A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Vomitorium

Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1490-1510)

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Vomitorium” is the title of my Federalist piece from the other day.  I spoke about it today with R. Scott Clark in a podcast at Heidelblog.net.

The main idea is that the movement to codify same sex marriage – supposedly only for the purpose of “equality” — has already let loose a lot of fringy sexual excesses into the mainstream.

Things you would have likely not heard about before this stage of the sexual revolution are now being injected into general public discourse. For example, New York Magazine recently ran an article “What’s it Like to Date a Horse,” a graphic interview with a zoophile who complains that his sexual orientation is not respected by society.  Following that one, they published “What’s it Like to Date Your Dad,” an interview with a young woman promoting her sexual relationship with her biological father as just as legit as any other romance.  And of course we now have the impending release of the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which serves to celebrate and mainstream the practice of sado-masochism.

There’s lots more where that came from, and I provide a short catalogue in my article. It’s all about excess and uncontrolled appetites.  The vomitorium — as understood in popular culture as a place where gluttony reigns so supreme that it can’t get enough of itself — seems to be where our society is headed.

But at the end of this road lies a society that’s lost its moorings. It’s an escapist culture centered around the Self.  At root, the sexual revolution wasn’t really about sex or even lust.  It used sexual desire to put people in a prison of Self and an empty cycle of gluttony.  It also served to create an easy means to escape responsible relationships. And we’re now at a phase when enough folks have swallowed that bait that their appetites have become unhinged.  At a certain point this state of affairs becomes not only ridiculous and dangerous, but also (to use a favorite term of self-described progressives) unsustainable.

This mindset of Self – brought to us by the sexual “revolution” — prevents people from seeing the world through the eyes of others, especially through the eyes of children. That’s an alienating and isolating mindset which creates a hostile climate for families and for all healthy personal relationships. Somewhere along this lonely path, the state will step more fully into that vacuum and take control of our personal lives, our relationships, and our conversations.

Corruption of Language, Transgender Law, Paris Massacre & the Abolition of Man

C S Lewis, author of The Abolition of Man and truly a prophet of the 20th century

Corruption of the language seems to be surrounding us as never before.

On one front, we see how the transgender lobby is selling the snake oil of “gender identity.”  This insists that being female and male does not exist in physical reality, but only in our minds. So at root, it’s not really an agenda about gender per se or equality.  It’s an agenda to corrupt the language and every single person’s perception of reality.  You will see this become more prevalent if “Leelah’s Law” — a reaction to the recent suicide of a transgender youth — is pushed.  I hope to write more about it, but the idea is to ban any counseling for kids that doesn’t affirm transgenderism.  Under the guise that it only bans something called “conversion therapy.”

On another related front, we can see how the push to control language is causing mayhem globally.  After the massacre at the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, there is a new debate about the limits of free speech.  The magazine publishes a lot of content hostile to religion – all religions – but the killings were based only on its depictions of the prophet Mohammed.

At The Federalist Sean Davis reminds us How CS Lewis Predicted Charlie Hebdo Censorship:

Western news organizations are falling all over themselves to censor images that raise the ire of violent terrorists, and C.S. Lewis predicted their exact behavior over 70 years ago when he published “The Abolition of Man,” his treatise on how the corruption of language leads inevitably to the corruption of mind and soul.

When we allow language to be so manipulated that it distorts reality, that puts civilization itself on the path to suicide.

I love the way CJ Ciaramella leads his article, also at the Federalist: “Everything you Need to Know about Voxsplaining the Charlie Hebdo Massacre:”

Sometime in the Paleolithic past, one guy said to his friends, “Hey, have you ever noticed how small Steve the Chief’s brow is? Look at me, I’m Steve No-Brow.” Everyone laughed, then Steve the Chief caved the guy’s head in with a rock. Human affairs with regards to unauthorized satire remained the same for the next 100,000 years or so, with the only difference being who was holding the biggest rock.

So how do you balance free speech with irresponsible speech?  The answer lies in something we call “Civil Society.” It subsists upon a common uncorrupted language and agreement to allow the free exchange of ideas.  Unfortunately, civil society is ceding authority to the corruption of  language enforced by political correctness.  If civil society is ever to be rebuilt, PC must be resisted and always fought.

Carl Jung on How Psychic Isolation Serves Central Power

In the 1950’s the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote a slim volume entitled The Undiscovered Self.  At some point I want to delve into it.  But for today, please consider this excerpt:

“It is the nature of political bodies always to see the evil in the opposite group, just as the individual has an ineradicable tendency to get rid of everything he does not know and does not want to know about himself by foisting it off on somebody else. . . .  The mass State has no intention of promoting mutual understanding and the relationship of man to man; it strives, rather, for atomization, for the psychic isolation of the individual.  The more unrelated individuals are, the more consolidated the State becomes, and vice versa.

I’m convinced that power elites use political correctness as a means of separating people.   It causes “psychic isolation of the individual,” which serves to divide and conquer.  People become more and more polarized politically when they are unable to express what they believe and how they feel to others.  PC squashes mutual understanding.  That’s what it’s for.

If you think it through, I think you’ll also come to realize that civil discourse is the biggest impediment to centralized power.  How so?  When people fear expressing their innermost thoughts to others, friendships cannot develop.  Personal associations are nipped in the bud.  And when friendships in society are minimized, people become less trustful of others.  They become more isolated and atomized, more dependent upon the “mass State” Jung refers to.  Political correctness only serves the consolidation of central power.  Nothing and nobody else.

 

Follow up about the Disruption of Speech at Catholic U

I hope each and every one of you reading this had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

This post is a follow up from my last post to let you know about my most recent Federalist article which I co-authored with Robert Oscar Lopez.   You can read a full account of our experience by clicking here.  (Just so you know:  in case the photo and headline strike you as a tad radioactive, we did not pick them!)  The Federalist piece goes into some detail about our speaking engagement at Catholic University being disrupted by protesters.  You can see them chanting in the clip below, as the room cleared out:

Here’s a brief synopsis of what Bobby and I had discussed:

Bobby spoke about the new Children’s Rights Movement.  It is building awareness of child trafficking, particularly through abuses by the growing industry of artificial reproductive technologies and exploitative and lucrative adoption industries.  Unfortunately, those lobbies are increasingly selling services that result in and depend upon the deliberate separation of children from their biological parents.  Social scientists have used various statistics to claim that it doesn’t matter for children if you separate them from their biological parents.  But it does matter to children, and it matters deeply. We know from millennia of history and literature and experience that children suffer a primal wound from such separation, even when their caretakers provide good homes.  They develop coping mechanisms, to be sure. But that doesn’t make it right.

So speaking up for the right of a child to know their origins is something those lobbies, as well as the LGBT lobby, wish to suppress. I followed Bobby’s talk with a presentation about how to speak out in a culture of fear.  “Political Correctness” is a euphemism for the silencing tactics of power elites who are pushing power-consolidating agendas.  It works by isolating and marginalizing anybody who might get in the way of those agendas, through smears and threats and psychological manipulation. I think it’s critical that each and every one of us build awareness of those tactics — as well as an understanding of our own human weaknesses — so that we can keep ourselves and our minds free.  Free speech is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. If we don’t push back, we will lose it.  The protesters will lose their freedom as well, though, sadly, they don’t realize that.

Two major ironies here.  First, that Catholic University was under attack for being, well, Catholic.  Second, the protesters gave a live demonstration of my presentation.

Stepford Students Campaign against Free Minds at Catholic University

Professor Robert Lopez and I dealt with a bunch of spoiled kids representing the LGBT lobby when they crashed our event at Catholic University the other night.  They didn’t want us presenting topics of interest to the Anscombe Society there:  Lopez on the rights of children and I on political correctness. During Q and A things got loud and aggressive and very disruptive.  The shills came out of their seats and did their thing: juvenile chanting and flag waving, intended to shut us up.  This turned out to be an unwitting performance of Stella’s talk about the coercive tactics of political correctness.

I’ll write more about it all, but I’d like to refer you to an article today about the phenomenon.  Please look it up by clicking here: http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9376232/free-speech-is-so-last-century-todays-students-want-the-right-to-be-comfortable/

I say it’s way past time that we call out mindless Stepford students on their disruptive habits.  I’ll explore more on this in the days ahead.

 

Potential book reviews; Singles Article in Federalist

Okay, I’m scrambling again to keep up with this blog.  When I travel, I generally get behind in stuff.  But I  do plan to do a couple of new things in the future.  One is to keep a booklist.  I’ll try to keep the “reviews” short.  I recently read Sheila Jeffrey’s book Gender Hurts.  It’s a fascinating radical feminist take on the whole gender identity thing.  I find myself agreeing with a lot of it, but parting ways with her on certain predictable points.  But there’s definitely a lot of overlap in terms of understanding where the whole gender thing is headed.  More on that later.  All of the books I’d like to introduce deal in some way or another with how we try to make sense of relationships and how we deal with the effects of social isolation.

I have another essay up on the Federalist (submitted quite a while back but just published the other day, so please excuse if it seems a bit stale) which was an extended response to Bella DePaulo’s criticism of my take on the whole idea of “Singles’ Rights.”  I also published a somewhat lengthy blog post on that a couple of weeks ago.  She believes in abolishing civil marriage because she says it discriminates against single people.  I believe that abolishing marriage is tantamount to abolishing all hope for a civil society.  And the effects of that would be disastrous for everybody. Once the state doesn’t have to recognize marriage, each and every citizen becomes isolated and atomized in the eyes of the state.  Family autonomy and privacy dissolve in this scheme.   This is not a good thing.   You can read the article here:  “Why Singles Rights and Same Sex Marriage Will Abolish All Marriage.”  Oh, my goodness.  I just now noticed that that article of mine has 593 comments.  Yikes, that’s a lot!   Well, I’ll deal with that later.  I generally can’t get too caught up in conments — and as you can tell, I don’t use them on my own blog.  But I will definitely have to scan those soon — there are so many — and maybe even write up a post about them.  Usually when there’s that many, though, it means a few people are arguing back and forth amongst themselves. (Of course I do expect to take some hits.)

I’ll find another way to post more often.  Some book review posts.  More posts on the issue of social conformity and the effects of PC/propaganda.  Loneliness and alienation is another important topic for these times.  And whatever else comes my way. Thanks for reading!

 

“Singles’ Rights” Goal of Abolishing Marriage Would Impose Legal Isolation on Everyone

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d0/Thoma_Loneliness.jpg

Hans Thoma. Loneliness (1880)   To impose legal separation on all of us would only cultivate loneliness.

Last week a singles’ rights activist wrote up what she claimed was a critique of my recent Federalist article called Welcome to Selfie Nation.  My piece was an exploration of various social trends, particularly some recent attempts to cultivate hostility towards married people for being “privileged.”

Most significantly, Bella DePaulo, author of the book Singlism and a blogger for Psychology Today essentially confirmed in her response what I’ve been saying for quite some time:  that same sex marriage isn’t really about marriage, but is being used as a vehicle to abolish marriage.  A coterie of singles’ rights advocates are arguing that state recognition of marriage discriminates against singles.  And they hope to use the precedent of same sex marriage to abolish marriage.

But DePaulo never addressed my most basic points:

1.  That the decline of marriage “plays right into the hands of central planners who have always been keen on getting rid of marriage altogether.”

2.  That putting every human being in legal isolation — which is exactly what abolishing civil marriage would do – can only diminish freedom of association for every child, woman, and man.  Once the state no longer recognizes your spouse or child or parent or siblings, etc. except at its pleasure, your personal relationships will inevitably come under greater regulation and bureaucratic control.

Rather than confront these concerns, DePaulo pulled out of thin air the bemusing nonsense that I am “afraid of single people.”  She also claimed I place blame on single people for “breaking down family bonds and community ties and contributing to a sense of alienation and division and distrust.”  Are you kidding me?

Who believes single people are even capable of doing such things?  Unless maybe you believe they’re some sort of monolithic force.  That idea — so untrue — would never occur to me.  Maybe it has more to do with DePaulo’s own outlook, but it sure isn’t mine.

I was talking about a shift in society that breeds isolation in people, reflected in the General Social Survey.  It’s a cycle driven by complex forces that we can’t pin on any one group of people.  Distrust breeds isolation.  Isolation breeds distrust.  Separation from intimate ties breeds distrust.   Distrust discourages the formation of intimate ties.

On Pious Baloney

A fun touch in DePaulo’s  post on my article is her (subconscious?) reference to a famous line by Newt Gingrich.  By which I mean she labels as “pious bologna” [sic] my connection of children with marriage. But I’ll raise DePaulo ten Newts on that.  Whether we grown-ups like it or not, the only legitimate reason for any state interest in marriage is that the state’s citizens come from a particular organic union that produces them.

Now the problem here for DePaulo and so many others, is that they have a perspective on children that insists on separating them from the people who sire and bear them.   Look, I get it. Indeed, a lot of unmarried people have kids and a lot of married people don’t.  And different family configurations abound.  And I understand that there are cases of dysfunction.  But that’s irrelevant to the point that state recognition of marriage can’t really exist for the benefit of adults.  It exists for the benefit of all the children in a society, whether or not their parents can or do get married, and whether or not married people have children, and no matter how many or how few children there are.

So it’s the union that produces citizens in which the state should be interested.  And it doesn’t matter whether that union takes place traditionally or in a petri dish or even at all.  I know that’s a hard thing for us grown-ups to wrap our heads around these days.  I do understand, believe me, that it doesn’t feel easy.  But it’s just one of those buried truths that have a way of outing themselves rather unpleasantly when ignored. You can take it or leave it, but it’s still true whether we like it or not.

If there are concerns about inequities, people of goodwill should find a way to address the inequities without endowing a centralized bureaucracy with the power to impose legal isolation on every single one of us, and particularly on children.

Families are the Roots of Community          

Below are a few claims DePaulo uses to support her belief that marriage should be abolished, and by logical extension, why she believes each and every person should be legally single:

  • Married people are “insular” and don’t contribute much to community
  • Married people don’t call their parents or siblings as often as singles do
  • Singles do more things “in the community” than marrieds do:  “They participate more in civil groups and public events, they take more art and music classes.”
  • Singles, not marrieds, keep cities lively and dynamic
  • Singles, she says, visit sick and infirm people more than married people in Britain do

DePaulo doesn’t cite sources on the above.  She’s suggesting, I guess, that singles are in some form, morally superior because, for example, they call Mom and Dad more than married people.  This is silliness.  Just arguing on her terms, I’d venture a guess that married couples are far more involved in community schools.  I don’t know how many members of legislatures and county councils and people who work for non-profits are married versus single.  But I’d be willing to bet it’s quite a majority of marrieds, even today.   And, no, married people are not morally superior for this participation.

Intimacy, not Separation, is What Breeds Trust

But I do find one of DePaulo’s observations of particular interest.  She writes that “getting married changes people in ways that make them more insular.”  I think what DePaulo perceives as “insular” is probably just a by-product of intimacy. Intimacy requires time and a certain degree of exclusivity and privacy in relationship. Committed relationships usually require intense work and a great degree of self-sacrifice that’s not going to be handily visible in the public sphere.  Nevertheless, that kind of interpersonal work with family members pays huge dividends for society because it tends to build empathy.

What this means, though, is that contributions to the community by marrieds – with or without children – are going to have deep roots and perhaps might not be as apparent to people like DePaulo who look to have everybody engaged on the surface, primarily in public places.   Not so much in private places which seem “insulated” from the larger community.  It seems that DePaulo doesn’t view the nurturing of one’s own children as something that counts in this scheme of things.  Nor perhaps would running a scout troop, or volunteering at your child’s school or with their sports teams, or through a church.  And certainly not the hard work of ironing out a committed relationship with or without children in the home.

If the only kinds of community activities that “count” in DePaulo’s eyes are at specific places identified as “community” – whether they be parks and recreation, theater groups, environmental groups, and so on – well, then, perhaps singles do those things more because that’s where the people are?  Or perhaps because practically every young adult today has “mandatory community service hours” to put in as requirement for high school graduation?   Regardless, DePaulo’s view speaks volumes about her stunted view of community and who contributes to it.

Abolishing Marriage Would Abolish Community 

I think we all understand in our gut that intimacy breeds trust.  Without trust – which has been declining over the past several decades – people become alienated and true community dies. You can have lots of people out there doing lots of activities, busy as bees at the hive.  But if there are no bonds of family intimacy which serve as the unseen ground water that irrigates the community – or what goes on unseen inside the hive of community by both marrieds and singles — then you don’t really have a community.  What you have left is a shell of a hive with the bees buzzing about outside of it.  Yes, you can see them better that way.  But without the hidden core – consisting of families, consisting of both marrieds and singles – each of us ultimately has no place to go.

Let’s abolish the Big Lie that abolishing civil marriage would “get the state out of the marriage business.”  It would do the exact opposite, which is why statists love the idea so much.  I leave you with this excerpt from my Federalist piece:

All of the machinery of this bait-and-switch operation is well in motion to abolish civil marriage, and with it family autonomy. So our national conversation on marriage ought to cut right to the chase. Ultimately, the real question is not about who can get married, but whether or not we may live in a society that recognizes marriage and family. Abolishing civil marriage is a dangerous proposition that imposes legal isolation on everybody, making us all strangers to one another in the eyes of the state.

Our Selfies, Our Selves

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Nighthawks_by_Edward_Hopper_1942.jpg

“Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper

Married folks account for ever smaller numbers of the American demographic, now at 50.3 percent, contrasting with a high of 72.2 percent in 1960.  So, according to the most recent Census Bureau figures, singles are on the cusp of being a majority demographic in America.   There are a lot of reasons for this, including fallout from the sexual revolution and the breakdown of family.

Of course most single folks are living their lives as best they can, and a large majority of them tell pollsters they want to get married someday. But accompanying the trend is some rhetoric that is hostile to marriage and seems determined to pit singles as a class against marrieds.  There is a burgeoning movement, apparently organized by self-appointed social engineers, who claim that any social or tax benefits for marriage are discriminatory against singles.  In the end, it all leads to a push to abolish civil marriage. You can read about it in my latest Federalist piece here:  “Welcome to Selfie Nation.”

The language of same sex marriage has actually laid the groundwork for abolishing civil marriage. If such a move gained traction, it would be a disaster for family autonomy and privacy and a victory for state power. That would have repercussions for all private relationships because civil marriage allows us to legally bind ourselves to family, whereas abolition of marriage would put us in a state of legal isolation from all others.  That would have negative repercussions for all other private relationships. Anyway, I think we should think such things through before the deceptive sloganeering hits us.

Here’s an excerpt:

Abolishing civil marriage would change not only family relationships, but all other relationships across society. This is a far cry from getting the state “out of the marriage business.” It’s more like the state getting you out of the marriage business. Sure, you and someone else could still get married, at least in your own minds. But you would be completely separate entities as far as the state is concerned. With the death of marriage inevitably comes the death of family. Hence, the most important mediating institution or buffer zone between encroaching state power and the vulnerable individual—every individual—would be gone.

This means the state would no longer respect:

  • your natural right to refuse testimony against your spouse. How could it? You don’t have a “spouse;”
  • the natural rights of your children to know you, or your right to raise them. After all, there’s really no “legal” family involved without prior state approval; and
  • any inheritance rights. Why should it? None of you are legally “related.”

 

Singleton Nation

Rise in single adult Americans since 1976

 

Check out the above chart that was published last week in a Bloomberg News article about a growing trend among Americans to stay single rather than marry.  For the first time ever, a majority of the adult US population is single.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics — which supplies the figures in its monthly jobs report — calculates the percentage of “selfies” as 50.2 percent, or 124.6 million adult Americans.  That’s up from 37.4 percent in 1976.

I see this shift as an indicator that the individual in our society is becoming more “atomized,” with individuals less connected to others in strong relationships.  Fewer marriages mean fewer children in marriages and more detachment from a sense of family.  This in turn can lead to a strong feeling of displacement, a feeling that there are no community bonds either.

In fact, only natural families can build natural communities that nurture young and old alike:  communities of faith and voluntary associations that include deep friendships based on trust. When a sense of belonging is gone and trust in others is diminished, people look for comfort in other places: shallow relationships, gangs, the anesthesia of drugs, and government programs.

It all makes for the perfect vacuum for the State to fill.  The State is always promoting its own brand of artificial community that can’t substitute for intimate bonds of love.  It’s been taking over the functions of family in policies like state-run childcare, elder care, health, and education.  People who feel isolated naturally look to these programs when there’s no place else to go.

But the silver lining is that 75 percent of adult Americans are either married or say they want to get married, according to a 2013 Gallup poll.  And when high school seniors were asked how important a good marriage was to them, the results were even more encouraging: 84.5 percent of girls and 77 percent of boys replied that it was “extremely important.”

So people still desire strong relationships, and they still say that they do.  We should remember that because it’s cause for optimism and offers a window of opportunity.  It means people really do believe in their hearts that strong family ties are the best way to defeat alienation and loneliness.  We need to reach out and find new and effective ways to convey the obvious truth that strong marriages make happy communities.

“The Giver” is Worth Seeing and it’s Still in Theaters

Play the trailer below to get a faint idea as to how Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver was adapted for the screen.  

The setting is a dystopian society, which, of course thinks of itself as utopian.  The perfect “community.” Children are assigned to family “units” and everyone lives an illusion of peace and harmony because they’ve been anesthetized not to feel any strong emotions.  All memory of human history was wiped out in order to protect them from pain and suffering.  Everyone lives a sort of outwardly pleasant robotic existence.  They practice “precision of language” and apologize to one another a lot. There’s no real personal choice. One’s life — just like the economy — is planned from on high.

And it all leads to blind cruelty.

In the story, one person designated as “The Giver” (played by Jeff Bridges) serves as a keeper of the memories.   It is a covert position that was established in the event the elders of the society ever needed to consult on a question requiring that knowledge.  (Meryl Streep plays the chief elder.)  A boy named Jonas (played by Brenton Thwaites) has to try to make sense of it all.

If you’re going to the movies this weekend, I definitely recommend The Giver.  Despite any flaws, it’s a rare and welcome message in these painfully politically correct times.  To learn more, click on Jack Fowler’s review of The Giver in National Review: “Take Someone to The Giver.”