debt. Students saddled with college loans have called for student loan forgiveness. Yesterday's Americans would have viewed it as morally corrupt and reprehensible to accumulate debt and then seek to avoid paying it. It's nothing less than theft. What's worse is there's little condemnation of it by the rest of us.

Earlier this year, as a result of a budget crunch, the Philadelphia School District had to lay off 91 school police officers. During the 1940s and '50s, I attended Philadelphia schools in poor neighborhoods. The only time we saw a policeman in school was during an assembly period when we had to listen to a boring lecture about safety. Because teacher assaults are tolerated -- 4,000 over the past five years in Philadelphia -- school police are needed. Prior to the '60s, few students would have thought of talking back to a teacher, and no one would have cursed, much less assaulted, a teacher.

I couldn't have been more than 8, 9 or 10 years old when one time, on the way home from school, my cousin and I were having a stone fight with some other youngsters. An elderly black lady walked up to my cousin and me and asked, "Does your mother know you're out here throwing stones?" We replied, "No, ma'am," praying that the matter rested there. Today an adult doing the same thing risks being cursed and possibly assaulted. Fearing retaliation, adults sit in silence as young people use vile language to one another on public conveyances, in school corridors and on the streets.

Yesteryear there was little tolerance for the kinds of crude behavior and language that are accepted today. To see a man sitting on a bus or trolley car while a woman is standing used to be unthinkable. Children didn't address adults by their first name. By the way, over the course of my nearly 45 years of teaching, on several occasions, students have addressed me by my first name. I have told them that I don't mind their addressing me by my first name but that my first name is Professor.

Much of what's accepted today would have been seen as bizarre and lowdown yesteryear. Out-of-wedlock childbirth was a disgrace and surely wouldn't have occasioned a baby shower. Popular TV shows such as "The Jerry Springer Show" and "Maury" feature guests who openly discuss despicable acts in their personal lives, often to the applause of the audience. Shame is going the way of the dinosaur.

You say, "Williams, you're just old-fashioned and out of touch with modern society." Maybe so, but I think that a society's first line of defense is not the law but customs, traditions and moral values. These behavioral norms -- transmitted by example, word of mouth, religious teachings, rules of etiquette and manners -- represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience and trial and error. They include important legal thou-shalt-nots -- such as shalt not murder, steal, lie or cheat -- but they also include all those civilities one might call ladylike or gentlemanly behavior. Police officers and courts can never replace these social restraints on personal conduct. At best, laws, police and the criminal justice system are a society's last desperate line of defense.


This trend for older parents is, I fear, creating unhappy, stressed and spoiled children

When my first child was born, I was young and, like most of my friends who were also having families in their early 20s, I took having children in my stride.

My husband and I achieved this by taking no more notice of them than we could possibly help.

This sounds flippant, but I mean it relatively — compared with the mollycoddling and indulgence that passes for parenting these days.

My two sons, Will and Tom, went to bed when they were sent and did not sneak downstairs during the night because they did not dare.

They ate what was put in front of them — or didn’t, as the case may have been — and weren’t allowed to interrupt adult conversations.

We, the adults, came first — which meant no school runs or endless ferrying them around to ballet, music, sport or sleepovers like modern parents.

I went to only one school sports day and vowed I would never waste time going to another to watch my children come last in the egg-and-spoon race.

Tiger mothers we most emphatically were not. Our child-rearing methods may have been a leftover from the days when children were supposed to be seen and not heard, but at least this approach ensured we parents had time for ourselves.

Back then, the children fitted round us rather than the other way round.

How different things are today, when 34 — not 24, the age I was when I had my first — is the average age for an educated woman to start thinking about having a family.

Recent news that the singer Adele is pregnant at the age of 24 caused astonished gasps from many quarters. Why should a talented woman with the world at her feet want to have a baby so young, people asked? Isn’t there plenty of time later for that sort of thing?

Yet in my day, a pregnancy at 24 would not have provoked a single raised eyebrow because that was the standard age for a professional woman to start a family.

It seems that even the Royal Family is following the trend towards later parenthood. The Queen was 22 when Prince Charles was born and Princess Diana only 20 when she had William. Kate and Wills, both 30, seem in no hurry as yet to produce the next scion of the Windsors.

'In many ways, it may seem sensible to wait until careers, finances and homes have been properly established before bringing babies into the world.'

The Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips, and her husband Mike Tindall, aged 31 and 33, have stated that they still have much work to do in their sporting careers before they think about a family.

Clearly, having children is not the urgent priority it once was. Today’s young women want to live independently and have fun, making inroads in their careers and savouring their freedom before taking on the onerous responsibilities of motherhood.

In many ways, it may seem sensible to wait until careers, finances and homes have been properly established before bringing babies into the world.

But I think, broadly speaking, that the older the mother, the less discipline she employs. The move towards later parenting is causing a disturbing new trend which has come to be known as over-parenting, or helicopter parenting. Helicopter parents hover constantly over their children, scrutinising their every move, chauffeuring them everywhere and indulging their every whim.

These parents allow their children to choose their own bedtimes and their own menus at mealtimes, all the time complaining that they are permanently deprived of sleep. Well of course they are if their small children are allowed, even encouraged, to stay up late and then race around and bounce on their parents’ bed at 5am.

I blush to relate now that my husband and I used to lock our bedroom door so that the children couldn’t come in. It sounds outrageous, perhaps, but it worked: they soon got the message that they were not welcome in our room. Selfish, maybe, but at least we got some sleep.

For older parents, it seems that everything revolves around the children in the most intense of ways — something which does not happen with younger, more laid-back parents.

As I observe it, these older mothers and fathers run themselves ragged and become exhausted and unhappy trying to be perfect parents, when any sensible person knows there is no such thing.

Indeed, so worrying and widespread has  over-parenting become that a conference on  the subject was held recently in Sydney, Australia.

My son, Tom, was one of the speakers because he’s written a book called The Idle Parent. Addressing the conference, he urged today’s parents to put down their car keys, say ‘no’ to Saturday morning sport, sleep in and let the children entertain themselves.

'A perfect illustration of over-parenting is the ‘baby blog’, a ghastly new trend where every tiny milestone in a child’s life is  recorded and posted on a specially produced website.'

He also paid us, his own parents, a rare compliment, when he said: ‘I think my parents did it well. They were so busy with their jobs that my brother and myself were ignored.’ He is referring to the fact my husband and I both worked long hours  as journalists.

Yet Tom, 44, and Will, 42, the offspring of what would now be perceived as young, irresponsible parents, became helicopter parents themselves, along with all their friends and contemporaries.

They say they were having too much fun in their 20s to want to become parents, and when they eventually succumbed as thirtysomethings, were concerned about not doing a good enough job.

Tom is now addressing this, and feels that today’s older parents do too much for their children. By their constant hovering, modern parents are in danger of stifling their children’s freedom, creativity and independence, turning them into unhappy, stressed and spoilt individuals.

A perfect illustration of over-parenting is the ‘baby blog’, a ghastly new trend where every tiny milestone in a child’s life is  recorded and posted on a specially produced website.

As well as everything else, they are on permanent alert, terrified that they might fail to record a new tooth or a first attempt to crawl.

Of course, we all took photographs of our babies and children, but we didn’t obsess over every mouthful they ate and whatever came out at the other end.

Yet today even the food a child eats is faithfully photographed, as are messy hands and mouths. These parents even post pictures of their young children performing on the potty — images which will probably cause acute embarrassment in  years to come.

It seems having waited so long to start a family, modern parents behave as though they are the first people in the world to give birth.

There is another worrying aspect to all this. Today’s young women have become so used to having everything their way that they are unprepared for babies in their lives.  So they start to panic, and then compensate by over-parenting.

My goddaughter, Charlotte, is a case in point.  A clever and beautiful woman, she has a first from Cambridge in modern languages. Armed with her language skills, she embarked on a highly successful and well-paid international business career which she adored.

Charlotte married an equally successful, very nice man, and they bought a lovely house together which they kept in immaculate condition. As time went on, only one thing was missing from their perfect lives: a baby.

So, two months ago, aged 33, Charlotte had her first child — and has been in a state of terror ever since. ‘I haven’t a clue what I’m supposed to be doing,’ she told me, voicing a fear that will strike a chord with many career women.

Some older mothers have written hand-wringing books about the shock of motherhood, asking:  ‘Why did nobody tell us what it would be like?’

The answer is that we tried to but you didn’t listen; you were not remotely interested.

Maternity nurse Celia Williams, most of whose clients tend to be successful career women in their 30s, says: ‘These women have probably never picked up a baby before in their lives and have never taken the slightest interest in babies.

‘They’ve been so used to everything going smoothly and successfully that they are completely unprepared for the endless demands of this helpless little person they have produced. That makes them resentful and miserable, as well as terrified.

‘I’ve even had new mothers complaining that because of the baby, they can’t go to the theatre or out to dinner. They are totally shocked at the upheaval and re-adjustment required after many years of professional life.’

Older parents are hit hard by the reality of bringing up children in a way that simply doesn’t happen when you are younger.

When you are a young parent, there hasn’t usually been the  time to become a high-earner, to establish a beautiful home or an exciting social life. You’ve never had these things, so you don’t miss or yearn for them.

Because our generation hadn’t known years of hedonism and pleasing ourselves, we buckled down to parenthood more easily.

Yes, we were probably more selfish, and possibly took less interest in our children than today’s parents, but a little bit of healthy neglect is not always a bad thing as it often leads to discipline and structure.

The other bonus of early parenthood is that when your children reach adulthood, you  are still young and vigorous  enough to truly enjoy your new-found freedom.

So perhaps Adele has the right idea after all. Maybe she heralds a new trend and younger parenthood will become fashionable again.

Given that she has the resilience and energy of youth on her side, I doubt that her having a baby will cause even a blip in her phenomenally successful music career.



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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


No comments: