Sunday, August 18, 2019

Gun massacres do have a real cause

And it's not the fault of the gun

One thing about tragedies: They reveal people for who they really are. In the past two weeks, we’ve learned a lot about our media and political class. Our country endured two separate and horrifying mass shootings, one in El Paso, Texas, and the other in Dayton, Ohio. Between them, at least 31 people were murdered. Two massacres, back to back. It’s tempting to look for themes that connect them, but if there are any, they’re not political. One gunman appeared to be a Trump voter. The other supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren. There’s no obvious ideological lesson here. But that hasn’t stopped the usual power-hungry politicians from trying to leverage human pain for political advantage. Here’s just a sampling of the commentary from the Democratic presidential field:

Rep. Beto O'Rourke: “You don’t get mass shootings like these, you don’t torch mosques, you don’t put kids in cages until you have a president who has given people permission to do that. And that is exactly what is happening in the United States of America today.”

Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “It is very clear that this kind of hate is being legitimized from on high.”

Warren: “White supremacy is a domestic terrorism threat in the same way that foreign terrorism threatens our people. And it is the responsibility of the president of the United States to help fight back against that, not to wink and nod and smile at it and let it get stronger in this country.”

Mayor Julian Castro: “This echoes the kind of language that our president encourages.”

Sen. Cory Booker: “I want to say with more moral clarity that Donald Trump is responsible for this.”

Thirty-one dead, and the only thing these politicians can think about is how to terrify Americans into voting for them. These are our political leaders. Their comments are disgusting. They’re also totally unimpressive, unequal to the task of fixing a society that on some days seems on the verge of collapse. Maybe that’s why they spend so much time trying to divert our attention from America’s actual problems.

Nobody really believes this is about Trump or about assault weapons. If only it were that simple. Our problems go far deeper. What’s the real diagnosis? Author James Howard Kunstler, one of our wisest cultural observers, summed it up this way: “This is exactly what you get in a culture where anything goes and nothing matters. Extract all the meaning and purpose from being here on earth, and erase as many boundaries as you can from custom and behavior, and watch what happens, especially among young men trained on video slaughter games.”

He’s right. Young men are the problem. Many of our boys are living in what Kunstler describes as an “abyss of missing social relations” with “no communities, no fathers, no mentors, no initiations into personal responsibility, no daily organizing principles, no instruction in useful trades, no productive activities, no opportunities for love and affection, and no way out.”

Our leaders are too cowardly to say so, but the signs are everywhere. Mass shootings are just the final manifestation. Suicide rates for young Americans are the highest ever measured. So are drug-related deaths. Fifteen percent of millennials still live with their parents. Fifty years ago, more than 80% of American adults ages 25 to 34 were already married and living with a spouse. Today, less than half of adults in that age range are married. A huge portion of American young people aren’t in any kind of relationship at all. It’s no wonder millions of young people feel helpless, miserable and alone. They lack friends or parents or religious organizations to give their lives purpose and moral coherence. They live in a suffocating culture they feel no control over: Local identity and local institutions are the weakest they’ve ever been in this country.

Most people think our democracy is fake. The policies they live under, the jobs they hold and even their personal opinions are controlled by tech monopolists, media scolds and Washington bureaucrats. America is supposed to be a free country, but millions of young people look around and feel like they’re trapped in a stagnant dystopia. In such an environment, a few people will lash out in violence. Millions of others will simply fade away, from suicide or overdose or diabetes. This is the real crisis, the one that produced those horrifying scenes on TV over the weekend. Washington is happy to pretend it isn’t happening. But it is. You can’t ignore it forever.


British bus company sparks fury for suspending driver who wouldn’t drive gay pride bus

A British bus company has been swamped by a wave of public outrage after it suspended a driver for refusing to drive a vehicle celebrating gay pride.

“I am not driving this bus because it promotes homosexuality,” the driver told passengers at Norwich Bus Station. He said they would have to “wait a minute” for him to swap buses.

In a drive to promote gay pride, bus operator Konectbus lit up service numbers on various bus routes, including route 501, in the colours of the gay pride rainbow flag.

Passenger Rebecca Sears, 19, lodged a complaint at the bus station’s front desk as the driver moved to another double-decker vehicle and allowed passengers to board.

“Was the driver informed that he would be required to promote LGBT causes on behalf of the company as part of his employment contract?”

The sixth form student, who posted a picture of the driver on Twitter, said that he was in his 50s with grey hair.

“Today I was waiting for the 501 bus to Thickthorn and we were told by the driver we had to wait for him to swap buses as ‘this bus promotes homosexuality and I refuse to drive it’ due to the multicoloured ‘501’ sign. Norwich doesn’t appreciate homophobia,” she tweeted.

“I’m aware everyone is entitled to their own views however, if you can’t do your job properly because of your bigotry, maybe you need rethink your choices,” she wrote.

Konectbus replied to her tweet, saying: “As a company we do not condone any behaviour from our drivers that does not support this view. The driver involved in this incident has been suspended and a full investigation is underway.”

However, Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, told Church Militant “it was the bus company who needed to be careful about their own compliance with the Equality Act.”

“If the driver’s objection to the rainbow colours was based on his religious or philosophical beliefs, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against him because of those beliefs. Employers have to be very careful in handling such situations, because in the eyes of the law, discrimination on the grounds of beliefs is just as bad as discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation,” she explained.

“The decision of the Supreme Court in Ashers Bakery case has made it clear that everyone is entitled to refuse to promote a message they disagree with—be that by baking a cake, driving a bus, or in whatever other way. So long as the driver’s objection was to the message, not to the messenger, he has not discriminated against anyone and has broken no law.”

Meanwhile, CitizenGO has launched an online petition addressed to Jeremy Cooper, Managing Director of KonectBuses, seeking the immediate reinstatement of the driver.

“So long as the driver’s objection was to the message, not to the messenger, he has not discriminated against anyone and has broken no law.”

“An increasing number of people are becoming uncomfortable with the corporatisation of the rainbow flag and Pride symbol for a variety of different reasons,” the petition observes.

“Pride marches are not family-friendly, they often feature public displays of nakedness and sexual behaviour and celebrate sexual fetishes,” and “promote gender ideology which is deeply divisive,” it adds.

“Were employees consulted before the re-branding of their buses, or given the option to switch vehicles? Was the driver informed that he would be required to promote LGBT causes on behalf of the company as part of his employment contract? Does this mean that those from religious minorities may not become employees of Konect or their parent company, the Go-Ahead group?” the petition asks.

Catholic journalist Caroline Farrow, who is UK campaign director for CitizenGO told Church Militant: “If anyone is intolerant it is the young woman who seeks to see a middle-aged man deprived of his income and publicly humiliated simply for expressing views with which she disagrees.”

“It is also very concerning that an employee of Konectbuses has suggested that this man’s dismissal is a forgone conclusion, meaning that he cannot expect to go through due process. If his direct line manager is gay, as has been suggested clearly the company is discriminating against religious minorities, in allowing one particular ideology to prevail.”

The suspension has sparked off a social media blitz against the bus operator and Rebecca Sears.

“Looks like Rebecca Sears, is like, offended at, like anything she hasn’t, like read in The Guardian. Well played driver. Time to stop this PC garbage being forced upon us. We are simply not interested,” David Fairey tweeted.


Who will speak up for the children?

In 2017, Dr. Allan Josephson was asked to speak on a panel at the Heritage Foundation entitled “Gender Dysphoria in Children: Understanding the Science and Medicine.”

As the Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Louisville for nearly 15 years, Dr. Josephson had a lot to say on the subject. He felt confident he could lend his expertise and perspective, so he agreed to participate.

But Dr. Josephson’s perspective isn’t exactly what you would call “politically correct” these days. In fact, he shares many of the same concerns you probably do, John.

He’s alarmed at the way many medical professionals treat gender dysphoria. And he’s particularly worried about the negative and often permanent effects of giving children hormones to treat it. After all, such drastic measures often result in the sterilization of children with no proven effectiveness. But far too often, these drugs are given almost immediately, without exploring what is happening in the child’s life.

Dr. Josephson felt strongly that he needed to speak up for the well-being of children. He just never imagined that doing so would cost him his job.

When members of Dr. Josephson’s division at the University of Louisville learned about his speech, a few became angry and called for the university to remove him as Division Chief. Less than seven weeks later, the university did just that.

It didn’t matter that Dr. Josephson had revitalized the Division, transforming a struggling department into a nationally acclaimed program.

It didn’t matter that he was a distinguished professor who had earned perfect marks on his 2014, 2015, and 2016 annual reviews.

And it certainly didn’t matter that Dr. Josephson is a scientist whose job is to ask questions, test hypotheses, and participate in academic debate.

The only reason the university demoted Dr. Josephson is because he holds a different view than some of his colleagues.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said over and over again that unpopular viewpoints are protected by the First Amendment. And that's especially true in the academic context because universities are supposed to be a marketplace of ideas, not an assembly line for one type of thought!

But that didn’t stop the University of Louisville.

On top of the demotion, Dr. Josephson was banned from faculty meetings. He was given academic assignments typically completed by much younger, less experienced faculty. Then, earlier this year, the university announced it would not renew his contract, which basically means the university fired him.

As you can probably imagine, Dr. Josephson was devastated. “It was probably six months before I felt comfortable and was sleeping again,” he says. “You know, the personal stress is pretty enormous, but then I decided to do something.”

Alliance Defending Freedom was able to help Dr. Josephson file a lawsuit against the University of Louisville.

Dr. Josephson has dedicated years of his life to science, higher education, and caring for children. He built his career around asking questions and figuring out the best ways to diagnose and treat psychological conditions in kids.

But because Dr. Josephson doesn’t think the way activists want him to think, or believe what they want him to believe about sex and gender identity, he’s being silenced.

And he’s not the only victim. Many in our society are bowing to the demands of radical transgender activists who want to pretend that one of the most controversial ideologies of our time is settled science. And they’re harming unsuspecting children and threatening hard-working, peaceful Americans who do not conform.

These are the people who claim to be the guardians of tolerance.  But tolerance is supposed to be a two-way street. A professor like Dr. Josephson should not have to fear for his career when he accepts speaking opportunities or holds different views.

And if this type of suppression is happening in our universities—supposed bastions of free speech and expression—what’s next?

“If someone like me can be demoted, harassed, and then effectively fired for expressing my views, think of what an intimidating effect this has on younger professionals,” says Dr. Josephson. “And that should not be how academics proceeds or how science proceeds. We think together, we reason together, we talk together. My colleagues couldn’t do that. And I think we see that nationally as well."

Thankfully, there are people out there, like Dr. Josephson, who refuse to be bullied and are willing to take a stand for freedom and truth.

All Dr. Josephson did was ask questions about the best way to treat children who experience gender dysphoria. And he encouraged others to think critically about whether prescribing puberty blocking and opposite sex hormones quickly or automatically is the best way to treat children who claim to be the sex they are not. For that, he was demoted, harassed, and then effectively fired from his job.

Activists want to strip away your right to speak freely. And they’re going to extreme lengths to punish those—like Dr. Josephson—who express any view that is different.

Praise God that He continues to provide the resources to fight back. ADF has become one of America's most successful constitutional advocates at the U.S. Supreme Court, having won nine cases at the High Court since 2011. And we're winning nearly 80% of all our cases (John 15:5).

To donate to Dr. Josephson's cause go here

Via email from

Let us now praise masculine men

(Alludes to Wisdom of Sirach 44:1)

Australia: On Tuesday afternoon a handful of men ran into the face of danger. Going about their business only seconds before, they confronted a man brandishing a bloody knife, pinning him down in the middle of a bustling Sydney street. The men who stopped further bloodshed have been called heroes, and they will be recognised for their courage. In passing, can we praise masculinity too? Or is that too controversial in an age when masculinity is raised only to condemn what is wrong with men and to preach how to change them.

Today, any celebration of masculinity is limited to praising men who do more housework and get involved with their kids, men who are able to cry, empathise with women and express their feelings. All very important stuff. But none of that would have restrained a crazed man who was threatening more violent carnage in Sydney’s CBD. Can we praise men who do both please?

Lawyer John Bamford picked up a wicker chair from the cafe he was in, raced outside and chased the attacker, 21-year-old Mert Ney, who was bloodied, jumping on a car bonnet while wielding his knife and screaming at passers-by. Ney was jammed to the ground by men using a milk crate and two chairs. Bamford returned the chair to the cafe and ordered a pie.

Traffic controller Steven Georgiadis tried to tackle Ney to the ground. “As soon as I saw the knife I moved to the side so I could crash tackle him sideways so he wouldn’t stab me,” said Georgiadis, who managed to stand on the bloody knife.

From their office window, brothers Luke and Paul O’Shaughnessy saw the mayhem unfolding in the street below and raced down to help. They followed a trail of blood to the man who is alleged to have murdered one woman and stabbed another. “(We) were like ‘Right, where is he? Where is he?’ … I’m shouting, because I’m a bit more risk-averse than Luke, (who is) straight in there.”

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller described these men as heroes of the highest order. It is also true that the heroes were all men exhibiting traits now routinely derided as part of traditional masculinity — brute force and ­aggression, taking charge, adrenalin pumping, taking risks.

Do we fear praising masculinity in case it leads to a scolding for encouraging toxic masculinity?

It’s not an unreasonable fear because the conflation of masculinity with toxic masculinity, to use the phrase favoured by the roving gender police, has become routine. This common sleight of hand to use gender to confect some crudely defined phenomenon stokes pointless gender wars and risks harming both men and women.

No one in their right mind endorses or condones or whitewashes genuinely toxic behaviour, let alone violence. A beautiful woman, Michaela Dunn, died on Tuesday allegedly at the hands of a man. Another innocent woman, Lin Bo, was stabbed, allegedly by the same man. But condemning violence should not be conflated with a male pathology.

The conflation of traditional masculinity with the poorly defined “toxic masculinity” won’t stop bad behaviour because when words lose their meaning, they lose their punch. Take the Gillette ad, “The Best Men Can Be”, where Procter & Gamble tried to hijack this latest fad to turn a profit. Proving that consumers are not fools, it didn’t work. This month, P&G reported a net loss of $US5.24 billion ($7.73bn) for the quarter ending June 30. The company said men today like more facial hair. The company could have added that men today don’t like being told that masculinity needs to be redefined by a preachy razor ad showing a series of men behaving badly. While whoops of delight came from Jane Caro and Clementine Ford, more thoughtful viewers saw an advert with as much nuance as a lightning bolt from God.

Perhaps Gillette’s next foray into “The Best Men Can Be” will include some vision of those brave men saving Sydneysiders from further violence earlier this week. It does no one any favours when gender is used as a cheap weapon, a stunt for ulterior motives.

This week, for example, former foreign minister Julie Bishop fronted a camera, again, to talk about her time in politics, again, this time on Andrew Denton’s Interview program on the Seven Network.

Repeating a story she has told many times, Bishop said that if a woman was the only female voice in the room, men showed a “gender deafness”. “It’s as if they just don’t seem to hear you,” she said.

How often has this happened to her? If it was once, maybe it was an innocent oversight? If it’s more than once, then that deserves a bit of prodding too. For every Julie Bishop who complains, in sweeping terms, about “gender deafness”, there is someone like me who has sat in many board meetings over many years as the only female voice and never experienced gender deafness, only respect and courtesy. But, because I don’t talk about my thoroughly normal experiences in all-male meetings, and Bishop complains endlessly about hers, we are encouraged to treat “gender deafness” as a widespread, deeply entrenched phenomenon that treats women as second-class ­citizens.

Predictably, the movement against toxic masculinity has become an open invitation for some women to grandstand about all kinds of silly, unproven claims, warping our understanding of the true state of affairs between men and women. And as Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.” Even if it is not a lie, repeating the tale of a single experience over and over again does not turn it into a wicked gender-based phenomenon either.

There is only one thing worse than Julia Gillard making claims about misogyny when her leadership tanked: that is hearing Bishop say this week that she was disgusted by the treatment of Australia’s first female prime minister, when Bishop said nothing about it when it was apparently happening. It’s like Bishop’s recent conviction that the Liberal Party has a problem with women, expressed only after she lost the leadership contest last year.

It’s time for the former foreign minister to draw stumps on her stage show because her smiling stage face can’t disguise the sour grapes. When men treat women poorly, it should be called out. And vice versa, if equality means anything. But credibility comes from acting on these matters when you have the power to change things, not afterwards as a stunt to get attention. After all, the bystander is sometimes as bad as the bully.

Bishop’s diminishing credibility aside, there is a far more serious side to the gender zealotry unfolding today. As The Australian reported this week, there are real concerns that NSW crown prosecutors are running sexual assault trials with insufficient regard for the strength of the evidence. One of Sydney’s most prominent criminal lawyers, Greg Walsh, who has acted for alleged victims and defendants, told this newspaper that the “hysteria”, the “zealous” and “activist” prosecutions had “gone too far”. “They (sexual assault cases) are becoming a cause celebre, they are just out of control,” Walsh said.

Lawyer Chris Murphy, another well-known Sydney criminal lawyer, said prosecutors were undoubtedly feeling the potential threat of public condemnation if they didn’t proceed to trial, and go hard in court. It was leading to especially aggressive tactics, Murphy said, with critical evidence being withheld from the defence in some trials.

Murphy cited the recent rape trial of Wolf Creek star John Jarratt, who was acquitted within hours of the jury retiring to consider the verdict. Murphy, who acted for Jarratt, said he had never seen “a more undeserving, weak” crown case go to trial.

Last week, a District Court judge implored the NSW parliament to consider changing laws that are aimed at protecting rape victims but are causing a serious injustice for defendants. The judge is presiding over a case where a man accused of rape is not allowed to bring evidence of 12 incidents in which his female accuser has made false complaints about sexual abuse. On two separate occasions, the woman made false reports to the police, and after being investigated she admitted fabricating the sexual assault allegations. The judge was precluded by law from allowing evidence of the woman’s history of making false claims of sexual assault because of laws that were introduced to stop “offensive and demeaning” cross-examination of an accuser’s sexual history. He described this as an “affront to justice”.

Gender zealotry is having a real impact on our culture and our legal system. It stops us publicly praising the kind of masculinity that unfolded on King Street in Sydney this week. And a fixation with gender is not a win for women either because when women make silly claims, they lose credibility.

The legal consequences are even more troubling given the pressure on prosecutors to proceed with flawed sexual assault trials. If it makes it harder to reform unjust laws, then surely it is time for more women to reconsider their role in stoking gender zealotry. After all, women who make false claims do real damage to genuine victims, and they should face the music for their lies.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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