Mulling over the Question: “Who is my Neighbor?”

In my latest Federalist article I reflect on how I watched a manhunt break out during a morning walk.  It led me to consider things both practical and spiritual:  “It was a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood — For a Manhunt

FYI, the clip above gives a bit of “ambiance,” though that segment was not filmed on my street.  The action shifted all morning.  But I didn’t even know they were entering houses until I found this clip!  It’s interesting that this was put up by Russia Today news.  (This makes me chuckle a little because it reminds me a bit about the way Soviets liked to do propaganda, and how they would have loved to zero in on something like this to show “very bad Amerika.”)

It was a wild morning for me.  In the aftermath I considered two questions, one practical and one spiritual.  The practical side had me thinking about personal security (as in firearms.)  The spiritual side had me reflecting on the question put to Christ just before his parable of the Good Samaritan: “Who is my neighbor?” And how do people get to be the way they are?

 

We’re Being Set up to Cede the Right to Know our Origins

When children are separated from their biological parents, they are gravely wounded. Sure, they can develop coping mechanisms.  But they suffer a primal wound that cannot and should not be ignored.   I think the more we disregard the bond of child to mother and father, the more we devolve as a society into grave injustice towards children.  And it doesn’t matter if a woman agrees to donate her egg or if a man happily donates his sperm or if a surrogate contracts to give up a child in exchange for money or for any other reason.  The child will experience any such act as a loss.  We need to stop looking at children as commodities to satisfy adult desires.  If we keep hurtling down this path of human separation — separation that has roots in no fault divorce, the sexual revolution and abortion on demand — we will all end up enslaved by a bureaucratic state.

From “Anti-Slavery Almanac,” 1840

So today I recommend you read some recent documents that have historic significance.  They are amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court written by adult children from same sex households, in opposition to same sex marriage.  They are writers and scholars who understand – from their unique perspective of being severed from a birth parent and deliberately deprived of an opposite sex parent– that children have an inherent right to know their origins wherever possible.  When deprived of the love and knowledge of a birth parent, it’s a loss and a scar that doesn’t go away.

Here’s the reality: same sex marriage absolutely requires that the state accept and encourage the separation of children from their biological parents.  This is the trajectory it puts us on, even if we don’t quite feel its effects on society just yet.

Three amicus briefs were filed by six defenders of marriage. Dawn Stefanowicz and Denise Shick filed jointly here:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/ObergefellHodges/AmicusBriefs/14-556_Dawn_Stefanowicz_and_Denise_Shick.pdf

Heather Barwick and Katy Faust filed jointly here:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/ObergefellHodges/AmicusBriefs/14-556_Heather_Barwick_and_Katy_Faust.pdf

Robert Oscar Lopez and BN Klein filed jointly here:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/ObergefellHodges/AmicusBriefs/14-556_Robert_Oscar_Lopez_and_BN_Klein.pdf

This is the primary question before the Court:

Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

Professor Lopez argues persuasively that same sex marriage is on a collision course with the natural rights of children.  The Fourteenth Amendment should more appropriately be applied to children in this case.  Otherwise, it severs them from the right to know their origins, and does so without due process.  Here’s an excerpt from Lopez’s brief:

The Court should refer to the Fourteenth Amendment clause about equal protection of the laws, in order to uphold laws that define marriage as only male-female. In upholding such laws the Court would ensure that citizens with gay parents have equal protection both as minors and as adults, and that such citizens will not be estranged from their father or mother without due process.

In truth it is gay marriage that will create a suspect class of children targeted for the denial of essential civil and human rights. Gay marriage will allow adults to acquire custody of other people’s children and deny those children connections to their original mother and father. Other problems flow from this initial denial of the basic human right to be connected to one’s origins. What the Court must weigh now is the competing application of the Fourteenth Amendment to two distinct classes: [a] gay and lesbian couples who want children, and on the other hand, [b] COGs. [children of gays]

It really looks like we are all being set up to cede our rights to know our parents and our origins.

This Past Week Shows that PC is Morphing into TC

Detail of “The Natchez” by Eugene Delacroix (1835.) Natchez father and mother with newborn (uploaded from Wikimedia Commons.)

Several events last week show just how fast certain cultural forces are working to separate us from one another, always, of course, in the name of “equality.” Fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana spoke about how important it is for children to have both a mother and a father, and also criticized the use of artificial reproductive technologies in order to deliberately deprive a child of a mother or a father. Rock star Elton John who with his same sex partner has two such children, immediately called for a boycott of Dolce and Gabbana.

Patricia Jannuzzi, a Catholic who has taught for over 30 years in a Catholic school expressed her support for traditional marriage — in line with Catholic teaching — on her personal Facebook page.  She is now the target of an LGBT-supported petition campaign to have her fired, as well as for the school to promote “anti hate speech.”  The Catholic Church itself has not defended her, to put it mildly.

Another adult child raised by lesbians has come out in opposition to same sex marriage.  Heather Barwick’s article in The Federalist,  “Dear Gay Community: Your Kids are Hurting” has so far garnered over 42,000 social media shares and thousands of comments.   She has become an object of vitriol and scorn by the militant LGBT lobby for voicing her opinion.  She and other adult children from same sex households – including Katy Faust, Robert Oscar Lopez, Dawn Stefanowicz, Denise Shick, and Rivka Edelman – will be earning more wrath from LGBT shock brigades as they file amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court voicing their opposition to same sex marriage.

What do all these cases have in common?  Well, I could state the obvious, which is that the critical issue for kids is not so much having a gay parent, but yearning for a missing mother or father. And whether or not a parent is missing because of divorce, adoption, or other conditions is not the point.  The inherent issue with same sex parenting is that it absolutely requires that one parent be missing from the family.  It also requires that the law implicitly deny all children this right.

But there is another common thread that runs through all of these stories.  It’s the brutal silencing of any voice of dissent.  Political correctness is just too cute a term for the sort of fascism that’s running rampant through society today, particularly on the marriage issue.  I commend you to again read “Gay Marriage: A Case Study in Conformism,” by Brendan O’Neill.  PC has become the sort of extremism that ramps itself up to a level that invites savagery.

Which brings us to the topic of tongue cutting.  TC for short.  If we had a spectrum of free speech with civil society on one end and tongue cutting on the other, I would say we have definitely crossed the halfway point and are proceeding in the direction of tongue cutting.  Saddam Hussein used to literally have critics’ tongues cut out. Tongue cutting is also standard operating procedure in the world of Islamic fascism and sharia law.  That’s because whenever you are dealing with totalitarians, the very idea of freedom of expression cramps their style.  Of course we’re not at the literal reality of TC, but I think it’s fair to say that TC is now a virtual reality.

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.

 

 

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Vomitorium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

 

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.

 

Some Books I Recommend for 2015 Reading

For those who have been checking this blog for updates: My apologies.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays — such as they’ve been — were a major distraction.  But another distraction is the constant machinations of power politics around us.  Just witnessing the dysfunction and delusion feels paralyzing at times.  Take a quick gander back at 2014 and you’ll see: Rioting is replacing the rule of law.  The transgender project is replacing the physical reality of sex distinctions by legally erasing those distinctions from your identity. Communism is making a comeback in the world, including in Eastern Europe.

These are just a few of the trends, but they comprise just the tip of a very deep iceberg.  On the surface these agendas are all about freedom, blah blah blah. But dip below and you’ll hear loud and clear Orwell’s 1984 proclamations that “Freedom is Slavery” and “Ignorance is Strength.”

I’m going to attempt a running list of secular books that I hope can help level headed folks 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.  The books are mostly about understanding how propaganda — and political correctness — affects us, divides us, and destroys us.   Some of the questions I grapple with are these:  Why does there seem to be a blockade on cohesive and independent thought?  Why are we so susceptible to propaganda and political correctness?  Why do we never learn?  Why do we keep falling for promises of utopia? Is there a way to stem the tide?  (In the future, I also hope to offer some titles from a specifically Christian perspective.)

Below are a random mix of a few non-fiction titles I recommend as reading in 2015.   I plan to present short reviews of and/or excerpts from each in the weeks and months to come, and I will add more books and essays to the list.  I wish we could all be in a book club together to discuss them!

The Undiscovered Self, by Carl Jung (1956) (discussed in an earlier blog post)

Prisons We Choose to Live Inside, (1986) by Doris Lessing.

The Rape of the Mind, (1956) by Joost Meerloo.

The Power of the Powerless, (1978) by Vaclav Havel

The Hidden Persuaders, (1957) by Vance Packard.

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, (2010) by Nicholas Carr

Propaganda, (1928) by Edward Bernays

May the year ahead be illuminating for us all.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utopia and Terror are Inevitably Linked. North Korea is Proof.

“Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century.” You won’t regret ordering these lectures. They’re superb

Do you have an idea about what constitutes the “perfect society?”  As you imagine your utopia, you’ll realize that there is one absolutely mandatory ingredient: Universal Compliance.

Aye, there’s the rub.

From time immemorial, all attempts at Utopia have required terror to put down dissent, whether active or passive.  You can get a grasp of the history and the scope of all of this in a superb series of lectures called “Utopia and Terror in the Twentieth Century,” by Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius.  They’re available from The Great Courses, and are engaging and filled with astonishing connections in human history.

My take is this:  As long as human beings are unique, as long as even one of them thinks independently of others, Utopia is a total pipe dream.  Compliance must be forced.  Or human beings must cease to be human by giving up their uniqueness.  Either way, what you end up with is something that always morphs into dystopia.

In a dystopia people usually take one of two routes:  1) They are unsettled and self-censoring as they battle “living within the Lie,” as Vaclav Havel wrote. Or 2) they simply become automated and content to live a machine-like existence.  Nothing utopian about either alternative. So the whole idea of utopia is self-refuting.  At least for humans.

Which brings us to a regime like North Korea.  Just look a little bit at the video above in which its citizens wept hysterically over the announcement of Kim Jong-Il’s death three years ago.  What does this tell you?  Its citizens are utterly dependent upon the government and have psychologically succumbed to the Cult of Personality.  Out of fear and conformity and compliance, they ape one another in their grief, which is in one sense real and in another sense not real — not natural –at all.  It suggests total psychological isolation of people who cannot freely associate. Slaves. I’m especially amazed watching from 1:19-1:25, two youth are standing behind the man who is in paroxysms of wailing.  They aren’t sure what to do, but looking around they realize they are *supposed* to get down on their knees.  So they do.

Earlier this week Sony bowed to that regime’s pressure not to release the movie “The Interview” because it was offensive to Kim Jong-Un’s regime.  Setting aside the whole issue of cowardice on the part of Sony, let’s focus on why North Korea would go so far as to conduct a cyberwar to get Sony to back down.

Suggesting the Supreme Leader could be assassinated?  Well, yeah, there’s that.  But it goes even deeper.  The movie (which doesn’t look to be a very good one, anyway) disrupts the North Korean narrative that it’s achieved Perfection rather than the institutionalized slavery of all of its people.  Such regimes are always subject to any straw that could break their back since their whole existence is built on a lie that will collapse under its own weight.