Monday, May 20, 2024

‘Love or lust’: Travelling chastity preacher at schools sparks parent backlash

I would once long ago have agreed with this and I do at least agree that marriage is the ideal relationship. I have been married 4 times so I do put my money where my mouth is on that matter!

But the times now are definitely ones of of sexual libertarianism, so much so that abstention from sex seems unrealistic. Among young people (and some not so young people) everybody is doing it. To opt out of premarital sex is to opt out of modern life.

I have always been pretty fussy about whom I slept with and I have always looked for long-term relationships but I think that is the most one can hope for today

I note that Catholics have never been very faithful to church teachings on sex anyhow. From what I see and know, Catholic women who do NOT use contraception are rare

And there is a sense in which the church teachings are futile. Nature continues to assert itself -- to the point where even celibate priests often transgress -- often in regrettable circumstances

A planned lecture on the virtues of virginity, chastity and modesty to be delivered to Catholic high school students next week has prompted a backlash from some parents who do not want “outdated” views pushed on their daughters.

The Chastity Project founder Jason Evert is set to deliver his talk entitled “love or lust” next week at St Leo’s in Wahroonga, St Joseph’s in East Gosford as well as MacKillop Catholic College in Warnervale.

Parents were told Evert, who is based in Arizona but travels the world telling teenagers about the dangers and consequences sex before marriage, would also tell stories about the negative effects of pornography.

“Importantly, Jason discusses relationships in a non-judgemental way and encourages young people not to feel pressured into a sexual relationship,” a letter to parents at the three schools said.

But when some parents researched Evert online, they did not like what they found: one of his books from 2006 said homosexual acts were disordered (Evert has said he removed that quote from the book over a decade ago); online videos show him saying “most women do not want” to take the contraceptive pill.

The Sydney Catholic Diocese’s Centre of Evangelisation last year hosted a talk by Evert with the same title as the one to be delivered next week, in which he cited statistics which said those who abstain from sex before marriage had much lower divorce rates. He also outlined how a lack of modesty can lead to objectification and disrespect. “I didn’t even know how to treat a girl until I dated one in college who dressed modestly,” he said.

In another anecdote, he recounted how a basketball player had asked him: “‘When you’re with a girl and she says she’s ready for sex, how do you say no to that?’ I said: ‘If she thinks she’s ready for sex, and she’s not ready to be a mother, then she has no clue what she’s talking about.’”

St Joseph’s mother Alison Read said: “I sent my daughter to the school to help her become a strong, independent and capable woman, not to have her taught out-of-date views about keeping herself ‘pure’.”

In response to questions from the Herald, Evert said parents have the right to choose what kind of information their children receive on the topic of sexuality, and that was one reason why many choose a Catholic education for their children.

“To any concerned parents, I would say that I have spoken to tens of thousands of young people in Australia, and the only reason why I am being invited back now for the seventh time is because the presentation is not about hate, bigotry, or medical misinformation,” he said.

“It’s a positive message that focuses on chastity as a virtue that frees us to love, regardless of what has happened in the past.

“And in terms of the subject of modesty, I think it’s a virtue that men as well as women would do well to rediscover. ”

Another parent at St Joseph’s, Sarah Greenaway, said she believed Evert’s views did not “align with many of the teachings of modern Catholicism”.

“He has also described homosexuality as ‘disordered’. These perspectives can be harmful and alienating to students, particularly those who may already feel marginalised,” Greenaway said in a letter to the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay.

A group of year 10 students have also written to the school to voice their concerns.

“We are concerned about the topics he is passionate about and therefore may present to us,” they wrote.

“Healthy and respectful relationships are obviously very important in our lives as young women. We strongly believe that to bring in a speaker who encourages this is a great way to motivate us to value positive relationships,” the students said. “We believe that Jason Evert’s specific messages, approaches and morals, are backwards.”

A spokeswoman for Catholic Schools Broken Bay said it had multiple initiatives in place including opportunities to invite guest speakers, especially those aligned with Catholic Church teachings.

“Given the many mixed messages our young people are faced with today, we are seeking to provide some reassurance and certainty in a challenging and complex world about relationships and sexuality,” she said.

She said they were conscious of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all. “For this reason, while
students are encouraged to participate, the session will not be compulsory,” she said.


Argentina’s Trump Card?

All eyes are on Argentina since the election of an eccentric libertarian as the beleaguered nation’s President, writes economics consultant Andrew Russell.

For libertarians, endlessly frustrated at how rarely people of their ideological inclination actually get elected, Javier Milei’s recent victory in Argentina’s Presidential election has given them a chance to finally see what having one of their own with substantial political power might be like. For the rest of us, who may not be card-carrying libertarian pundits, what are we to make of this chainsaw-wielding seemingly radical figure? Who is Javier Milei? What kind of libertarian is he? What has been made of him so far? And crucially, what are his real-world chances of combatting the ‘new socialism’ that Milei has deemed the biggest threat to the West?

A 53-year-old economics professor, author, and political commentator, Milei has described himself as a Hayekian ‘in the short term’ but is noted for advocating free-market anarchism and can be more accurately understood as a Rothbardian libertarian. Rothbardians are followers of the economist Murray Rothbard, the most famous theorist of anarcho-capitalism or Austrian School free-market anarchism, and argue that the State’s core functions of defence, courts, and law enforcement could be replaced by private security and arbitration agencies. In this way Rothbardians are distinct from anti-capitalist anarchists, in that they reject the Labour Theory of Value and, consequently, do not believe profit is inherently expropriative. Hayekians are followers of the economist Friedrich Hayek, who was not an anarchist and took a more conventional (yet still radical relative to real-world governments) minimal-government position. So far, the policy reforms Milei is seeking are substantially more modest than what a Hayekian would desire, and far from what a Rothbardian free-market anarchist would ultimately consider ideal. However, the fact such a radical figure was elected Argentina’s President is remarkable in itself, and when taken with his messy hair, penchant for dressing up as a superhero named ‘Captain Ancap’ (short for ‘anarcho-capitalist’), and proclamations of his enthusiasm for threesomes, one is somewhat taken aback when outlets in the liar press insist on referring to him as an “extreme social conservative”.

Indeed, Milei’s anarcho-capitalism, while radical, has been somewhat sidelined and confused by his unorthodox character, and across the board, and a bit like the man himself, the reactions to Javier Milei’s ascension to the Argentine Presidency have been theatrical. They have ranged from hysterical conniptions and prophecies of the apocalypse to joyous celebrations and loud chants of ‘¡Afuera!’, which is Spanish for ‘Out!’ (in the sense of ‘cast out’ or ‘get rid of’) and used in this context to refer to Milei’s theatrical slashing of ministerial bureaucracy on his first day in office. Unsurprisingly, most of these reactions map neatly onto left-right political positioning, with persons-on-the-left broadcasting their psychological meltdowns on social media and persons-on-the-right triumphantly cheering that Milei will Make Argentina Great Again.

Politics is not just about policy but also about personality.

In a world of mass media, broadcasted campaigns, and voters who can be moved by charisma just as much as tax cuts, politics is not just about policy but also about personality. Milei’s personality, at least on the campaign trail, has been consistently passionate, bombastic, and iconoclastic. Despite being from a nation where the majority are Roman Catholics, Pope Francis is one of Milei’s favourite targets. Milei has described his fellow Argentine as a “son of a bitch”, a “filthy leftist”, a “communist turd”, and an “imbecile”, alongside further criticisms that are probably too harshly worded to print in the IPA Review.

Predictably, Milei’s bluntness and bombast have invited comparisons to Trump, who unfortunately functions as the elephant in the room in discussions such as these. Trump is no one’s idea of a free-market anarchist and, consequently, it can be fairly argued that the only valid comparisons are on the basis of style. But the grievances aired by Milei often echo those aired by The Donald and other ‘right-wing nationalist populists’, and while his response to these issues identified by other prominent figures on the right is distinctively libertarian, Milei’s popularity—indeed his election as President of Argentina—speaks to just how loud the pushback against the ‘status quo’ has become.

Like Trump in the US, Nigel Farage in the UK, Giorgia Meloni in Italy, and Pauline Hanson in Australia, Milei has been outspoken on issues of immigration, climate change policy, the public service, education, and the mainstream media. That is why it is useful to summarise these larger, more general complaints about the state of the West, before looking at the Argentine context and Milei’s policy proposals.

The first charge that Milei and other ‘right-wing populists’ level at the establishment is that immigration policy is being used as a kind of gerrymandering whereby the politicians of the centre-left import constituents that will vote for them, as opposed to immigration policy based on the interests of the nation as a whole. Climate change policy is likewise called out for what it is really doing: degrading living standards and social mobility. In both cases reasonable criticism of policy is silenced, with any dissenters from the orthodoxy being deemed ‘racists’ or ‘science deniers’.

When we turn to the question of those who enforce the orthodoxy—the civil or public service and the educated elite—the former are revealed as a self-interested special interest group that has become increasingly metropolitan, authoritarian, and partisan-left, while the latter are accused of turning credentialism into the new classism. Further, the vast majority of the mainstream press has become a megaphone for that same trendy woke or social justice orthodoxy and is complicit in the active persecution of dissenters. Together, these charges combine and reveal that society is becoming further dominated by an increasingly unaccountable woke credentialist bureaucrat-academic-managerial class that exists primarily due to government largesse yet believes itself to be morally and intellectually superior to those it governs. Milei gives the loudest voice to this charge.


Will therebe a repeat of the 1968 Democrat Convention?

Given that Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is a big mouth in an empty head, there will likely be no restraint on huge clashes over Israel etc

Will we see a repeat this summer of the infamous 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention that devolved into chaos and anarchy? This year’s convention is, like 1968, set to take place in Chicago and social unrest is percolating on the Left, to say the least.

In a recent interview on Fox News, Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn.—who challenged President Joe Biden in the Democratic Party presidential primary—said that given our current course of events, history is likely to repeat itself.

“I’m afraid this is looking awfully like 1968 with a lot of anger and angst and disenfranchisement that I think are going to play out on TV this summer, and it’s going to be awfully contentious,” Phillips said on Wednesday.

In 1968, anti-Vietnam War and various other far-left protesters descended on the Windy City to protest the party’s presidential nominating convention.

The situation escalated when then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, a Democrat, had enough and unleashed the Chicago Police Department on the protesters.

The media at the time strongly criticized the Chicago Police Department, but many Americans strongly sympathized with the authorities, who desperately sought to restore order. The events of the convention likely swayed a lot of voters concerned about violent radicals taking over their cities. Many in the media sided with the protesters, while the American people largely sided with the police.

The chaos was likely one of the reasons Republican Richard Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey in November 1968. Preelection chaos created by the Left led to the “silent majority” delivering Nixon a resounding victory.

Given the protests we’ve seen across the country in recent months and the pressure the Left is putting on Democrats over Israel’s war in Gaza, it’s hard not to think that this year’s Democratic convention could see similar protests.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has said that safety is a “top priority” for the convention, but he’s hardly the law-and-order mayor that Daley was. In fact, Johnson has supported defunding the police, has openly sympathized with the anti-Israel protesters, and even made it clear that he’s nothing like Daley.

As my colleague Tony Kinnett noted, Johnson has said he’s a different kind of Democrat. In a certain sense, Johnson’s attitude is a sign that in the long-term, the New Left factions that protested in Chicago in 1968 “won.” (More on that later.)

While prominent Democrats and members of the media insist that 2024 won’t be like 1968, it’s difficult not to see that a storm is potentially brewing.

There have already been significant protests at Chicago universities, pro-Palestine groups have sprung up around the city (some spouting chants like “Death to America!”), and a large group of anti-Israel protesters raised a Palestinian flag near where the Democratic convention is set to take place Aug. 19-22.

There’s no question that Democrats are already getting nervous about what might happen.

The 1968 convention was a seminal moment in both the history of the Democratic Party and the United States. It signaled a long-term takeover of the party and various other institutions by the New Left.

Given that the comparisons will continue to be made, it’s worth looking back at what happened 56 years ago.

New Left Organizes to Sow Chaos

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson had elected not to seek a second term despite winning a landslide in 1964. Even though the Vietnam War had been conducted by Democratic presidents, the party had turned in an antiwar direction. This became a flashpoint for a party that had become increasingly divided.

The common narrative of the Chicago Democratic National Convention in the years that followed was that it was a “mostly peaceful” protest of the Vietnam War, broken up by a brutish and out-of-control Chicago police force.

That’s not exactly accurate.

The reality is that the well-organized protesters were looking to pick a fight to bolster their cause, as historian Stephen F. Hayward described in his book, “The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, 1964-1980.”

“The Chicago police reacted to a calculated provocation,” Hayward wrote. “And, like the case of fighting schoolchildren, where the second child to strike a blow is the one usually caught by the teacher, the media caught the police reaction and attributed it as the cause of the violence.”

Hayward explained how plans to disrupt the convention began as early as December 1967 and were the product of three main groups.

Those groups were the Youth International Party, or the “Yippies”; the National Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam, or “Mobe”; and the Students for a Democratic Society, the SDS. The factions had slightly different agendas for what they wanted to pull off in Chicago.

The Mobe generally wanted a peaceful protest to take place, though it wasn’t exactly averse to causing mayhem—and potentially, violence.

“It would be a mistake to think that the fight against the war can be won in the ballot box,” said Mobe leader David Dellinger. “It still has to be won on the streets.”

The Yippies wanted something more like a giant street festival. They announced a plan to put LSD in the Chicago water supply. Chlorine treatment of the water would have neutralized any threat to the Chicago population, but the Chicago police took the threat seriously enough to put officers in front of the city’s filtration plants.

The Students for a Democratic Society were looking for a fight. Hayward noted that the reasons the SDS was looking to ratchet up violence is that they saw liberal antiwar presidential candidates like Robert F. Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy as a threat.

For leaders of this movement and others on the far Left, the entire American system needed to be overthrown. They weren’t looking for peace in Vietnam; they were looking to overturn the American way of life and government.

While the three factions plotted different tactics to achieve their goals, they were nevertheless united behind a larger agenda.

They wanted to sow chaos as much as possible so that they could eventually shove their more moderate cohorts on the Left aside and take the reins of power. They wanted to agitate, disrupt, and put the most pressure possible on Democrats to bend to their will.

Humphrey frequently mentioned on the campaign trail that he wanted to bring the “politics of joy” to the country. The activists were having none of it.

“We are coming to Chicago to vomit on the ‘politics of joy,’” SDS leader Tom Hayden wrote before the convention, “to expose the secret decisions, upset the nightclub orgies, and face the Democratic Party with its illegitimacy and criminality.”


Australia: A long stint in prison for an innocent woman

I was one of those who from an early stage saw the conviction of Kathleen Folbigg as a gross miscarriage of justice.

The law failed her so often that it is the justice system that has ultimately been convicted as not fit for purpose. It has not only been Kathleen Folbigg that has been failed in this case. It is the whole commmuity that as been failed. For an innocent person to have been REPEATEDLY been found guilty is deeply destructive to any faith in the system.

And, as in the Bruce Lehrmann case, it is a rogue official who ignored informed advice on the matter to set in train a huge and regrettable series of events. At least Shane Drumgold has suffered heavy consequences for his actions as a prosecutor in the Lehrman case. But I suppose there is no hope that the official in this case will suffer in any way.

As Lenin once asked: "What Is To Be Done?". I am afraid I have no good answers to that, any more than Lenin did. All I know is that if anybody close to me got into trouble with the law, I would use all my resources to get them from the outset the best possible legal representation. That initial conviction is the dangerous one

When Kathleen Folbigg had her long-standing convictions for the deaths of her four infant children quashed last year, Rhanee Rego was right by her side. The young lawyer had started working on her case while still at uni – and never stopped.

In June 2017, at the age of 24, when most young people are drinking too much, dating the wrong people and otherwise avoiding adulthood, Rhanee Rego, a fourth-year law student at the University of Newcastle, took up a part-time placement with a barrister named Robert Cavanagh. Tall and lanky, with the lugubrious manner of a country undertaker, Cavanagh is well known for campaigning against wrongful convictions. One of the cases he was looking into at the time was that of a convicted child killer named Kathleen Folbigg.

Folbigg, who was also from Newcastle, had been found guilty, in 2003, of murdering three of her young children and the manslaughter of a fourth, and sentenced to 40 years in prison (later reduced to 30). She had become known as the country’s worst female serial killer and was widely reviled. She had been bashed in jail and placed, for her own safety, in solitary confinement. There seemed little doubt about her guilt. Her former husband, Craig, had given evidence against her, as had her foster sister. But Cavanagh believed Folbigg was innocent and set Rego to work reviewing the case.

“I had no idea what I was signing up for,” says Rego, who I met in Newcastle recently. “I knew almost nothing of Folbigg’s case growing up. I was just 11 when she was convicted.”

By the time Rego became involved, Folbigg had already been the subject of a trial, two appeals and a petition for review, initiated by Cavanagh and fellow barristers Isabel Reed and Nicolas Moir, not to mention investigations by journalists and justice advocates. But Rego came to the case with voracious intent. For the next two months, whenever she had time, she would drive from Swansea, just south of Newcastle, where she was living with her grandmother, to Cavanagh’s chambers in the city, and read everything about the case that she could get her hands on – the trial transcripts, witness statements, police and expert reports, formal submissions and Folbigg’s diaries. “The diaries were possibly the hardest part,” Rego says. “Kathleen’s handwriting is terrible.”

Cavanagh believed Folbigg was innocent, but Rego was determined to come to her own conclusion. “I didn’t want to help a woman who’d potentially killed four of her kids, especially pro bono,” she explains. But as she made her way through the material, she became increasingly alarmed. “There was simply no direct evidence anywhere to say Folbigg was guilty,” she says. “The case was entirely circumstantial. It was like clouds. You could see them, their shape and formation, but when you went to grab them, there was nothing there.”

When she mentioned her concerns to friends, they warned her against getting too involved; Folbigg was a figure of hate. But as a novice lawyer, it seemed clear to Rego that Folbigg’s convictions had been a mistake, and that, once the facts were re-examined, she would be released. “Surely the judges wanted to correct this?” she thought. “Surely politicians were worried they had put an innocent woman in prison?”

But that’s not the way it worked out. Folbigg would remain in jail for another six years. Rego, meanwhile, still wet behind the ears, would become her most unlikely advocate, a key player in reversing the worst miscarriage of justice in recent times. Now she’s working to secure what is expected to be one of the biggest compensation payouts in Australian legal history.

Much more below:




No comments: