There’s a deeper purpose to the First Amendment: It Protects Your Right to a Private Life and Personal Relationships

In my latest Federalist piece I explore a much more profound reason for the First Amendment than we’re used to thinking about. It protects your right to form families and friendships. To better understand the connection, try this thought experiment. Imagine being unable to express your ideas to others, while they are unable to express theirs to you. No one may deviate from Big Media’s and Big Tech’s approved narratives in what they may say or write. Where do you end up in that state of affairs if it’s allowed to persist? You end up in a vacuum in which there’s no real conversation or thought exchanged. Relationships, and the potential for relationships, drastically erodes in such a vacuum. As does all private life. We end up in a miserable state of social isolation, an isolation that prepares the ground for a more authoritarian state.

Here’s an excerpt from my essay:

Political philosopher Hannah Arendt noted that all totalitarian systems depend upon cultivating social isolation in people. Isolation renders people powerless. So it’s no wonder that freedom of expression is always first on the chopping block during and after authoritarian takeovers. A cursory look at communist and fascist governments in the 20th century confirms that they’re always intent on destroying the entire sphere of private life and relationships.

I think if more people understood free speech in this light, they’d be more inclined to protect it. Because no one wants to be alone. You can read the whole piece at this link: How Ending Freedom of Expression Gives Up Your Right to a Private Life

I refuse to be labelled “White.” I am “racial non-conforming.”

It’s been a long time since I checked a box for race when filling out a nosy form.  I used to find the question merely annoying. Today I find it enormously hostile as well as hopeless. Think about what you’re being ordered to do when you “check the box.” You are commanded to allow a faceless bureaucracy to define who you are. What’s your “color?” What’s your “ethnicity?” And so on.  Well, screw that.

Such questions are demeaning and dehumanizing because they obviously try to force us all into identity boxes. They insist you shut yourself into a darker time of history where you are pre-judged and demonized. Forever. I’d feel that way no matter what I looked like. To get a picture of how the “intersectionality” game works, take a look at this youtube video (which will likely be taken down for being politically incorrect) showing how people are “scored” according to their oppressor or victim status:

Let’s face it. If we are going to be living under a socialist/communist “Administration” we have to expect to be dehumanized through such pigeon-holing in more and more areas of life.  Critical Race Theory (CRT) is the re-packaging of an ancient tactic that poisons human relationships by shoving people into roles of oppressor or victim — or, today, the moniker “ally” which is intended to give “oppressors” a false sense of security.

One of the worst things about identity politics like CRT is how it serves to cultivate and enforce hostilities, especially where no antagonisms ever existed before. It worms its way into family relationships and friendships. Today we are being told that if you are defined as “white” you are automatically a racist whether you know it or not. There are no solutions, just false confessions. This is disastrous for any hope of a civil society, for any hope of goodwill or friendship. Don’t play that game. The least we can do is to REFUSE to allow others to define who we are based on what we look like.

Refuse to check the box

So I refuse to identify as “white,” and I hope you will too. I will also take to task anyone who casually insists I am “white.” I’ll try to be polite, but I’ll use their language and flatly state that I’m “racial non-conforming.”  I also reject any other classification such as “cis-gender” or “heteronormative” or any such bullshit.  It’s all poison intended to sow dehumanization and misery and loneliness in society.  No person of good will participates in such things, at least not if they are self-aware.   

The good news is that we are all human. We have names. We have unique personalities and experiences. If only we could clear the fog to see all of that. Or at least to WANT to see the real people behind the phony labels.  I hope you will agree.  Imagine how much more joy we could all take in life if we weren’t such pathetic navel-gazers. We could create real art. We could have real conversations.  We could build things. We could make real friends.  Love would prevail over the hostilities and fear. Isn’t that what we all should want?

Morale Booster: A Riot of a Dance Party!

I recently posted a depressing little follow-up on my Federalist article about the connection between social isolation and totalitarianism. As promised, today I offer a morale booster as a happy chaser to that bitter shot. You may have already seen the Ricky Rebel YouTube video “BLM Riot Turns into MAGA YMCA Dance Party” in Beverly Hills. It’s up to two million views now. If you haven’t seen it, take a look here! (assuming YouTube hasn’t yet censored it):

First off, I never heard of Ricky Rebel until this, even though he’s a relatively famous performer. I imagine he’ll be invited to some Trump rallies after this. Second, and more importantly, this little number should cheer up any American no matter how they feel about Trump. Most of us have had enough of the dismal division. People are starving for friendship and fun and happiness. This song is all about coming together as Americans, about being happy instead of miserable, about American optimism and our common humanity. The “YMCA” tune is, as always, catchy. There was some grumbling by activists that “YMCA” is supposed to be the “anthem of the gay movement” and is therefore “sacred,” and shouldn’t have the letters MAGA replacing it in parody. Really? Oh, please. Please.

Just watching this thing is uplifting — and gives a brilliantly hilarious retort to all of the violence and intimidation thrown our way by self-supremacists who pretend to be for “social justice.” The backdrop is the “Trump Unity Bridge” driving through Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. That’s a large festooned SUV towing a trailer that carries a multitude of Trump-mania — colorful signs and flags and slogans and a replica Statue of Liberty — and more. Ricky Rebel is absolutely effusive prancing and dancing around the intersection at Beverly Dr. as police officers make sure he doesn’t step over the boundaries. The mood is ecstatic. You’ll want to watch this more than once. It’s a shot in the arm. A blast out of these dreary times!

Here’s a Try at some 2020 Foresight — on Human Interaction

Hi. I’m back.  I thought I’d write one post just before 2019 bites the dust.  Yes, it’s been a long hiatus since I posted the video of Marshall McLuhan explaining how “the medium IS the message.” Maybe I’ll explain the hiatus in a future post.

In the meantime, going into 2020, I’d like to pick up on where I left off with McLuhan.  Consider his amazing insight: that we are shaped more by the environment a medium creates than by the content within the medium itself.

So here’s a little thought experiment. Imagine you cross paths with someone you know to be a nasty troll on Twitter, but the person doesn’t know you know that. You strike up a friendly conversation. Maybe you just ask a question about something local, perhaps the parking situation outside the coffee shop or store you’re in.

The person might still be “off.” But I think your face-to-face experience would be very different and likely more positive than any experience contaminated by the environment of social media. 

Why is that?  McLuhan might say that it is because media — especially electronic media — take us out of our natural human context. Media environments set us up more easily for deception too, because they conceal parts of the big picture of whole human interaction.  For example, when someone’s on an audio phone call, they can roll their eyes without offending the listener no matter who it is. And people driving down the highway feel freer to honk (or worse) showing annoyance with other drivers. This is not news, of course. We treat people differently in environments that provide more anonymity than we do face to face.  Even simple written communication causes a lot of human context to get lost, including texting. We lose the big picture: mood, tone, eye contact, body language, nuances, true intent.

So it’s no wonder Twitter is such a cesspit.  There are no real rules of decorum and a lot of anonymity, which is a nasty combination. (Twitter’s censorship policies are, of course, purely political and not about maintaining any sort of decorum)

Anonymity can be a good thing, just as privacy is.  But anonymity does not make for the building of personal relationships.  Or community.  So the foresight going into 2020 is that a better world depends in large part on the health of our personal associations. Which in turn depends on more direct communication. A big key is to understand that loneliness — or fear of social rejection — is often the root of a lot of negative behavior in people.

Maybe you feel as much as I do that 2020 will be a pivotal year with some strong headwinds ahead. If so, one resolution might be to cut back on the digital stuff and increase more direct communication with others. And let’s all resolve to have a happy new year.

Let’s Build More Awareness of Mob Psychology

Zombies from 1968 horror film “Night of the Living Dead.” (Wikipedia Commons)

The weird thing about mobs is that they tend to be made up of individuals with little or no self-awareness.  Participation in a mob mentality strikes me as a way of compensating for that loss. People tend to lose themselves — and get a false sense of purpose — from taking part in mob action. For example, consider the persona of “social justice warrior.” Those who adopt the SJW persona pretend to be aware of inequality.  Why?  My guess is that’s because they are so unaware of what true inequality is — that it stems from ignorance and a lack of experience in dealing with real people on a real level.  They resist honest interaction, honest relationships.  And nothing could be more self-destructive than that. It’s a zombie-like attitude that actually perpetuates inequality.

Take the case of “Barrett Wilson” — a pseudonym.  He recently wrote a piece for Quillette, entitled “I was the Mob Until the Mob Came for Me.”  He provides a chilling picture of mob behavior.  Having been a part of the “social justice industry” Wilson participated in ganging up on others and smearing them as “racists” and “sexists.”  Why?  Because it felt good.  He explained that he got an emotional rush from behaving that way: “For years, I was blind to my own gleeful savagery.”  Of course, at a certain point the savage mob turned on him.  That’s the nature of the beast.  He lost his well paying job because of the accusations and total lack of due process in the social justice industry.  Now he delivers food for a living.  He’ll lose that job too if the mob finds out who he is.

The silver lining is that Wilson realized that getting off the mob train — and doing honest work — has allowed him to recover some sanity in life, and best of all, appreciation for others:   “It’s led me to rediscover how to interact with people in the real world.  I’m a kinder and more respectful person now. . . ”

I wrote up a piece about this in the Federalist last week.  You can read it here:  What to Learn from the Social Justice Warrior Who was Eaten by His Own Mob.”  The more aware we become of mob psychology, the more able we are to think on our own and relate to others.

The SPLC Scam

What would the Southern Poverty Law Center do if there was no poverty? If there was no hate? Or ignorance?  I suppose its leaders would invent all those things.  Because if you examine the SPLC’s operations, it certainly cultivates ignorance, hate, and poverty — perhaps to keep itself rolling in dough.  For more on this, take a look at my recent Federalist article:  “12 Ways the Southern Poverty Law Center is Scam to Profit from Hate-Mongering.”

The tragic irony is that the United States was on the road to real racial healing before self-professed watchdog groups like the SPLC got addicted to the practice of tearing the scabs off of the nation’s wounds and pouring salt into them.  Division is the name of their game:  isolating people, de-humanizing them, labeling them as “haters” or “bigots” and inciting mob anger at anyone who dares to express a different perspective on life than the one the self-appointed authorities at the SPLC have assigned to us all.  Sadly, the SPLC uses pathetic and scattered cases of “white supremacists” as cover to lump in and label anyone who doesn’t buy into their agenda.  And since 95 percent of all media outlets do their bidding, that sort of stereotyping has an impact on creating a society of skittish people loath to treat others as human until they check in with Big Brother.  It’s an ancient dynamic that totalitarian regimes have always depended upon to keep themselves in power.

I think Alexis deTocqueville said in best in his work “Democracy in America” when he noted that the essence of tyranny is to divide people, to make sure they do not love one another. This is the purpose of political correctness, especially as applied by groups like the SPLC.

The truth is that people everywhere are starving for real friendship and freedom. They certainly don’t crave regimes of PC silencing that prevent them from getting to know one another.  There is a loneliness epidemic.  But friendship can’t happen without real conversation and civil society — both of which are shut down by SPLC-styled rhetoric. But friendship — which can only happen through free conversation — doesn’t serve the bottom line of organizations devoted to sowing seeds of discord. It’s all so sad and unnecessary. People of goodwill must confront and end this inhumane practice, which, ironically, is always pushed “in the name of humanity.”

About Blog Dormancy

Asleep at the keyboard. (“Sheila the PC Cat” @ Wikimedia Commons)

My lulls in social media use and posting to my blog come down to two things: aversion and fracturing.

First, I’ve built up quite an aversion to social media. Have you? The sad fact is that we live in an increasingly uncivil society, and the trend line only shows that the vulgarity and hostility fueled by political correctness is getting worse.  That’s not constructive for getting anything done.

The second issue is that extensive internet use — and social media in particular — is disruptive to the process of deep thinking. Constant mental gear shifting has a fracturing effect on the mind. You can read about this phenomenon in Nicholas Carr’s excellent book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. I’ve been trying to avoid the constant browsing that the internet and social media require, because so much of what I am trying to explore in my writing requires a very deep focus.

Our age is distracting enough, especially with the growing attacks on civil discourse.  The recent rioting intended to shut down speech at UC Berkeley and NYU have shown beyond a doubt that we’re in a bad way in that department.  So it’s more important than ever to nurture one’s ability to think clearly and deeply. And independently. Then we should try to spread that habit to others so that they and all of society can flourish in an atmosphere of civility.

I thank all who sent me messages through the contact form.  I very much appreciate your thoughts and support.  If I missed getting back to you about a question you had, I regret that. (Correspondence has become a bit more unwieldy too.)

Going forward, I hope to intensify my efforts on the subject of propaganda awareness.  Propaganda — along with its latter day spawn, political correctness —  is anathema to independent thinking, which means it is hostile to human conversation and friendship.

In the future I hope to post regularly at least twice a month.  Please subscribe if you’re interested!

On Friendship, Faith, and Martyrdom

Faith Abbott McFadden (1931-2011)

October 6 is the feast day of Saint Faith of Agen.  Few people are aware that there is actually a saint named “Faith” in the martyrologies of the Church.  I took the occasion of her feast day to write about my friendship with the late Faith Abbott McFadden, who was senior editor of The Human Life Review until her death in 2011.   The good folks at Review posted my reminiscences on their blog today.

Faith was a champion of the fight for life, and she was a huge influence on me.  She and I had a 20 year correspondence in which we shared our observations on the changing culture and life in general.  Today’s struggle to create a culture that respects and values human life was central to Faith’s work.

We both understood that to openly identify as pro-life is an act that will get you socially rejected in most social and academic circles. And to persist in doing so – to refuse to trade in the Truth for the shiny objects of worldly “rewards” no matter the price — is where true martyrdom begins. Martyrs who hold that fast to the Faith are willing to shed blood if it comes to that.  That’s the story of Saint Faith of Agen.  Though mention of that saint never came up in our correspondence — I only discovered Saint Faith recently — today I seek to link the devotions of both women.

And so I offer this excerpt from the Review’s blog on the feast day of Saint Faith:

Saint Faith’s refusal to renounce Christ and sacrifice to pagan gods got her tortured and killed. And that’s what true martyrdom is about, really:  refusing to bow down to idolatry under pain of punishment, and even death.  It means holding fast to Faith.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and an old French adage rings truer than ever:  “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.”  My favorite translation of that is this: “The more things ‘change,’ the more you get same old, same old, same old.”  Indeed, as we witness the lightening erosion of religious liberty in today’s transformed America, we are increasingly facing the same choice as Saint Faith and all the saints: true worship or idolatry? God or mammon?

Such are the things my friend Faith and I reflected on.  And I can hear Faith adding a stoic “Natch” to all of the above.  I believe her outreach to me — and to everyone — was built on her understanding that God leads us to do his work through friendship, through one-on-one personal relationships, influencing the lives of others as well as our own lives.

I still fall short whenever I try to express the impact her letters had—and continue to have—on my life. And why wouldn’t I fall short? Why wouldn’t anyone who ponders the influence of another person on their life fall short in sizing it up?

I think the answer lies in the eternal mystery of love and the limitless trajectories a life can take. It lies in the fact that every human life is an entire universe of God’s making. There is just no way that the effect of one life upon another can be measured or predicted.

You can read the whole post here:  http://www.humanlifereview.com/9184-2/