Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Rich animal "welfare" organization is at it again! Charity handed missing cat... then puts it to sleep before the owner can collect it
When her beloved cat failed to return home as normal, Sandra Hall immediately began searching and putting up posters before contacting the RSPCA.
Just over 24 hours later she received a call to say the ginger tom, called Kitty, had been handed in to the animal charity. The 59-year-old mother-of-two breathed a sigh of relief that her pet was in safe hands.
But yesterday Mrs Hall told how Kitty was put down before she and her husband James, 66, had even been able to speak to an inspector to arrange for the cat’s collection.
‘He was the most loving and affectionate cat and was part of the family,’ she said. ‘I was absolutely distraught. They said I could have the dead body back.’
The incident is the latest in a string of similar controversies involving the ‘over-zealous’ animal welfare charity and comes only three months after its new chief executive, £150,000-a-year Jeremy Cooper, promised it would become ‘a lot less political’ on his watch.
Kitty had lived with Mrs Hall and her family in Larkfield, Kent, since they adopted him from a former neighbour nine years ago.
One Friday last month he was let out at the usual time of 7pm but failed to return. Mr and Mrs Hall looked for him without success.
The next morning, Mrs Hall put out posters and contacted the RSPCA. Then, on the Sunday, she received a call to say Kitty had been handed in to the charity.
Mrs Hall contacted the RSPCA at least eight times and was told someone would call back the next day – but nobody did. On the Tuesday, in desperation, she found Mr Cooper’s email address and contacted him.
An hour later an inspector arrived and told her Kitty had been put to sleep. The RSPCA said: ‘This cat was taken to a vet’s by a concerned member of the public, who believed it to be an unwell stray.
‘The cat was scanned for a microchip but when the registered owner was contacted they said they no longer owned the cat. The member of public then called the RSPCA. ‘We took the cat to another vet’s for treatment. The cat deteriorated and a vet decided to put it to sleep.
This is extremely unfortunate as we have now been made aware a lady has been looking after this cat for nine years but had not had the cat microchipped with her details.’
Kitty’s case is reminiscent of that of Claude the cat. He was taken from Richard and Samantha Byrnes by the RSPCA in 2013, after a neighbour raised concerns that he had a matted coat.
Claude, who was 16, was destroyed and the Byrnes, from Tring, Hertfordshire, were charged with animal cruelty offences – which were later dropped. It emerged that he hated being groomed.
Homosexuality and Discrimination: A contrary View
The following essay by Sean Gabb goes back to 2011 but has lost no relevance
On Wednesday the 13th April 2011, two men, James Bull and Jonathan Williams, kissed each other in the John Snow public house in Soho. Apparently, they were then asked to leave by a member of staff who called their act “obscene.” This alleged incident led to the usual sort of outrage. On the Friday following, several hundred homosexuals gathered in the street outside the pub to kiss each other. The pub closed early. Though its landlord has not so far made any comment to the media, the Metropolitan Police are now on the prowl, to see if he or his staff can be done under the “hate crime” laws.
When I read this story last week, I simply sniffed and moved on. Not long ago, every sentence of the newspaper report would have had people scratching their heads. But modern England is a strange place. The only oddity now is that anyone running a pub in Soho could even notice if two men were kissing, let alone think it good for business to object. I have been drawn back to the story, though, by a news release from Peter Tatchell. Among much else, he declares that “Businesses that provide a service to the public have a duty under the law to not discriminate.” While this may be an accurate statement of the law as it stands, removing the words “under the law” makes it a plain statement of what Peter believes. He believes this, and so do many other people. Indeed, among the media and political classes in modern England, it is an almost a self-evident proposition that, if you offer goods or services for sale, you have at least a moral obligation to do business with anyone who has money to spend. Refuse to do business with someone because you dislike the group of which he is a member, and expect to be vilified, where not taken to court.
Now, if it is frequently repeated by those in authority, a proposition may cease to be disputed, or even examined. It does not become true. And this proposition is false. No one has a moral obligation to do business with those whom he dislikes. Any law that compels him to do such business is not a victory for human rights, but a violation of rights. I have much respect for Peter Tatchell. He is more excitable than most of my friends. On the other hand, he has, over the past thirty years, played an honourable and perhaps decisive role in striking down the various legal persecutions of homosexuals. He also takes a straightforward line on freedom of speech that is nowadays rare among socialists. But he is, in his view of anti-discrimination laws, both wrong and even dangerously wrong. I hope that he will regard what I have to say on this issue as entirely friendly criticism.
Personal and Economic Freedom: A False Dichotomy
I read John Stuart Mill’s essay On Liberty when I was seventeen, and was immediately smitten by it. Reading the essay marked my final transition from liberal conservative to libertarian. Even at the time, though, I found my eyes opening at this claim, in Chapter V:
…[T]rade is a social act. Whoever undertakes to sell any description of goods to the public, does what affects the interest of other persons, and of society in general; and thus his conduct, in principle, comes within the jurisdiction of society…. [T]he so-called doctrine of Free Trade… rests on grounds different from, though equally solid with, the principle of individual liberty asserted in this Essay.
Mill is wrong here. Freedom is the right to do whatever we please with our own lives and property. The right is limited only by an obligation to refrain from force or fraud in dealing with others. The introduction of money into one man’s association with another makes no difference in itself. For example, a man may want to sleep only with other men. That is his business. He may choose to hold a sex party in his house, and to invite only men. That also is his business. It is his body, to with as he pleases. It is his property, to do with as he pleases – so long, of course, as he does not, as reasonably conceived, make a nuisance of himself to his neighbours. To make a law compelling him to sleep with women as well is to make him into a slave. To make a law compelling him to admit women to his party, and men who want to sleep with women, is also to make him into a slave. He has bought or rented his house with his earnings, and telling him how to spend his earnings is as much a form of slavery as telling him what to do directly with his body. What makes the case any different if he offers himself to men as a prostitute, or charges for admission to his sex parties? Why should he be forced by an anti-discrimination law to sell his body to some woman who may desire him – or to take admission money from heterosexuals?
The right of one man to sleep with another is nothing more than an instance of the right to freedom of association. Freedom of association also includes freedom of trade. Denying any one instance of this freedom is to set a precedent for others to be denied. Regardless of payment, consenting adults should be free to associate as they please. Moreover, freedom of association necessarily involves the right not to associate. No one has a right to be included. No one has a right not to be shunned. Though they currently favour sexual and racial minorities, anti-discrimination laws in business matters are an attack on the right of these minorities to be left alone.
It may be very hurtful to see notices outside hotels that say things like “Wogs and queers not welcome.” It may be very hurtful to be told “We don’t employ your sort in this company.” But it is not our hotel, and it is not our company. We have no moral right to share in the profits of these businesses, or to cover their losses. Equally, we have no moral right to dictate how they should be run.
Of course, while it should have every right to throw demonstrative homosexuals into the street, no one is obliged to drink at the John Snow public house; and the demonstration outside a few days later was entirely legitimate. As said, it is bizarre that anyone on Soho could regard this sort of discrimination as other than catastrophic for business. It may have come already, but I do expect a grovelling apology from the owners of the public house. And it is worth noting that, while homosexuals are not as generally loved as the media would have us believe, there is very little active dislike. Even without anti-discrimination laws, I do not think modern England is a place where discrimination is welcomed.
Obama’s Sex-Driven War on Science
President Obama has sacrificed the well-being of our nation’s youth on the altar of ideology.
Barack Obama made headlines during his first months in office by loudly “reversing” several Bush administration policies. The new president announced that he would close the Guantanamo detention facility, “reset” relations with Russia, and discontinue interrogation by torture. But Gitmo remains open, relations with Russia are worse, and the Bush administration had already abandoned torture, including waterboarding, years before Obama took office.
In his Inaugural Address, President Obama declared that he would “restore science to its rightful place” when making federal government policy. Weeks later, on March 9, 2009, he reversed Bush’s restrictive rules governing embryonic stem cell research. At that time, Obama promised that his administration would henceforth rely upon “facts,” not “ideology,” whenever scientific knowledge was relevant to his government’s actions. He even issued an executive order to institutionalize the integrity of his administration’s reliance upon scientific research.
It is debatable whether President Obama has lived up to his promise to replace “ideology” with scientific “facts” in some of the domains he specifically mentioned, such as climate change and protection of endangered species. But in one of the areas he listed—children’s health—he has surely reneged on his promise. Unfortunately for America’s children, consistently promoting their genuine well-being would interfere with the president’s ideological war on traditional sexual morality.
The president’s lawyers have argued for years in courts across the country that one of the administration’s most divisive domestic proposals—the Health and Human Services contraception and abortifacient “mandate” for all females of childbearing age, including my own teenage daughter—was justified by a “compelling state interest” in meeting the unmet needs of women who lacked effective access to these services. These lawyers eventually conceded, however, that the government had conducted no empirical studies whatsoever to support their claim, and could cite no evidence for it. This startling admission, along with other evidence, amply supports the suspicion that the chief goal of the mandate was ideological and not empirical. Its purpose is to utterly normalize contraception and early abortion by insinuating it into the benefits package of all American workers, including those who work for religious employers.
For years, administration lawyers argued for “gay rights,” including same-sex marriage, on the basis that sexual orientation was an inborn characteristic, and that it was contrary to our constitutional traditions to treat anyone adversely due to a trait over which one had no control or choice. In his 2011 letter to Congress announcing that the administration would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, for instance, Attorney General Eric Holder stated that “a growing scientific consensus accepts that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable.” That claim was unsupported by scientific evidence when Holder made it. That claim is certainly false, as a recent review of the scientific literature by Clifford Rosky and Lisa Diamond (neither a friend of traditional sexual ethics) conclusively shows.
Even so, in April 2015 the president called for an end to what he called “conversion” therapies for same-sex attracted youths. In fact, the president would ban a lot more than any sexual orientation change regimen. He would effectively make it illegal for a psychologist or psychiatrist to discuss with anyone under eighteen the conflicts between his or her sexual feelings and that person’s own long-term goals and interests. The president would brush aside a teen’s expressed desire to develop stable heterosexuality. He would ignore overwhelming scientific evidence that the vast majority (80-90 percent) of teenage boys and more than half of teenage girls who report same-sex attractions (and in some cases, a homosexual or lesbian identity) turn out by age twenty-five or so to be peacefully heterosexual, in favor of a policy to make professional assistance during these passing difficulties illegal. The president’s policy would entail that the traumas and pathologies that so often underlie these expressions of homosexuality and lesbianism be left untreated, all so that the afflicted youth can be “affirmed” in their self-reported sexual identity.
In this case, the president had much of the scientific establishment behind him, for it too has bought into the ideology of sexual subjectivism and has sought to marginalize those professionals who engage these teens in discussions to get at the root of their issues. In his remarks justifying repression of these professional efforts, Obama relied on the bane of scientific research—the anecdote, salted heavily with gratuitous attributions of a cause-and-effect relationship to coincident facts. Obama cited the case of a transgendered youth who committed suicide, sometime after his parents refused to consent to his “transition” to female. The parents also insisted that he undergo therapy to help him accept his male identity. The president implied that this resistance to “transitioning” to female led this young man to suicide.
It is obvious from a glance at the facts surrounding Joshua “Leelah” Alcorn’s death that he suffered from a variety of psychological difficulties, including depression and deep social alienation. No competent professional—much less the commander-in-chief of the United States—could diagnose the etiology of his suicide.
It is curious that President Obama marshaled support for his opposition to sexual orientation counseling by citing this case of gender dysphoria. The imagined connection seems to be that “Leelah” Alcorn was a boy who was attracted to boys, and may have sought to “transition” to female partly in order to become heterosexual. The president’s position is evidently that a boy who wishes to become attracted to girls should not be allowed professional help to do so, but that a boy who wishes to actually become a girl should have access to all the professional help he desires.
Now the Obama administration has gone all in on its pro-transgender ideology. The federal government recently sued North Carolina and threatens it—and school districts and state agencies across the nation—with draconian penalties unless they toe the administration’s line on how to treat teens who believe that they were “assigned” the wrong sex at birth. The administration has decreed that civil rights provisions about “sex” discrimination must be informed by a definition of “sex” dictated not by the facts of nature but by the self-interpretation of the relevant fourteen-year-old. The administration would thus require every municipal recipient of federal funds to make the girls’ restroom available to boys who “self-identify” as girls. No accommodation of these troubled teens short of that—say, by making sure that there is a unisex restroom readily available—will do.
The basis for this uncompromising stance is clearly that using the restroom of choice makes these conflicted boys feel like they are being accepted as girls, and that this is a happy outcome for the afflicted teen.
It is not. There is no scientific evidence that treating boys as girls solves these teens’ genuine, and usually serious, psychological and emotional problems, as the research and clinical experience of Dr. Paul McHugh (among others) reliably shows. Gender dysphoria—unease with one’s sex as male or female—deserves to be treated compassionately and competently. But affirming the desire of anyone suffering from it to be treated as if he is a she, and vice versa, leaves the emotional and psychological problems hidden behind the claim untreated. (And in no case is sex-reassignment surgery ever medically indicated.) The compassionate and professionally competent approach to treating those with gender dysphoria is to help them to solve their underlying problems, and so to help them to come to live peacefully as the male or female that God created them.
President Obama has not said that science is to be the alpha and the omega of government policy. Nor should he: science by itself does not have the capacity to generate the moral norms, including norms of justice, that are essential to finally justifying any purposeful human action. But science very often generates information and insights vital to deliberation and choice of social policy. This is true with regard to what today might be called “adolescent sexual health.” And in spite of his triumphalist advertisement of fidelity to scientific fact, Obama has sacrificed the well-being of our nation’s youth on the altar of ideology.
The myth of racist Britain
How official anti-racism divides us all.
We live in strange times: the less real vicious or violent racism there is in the UK, the more we are beset by campaigns, laws, surveys and scandals about the ‘growing problem’ of British racism. What’s that all about?
Hired by the council to make an anti-racist video in an Essex school a few years ago, Adrian Hart was struck by ‘the contrast between the exuberant playground of children and the “racism awareness” drama workshops they were about to attend’.
Out there in the playground, black and white primary-school pupils were unselfconsciously messing around together like primary-school pupils do. Meanwhile, inside the classroom, what sounds like the Essex equivalent of the Legs Akimbo school drama group (from League of Gentlemen) were preparing to teach these same children how to be more wary of one another and ‘Watch out for Racism!’. That contrast, says Hart, made him ask himself: ‘What the hell were we doing there?’ It’s a good question, which he sets out to answer in his short and punchy new book, That’s Racist: How the Regulation of Speech and Thought Divides Us All.
Hart draws on his own experience of campaigning against racist attacks in 1980s Britain – ‘a truly racist place to be’, where the authorities led the race war on immigrant and ethnic communities – to show how far normal people’s attitudes to race have changed for the better over the past 30 years. Today, by contrast, we are faced with an army of state-backed crusaders hunting ‘fantasy racism… the racism of the past’ among the masses.
Driven by the conviction that there must be a hidden epidemic of racial prejudice beneath the surface of society, the authorities are now intent upon ‘slaying the menace of zombie racism’ by pursuing a policy of zero tolerance towards any word or deed that might possibly be construed as unintentionally tinted with racism, from the classroom to the football stadium. The result, says Hart, has been to create and exacerbate divisions in society, and to foster a culture that ‘stifles our ability to speak, act and even think freely’.
Hart focuses on the powerful influence of the Macpherson report of 1999, into the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence by a gang of white youths in south London. With Sir William Macpherson of Cluny effectively reading from a script written by a gang of anti-racism experts, his report went way beyond the botched police investigation into that crime and became the ‘launchpad for a new kind of official orthodoxy, which is every bit as divisive as traditional racism’.
Macpherson’s report asserted that Britain was awash with both ‘institutional racism’ and ‘unwitting racism’. There might appear to be a contradiction between those concepts, but not in the weird world of official anti-racism. Here, institutional racism was not about powerful institutions in society, but about individuals within them. As Hart has it, ‘Transposed on to society as a whole, institutional racism is, according to Macpherson, what happens when the mass of people (that’s you and me, the masses) go to work for organisations’. Especially as the masses are all infected with ‘unwitting’ racism, whether we know it or not. In line with this, the Macpherson report created the legal definition of a racist incident as anything that the victim or any other person believes to be racist. That subjective definition has become a licence for racialising British society over the past 15 years.
Hart shows how the elite (who are of course immune to the unwitting racism that the rest of us carry around) have pursued ‘zombie racism’ post-Macpherson, using zero tolerance policies to police language on the automatic assumption that the hidden problem of racism is getting worse.
Which is why monitors and drama groups end up in Essex schools lecturing children to watch out for racism that is not there, while teachers are obliged to tick boxes and record thousands of ordinary playground moments as racial incidents, pursuing a government policy based on ‘the assumption that children are conditioned, from birth, by the persistent racism of their parents’ generation’. And why we have witnessed a crusade against the ‘spectre’ of ‘hidden’ racism in football, based on the assumption that those ugly people who play and watch the beautiful game need to be re-educated.
The result of this new ‘racial correctness’, says Hart, has been to pigeonhole black and ethnic-minority people as perennial victims, and to demonise white people (especially the working-class ones) as unwitting but unreconstructed racists. Little wonder that official anti-racism has helped to exacerbate divisions rather than overcome them.
In a striking illustration of how far things have gone, Hart notes the tendency of some observers to imply some sort of parallel between the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the trial of former England captain John Terry for allegedly calling Anton Ferdinand a ‘fucking black cunt’. One journalist wrote of Lawrence’s mother, the now-ennobled Doreen, sitting in court ‘to see if another race-related crime had been committed’. Hart observes that ‘the comparison with the Lawrence murder, implicit in such genteel misinterpretations of the working-class experience of football, was that the gap between offensive language and murder was not that great’.
We end up, Hart concludes, in a multicultural mess where there is less racism yet heightened racial and ethnic sensitivities and a hardening separation between ‘diverse’ cultural identities. Where the cry ‘That’s racist!’, directed at anything anybody finds unpleasant, is an immediate and unquestionable call for censorship. Hart experienced this himself five years ago when his Manifesto Club report, The Myth of Racist Kids, was condemned for daring to question the orthodoxy by those for whom any such challenge is a case of ‘racism denial’. Ultimately, says Hart, ‘the biggest casualty in this process is the capacity to debate’.
In the end ‘That’s racist!’, along with such fashionable ripostes as ‘Check your privilege!’, is another way of repeating the dominant cultural prejudice that You Can’t Say That. Fortunately, there are still those like Adrian Hart who can, and will.
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.