Wednesday, September 14, 2016
When ‘Liberty’ Forces 18 Girls Into a Single-Stall Shower Room
In recent years, a common refrain accompanying nearly every demand for newly invented “rights” has been: “It doesn’t affect you, so you can’t be against it.” This claim—whether false or true, subjective or objective—has been played as the ultimate trump card. If you could not point to a direct, immediate, and significant intrusion on your life, then your concerns—no matter how thoughtful and legitimate—were sacrificed at the altar of the New Regime.
On Wednesday, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of high school students and parents, asking the court to strike down a Minnesota school district policy that empowers a male student to enter the girls’ locker room and disrobe.
Not surprisingly, many girls have been distressed by the actions of the male student, which include twerking, grinding, and other sexually explicit actions. The response of the district and other authorities to the concerns has been a collective yawn.
This, along with recent actions by President Barack Obama’s Department of Education and Justice Department, illustrates the evolution of the push to manufacture special privileges for a select few.
The pretense that such demands don’t affect the lives of others now has been abandoned, replaced by two options: (1) get over it and get in line; or (2) be pushed to the margins of society, losing your reputation—and possibly your career—in the process.
In version 2.0 of the New Regime, even if you can point to a direct, immediate, and significant intrusion on your life, your opinion is irrelevant (and perhaps bigoted) when compared to “social progress.”
For example, when the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that wedding photographer Elaine Huguenin and her husband Jonathan must set aside their freedom to peacefully live according to their faith, a concurring justice stated that the pair “now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” Chillingly, the justice added that this compulsion “is the price of citizenship.”
As the situations in Minnesota, North Carolina, and elsewhere demonstrate, the latest test sites for this theory of “social progress” are locker rooms, showers, and other private changing facilities.
In what would have been an unthinkable battleground just a few short years ago, these tile-floored, plastic-stalled, chrome-fixtured, and (formerly) sex-specific sanctuaries are now ground zero for experiments in the subjective theory of gender.
And the wisdom of the New Regime 2.0 goes like this:
The march toward true liberty requires 18 girls to squeeze into a prison cell-sized changing space or abandon their bodily privacy, and their right to safety and comfort in the most intimate and vulnerable of settings.
Why? So that a “bearded individual” can fully disrobe in the girls’ locker room at a parks department swimming pool on New York City’s Upper West Side. Empowered by the mere proclamation that he is a woman, he appropriates the entire space for himself.
Use whatever analogy you want:
The New Regime has flushed common sense down the toilet.
The New Regime has pulled back the curtain and washed away any remaining vestiges of bodily privacy.
The New Regime has transformed locker-room peepholes into doorways.
The point is, the New Regime embraces the idea that individuals can stride with impunity into any private space they choose, regardless of biology. This dismissal of biological fact in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers reeks of irony, in what may be the best example to date of the lengths to which the New Regime will go to impose its orthodoxy.
These spaces, perhaps more than any other physical location, exist for and because of biological differences. Bathroom doors easily could have been labeled as the kid in “Kindergarten Cop” would have it, but decorum prevailed and we used “men” and “women” instead.
Separate locker rooms for men and women do not symbolize a sinister effort to force anyone’s conformity with “gender stereotypes.” They exist because men, women, and children should not be forced to encounter the opposite sex in private spaces or be viewed by the opposite sex while in various stages of undress.
There are reasonable solutions. There are ways to accommodate men and women and boys and girls who struggle to align their subjective beliefs with biological realities.
Consider the family changing room that 18 girls in New York now are forced to use to avoid encountering a man in the girls’ locker room. Indeed, one of the purposes of single-use or “family” facilities like these is to allow fathers to assist their young daughters, or mothers to assist their young sons.
It is an acknowledgement that neither the men’s or women’s restroom is an ideal solution in such circumstances. The same fact holds true for individuals who do not personally feel comfortable entering the private space that corresponds to their biology.
These accommodations protect the privacy of all individuals, not just a select few at the expense of everyone else.
Reasonable solutions are available that protect everyone from unwelcome bodily exposure. But under the New Regime, “social progress” trumps reason.
What the Media, Academics Get Wrong When They Blame Crime Rate on Poverty, Discrimination
Walter E. Williams
Some are puzzled by the dishonesty, lack of character, and sheer stupidity of many people in the media. But seeing as most of them are college graduates, they don’t bear the full blame. They are taught by dishonest and irresponsible academics. Let’s look at it.
“A Clash of Police Policies,” a column written by Thomas Sowell, presents some readily available statistics:
Homicide rates among black males went down by 18 percent in the 1940s and by 22 percent in the 1950s. It was in the 1960s, when the ideas of Chief Justice [Earl] Warren and others triumphed, that this long decline in homicide rates among black males reversed and skyrocketed by 89 percent, wiping out all the progress of the previous 20 years.
Academics and the media blame poverty and discrimination for today’s crime. No one bothers to ask why crime was falling in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, when blacks faced far greater poverty and discrimination.
The 1960s riots were blamed on poverty and discrimination. Poverty and discrimination were worse in the South than in the rest of the country, but riots were not nearly so common there. Detroit’s deadliest riot occurred at a time when the median income of black families in Detroit was 95 percent of their white counterparts, plus the black unemployment rate was 3.4 percent and black homeownership was higher than in other major cities.
Academics teach that the breakdown of the black family is the legacy of slavery and discrimination. They ignore the following facts.
In 1950, 72 percent of black men and 81 percent of black women had been married. Also, only 17 percent of black children lived in single-parent households; today it’s close to 70 percent. Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed that black labor force participation rates exceeded those of whites. During the late 1940s, the unemployment rate for black 16- and 17-year-olds was less than that for white teens.
According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children and 3 percent of white children were born to unwed mothers. Before 1960, the number of teenage pregnancies had been decreasing; both poverty and dependency were declining; and black income was rising in both absolute and relative terms to white income. As late as 1965, 75 percent of black children were born to married women. Today, over 73 percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers. Again, so much for the “legacy of slavery” argument.
Academics teach that school integration is a necessary condition for black academic excellence. Blacks, their logic implies, cannot achieve academic excellence unless they go out and capture a white kid to sit next to their kids. Public charter schools such as those in the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, and Success Academy Charter Schools are having some successes without race mixing.
Sowell points out that only 39 percent of students in New York state schools who were tested recently scored at the “proficient” level in math, but 100 percent of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy scored at that level in math. Blacks and Hispanics are 90 percent of the students in the Crown Heights Success Academy.
More than 43,000 families are on waiting lists to get their children into charter schools. Teachers unions are opposed to any alternative to public education and contribute to politicians who place obstacles and restrictions on the expansion of charter schools. The NAACP, at its 2016 national convention in Cincinnati, voted to support “a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools.”
It’s easy to understand why the NAACP is against any alternative to public schools. Many of its members work in public education. However, many of those people do want alternatives for themselves.
In Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, 25 percent of public school teachers send their children to private schools. In Philadelphia, 44 percent of teachers send their children to private schools. The percentages are similar in several other cities: Cincinnati, 41 percent; Chicago, 39 percent; and Rochester, New York, 38 percent. This demonstrates the dishonesty, hypocrisy, and arrogance of the elite. They effectively say, “One thing for thee and another for me.”
White Guilt Matters
BLM has become a prop for white, Western self-loathing
I’m starting to think Black Lives Matter UK is a Greenpeace front. Since this lame spin-off of the US anti-police-violence group arrived on the identity-politics scene, it seems to have focused almost exclusively on airports. In August, its activists blocked the M4 outside Heathrow, stopping ordinary people from going on their holidays under the banner of protesting against the ‘crisis’ of state racism. Today, it turned its ire on London City Airport, when nine BLMers chained themselves to the tarmac and sent the departure board into meltdown. And, this time round, they’re not even pretending to be angry about the police. ‘Climate crisis is a racist crisis’, was the slogan of today.
That’s right: this lot think proposed airport expansion at London City is some sort of racist conspiracy. Their reasoning, unfurled through a series of tweets throughout the day, is, to put it charitably, a bit all over the place. They say that, as black communities tend to live in urban areas, they’re affected disproportionately by air pollution. They see climate change as a global embodiment of white privilege, as it has minimal effects on Britain, while sub-Saharan Africa bears the brunt. When all else failed, they brought up the refugee crisis: ‘In 2016 alone, 3,176 migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean… Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly.’
The protest didn’t cut much mustard with the delayed holidaymakers, many of whom hailed from east London’s black communities. Speaking to the Guardian, one man, trying to fly home to Nigeria, said, ‘It’s ridiculous. Life is life, black or whatever colour, I don’t see any difference.’ A couple, from Bow, were similarly exasperated: ‘Many issues always affect the poorest in society… But [the protest] has stopped these two black lives from going on holiday.’ BLM insisted the real target was the state, and called on its supporters to join a demonstration outside the Jamaican High Commission, in protest against a deportation flight to Jamaica last month. But, in the end, many who suffered because of its antics were the very people it claimed to be speaking for.
Its profound stupidity aside, there was something else striking about today’s protest. All of the activists were white. As were most of the activists who took part in the blockades in August. Now, that’s not to say white people should be excluded from anti-racist activism. Far from it. One of the ugliest things about anti-racist campaigns today is their identitarian racialism; so-called white allies are constantly told to repent for their privilege and refrain from ‘stealing’ the struggle. And BLM UK is no exception. Indeed, over the course of the day, its tweets became more and more defensive. ‘UKBLM is and always has been black-led’, read one. ‘Today’s #Shutdown isn’t about nine white allies on the runway; it’s about 200million climate refugees by 2050’, read another.
That a group like BLM UK, full of dyed-in-the-wool identity politicos, would allow all the white fellas to steal the limelight is telling. Not only because it suggests it’s not as grassroots as it likes to pretend, and that it springs more from middle-class victim politics than an agitation from below. It also speaks to the fact that anti-racist campaigns today are more about white guilt than black liberation. They play to well-to-do whites’ own self-loathing, their sense of historical, global wrongdoing. They’re the target audience. Black people become pet victims for them to coo over, or, in this case, a stage army against progress itself. That’s why BLM UK marries anti-racism and environmentalism so seamlessly. Both are sources of modern Westerners’ self-hatred, their insistence that Western society is malignant, destructive, bigoted.
White Guilt Matters would have made a better slogan.
The crumbling of the German establishment
Germany's technocratic elite is to blame for the rise of the AfD
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern isn’t one of Germany’s most important federal states – with a population of under 1.7million, it is small and largely rural. Yet the results in last Sunday’s local elections there sent shockwaves through the country.
The anti-immigration party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) managed to win more seats than Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Although it was running for the first time in the state, the AfD secured 20.8 per cent of the vote, where the CDU got 19 per cent. The fact that Merkel’s own constituency lies in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has made the outcome all the more significant. ‘This might well be the beginning of the end for Merkel’, said AfD candidate Leif-Erik Holm.
Although the result was talked up as a vote against Merkel, what it really showed is the deep split between large sections of society and the political establishment. If this was only about Merkel, and her decision to throw open the borders last summer, why did other parties lose more votes than the CDU? The biggest loser was in fact the Left Party (Die Linke), which lost more votes to the AfD than any other party. The second biggest loser was the ruling Social Democratic Party. The Greens, meanwhile, didn’t even make quorum.
The local-election result was a vote of no confidence in the entire political establishment. Never before in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany has any party grown as quickly as the AfD. This is all despite the fact that the AfD has been labelled a fascist threat by all the other parties.
If these elections were just about Merkel, the result would be far less significant. After all, the rise and fall of top politicians is standard procedure. But what we are really seeing is an entire political establishment losing touch with the people it is meant to represent.
While many commentators are now fearfully asking how this could have happened, they tend to ignore the fact that the AfD hasn’t appeared out of the blue. Although the AfD garnered votes from other parties, its biggest gains were made through mobilising voters who had turned away from politics long ago. Voter participation in 2011 was a meagre 51.5 per cent, while this time it was 61.6 per cent. (This is still low in comparison with the number of people who went to vote immediately after reunification, which should put the AfD’s rise in some perspective.)
Following the result, Merkel said that all established parties need to make a serious effort to win back the trust of the people. But isn’t this something they should have tried long ago? It doesn’t bode well for the state of German politics that it took the AfD, a party running on a very narrow anti-immigrant ticket, to make politicians realise what they are up against.
Though most commentators blame Merkel’s refugee policy for the AfD’s success, this is only half of the story. Merkel’s response to the refugee crisis has become a stark symbol of the elite’s willingness to act in spite of the opinions of the electorate. The negative reaction to the increase in immigration is only the most recent expression of a public disaffection with politics more broadly, which has been brewing for some time.
Scepticism and a sense of resignation, after years of economic stagnation, have characterised eastern Germany for years. The CDU, strong in the years following reunification, has recently experienced a downward trend in support. Starting with over 38 per cent of the vote in 1990, it gained only 23 per cent in 2011, long before the refugee crisis. At the turn of the century, in the late 1990s, it was the formerly Stalinist Die Linke that rose to prominence, and was seen as the big threat to democracy. Now, German newspapers are running articles decrying the fact that Die Linke is no longer able to bind the protest vote.
It is true to say that the refugee crisis has become the greatest point of contention in German politics. Other political changes, like the introduction of the Euro or the turn to wind energy (an important issue in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), may also have fed German voters’ disillusionment. But it was the handling of the refugee crisis that sparked this new crisis of legitimacy, which has caught Merkel, who has long become accustomed to making decisions behind closed doors, by surprise.
Sadly, it has also made the backward-looking anti-immigration lobby much stronger than it should be. Immigration is now at the centre of a struggle between the people and the political elite, which has ignored its citizens for far too long. This is why commentators who wonder at the election result, pointing out that Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has actually taken comparatively few refugees, are missing the point.
The reason the refugee crisis has become such a hot topic is because it stands as a symbol of the failure of politics. Merkel’s throwing open of the borders is not just seen as an imposition from above, but as a potential threat to German society, which has, for a long time, been proud of its cohesion. ‘People in Mecklenburg’, one woman said to me after the elections, ‘feel that, with all the changes that have occurred, there was one thing they could still rely upon, and that was their own community’. Now, it seems that the integration problems experienced by multicultural centres like Berlin Neukölln have made people more wary of immigration.
AfD voters are wrong to see refugees moving into their neighbourhoods as a threat. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is one of the most sparsely populated areas of Germany. This has led to infrastructure problems, such as too few buses and schools, hospital closures, and a scarcity of doctors. The state could actually benefit from an influx of migrants. But, nevertheless, the concerns of the electorate must be met head-on.
Should Merkel take responsibility for the election result? Only in so far as she has become the figurehead of a political elite that believes you can do politics without engaging the public. Was her decision to open the borders to refugees wrong? That’s not a conclusion that be can drawn from this election. What we can say is that she should have opened up the debate about migration, rather than shutting it down.
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.