Maya Angelou: “Why I Kept My Baby”

What a beautiful story, which was retrieved and posted by Feminists for Life in memory of Maya Angelou who died this past Wednesday, May 28.  It is reprinted from a Family Circle Magazine piece that ran on October 8, 2001.  Please click on this link: “Why I Kept My Baby” and you’ll also find an extraordinarily joyful picture of Maya Angelou with her adult son, Guy.  This is a story more people should hear.

In short, she said:

I’m telling you that the best decision I ever made was keeping that baby! Yes, absolutely. Guy was a delight from the start — so good, so bright, and I can’t imagine my life without him. . . Years later, when I was married, I wanted to have more children, but I couldn’t conceive. Isn’t it wonderful that I had a child at 16? Praise God!”

It’s no wonder that when mothers are encouraged to develop deep bonds with their children — particularly when the children come as surprises — that societies function better.  When mothers are discouraged from doing so through abortion, societies get sick. This causes sorrow and bitterness and loneliness to grow and envelop the culture, as we see happening in around us today. But a love that welcomes every child is contagious and healing to all.  That’s the real wealth we need to “spread around.”

Social Media, Loneliness, and Isolation

Two recent articles in the Federalist are related to this blog’s theme of “relationships, power, and freedom.”  Both articles are packed with insights and I highly recommend you click on the links below and read them.

The Loneliness of Not Knowing Ourselves by D.C. McAllister and What Abortion Selfies Tell us about American Community, by Ben Domenech explore how social media seem to have made people more isolated, not less.  Ironically, social media can provide only a faint illusion of connection with others.  For too many, it’s become little more than veil for loneliness, making it even worse.  One danger is that as  people become more alienated and isolated, they become more susceptible to manipulation and control.

Without the real connection of being in the physical presence of others, McAllister, notes, we cannot really be known either to ourselves or someone else.   We can’t really share.  She adds:  “And that is what we want. That is what human connection is all about. It’s being known. This is one of the great themes (and great comforts) of Scripture. We are known by God. Before we were born, he knew us (Jer. 1:5), he knows us better than we know ourselves (Rom. 8:27), the Shepherd knows his sheep (John 10:14), our Creator has searched us and knows us—and still loves us (Psalm 139).

Earlier this month, Ben Domenech reflected upon the decision of an abortion counselor to film her own surgical abortion and try to put a positive spin on it by posting the video to the internet:

“The concept of the abortion selfie is in some ways an inevitable consequence of an increasingly atomized culture. Consider instead the lure that would motivate one to seek to share this moment, and then to share in the reaction to this moment from social media, and then to share again in the reaction to that reaction in the pages of Cosmo. This is an individual seeking out the affirmation and attention of others – for good or ill, it is an attempt to find a community, a grasping for a sense of belonging.”

And I believe he is exactly right.  Her act was not only destructive of life and so much else, but it was also an act motivated by an urge for attention and validation, a craving for community. My hope is that as we better understand this motivation in human beings, we might learn how to breach the walls and overcome the forces that separate us.

 

“The Singing Revolution:” Freedom Through Song, Part V

The trailer below will give you hope. It’s all about how the Truth will out:  through the ripple effect of people speaking freely to one another.  When people develop trust in one another, when they have common bonds and can express that in real friendships, no oppressor can hold them back.

The documentary, The Singing Revolution tells an amazing story of the people of Estonia, a small Baltic nation that suffered under both Hitler and Stalin  and survived the yoke of communism.  The film tells how the Estonian people came together in a show of mass defiance against their Soviet overlords before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  They spontaneously met at an outdoor concert hall to sing forbidden hymns and national songs.  Over 300,000 showed up and there was no shutting them up.  Here’s a telling line:  “Once you give free speech to people, then things get out of hand.  The ghost gets out of the bottle.”

The Singing Revolution testifies that real freedom is beyond words. It’s music.  It’s felt as a song in our hearts.  Once out, it’s irrepressible.  But it can only happen in civil society that allows for ideas to be cross pollinated, a society in which there is common respect for the rights of others to live and let live.  Fake freedom is the “unfreedom” that comes from being sold a bill of goods that basically says:  “You don’t need to worry about food, housing, etc., just sign your soul over to the authorities.  They’ll tell you what you may say and may think.”

It’s easier to preserve and press on for freedom when you are emboldened by knowing who your friends are.  The enemies of freedom know this.  That’s why they employ political correctness as a silencing technique: to make it more difficult for us to get to know people or to reach out to them.  It separates people from one another so that they can’t easily unite in freedom, but instead build walls that isolate them.  This allows our relationships and knowledge to be suppressed and controlled.   We should take note of the Estonian people’s response to this:  to reach out anyway and share the song in our hearts.

For more on “The Singing Revolution,” go to their site by clicking here.  Also, please click here to visit The Global Museum on Communism.

 

 

 

How Personal Relationships Threaten the Power of the State

Have you noticed a recent push to keep single people single?  It’s out there.  Click here for my latest essay at The Federalist:  “How Personal Relationships Threaten the Power of the State.”  It  examines advice given across the board to all single working class mothers:  “Don’t get married.”  Specifically, a recent article at Slate, co-authored by two feminist legal scholars, states that single mothers should “Just say no” to marriage.

So what’s with that?  Of course marriage is a choice and it’s impossible to discern whether or not the choice is a good one without knowing all of the  details and circumstances in any given case.  But the Slate piece comes down almost as a manifesto claiming that these moms ( never mind their children) are better off going it alone.

But if we step back, we can see a bigger picture emerging.  It’s as though individuals in our society are being nudged today towards isolation, away from human companionship that is autonomous and real — and pushed into a sterile form of “community” in which the state calls all of the shots in our lives.  Perhaps that’s why it seems those pushing big government agendas seem unfriendly — and even hostile — towards strong personal relationships.

Here’s an excerpt from the Federalist piece:

Strong relationships are about teamwork:  real communication, real cooperation, real trust, and real fellowship.  How might individuals seek to cultivate these things?  They can, you know, if government gets out of the way.  And teamwork is about self-sacrifice, which is a dirty word these days.  Yes, strong relationships may be difficult to produce.  But that’s what makes them strong.  The blacksmith analogy is apt:  the tempering of the iron in the fire – as with a relationship through trials — will give it shape and strength.

But the really dirty little secret statists would rather you not know is this:  strong relationships of mutual self-sacrifice yield the greatest prosperity of every kind – spiritual, emotional, and material – for everyone.

The hunger for strong family relationships will persist.  Social engineers can only offer weak “communitarian” relationships as cheap imitations for the real thing, which, in the end, is real, human love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Doctor-Patient Relationship IS the Practice of Medicine”

I was so pleased when a friend sent my way  this Wall Street Journal op-ed written by a physician who spells it out:   Obamacare is essentially all about meddling in the doctor-patient relationship.

Here are some excerpts from the fantastic essay by Daniel F. Craviotto, Jr., an orthopedic surgeon from Santa Barbara, California:

“In my 23 years as a practicing physician, I’ve learned that the only thing that matters is the doctor-patient relationship. How we interact and treat our patients is the practice of medicine. . . . So when do we say damn the mandates and requirements from bureaucrats who are not in the healing profession? When do we stand up and say we are not going to take it any more?

I don’t know about other physicians but I am tired—tired of the mandates, tired of outside interference, tired of anything that unnecessarily interferes with the way I practice medicine. No other profession would put up with this kind of scrutiny and coercion from outside forces. The legal profession would not. The labor unions would not. We as physicians continue to plod along and take care of our patients while those on the outside continue to intrude and interfere with the practice of medicine.

We could change the paradigm. . . . “

Thank you and Bravo Dr. Craviotto!

The doctor-patient relationship is just one of many personal relationships under attack today by power elites.  All big government programs aim to meddle in personal relationships.  They have the teacher-student relationship in their crosshairs, the parent-child relationship, the merchant-customer relationship, the neighbor-to-neighbor relationship.  Every personal relationship you experience.  That’s what dictators from time immemorial have sought to control.  That’s why they silence you through the dictates of “political correctness” which is just another word for coercive persuasion.

By meddling in relationships the cliques that run the bureaucracies usurp our personal power and freedom in order to bloat themselves.  In the meantime, they demand we support their habit of getting drunk on power.

All of us need to change the paradigm.  We need to “stand up and say we are not going to take it anymore,” as Dr. Craviotto urges his fellow physicians.  This means not allowing political thugs and bureaucrats to meddle and interfere with our personal relationships — our relationships with our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, our classmates, our doctors, or anyone else in our personal lives.

Freedom of association is  under attack as never before.  Preserving it is probably the first — and last — line of defense for all of our other freedoms.

Everyone Should Take a “Propaganda 101″ Class to Understand How they are Manipulated

Lots of folks have been scratching their heads wondering how genderless marriage — which seemed just a fantasy on the fringes just  a decade or so ago — so quickly became a reality of American public policy today.  There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle. A few of them include activist judges, the monied LGBT lobby, and  President Obama’s disingenuous “evolution” on the subject after being elected.

But the bigger picture shows something very different, very calculated, and decades in the making.  It’s possibly been the biggest propaganda campaign in human history.

Do you believe the biggest manipulators who push same sex marriage really and truly care about the canard they label “marriage equality?”  I don’t.  In fact, it seems more likely the power elites among them have simply been engaged in a social experiment, testing the limits of propaganda and how easily people can be controlled and manipulated, even to the point of accepting an implausible idea. Of course, “marriage equality” is a great test case for them, because it could pave the way to ending family autonomy, giving them greater control over the relationships of others.

Are you familiar with the term “availability cascade?”  It’s related to Richard Dawkins theory (The Selfish Gene, 1976) about “memes:” that any idea injected into public discourse can potentially spread like a virus and change the culture in much the same way that genes replicate and evolve.  Of course, to make it work you need an unwitting citizenry.

I think the only way around this is a proliferation of education and information on the subtle techniques of coercive persuasion. If our society produced lots of non-partisan webinars and classes taught by citizen-activists on “Propaganda 101″ people could be exposed to the  uses and abuses of social psychology so that they’re not such easy targets.  More on that in a later post.

In 1999 the Stanford Law Review published “Availability Cascades and Risk Regulation,” an article co-authored by Cass Sunstein and Timur Kuran.  Sunstein served as Obama’s regulatory czar during 2009-2012.  Kuran is an economist and author of Private Truths, Public Lies:  The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification (1995) a fascinating look at how our individual willingness — or reticence — to express our real beliefs is what drives all of public opinion.

In fact, our willingness to say what we believe is what drives all public opinion.  All of it.  Yes, what you say or don’t say to your co-worker, classmate, or neighbor makes a difference in how they perceive the world.  At the epicenter of the ripple effect is our daily conversations in our daily lives.

The coddling of an idea like “marriage equality” through repetition — and the suppression of dissent — projects the illusion that “everybody’s believing it.” People shift their “beliefs” to conform to what they perceive everyone else believes.  Soon enough you’ve got a chain reaction.  It’s a bandwagon effect that’s helped along by political correctness  which, through the threat of smearing and isolating anyone who speaks “out of line,”enforces that illusion by creating a spiral of silence. In essence, this teases out a reverse bandwagon effect in dissenters.

 

Excuse me for speaking (Silly me, I thought I had a “right”)

Your right to think out loud is officially up for debate.   Last night the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia held a “panel discussion” on the topic “The Future of Free Speech.”  In it we were treated to the pros and cons of allowing human beings to speak their minds.  That’s what we’ve come to, and it’s appalling.

What next?  A panel discussion on the pros and cons of allowing human beings to breathe?

As with all such discussions, an elitist few take it upon themselves to tell the unwashed masses what they may and may not say — or by logical extension, what they may or may not think.  These self-appointed arbiters of speech and thought are nothing more than a clique or a mob that’s set itself up to control others.  It’s a power grab, and their thinly veiled guise is to claim to protect us all from “hate speech.”  In other words, it’s a protection racket.  There’s no way around this.

Everything about last night’s C-SPAN panel was disturbing:  the arrogance of the plaintiffs, the willingness of the defendants to play nice and even seem jovial about negotiating the rights of everyone else, and the venue itself, the Constitution Center, which seemed happy to give tyranny a day in court.  (No doubt there will be more to come.)   If you care to check it out, here’s the link:  http://www.c-span.org/video/?318476-1/free-speech-us

Proclaiming the Resurrection: Freedom Through Song, Part IV

Christ is Risen!

This video is from a Beirut shopping mall in 2011 when a group of Christians coordinated the sudden singing of the “Jesus is Risen” song to the surprise of many passers-by.  As we remember and pray for all Christians persecuted in the Middle East and throughout the world, we can take heart through their witness.  The joy and the fearlessness of these singers is contagious and beautiful.  Take in the English subtitles as you hear gospel truth proclaimed in the Arabic:   “Jesus is risen from the dead, defeating death by death . . .”  What a tribute to the power of Love over hate and death.

Indeed, He is Risen!  Alleluia!

 

 

Political Correctness and the Cult Mindset

My essay in the Federalist today is about Americans’ woeful ignorance of the techniques of brainwashing.  Click here to read:  “Cults in Our Midst:  Patty Hearst and the Brainwashing of America.”  My take is that it’s been exactly 40 years since Patty Hearst stunned the nation by robbing a bank with her radical comrades from “The Symbionese Liberation Army,” two months after they kidnapped and brainwashed her.

They started the way any bully or cult leader pushes an agenda:  by isolating the individual and separating the person from all relationships the aggressor can’t control.   Political correctness depends on this sort of thing.  It’s a program of behavior modification through language control.  It seeks to impose language that vilifies people who don’t conform so that they are separated and isolated from others. (You know the drill:  “bigot,” etc.)

Interestingly, the term “brainwashing” has become politically incorrect.  We should ask ourselves: Why?  The term simply comes from the Chinese/Maoist expression “hse nao” which means to “wash the brain” so that other thoughts can be programmed into it. Is the word politically incorrect because it’s a false concept?  No.  It’s politically incorrect because it is  true.  It’s very real.

If Americans understood the processes and techniques of coercive persuasion, they’d become more immune to them.  Political correctness would lose its hold, just as a magician’s tricks lose their appeal when you see them exposed.

Here are some brief excerpts from my essay, which I hope you’ll read:

In a sense, political correctness, though more subtle, is analogous to the dark closet in which Patty Hearst was isolated, blindfolded, and incessantly propagandized. It serves to silence us and create the conditions in which the arbiters of correctness can tear down the old world view and rebuild it in their image. We’re told being one of them is to be morally superior, on the right side of history. Those who oppose it are labeled, repeatedly and loudly: bigot, racist, homophobe.

In Cults in our Midst, Singer warned that cult techniques “should be studied and revealed so that citizens can be taught countermeasures in order to avoid being exploited by such groups.” She also cautioned: “The psychotechnology of thought reform is not going to go away… Education, information and vigilance are constantly needed if we are to keep us, and our minds, free.”