Thursday, April 25, 2019

Supreme Court to Weigh In: Who Has the Power to Rewrite the Law?

Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan has been ministering to grieving families for over 100 years.

But if government officials with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) get their way, they will punish this family-owned business.

Tom Rost owns Harris Funeral Homes. He and his employees strive to minister to families grieving the loss of a loved one. And they have done just that, serving their community with compassion. In 2011, Tom won the Preferred Funeral Directors International Parker Award for demonstrating exemplary service; and his family business, located in the Detroit area, was voted “best hometown funeral home” in 2016.

Harris Funeral Homes’ priority is for families to focus on their loss and their grief – which is why its policies, which include a sex-specific dress code, are crafted to emphasize professionalism and encourage employees to blend in to the background.

But it’s that dress code that has landed him in court, after Rost was informed that a male funeral director would no longer be wearing the men’s uniform, but would be dressing in women’s clothing instead. Because of that decision not to comply with the dress code, the funeral home felt that it had no choice but to part ways with the employee. And then the EEOC filed a lawsuit.

This should have been an open-and-shut case. After all, small businesses are allowed under the law to differentiate between men and women in their dress codes. Even the EEOC’s own employee manual states that a “dress code may require male employees to wear neckties at all times and female employees to wear skirts or dresses at all times.”

But the EEOC has elevated its political goals above the interests of the grieving people Tom and Harris Funeral Homes serve.

In order to achieve its own political goals through the courts, the EEOC decided that the definition of “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin – should mean “gender identity.”

But businesses have the right to rely on what the law is – not what government agencies want it to be – when they create and enforce employment policies.

It’s also worth noting that the former employee was free to dress however that employee wanted outside of work. Harris Funeral Homes simply expects its employees to follow the dress code during work hours, since the dress code is a crucial component to how it serves grieving families.

The EEOC doesn’t see it that way. And the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has sided with the EEOC. Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case. Alliance Defending Freedom – representing Harris Funeral Homes – is asking the Court to answer the question: Who has the authority to rewrite federal law?

Here’s the bottom line: “Sex” and “gender identity” are not the same thing.

“Sex” treats whether someone is male or female as an objective fact based on biological truth. “Gender identity,” on the other hand, is a fluid, difficult-to-define concept based on subjective perceptions.

Replacing “sex” with “gender identity” in Title VII should not be taken lightly. Only Congress has the authority to make such a drastic shift – a change that has widespread consequences for everyone.

It would undermine equal treatment for women – allowing women’s scholarships to be given to men who believe themselves to be women, for example;

It would jeopardize the dignity and privacy of women – forcing organizations to open women’s shelters, locker rooms, and restrooms to men who believe themselves to be women; and

It would put employers in difficult situations – requiring them to treat men who believe themselves to be women as if they are in fact women.

These are important issues that you and I have the right to decide through our elected officials. Unelected officials – whether bureaucrats or judges – don’t have the power to make these choices for us.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court has an opportunity to make this clear.


On liberal authoritarianism

Bowing to the authority of experts saps the lifeblood of democracy.  The idea of "experts" on political questions must be met with a sneer.  Even on non-political questions, the experts are often wrong

Political liberalism has evolved over nearly three centuries from a philosophy of safeguarding freedoms into a philosophy of demanding rights.

There have been good reasons for this shift. Liberals have come to realise that freedoms on their own are not always sustainable. People sometimes vote to relinquish their freedoms. Very often people use their freedoms to enslave others. Freedom may be just as likely to be used irresponsibly as it is to be used responsibly. Thus the mainstream of liberal opinion has come to the view that the protection of basic human rights, especially the protection of minority rights, is an indispensable prerequisite for the maintenance of individual freedom.

To some extent this is true. But the principle that some human rights must be ensured prompts the question of which ones. Someone has to decide, and if that decision preempts democratic decision-making, then clearly the decision cannot be left up to the people. In fact, among liberal political scientists, the whole idea that the people should define the scope of basic human rights is now sneeringly referred to as ‘majoritarian’ democracy, qualified as if it were no kind of democracy at all.

Mainstream liberals have reasoned that the delineation of the set of human rights that are necessary for the maintenance of individual freedom can only be properly performed by experts. Those experts, the experts in human rights, are by definition educated professionals like academics, lawyers, judges, journalists, civil servants, social workers, medical doctors and lobbyists. By virtue of dedicated study and professional practice they have made themselves the legitimate authorities on the subject. And they truly are the legitimate authorities on the subject. When you want an authority on chemistry, you consult a chemist. When you want an authority on human rights, you consult a human-rights lawyer.

The whole idea that the people should define the scope of human rights is now often sneeringly referred to as ‘majoritarian’ democracy, qualified as if it were no kind of democracy at all

The problem is that politics is a unique field of human activity. Authoritarianism in chemistry may be unproblematic, even desirable. Authoritarianism in politics is dangerous, even when the authorities themselves are above reproach. In the contemporary liberal worldview, certain policies are mandatory, others are beyond the pale, and only the experts can tell which is which. Liberal democracy thus requires the obedience of the voters (or at least the citizens) to expert authority. The people are the passive recipients of those rights the experts deem them to possess.

As the domain of rights expands, experts end up making more and more of the decisions – or at least more of the decisions that matter – in an ever-increasing number of the most important aspects of public life: economic policy, criminal justice, what’s taught in schools, who’s allowed to enter the country, what diseases will be cured, even (in many cases) who will have the opportunity to run for elective office. In these areas and more, experts arrogate to themselves the authority to adjudicate competing claims for public resources and private benefits. As society evolves, the areas reserved to expert adjudication seem only to expand. In the course of normal politics, previously depoliticised policy domains rarely return to the realm of democratic determination.

The new authoritarianism of the 21st century has nothing to do with the Trump presidency. It is neither a right-wing authoritarianism, nor a nationalist authoritarianism, nor even a conservative authoritarianism. The new authoritarianism of the 21st century is, paradoxically, a liberal authoritarianism. It is a tyranny of experts.

Though it may pain teachers to hear it, critical-thinking skills teach the habit of obedience, not because teachers value obedience, but because of the very criteria on which success in critical thinking must be judged. Critical thinking teaches students to reason toward the correct answer. But what if there is no correct answer? Or what if there is a correct answer but it is impossible to know what it is? Most public-policy questions fall into these two open categories. In such cases, independent thinking won’t necessarily lead people to the right answers. What independent thinking does is give the thinker – in this case, the citizen – a stake in the answer.

For example, consider the question of whether the US should have intervened earlier in the First World War. If it had, millions of lives might have been saved, Russia might not have fallen to the Bolsheviks, and Germany might have been more comprehensively defeated, changing German attitudes and preventing the rise of Nazism and the coming of the Second World War. Or perhaps the 20th century would have turned out even more horrifically than it did. We will never know. But we do know that the delay in America’s entry into the war left time for the issue to be comprehensively discussed, for ordinary Americans to form opinions for and against getting involved, and for them to express those opinions, whatever their merits.

As a result, when the US did go to war in 1917, it was with the support of the American people. Those who were initially against intervention, who may even have voted for Woodrow Wilson on the basis of his isolationist slogans (‘America first’ and ‘He kept us out of war’), patriotically joined in the cause.

Contrast that process with the politics behind America’s more recent wars waged in south-east Asia and the Middle East, hatched by cabals of experts with little genuine public debate. Despite their (current) unpopularity, it is impossible to say for sure whether these wars were right or wrong, successful or unsuccessful, because the relevant counterfactuals will never be known. What we do know is that there was no consensus among ordinary citizens about America’s participation in these wars.

Free-thinking citizens might have made even worse decisions. History is littered with the stories of democratic countries going to war for all the wrong reasons, from Athens’ gratuitous invasion of Sicily in 415 BC to America’s avaricious war on Spain in 1898. Independent thinkers are not necessarily better thinkers. But they take responsibility for their decisions in a way that obedient subjects do not. Independent thinking is more important for the health of democracy than is the success or failure of any particular policy decision.

Discretionary wars brightly illustrate the rise of the new authoritarianism because they crystalise decision-making processes into discrete, well-known events. But for the quality of democracy itself, the most important policy questions are those about freedoms and rights: who has them, who can grant them, and who can take them away. These are fundamentally questions about sovereignty and where it is located. The traditional American answer is that sovereignty resides in ‘We the People’. The traditional French answer is the state, and the traditional British answer is characteristically something in between: parliament.

But these traditional answers are now being challenged. Experts increasingly assert the existence of universal human rights that are beyond the political power of the people or the state to regulate. Whereas universal freedoms may be ‘self-evident’ (reserved rather than granted), universal rights must be granted by someone. Under the new authoritarianism, that someone is the expert class.

It might be sensationalist to claim that a self-appointed and self-perpetuating human-rights aristocracy is running roughshod over Western democracy. But with less hyperbole, there has been in the West a slow but comprehensive historical evolution from the broad consensus that governments derive their legitimacy from the people via democratic mandates to an emerging view that governments derive their legitimacy by governing in ways that have been endorsed by expert authorities. And that is a development that should worry democrats everywhere.


Allen West: Situational Ethics of Progressive, Socialist Left Should Be Disconcerting to Us All

I spent Easter weekend in South Florida and was invited to a Passover Seder on Good Friday. Our dear friends invited us up to Palm Beach Gardens, and it was great to see them. As I sat down to enjoy the evening, there were two ladies seated next to me, of a different political philosophy, and they knew who I was. Yes, you know it. I was engaged in a political discussion, especially since the Robert Mueller Special Counsel report had been released. But, as the Boy Scout – oops, can’t say that anymore, I guess – the Scouts motto says, “Be prepared.”

The dinner conversation began with the ladies asking me about the challengers to President Trump. I responded by stating I did not support a political philosophy that is rooted in socialist principles. And of course, the response was that the proposals of these Democratic Party challengers were not socialist. Having two advanced degrees on the subject, I explained the basic tenets of socialism. I also confided that I did not support these presidential candidates who were advocating for “reparations.” One of the women told me that none of them had said anything about reparations, that she had not heard that. Therefore, we have a Media Research Center that evidences the utter bias in the mainstream media. I was compelled, between bites of food, to use an iPhone to bring up an article about the Democratic presidential candidates, who, at the behest of Al Sharpton, agreed to support the issue of reparations.

But what became the crux of the conversation was the topic of the Mueller report. I had to contend with the progressive, socialist left talking point about President Trump’s obstruction of justice. The ladies did not want to talk about how the entire Mueller investigation charade was started. That seemed to hold no interest for them. What they did express was an abject emotional response and a belief that President Trump has perpetrated a gross lie against the American people. And so I asked them if their outrage was politically based, or if they condemned any lying, by anyone.

I think you all know where I am heading, right?

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has come out criticizing current Attorney General Barr, stating that Barr has made mistakes. AG Holder has asserted that AG Barr is the AG for the American people, not the president. However, it was AG Holder in an interview with Tom Joyner who claimed that he was President Obama’s wingman. It was also AG Holder who once said that he was an “activist” Attorney General, and we can all agree with him on that. Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell has called upon the resignation of AG Barr, but where were the voices calling for the resignation of Eric Holder after the revelations of Operation Fast and Furious. Maybe we have forgotten, but as a result of that scheme, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent named Brian Terry lost his life.

I brought up the lie of President Barack Obama relating to the Islamic terrorist attack in Benghazi. As a retired Army officer, I remain appalled that an American president, and a presidential candidate, would abandon Americans to die, and then delude the public about it. One of the ladies responded that she did not want to hear about President Obama. She only cared about President Trump and his lies. And therein lies the crux of where we find ourselves in America. The progressive, socialist left plays the game of situational ethics. If it is something that advances their ideological agenda, ya know, “If you like your doctor, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor,” it is not a lie. It is not a lie because the ends justify their means. When it comes to four Americans dying in an Islamic terrorist attack, “what difference, at this point, does it make?” is the refrain.

However, if there is an investigation that was started based upon a questionable dossier, and then the target of that investigation – who is by all accounts innocent – expresses his disgust, then that is proof positive of a criminal offense. But it is a criminal and impeachable offense only in the minds of those who seek a certain political outcome. And the ethics of the progressive, socialist left adjust to fit the situation based upon how it benefits them politically.

AG Loretta Lynch secretly meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac in Phoenix – that is fine. The Clinton Foundation getting large sums of money from foreign sources – that is fine. Barack Obama telling a Russian president that he will have more flexibility after his reelection – that is fine. Weaponizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against the American people, particularly constitutional conservatives – that is fine. After all, they were the political opposition. Sending billions of dollars to the world’s biggest sponsor of Islamic terrorism, Iran – that is fine. Releasing Islamic jihadists from detention at Guantanamo Bay (GITMO), to include five senior Taliban leaders – that is fine. Denying there is a crisis on our southern border – that is fine – especially when your ideological agenda is about open borders. Denying free tuition benefits to Gold Star families while granting the same to illegal immigrants, well, that apparently is also fine.

The situational ethics of the progressive, socialist left, their utter hypocrisy, should be disconcerting to us all. Consider the current House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who is demanding the fully unredacted Mueller report … but who spoke out against the same for the Ken Starr report, on then President Bill Clinton.

What happened at the end of the dinner? One of the women, a hard New York City liberal, progressive asked to take a picture with me. The other confided that she would vote for me for whatever because I was a calm, informed, rational, and intelligent man. The lesson learned: objective truth will always win the day over situational ethics.


Australia: Fraser Anning speaks following Sri Lankan bombings

What the senator says seems simply factual to me.  What has he said that is not true?  There are fashions about things that must not be said but that is all the more reason to say them, it seems to me

Senator Fraser Anning has claimed he was “right all along” in an  anti-Muslim Twitter rant following the Sri Lankan bombings.

The Sri Lankan Government has blamed the attacks on Islamic extremist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath.

Senator Anning wasted little time using the attacks to announce he was “right all along” about the connection between Islam and violence.

“I was right all along. Islamic populations do indeed create violence.”

The Queensland senator went on to call out New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who was pictured donning a hijab out of respect following the Christchurch mosque shootings last month.

“Where is all the condemnation around the world on extreme radical Islam,” Senator Anning wrote. “Our politicians are quiet. What about the New Zealand PM who is now wearing a hijab, embracing Islam and playing the Islamic call to prayer?”

 Where is the world coming together for Christianity after almost 300 are dead and churches bombed in Sri Lanka?

This is one of the largest Islamic terrorist attacks ever, and yet the mainstream media is far less outraged compared to during the Christchurch shootings.

The media were next in the firing line, with Senator Anning claiming mainstream news outlets have been giving less attention to the Sri Lankan bombings than they gave to the Christchurch massacre.

He then took a swipe at “egg boy”, also known as Will Connolly, who gained the nickname after cracking an egg on Senator Anning’s head in the wake of his controversial comments about Christchurch.

“Almost 300 dead due to Islamic terrorists in Sri Lanka. Where is egg boy now?” the tweet read.

 What I said and has been proven completely true is that Islamic populations when they increase in number will result in an increase in violence.

I also said during Christchurch, that whilst Muslims had been the victims, Muslims are usually the perpetrators in terrorist attacks.

The Islamophobic comments Senator Anning made following the Christchurch shootings were slammed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as “disgusting”.

But the widespread backlash didn’t deter the senator from last night reiterating and standing by what he said.

“I also said during Christchurch, that whilst Muslims had been the victims, Muslims are usually the perpetrators in terrorist attacks,” he tweeted.

Senator Anning finished off his rant by warning Australians there will be more terrorist attacks here if the government continued to allow Muslims to enter the country.

He even went as far as telling people they would “face death” if they didn’t heed his advice.

Senator Anning’s controversial posts have racked up thousands of comments, both from people condemning the senator’s actions and from people praising him.



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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