Our Gordian Knot

“Alexander Cuts the Gordian Knot” by Jean-Simone Berthelemy, 18th c.

A complex problem is sometimes referred to as a Gordian Knot. You may know the Greek legend or myth in which an oracle prophesied that anyone who could undo the complex and intricate knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia would rule all of Asia.   Many tried and failed.  But when Alexander the Great was confronted with it, he didn’t bother with convention.  Legend has it that he stepped back and just sliced right through the knot with his sword. We sometimes call this kind of solution “thinking outside the box.”

I ponder this story as I consider how crazy and complicated our modern problems have become.

In my teen years at school we used to refer to the news as “current events.”  Homework sometimes included looking at a newspaper or a network news program.  Then there’d be a report to the class.

Fast forward to today and things are moving so fast and furious in unpredictable directions that “current events” seems an antiquated term.  We have layers upon layers of crises that have congealed into a problem so humongous that it confronts us like a complex Gordian knot of cosmic proportions. How can the damage ever be undone? The past month alone contains enough angst and lunacy to last generations. We’ve seen the expose of Planned Parenthood’s racket in trafficking organs from aborted children, with graphic videos that give us a fresh perspective on the horrors and sorrows of abortion.  Then we have the transgender hype being fed to us 24/7 by Hollywood and the media, with a ramped up campaign to push gender confusion hard onto school children.

And now that the Supreme Court has legally abolished marriage as a male-female institution, we are about to see the biggest piece of censorship legislation ever. It pretends to be an anti-discrimination bill and goes by the name “Equality Act.”  The idea is to mete out punishment to anyone who doesn’t get with the agenda to re-program en masse our language and our thoughts.  In particular, it aims to re-design everyone’s thoughts about personal relationships. That’s because ultimately all personal relationships emanate from organic marriage.  How so? you may ask. Because that’s the union that produces citizens who build communities in which other personal relationships are spawned.  Destabilize marriage and you’ve destabilized the basis for functioning families.  Without functioning, autonomous families, we can’t have functioning and self-reliant communities.  In the end, the State wins big.

But the landscape is becoming littered with more and more rabbit holes being dug on a daily basis by our government: data-mining, the replacement of personal medical care with medicine-by-bureaucracy, debilitating multi-trillion dollar debt, the cultivation of ignorance in the schools through enforced conformity by programs such as Common Core, the non-stop attacks on religion.

On the international scene, it’s just as much a Twilight Zone.  We have the Obama Administration’s weird Iran deal that puts the world closer to war. At the same time, the White House turns a blind eye to the mass killings of Christians in the Middle East.  The cult of ISIS marches on to replace the Rule of Law with Sharia Law. In the meantime, the Administration is intent on force-feeding the gay agenda on a global scale, including to under developed countries like Kenya where he lectured the leadership last month. The list goes on and on and on.

That, in a nutshell, is our Gordian Knot.  To be continued . . .

Mind Rape and Mass Delusion

Yesterday I had an article in the Federalist in which I explore some of the “hows” and the “whys” of the current cultural mess we are in.  It’s titled “How to Escape the Age of Mass Delusion.”   In it I quote at length from Joost Meerloo’s book “The Rape of the Mind,” which I discussed in a previous post, and which I would love to see widely read today.

No doubt you’ve noticed that we are deeply into a phase of “transformation” in which we are being told to step off of the solid ground of reality and take ourselves for a little walk through a large pool of quicksand.  The Bruce-Jenner-as-a-woman stunt is the latest signpost in our journey into the Twilight Zone. And not because Jenner says he wishes to be called “Caitlyn” or because he tells us he is a woman.  We generally all agree that he can say whatever he wishes however he wishes and dress as he wishes. The fact is that this has far less to do Bruce Jenner than it has to do with all the rest of us.  What’s going on here is a very hard sell of Anti-Reality by a few power elites who seem to control the media, Hollywood, and what passes for universities these days.

The problem is that Americans let their guard down and weren’t paying enough attention while the groundwork was being laid for this insanity. And once we are persuaded en masse — through threat of social punishment — to buy into the notion that Jenner is a woman, we have agreed as a society to descend into that rabbit hole.  This is a perfect trial balloon that shows how easily we can be manipulated to go along with just about anything. Not good. Such stunts amount to attempts at mind rape.  And we must resist.   In the article I note that love and laughter are the best antidotes to delusion.  Resistance involves outreach.  It means cultivating strong and healthy relationships and speaking truth in love.

I hope you get a chance to read my essay and share it.  Here’s an excerpt:

The whole image of such mass delusion in America is surrealistic, especially to comfortably insulated Americans who believe our first freedoms could never really be thrown away in the face of such a full-frontal, PC-induced attack. Most cannot grasp that such mobs are mentally detached from reality. And participants in the mob action cannot comprehend that they are actually cutting off their own freedom of expression, as well as everybody else’s.

Why would anyone want to build such a culture of coercion? In a word, power. “Equality” is not the reason for what is happening with such mobs. It is the pretext for what they are doing. Like all such deceptions, its sole purpose is as a vehicle to transfer power from individuals to an increasingly centralized state. The fuel, as usual, is the emotional blackmail of people of goodwill, the uses of mass mobilization to exploit that goodwill, then, finally, to render all such goodwill meaningless.

Three new articles out today on Armenian Genocide Centennial

Armenians marched by Ottoman soldiers, 1915

Please visit these links to read three articles I wrote, all published today on the commemoration of 100 Years since the Armenian Genocide.

The more I read history, especially of such tragedies, the more convinced I am that it is our one-on-one relationships based in trust that is key to our survival and to freedom.   My article in First Things focuses on that.  My article in The Weekly Standard identifies groupthink as the fuel that allows such things to happen.  And in the Federalist I give an overview of the genocide.
I’ll be writing more about this soon.  Thank you again for following my blog.

 

Centennial of the Armenian Genocide is April 24, 2015

Armenian mother kneeling beside dead child.

As the granddaughter of Armenian genocide survivors, I’ve been paying close attention to this year’s one hundredth anniversary of the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.  Lately, I’ve been immersing myself in reading and writing about it.  It’s depressing to say the least.  And draining.

But as the philosopher George Santayana warned, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  And I see a reflection of the Armenian Genocide in the mass slaughter of Christians in today’s Middle East.  So we absolutely must not forget history.  We must respect the historical record and resist all corruption of the language in speaking about that record.

While studying the genocide, I strived to connect all of the dots – the conditions of World War I when it all took place, the actions of the Ottoman government of Turkey to exterminate the Armenian Christians, the political differences among the Armenians themselves, the role of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and so much more.

I am so grateful to my grandfather for giving all of his descendants an extraordinary gift by chronicling his experiences in writing.  I can feel the fear and confusion as he describes how the police arrived in his village in the summer of 1915 with orders for all Armenians to leave their homes before sunrise.  A chaotic caravan formed.  And it was “Bedlam all around! The whining of the dogs, the lowing of the oxen, the bleating of the cows and sheep!  The wailing cries of the women. . .”  The wife of one villager was in active labor during the chaos, and was placed on a cart where she gave birth to a stillborn baby.  On another cart a villager placed his disabled adult daughter who could neither speak nor walk.  Her wailing was loud and pitiful and ended when “a police guard split her skull with the butt of his rifle.”

There are plenty more horrors to add to that one.  But there are also stories of great kindness and miracles along the way. And I am amazed to be able to map out my grandfather’s deportation route from his village in the Kayseri region in central Turkey.  The many places he passed through included a strenuous journey through the Taurus Mountains, the ancient Armenian city of Sis, down to Hama in Syria, and then Aleppo where huge numbers of Armenians were concentrated in filthy camp conditions.  He would later go to Adana and then board a ship from Mersin to get to Smyrna.  There he and my grandmother survived the Great Fire of Smyrna in 1922.  They managed to get to Greece, and then, finally America.

Through a great miracle my grandfather and his caravan avoided being deported to Der Zor, which was deep in the Syrian desert where much of the killing took place.

I will have a few pieces published soon on the genocide.  And I’ll post them on this blog.  In the meantime, a great resource to read up on it all is at http://www.armenian-genocide.org/online_exhibits.html

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.

 

 

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.

Tearing Down All the Berlin Walls

I can’t let this day go by without noting the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Below is a clip from President Reagan’s 1987 speech:  “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”  It still gives me chills.

The Berlin Wall was a symbol of separation.  Not a protective or defensive wall to keep invaders out  No, it was a prison wall intended to keep its people in.  To separate them from others.  To control their relationships with others.  That’s what it was about and what totalitarianism is always about.  I think there are lots of Berlin Walls in life.  Political correctness, cult mindsets, and manipulative behaviors all serve to build walls around us and between us, separating us from others.  We need to be vigilant when folks try to build them around us, and we need to tear them down, speaking truth in love.

Below is a video from that incredible day in 1989 when the wall came down.

In the end, the truth will always out.

 

 

“Bonds that Matter” Looking at the World through the Eyes of the Child

https://s3.amazonaws.com/lifesite/DSCN0245_1.JPG

Over a million marched in Paris in 2013 to support the right of the child to know both mother and father.

I’ve made a late-in-the-year resolution to keep up my blog a whole lot better than I have.  My apologies — and appreciation — to those who check for new posts.  I have a lot of items on my hit parade.  So I’ve resolved to post more frequently even if it means more sloppily.

So, first off, let me say I understand how easy it is to get discouraged as we witness The Great Unraveling in our society.  The breakdown of family accounts for a huge part of this, especially the separation of children from their parents and the layers of confusion adults are heaping on kids for the convenience of said adults.  Broken homes create broken children.  And so many broken children portend an ever more dysfunctional society.

The road ahead seems very dark now, especially as we feel the increasing hostility to the idea that children have rights that override the convenience of so-called grown ups.  Let’s face it:  we humans are not naturally ethical beings though so many of us truly do like to think so.

But if you look around, you’ll see some beams of light emanating from the cracks in all of the social chaos.

For example, at the Reagan Library last week the International Children’s Rights Institute had its inaugural conference to discuss the inherent rights of children to be born free — not manufactured as chattel — and their right to know their origins.

I for one think it’s past time that adults get a bit out of their comfort zones and start looking at life through the eyes of the child.  There is harm when a child is separated and isolated — by design — from any clear answer to that existential question:  “Where did I come from?”   Please click on the links throughout this post to learn more about the conference and its participants.

The Conference theme was “Bonds that Matter.”    Alana Newman, founder of Anonymous Us, talked about her experience as a donor-conceived child, and how artificial reproductive technologies de-stabilizes a child’s sense of self.  Such children are wounded and puzzled by the way they came into the world — as commodities — and why one or both parents didn’t care to know them. But they’re told to shut up about it since they wouldn’t be here otherwise.  (Alana rightly compared the accusation to being a child of rape:  yes, I am happy to be alive, but not about the rape.)

Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture talked about the surrogacy industry and how it turns children into chattel as it treats women as cattle.  Jennifer Morse of the Ruth Institute discussed the impact of no-fault divorce on the lives of children.  And adoption experts Cathy Swett and Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy walked us through the topic of adoption from the eyes of the adoptee, because even in the best of circumstances adoption still forces a child to emotionally “work out” the absence of his or her biological parents.

Congratulations to Robert Oscar Lopez who organized and emcee’d an absolutely fantastic conference.  Hopefully the first of many!

Terror as a Byproduct of Lovelessness

Black September terrorist, 1972 Munich Olympics

In yesterday’s Federalist, I have a piece called “Love in the time of Terrorism.”   I focus on the case of “Black September” the most feared terrorist group of the 1970’s.  They were the scourge of the 1972 Munich Olympics, where they kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli athletes and a German police officer.  Maybe you’re familiar with this iconic photo.

In the essay I explore how and why some men become so violent and single-minded about pushing their will on others. I can’t say anything that you don’t already know in your gut:  Without strong family ties and without a sense of purpose, many young men have a tendency to channel their natural aggressive instincts in destructive ways.  They easily sow chaos.  So great is their need to be viewed with awe by others, especially other men.  But you must read the story of the taming of Black September to see how utterly true this is.  I believe it closes the case entirely on any other “theory” about the causes of such violence.  It all stems from being cut off from relationships.

People need strong and healthy relationships, particularly a sense of family to feel grounded and at peace.  This proved very true in the case of Black September.  Please read the story of how the members of that terrorist organization were tamed by PLO intelligence operatives after the PLO, led by Yasser Arafat, saw their behavior as a political  liability.  Arafat told them to basically “switch it off.”   What did the PLO do?  They found a way to marry the men off to the most beautiful Palestinian women they could find, and then they provided the men with non-violent jobs, nice apartments, and a huge cash incentives to start families.  The men became so content with their new lives that they refused all offers to go abroad on official PLO business for fear of being arrested and hence separated from their families.

It’s an amazing story with huge lessons for understanding hierarchies, human motives, and the utter need we all have for strong relationships.  The story also flies in the face of modern feminism and gender theory.  I hope you’ll read it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a Human? — Part V

This is how everybody happens, whether they like it or not: the union of one male and one female. Lest we forget: every male and female and intersex person happens this way, and that would include all individuals who call themselves transgender.

To answer to the question “What is a human?” for the purpose of this blog series, we need only refer to the simple and existential question of the child:  “Where did I come from?”

A human being is a creature who is born out of the union of one male human being and one female human being.  This is true for every man, woman or child who has ever been conceived, whether male, female, or ambiguous/intersex.   Transgender persons may wish to deny this, but their own humanity is based in their origins of one male united with one female.   Whether we know our biological parents or not, they are how we came into being.  Whether it happens in a bed or a petri dish doesn’t matter.

A human being may present as the opposite sex or as a sexless being or both sexes or genders or as many as they imagine, but it doesn’t change the reality of their humanity.  Nor anybody else’s.

The transgender activists’ idea that a person may identify as male or female regardless of biological sex is nothing new.  There are  plenty of famous cases in history and literature.  The idea of androgyny — the male/female being —  is an old concept that goes back to ancient times.  

Here’s what’s new:  The attempt to force onto everybody the transgender idea of human identity, and the push to codify it as quickly as possible into law under the guise of “non-discrimination.”   The key phrase slipped into these laws is that our sex is merely “assigned” to us at birth. If we accept that premise, then we will certainly reach a point at which nobody can be legally identified as either male or female.  Eventually, we all become “other” in the eyes of the state.

How are we supposed to understand our origins in this scheme?  Answer:  It looks like we’re not intended to understand our origins.   Nor, ironically, are we supposed to chart our own destiny in this vacuum of ambiguity.  It’s a destabilizing prospect, but that’s where we’re headed with this.  The transgender movement has less to do with equal rights than it has to do with a war on language, aimed directly at destabilizing our sense of human identity.