Saturday, February 27, 2021

A penalty for "having it all" that women can suffer

Damaging stress

The wife of TV star Cameron Daddo, Alison Brahe, has revealed how her sex drive collapsed when she began an early menopause triggered by her stressed adrenal glands.

The former model, now 51, says she was plagued by “crazy symptoms” and had no idea leading a frenetic life in her 30s working and being a mum would lead to hormone hell later on.

And in a raw interview via a new podcast Tory Archbold’s Powerful Stories, Brahe says some studies suggest a link between stress and the exacerbation of perimenopausal symptoms.

“My (symptoms) really hit from when I moved our whole family from America to Australia and I left behind all of my closest friends, my home and my career,” she tells the podcast.

“I was just absolutely utterly exhausted and so of course my symptoms went sky high.”

From lack of libido to hot flushes and night sweats, the symptoms of perimenopause will vary considerably, depending on the woman. Brahe says she battled health issues for two years.

“I think the loss of libido is one of the things I struggled with the most, and I know a lot of women begin to feel embarrassed and ashamed about that,” she says.

“I would sweat buckets and buckets, and just couldn’t … there was nothing I could do. I’d have to leave the dinner table and go outside, because the heat was so overpowering that I couldn’t sit there and actually just eat my food.”

Brahe admits at times she felt like she was losing her mind, so unpredictable was her body.

“When you look at the symptoms, it can be really alarming. When you look at loss of libido, you look at lack of mental focus,” she tells the podcast.

“There’s things like intolerance to cold that can come up. There’s craving salt. There’s low blood pressure. There’s mood swings. There’s hot flushes. Loss of libido is a really challenging one.”

Brahe adds: “It comes at a time when, often, we’re tired. We’re often raising teenagers, or our parents are really elderly. We’re still in the workforce. So there’s so much going on. Our husbands are still often ready to go. Yet, things are happening, again, in our bodies. We’re exhausted.”

Australasian Menopause Society president Dr Sonia Davison says professionals are investigating the link between how modern women conduct their lives and an increase in perimenopause onset rates.

“Knowledge about perimenopause for some reason has been lacking,” Davison says.

Brahe adds: “What’s really interesting is women these days, because we are doing so much more, because we’re raising families, we’re in the workforce, we’re pushing harder, pushing ourselves harder than ever before with our fitness levels, and trying to do it all, which I think is amazing.”

Entrepreneur and CEO Archbold says early perimenopause is the “secret” illness plaguing more women in their late 30s and reveals her confusion and advice on how to cope with her own diagnosis.

“I always thought menopause was for women in their 60s. It can happen at any time.”

She encourages women to put their health and wellbeing first.

“If (we) can raise awareness for people entering their 30s to lead a more balanced life, it slows down the process. Personally, I didn’t think like that in my 30s; my health was secondary — it should have been seen as my primary asset.”

Brahe says: “The more the push, the more the adrenals get shot, the more the hormones fluctuate. That’s where the belly fat begins. You start to put on weight around the belly, around the bum. The best thing I can say is go to your doctor and get a full blood work done.”

Davison says a sexual function change may occur in perimenopause as hormones fluctuate considerably, eventually leading to a low level of the main oestrogen at the time of menopause. “The changes in hormones can affect the genito-urinary tract and also the brain, hence symptoms such as lowered libido are common by menopause.”

Other symptoms may (also) include mood disturbance, sleep disturbance, lethargy, heavy or irregular periods, headaches, breast tenderness and bloating.

For women concerned about their perimenopausal symptoms, Davison advises talking to a healthcare professional. Family, friends and partners can also be of support during this time.

Archbold says: “It’s about cracking open the conversation. Embrace it — it’s going to happen and should not be a taboo topic


Do We Have the Courage of this Jailed Canadian Pastor Who Refuses to Be Silent?

Not long after Jesus was crucified and buried, two of his disciples, Peter and John, were jailed by the Jerusalem authorities for telling people that He had been resurrected from the dead after three days in the tomb, that He had talked multiple times with the disciples, and that He had ascended to Heaven.

Peter and John were preaching these things from Solomon’s Colonnade in the Temple, according to Acts 3:11, and in course of the incident, they healed a man who was lame, and claimed the healing was done “by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene — whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead — by Him this man is standing before you healthy.”

And then they made the claim that began to change the world in the most radical ways possible: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven give to people by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The authorities who had Peter and John arrested realized that they had put themselves between a rock (pun intended) and a hard place, saying, “What should we do with these men? For an obvious sign, evident to all who live in Jerusalem, has been done through them and we cannot deny it.”

So they did what governments have been doing to dissidents ever since: They ordered them to shut up, to stop preaching Jesus resurrected, on pain of further, likely much more severe, punishments. Since Jerusalem had no First Amendment, Peter and John were faced with a profoundly serious choice.

Acts 4:19-20 tells us the choice they made: “But Peter and John answered them, ‘whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

So Peter and John kept right on proclaiming Jesus as the resurrected savior of all who would accept Him, defying the very authorities who had murdered Him with a cross and held the same power over His disciples who now refused to shut up.

A remarkably similar scene has just happened in our neighbor to the North. Pastor James Coates of Edmonton, Canada, Grace Life Church, was jailed earlier this month for preaching to an assembly of unmasked congregants whose numbers exceeded the 15 percent of building capacity permitted by the authorities during the Covid pandemic.

Coates was tried in secret and sentenced to prison, according to his wife, but on the condition that he can be a free man if he agrees not to again violate the Covid restrictions by preaching to his congregation assembled illegally for worship. Coates, like Peter and John, refuses to be silent. Unlike Peter and John in Acts, Coates remains in jail.

Coates is the first Canadian pastor to be so jailed. No American pastor has been jailed, yet, but many of them, especially in California, face fines that in some cases approach millions of dollars. And the prospect of going to jail is very much on their minds.

Canadians are guaranteed freedom of worship. Americans have the First Amendment to the Constitution, with its guarantee of freedom of worship and assembly.

The U.S. Supreme Court, unlike those in Canada, is steadily striking down and limiting the actions of presumptuous officials threatening church congregations and their pastors with fines and imprisonment for their obedience to God’s command at Hebrews 10:25 “to not neglect the assembling together [for worship].”

But why are these battles having to be fought in the first place if governments are bound by their chartering documents to respect freedom of assembly and worship?

Lawyer James Kitchen of Canada’s Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms suggests that a major part of the answer to that question is the fact we let officials trample on our rights:

“More people need to stop self-censoring. They’re scared to speak up. They’re scared of getting in trouble at work, they’re scared of losing their friends, they’re scared of what people are going to say, they’re scared of dirty looks, this is what I hear, they’re scared of other people.

“And unfortunately, the more influence people have, the more they’re scared to use it, to say ‘You know, this is wrong. Count me in, I disagree with this. This has to stop.’ People with their words and with peaceful actions need to say, stop, enough is enough.”

“Democracy is governing by consent. This is the whole underlying philosophical purpose of elections, You choose who governs you. … It is time for people to say, ‘I am removing my consent to be policed and governed this way,’” said Kitchen.

That advice holds true on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border, and it is a challenge to each and every one of us.


Trans-‘inclusive’ language is erasing women’s biology


In the 1979 Monty Python classic Life of Brian, four people sit on the steps of a Roman amphitheatre, speaking in hushed tones.

“Any anti-imperialist group like ours must reflect such a divergence of interests within its power base,” one asserts. They then proceed to debate a man’s inalienable right to have a baby.

Stan: I want to be a woman. From now on I want you all to call me Loretta.

Reg: What!?

Stan: It’s my right as a man.

Judith: Why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?

Stan: I want to have babies.

Reg: You want to have babies?!?!?!

Stan: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.

Reg: But you can’t have babies.

Stan: Don’t you oppress me.

Forty-two years later and Monty Python’s absurdist vision has materialised. Not only do (trans) men have the right to have babies but their right to not be offended in the maternity ward now outweighs a woman’s right to be described as a mother.

The push to be more inclusive of trans men within maternity care has prompted an increasing number of hospitals, medical organisations and bureaucracies to alter standard language around pregnancy so that it is gender neutral and “inclusive”.

In practice, this means midwives at two National Health Service hospitals in Britain — Brighton and Sussex — have been instructed to refer to breastfeeding mothers as “chest-feeders” and to use the term “human milk” in place of breast milk.

A debate erupted in the House of Lords recently as a maternity leave bill brought before Westminster referred to “pregnant persons” instead of pregnant women. Peers across the political spectrum drew attention to the fact women’s experiences — and biology itself — was being erased by such language.

It’s not just pregnancy-related terminology that is being altered but also sex education materials. An LGBTQIA Safer Sex Guide published on the US website Healthline refers to “front holes”.

On the same website, a guide to foreplay with women describes the female of the human species — more than 50 per cent of the population — as “vulva owners”.

Most worryingly is the fact these ugly and dehumanising contortions of the English language are creeping into the mainstream medical profession. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading US health bureaucracy, uses the term “pregnant persons” instead of pregnant women. As more and more organisations do the same, it will become harder for those who wish to resist the long march to a transgendered utopia. As JK Rowling recently found out, pushing back against trans activists can lead to vicious backlash.

But pushback is required. Articles in leading medical journals such as the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology have advocated for the erasure of women in language on pregnancy care. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published an article that argued that sex should not be recorded at birth, as it was offensive to intersex people and those who may later grow up to be trans. As my colleague, evolutionary biologist Colin Wright, has argued in Quillette, these journals are betraying their scientific mission in an effort to conform to fashionable cultural trends.

Similarly, those who instruct midwives to refer to new mothers as “chest-feeders” are betraying their duty of care to the many women who require empathetic support at a critical and life-changing time in their lives.

While we can all agree that transgender individuals who become pregnant and give birth should be treated with respectful and compassionate healthcare, women also have a right to be treated with dignity. Transgender rights should not outweigh the rights of half the population, and using reproductive anatomy to describe women should be left to the realm of dystopian fiction, not standard midwifery practice.

Speaking in the House of Lords, peers from across the political spectrum denounced bureaucrats who sought to normalise these new terms: “Our laws and words must never treat people as non-human things,” said Baroness Claire Fox. “I am not a uterus holder, nor a person with a vagina nor a chest-feeder. These are linguistic abominations.”

While these peers should be celebrated for standing up for common sense, it also speaks to the oppressive moment we live in that only those with the most secure privileges are able to speak freely without fear of repercussion. We need more individuals to stand up and speak fearlessly before we all end up living inside a Monty Python sketch.


Fact-Checking the Leftmedia 'Fact-Checkers'

USA Today has not corrected the factual errors in its own fact check.

The Patriot Post is often the target of unfounded social media “fact-checks” and “missing context” claims. In every case, we are deemed “guilty until proven innocent,” and it’s almost impossible to get redress from any of the social media outlets. There is another “missing context” claim to tell you about, but first…

Let me tell you about how the so-called “fact-checkers” have been checking on the Biden/Harris regime. You may have heard that the mass media and Big Tech First Amendment suppressors have a slight leftist bias, so brace yourself.

This week, Joe Biden repeated a litany of ludicrous ChiCom Virus pandemic lies in a CNN “town hall” event. Among them he declared, “We didn’t have [the vaccine] when we came into office.” Now, for us mere mortals, this would have resulted in a costly strike, but in Biden’s case, WaPo’s head fact-checker faker, Glenn Kessler, ran interference for him. He claimed the comment was a “verbal stumble, a typical Biden gaffe,” adding, “People screw up on live television. Biden with his stutter especially does so.”

Fact check WaPo: Biden has already said he does not have a “stutter.”

Apparently it was the same “gaffe” script of lies that Kamala Harris used a few days earlier when she repeated, “There was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations.” And she added this stutter: “In many ways, we’re starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year.”

Before the White House arbiters of truth could intervene on Harris’s behalf, some lowly fact-checkers had rated her comments what they were: False. Even the left-leaning crew at PolitiFact declared it was wrong. But mysteriously, the fact-checks were deleted almost as quickly as they were posted.

Must be nice!

Again, these are not just factual errors; these are outright lies. More to the point, hearing Harris repeat the lie again, former Trump administration economic adviser Larry Kudlow was caught on a hot mic with this assessment: “Bulls—t! Bulls—t! Bulls—t!”

Of course, the Trump administration left the Biden administration a vaccine already in distribution and a robust plan to continue production and distribution. Anthony Fauci, the COVID Godfather, had already refuted the Biden/Harris assertions the day after the inauguration, insisting, “We certainly are not starting from scratch.” In fact, this week the daily average for vaccine doses administered has now ramped up to 1.7 million per day. That is not a “Biden/Harris” success story.

So, what was the latest hit against our Patriot Post social media pages?

As you may know, last June, after Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer staged a theatrical kneeling for George Floyd in the Capitol rotunda — which added accelerant to their constituents’ burn, loot, and murder “summer of rage” — I started posting tributes to police officers murdered in the line of duty and asking Pelosi and Schumer why they have not taken a knee for them. Of course, George Floyd was just a political prop for Pelosi and Schumer.

Last week, we created a meme image asking that question about Officer Brian Sicknick, but removed it soon after posting to Facebook because, while Pelosi and Schumer did not take a knee for him, I believe they disgracefully used his Capitol rotunda funeral as political fodder, timed as it was to coincide with their Trump impeachment inquisition.

However, on 09 February, after removing the image, USA Today’s fact-checker found it on a personal social media page and declared the image was, you guessed it, “missing context.” Under the title, “Democratic leaders honored officer Brian Sicknick,” she asserted that Pelosi and Schumer did honor him. Our social media director, Andrew Culper, recently wrote that the ubiquitous “missing context” label is now the Big Tech censorship catch-all to hit conservative social media pages.

Notably, USA Today’s “missing context” claim asserted up top, “[Officer Sicknick] was struck in the head by a fire extinguisher during the riots and died from his injuries the following day.” The writer then asserts, “Misinformation surrounding the Capitol riot has been rampant on social media.”

Indeed it has.

Responding to the “fact-checker,” we asked for her facts: “A week before you posted your assertion about [Officer Sicknick’s] death as fact, CNN reported in their article, ‘Investigators struggle to build murder case in death of US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick,’ that despite the oft-repeated claim about his injuries, ‘investigators believe that early reports that he was fatally struck by a fire extinguisher are not true.’” Even The New York Times quietly corrected its 08 January post making the “fire extinguisher” assertion — but not until after the Demos’ closing impeachment arguments — which relied, in part, on the Times’s false narrative. (I am sure the timing of the Times’s correction was just coincidental…)

We asked the “fact-checker” to back up her facts. No response.

We also asked the fact-checker, for the sake of transparency, to disclose whom she supported for president in 2016 and 2020. No response.

Finally, we inquired about a note at the bottom of her article: “Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.” We asked, “By way of full disclosure, please advise how much funding or other support you and your organization receive from Facebook.” No response.

As of this writing, the factual errors in the USA Today “fact-check” have not been corrected.




Friday, February 26, 2021

Australian College principal defends teen thugs who attacked tradesmen

Comment from a social work reader:

"And the school principal calls his thugs “vulnerable” and “broken babies”.

I expect he is a soppy leftie, and maybe worse, a cunning and manipulative one.

"I worked with leftist forensic psychs who would justify crim’s crimes, coach them into believing they were victims of society’s artificial expectations, so they would continue to be crims after release, by telling them things like there is no truth, just perception and feelings, no right or wrong, just social expectations, and if you feel it, it’s true for you, and in another society you would not be in jail, you would be considered a good citizen, even a hero….

I would not be surprised if the principal and a number of his teachers are of the same sort of character as those psychs, committing crime by proxy through manipulating dumb thugs and crims, all the while acting themselves as if they are caring and wise"

A school principal has thrown his support behind the gang of thugs filmed savagely beating tradies during a wild rampage earlier this week.

The saga began on Tuesday, when two tradesmen arrived at SMYL Community College in Rockingham, southwest Perth, to fix a broken fire hydrant.

But soon after their arrival at the school for at-risk teens, a group of up to 10 students began surrounding the men and verbally abusing them, with footage of the incident livestreamed to Instagram.

The incident soon escalated, with around six teens seen throwing punches at the men while they are trapped in a corner, amid shouts of “bomb him, bomb that motherf …” and “keep going”.

Teachers soon arrived in an attempt to break up the attack, but as the incident was unfolding, another teenager was seen smashing the front windscreen of the tradesmen’s work vehicle after jumping on the bonnet and yelling “let’s smash his car”.

The attack made headlines across Australia and shocked the country – but despite the “appalling” violence, college director Sam Gowegati has defended the perpetrators, describing them as “broken babies” who needed help.

“The reason these kids are sent here is because they’re disengaged from mainstream education,” he told The West Australian.

“These kids are already vulnerable … and they do dumb stuff, that’s why they’re here, closed off in this area so we can manage that process.”

Earlier this week, Mr Gowegati told The West Australian some students had been suspended following the brutal attack.

“It is an atypical event. We’re just trying to figure out what happened and what triggered it,” he told the publication.

“A number of students have been currently sent home to decide what their futures are going to be.”

Mr Gowegati’s comments come after the publication reported that some staff were so concerned by student behaviour that they were “petrified” of going to work, with one teacher telling The West Australian some staff were “scared for their lives”.

According to the school’s website, SMYL Community College aims to “ provide an inclusive and supportive learning community that offers an alternative approach to education and training for young people aged 14 to 17 years of age who are at risk of missing out on opportunities due to their home life, health and other issues.”


Venezuela Goes Private After Socialism

Early in 2007, after winning a second six-year term as president, Hugo Chávez announced his plan to nationalize Venezuela’s largest telecommunications company, CANTV, hinting at wider nationalization plans to come.

“All that was privatized, let it be nationalized,” announced Chávez, who had run under the banner of democratic socialism.

Nearly a decade and a half later, on the brink of mass famine and a growing energy crisis, Venezuela is now moving in the opposite direction.

According to Bloomberg News, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro has quietly begun transferring state assets back into the hands of private owners in an effort to reverse the country’s economic collapse.

“Saddled with hundreds of failed state companies in an economy barreling over a cliff, the Venezuelan government is abandoning socialist doctrine by offloading key enterprises to private investors, offering profit in exchange for a share of revenue or products,” write Caracas-based journalists Fabiola Zerpa and Nicolle Yapur.

The transfer, which was not announced publicly but was confirmed by “nine people with knowledge of the matter,” reportedly includes dozens of coffee processors, grain silos, and hotels that were confiscated as part of Venezuela’s widespread nationalization that began under Chavez.

Venezuela’s Collapse

In some ways, Venezuela’s plight is the most unlikely of stories.

In 1950, Venezuela was one of the most prosperous nations in the world. It ranked among the top 10 in GDP per capita and had a labor force with higher productivity than the United States.

Venezuela’s economic growth began to stall in the mid 1970s, however, after it nationalized the petroleum sector, which resulted in a surge of government revenue and public spending. It’s estimated that Venezuela brought in $7.6 billion in 1975 alone from nationalization ($37 billion in 2021 dollars). This led to an unprecedented surge of public spending. John Polga-Hecimovich, a professor of political science at the US Naval Academy, said the Venezuelan government spent more from 1974 to 1979 than in its entire previous history.

Despite the growth in government spending, the political situation remained relatively steady. In the late 70s, University of Michigan political science professor Daniel H. Levine asserted that “Venezuelans have achieved one of the few stable competitive political orders in Latin America.”

However, Venezuela’s flirtation with socialism would eventually turn into a love affair.

In 1998, Venezuelans voted in Chavez, a populist and self-described Marxist. He was re-elected in 2000 (59.8% of the vote) and in 2006 (62.8%), at which point he began to nationalize various sectors of the economy—including agriculture, the steel industry, transportation, and mining—and confiscating more than a thousand companies, farms, and properties.

At the time of Chavez’s death, his socialist policies were heralded by Salon as an “economic miracle”—but in reality the Venezuelan economy was already in a free fall.

By 2014, with the price of oil collapsing, Maduro’s government admitted it was in severe recession and Venezuela was suffering from the highest inflation in the Americas. By January 2016, the country was on the verge of “complete economic collapse.” Not long after, the Venezuelan government abandoned any pretense of being a “democratic” regime.

A 2019 United Nations report concluded that there were “reasonable grounds to believe that” Maduro’s government had used special forces to kill thousands of political opponents in “extrajudicial executions.”

To date, it is believed that more than 5 million Venezuelans have fled the country to escape economic ruin and political oppression.

Privatization to the Rescue?

The collapse of Venezuela, once the most prosperous country in Latin America, is hardly a secret. But Maduro’s pivot toward private enterprise in an attempt to stabilize the collapsing country is a new revelation.

It’s not unprecedented, however.

“This process is similar to the privatization process in Russia in that assets are transferred to private local companies and to investors from countries allied to the government,” Asdrubal Oliveros, head of economic consultancy Ecoanalitica, told Bloomberg.

Rodrigo Agudo, head of the Venezuela Food Network, told the news agency that the regime instituted “a wild capitalism” by ceasing the collection of taxes on certain companies, liberalizing licensing on imports, and convincing military and other connected officials to invest in certain businesses.

Ramon Lobo, a lawmaker with the ruling socialist party and a former finance minister, said the arrangements tend to have time limits (usually less than 10 years) and work much like a concession. Companies are allowed to invest and manage the asset, with the government then taking a percentage.

“We believe this is positive because it is the synchronization of the public sector with the private sector,” said Lobo. “The state acts as a supervisor and receives compensation.”

Economic Fascism Is Not Capitalism
In one sense, the revelation of Venezuela’s privatization push is a clear positive development.

Maduro’s effort to quietly form private-public partnerships, a strategy that began in 2017, reveals the total failure of Venezuela’s command economy. Bloomberg points out, for example, that once-successful food processing plants have been “mostly idle” since being seized by the government, plants that could have been feeding a starving population.

This revelation is both tragic and infuriating, but it’s not surprising. By their very nature, command economies are doomed to fail because they lack the basic incentive and price structures that are present in a market economy.

“It is more than a metaphor to describe the price system as a kind of machinery for registering change, or a system of telecommunications which enables individual producers to watch merely the movements of a few pointers, as an engineer might watch the hands of a few dials, in order to adjust their activities to changes of which they may never know more than is reflected in the price movement,” the Nobel Laureate economist F.A. Hayek wrote.

Many might be tempted to think that Maduro was just a bad or stupid person. But Ludwig von Mises reminds us that the quest to find the right person to run a command economy is a futile one for this very reason.

“It has not been realized that even exceptionally gifted men of high character cannot solve the problems created by socialist control of industry,” Mises observed.

It seems that after much pain and suffering, even socialist leaders in Venezuela have conceded that they cannot run an economy with enough efficiency to avoid economic ruin. But while returning enterprises to private owners is a step in the right direction, it’s hardly accurate to call Maduro’s strategy “capitalism.”

The Maduro government is still using everything from price controls on food to minimum wage hikes to currency manipulation to manage its economy, not to mention selecting which businesses get to participate in its privatization efforts (and who gets to invest). In terms of overall economic freedom, Venezuela ranked 179 out of 180 countries in 2020—one place ahead of North Korea and one behind Cuba.

At best, Venezuela’s current economic system is a form of fascism, which Sheldon Richman once described as “socialism with a capitalist veneer.”

So while applauding Venezuela’s small but important step, we should not lose sight of an observation from Nobel Laureate economist Vernon Smith, who in 2018 noted that prosperity would return almost at once to Venezuela if politicians repealed their harmful policies and unleashed the power of markets.


Wait, How Many Identify as 'LGBT'?

How much of the population would you say “identifies” as one of the “LGBT” categories? Ten percent? Twenty-five percent? Based on the adulating attention in news and entertainment this segment of the population commands, including cultivated Netflix movie listings and Hollywood quotas to go along with a whole dedicated “Pride Month” dutifully observed by businesses nationwide, you could be forgiven for thinking so.

But what if we told you the number of “LGBT” individuals in America was actually just 5%?

According to Gallup, that’s the case, and only because of a dramatic rise in recent years: “Gallup’s latest update on lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender identification finds 5.6% of U.S. adults identifying as LGBT. The current estimate is up from 4.5% in Gallup’s previous update based on 2017 data.” Way back in the dark ages of 2012, it was just 3.5%.

The Rainbow Mafia will argue that the percentage is even higher, especially because Gallup says “7.6% do not answer the question about their sexual orientation.” They’ll say this is evidence that LGBT individuals are still oppressed and are afraid to come out.

We’d argue the exact opposite is the reason for the nine-year 60% surge in alternative identifications.

That said, young people account for the bulk of the surge, and the rebellious among them are especially susceptible to having a martyr complex. They gravitate toward forbidden behavior as a way to buck the system all while secretly reveling in whatever opposition they encounter. And, in this case, they’re lionized for it.

Beginning in the ‘60s, this manifested in the “free love” movement that could only take off because of prevalent birth control and then the legalization of abortion. Love “without consequences.” Now, of course, the rebellion du jour is gender dysphoria. Supposed oppression becomes the attraction.

LGBT individuals are by and large not the victims of discrimination, of course. Quite the opposite — they’ve become nearly sacrosanct.

Gays and lesbians who were “born this way” are encouraged to be their “true selves” and then are adoringly celebrated. So-called “transgendered” people who were not born that way are likewise revered as the very bravest members of society. Anyone who points to biological science is silenced.

The worst part of this is the predatory nature of the Rainbow Mafia. “Younger Americans are increasingly likely to consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community: Nearly 16 percent of Generation Z, those 18 to 23 in 2020, consider themselves something other than heterosexual,” reports NBC’s “Out News,” which of course thinks this trend is actually a marvelous revelation that this percentage has been true but suppressed all along. But don’t think for a moment that the Rainbow Mafia isn’t deliberately indoctrinating our children to increase its own ranks.

The purveyors of this sick-think are exploiting vulnerable young people, especially those without fathers and primarily through entertainment as indoctrination, to further the Left’s divisive identity politics for cultural and political gain. Young Americans — our children and grandchildren — deserve so much better.


Relying on Authorities for information is a very slippery slope

Many people are hardwired to make quick decisions, often resulting in conclusions that are incorrect. This typically happens when their conclusions are reached on the basis of too little information or information that isn't factual. Unfortunately, taking the time to test information for accuracy requires more discipline than many people are willing to expend.

Since lots of folks think they are smart enough to correctly connect the least number of dots to reach a valid conclusion, this leads many of them to underrate complex issues and look for simple answers. As a result, their conclusions are often unsupportable. This is what happens when you hear clip-clopping in the dark and conclude that a horse is coming — but it actually turns out to be a zebra.

So, when we "connect the dots," what are the "dots" we try to connect? Most of them consist of information provided by other people. If we trust them, we tend to trust the information they provide. When a trusted source tells us it's a horse, we think, Yes, that seems to make sense, so it must be a true. Although that kind of reasoning is more or less logical (and sometimes even correct), it's still lazy and runs the risk of being seriously wrong.

This becomes even more problematic when we trust people we don't know, including television personalities, actors, journalists, and politicians. Lots of people trust these celebrities because they think they are important and believe important people tell the truth. This becomes an even bigger problem when a trusted source is only quoting someone else, or even many others. This can result in an intellectual echo chamber in which multiple voices reinforcing one another can all be equally wrong.

Another problem is that the dots we rely on are words and failing to recognize that the same words can have very different meanings for different people. For example, take the words "white privilege." The meaning of "white" is clear enough in this context, but "privilege" is anything but. It is defined as "a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group." The term "white privilege" suggests a zero-sum assertion that some benefit is explicitly granted to white people while being intentionally withheld from all others. It eliminates the possibility that other variables can be involved; things like education, experience, value systems, cultural imperatives, and so on. It defines whole populations in the abstract while asserting collective outcomes that are specific. Actual white privilege was far more common in the past, and it may even operate in some instances today. But there is no evidence that it is currently "systemic" (whatever that means). Therefore, to generalize from the exception to the whole, especially in formulating policy, only creates problems.

Finally, there's the problem of proactive inhibition. This happens when you're forced to accept the rival meaning of something out of fear that if you don't, you will be punished. A good example is in the area of gender identification. The word "gender" was originally used as a term in grammar and had nothing to do with sex. It is now used to denote a range of sex "identities" that are not limited to male and female. It imposes different social meanings on what has been historically and genetically determined as binary. Failure to accept this new social meaning now leaves the user open to criticism and even retribution. It even requires a reformulation of language to alter grammatical gender, resulting in linguistic confusion.

Sadly, sometimes it's just simpler to throw logic and truth to the wind and give up. For too many folks, it's easier to accept that a zebra is just a horse of another color.

Many people are hardwired to make quick decisions, often resulting in conclusions that are incorrect. This typically happens when their conclusions are reached on the basis of too little information or information that isn’t factual. Unfortunately, taking the time to test information for accuracy requires more discipline than many people are willing to expend.

Since lots of folks think they are smart enough to correctly connect the least number of dots to reach a valid conclusion, this leads many of them to underrate complex issues and look for simple answers. As a result, their conclusions are often unsupportable. This is what happens when you hear clip-clopping in the dark and conclude that a horse is coming — but it actually turns out to be a zebra.

So, when we “connect the dots,” what are the “dots” we try to connect? Most of them consist of information provided by other people. If we trust them, we tend to trust the information they provide. When a trusted source tells us it’s a horse, we think, Yes, that seems to make sense, so it must be a true. Although that kind of reasoning is more or less logical (and sometimes even correct), it’s still lazy and runs the risk of being seriously wrong.

This becomes even more problematic when we trust people we don’t know, including television personalities, actors, journalists, and politicians. Lots of people trust these celebrities because they think they are important and believe important people tell the truth. This becomes an even bigger problem when a trusted source is only quoting someone else, or even many others. This can result in an intellectual echo chamber in which multiple voices reinforcing one another can all be equally wrong.

Another problem is that the dots we rely on are words and failing to recognize that the same words can have very different meanings for different people. For example, take the words “white privilege.” The meaning of “white” is clear enough in this context, but “privilege” is anything but. It is defined as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.” The term “white privilege” suggests a zero-sum assertion that some benefit is explicitly granted to white people while being intentionally withheld from all others. It eliminates the possibility that other variables can be involved; things like education, experience, value systems, cultural imperatives, and so on. It defines whole populations in the abstract while asserting collective outcomes that are specific. Actual white privilege was far more common in the past, and it may even operate in some instances today. But there is no evidence that it is currently “systemic” (whatever that means). Therefore, to generalize from the exception to the whole, especially in formulating policy, only creates problems.

Finally, there’s the problem of proactive inhibition. This happens when you’re forced to accept the rival meaning of something out of fear that if you don’t, you will be punished. A good example is in the area of gender identification. The word “gender” was originally used as a term in grammar and had nothing to do with sex. It is now used to denote a range of sex “identities” that are not limited to male and female. It imposes different social meanings on what has been historically and genetically determined as binary. Failure to accept this new social meaning now leaves the user open to criticism and even retribution. It even requires a reformulation of language to alter grammatical gender, resulting in linguistic confusion.

Sadly, sometimes it’s just simpler to throw logic and truth to the wind and give up. For too many folks, it’s easier to accept that a zebra is just a horse of another color.




Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Authoritarian Left Is on the March

This week, Democratic Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Jerry McNerny, D-N.J., sent out a series of letters to America’s largest communications corporations: AT&T, Alphabet Inc., Cox Communications, Dish Network, Comcast, Apple, Amazon and others. Their letters demanded answers from these corporations on one simple topic: Why would these platforms continue to allow the dissemination of “misinformation” from conservative outlets?

“Our country’s public discourse is plagued by misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies,” the House Democrats wrote. “These phenomena undergird the radicalization of seditious individuals who committed acts of insurrection on January 6th, and it contributes to a growing distrust of public health measures necessary to crush the pandemic. … Are you planning to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN?”

The overt move by members of the government to cudgel private corporations into silencing unpopular viewpoints was clearly violative of First Amendment principles. The Constitution clearly provides that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech or the press; Democrats have now hit upon a convenient workaround where they bully private actors into doing their censorious bidding.

This clever gambit is rooted in the conflation between “disinformation” and “misinformation” promulgated by the establishment media since 2016. After the 2016 election, the media went berserk with the theory that Hillary Clinton had lost the election thanks only to Russian interference. “Russian disinformation” — meaning false information promulgated by a foreign government for the purpose of interfering in domestic politics — had twisted the election. Now even disinformation promulgated on American soil is protected by the First Amendment. But it soon became clear that the authoritarian left wasn’t interested merely in active disinformation springing from foreign sources. It was troubled by any narrative or information that contradicted its point of view. This information could quickly and easily be labeled “misinformation.”

And “misinformation,” it said, had to be policed.

Why, precisely, wouldn’t the answer to misinformation be factual rebuttal? Because, the authoritarian left argued, misinformation led to “incitement.” Now, there is a legal standard for “incitement” — and it’s a high bar to reach. But the authoritarian left has broadened out the meaning of incitement to include any verbiage that elicits strong emotions … so long as conservatives are responsible for such verbiage. Thus, it’s possible incitement to call people by their biological pronouns but perfectly innocent fun to wink and nod at widespread looting and rioting.

The answer to “misinformation” and “incitement,” however, can’t lie within government. So Democrats have turned toward hijacking the private instruments of informational dissemination, all in the name of reestablishing an informational monopoly the left lost with the death of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, and with a monopoly that collapsed completely with the rise of the open internet.

And corporations are going along with all of this. This week, Amazon banned a book on transgender people, “When Harry Became Sally,” presumably because it took a non-woke line on the subject. Coca-Cola is now apparently indoctrinating its employees into the cult of Robin DiAngelo “anti-racism.” Facebook and Twitter and Google are all preparing new measures aimed at cracking down on “misinformation” — opaque guidelines and nonrigorous standards that will surely cut in favor of the same establishment media now pushing censorship, and the Democrats they support.

The establishment media are fond of saying that we’re experiencing a crisis of authoritarianism in America; they point to the criminal acts of Jan. 6 and suggest that right-wing authoritarianism threatens democracy itself. The far greater threat to democracy, however, lies with an authoritarian left that is now ascendant in virtually every powerful institution in America.


New York backtracks on de Blasio’s plan to close Trump-owned ice rinks

New York City is doing a full "180" on its plan to shutter Trump Organization-operated ice skating rinks.

City Hall on Sunday reversed Mayor de Blasio’s move to shutter Lasker and Wollman rinks in Central Park six weeks ahead of their typical April closing dates — in an apparent effort to freeze out his political rival.

"New York City kids deserve all the time on the ice they can get this year. The Wollman and Lasker rinks will stay open under current management for the few weeks left in this season," City Hall press secretary Bill Neidhardt told the New York Post.

"But make no mistake, we will not be doing business with the Trump Organization going forward. Inciting an insurrection will never be forgotten or forgiven."

Hizzoner announced last month he was nixing the city’s contracts with the Trump Organization, alleging then-President Trump had incited a riot at the Capitol. The rinks were both set to be shuttered at close on Sunday.

The stunning policy reversal came after devastated skaters fumed over the weekend that they shouldn’t be kept off the ice due to the mayor's beef with the Trump administration.

"The real people they’re hurting are the 2,500 children that have been benefiting from the skating program this season and 250 innocent employees who have been keeping this going for us," said Lee Klausner, 49, who was watching her two daughters skate.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the rinks would remain open until April, as they have in past years.


Coke slammed for ‘blatant racial discrimination’

Coca-Cola has been accused of reverse racism after a training video for its employees told them to “try to be less white”.

The soft drink giant has been slammed for the racial discrimination training after a disgruntled employee shared it on social media and it went viral.

The training seminar was shared on LinkedIn with slides that featured tips on how “to be less white”, including being “less ignorant,” and “less oppressive”.

The slides came from an 11-minute video titled ‘Confronting Racism with Robin DiAngelo’, an author and consultant who argues white people are complicit in racist structures unless they actively work to be anti-racist.

“In the US and other Western nations, white people are socialised to feel that they are inherently superior because they are white,” one slide said.

Coca-Cola said the video was uploaded to their LinkedIn Learning platform but was not part of their compulsory curriculum. “The video and images attributed to a Coca-Cola training program are not part of the company’s learning curriculum,” the company said in a statement to The Sun.

“Our Better Together global training is part of a learning plan to help build an inclusive workplace. It is comprised of a number of short vignettes, each a few minutes long.

“The training includes access to the LinkedIn Learning platform on a variety of topics, including on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The video in question was accessible on the LinkedIn Learning platform but was not part of the company’s curriculum. We will continue to listen to our employees and refine our learning programs as appropriate.”

Self-identified employment lawyer Harmeet K Dhillon accused the company of “blatant racial discrimination”.

While some people said they would boycott Coke, others supported the initiative, saying it was poorly worded but could encourage people to realise their racial prejudices.


"Progressive" cancel culture is less about deplatforming extreme ideas and more about persecuting people with whom they disagree

Ensconced among the cherry trees ringing the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., rests the Jefferson Memorial. The rotunda of this stately edifice shelters a statue of the great man. Among his many inscriptions adorning the walls are these words:

"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

With a craven cancel culture now in full sway, one can only wonder what the man who crafted the Declaration of Independence might say about it. Perhaps he would rehearse the Declaration’s self-evident truths:

“That we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

George Washington too “controversial”?

Well, apparently what the Lord giveth the Lifetime Network taketh away. After nearly three years of Lifetime airing our weekly Truths That Transform television program—one in which we apply Biblical truths to the great moral, ethical, and cultural question of our day—officials at Lifetime have suddenly decided our program content is too “controversial,” forcing us off their network.

They objected to our exposé on Planned Parenthood, in which we documented their sale of baby body parts derived from abortions. They objected to our exposé on billionaire radical George Soros and his systematic efforts to undermine American laws and institutions. They even objected to our program on the spiritual life of George Washington.

At the same time the Lifetime Channel is giving us the back of their hand, we received reports from others in the community of Christian broadcasters that other major cable television channels and networks are cancelling entire blocks of religious programming. This is the new face of corporate responsibility in America—viewpoint discrimination, prior restraint, and outright censorship.

This spitting in the face of those with viewpoints differing from the new woke orthodoxy by broadcast and cable television is bad enough, but it gets worse. Others providing business services to those holding non-favored viewpoints are falling all over each other to demonstrate their woke bonafides, by denying services to those with the heretical temerity to hold views diverging from those permissible under Progressive woke-ism.

Mail Chimp knows best

Witness the good folks at wannabe-gatekeeper Mail Chimp, the simian-friendly email platform whose Standard Terms of Use were recently modified to include this language:

“Mailchimp does not allow the distribution of Content that is, in our sole discretion, materially false, inaccurate, or misleading in a way that could deceive or confuse others about important events, topics, or circumstances.”

How Mail Chimp is singularly qualified to adjudicate matters of truth or falsity across a wide range of cultural issues escapes the notice of most neutral observers. But herein lies the genius of Progressive thinkers: If the viewpoint in question is different than ours, it must be false. Case closed.

In a biblical context, many are familiar with the predictive prophecy that restricts buying and selling to those with “the mark of the beast.” What we see emerging today is a secular version in reverse order. Instead of everyone having the mark, those with disfavored viewpoints and ideals are anointed with a latter-day scarlet letter. More like the “No soup for you” pronouncements from Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi.

However it’s characterized, at base the progressive cancel culture is less about deplatforming extreme ideas and more about persecuting people with whom they disagree. Their aim is not correction but destruction. If the Southern Poverty Law Center were true to their own disingenuous and defamatory definition of hate, they would have to include two-thirds of the Progressive left (and themselves!) on their infamous map. Today’s Progressives more resemble Orwell’s dystopian epic 1984, where Winston Smith, who was outed as non-conforming, is brainwashed back to Oceanian orthodoxy and awaits his execution.

More speech, not less

One might argue that the foundational question here is: Why are Progressives so deathly afraid of the free marketplace of ideas? They are in urgent need of reading—perhaps for the first time—John Milton’s Areopagitica. In his polemic against the state-sponsored cancel culture of his day, this Puritan(!) declared: “Let [Truth] and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?”

Milton argued that the best defense of freedom of speech and expression was the debate and discussion of ideas—where good ideas would tend to rise and bad ideas to fall. Perhaps the cancel culture is a latent acknowledgement that Progressive ideas suffer under the weight of scrutiny.

Whatever the case, it’s self-evident that the solitary idea nearest to the Progressive heart is to make sure nobody hears your ideas. This is nothing less than Jefferson’s “tyranny over the mind of man.” For those who understand how hard-won freedom actually is, we too must swear eternal hostility against the efforts of those who would steal it.




Saturday, February 20, 2021

Mediocrity's Envy of Genius: The Dirty Secret of Cancel Culture

David Goldman below is obviously right about the idiocy of a "racist" approach to classical music. And Ewell equally obviously misses the point of such music.

Our esteem for Beethoven and other classical composers is no function of anything other than the pleasure that they give us. If they give you no pleasure you should have nothing to do with them. They are not for you. They are not for most people in fact. In the Western world only something like 2% of the population like classical music.

But if you have been so moved by a performance of Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto that you have been moved to tears with the beauty of it then you know what it is all about. I have so wept

And most people have a favorite piece of music of some kind that they like to listen to repeatedly. I do. It is Polina Osetinskaya playing the Bach piano concerto no. 1 in D minor.

The Cultural Revolutionaries at the New York Times this week reviewed the witch hunt against classical musicians, who stand accused of racism simply because the great Western composers happened to be white. Cancel culture is despicable in all of its manifestations, but I take this particular instance personally: I trained in the school of musical analysis founded by Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935). My principle teacher was Carl Schachter, who also taught Prof. Timothy Jackson of the University of North Texas, the target of this particular witch hunt.

It’s all about envy.

My childhood piano teacher kept a recording of Florence Foster Jenkins, the deluded society lady portrayed by Meryl Streep in a 2016 comedy, as a horrible example for youth. Her voice would de-feather a screech-owl, but no-one was allowed to tell her she couldn’t sing. The only classical musician still active who bears comparison to Ms. Jenkins is a certain Philip Ewell, now a professor of music theory at Hunter College, who posts videos of himself torturing a cello until it squeals in pain. Prof. Ewell is African-American and has won his fifteen minutes of fame by denouncing whiteness in classical music.

All this would be of scant interest except that Prof. Ewell has become the scourge of alleged racism in the classical music world, and may have succeeded in extirpating from the academy a grand tradition of musical analysis that began with Beethoven. Ewell also dismisses Beethoven as merely “an above average composer” whose prominence erases the contribution of composers of color. Thanks to Ewell’s rampage against supposed white supremacy in classical music, the living chain of teacher-to-pupil transmission of this aspect of Western civilization may be broken irreparably.

For the strong of stomach (or hard of hearing), I refer to the fugue of Bach’s 5th Cello Suite as performed by Prof. Ewell (at minute 3:25) in a video posted on his personal website. It is hard to find a single note in tune; it is the sort of butchery that would earn an aspiring high school musician a condescending pat on the shoulder and a suggestion that he switch to the triangle. No-one was allowed to tell Florence Foster Jenkins how awful she was because she was rich and connected; it is a complete mystery to me why no-one has had the courage to stop Prof. Ewell from humiliating himself in public. Unlike the deluded Mrs. Jenkins, Ewell surely knows that everyone is laughing at him behind his back. The work he has put into his performances shows that he wants to play well, but is condemned to sotto voce ridicule.

To have played Bach this way is a humiliation. To push it into the public’s face is an act of unadulerated rage: You, my listeners, will have to suffer along with me, the talentless Prof Ewell thinks. This isn’t the Emperor’s new clothes so much as the Emperor as flasher. And Ewell is entirely right; the music world must bite its collective tongue and suppress a laugh on pain of excommunication.

Whatever our musical preferences, these are moments in which we need the classical style of composition. The musical style we inherit from the great composers is a continuing presence in our lives through film. The classical style of composition will never go out of fashion, my teacher Carl Schachter liked to say, because the movies need it; it is the only kind of music that can tell a story. “There are those,” intoned Ewell in a recent blog post, “who would actually take issue with me saying the Ninth Symphony is no more a masterwork that Spalding’s 12 Little Spells simply because we are told by whiteness and maleness that this couldn’t be the case. Beethoven was undoubtedly an above-average composer and he deserves our attention. But to say he was anything more is to dismiss 99.9% of the world’s music written 200+ years ago, which would be unscholarly, and academically irresponsible.”

Wrote the New York Times:

Professor Ewell, who also is on the faculty of the City University of New York Graduate Center, declined an interview with The Times. He is part of a generation of scholars who are undertaking critical-race examinations of their fields. In “Music Theory and the White Racial Frame,” the paper he presented in Columbus, he writes that he is for all intents “a practitioner of white music theory” and that “rigorous conversations about race and whiteness” are required to “make fundamental antiracist changes in our structures and institutions.”

For music programs to require mastery of German, he has said, “is racist obviously.” He has criticized the requirement that music Ph.D. students study German or a limited number of “white” languages, noting that at Yale he needed a dispensation to study Russian. He wrote that the “antiracist policy solution” would be “to require languages with one new caveat: any language — including sign language and computer languages, for instance — is acceptable with the exception of Ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, French or German, which will only be allowed by petition as a dispensation.”

Last April he fired a broadside at Beethoven, writing that it would be academically irresponsible to call him more than an “above average” composer. Beethoven, he wrote, “has been propped up by whiteness and maleness for 200 years.”

The grudge that mediocrity bears against genius is the purest form of evil. Thomas Mann’s postwar reworking of the Faust legend tells of the failed composer Adrian Leverkuhn who, in the final phase of syphilitic dementia, has written a cacaphonous cantata “to take back Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.” Leverkuhn had made a deal with the Devil and suffers the consequences. If the Devil has any taste in music, he won’t be in the market for Ewell’s soul.

Black Americans have a splendid history in classical music. The great Marian Anderson, who sang the national anthem at both the second Eisenhower inauguration and the Kennedy inauguration, had the voice of the century according to Toscanini, as well as sublime musicianship. Hear her in this arrangement of Brahms’ song “Of Eternal Love.” The soprano Kathleen Battle is the best coloratura of my generation, a far cannier interpreter than, say, Joan Sutherland. Battle used high intelligence and unerring musicianship to turn a rather small natural voice into a virtuoso instrument. Anderson became an icon of the civil rights movement by showing that a black contralto could produce authoritative interpretations of the Western classics. Ewell’s envy-ridden rampage is a disgrace to her legacy.


The deletion of womanhood: Once, it was just noisy protests from a tiny minority. But now a new age of intolerance threatens our very identity, argues BEL MOONEY

George Orwell must be grinning grimly in his grave. In the terrifying, controlled world of his masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, ‘Thoughtcrime’ is any belief that goes against accepted political ideology.

And ‘Doublethink’ means simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct — a crime against intelligence that is now mainstream.

A row has been sparked by draft maternity rights legislation that has failed to include a single use of the word ‘woman’ or ‘female’. Instead the draft bill, set to give ministers access to maternity leave, talks only about ‘persons’.

Why are public-sector institutions so willing to erase the lived reality of my sex? How have we reached the point where intelligent people, charities, businesses and governments are forced to accept without question that ‘Trans women are women’?

Like any civilised person, I believe in tolerance and kindness, and understand that some people do wish to live as the opposite sex. But there I should stop, because Big Brother is watching my thoughtcrime. You are not allowed to question the orthodoxy — or offend the bullying thought police who wear liberal masks.

To placate a vociferous minority within a minority, doublethink reigns supreme. As a result we are witnessing attacks on both the identity of women and on language itself.

But there is something equally worthy of serious thought. I believe the ‘woke’ obsession with the rights of the trans community — which has now penetrated every level of society (as far as the President of the U.S. and the First Minister of Scotland) — is doing terrible harm to the very people it claims to speak for. People who don’t want to fight. People who aren’t baying for revolution. People who just want to be left alone to live anonymous, peaceful lives.

But reason is challenged by meaningless slogans, and when the thoughts and identities of ordinary men and women are challenged and disallowed, it becomes open season on hate. When precious words such as ‘woman’ and ‘mother’ are threatened, then angry, intolerant voices are raised. And that hurts trans people, too.

Last week, a British hospital became the first in the country to introduce ‘trans-friendly’ language guidelines to follow when dealing with trans people who decide to become parents.

This includes replacing the word ‘woman’ with the phrase ‘woman or person’ and swapping ‘breast milk’ for ‘breast/chest milk’. ‘Maternity care’ should be called ‘perinatal care.’

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust revealed the new phrases in an attempt to alleviate ‘mainstream transphobia’. Its statement contains gems such as ‘…not only pregnant women, but also pregnant trans, non-binary and agender people’. If you’re confused as to how an ‘agender’ person can get pregnant, then you’re not the only one.

It is easy to dismiss this nonsense and just get on with your life. But note that only an estimated one per cent of the population in Britain identifies as trans or non-binary, and yet precious NHS resources are being used to tell midwives how to address mothers-to-be.

The term ‘pregnant people’ was first used around four years ago, when the United Nations was lobbied to start using it on the grounds that trans people might feel excluded by the term ‘pregnant women’.

Wait! In order to become pregnant, a body has to be fitted out with ovaries and a womb — right? And if you have those perennially useful bits of machinery, you are called a woman.

If a trans man gives birth, their name may have become masculine, but the body is still, in many respects, female. The organs used to conceive, gestate and ultimately give birth are female, ie. they are something only women have.

Likewise, women don’t have prostate surgery and men don’t have hysterectomies. That, I’m afraid, is the driving force of nature, and it’s called biology.

It should be noted, too, that there have been just a few UK cases of trans men who retained their uteruses and have given birth, but that’s enough for a total rethink of the vocabulary used.

Just wait for other hospital trusts to follow Brighton, at heaven knows how much expense. The madness is everywhere.

What possessed my favourite charity Sands (stillbirth and neonatal death) to use the term ‘birthing parent’ instead of ‘mother’ last year? As a founder-patron of this valuable organisation, I was as upset as the many women who protested. Because when you have a stillborn child you are still a grieving mother, and to erase that term becomes a double heartbreak.

I’m pleased that Sands retracted its wording, yet their error (probably a result of over-zealous attention to minority groups) did much damage.

And here I must repeat my vital point — a lot of the damage caused by well-meaning wokery is done to trans people themselves.

The great 17th-century philosopher John Locke, often called the father of liberalism, wrote this about minority views: ‘…if they do not tend to establish domination over others …there can be no reason why they should not be tolerated.’ Exactly. This is ‘live and let live’ — the principle of general consent.

But it falls down when terms such as ‘birthing parent’ and ‘chest milk’ are used — because those crimes against language and meaning do seek to establish domination.

I believe it is disrespectful and dehumanising to lump all trans people together. It removes sympathy, understanding and respect from those people who choose to undergo painful medical and cosmetic procedures to help their process of change, and who nonetheless accept their own valuable difference.

Those quiet, necessary voices are drowned out by the aggressive self-absorption of militants.

I call myself a feminist and yet I have nothing in common (except biology) with screaming harridans who loathe men.

So it is absolutely vital to underline the distinction between the serious problems and struggles of those with gender dysphoria (a sincere, often desperate, wish to live as the opposite sex) and the aggressive hectoring of the trans brigade. I was horrified to read some of the obscene abuse directed at J. K. Rowling last year, which began when she mocked use of the phrase ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’.

Rowling identified the double insult to female identity and to accuracy in language — and was vilified by other women (mainly on the Left) who shockingly collude in the expression of visceral dislike under the guise of virtue.

To avoid potential hurt, major charities seem to feel they have no alternative but to bend over backwards to accommodate everybody — everybody, that is, except the quiet majority of men and women which acknowledges sexual differences and rather likes them.

The powerful ideology of ‘inclusion’ excludes our feelings, as well as reason.

How can we fight the propaganda? By proclaiming that the idea of womanhood has meaning. Not that it’s superior, just that it exists.

The fundamental experiences and understandings we learn from childhood will not be erased. If we allow a man to call himself ‘woman’ for as long as it suits him, whenever he likes, the meaning of the word is negated. And all the struggle and pride inherent in that definition is cancelled.

Of course not all women want to be mothers, or can become mothers, or are good mothers. What’s more, some men display wonderfully ‘motherly’ qualities, and homosexual men and women can become marvellous parents.

But the words ‘woman’ and ‘mother’ contain identity. Something indescribably precious within human consciousness — a nurturing, a caring, a sense of self-sacrifice, a profound joy, an unconditional love. Yes, of course there are exceptions — but they only prove the rule.

I have known many women who, after having a first child, feel their lives transformed. Yes, they may become tired, ratty and disappointed, yet in embracing motherhood they step up to join a long line of miraculous women.

They inhabit a glorious bundle of timeless ideas, from the Great Goddess, the essential feminine, the mother ship, the motherland, the matriarchy, the grandmother, the mother. So it was — and so it will always be.

No politician, no health authority, no civil servant, no kneejerk virtue-signaller can be allowed to tell me that I am not a woman, a mother and a grandmother. When what we cherish as sacred truth is seen by others as a heresy, it is time to stand up and say ‘No’.


UK: The totalitarian creep of hate-speech laws

The Law Commission wants people prosecuted for speech used within their own homes.

UK home secretary Priti Patel’s recently announced intention to reform so-called hate-speech laws is most welcome. At the Free Speech Union, we have been calling for this for a while – especially because demands for even greater speech control have increased over the past year.

But some of the most extreme demands for censorship now come from quangos the government itself sponsors. Like cultural ‘sockpuppets’, these organisations are paid by the state to find reasons to control even more of our lives.

Such demands for speech control are now cultivating a culture of grievance. Indeed, as David G Green writes in We’re (Nearly) All Victims Now (2006), ‘many people want to be classified as victims’.

As Green explains, the idea of group victimhood – the patronising assumption that ethnic and other minorities are destined to oppression and need special legal protections – is incompatible in the long-run with democracy because it undermines the legal equality on which a democratic state depends.

One quango, the Ministry of Justice-sponsored Law Commission, is especially keen to sweep more people into these categories of victimhood. The commission is currently working on chilling proposals for a ‘hate-speech bill’ (expounded at length in a 533-page consultation). The proposals are, in reality, an attempt to push a new anti-free speech bill on the government.

The proposals include expanding the current number of ‘protected characteristics’, currently comprising race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity. As things stand, hate speech includes ‘demonstrations of hostility’ to one or more of these groups. If you’re found guilty of, say, sending a malicious communication to a member of one of them you might receive a stiffer penalty than for committing the same crime against someone else.

The commission has proposed to expand the number of protected characteristics, suggesting all women could be a protected group, as well as ‘age’. Even ‘sex workers’ could become a protected identity. If the commission gets its way, you could be convicted for ‘stirring up hatred’ against any of these groups.

Green suggests that as the apparatus of the state becomes more coercive, ‘group victimhood’ becomes an understandable ‘strategy for gaining political power’, or at least a necessary defence. The commission’s other proposals show why designation as a victim may be the only way to be safe from a state that seems determined to grant different rights to different groups.

The commission does not simply want to protect more groups from ‘hatred’. It also wants to expand the prosecutorial net so that it includes people who have stirred up hatred by disseminating ‘inflammatory images’, referring repeatedly to Muhammad cartoons, like those in Charlie Hebdo. To enforce these rules, the state will need to ramp up its surveillance of the population. Police already have online ‘portals’ to help us inform on each other for speechcrimes. But the commission believes there are still too many ‘barriers’ and wants to make denunciation even easier.

A totalitarian state cannot tolerate privacy, even and especially within the family, the last redoubt of dissent. Hate-speech laws do not yet cover what you say in the privacy of your own home – you can’t be prosecuted for stirring up hatred at your dining table or in the bedroom.

The commission, however, finds this idea of privacy intolerable. So, if it gets its way, any words you use in your own home that are ‘likely’, even by accident, to ‘stir up hatred’ against a vast array of ‘protected’ groups – including ‘punks’, if you can believe it – could get you sent to prison for seven years. These proposals will make parents fear their own children – and children fear their siblings.

There is a 20th-century precedent for turning families into mechanisms of surveillance. Stalin’s 1936 Soviet Constitution guaranteed free speech as long as it ‘strengthened’ socialism. In 1948, Moscow fought ‘blanket support’ for free speech in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, pushing an amendment stating ‘freedom of speech… should not be used for the purposes of propagating fascism, aggression [and] provoking hatred’. ‘Fascism’, noted a Canadian participant, ‘was appl[ied] to any person or idea which was not communist’, expanding with terrifying speed to mean almost any dissent.

Similarly, our state has made sure never to define ‘hate’ clearly in law. Last year, ex-policeman Harry Miller was questioned by police, recorded in a crime report and deemed guilty of a ‘non-crime hate incident’ without any legal process, then publicly denounced by a chief constable – all for retweeting a feminist verse that contained a joke about transgenderism. Stalin’s head of psychological warfare Dmitri Volkogonov would have approved. ‘Who could have imagined how many [wreckers] would be discovered?’, he wrote. ‘It was almost as if they were not living among us, but we among them!’

As the Stalinist collectivisation of agriculture required food terror, the collectivisation of thought required mind terror, the ever-present threat of denunciation. In Koba the Dread, Martin Amis describes how collectivising farms, itself made possible through suppressing dissent, created a world-historical catastrophe without precedent in peacetime. Four million children were killed. In Ukraine, where five million died, the Italian consul in Kharkov described the Kholodnaya buildings, where a constant population of 8,000 discarded children ‘lies dying on straw’. As the starving masses turned against their masters, this terror famine became the crucible of intra-family surveillance.

A story taught to all Soviet children involved a 13-year-old Ukrainian peasant named Pavel Morozov. At the height of the famine, they were told, Pavel heroically denounced his own father Trofim for cooperating with ideological enemies of the state (aka ‘fascists’). Trofim received the inevitable sentence: nine grams (of lead). Stalin, making plans to rename the Moscow Palace of Culture in Pavel’s honour, whispered: ‘What a little swine, denouncing his own father.’ To grasp why Russian civil society has struggled to recover from Stalinism is to understand that there is no greater poison to the human capacity for trust than the knowledge that one’s own child might be a spy.

Chillingly, the commission’s plan to invade the private sphere, by scrapping the ‘dwelling’ exemption, has appeared at the same time as the government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill, which will formalise state powers to employ children as spies against parents suspected of crimes. It is not just the police or intelligence sources that will get this power, but quangos too.

The British state is not Stalinist, of course – not yet, anyway. But the commission’s proposals tell us that parts of it are beginning to think in totalitarian ways. When the Law Commission publishes its consultation response later this year, what the government does with it will tell us a lot about its intentions for free speech.


Proof NO ONE is safe from the woke war on free speech

The police phone call to Margaret Nelson came one Monday morning around breakfast time. It was as unexpected as it was unwelcome.

An officer from Suffolk police was investigating an anonymous tip that the pensioner had committed a hate crime by posting on Twitter her personal view that you die the same sex as you are born.

The force later dropped their inquiries — apologising and saying they 'got it wrong'.

Yet controversy surrounding this 76-year-old former teacher did not end with that police call two years ago.

She is at the centre of a fresh Twitter brouhaha because British soft drinks giant Innocent took umbrage over her tweets too.

The new complaint against Margaret originated from an anonymous person — just as the original one did: a Twitter user called only Andrew?, and using the tagline @leftist_rage. Andrew? had asked Innocent why it followed her account — she is something of a Twitter star with more than 9,000 followers — when it was run by a 'clear transphobe'.

Innocent, a company majority-owned by Coca-Cola, thanked Andrew? 'for the heads up', then made a public statement apologising. A formal announcement from the company under a headline 'We stand against discrimination' declared that Margaret's comments on trans people were out of line with 'our values on inclusivity and respect'.

Innocent said there was a duty 'on all of us' to make sure 'everyone can live happy, free lives in a world where that is a reality'. And who wouldn't dream of this utopia?

Andrew? — who has just 45 followers — later boasted on Twitter of persuading Innocent to castigate Margaret publicly: 'Hehe! I did that' said this shadowy character with obvious glee. This week he was back online wondering why Margaret wasn't banned from Twitter.

Yet others were less impressed with Innocent's dramatic response. Debbie Hayton, herself a trans woman, was incensed, writing in the Spectator magazine: 'This, it seems is how the internet works. A false accusation of transphobia is made. And a person, an ordinary pensioner in this case, is condemned.

'Non-entities on the internet make false accusations all the time: what's astonishing — at least where 'transphobia' is cited — is the way corporations react. You might be forgiven for thinking Innocent ignored the allegation, or maybe even challenged it. But you'd be wrong.'

Margaret Nelson normally tweets about far-from-controversial subjects: her quiet life in a Suffolk village where she lives in a neat bungalow, her two cats, how lockdown has treated her (she is rather enjoying the peace), and how milk used to be delivered to the doorstep in bottles with foil tops that birds would peck into to get at the cream. Her quaint views and memories have been increasingly popular during the pandemic.

But, occasionally, she taps out a post on more contentious issues. A self-avowed feminist, she is also a humanist celebrant who conducts funerals and is, therefore, she says, interested in death. Which is what led to her brush with the police.

In response to what she calls a 'transgender person's' tweet that 'Trans women ARE women fact', she reacted indignantly: 'These absurd beliefs are nonsensical and deny the evidence to the contrary.' In another post, she wrote: 'Death doesn't misgender. You die as you were born.' And then the police phoned her.

This week she told the Mail she had got off lightly. 'They [the police] act as conduits for complaints from trans activists who spend a lot of time trawling through the internet on the look-out for anything to complain about.'

As for being slapped down by Innocent, she brushed it off. 'I am not transphobic,' she said.

'But I do regard the transgenderism ideology as destructive, negatively affecting . . . women whose rights are being ignored and everyone else who is expected to walk on eggshells. I don't have to worry about losing my living over it as others have.'

If this seems like a Twitter storm in the proverbial teacup, think again. Such is the effect of the new culture war sweeping Britain — in which vigilantes like Andrew? scour people's every comment to deem whether or not they are offensive — a new service, Counterweight, has been launched to support people caught out by it.

Led by British author and self-confessed Left-leaning liberal Helen Pluckrose, Counterweight has been described as a citizens' advice bureau and anti-woke helpline.

Her small team, based in London and the U.S., has advised 300 or more tripped up by the woke gospel. 'They come from every walk of life and it is happening to people every day.'




Friday, February 19, 2021

Bristol University sociology professor who quit Labour party amid anti-Semitism row calls for an 'end' of Zionism in online debate - sparking calls for him to be sacked

This is the Leftist "underdog" obsession at work. Sociology is full of far Leftists and sympathy for Palestine can lead them into the usual Leftist truth denial

A Bristol University professor called for the 'end of Zionism' and said Israel is 'trying to exert its will all over the world' during an astonishing Zoom tirade that sparked calls for him to be sacked.

Professor David Miller, who was suspended from Labour last year and later quit after an antisemitism row sparked by his claims that Sir Keir Starmer had taken 'Zionist' money, made the comments at an online campaign event.

The sociology lecturer was accused of 'Soviet-style antisemitism' and 'proselytising hatred towards Jews' with his assertion that there is a 'global Zionist conspiracy against the left'.

In the video, filmed on Saturday, he also complained about being 'attacked and complained about' by Bristol University's Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students.

Professor David Miller, who was suspended from Labour last year after accusing its leader Sir Keir Starmer of taking 'Zionist' money, made the comments at an online campaign event +4
Professor David Miller, who was suspended from Labour last year after accusing its leader Sir Keir Starmer of taking 'Zionist' money, made the comments at an online campaign event

Professor Miller, speaking to an online audience on the weekend, said: 'This is an all-out onslaught by the Israeli government on the left globally.

How conspiracy theorist was suspended from Labour for claims Keir Starmer was swayed by 'Zionist money'
Bristol University lecturer David Miller was suspended from Labour last year after he claimed Sir Keir Starmer did not want to conduct a proper probe into a leaked antisemitism report because he was 'he was in receipt of money from the Zionist movement'.

The report slamming the party's handling of antisemitism complaints under Jeremy Corbyn was leaked to the media prior to being submitted to an inquiry by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

In a YouTube video, Professor Miller said: “We are obviously not going to get a proper investigation of this by Comrade Starmer or by Lisa Nandy – who have been in receipt of money from the Zionist movement, from Trevor Chinn.

“And connections between the Zionist movement and the current leadership of Labour Party – it’s not the only people they have connections with.

“Many other super rich people have given them money, hedge fund owners and the like – but a significant element of support has come from the Zionist movement.”

He was suspended from Labour and later quit.

'It's not just something that's happened in Britain. It's also happened in France and Germany before it got to the UK, and also in the US.

'The Labour Party is a mere detail in this attempt by Israelis to impose their will all over the world.

'It's not enough to say Zionism is racism, Israel is a settler colonial society...

'The aim of this is not only to say things but to end settler colonialism in Palestine, to end Zionism as a functioning ideology of the word.'

The comments - which were made at a Campaign for Free Speech event on Saturday - immediately provoked an outcry.

'This is Soviet antisemitism, the assertion that there's a global Zionist conspiracy against the left,' one Twitter user wrote.

David Glover Roberts tweeted: 'Racism! This person is proselytising hatred towards Jews. If his employer has any moral fibre, they will fire him immediately.

'If they fail to fire him, then this becomes an institution profiting on racism.'

Meanwhile, a third Twitter user wrote: 'This would not be out of place in a 1930 antisemites playbook. It's utterly abhorrent - is this hatred spread in your name?'

Professor Miller also went on to complain about students who had complained to Bristol University about his comments, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

'Those kind of complaints are being made over the country – one against me in Bristol and there's been one made in Warwick, again by UJS [university Jewish society] and several others.

'We will continue to see this drive to stop anyone speaking out against Palestine or having any critical account of Zionism as racism, as settler colonialism.…'

In 2019, he was criticised by an antisemitism charity after giving a lecture to students which identified the 'Zionist movement (parts of)' as one of the 'five pillars' of Islamophobia.

A University of Bristol spokesman said: 'We are committed to making our University an inclusive place for all students. We have been working closely with Jewish students to understand their specific concerns and worries.

'A key outcome from these discussions was the adoption, in full, of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

'We also seek at all times to abide by both our Free Speech Policy and our Public Sector Equality Duties. Specifically, we are steadfast in our commitment to freedom of speech and to the rights of all our students and staff to discuss difficult and sensitive topics.'


Historic Christian university drops Crusader mascot due to 'negative connotation'

Valparaiso University, an historic Christian institution in Valparaiso, Indiana, is dropping its Christian "Crusader" mascot out of concerns that retaining it might promote violence and other undesirable associations.

The school finalized the decision this week "after what has been a decades-long debate that has intensified during the past several years," the university said in a blog post.

"The negative connotation and violence associated with the Crusader imagery are not reflective of Valpo’s mission and values, which promote a welcoming and inclusive community,” school Interim President Colette Irwin-Knott said of the decision.

The school "will retire its Crusader imagery and logos over the coming months, while simultaneously forming a committee to engage the campus community in considering and adopting a new mascot," the blog post announced.

Referring to the decision—supported by resolutions from the faculty and student senates—Student Body President Kaitlyn Steinhiser said: “The Student Senate feels that the purpose of a school mascot is for school spirit and to represent Valpo values, and the Crusader does not do that effectively.”

Black female civil servant was paid £52,000 more than white male colleague for same job because Home Office was concerned about 'reputational damage'

A senior civil servant has accused the Government of seeking to avoid 'reputational damage' by paying a black female colleague £52,000 more than him.

Matthew Parr is suing the Home Office for sex and race discrimination after discovering he was earning less than his counterpart for doing the same job.

He claims that being a white man meant he was paid a £133,983 salary, plus £7,904 living allowance, while Wendy Williams took home £185,000.

Both are one of five HM Inspectors of Constabulary (HMIs) who act as watchdogs for the UK's police forces.

Mr Parr, a former rear admiral, was appointed in 2016 during Theresa May's tenure as Home Secretary when Whitehall was driving down the salaries of top officials.

An employment tribunal heard that at the time of Ms Williams' appointment 15 months earlier, the Treasury was also trying to reduce pay packets.

But it heard that mandarins agreed she would be paid the top £185,000 salary as awarding her less than existing HMIs could open the Government up to a discrimination challenge.

Mr Parr said in a witness statement: 'Documents disclosed by the Respondent make clear that Wendy Williams was paid the top of the band then in force, because of concern that to pay her less than her fellow HMIs presented the Government with a risk of legal challenge on the grounds of discrimination and of reputational damage.'

He claims his 'race and sex had a clear influence' on the decision to pay him the substantially less £133,983 when he came into post.

The Government denies sex and race discrimination and maintains that plans to lower salaries were always going to come into force regardless of the person who took the position.

Mr Parr, is responsible for police forces in London, Bedfordshire, Northern Ireland, the National Crime Agency, the Counter Terrorism Policing Network, national forces such as British Transport Police and forces in Overseas Territories.

He also looks after the London Fire Brigade and five other services, while Ms Williams oversees forces in Wales and the west of England.

Mr Parr said it was 'a question of fairness' that he should be paid the same as Ms Williams.

He told the Central London Employment Tribunal said: 'The Respondent, upon my appointment, and after an appeal, has refused to extend to me the same favourable treatment.

'I am a white man. I recognise that I am not the typical claimant to the Employment Tribunal in cases of equal pay and discrimination.

'I also recognise that I am paid a relatively high salary. Indeed, were all HMIs to be paid the salary currently paid to me I would be entirely satisfied.

'This is, for me, principally a question of fairness. 'I have been a public servant for more than 35 years and have, until now, worked in organisations determined to treat people equitably.

'But the Respondent has a different approach: it is fundamentally unfair to pay people wildly different amounts for doing what is, by any measure, identical work.

'I understand that the Respondent has a responsibility for prudent stewardship of public money.

'The consistent and long-term aim of the Respondent, in concert with HM Treasury, has been to reduce the pay of HMIs; I do not assert that this is an unreasonable or illegitimate aim.

'But the means by which the Respondent has attempted to drive down pay have been ham-fisted and badly thought through; they have involved treating people unfairly and, I assert in this claim, unlawfully.

'They have involved defending some indefensible positions, and, on occasion, behaviour which reflects badly on some senior people.'

The tribunal was told that in January 2016 Ms May wrote to Sir Thomas Winsor HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary to introduce a scale of £134,000-£191,000 with 'an explicit presumption that any increase beyond the bottom has a considered justification'.

A few weeks later Mark Sedwill, the permanent secretary at the Home Office, now Sir Mark, wrote to Sir Nicholas Macpherson, his counterpart at the Treasury, who now sits in the house of Lords as Baron Macpherson of Earl's Court, proposing the £134,000-£191,000 scale.

The tribunal was told that the letter acknowledged that during Wendy Williams' appointment the Home Office was under pressure from the Treasury to apply downward pressure on salaries.

The Treasury had advised that appointments should be made on a scale of £165,000-£186,000 and that a salary at the lower end of the scale should be negotiated.

Ms Williams was appointed at the top of the range because, according to the letter: 'The Home Office was concerned that to pay her less than her fellow HMIs presented the government with a risk of a legal challenge on the grounds of discrimination.'

At the request of Ms Williams and the Home Office, the tribunal had asked to keep details of her pay negotiations secret - but the tribunal refused, saying the salaries were a matter of public record and the machinations behind them should also be public.

Current Home Secretary Priti Patel took the case to an Employment Appeal Tribunal to try to get the decision overturned. But her case was rejected by Mr Justice Griffiths on the grounds of open justice.

The full tribunal hearing heard that Mr Parr only accepted the pay in June 2016 because he was concerned the Brexit referendum would cause government upheaval and disruption to the hiring process.

It was only when he entered the position that he became aware of discrimination, he alleges, and that the pay of a Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police was £1,447 higher than his salary including allowances despite his role being responsible for inspecting many forces.

Mr Parr claims that, from May 2014, the Treasury advised Ms May to lower salaries for pay packets of HMIs. Appointment terms are between three to five years and can be re-appointed.

As Ms Williams' previous pay as a high-ranking official in the Crown Prosecution Service was £107,000, it was first considered that her pay as an HMI would be £165,000 - which she appeared to be happy with according to tribunal evidence.

Sir Thomas Winsor, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said at the tribunal that this pay was 'unjustifiable' considering a white man had been appointed at £185,791 in a similar position only six months earlier.

The judge is expected to announce his verdict in a few weeks.


Australia: Governor General's staff to be asked to do woke 'privilege walk' so they can identify how entitled they are

Encouraging humility in people is fine and dandy. It's an important part of Christian teachings. But centering it on race is obnoxious. It is our personal characteristics we need to feel humble about. Making us feel humble about our race is a distraction. Like people, races can have both their good and their bad sides but no individual is responsible for either

It seems like only yesterday that Leftists were loudly condemning racism. Now they seem determined to bring it back. Condemning a person solely because of his/her skin colour was always stupid and obnoxious and it still is, whether the colour is black, white or brindle

The bureaucrats have been signed up to do bizarre activity which may require them to identify how privileged they are, but it has been criticised by previous participants as being too personal.

The exercise will require staff to step forward or backwards depending on their answers to prompts such as whether their parents have been arrested or addicted to drugs.

The training is run by Charles Sturt University (CSU), with over 330 staff at the Australian institute completing the exercise in 2019 and offering mixed feedback, reported The Daily Telegraph.

One participant remarked 'facilitators need to acknowledge some people may find the issues raised in the privilege walk (and open disclosure) too personal'.

Another said 'I think the walk of privilege needs more work - questions should be contextualised a little more'.

Some staff members described it as 'confronting but valuable', 'very effective', and 'interesting and revealing'.

In variations of the activity, attendees have been asked whether parents told them they were 'beautiful, smart, or successful', if they feel comfortable with others knowing their sexuality or if they worry about crime or drugs in their neighbourhood.

Questions around family may include whether parents have been incarcerated, been addicted to drugs or alcohol or are still married.

The exercise was developed from a 1998 essay by academic Peggy McIntosh titled 'White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack'.

The article used a backpack full of tools and maps as a metaphor for the advantages Ms McIntosh said white people have over others.

Psychologist Michael Mascolo wrote in Psychology Today that the activity can backfire and make people at the front of the 'privilege line' feel defensive.

He said while some people 'experience an enhanced awareness and appreciation of how they have been advantaged' others are offended and feel 'personally blamed'.

The exercise is one component of unconscious bias and inclusivity training run by CSU.

A spokesperson from the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General told The Daily Telegraph the 'training is not mandatory.'