Wednesday, January 20, 2016
From the front lines of the culture wars
Sad, but true: Doc. sues woman because he had sex with her.and she got pregnant
Every once in a while, I read something that strikes me as microcosmic of how ridiculous much of our society has become. While we've made incredible advances in so many fields, we seem to have forgotten the basic, instinctive knowledge that humanity once possessed as our birthright.
Knowledge, for example, like the fact that sex makes babies.
Lest you should think I'm exaggerating, I could give you a half dozen examples off the top of my head of guys I've met that seem to have completely forgotten this fact. They've been so convinced by their porn and their entertainment that sex is a recreational activity that when their reproductive organs work and they end up procreating, they seem downright bewildered.
One fellow at the University of Calgary-he was in third year philosophy, I think-approached me at a pro-life display and demanded to know what he was to do if he got a girl pregnant "by accident."
By accident? Did you trip and fall or something? If you engage in sexual intercourse, which often leads to reproduction, you cannot claim to be confused or surprised when it works like it's supposed to.
Another university student informed me that he had gotten his girlfriend pregnant by accident. "I don't know how that happened!" he whined. Really? Are you sure you don't know how that happened? Because I wasn't even there and I can tell you how it happened.
This brings me to a truly cringe-inducing story published this weekend in the Toronto Star, titled Doctor sues mother of his child for emotional damages. Given the headline, you might assume that the mother of his child had somehow been negligent or abusive to said child. But nope.
From the Star:
When a man and a woman of a certain age have unprotected sex, there is always the possibility a baby will be made.
Such are the facts of life with which, one would assume, a doctor is familiar.
And yet a 42-year-old Toronto physician recently tried to sue a woman with whom he'd had a casual sexual relationship for more than $4 million in damages, claiming "non-pathological emotional harm of an unplanned parenthood."
Did you get that? This fellow-over forty, and a medical professional-is claiming that some woman he was sleeping with has caused him emotional harm because the act of him sleeping with her caused her to get pregnant.
The petulant and promiscuous papa was angry because the woman he was casually having sex with said she was on the pill, and, whether she was or she wasn't, she ended up getting pregnant. He, like a good modern-day gentleman, assumed the woman he was extracting fleeting pleasure from had turned her reproductive system into a chemical playground to ensure that they could continue to have casual coitus free of any consequences.
But as the Star reported:
But then DD got pregnant, and PP wasn't pleased, so he sued her.
Superior Court Justice Paul Perell threw out PP's statement of claim last week, without permitting him the opportunity to amend it, finding there was no legal basis for his lawsuit.
"The case is certainly precedent-setting because no one has ever tried to do this before," said DD's lawyer, Morris Cooper, who characterized PP's argument as "really a claim for wrongful pregnancy and birth."
DD, a 37-year-old medical practitioner who is now the mother of a healthy 10-month-old child, is pleased with the decision, her lawyer said.
I suppose that's a silver lining, if such a thing is to be found in such a pathetic tale. But considering judges have a bad habit these days of awarding damages in "wrongful birth" lawsuits and all sorts of other grotesque miscarriages of justice, relief is rational.
The judge even sealed the case and hid the identities of those in the case, for fear that one day the baby in question might grow up, find the court records, and realize that he was the occasion for the lawsuit. And that further, if his father had finished sulking about his fertility and decided to show up once in a while at that point, the son would be exposed to the fact that this guy was, in fact, a colossal jackass.
After all, this "father" ("sperm donor" seems more accurate) had the guts to sue for this reason:
"To use the language of the statement of claim, PP was emotionally harmed because he was deprived of the choice of falling in love, marrying, enjoying married life and, when he and his wife thought `the time was right,' having a baby," the judge wrote in his 18-page ruling."
Yeah, you read that right. Read it and weep. The gaping canyon between reality and this guy's sense of entitlement is unfathomable. Biological reality, set in motion by his actions, had trumped the Walt Disney happy ending he was apparently yearning for. Of course, if he'd wanted that to be the case, perhaps he should have been looking for a long-term, serious relationship rather than tramping off to bed with, as he put it later, "some random girl."
He asked her to get an abortion, of course. She said no. So he sued:
"DD committed an independently actionable wrong through misconduct that represents a marked departure from ordinary standards of decent behaviour. Her conduct was sufficiently malicious, high-handed and highly reprehensible such that it offends the court's sense of decency."
He therefore said he should be entitled to punitive damages "to achieve the objectives of punishment, deterrence and denunciation."
Yes, indeed. How dare this woman's reproductive system function in such a way that engaging in intercourse resulted in pregnancy-and how dare she not hire some feticide technician to suction that human being into shreds before he was old enough to bother his father with demands for attention and acknowledgement.
Ladies and gentleman, a lovely example of the post-modern man.
Democrats Have Made the Dream a Nightmare
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: `We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' . I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. . And if America is to be a great nation this must become true." -Martin Luther King Jr.
Of course, today's Democratic Party has turned the wisdom of this iconic sovereign inside out, as if King had said, "I have a dream that my children will one day be judged by the color of their skin, not the content of their character." They've turned it from a dream into a nightmare.
King's 1963 address from the Lincoln Memorial was his most famous, but you have likely never read King's 1966 assessment of racial violence in Obama's hometown of Chicago back: "This is the most tragic picture of man's inhumanity to man. I've been to Mississippi and Alabama and I can tell you that the hatred and hostility in Chicago are really deeper than in Alabama and Mississippi." King added, "Those who are associated with `Black Power' and black supremacy are wrong."
So you thought racism was just a "deep south problem"? That is what the Democrats and their Leftmedia sycophants would have you believe.
"Black supremacy" is precisely what was drilled into Barack Obama's psyche by his Marxist mentor Frank Marshall Davis and his religious mentor Jeremiah Wright.
Two years ago, Obama dismissed his low approval ratings as being due to racism: "There's no doubt that there's some folks who just really dislike me because they don't like the idea of a black president." Yes, Obama used the anniversary of King's birth to establish that his true legacy is being a half-black president who is nothing more than a race-bait political hustler.
How Obama has turned back the clock on race relations
Americans celebrating Martin Luther King Day today should be proud of the incredible progress made since the civil-rights leader's birth 87 years ago. At the same time, we should lament one of President Obama's greatest failures.
The last Democratic president and the last Republican president both managed race relations more effectively than Obama has. Seven years after American voters made history by electing the country's first black president, racial tensions have worsened.
It didn't rank on Obama's one-item list of his "few regrets" during his State of the Union Address. But signs of Obama's failure are on our streets, in our campuses and among our leaders, left and right.
"Ferguson" has become shorthand for African-American fury objecting to insensitive white cops harassing young blacks. The "Black Lives Matter" movement has spilled into American campus culture, as privileged kids attending the world's finest universities bemoan their alleged oppression - bullying anyone who challenges them.
This black backlash has prompted a white backlash, personified by Donald Trump. Every justifiable police shooting called "racist," every Halloween costume labeled politically incorrect, every reasonable thought censored makes Trump look like America's last honest man.
Amid this tension, Obama has been disturbingly passive - even during America's first serious race riots since 1992. He acts like a meteorologist observing the bad weather, not a president able to shape the political climate.
How embarrassing that Obama's most memorable act of presidential leadership on race may end up being inviting a black professor and a white cop to the White House for his 2009 "beer summit."
By contrast, consider Bill Clinton's proactive attempts to reconcile blacks and whites. In November 1993, Clinton preached in Memphis against black-on-black crime, urging African-Americans to tackle the problem from "the inside out," through family and community, not just from the "outside in," meaning government.
His crime-fighting package and welfare reform promised poor blacks safe streets and dignified employment, without "dog whistling" - blaming blacks to woo whites. In 1997, Clinton and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee welcomed into Little Rock High School the "Little Rock Nine," the blacks blocked in 1957 at the schoolhouse door. When one of them - now older, grayer, heavier but freer - stumbled, the Republican governor and the Democratic president tenderly caught her.
The 1990s had racial clashes, too. Still, although it was foolish to call Clinton our "first black president," Clinton reassured blacks that they had a friend in the White House, while encouraging blacks and whites that we could create Dr. King's moral America.
Even though only 9 percent of black voters chose George W. Bush in 2000, his presidency's biggest controversies dodged race, focusing on terrorism, the Iraq war and the economic meltdown. Bush's outreach to Arab-Americans ?after 9/11 calmed many African-Americans - just as Trump's anti-Muslim demagoguery today offends many blacks.
Bush integrated his administration naturally, appointing Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice because of their smarts, not their race. Obama's election in 2008 was a natural progression of the Bush era's racial progress.
Last August, Gallup reported that "Americans rate black-white relations much more negatively today than they have at any point in the past 15 years." White optimism dropped 27 percent in the last two years, with black optimism down 15 percent.
Since at least the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, managing racial tensions has been an important yardstick of presidential success. It's fair to ask: What has Obama done to reconcile blacks and whites? How has he helped beyond being America's first black president? And yes, expectations are greater for him, even as the politics are more volatile.
After this fall's volatility, quickly calling for unity in this State of the Union was feeble. While championing America's redemptive dynamism, Obama should also recalibrate the debate, acknowledging the diverging fears and anger of both blacks and whites.
Only once the atmosphere changes can he start pitching solutions - from the "inside out" and the "outside in" - to improve race relations by next Martin Luther King Day, which will fall just days before his presidency comes to a close.
Why are angry ranchers being called terrorists?
The indiscriminate use of the T-word is trivialising genuine terrorist acts
It wasn't long before pundits played the terrorist card in relation to the standoff between a group of ranchers and the US federal government at Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. In the Guardian, Wajahat Ali objected to the description of the ranchers as `militiamen' rather than `terrorists'. `If the Oregon militiamen were Muslim or black', Ali wrote, `they'd probably be dead by now'. A Washington Post reporter, Janell Ross, asked simply: `Why aren't we calling the Oregon occupiers "terrorists"?'
What's interesting about commentators' attempts to represent a local dispute over land as morally equivalent to a jihadist terrorist attack is the cavalier, indiscriminate way in which they apply the label `terrorist'. After all, as Janell at least concedes, the Oregon ranchers haven't actually perpetrated an act of terror. There have been no reports of violence, injury or of anyone being held against their will. So why are commentators trying to characterise the standoff as a terrorist incident, and the ranchers as terrorists?
Until recently, `terrorist' tended to be an integral part of the politics of fear practiced by authoritarian governments and right-wing demagogues. In the 20th century, it was widely recognised that terrorism was a morally loaded concept, used by a political regime to demonise its political opponents. It was a way of avoiding engaging with the deeper social and political questions surrounding a conflict. But, in recent years, all sections of society have started to condemn their opponents as terrorists. As a result, the underlying reasons for playing the terrorism card are now rarely questioned. Instead, competitive claims-making about who deserves the terrorist label is fast becoming a normal feature of public life.
No doubt those criticising the portrayal of the Oregon ranchers as militiamen rather than terrorists oppose government attempts to racially profile likely terrorists. Yet they are so caught up in the drama of competitive claims-making that they have embraced racial profiling in reverse. Hence they have focused on the fact that the ranchers are white and are likely to have rural, conservative values, all of which is seemingly enough to earn them the label of terrorist. This point was not lost on Jamelle Bouie, Slate's chief political correspondent, who warned: `We are in danger of drawing the wrong lessons from the fact that these armed militiamen are white.'
The coupling of `white' violence with terrorism has been apparent in relation to other incidents. Take the killing of three people at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic last November. As one commentator was quick to assert, `Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was a victim of domestic terrorism (let's call it by what it is)'. Another commentator tweeted: `If a guy has a Muslim name, many will quickly scream terrorism - if he's a white Christian, many will say "lone wolf".'
The almost child-like enthusiasm with which the terrorist label is applied is symptomatic of a culture in which political rhetoric has become detached from ideology and a wider concern for public life. Debate and argument now often gives way to moralising and conspiracy theory. The contemporary purpose of denouncing individuals and groups as terrorists is to enhance the victim status of those allegedly suffering at the hands of said `terrorists'.
For example, one feminist website declares: `Violence against women is also terrorism.' Another insists that `sexual violence against women in war should be classified as a terrorist act'. One website even sells stickers that read: `Rape is everyday terrorism against women.' Men who believe that they are the victims of female violence also present themselves as victims of terrorism. According to the Men's Experiences With Partner Aggression Project, `intimate terrorism by women towards men' is a major problem.
Over the past couple of decades, more and more individuals and interest groups have become willing to frame virtually every unpleasant phenomenon in terms of terrorism. So we have narco-terrorism, cyber-terrorism, bio-terrorism, agro-terrorism, eco-terrorism, apocalyptic terrorism, hyper-terrorism, postmodern terrorism, religious terrorism, mega terrorism, sexual terrorism, Islamic terrorism, cataclysmic terrorism, catastrophic terrorism, and single-issue terrorism. This proliferation of terrorism-related problems is fuelled by an opportunistic exploitation of a unique moral resource: the fear of terrorism.
The Culture War over the T-word
Throughout history, terrorism has been a contested concept. One important reason why, even at the best of times, the discussion of terrorism is so fraught with difficulty is that it continually involves making value judgements. Terrorism is not simply a description. It represents a judgement, a moral condemnation of an act which also serves as a political statement about an enemy. This is why, sometimes, when the relationship with the enemy improves, the terrorist label is withdrawn and the `ruthless terrorist leader' is recycled as a responsible statesman. Jomo Kenyatta, Robert Mugabe and Nelson Mandela are some of the well-known national leaders who were once castigated as fanatical terrorists.
But the term terrorism doesn't just morally condemn; it also promotes anxiety and fear. In the West, perhaps only the paedophile can compete with the terrorist as a symbol of evil. The label terrorist serves as a health warning - it suggests that those to whom it is attached are morally inferior individuals.
Sociologists argue that once a threat or a problem is widely feared, there is a tendency to frame new issues in terms of that threat or problem. That is why a bewildering array of unconnected issues can be recast as a set of terrorism-related problems. In such circumstances, just about any disquieting phenomenon can be portrayed as `just like terrorism'. So when a report concludes that the spread of HIV is `as big a threat as terrorism', it draws on the fears and anxieties of the post-9/11 era (1). In the same way, fear entrepreneurs can present specific objectives - for example, poverty reduction - as indispensable for curbing the threat of international terrorism.
By turning the concept of terrorism into a casual term of condemnation, these fear entrepreneurs empty it of any substantive meaning. As a result, the significance of politically calculated destruction randomly inflicted on a civilian population is trivialised.
As I have argued elsewhere, there has never been, nor will there ever be, an agreement on what we mean by terrorism (2). There are dozens of competing definitions and they tend to founder on the uncertain distinction between acts of terrorism and other forms of violence. The confusion surrounding the definition of terrorism is due to the fact that, as stated above, it is not just an objective analytical concept; it is also a moral statement about the behaviour of the terrorist. And because of the varying moral and political ends to which the term is put, it is rarely used consistently and objectively.
Today, these problems of definition are complicated by the fact that Western societies are experiencing a profound conflict over cultural values. Questions about who is a terrorist and what constitutes an act of terror have slipped into domestic controversies over cultural values. That is why, almost without thinking, leading national newspapers can describe marginalised Oregon ranchers as the moral equivalent of the London bombers.
So how should we use the T-word?
Given the value-laden and subjective character of `terrorism', it is tempting to avoid using it altogether. After all, it is a term that often mystifies reality rather than clarifies it. But, nevertheless, there is range of disturbing practices that needs to be conceptualised through a distinct category.
While any definition is unlikely to solve the problem of how to distinguish terrorism from other forms of political violence, it is possible to outline some of the significant features of contemporary terrorism. As many official and non-official definitions of contemporary terrorism suggest, it is self-consciously directed at non-combatants. They are not hurt or killed by accident; they are intentionally targeted. However, those who are killed are not the real targets of terrorism. This form of violence is directed at the civilian population in general in order to create fear and alarm in society as a whole. So, it's possible to conclude that 21st-century terrorism is the politically motivated use of fear to disrupt and disorient a target society. From this perspective, it is not useful to call a murderous attack on an abortion clinic terrorism. The aim of this type of attack is specific - to shut down the clinic. It is not part of a general campaign to create fear throughout society.
It is important not to confuse terror with terrorism. Those who use terror are not necessarily terrorists. The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq deploys brutal terror against its opponents. But it is an organised political movement with an army attempting not just to scare societies, but to take them over. In contrast, an IS sympathiser who murders dancers in a nighclub in Paris is a terrorist.
Ultimately, it is not possible to avoid any normative and subjective assumptions about who to label a terrorist. Which is why the more carefully we use this word, the better.
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.