Monday, June 08, 2015
Left Exploits Mental Illness to Push PC Agenda
By Ben Shapiro
My grandfather was deeply mentally ill. He spent nearly a year in a psychiatric institution after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder; he heard the radio talking to him. He became suicidal. He spent years battling the condition, until he was prescribed lithium. For the next several decades, the medication brought his mental illness under control.
Nothing would have been crueler to my grandfather than had society told him that his delusions were correct — that the radio was, in fact, talking to him; that the curtains were indeed threatening him; that he was normal, and that it was the stereotypes of the world inducing his paranoia.
Yet that is the view of the anti-science left that this week declared former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner a woman. Vanity Fair led the way, featuring Jenner wearing a one-piece corset, Photoshopped and made up beyond nearly all recognition. The 22-page profile of Jenner insists that everyone call him Caitlyn, addresses him as "she," and explains that despite the fact that Jenner has all male genitalia and all male genetics, he is in fact a woman — even though the writer explains his own confusion as to gender pronoun usage.
Jenner freely admits that he had doubts right after having his face surgically altered in a 10-hour procedure, but that a counselor from the Los Angeles Gender Center explained it was just the painkillers talking (it would be illegal in California for a counselor to explain to Jenner that he requires serious mental illness treatment beyond bodily mutilation). Jenner also admits that he is doing a reality television show about his sex change for the money: "I'm not doing it for money. ... If I can make a dollar, I certainly am not stupid. [I have] house payments and all that kind of stuff."
It's cruel to allow a mentally ill person to exploit himself in public, but the political left is happy to do so in order to perpetuate the pseudo-scientific nonsense that a man can magically turn into a woman.
Their agenda: If men and women are the same but for hormone therapy, implants and repeated surgical intervention, then all disparities between male and female can be attributed to societal biases. And those societally created "gender constructs" can be corrected only by massive government intervention, including re-education of children. Bruce Jenner is merely a tool in this quest for redefinition of gender.
Thus, the White House hailed Jenner as a hero, with presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett tweeting, "Nice to meet you, @Caitlyn_Jenner. The brave choice to live as your authentic self is a powerful example to so many." Except that Caitlyn certainly isn't Jenner's "authentic self," any more than the "authentic self" of an anorexic requires constant liposuction. Surgery is not the solution to mental illness. The post-surgical suicide rate among transgenders remains 20 times higher than that of the general population.
As Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, wrote last year, "'Sex change' is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder."
And promoting mental disorders hurts no one more than those who suffer from such disorders. Delusions ought not be supported, let alone celebrated. They ought to be treated.
All 8 Females in First Co-Ed Class at Army Ranger School Failed
All eight female soldiers in the first co-ed class of the U.S. Army Ranger School failed to pass the first phase of training, the Darby Phase, according to a May 29 Army press release. In addition, this was the second attempt by all eight women to try to pass the Darby Phase of the training.
“Today, at Fort Benning, 195 Ranger Students met the requirements … to begin the Mountain Phase of Ranger School,” reads the release. “There were no female soldiers amongst the 195 Ranger Students going forward to the second phase of Ranger School.”
“Additionally, 54 men and no women will be recycled, or given a second attempt at the next Darby Phase of Ranger School, starting on Thursday, June 25, 2015,” said the press release. “All eight women in the Ranger Course were on their second attempt of the Darby Phase.”
Pentagon officials announced in January that the historically male-only Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade course would be opened to women on a one-time basis for research purposes, in response to a 2013 directive from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to open combat-roles to women before 2016.
Nineteen women and 380 men started the program on April 20. Before formally beginning Ranger School, however, students must pass a demanding physical fitness assessment.
During this 4-day Ranger Assessment Phase, known as RAP week, students must complete 49 push-ups in two minutes; 59 sit-ups in two minutes; a five-mile run in 40 minutes; six pull-ups; a combat water survival assessment; a land navigation course; and a 12-mile road march carrying about 45 pounds of equipment.
Three women failed the physical assessment on day one. Eight of the remaining 16 women and 184 men completed RAP week and were cleared to begin the 57 remaining days of the three-phase Ranger Course Assessment.
Phase One, the Darby Phase, is “fifteen days of intensive squad training and operations at Fort Benning, Georgia,” featuring student-led patrols, techniques training, and the infamous Darby Queen obstacle course, the press release states.
In April, 115 male soldiers proceeded to Phase Two, the Mountain Phase, while eight women and 101 men did not meet the standards of the first phase but were permitted to retry, or “recycle” through the Darby Phase with the next class.
One-hundred-ninety-five men passed the next Darby Phase, which began on May 14, and 54 men will be recycled to start again on June 25, 2015.
Five soldiers, including three women, will start the Ranger Course over at RAP week on June 21 in what is called a Day One Recycle. According to the press release, this is standard procedure “when students struggle with one aspect of the course and excel at others.”
Twenty-nine soldiers, including five women, have been dropped from the Ranger Assessment course.
“For a variety of reasons, these students were unsuccessful at meeting the standard--some for leading their graded patrols, some for a poor evaluation of their teamwork from their peers, some for accumulating too many negative spot reports, and some for a combination of all three,” the press release states. “However, the vast majority who are being dropped from the course were unable to successfully lead a patrol,” after several opportunities to do so.
U. S. Army Ranger School has about a 50 percent pass rate, and students are given three recycle opportunities. About 75 percent of soldiers who pass RAP week will pass the Ranger program, but this process can take several months for those who recycle through phases. The Darby Phase has a 15 percent recycle rate, lower than the 18 percent recycle rate of the two subsequent phases.
Colonel David G. Fivecoat, Commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, spoke with the soldiers upon their completion of the Darby Phase.
“Each Ranger student, whether successful or unsuccessful, learned more about themselves, leadership, and small unit tactics, and returns to the Army a better trained Soldier and leader,” he said.
The trouble with homosexual marriage
Yes, Ireland has entered a new era of equality – but not the positive kind
The most striking thing following the Irish referendum on gay marriage is how few people are talking about gay marriage. Amid the near-global cheering that greeted the vote in favour of instituting gay marriage, there was barely any commentary on the institution of gay marriage. Sure, there was a handful of on-air marriage proposals in Dublin as the news cameras rolled, and the tailend of a BBC TV report informed us when the first gay marriages in Ireland would take place (Autumn). But given that this referendum was all about opening up a social institution to which gays had apparently been brutally denied entry, the lack of post-referendum talk about actual marriage was remarkable.
Instead of saying ‘We can finally get married’, the most common response to the referendum result from both the leaders of the Yes campaign and their considerable army of supporters in the media and political classes has been: ‘Gays have finally been validated.’ Across the spectrum, from the drag queens who led the Yes lobby to the right-wing politicians who backed them, all the talk was of ‘recognition’, not marriage. Ireland’s deputy PM Joan Burton said the Yes vote was about ‘acceptance in your own country’. Writing in the Irish Examiner, a psychotherapist said ‘the referendum was about more than marriage equality… it was about validation and full acceptance [of gay people]’. (Tellingly, Ireland’s psychotherapy industry played a key role in backing the Yes campaign.) PM Enda Kenny also said the referendum was about more than marriage — it was a question of gay people’s ‘fragile and deeply personal hopes [being] realised’. Or in the words of novelist Joseph O’Connor, the Yes vote was an act of ‘societal empathy’ with a section of the population.
The official Yes campaign went so far as to describe the Yes victory as a boost for the health and wellbeing of all Irish citizens, especially gay ones. A spokesperson said ‘the effect of legal equality goes beyond the letter of the law… it enters our daily lives and our interaction with others’. In ‘embracing’ gay people, Ireland had ‘improv[ed] the health and wellbeing of all our citizens’. In short, the Yes result made people feel good. A writer for the Irish Times described his gay friends’ pre-referendum ‘nagging shadow’, a ‘feeling that [they are] less somehow’, and he claimed the Yes victory finally confirmed for them that they now enjoy society’s ‘support, kindness and respect’. Fintan O’Toole said the Yes victory was about making gays feel ‘fully acknowledged’.
And you thought it was about marriage? How wrong you were. All the commentary on how the referendum was ‘about more than marriage’, how it went ‘beyond the letter of the law’ to touch on something deeper, something psychic, confirms that the campaign for gay marriage is not about achieving social equality — no, it’s about securing parity of esteem, which is very different. The march of gay marriage has a stronger relationship with the new culture of therapy, and the need for recognition, than it does with the more longstanding ideal of legal equality and the need for rights. What is being sought here is not really the right to marry but rather social and cultural validation of one’s lifestyle — ‘societal empathy’ — particularly from the state. What we have witnessed in Ireland is not a new dawn of social equality but the further entrenchment of the value of cultural equality, and this is far from positive.
Ireland’s focus on recognition rather than rights, and the celebration of gay marriage as a means of validating gay people’s sense of worth, echoes the discussion about gay marriage in nations across the West. Time and again, the language used has been that of therapy rather than autonomy. In her excellent 2004 essay ‘The liberal case against gay marriage’, Susan M Shell noted the way that early agitators for gay marriage seemed to be primarily concerned with ‘relieving adult anxiety’, what some of them referred to as their ‘elemental fear’ of not being ‘valued’ (1). Activists spoke of how ‘the lack of legal recognition [for our relationships] rankled more and more’. In the words of the authors of The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage (2007), activists primarily want ‘the sanction of the state for our intimate relationships’. This search for state sanction, for external recognition, has been echoed in the response to the Irish referendum. ‘My country has acknowledged that we exist’, said a gay Irish businessman.
What we have here is not the politics of autonomy, but the politics of identity. Where the politics of autonomy was about ejecting the state from gay people’s lives — whether it was Stonewall rioters kicking the cops out of their bars or Peter Tatchell demanding the dismantling of all laws forbidding homosexual acts — the politics of identity calls upon the state to intervene in gay people’s lives, and offer them its recognition, its approval. For much of the past 50 years, radical gay-rights activism was in essence about saying ‘We do not need the approval of the state to live how we choose’; now, in the explicit words of The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage, it’s about seeking ‘the sanction of the state for our intimate relationships’. The rise of gay marriage over the past 10 years speaks, profoundly, to the diminution of the culture of autonomy, and its replacement by a far more nervous, insecure cultural outlook that continually requires lifestyle validation from external bodies. And the state is only too happy to play this authoritative role of approver of lifestyles, as evidenced in Enda Kenny’s patronising (yet widely celebrated) comment about Irish gays finally having their ‘fragile and deeply personal hopes realised’.
What is being sought through gay marriage is not the securing of rights but the boosting of esteem. And this is a problem for those of us who believe in liberty. For where old, positive forms of social equality were a narrowly legal accomplishment, concerned simply with either removing discriminatory laws or passing legislation forbidding discrimination at work or in the public sphere, cultural equality is far more about… well, culture; the general outlook; even people’s attitudes. It is not satisfied with simply legislating against discrimination and then allowing people to get on with their lives; rather, it is concerned with reshaping the cultural climate, discussion, how people express themselves in relation to certain groups. In the apt words of the Yes campaign, this goes ‘beyond the letter of the law’. It is undoubtedly the business of society to ensure social equality for gays, so that they may work and live as they choose free from persecution or harassment. But is it the job of society to ensure that there is parity of esteem for gays? That they feel good? That they feel validated, respected? I would say no, for then we invite the state not simply to remove the barriers to gay people’s engagement in public life but to interfere at a much more psychic level in both gay people’s lives, in order to offer ‘sanction for their intimate relationships’, and in other, usually religious people’s lives, in order to monitor their refusal to validate gay people’s lifestyles and offer them ‘support, kindness and respect’.
This is why we have seen, across the West, the bizarre ‘gay cake’ phenomenon, where there are more and more cases of traditionalist bakers (and other businesses) being purposefully approached by campaigners to provide services to gay weddings. The aim of this very modern form of religious persecution is to discover and expose those whose attitudes have not yet been corrected by the top-down enforcement of parity of esteem, of protected feelings, for gays. That cultural equality is concerned not merely with altering laws, but with reshaping culture and even belief itself, is clear from the growing trend for harassing those who do not bow before the altar of gay marriage. Joan Burton made clear that this trend will now intensify in Ireland, when she said there will be no ‘conscience clause’ in the New Ireland: it would be intolerable, she said, to ‘exclude some people or some institutions from the operation of marriage equality’. That is, all must agree, all must partake; there can be no room for the exercise of individual conscience when it comes to the engineering of a new cultural climate.
What Ireland crystallises is that gay marriage has nothing to do with liberty. The presentation of this as a liberal, or even libertarian, issue is highly disingenuous. For in truth, gay marriage massively expands the authority of the state in our everyday lives, in our most intimate relationships and even over our consciences. It simultaneously makes the state the sanctioner of acceptable intimate relationships, the ultimate provider of validation to our lifestyle choices, while empowering it to police the cultural attitudes and consciences of those of a more religious or old-fashioned persuasion. This is bad for gays, because it reduces them, in Kenny’s words, to ‘fragile’ creatures who require constant recognition from others; and it is bad for those uncomfortable with gay marriage, since their ability to in act in accordance with their conscience is limited. Making the state the validator of our intimacies and the policer of our moral outlooks is a very dangerous game.
This goes some way to explaining why every single wing of the Irish state supported gay marriage, from the police, who proudly waved the rainbow flag, to all the political parties, the public sector, the health establishment and the cultural establishment. It’s because they recognise, at a gut level, that unlike pretty much every other demand for liberty or equality in modern times, the campaign for gay marriage does nothing to threaten their authority — on the contrary, it extends it, in a way that the most authoritarian among them could only have dreamt of. Strikingly, Fintan O’Toole celebrated the referendum result by saying that ‘Ireland has left tolerance far behind’, by which he meant that the New Ireland actively encourages ‘respect’, not ‘mere toleration’, of minority groups. He’s right, but not in the way he thinks: the new era of state-monitored cultural equality, of expanded state authority over more and more areas of our intimate lives and moral beliefs, does indeed mean that Ireland is leaving tolerance behind, and looks set to become a less tolerant country.
Sen. Lee and Faith Leaders Act to Defend Religious Liberty, Cite ‘Biblical Revelation' and Millennia of ‘Judeo-Christian Tradition'
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) was joined by religious freedom advocates at a press conference on Wednesday to announce legislation he is introducing in Congress to protect religious individuals and institutions from government infringement on religious expression, particularly in the wake of what could be the Supreme Court ruling that homosexuals have a constitutional right to marry.
"The threat that worries me the most is the infringement on religious liberty by our own government," Samuel Oliver, president of Baptist Union University, said at the press conference. "Our views about human sexuality and religious liberty are deeply rooted in biblical revelation and thousands of years of Judeo-Christian tradition."
Senator Lee explained at the press conference that he introduced the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act last year and would reintroduce a similar bill this session ahead of the high court’s ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, expected by the end of the month.
“We have to have to have a guarantee by the government to the American people, to churches, to religious and non-religious people alike saying that the government won’t penalize any religious institution or any religious individual based on a religious belief that that individual or institution believes; that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman,” Lee said.
“We need to draw lines around the power of government – lines that are there to protect the people from the overpowering influence of government – an overpowering influence that can, from time to time, trample on religious freedom,” he said.
Lee cited the exchange between Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. during oral arguments on the same-sex marriage case in April.
Scalia asked Verrilli whether he was concerned if the high court ruled in favor of homosexual marriage that the government could penalize institutions such as religiously affiliated educational institutions by revoking their tax-exempt status or other federal benefits.
“The response from Verelli was troubling to say the very least,” Lee said. “He responded by saying, ‘I don’t deny that – I don’t deny that Justice Alito,’” Lee said. “’It’s going to be an issue.’”
The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, first introduced in December 2013, states, in part:
-- Prohibits the federal government from taking an adverse action against a person on the basis that such person acts in accordance with a religious belief that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.
-- Defines "adverse action" as any federal government action to discriminate against a person who is acting in accordance with such religious belief, including a federal government action to:
-- Deny or revoke certain tax exemptions or disallow a deduction of any charitable contribution made to or by such person;
-- Alter the federal tax treatment of, or cause any tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against, such person or such person's employees with respect to any employee benefit provided or not provided by such person;
-- Deem an employee benefit plan covering employees of such person to have lost its status as a qualified plan under the Internal Revenue Code, or to be in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, because the plan fails to provide a benefit, right, or feature on account of such person's religious belief;
-- Deny or exclude such person from receiving any federal grant, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or similar position or status; or
-- Deny or withhold any benefit under a federal benefit program.
The bill also provides legal recourse for those who believe the protections provided by it have been violated.
Lee told reporters that the legislation he will introduce in the coming days will have a different name and some changes to the bill are being considered.
Also speaking at the press conference was Jerry Johnson, president of National Religious Broadcasters and former president of Criswell College; Keith Wiebe, president of the American Association of Christian Schools; and Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council.
"Over the past year, the Obama Administration has made clear it will use any possible method -- whether contracting, grants, school funding, and now tax exempt status -- to establish and enforce its view of morality on the private religious sphere by redefining marriage,” said Travis Weber at the press conference.
“If the court redefines marriage by mandating it as a constitutional right, the impact will be significant,” he said. “Religious organizations must be left free to determine their own beliefs, which cannot be coopted by the State. The Government Non-Discrimination Act would prevent the federal government from discriminating against people because of their belief in natural marriage. We urge Congress to act to pass this vital legislation."
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.