Thursday, April 11, 2024

"Married at First Sight" TV show is a cry for help about the state of gender relations

Rubbish! The participants are picked for drama potential, not representativeness

Each relationship was not so much the beginning of two people’s happily ever after as it was project management for the brides of their of grooms.

Take Cass – an admin officer from Queensland – who was bubbly, outgoing and optimistic while also mourning the death of her first boyfriend and mother. She was matched with Tristan – a 30-year-old events officer from NSW – who at one stage told the experts and his co-stars that he “hates himself” as he has always struggled with his weight and finding connections with women.

Sneaky editing and the splicing and dicing of footage amplified everything, but it was difficult to watch how both individuals grappled with these issues, and each other, while trying to build a romantic connection. Tristan then threw a tantrum when Cass asked to leave.

Another star, Lucinda – a compassionate wedding celebrant from Byron Bay – was matched with Tim, a convicted drug smuggler, who wouldn’t touch or open up to her until midway through the season. He proudly proclaimed he was “like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz” and didn’t like to talk about feelings (or his criminal past) until the final credits rolled.

Lucinda cracked.

“Am I signing up for minimum affection? Am I signing up for someone who can’t share their emotions?”

The silver lining was witnessing both Tristan and Tim acknowledge their troubles. But the excessive emotional labour required by their partners should be something the Fair Work Commission should look into.

The highlights of the season was not the salacious scenes and sound bites, it was the way it held up a mirror to how far we have to go when it comes to breaking down the barriers men face.

There are still oceans of difference between how men and women interact and seek help.

Women are talkers. Men – if this MAFS sample size is anything to go by – are unable to shake off conditioning to not seek external help from friends and professionals when it comes to “hidden” issues like emotional pain and mental turmoil.

MAFS cops a lot of criticism. Rightly so. It’s got about as much depth as a paddling pool. Yet if it continues to help shine a light on how we can help bridge the gender divide to stop women being the carers and men being closed off, sign me up for another serving of this televisual junk food.


Marriage and babies really DO make women happier, says top researcher who's spent 20 years studying relationships

The US is battling an epidemic of sad, anxious young women. Despite the surge in our opportunities and freedoms over the past 50 years, it appears we are more depressed than ever.

Studies suggest that around a third of all adult women suffer some sort of mental health problem, compared to a fifth of men.

This is particularly apparent in the 18 to 25 age group, 41 percent of which are said to suffer anxiety, according to Harvard University research.

Over the last six years, the amount of women reporting depression increased 10 percent, from 26.2 percent in 2017 to 36.7 percent in 2023, according to a Gallup poll of over 5000 US adults.

With 20 years under my belt as a sociologist, studying the lifestyle patterns of Americans as well as their fulfillment over time, I believe I have stumbled on one possible explanation for this sea of sadness.

It might appear a controversial take: too few women are getting married.

Only 47 percent of women ages 18 to 55 were married in the US in 2022, compared to 72 percent in 1970, according to my analysis of the U.S. census data. Research from Bowling Green State University shows marriage rates reached an all time low in 2021 in the United States, with only 28 out of every 1000 married women getting married each year in the country, down from 76 in the 1970s.

There are a myriad of reasons for this - more career focus, less disposable income and a change in societal norms are just a few.

But the uncomfortable truth is women who aren't married are worse off, health-wise, compared to their married counterparts.

Studies have shown that married women have a lower risk of developing heart disease, are less likely to die from heart disease and have longer lifespans in general than non-married women.

One study tracking a sample of over 11,000 nurses found that married women are 35 percent less likely to die early than those who did not marry.

The mental health benefits of marriage and having a family of your own have also been well proven in scientific studies.

Some 40 percent of married mothers - both heterosexual and lesbian women - aged under 55 reported that they were 'very happy' with their lives, compared with 22 percent of single, childfree women and 25 percent of married childfree women, according to 2022 General Social Survey. Only 13 percent of divorced women say they've reached this level of happiness.

It is true, however, that more than one in three couples will get divorced. However, it's worth saying that many divorced couples remarry - up to 64 percent - and studies show this improves self-reported happiness.

Those who often find themselves irritated by their partner's infuriating habits may find this surprising.

But it's true: Studies have consistently shown that strong social relationships are key to happiness. And research has also shown that, although it may sound stereotypical, spouses provide a stronger bond than any other relationship.

Admittedly, taking care of children is an exhausting job. But extensive research has shown that the rewards outweigh the negatives. Married women also have the advantage of working alongside a devoted partner to share the tough job.

Despite the scientific data, social media is doing its part to malign marriage.

On TikTok, videos that jokingly depict marriage as a fast route to domestic chores like washing dishes, caring for a newborn baby, and cleaning the house, go viral.

Then there's the glamorization of childfree life, much of which is a result of the social media trend of DINKS (which stands for 'dual income no kids').

DINK couples consistently go viral online, showcasing their luxurious and fun-filled lives spent travelling the world and spending surplus cash that would, presumably, otherwise go on diapers.

These sentiments are being absorbed nationally. Only 24 percent of women under 30 believe that women who get married and have kids live fuller and happier lives than those who don’t, according to a 2023 poll.

Yes, it's true that men benefit more from marriage than women do when it comes to the division of household labor. And it has been shown that women, on average, do more emotional labor and spend more time on chores and childcare than their male partners.

But the gap in those measurements has been flattening somewhat, as my research from the Institute for Family studies (IFS) has shown.

My studies prove that dads are more involved in their children’s lives than ever before. Dads' child are time has increased while mothers’ child care time has remained stable over the past two decades.

American fathers now spend an average of nearly eight hours per week taking care of their children at home, while mothers’ childcare time is around 13.

As far as I am concerned, household work is work - and if you add up the number of hours mothers and fathers spend working overall, it's pretty much the same, on average.

In 2021-2022, work averaged 57 hours per week for both married fathers and mothers with children under age 18.

Also, studies that show married men benefit more from marriage are usually comparing married men to single men, not married men to married women.

When the comparison group is changed, the happiness level for married men and women is quite similar. Around 37 percent of married women under 55 and younger say they are 'very happy' as do 34 percent of married men, according to the IFS 2022 General Social Survey.

Likewise, 40 percent of married mothers report being very happy with their lives, as are 35 percent of married fathers.

In 2017, comments made by Hollywood star Anne Hathaway about her marriage to actor and producer Adam Shulman were heavily criticized on social media.

She told ELLE: 'I think the accepted narrative now is that we, as women, don’t need anybody. But I need my husband. His unique and specific love has changed me.'

The idea that a woman could need a man did not sit well with the Gen Z feminists on Instagram, who passionately argued that Hathaway was 'letting the side down' by insinuating that women cannot be truly happy without a male partner.

But the truth is, sharing your life with another person does have unique benefits for your emotional health.

Perhaps this is because married people are known to be markedly less lonely than their peers.

The CDC have identified loneliness as a contributor to a host of diseases- from dementia to stroke- as well as earlier death.

You might say it is possible to beat loneliness with a long-term partner, or even a good friend. But there is a sense of anxiety-busting stability you get with marriage that is not the case for other long-term relationships. It's a controversial point, but much of this lies in the financial benefits.

Padding your income with a partner's contribution allows you to lead a much more comfortable life.

In 2022, the median family income for married women ages 18-55 was $114,000, but only $54,000 for single, never-married women according to my analysis of American Community data.

Married women also have more than 10 times the assets than single, never-married women by the time they are in their 50s, which can help them close in on retirement.

Marriage is not a cure-it-all magic wand, but the data tell us that the average American woman who is married with children is markedly less lonely and living a more meaningful and joyful life.

So, to millions of young women who are at the start of adulthood: Do not let your fears of failing in love and family, or a slavish devotion to career, hold you back.

Do not allow popular misconceptions to keep you from enjoying the benefits of marriage and motherhood.

Prioritize relationships in your twenties, cultivate friendships with other marriage-minded young adults, be open to a relationship that could lead to marriage, and embrace marriage and parenthood when the time comes.


Landmark review rejects puberty blockers for children wanting to change gender

An entire field of medicine aimed at ­enabling children to change gender has been “built on shaky foundations”, the chairwoman of an NHS review has concluded.

Dr Hilary Cass found that there was no good evidence to support the global clinical practice of prescribing hormones to under-18s to halt puberty or transition to the opposite sex.

This method of medical intervention for young people who identify as transgender has become embedded in clinical guidelines around the world over the past two decades. Thousands of children have received puberty blockers on the NHS since 2011, and referrals to its youth gender identity service have increased 100-fold in little over a decade.

Cass, a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, was commissioned by NHS ­England in 2020 to review services for children with gender dysphoria. Her final report has endorsed a ­fundamental shift in approach away from medical intervention towards a holistic model that addresses other mental health problems the children may have.

Rishi Sunak welcomed her findings and said that the lack of knowledge about the long-term impact of medical interventions meant people should proceed with “extreme caution”. He said: “We’ve seen a sharp rise in recent years of children, particularly adolescent girls, questioning their gender. I welcome Dr Cass’s expert review which urges treating these children, who often have complex needs, with great care and compassion.

“We simply do not know the long-term impact of medical treatment or social transitioning on them, and we should therefore exercise extreme ­caution.

“We acted swiftly on Dr Cass’s interim report to make changes in schools and our NHS, providing comprehensive guidance for schools and stopping the routine use of puberty blockers, and we will continue to ensure that we take the right steps to protect young people. The wellbeing and health of children must come first.”

The report contains 32 recommendations for overhauling services. “For most young people, a medical pathway will not be the best way to manage their gender-related distress,” Cass said, adding that children must be seen “as a whole person and not just through the lens of their gender identity”.

She said it was vital that services take into account high rates of autism and mental health problems in children identifying as transgender.

The report is the world’s biggest ­review into the contested field of trans healthcare, and involved patients, families, academics and doctors.

Researchers at the University of York examined all available evidence on how to treat children questioning their gender identity. They concluded there was “wholly inadequate” evidence to support medical intervention, making it impossible to know whether it improves mental or physical health.

The treatment, or pathway, involves giving children puberty blockers, and then cross-sex hormones from the age of 16, and has been adopted globally.

In an opinion piece for the BMJ, Cass said evidence-based medicine was built around three pillars of integrating the best available research with clinical expertise, and patient preferences. She said: “When conducting the review, I found that in gender medicine those pillars are built on shaky foundations.”

The review found that the use of puberty blockers had “spread at pace” around the world, based on a single Dutch study that began in 1998. It said there was no good evidence that puberty blockers helped, and they may damage bone health and height.

The NHS has committed itself to overhauling its gender identity services for children, including banning the use of puberty blockers for under-16s. The youth gender identity clinic run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has been closed, with care moved to two new NHS services.

The review also found that debates on trans issues had led to fear among doctors and parents, with some worrying about being accused of transphobia. Since the Gender Identity Development Service opened in 1989, it has seen more than 9,000 young people.

An NHS spokesman said: “NHS England is grateful to Dr Cass for comprehensive work on this important review. The NHS has made significant progress towards establishing a fundamentally different gender service for children and young people.”

A 2019 investigation by The Times first exposed concerns about children being put on experimental treatments at NHS gender clinics.

Helen Joyce, from Sex Matters, a charity that campaigns for clarity on sex in law, said: “Hilary Cass’s report is the nail in the coffin for the so-called ‘gender-affirming’ treatment model. The total lack of evidence base is laid bare for everyone to see.”


Australia: No transition from gender reality, app boss Sall Grover tells court

The founder of a women's-only social media app says she does not accept that a person who trans­itions from male to female surgically, socially and legally is a woman, and removed her from the app as she does with “all males”.

The view, held by Giggle for Girls app founder and CEO Sall Grover was described in court on Wednesday by Roxanne Tickle’s legal team as being at the “heart” of the discrimination case.

Ms Tickle, who underwent gender-affirming surgery in 2019 and is now designated as female on her birth certificate, argues she was discriminated against on the grounds of gender identity by Giggle for Girls and Ms Grover when she was denied access to the app. Ms Tickle claims she was ­initially accepted into the app in February 2021 when she submitted a “selfie” through Giggle’s third-party artificial intelligence tool but was later blocked by Ms Grover.

Barrister Bridie Nolan, for Ms Grover, says the app was ­designed “for the purpose of achieving equality between men and women in public life by providing an online refuge”, and so does not amount to discrimination as it is a “special measure”.

But Georgina Costello KC, acting for Ms Tickle, said: “The critical issue in this case, your honour, is that the first and second respondents, Ms Grover and the company Giggle for Girls, have persisted in misgendering the ­applicant for years. That’s the heart of this case – that there’s been a discrimination on the basis of gender in excluding her from the app and persisting in misgendering her subsequently.”

It is the first time a case alleging gender identity discrimination has been heard by the Federal Court following changes to the Sex Discrimination Act in 2013, which made it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

Ms Costello asked Ms Grover in cross-examination whether “even where a person who was assigned male gender at birth has transitioned to being a woman” by having gender-affirming surgery, taking hormones to make them grow breasts, removing their facial hair, wearing female clothing and using female changing rooms, “you don’t accept that that person is a woman, do you?”

“No,” Ms Grover replied.

Ms Costello continued: “I suggest to you that in Australian ­society, the natural meaning of, the ordinary, contemporary meaning of woman, includes women whose gender is dated to be a woman on their birth certificate, having transitioned from man to woman?”

“I don’t agree,” Ms Grover replied.

Ms Costello also questioned Ms Grover about the alleged hurt caused to Ms Tickle through interviews and tweets referring to her as a man.

The court heard Ms Tickle said in an affidavit Ms Grover’s public statements about the case had been “distressing, demoralising, draining and hurtful” and claimed the “scale of online hate” towards her, as a result, was “enormous”.

Ms Grover agreed she would have done about 20 to 50 interviews about the case, most recently travelling to the UK for press, and that she frequently described Ms Tickle as a man, and as a “man wanting access to female spaces”.

Ms Grover also said she had told interviewers she was “harassed by the applicant” and “afraid of the applicant”.

Ms Costello put to her that it was “not kind” to refer to Ms Tickle as a man. “I don’t think it’s kind to expect a woman to see a man as a woman,” Ms Grover responded.

In her opening address on Tuesday, Ms Nolan argued “sex” is a biological and binary concept, while Ms Tickle’s legal team argued it is partly psychological and social.

On Wednesday afternoon, barrister Zelie Heger, on behalf of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner submitted that “sex” for the purpose of the Sexual Discrimination Act is “changeable” and “non-binary” and as a result not “only” biological.

The Commissioner is assisting the Court by providing submissions about the meaning, scope and validity of relevant provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).

Ms Heger also said a person can be of the “female sex” as per the Act “if they are registered as such” and “had gender affirming surgery”.




Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Do autism and psychopathy overlap?

Answering that question runs into a lot of difficulties over definition. For reference, I give the Mayo definition of both conditions below

* Autism spectrum disorder is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior.

* Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes called sociopathy, is a mental health condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with antisocial personality disorder tend to purposely make others angry or upset and manipulate or treat others harshly or with cruel indifference. They lack remorse or do not regret their behavior.

As you will see, psychopathy is no longer called that any more. For a while it was renamed "sociopathy" but now it is usually called "antisocial personality disorder'

There would appear to be one clear area of overlap: concern over other people and their feelings. But the causality would appear to be different. The psychopath is aware of other people's feelings but doesn't care while the austistic person is not aware. Both ignore other peoples feeling but for different reasons. Still, that indifference is a central feature of both syndromes so their apparent identity is an important question.

In my case, I am a person with a pretty full set of autistic characteristics, and I am aware of how little other people's sufferings and feelings impact me. I am not a sympathetic person. I do for instance greatly deplore the vicious October 7 attacks on innocent Israelis by a deranged Palestinian minority but I cannot FEEL anything about that event.

But on the other hand I have always been generous to others in some ways. At present I give roughly half of my disposable income to a charitable cause while living a generally frugal personal life. I have long given away a large slice of my income

So there is clearly a possibility of mistaking the two traits and unwinding any confusion depends on looking at other characteristics of the person

Another potential confusion is the way I drive. I am a "demon" driver and that could be mistaken for psychopathic carelessness. But it is an item of pride to me that in 60 years of driving I have never hurt myself or anyone else. I just work with fine margins, that's all. I have been known to give my passengers the shakes however

So again, things that may look the same may in fact be fundamentally different

This very post is an instance of autistic behaviour. It is common for autistics to be unusually self-revealing. Psychopaths, on the other hand, tend to be devious and to "fake good"

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen is an acknowledged authority on autism and he argues that calling it a "disorder" is wrong.
Like some of the people mentioned in the article linked below I am inclined to think it can be a gift, or even a "superpower"
I commented on that article a few days ago


How Can People Keep Claiming That Penalties Don't Deter Criminals?

Gordon Tulloch long ago did the numbers on this and found that the threat of punishment DOES deter crime. See below:
Last week, New York’s progressive Assembly speaker, Carl Heastie, claimed he doesn't believe increasing penalties deters crime. He said:

"I was simply asked a question of, ‘Do I believe that increasing penalties deters crime,’ and I gave a simple answer, ‘No,’ ” Heastie told reporters Tuesday. “I don’t believe, in the history of increasing penalties, has that ever been the reason that crime has gone down.

"I'd love somebody to give me an example as to when that happened."

Unfortunately, Heastie is hardly alone. Soros backed District Attorneys across the country don’t believe that their unwillingness to prosecute criminals has anything to do with increasing crime. In academia, most criminologists (which is dominated by sociologists) don’t even include things like arrest and convictions rates in their empirical work on questions such as gun control because they don’t think that it matters in determining crime rates.

It is hard to believe that anyone takes such a claim seriously, but it is a popular idea among progressives. If Heastie really believes that, then he should be open to abolishing police and prisons. If penalties don’t reduce crime, then why waste money on police, courts, and prisons? By the same token, perhaps we should also eliminate the penalties for violating the gun control laws that Heastie so strongly supports.

We can see what happens on our southern border when we don’t enforce laws or impose penalties. People simply continue breaking the law and entering by the millions.

California’s murder rate peaked in 1993 at 13.1 per 100,000 people, an increase from 10.9 per 100,000 in 1989. But by 2000, the murder rate had fallen by 53% compared to its 1993 peak. One obvious explanation is the enactment of California’s tough, three-strikes criminal punishment law on March 7, 1994.

New York City increased the number of police officers from 31,000 to 40,000 during the 1990s, and major felonies meanwhile plunged from 430,460 in 1993 to 162,064 in 2001. Over those same years, the number of murders plummeted from 1,927 to 649.

Amidst longer prison sentences and higher arrest and conviction rates, criminals will commit fewer crimes. The vast majority of empirical research by economists shows that. It’s also simply logical that in addition to keeping criminals off the street, the threat of arrest and conviction will deter criminals. The higher price for crime, the less crime you get, Most criminals do not want to go to prison.

Criminals also don’t want to get hurt, and an armed citizenry can make criminals think twice. The defensive value of guns is evidenced by international comparisons of so-called “hot burglaries,” whereby a resident is at home when a criminal strikes. In the United Kingdom, which has tough gun-control laws, almost 60% of all burglaries are “hot burglaries.” In the United States, where gun ownership is commonplace, the “hot burglary” rate stands at only 13 percent. The overall burglary rate in the UK is about two-thirds higher than the rate in the US (2.7 per 1,000 in US and 4.5 per 1,000 in England & Wales).

Convicted American felons reveal in surveys that they are much more worried about armed victims than about encountering the police. The fear of armed victims causes American burglars to spend more time than their foreign counterparts in “casing” a house to ensure that nobody is home. American burglars break into homes during the middle of the day, when homeowners are less likely to be at home, but British burglars often break in during the evening so that they can get the homeowners to open up any safes. Felons frequently comment in interviews that they avoid late-night burglaries because “that’s the way to get shot.”

It isn’t rocket science. Criminals are deterred with higher arrest and conviction rates, longer prison sentences, and the fact that victims might be able to defend themselves. One wonders if people like Carl Heastie have ever had children.


Arizona Supreme Court revives 160-year-old abortion ban

Arizona’s highest court on Tuesday revived a 160-year-old ban on abortion, a decision that ratchets up the political stakes in a state that could decide the 2024 presidential race.

Abortion in the state has been allowed through 15 weeks of pregnancy under a law that the GOP-controlled Arizona Legislature passed in 2022, shortly before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Abortion opponents and some Republican politicians argued that the recent law didn’t override one dating to 1864 – before Arizona was a state – that banned abortion throughout pregnancy except in lifesaving situations.

The Arizona Supreme Court, in a 4-to-2 decision, agreed that the 19th-century law takes precedence. The court delayed implementation of the ban for at least two weeks to allow for additional legal arguments, but abortion-rights advocates appear to have few options to prevent it from taking effect.

The state high court said legislators had made clear at the time of the 2022 law that they wished to restrict abortion as much as federal law allowed.

“To date, our legislature has never affirmatively created a right to, or independently authorised, elective abortion,” Justice John R. Lopez IV wrote for the court.

Most abortions take place before 15 weeks of pregnancy, and Arizona thus far has seen little change in the number of abortions since the Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to the procedure. Now a state with a libertarian streak will have one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans, similar to laws in deep-red states such as Oklahoma and Texas.

It is unclear when or whether the ban will ultimately be enforced. Arizona Attorney-General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, said Tuesday that women and doctors won’t be prosecuted while she holds office.

Nonetheless, the ruling is likely to supercharge the fight over a ballot measure to protect abortion rights that is expected to be on the state ballot in November – and could spill over into other races in a top battleground state. The measure would allow abortion access through foetal viability, or more than halfway through a typical pregnancy. Abortion-rights groups already have collected more than 500,000 signatures, putting the measure on track to clear the threshold required to appear on the ballot.

Arizona is a longtime GOP bastion that has been electing Democrats in recent years. Abortion was a potent issue in the 2022 midterm elections, when Democrats won all major statewide offices and performed better than expected across the country.

November’s election will see many competitive races in the state, meaning Arizona voters could decide which party controls the White House and both chambers of Congress. Republicans have worried that an outright ban would push winnable voters into the Democratic column.

President Biden narrowly won Arizona in 2020 but is trailing former President Donald Trump in most surveys this year, including in a Wall Street Journal poll from March. The poll found that abortion was a rare issue in which voters in seven battleground states favoured Biden over Trump.

“This ruling is a result of the extreme agenda of Republican elected officials who are committed to ripping away women’s freedom,” Biden said Tuesday.

The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Arizona was one of a handful of states that never formally repealed abortion bans that had been on their books before the 1973 Roe decision that recognised abortion rights nationwide for nearly 50 years. When the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June 2022, the old bans once again became potentially enforceable.

In September 2022, a state trial court briefly allowed enforcement of the old ban, but an appeals court stepped in and blocked it. That court said the 19th-century measure needed to be harmonised with the more recent law, effectively allowing abortions up to 15 weeks.


The Tailspin of American Boys and Men

Many boys and men are struggling to flourish in their roles as sons, students, employees, and fathers, and to achieve the sense of purpose that comes from being rooted within marriages, communities, churches, and country.

Much of the literature on the boy crisis contains impressive, even essential social science work that clearly demonstrates that boys and men are falling behind. My recent essay, “Men Without Meaning: The Harmful Effects of Expressive Individualism,” is an attempt to distill this literature and explore how expressive individualism—the notion that the inner self is the true self and is radically autonomous—plays a central role in the boy crisis.

The ascendance of expressive individualism, which can be traced to the Sexual Revolution, is partially responsible for the breakdown of marriage and has gained a foothold in religious institutions. Among others, it combines the thinking of Simone de Beauvoir, who divorced sex from gender; psychologist Sigmund Freud, who elevated human sexuality as central to identity; and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who argued that man is innocent and corrupted by society.

Political scientist Warren Farrell and counselor John Gray’s The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys are Struggling and What We Can Do About It is the go-to text for understanding the dad deprivation that is the primary cause of the boy crisis. It lays out how a dad’s presence can positively impact a child’s scholastic achievement, verbal intelligence and quantitative abilities, and development of trust and empathy. Likewise, it shows that the absence of a father’s presence increases the likelihood that a child will drop out of school, commit suicide, use drugs, become homeless, end up in poverty, develop hypertension, and be exposed to or commit bullying and violent crime, including rape.

Fathers, like mothers, contribute in unique and indispensable ways to the raising of children. One example is through play, which helps children develop, learn the limits of their bodies, and properly channel aggression. According to, “Theorizing the Father-Child Relationship: Mechanisms and Developmental Outcomes”: “Children seem to need to be stimulated and motivated as much as they need to be calmed and secured, and they receive such stimulation primarily from men, primarily through physical play.”

Dad deprivation is especially disastrous for boys. As mimetic creatures, theoretical arguments about masculinity and virtue fall short of a father’s lived witness of their mastery. Boys learn how to become good men by imitating a good man, and the mentors of their lives are their fathers.

Thanks to expressive individualism’s effect on our moral imagination, however, today many people dismiss the benefits of embodied play and assume that fathers and mothers are interchangeable. We have accepted the premises that the mind and body are disconnected and the body is unimportant.

Expressive individualism has also changed the way we think about marriage, making it more fragile. Marriage is no longer geared towards the character formation of each spouse and to providing a loving environment for the raising of children, but rather is now primarily viewed as a means to achieving emotional satisfaction and personal improvement. Rather than both husband and wife sacrificing for the good of the marriage, each spouse aims separately to achieve his and her personal subjective idea of “self-actualization.”

As Andrew Cherlin, a sociology and public policy professor at Johns Hopkins University, articulates in The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today, marriages based on expressive individualism involve:

Growing and changing as a person, paying attention to your feelings, and expressing your needs…[M]arriages are harder to keep together, because what matters is not merely the things they jointly produce—well-adjusted children, nice homes—but also each person’s own happiness.

Over twenty years ago, in The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men, philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers drew attention to the fact that boys were falling behind in school. Some of the precipitating causes were newer, such as zero tolerance policies, the decline of free play and recess, and the rise of a self-esteem centered safety culture. Others reach back much further. Our education system, in many ways, is not designed for boys. Simultaneous shifts in our economy have lengthened the time spent in school and raised the stakes of getting an education.

On average, the energy level of boys makes it difficult for them to sit still for long periods. They can be unorganized and frustrate their teachers, who factor behavior into grading. Perhaps some teachers, mired in expressive individualism, expect girls and boys to behave the same, as “boys on average receive harsher exclusionary discipline than girls for the same behaviors.” In truth, as senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institute Richard Reeves writes: “The parts of the brain associated with impulse control, planning, future orientation, sometimes labeled the ‘CEO of the brain,’ are mostly in the prefrontal cortex, which matures about 2 years later in boys than in girls.”

The progressive style of education, relying on Rousseau’s romantic vision and promulgated by reformers like John Dewey and others, contends that theoretically children should direct their own educational trajectory. This has been particularly harmful to boys. Approximately since the 1970s, as Sommers writes, children have been treated as their “own best guides in life. This turn to the autonomous subject as the ultimate moral authority is a notable consequence of the triumph of the progressive style over traditional directive methods of education.”

Changes in education were greeted with changes in the economy itself. Precipitated by free trade and automation, America is now a global knowledge economy. Overall, those most negatively impacted have been men without much education. According to “The Declining Labor Market Prospects of Less-Educated Men”: “Between 1973 and 2015, real hourly earnings for the typical 25-54 year-old man with only a high school degree declined by 18.2 percent, while real hourly earnings for college-educated men increased substantially.” American Enterprise Institute scholar Nicholas Eberstadt’s Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis details how over seven million men ages 25-55 have checked out of the workforce. Such men often receive disability payments or are living with a relative who serves as a source of income.

These disengaged men are spending a great deal of time in front of screens that promote disembodied expressive individualism. This includes an average of 5.5 hours of movies and TV per day, not to mention the rise of exceedingly popular online pornography. Some estimate that Gen Z boys are being exposed to porn at the average age of nine. Studies indicate that pornography rewires the brain, causing boys and men to desire more and more novel content rather than a relationship with a real woman. Male employment is often tied to family structure, and marriage rates for low-income men have declined, demonstrating the unique causes and reinforcing mechanisms of the boy crisis.

The devastating impact of the opioid epidemic is another factor. Some estimate that it could account for 43 percent of the decline in male labor force participation from 1999 to 2015. During that time, the number of overdoses quadrupled, and men made up almost 70 percent of such deaths. The incarceration rate has also risen, and years behind bars reduce the likelihood of finding employment.

These phenomena are not equally distributed across the country, and some have hypothesized that increased deaths of despair (deaths from suicide, overdose, etc.) “among less-educated middle-age Americans might be rooted in ‘a long-term process of decline, or of cumulative deprivation, rooted in the steady deterioration in job opportunities for people with low education.’” The second leading cause of death for American men under 45 is suicide.

All this has left many men without purpose and hope. The boy crisis both reflects and contributes to the broader crisis of America and the West, in no small measure driven by the expressive individualism that has left men and women disconnected from relationships, human nature, and objective truth. America and the West are running on the fumes of our heritage, no longer able to articulate our principles or the gratitude we owe the past.

For much of history, human beings have been most willing to give the last measure of their devotion for what truly provides identity: God, family, and country. Each of these encompasses the individual, pulling him out of himself and toward a life of sacrifice, responsibility, and devotion. Expressive individualism is a stark deviation from the traditional understanding that freedom and virtue are intertwined. As articulated in the classic work Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life:

influenced by modern psychological ideals, to be free is not simply to be left alone by others; it is also somehow to be your own person in the sense that you have defined who you are, decided for yourself what you want out of life, free as much as possible from the demands of conformity to family, friends, or community.

Solutions to the boy crisis must counteract such messaging and ideas, putting forth a substantive view of marriage, revitalizing religious institutions, and honoring fatherhood and male mentorship as fundamental sources of meaning. They will reestablish a proper understanding of the human person and the ties between happiness and virtue. Sadly, there are no silver bullet solutions to these issues. The devastation is far-reaching and multitudinous, and the work we have to do matches the price we have paid.




Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Yes, Donald Trump & Co. SHOULD fight unfair anti-white racism

The inequality between blacks and whites in the USA drives Leftists mad. Equality is a major part of their religion. But it is plain that whites prosper more than blacks do and that East Asians do best of all. And nothing seems to be able to change that. Leftists cannot accept that there are inherent differences between the three groups that will always make them better fitted to prosper in a modern Western economy. So they resort to all sorts of nonsense in order to deny what lies plainly in front of them. They say they are enemies of racism but go on immediately to practice it against whites: Equality at all costs. They are obsessed: Very unpleasant people

Is there anything more poisonous or ridiculous than insisting that corporations and the government treat people fairly regardless of race?

Apparently not.

An Axios report on the Trump team’s intention to use civil-rights laws to target DEI policies discriminating against whites has occasioned sneering and denunciations.

Philip Bump at The Washington Post snarked, as his headline puts it, “Trump aims to be a fearless warrior for White advantage.”

The New Republic commented, sarcastically, “If Donald Trump is elected to a second term in November, his allies plan to end this country’s long-standing oppression of a major marginalized group in America: white people.”

MSNBC warned, “Trumpism is increasingly organized around the reactionary principle that white Americans are not just overlooked, but are victims because of their race. This is a path to unraveling multicultural democracy.”

Much of the commentary reflects the contradictory argument that anti-white racism isn’t really a thing, yet, simultaneously, is absolutely essential to racial progress.

The same twisted reasoning was often used when the CRT controversy was at its height; critical race theory was either a right-wing myth or foundational to the truthful teaching of America’s past, or somehow both.

There should be a long German word for this rhetorical phenomenon.

Regardless, it is axiomatic that in the context of zero-sum hiring, admissions and contracting decisions, favoring one group will disadvantage another.

This has been well established regarding affirmative-action policies at colleges — it’s much harder for white (or Asian) applicants to get into competitive schools than it is for members of favored minority groups with similar credentials.

Progressives might believe that this is cosmic justice, that whites deserve whatever they get. But individuals aren’t racial symbols and shouldn’t be treated as such. A conscientious white college applicant, who has never harmed anyone, shouldn’t be punished for his or her race.

Why are the iniquities of the old Jim Crow regime being taken out on white applicants — who never voted for Lester Maddox and probably never heard of him — for assistant-vice-president jobs at banks and other corporations?

This is unfair, and, more to the point, against the law.

The US Constitution is race neutral, and so are the civil-rights laws enacted after the Civil War and in the 1960s.

As such, they are potentially a powerful weapon against the system of racial preferences that has become a pervasive feature of American life.

We saw that in the Supreme Court’s affirmative-action decision last year, and in the ruling last month against the Minority Business Development Agency by US District Court Judge Mark Pittman in Texas.

Corporations that are setting hiring targets by race and gender face massive exposure.

They haven’t had to worry about it much to this point. The plaintiffs’ bar, out of political cowardice, won’t touch this issue.

On top of that, it’s hard even to find plaintiffs; becoming known as the white person who was chiseled out of a job and sued over it is not the best career move in corporate America.

This is why an ideologically driven group like former Trump aide Stephen Miller’s America First Legal has had to pick up the baton, with some success.

But if a Trump Justice Department decides to make an example of a couple of high-profile corporations engaged in these discriminatory practices, the regime of preferences may well crumble quickly.

Until recently, the incentives have been all the other way — to adopt the fashionable attitudes, spout the familiar DEI lines, empower the apparatchiks of HR and not risk the ire of elite opinion by taking a different path.

Now, there are signs that DEI in corporate America is cresting, or at least becoming less blatant, under political and legal pressure.

If a Trump Justice Department (and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) pushes these types of policies in business and government into the dustbin, the Left will firmly plant both feet on one side of its current straddle — and say it’s a travesty that anti-white discrimination no longer exists.


John Eastman and the Left’s War on the Legal Profession


By Josh Hammer

John Eastman is a lawyer, legal scholar, and a friend. A former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, candidate for California attorney general, and dean of Chapman University School of Law, I got to know John during my weeklong 2018 legal fellowship with the Claremont Institute, which he oversaw. We have stayed in touch and done at least one event together for Claremont since that time.

Unfortunately, since the 2020 presidential election, John has been put through the wringer more than just about anyone in American public life.

He was forced to retire from the law school where he was a longtime constitutional law professor and even dean. He was let go by the University of Colorado’s Benson Center for Western Civilization, where he was a visiting scholar. Armed Stasi—sorry, FBI—agents accosted him in a parking lot and seized his phone without a warrant. He has been suspended from academic conferences and lost board seats. He and his wife have endured death threats, spikes in their driveway, and threatening graffiti in their neighborhood. He has been debanked by Bank of America and the USAA. He is being criminally prosecuted by scandal-ridden Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis. And last week, State Bar Court of California Judge Yvette Roland devoted 128 pages to explaining why he should lose his law license.

All this because John had the chutzpah to do what every law school student is taught to do in legal ethics class: defend and zealously advocate for one’s client, no matter how unpopular or even disreputable that client may be. In this case, John’s unpopular client was a high-profile one: former President Donald Trump.

There has been an astronomical amount of misinformation about John’s activities in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol jamboree, as well as the legal advice that he offered his high-profile client during that time. The corporate media and the Democrat-lawfare complex typically speak of John’s legal advice as encouraging the “overturning of an election” or “fomenting an insurrection,” but such hyperbolic talk is irresponsible and wildly off base.

John acquitted himself well in a compelling essay he penned for Claremont’s American Mind online journal on Jan. 18, 2021, titled “Setting the Record Straight on the POTUS ‘Ask.’” His 12th Amendment argument about the vice president’s more active role in certifying the states’ slates of electors and his accompanying argument regarding the constitutional dubiousness of the Electoral Count of 1887 might not be correct (although it could be), but it is well within the bound of plausible, nonfrivolous legal argumentation an attorney can (indeed, should) press upon an embattled client. That is doubly so here, because the U.S. Supreme Court has never authoritatively interpreted the relevant 12th Amendment provision. Countless legal arguments more frivolous than this are advanced every day in courtrooms across America.

Nor is John Eastman the only man being prosecuted, and possibly disbarred, for his legal activity after the 2020 election. Former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark is also being prosecuted in Georgia, and he was just found by the District of Columbia Bar to have violated an ethics rule, which might lead to his own disbarment there—all stemming from an internal Department of Justice memo that Clark never even sent.

Once upon a time, the American left understood the moral imperative of ensuring that all Americans have adequate access to legal representation, no matter one’s popularity in the eyes of the government or societal elites. Indeed, the definitive American example of such unpopular legal representation actually dates back to before the United States was even independent: In 1770, a young lawyer named John Adams, the man who would become the young republic’s second president, took it upon himself to defend the British soldiers accused of killing five colonists at the Boston Massacre. Years later, in his dotage, Adams reflected that this was “one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested actions of my whole life, and one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country.”

Presumably, Fani Willis and Judge Roland would have preferred to see John Adams tarred and feathered for his treachery. One also cannot help but wonder how they might have viewed the NAACP’s legal representation in the Deep South during the days of Jim Crow.

The ultimate aim of those Jacobins prosecuting and disbarring lawyers for having the temerity to practice the legal profession is clear: the subordination of the rule of law to the Jacobins’ own friend/enemy-level politics, and the cowing into submission of those lawyers who would so much as consider representing a high-profile Republican client or work in a Republican Department of Justice. Ironically, and without any hint of self-awareness, they do all this in the name of “our democracy.”


New York Grand Jury Releases Scathing Report Against Child Protection Services Agency

Child protection agencies seem to oscillate between exessive zeal and gross negligence

The result of a six-month special grand jury investigation into the murder of 8-year-old Tommy Valva by his father has revealed another disturbing instance of abuse of power by child protection agencies and the family court system.

The New York boy died in 2019 from hypothermia after his father, an NYPD cop, inflicted a series of cruel punishments on him. He made the child strip naked, lay on a cold cement garage floor, and hosed him down with cold water. Michael Valva was convicted of his son’s murder in 2022.

The grand jury report, released on April 3, is wrought with similar findings in the recent review of the murder of 5-year-old Harmony Montgomery. Details of the girl’s murder and the state of New Hampshire’s inability to account for her whereabouts for two years gripped the nation.

It was a tragedy set in motion when Massachusetts Family Court Judge Mark Newman awarded custody of the little girl to her father Adam Montgomery. Mr. Montgomery was convicted in February of murdering his daughter.

Judge Newman granted custody to Mr. Montgomery instead of the girl’s mother despite his lengthy violent criminal history and transient status.

Before Tommy Valva’s murder, Suffolk County Family Court Judge Jeff Zimmerman also awarded full custody of the little boy along with his two brothers to his father Michael Valva over the boy’s mother Justyna Zubko-Valva.

In both Harmony and Tommy’s cases, court records, which were widely publicized in both murder trials, show that neither of their mothers had any history of abuse or violence.

In both of the children’s cases, child protection service workers went along with the court’s custody awards despite knowing that there were serious child abuse allegations and child welfare concerns pending against both men.

In her office’s findings from an investigation into Harmony’s murder, Maria Mossaides, director of the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate, slammed the state child protection agency for what she called system-wide failures and also for “recklessly” favoring parental rights over Harmony’s safety.

Throughout its 75-page investigative report, the New York grand jury charges New York’s child protection services system with the same kind of failures.

It faulted CPS employees for deeming child abuse allegations by another parent as unfounded with little evidence. It also cited the system as flawed for not having any independent checks and balances with the agency over such decisions.

According to the grand jury, the agency even refused to return its records for the investigation.

“The failure of CPS to do so can only be interpreted as a transparent attempt to shield their own inaction from public scrutiny. Thus, the laws and rules must be changed to prevent such future injustices,” the investigative jury charged.

In its report, it also focuses on another familiar issue raised in other states regarding the operations of child protection agencies and the family court system: the immunity that child protection workers and judges enjoy from dereliction of duty.

“Even though immunity does not preclude a finding of criminal liability for CPS caseworkers who have engaged in willful misconduct or gross negligence, such caseworkers are still effectively impervious to any such liability in cases where reports are deemed unfounded,” the panel wrote.

The panel discovered that caseworkers, due to not being required to substantiate their findings to the court or even a supervisor, created a shield against accusations of “willful misconduct or gross negligence.”

“In this regard, employees of CPS have the unilateral ability to thwart criminal investigations prior to the matter of immunity even becoming relevant, by determining that a case is unfounded, or by deciding not to migrate prior unfounded reports and related materials in a new indicated investigation,” the panel found.

At a press conference during the murder trial, Ms. Zubko-Valva talked about her many pleas for help to child protection workers and other state officials that went ignored.

“I kept thinking about all the institutions who failed to help him, who completely did absolutely nothing ... now everybody’s trying to do the right thing ... but where were you when I begged you for help when you could have saved my child’s life,” said Ms. Zubka-Valva who said she also filed a complaint with the FBI after Judge Hope Schwartz Zimmerman gave custody to Mr. Valva.

The judge awarded custody to the father after a divorce attorney complained to the court Ms. Zubko-Valva was “interfering with her access to the children,” according to a pending wrongful death lawsuit Ms. Zubko-Valva filed against the county CPS.

Details of CPS' alleged complicity in the court’s custody ruling are scattered throughout the lawsuit. These include accounts of the agency’s quick dismissal of a flash drive. The lawsuit stated the mother provided this drive to the agency, and it contained 320 documents and other evidence supporting the claim that Tommy and his brothers were enduring severe abuse by their father and stepmother, Angela Pollina, who was convicted last March of the second-degree murder of her stepson.

According to the lawsuit, the evidence included several letters from Tommy’s pediatrician and therapists corroborating the abuse. It was already revealed in the lawsuit and during Mr. Valva and Ms. Pollina’s trial that the agency ignored visible signs Tommy and his brothers were being starved.

Two years ago, the Institute for Justice (IJ) launched “Project Immunity and Accountability,” a national campaign to end immunity for government officials.

“If we the people must follow the law, our government must follow the Constitution,” the group states as the headline to its campaign’s mission.

CPS agencies have long been accused of using immunity to justify their troubling decisions rather than reform them.

In a 2007 case, a child advocate brought a federal suit against the Standing Rock Child Protection Services and Bureau of Indian Affairs in North Dakota after the agencies claimed immunity for knowingly placing a juvenile sex offender into a foster home with three young children.

“Such immunity, it maintains, is based on the agency’s policy decision to protect the privacy interests of its former ward,” the lawsuit charged. “By this argument, CPS creates a smokescreen within which to hide from liability, despite its flagrant abuse of a system that it is duty-bound to protect.”

As part of its campaign, IJ is asking state legislators to adopt amendments to their state constitution to abolish government immunity, but so far no lawmakers have taken up the cause.

In New Hampshire, where Harmony Montgomery was murdered in 2019, Republican lawmakers like Rep. Leah Cushman have been pushing for reform of the child protection agency and family courts.

The state did not accept any blame for the girl’s murder even though evidence was introduced during her father’s trial that the agency failed to conduct mandatory checks on her and appeared to be unaware that she had been missing for two years.

Recently, Ms. Cushman successfully convinced House leaders to form a special committee to investigate the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth, and Family (DCYF).

As reported previously by The Epoch Times, the committee had only started when she was removed as chairman of the committee by the House Speaker when she initiated a voluntary oath for both victims and officials as part of the special committee’s investigation.

She has since told The Epoch Times she believes the “real fix” is to take child protection service agencies out of the “investigation business,” abolish family courts, and return allegations of child abuse to the criminal courts where there is real due process.

“Keeping these cases civil is being soft on crime and letting people shown to be abusive to never face justice in a real court of law,” she said.

The NH DCYF, Massachusetts Department of Children Services, and Suffolk County Child Protective Services did not respond to requests for comment from The Epoch Times.


Vatican declares sex-change surgery and surrogate births grave violations of human dignity, putting them on a par with abortion and euthanasia

The Pope's rejection of transgenderism is reasonable and welcome but it will dent his hitherto stellar reputation among "progressives"

The Vatican on Monday declared gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy as grave violations of human dignity, putting them on par with abortion and euthanasia as practices that reject God's plan for human life.

Titled 'Infinite Dignity,' the 20-page declaration - that has been in the works for five years - focuses on what it describes as threats to human dignity, including poverty, the death penalty, war, sexual abuse and the abuse of women.

After substantial revision in recent months, the text was approved March 25 by Pope Francis, who ordered its publication.

In its most eagerly anticipated section, the Vatican repeated its rejection of 'gender theory,' or the idea that one's gender can be changed.

It said God created man and woman as biologically different, separate beings, and said people must not tinker with that plan or try to 'make oneself God.'

'It follows that any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception,' the document said.

The document distinguished between gender-affirming surgeries, which it rejected, and 'genital abnormalities' that are present at birth or that develop later.

Those abnormalities can be 'resolved' with the help of health care professionals, it said.

The document largely reaffirms and expands on the Catholic Church's teaching regarding gender theory - asserting that attempts to change an individuals gender are ultimately attempts to play God.

He denounced 'gender theory' as the 'worst danger' facing humanity today, an 'ugly ideology' that threatens to cancel out God-given differences between man and woman.

He has blasted in particular what he calls the 'ideological colonization' of the West in the developing world, where development aid is sometimes conditioned on adopting Western ideas about gender and reproductive health.

The condemnation of abortion is strong and reiterates what the pontiff has previously said - that the 'defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right.'

'Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable', it continues.

The document also mentions surrogacy, which it says 'violates' both the dignity of the child and the woman, who 'becomes a mere means subservient to the arbitrary gain or desire of others.'

While much attention about surrogacy has focused on possible exploitation of poor women as surrogates, the Vatican document asserts that the child 'has the right to have a fully human (and not artificially induced) origin and to receive the gift of a life that manifests both the dignity of the giver and that of the receiver.'

'Considering this, the legitimate desire to have a child cannot be transformed into a `right to a child' that fails to respect the dignity of that child as the recipient of the gift of life.'

Pope Francis has recently called for the practice of surrogacy to be banned.

The declaration then goes on to mention euthanasia and assisted suicide, defined by some laws as ' death with dignity'.

The document stresses that 'suffering does not cause the sick to lose their dignity, which is intrinsically and inalienably their own'.

Advocates for LGBTQ+ Catholics immediately criticised the document as outdated, harmful and contrary to the stated goal of recognizing the 'infinite dignity' of all of God's children.

They warned it could have real-world effects on trans people, fuelling anti-trans violence and discrimination.

'While it lays out a wonderful rationale for why each human being, regardless of condition in life, must be respected, honoured, and loved, it does not apply this principle to gender-diverse people,' said Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, which advocates for LGBTQ+ Catholics.

The document's existence, rumoured since 2019, was confirmed in recent weeks by the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, a close Francis confidant.

He had cast it as something of a nod to conservatives after he authored a more explosive document approving blessings for same-sex couples that sparked criticism from conservative bishops around the world, especially in Africa.

And yet, the document takes pointed aim at countries - including many in Africa - that criminalise homosexuality.

The new document denounces 'as contrary to human dignity the fact that, in some places, not a few people are imprisoned, tortured, and even deprived of the good of life solely because of their sexual orientation.'

The document is something of a repackaging of previously articulated Vatican positions, read now through the prism of human dignity.

The Vatican had previously published its most articulated position on gender in 2019, when the Congregation for Catholic Education rejected the idea that people can choose or change their genders and insisted on the complementarity of biologically male and female sex organs to create new life.

The new document from the more authoritative Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith quotes from that 2019 education document, but tempers the tone.

The Rev. James Martin, who has called for the Catholic Church to extend greater outreach to LGBTQ+ Catholics, said the gender terminology was similar to past declarations.

But he welcomed the condemnation of legislation and violence against LGBTQ+ people.

Francis has made reaching out to LGBTQ+ people a hallmark of his papacy, ministering to trans Catholics and insisting that the Catholic Church must welcome all children of God.

Transgender activists immediately called the document 'hurtful' and devoid of the voices and experiences of real trans people, especially in its distinction between transgender people and intersex people.

'The suggestion that gender-affirming health care - which has saved the lives of so many wonderful trans people and enabled them to live in harmony with their bodies, their communities and (God) - might risk or diminish trans people's dignity is not only hurtful but dangerously ignorant,' said Mara Klein, a nonbinary, transgender activist who has participated in Germany's church reform project.

'Seeing that, in contrast, surgical interventions on intersex people - which if performed without consent especially on minors often cause immense physical and psychological harm for many intersex people to date - are assessed positively just seems to expose the underlying hypocrisy further,' Klein said.




Monday, April 08, 2024

The Cut Flowers Civilization

Ben Shapiro is undoubtedly correct below. But there may be a middle way. I follow Carnap in thinking that metaphysical statements are not even meaningful, let alone right or wrong. Yet I sometimes call myself a Christian. Why? Because I try to live a Christian life. I think that is not incoherent and could be adopted by others. I do get rewards when I do the Christian thing in a situation. It's rather wonderful how often and sometimes how promptly kind, forgiving and generous behavior is rewarded

I will mention just one small and rather amusing example of such an occasion.

I was working in a Real Estate office when one of the salesmen began abusing me for something I had said. In reply I said: "Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa". I accepted blame in accordance with Matthew chapter 5 but I did it in Latin.

He was however an older Catholic who remembered the Latin mass so understood what I said and was amused by it. So he instantly went from condemning to laughing. Others nearby said frantically, "What did he say? , What did he say?" They thought I had used some sort of magic spell to get such an abrupt change in him, which, in a way, I had

This week, famed British atheist Richard Dawkins explained that he was a “cultural Christian.”

Praising civilization in the United Kingdom, Dawkins stated:

I do think that we are culturally a Christian country. I call myself a cultural Christian. I’m not a believer. But there is a distinction between being a believing Christian and being a cultural Christian. And so, you know, I love hymns and Christmas carols, and I sort of feel at home in the Christian ethos. I feel that we are a Christian country in that sense.

Dawkins went on to praise Christianity as a “fundamentally decent religion in a way that I think Islam is not.”

Dawkins’ case for Christianity—a case made on the basis of utility—is nothing new. It was made long ago by Voltaire, an acidic critic of the church who famously averred, “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”

But the problem with the utilitarian case for religious belief is that it doesn’t animate religious believers. It is simply impossible to build a civilization on the basis of Judeo-Christian foundations while making the active case as to why those foundations ought to be dissolved.

In fact, Western civilization has doomed itself so long as it fails to reconnect to its religious roots. Philosopher Will Herberg wrote:

The moral principles of Western civilization are, in fact, all derived from the tradition rooted in Scripture and have vital meaning only in the context of that tradition. … Cut flowers retain their original beauty and fragrance, but only so long as they retain the vitality that they have drawn from their now severed roots; after that is exhausted, they wither and die. So with freedom, brotherhood, justice and personal dignity—the values that form the moral foundation of our civilization. Without the life-giving power of the faith out of which they have sprung, they possess neither meaning nor vitality.

We are a cut flowers civilization.

And eventually, cut flowers die.

That has never been more obvious than this week, when the Biden administration decided to honor the newly invented Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday. Gender ideology is a symptom of our society’s reversion to gnostic paganism, in which unseen, chaotic forces buffet us about, and in which nature is directly opposed to the freedom of our disembodied essences.

It is no wonder that gender ideology is opposed by every mainstream traditional religion.

Yet claiming that this magical holiday could not be moved, the White House issued a variety of statements in celebration of radical gender ideology, including a deeply insulting statement from the president of the United States citing the book of Genesis to the effect that transgender people are “made in the image of God”—ignoring the last half of the biblical verse, which reads, “male and female he made them.”

What better time than Easter, the holiest day in the Christian calendar, to pay homage to an entirely new religion?

Richard Dawkins is obviously correct that a civilization rooted in church is better than a civilization rooted in an alternative set of values. But in reality, the churches cannot be empty; they must be full. The cathedrals that mean Britain to Dawkins must ring with the sounds of hymns in order to maintain their holiness and their importance; otherwise, they are merely beautiful examples of old architecture, remnants of a dead civilization preserved in stone.

But our civilization must live. And that means more than cultural Christianity. It means reengaging with the source of our values—the Scriptures that educated our fathers and grandfathers.


UK: Transgender children could face 'psychological' repercussions if they are allowed to change their gender

Transgender children could face 'psychological' repercussions if they are allowed to change their gender, a landmark review is set to rule.

The number of children identifying as transgender has seen a significant increase, with growing concerns that schools are allowing pupils to switch gender without informing their parents, despite government guidance stating otherwise.

The Cass review into gender identity services for children has vowed to look at the 'important role of schools' and the difficulties facing them in relation to 'gender-questioning' students.

The review, led by Dame Hilary Cass, will be published on Wednesday and is expected to say children might experience 'psychological' repercussions if they are allowed to change their name and pronoun.

The final review is set to say that prepubescent children should not be put on the same 'pathway' as older adolescents who wish to switch to the opposite gender.

The Department for Education (DfE) is likely to reflect the review's findings in its guidance for teachers on how to deal with transgender children, The Telegraph reported. The final version of the guidance is set to be published later in 2024.

After the publication of the interim Cass review in 2022, the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock transgender clinic announced it would close down after it was considered unsafe for children.

A number of five-year-olds were referred between 2021-2022 to the highly-controversial GIDS at the Tavistock clinic.

Some patients at the clinic were taken on for actual treatment, which could include puberty blockers and hormones that help change their bodies to align more with their gender identity.

NHS England said it would alternatively move young people who believed they were transgender to regional centres that take a more 'holistic' approach and look into other mental health of medical issues the child might have.

Maya Forstater, the chief executive of Sex Matters, said: 'Doctors are having to deal with gender-confused children who have already been socially transitioned at school for years, and are, as a result, very disturbed by the idea of going through puberty, which will develop their secondary sex characteristics.'

Ms Foster, who has spoken to Dame Hilary and her team, added: 'If social transitioning in schools is stopped, it will take the pressure off clinics.'

A Government source said: 'We are absolutely clear about the importance of biological sex, particularly in the context of safeguarding, and the role parents must play in decisions about their children.'

The NHS last month announced an immediate ban on prescribing puberty blockers to under 18-s unless they are part of a clinical trial - with ministers saying the 'landmark decision' was in children's 'best interests'.

It comes as primary school teachers are being told to allow children to change gender behind their parents' backs, it has been claimed.

A survey of equality and trans policies at more than 600 schools in Devon and Cornwall showed a large majority (73 and 62 per cent respectively) reportedly misrepresented equality laws.

It claimed one school trust advised teachers to help girls use breast binders on school trips, while also allowing pupils to sleep in bedrooms according to their 'gender identity'.

The details, compiled by Protect and Teach and reported in the Telegraph, concerned state schools.

Some of the school policies reportedly claimed children 'as young as five' could show signs of gender dysphoria.

They also said biological sex 'is assigned at birth, depending on the appearance of the infant'.

One grammar school reportedly stated sex was 'a person's understanding and experience of their own gender identity'.


History will frown upon Hamas’s useful fools in the West

While keyboard warriors across the West pump out Hamas and Iranian propaganda, it has been clear to all who understand Israel that the terror group signed its own death warrant on October 7.

This is not about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Nor about radical Zionism. The main Israeli opposition parties support the war.

Israelis will settle for nothing less than the destruction of Hamas after it crossed into Israel on October 7 to murder innocent civilian women, children and old people on the Sabbath.

On October 14 last year, a week after Hamas’s brutal murders of 1200 people, this column said Israel – a country that swapped 1027 terror prisoners for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in 2011 – would struggle with the idea of losing 250 of its people to Islamist hostage takers.

A country shaped by the Holocaust sees Israel as the only place on earth where Jews can live in their own homes in safety.

Hamas was counting on just such an Israeli reaction and has been successful in shaping world opinion against Israel by using Gazan civilians as human shields.

Israel’s critics, who imagine this is a war against Palestinian civilians, should know Israel could have flattened Gaza in a week. Hamas’s leaders have promised repeats of October 7. Nor is it just Hamas.

Check the November 5 interview on Memri TV with Khaled Barakat, a Canada-based Palestinian activist and former People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine official. He says the only solution to the Palestinian problem is the end of Israel.

“Who supports the two-state solution? Arab reactionary regimes, liberal Zionists, fascists and some delusionists,” Barakat says.

Israel’s greatest historian and regular critic, Benny Morris, had similar thoughts about a two-state solution in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on March 29.

A one-time supporter himself, he now thinks Israelis will never agree to the plan the Palestinian leadership has rejected so many times.

History will be kinder to the IDF and to Israel than to the many useful fools in the West who knowingly repeat the propaganda of an Islamist group with direct historical links to the Nazis through its antecedents in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

David Kilcullen, this paper’s pre-eminent military analyst, on March 26 argued – as many others have – that Israel has in fact done its best to limit civilian casualties given Hamas fighters are embedded with civilians.

Yet UN Rapporteur and ABC favourite Francesca Albanese after last week’s killing of aid workers, including Australian Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom, argued on social media platform X that Israel is deliberately murdering aid workers.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari immediately promised an independent investigation, apologised to the world and spoke directly with Spanish chef Jose Andres, founder of the aid group World Central Kitchen. Hagari expressed the IDF’s condolences to the families of the victims and to WCK.

Albanese, a UN employee, wrote: “Knowing how Israel operates, my assessment is that Israeli forces intentionally killed WCK workers so that donors would pull out & civilians in Gaza could continue to be starved quietly.” There is a word for that kind of thinking, but here Antoinette Lattouf was quick off the blocks, retweeting the Rapporteur’s libel.

By Wednesday, IDF chief of staff Herzi Halevi was profoundly sorry about the attack, which happened in darkness. He praised the courage of WCK workers.

An overwrought interview by ABC RN Breakfast fill-in host Sally Sara on Thursday showed just how hostile some journalists are to Israel. Questioning Israeli government spokesman Avi Hyman, Sara insisted Gazans were racked by famine. She would not accept that the IDF, on the ground, disputes this, nor Mr Hyman’s correct view that arguments about famine are in fact future projections.

Her next interviewee, Jeremy Konyndyk, president of Refugees International, at the end of the 17-minute segment actually confirmed the famine numbers were in fact future projections.

Israel critics who claim the aid workers were deliberately targeted seem to have missed the many references by Israel last Wednesday and Thursday to the “millions of meals” that WCK has supplied in Gaza and Israel throughout the war. These meals were delivered without aid workers being targeted.

Sara should have known Israel prefers WCK precisely because it is not staffed by UN aid workers, some of whom Hyman pointed out were involved in the killings on October 7 and 1000 of whom are known to be Hamas members.

Last October, US President Joe Biden urged the media to be careful using figures provided from within Gaza, where all ministries are controlled by Hamas.

The Gaza Health Ministry claims 33,000 people have keen killed in this war. The IDF says it has killed more than 15,000 fighters. The UN says more than 13,000 children have been killed. Can this really mean the total of all other casualties – non-combatant men, women and the elderly is 5000?

Tablet magazine on March 7 published an analysis by Professor Abraham Wyner of the University of Pennsylvania. He believes the numbers are not real.

He argues the death toll has been growing “with almost metronomical linearity”.

In the first month of the war, “the daily reported casualty count … averages 270, plus or minus 15 per cent. This is strikingly little variation. There should be days with twice the average or more and others with half or less,” Wyner wrote.

“Similarly, we should see variation in the number of child casualties that track the variation in the number of women.”

Because high casualties should follow days when residential buildings have been hit, there should be a correlation between high and low numbers of casualties of women and children, Professor Abraham argues. There is no such correlation in the Gaza Health Ministry numbers.

“Most likely, the Hamas ministry settled on a daily total arbitrarily. We know this because the daily totals increase too consistently to be real.”

The Western media’s aid picture is also misleading.

Israel attributes aid distribution problems inside Gaza to the inability of UN aid workers to move food trucked in, and to Hamas’s theft of supplies that do arrive.

Israel says 50 per cent more food trucks are arriving today than before the war. It says 184,500 tonnes of food have arrived since the start of the war. It is sending more than 1000 food trucks a week into the territory.

As Avi Hyman told RN: “No one from Hamas is starving.”

If Hamas stopped stealing aid, Gazan civilians would not be facing shortages. UNRWA’s own daily aid numbers confirm what Israel says.

The great tragedy of Palestinian displacement will only accelerate after this war, just as Palestinians lost territory and power over their own lives each time they attacked Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973.

Israel will not stop its war before cleaning out the tunnels of Rafah, whatever our Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong say.

The Biden administration is right to demand more care of civilians by Israel’s troops on the ground. But it is also right to state that the US will continue to support Israel’s campaign against Hamas.


A penalty for being good-looking

An element of jealousy involved, I suspect

More on the interesting Ms Hatherall below:

image from

A senior employee at leading property developer TOGA claims she was fired “as retaliation” for complaints over “ongoing bullying and harassment” by the company’s chief financial officer, who allegedly told her it was “hard for people to take (her) seriously” being young, female and “looking like that”.

Jodie Hatherall, TOGA’s former general manager of risk and compliance, is suing her employer in the Federal Circuit and Family Court over her termination.

She claims she endured several instances of “derogatory verbal comments questioning (her) qualifications and suitability for her role”, “sabotage” and “unwanted advances of an inappropriate, intimatory and/or tacitly sexualised nature” under boss and TOGA CFO Alex Collinson.

Ms Hatherall, who was on a $382,000 renumeration package, says Mr Collinson questioned in a performance review why she wanted a pay increase when she was on good money and “doesn’t have a mortgage or kids to look after”, and said “most people have a problem” with a “young, female in a senior position”, according to court documents.

Ms Hatherall, who joined the company in September 2017, claims the sudden and aggressive termination means she now faces considerable emotional and financial hardship, “especially given the current economic climate”.

But in its letter of termination to Ms Hatherall in November last year, TOGA said she was acting improperly by working for several start-up companies and claimed she was “spending substantial amounts of time” on university studies and “personal care” activities such as laser, nails, “cobbler consignment”, cosmetic medicine, facials, lashes and hair appointments. This, an HR executive said, amounted to “serious and wilful misconduct” and “gross ­neglect” of her duties.

She denied this, and said the start-up was not a conflict of interest and her numerous “praise-filled performance reviews” and “financial bonuses” were inconsistent with her termination.

Ms Hatherall claims she was doing well at TOGA until the ­appointment of Mr Collison as her boss, and alleges a number of “harassment” and “discrimination” events. In a statement, legal firm Hamilton Locke said: “The ­respondents (TOGA and Mr Collinson) reject the claims and will be filing a defence in due course.”

As early as his handover meeting in April last year, Mr Collison questioned her qualifications and suitability for the role, which she found “humiliating”.

In another one-on-one meeting, he made comments like “You need to understand that construction is a different operation than what you are used to in hospitality”, which she took to be “dismissive and belittling” because she had not worked in hospitality and had 15 years’ experience in construction and project management.

In a performance review with Mr Collison, she claims he made several remarks like “On top of being young and female, you also look like that, so it is hard for people to take you seriously”, “I want to help you but this isn’t a conversation for the office, it needs to be at the pub over a wine”, and “We need to get you a mentor or put you on a training course to manage the gender problem”.

He later told her she ought to address all communication through him, due to alleged “gender” issues with the other directors, and that the new executive manager would also “likely have a problem with your age and being a woman too”, she wrote in her statement of claim.

In another meeting, she said Mr Collinson “berated” her team’s performance and then “made a point of standing uncomfortably close” to her, calling it “an apparent show of intimidation”.

Ms Hatherall also says Mr Collinson invited her a couple of times to meet at a bar after work, claiming the “ongoing advances” were “inappropriate and threatening”.

He also “frequently visited” her LinkedIn page, and Ms Hatherall told her colleague in a text message “Seriously … He’s on it EVERY day”. She eventually blocked him, saying she felt “threatened and harassed”. In her termination letter, TOGA claimed she blocked him because her LinkedIn page contained reference to a start-up she founded.