Just released! “Jephthah’s Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family ‘Equality'”

Cover image:  “The Sacrifice of Jephthah’s Daughter,” William Blake, c. 1803 (British National Museum)

This month six adult children from same sex households are submitting an amicus brief to the Supreme Court opposing same sex marriage.  Two of them — Robert Oscar Lopez and Rivka Edelman — have co-authored/edited a just released book which explores the fallout from the social experimentation we are all living through.  Please click here and “look inside” the text of Jephthah’s Daughters at Amazon.  I hope you decide to buy a copy.

The book is a rich anthology of articles and testimonials that describe experiences not discussed in the media.  According to Lopez, “We can help the reader understand why something viewed by so many as beneficial was actually harmful to so many more.”

I am honored to be a contributor, having written the introduction to the chapters on society and the globe.  There are six sections in the book.  The first, “Children,” explores the experiences of children who are separated from at least one natural parent.  This can happen in many different ways, but children of same sex households are separated from a parent by design.  Alana Newman who blogs at AnonymousUs.org was donor-conceived and wrote the introduction to this section.

Section II “Women,” focuses on the effects of artificial reproductive technologies on the health and the lives and psyches of women.  The introduction was written by Jennifer Lahl, founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture.

Section III “Society,” reviews the whole Pandora’s box that same sex marriage is unleashing against healthy human relationships, against children, and against freedom.  Some of the vehicles are transgenderism, polygamy, incest, and sex education as a means of state control of children.  Section IV, “Globe,” discusses the emergence of the LGBT ideology throughout the world and what the growing commodifying of children means for human freedom (hint:  a form of bondage, a form of slavery.)  Yours truly wrote the introduction, and I suppose the bottom line I can’t escape is that this movement is putting us on the fast track to centralized power, and probably on a global scale.  In many ways, it’s a central planner’s dream come true.

Section V, entitled “Gays” includes reflections by those whom the LGBT movement claims to help, but does not.  Jean-Pier Delaume-Myard notes in his introduction that the LGBT agenda actually leads to inequality for gays, not equality.

Section VI, “Bards” explores the McCarthyism of the LGBT agenda — in the arts, the media, academia and throughout society.  Its introduction is written by Michelle Shocked, a world-renowned singer-songwriter twice nominated for Grammy awards.  She asks:  “How did a crusader for children’s rights become the target of a smear campaign?  Answer:  The same way a champion for artists rights did.  By identifying the nexus of non-existent nonsense that is much easier to attach ad hominem to than the question at hand.”

This is an extremely important book with perspectives that have been overlooked — and, in fact, blocked — throughout the entire debate on marriage.  Bobby Lopez founded the International Children’s Rights Institute because, at root, his fight is really about the rights of children.  Children have the right to know their origins.  And nobody has the right to turn them into commodities.

 

 

 

Bookcase: “Propaganda” by Edward Bernays

Cover of 2005 edition of Edward Bernays’ 1928 classic, “Propaganda.”

Propaganda is a little volume, written nearly 90 years ago by Edward Bernays, who happened to be the nephew of Sigmund Freud.  Both he and Walter Lippmann –who authored Public Opinion – wrote about the  “manufacture of consent.”  Or how to manipulate and control public opinion.

I have three observations to share today about this work:  1) Its general theme about manipulation of the “mass mind” is more important than ever; 2) Much of it is outdated because the mechanics of propaganda today have grown ever more toxic; 3)  It seems as though the folks most interested in manipulating the mass mind are the same people who control the study of propaganda in academia.  I see virtually no discussion in the public square about how propaganda works.

The general theme of Bernays’ book can be condensed in this assertion:

“We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way our democratic society is organized.  Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.”

So does this mean we all accept our ideas from these “men we have never heard of” for the common good, like obeying traffic laws?  Or does it mean we cooperate in building a mechanized society that attempts to squash civil inquiry in order to promote a monolithic agenda of central control?  Here’s another nugget from Bernays:

“We are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses.”

In totalitarian fashion, Bernays sees this as a good thing, that controlling people’s behavior is necessary to avoid chaos and confusion in society.

Bernays also stated that “Business today is taking the public into partnership.”  That may have seemed true in 1928, but it’s now outdated. I’d say it’s actually the other way around.  The government is absorbing and amassing corporations at breakneck speed today.

Whereas the propaganda of yesterday was more focused on the manufacture of consent, today the main efforts of propagandists seem to be the squashing of dissent in order to protect its monolithic machine.

Most eerie to me is that those who would promote independent thought do not seem to be in the forefront of the study of social psychology and propaganda methods.   Instead, the study of propaganda and communications seems to be controlled by folks in our universities who have an affinity for central planning.

For example, the author of the introduction to this 2005 edition of Propaganda is Mark Crispin Miller who seems cozy enough with politicians who seek to build a centrally-controlled society built on PC-controlled group think. In fact, the entire field of behavioral insight appears to be dominated by people who want to regulate our minds to the nth degree.  Many come out of the University of Chicago, including Cass Sunstein, Obama’s former regulatory czar, and co-author of Nudge. The extreme left linguist Noam Chomsky is another master of explaining propaganda and yet he is fine with the dictates of political correctness and seems intent on squashing independent thought in order to build a centralized state.  It doesn’t take much reading between his lines to see this.  This is exactly the sort of hoarding of information about self-awareness that Doris Lessing warned against, and which I discussed in a previous post.

I think the best antidote to living under a tyranny of extremist thinking is to cultivate truly independent thinking.  And independent thinking does not come about through adherence to political correctness. It happens through real relationships built on real trust with real people in real communities.

Why Study History? Because “WTF?” is a Bad Alternative Question.

Sane folks study history because they know how important it is to understand human behavior and learn from experience.   We ought to understand the psychological imprint on our society so that we might work with it to get a clearer picture of reality and thereby learn how to live freer and more harmonious lives together. Unfortunately, the instability and terror in the world today feels like deja vu all over again. Worse, the serious study of history in our schools and universities has been diluted and downgraded for decades now. Not good.

According to historian Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius (whose superb lecture series “Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century” I recommended in a previous post) wars create psychological transformations that stay with a society and a civilization.  That’s a chilling thought.  Because it’s not enough to try to understand war itself.  We need to understand the human psychology that is both cause and effect of human conflict.  With this in mind, please listen to Professor Liulevicius speak brilliantly about the impact of World War I in the clip below:

 He notes: “The First World War should have taught us something about the intensity of emotions that can seize entire peoples, nations, and societies when they’re in the grip of crisis conditions.  The tragedy of the First World War was so great, so extensive, so huge in scale, that afterwards people found it difficult to wrap their minds around the motivations that led people to fight, kill and die for a cause.”

As the philosopher George Santanyana stated: “Those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  I think we should all be able to understand this on a very personal level. Just imagine you have no clear memory of where you have been in life. You have no known experiences that can direct your intentions.  Only intense emotion.  Where would you go?  What would you do? Chances are, you’d just grope around blindly and live the proverbial brutish life that ignorance so often affords those detached from reality.  You’d mimic others. You’d be great fodder for demagogues. This ignorance of experience and psychology promises insanity and misery.  It also causes us to lose touch with our shared humanity as we descend into our collective dementia.

Demagogues thrive on the ignorance of history because it’s so effective in preventing clear thinking and civil discourse that puts a check on their power.  They also revise and distort the historical record until not much is left of it. They tend to create crises, and then exploit those crises.  And afterwards the survivors are left among the ruins, bewildered. Some wail in innocence.  Those who saw it coming may cocoon themselves.  Many indulge more in blind emotions — of vengeance and rage — than in sober thought.  The few Cassandras who tried to raise warning flags will either be lost to the writing of that history, or if victorious like Churchill, write it.

But too many will scratch their heads with nothing better to say than “WTF?”

That’s why we must study history.

 

 

On Self-Reliance, Kids, Willie Mays, and Blasting Caps

Below is an old public service announcement in which baseball legend Willie Mays helps kids build awareness of the dangers of blasting caps (dynamite detonators) that they might come across while playing.  The 1950’s was a time when children played more freely outdoors than they do today.   Back then the answer to the problem of unattended blasting caps was to teach kids safety.  Not to tell parents to shelter them indoors and supervise them in their play 24/7.

This Willie Mays spot is astonishing in so many ways.  It illustrates that kids back then were far more independent and self-reliant than today.  We’ve fallen quite a ways in helping kids learn to navigate life.  Last week I wrote about this in the Federalist here: “Kids are Casualties in the War Against Self-Reliance.”

Constant hovering over kids to protect them teaches them dependence, not self-reliance. And the helicopter-parenting trend seems to correlate with a society that’s grown overly dependent on government.  It also correlates with a consumerist society that seems to indulge in excessive doses of passive entertainment from ever-present electronic devices.  Too many have forgotten that the process of growing up is really a process of controlled risk taking.  If we delay children from learning life skills when they are ready to learn them, we stunt their growth as well as their ability to pass those skills on to the next generation.  It creates a vacuum and it promotes a social climate more tolerant of a State that ever more aggressively monitors parents and families.

I wrote about the case of two very attentive Maryland parents who have been harassed by child protective services for allowing their children to walk home from a park unattended.   The kids were eager and ready to do so and had permission from their parents, but no matter.  As government grows, we will see more meddling in the parent-child relationship.  There is a connection between allowing parents to raise self-reliant kids and maintaining a free society.

Okay, we’re living in a big fat nanny state. That’s a euphemism, though. The reality is that central planners have always viewed a child’s first teachers of self-reliance—mothers and fathers—as enemies of the State. The less people learn about basic life skills (think thrift or basic survival) and how things work, the better it is for the bureaucratic tyranny. We ought to keep this in mind every time someone questions our right to think for ourselves or exercise self-reliance.

 

Bookcase: “The Rape of the Mind” by Joost A. M. Meerloo

Joost A. M. Meerloo, M. D. (1903-1976) Author of “The Rape of the Mind”

If you fear we’re living in an age of mass delusion — as do I — then you must read this extraordinary book by Dutch psychiatrist Joost A. M. Meerloo.  “The Rape of the Mind” is subtitled:  “The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing.”  Had it it seen more light of day since it was published in 1956, it may well have served as inoculation against political correctness and groupthink.

Free speech is essential to preventing mass delusion.  Meerloo wrote: “Where thinking is isolated without free exchange with other minds, delusion may follow.”  He adds, chillingly, “Is this not what happened in Hitler Germany where free verification and self-correction were forbidden?”

Meerloo’s writing shows immense compassion for our human frailties.  He understood just how difficult it is to push back against the social pressures to conform.  But push back we must.   Meerloo’s first line of the foreward reads:

“This book attempts to depict the strange transformation of the free human mind into an automatically responding machine.”

We should tremble at the fact that he wrote that back in 1956.  Below is a bit of a synopsis.

Part I “The Techniques of Individual Submission” describes how human beings can be conditioned to do just about anything.  Part II “The Techniques of Mass Submission” explores how totalitarian thinking gets rooted, how man becomes “robotized,” and how demagogues use fear, emotional blackmail, and “semantic fog” to mobilize masses.  Part III “Unobtrusive Coercion” is perhaps the most fascinating of all the fascinating sections. In it, Meerloo provides his theory as to how totalitarians can be “molded” literally from the nursery. He delves into mental contagion and mass delusion and the primal human fear of isolation.  He describes the coercive creep of technology and its paradoxes.  Ditto the bureaucratic mind.  Finally, Part IV “In Search of Defenses” is a welcomed prescription on how to fight back.

Before humans can preserve true freedom, we must first be aware of our inner contradictions:

“Democracy, by its very nature will always have to fight against dictatorship from without and destructiveness from within.  Democratic freedom has to battle against both the individual’s inner will to power and his urge to submit to other people … Essentially, democracy means the right to develop yourself and not to be developed by others.  Yet to develop yourself is impossible without the duty of giving your energy and attention to the development of others.”

In the end, freedom truly depends upon friendship.  (You can read a great article on that here.) After all, political correctness is primarily a tool for separating people.  Clearly, our narcissistic society is oblivious to this. But for me, “The Rape of the Mind” cracks the code. It is a must read for our times.

Bookcase: “Prisons We Choose to Live Inside” Doris Lessing on Fighting Groupthink

Doris Lessing with 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature (IBI Times)

This post follows up on my last post about Doris Lessing’s treatise against groupthink.   It also follows up on my previous list of recommended books.  I chose them (and there will be more!) to help us “piece together what exactly is going on in our brains and in our relationships that seem to be producing the delusional state our society is in.”

It’s critical that we stand athwart the march to groupthink and shout “Stop!”  The more of us who do this as individuals, the better.  And in fact, Lessing noted that it is the Individual — not the group — who changes history.  Here is a wonderful quote in which Lessing expects that systems allowing independent thought will win in the end over those who don’t — because of the power of the individual over the group:

“In the long term, I think the race will go to the democracies, the flexible societies.  I know that if one looks around the world at the moment, this may seem a rather over-optimistic view . . .  But is it my belief that it is always the individual, in the long run, who will set the tone, provide the real development in a society.

Looking back, I see what a great influence an individual may have, even an apparently obscure person, living a small, quiet life.  It is individuals who change societies, give birth to ideas, who, standing out against tides of opinion, and change them. This is as true in open societies as it is in oppressive societies, but of course the casualty rate in the closed societies is higher.  Everything that has ever happened to me has taught me to value the individual, the person who cultivates and preserves her or his own ways of thinking, who stands out against group thinking, group pressures.  Or who, conforming no more than is necessary to group pressures, quietly preserves individual thinking and development. . . .

“It is my belief that an intelligent and forward-looking society would do everything possible to produce such individuals, instead of, as happens very often, suppressing them.  But if governments, if cultures, don’t encourage their production, then individuals and groups can and should.”

You’ll find so much to think about in this little 77-page guidebook about why we must oppose groupthink.  Lessing writes about how brainwashing works.  She is astonished that there is virtually no information available to the public and schools about the mechanics of group psychology — to help us build awareness of how it works within us.  She concludes the reason is that it’s the sort of knowledge that would make it more difficult for elites to gain mass compliance.

I’ll end on a very politically incorrect quote from Lessing’s words, which she wrote 30 years ago:

“ . . . we are living in a time when the great over-simplifiers are very powerful – Communism, fundamentalist Islam.”

Order “Prisons We Choose to Live Inside” by midnight tonight!

Acclaimed Author Doris Lessing: Our Future Depends on Resisting Groupthink

British author and Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing (1919-2013)

Doris Lessing died in 2013 at the age of 94, just a few years after winning the Nobel Prize for literature.  She identified as a communist for many years and was also known as an icon of modern feminism. But she came to firmly reject communism as well as the label “feminist.”  A New York Times article from 30 years ago describes how her politically correct followers became confused and annoyed by her exploration into different ideas and trains of thought.

What’s especially fascinating to me is how Lessing developed some keen insights into how humans behave in groups and how we handle dissent.  She could see the noxious effects of groupthink on human relationships.  It disturbed her so much that in 1985 she gave five lectures on the subject, which are contained in a little known volume entitled “Prisons we Choose to Live Inside” (1986).  

It’s a gem, especially given Lessing’s legacy and renown. Consider these two passages that pretty much sum up the mechanics of political correctness:

“ .. . we can stand in a room full of dear friends, knowing that nine-tenths of them, if the pack demands it, will become our enemies. .. . But there is always the minority who do not and it seems to me that our future, the future of everybody, depends on this minority.”

” . . .  whenever people are actually forced to recognize, from real experience, what we are capable of, it is so shocking that we can’t take it in easily. Or take it in at all; we want to forget it.”

Lessing also contemplates the effects of technology and how poorly we use it:

“I believe that people coming after us will marvel that on the one hand we accumulated more and more information about our behavior, while on the other, we made no attempt at all to use it to improve our lives.”

In fact, our blindness to the realities of our own patterns of human behavior will be our downfall.  If we could just take a clinical look at the mechanics of groupthink and how it hurts us, we’d all become freer and happier.

Lessing also ventured to say that she believed that critical knowledge of human behavior is actually being hoarded by elites in order to amass their own power, prompting her to ask this:

“How is it that so-called democratic movements don’t make a point of instructing their members in the laws of crowd psychology, group psychology?”

Today everyone would do well to read this handy 77-page volume.  You may not agree with every opinion Lessing includes in it (I didn’t) but her insights are absolutely essential if we are to remain a free society.  I’ll offer more quotes from Lessing’s work in future posts.  I absolutely love it.

 

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.

Minnesota’s Transgender Policy: Schools as Twilight Zones

Today at the Federalist I write about how the Minnesota State High School League wants to inject gender politics into school sports.  It’s quite an overreach and an assault on families.  And it’s a top agenda item for the transgender lobby, which is pushing it hard. The idea is to allow students to play on either a boys or girls team, depending on their “gender identity,” not their biological sex which is rooted in physical reality.

Unfortunately, we live in an age in which we are compelled to point out the obvious because so many have become detached from physical reality, including folks who are just plain tired and wish to bury their head in the sand hoping it will all go away.  It won’t go away on its own.  We need to confront assaults on reality and common sense whenever they’re imposed on us.  Otherwise we end up in the Twilight Zone.  Down the rabbit hole.  And the world will just keep getting more surreal and less healthy for us and our children.

The MSHSL plans to vote on this policy on Thursday morning, December 4 at 9:30.  The place is the MSHSL Board Room at 2100 Freeway Blvd., Brooklyn Center, MN  You can get more details by clicking here.  If you are concerned about it and in the area, it’s definitely worth showing up, perhaps with a sign or placard to express opposition.

The other side — flush with cash and media support — has always depended on projecting a manufactured illusion of support, always way disproportionate to any actual level of public support.  Be prepared for that.

In my article, I list 12 reasons why the MSHSL is a terrible idea (for those who need to hear them):

  1. It’s totally anti-privacy.
  2. It drives children to consider physically unhealthy and drastic, irreversible options.
  3. It encourages children to reject their bodies and discourages children from accepting their bodies.
  4. It’s psychologically destabilizing.
  5. It attacks the child-parent relationship.
  6. It shows no respect for child development.
  7. It’s totally anti-Title IX.
  8. It promotes a double standard about rights and responsibilities.
  9. It contributes to destruction of any universal code of human dignity.
  10. It creates unprotected categories for bullying.
  11. Conscience protections are a lie.
  12. It assaults independent thought and enforces cult-like conformity.

 

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.