Potential book reviews; Singles Article in Federalist

Okay, I’m scrambling again to keep up with this blog.  When I travel, I generally get behind in stuff.  But I  do plan to do a couple of new things in the future.  One is to keep a booklist.  I’ll try to keep the “reviews” short.  I recently read Sheila Jeffrey’s book Gender Hurts.  It’s a fascinating radical feminist take on the whole gender identity thing.  I find myself agreeing with a lot of it, but parting ways with her on certain predictable points.  But there’s definitely a lot of overlap in terms of understanding where the whole gender thing is headed.  More on that later.  All of the books I’d like to introduce deal in some way or another with how we try to make sense of relationships and how we deal with the effects of social isolation.

I have another essay up on the Federalist (submitted quite a while back but just published the other day, so please excuse if it seems a bit stale) which was an extended response to Bella DePaulo’s criticism of my take on the whole idea of “Singles’ Rights.”  I also published a somewhat lengthy blog post on that a couple of weeks ago.  She believes in abolishing civil marriage because she says it discriminates against single people.  I believe that abolishing marriage is tantamount to abolishing all hope for a civil society.  And the effects of that would be disastrous for everybody. Once the state doesn’t have to recognize marriage, each and every citizen becomes isolated and atomized in the eyes of the state.  Family autonomy and privacy dissolve in this scheme.   This is not a good thing.   You can read the article here:  “Why Singles Rights and Same Sex Marriage Will Abolish All Marriage.”  Oh, my goodness.  I just now noticed that that article of mine has 593 comments.  Yikes, that’s a lot!   Well, I’ll deal with that later.  I generally can’t get too caught up in conments — and as you can tell, I don’t use them on my own blog.  But I will definitely have to scan those soon — there are so many — and maybe even write up a post about them.  Usually when there’s that many, though, it means a few people are arguing back and forth amongst themselves. (Of course I do expect to take some hits.)

I’ll find another way to post more often.  Some book review posts.  More posts on the issue of social conformity and the effects of PC/propaganda.  Loneliness and alienation is another important topic for these times.  And whatever else comes my way. Thanks for reading!

 

“Singles’ Rights” Goal of Abolishing Marriage Would Impose Legal Isolation on Everyone

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Hans Thoma. Loneliness (1880)   To impose legal separation on all of us would only cultivate loneliness.

Last week a singles’ rights activist wrote up what she claimed was a critique of my recent Federalist article called Welcome to Selfie Nation.  My piece was an exploration of various social trends, particularly some recent attempts to cultivate hostility towards married people for being “privileged.”

Most significantly, Bella DePaulo, author of the book Singlism and a blogger for Psychology Today essentially confirmed in her response what I’ve been saying for quite some time:  that same sex marriage isn’t really about marriage, but is being used as a vehicle to abolish marriage.  A coterie of singles’ rights advocates are arguing that state recognition of marriage discriminates against singles.  And they hope to use the precedent of same sex marriage to abolish marriage.

But DePaulo never addressed my most basic points:

1.  That the decline of marriage “plays right into the hands of central planners who have always been keen on getting rid of marriage altogether.”

2.  That putting every human being in legal isolation — which is exactly what abolishing civil marriage would do – can only diminish freedom of association for every child, woman, and man.  Once the state no longer recognizes your spouse or child or parent or siblings, etc. except at its pleasure, your personal relationships will inevitably come under greater regulation and bureaucratic control.

Rather than confront these concerns, DePaulo pulled out of thin air the bemusing nonsense that I am “afraid of single people.”  She also claimed I place blame on single people for “breaking down family bonds and community ties and contributing to a sense of alienation and division and distrust.”  Are you kidding me?

Who believes single people are even capable of doing such things?  Unless maybe you believe they’re some sort of monolithic force.  That idea — so untrue — would never occur to me.  Maybe it has more to do with DePaulo’s own outlook, but it sure isn’t mine.

I was talking about a shift in society that breeds isolation in people, reflected in the General Social Survey.  It’s a cycle driven by complex forces that we can’t pin on any one group of people.  Distrust breeds isolation.  Isolation breeds distrust.  Separation from intimate ties breeds distrust.   Distrust discourages the formation of intimate ties.

On Pious Baloney

A fun touch in DePaulo’s  post on my article is her (subconscious?) reference to a famous line by Newt Gingrich.  By which I mean she labels as “pious bologna” [sic] my connection of children with marriage. But I’ll raise DePaulo ten Newts on that.  Whether we grown-ups like it or not, the only legitimate reason for any state interest in marriage is that the state’s citizens come from a particular organic union that produces them.

Now the problem here for DePaulo and so many others, is that they have a perspective on children that insists on separating them from the people who sire and bear them.   Look, I get it. Indeed, a lot of unmarried people have kids and a lot of married people don’t.  And different family configurations abound.  And I understand that there are cases of dysfunction.  But that’s irrelevant to the point that state recognition of marriage can’t really exist for the benefit of adults.  It exists for the benefit of all the children in a society, whether or not their parents can or do get married, and whether or not married people have children, and no matter how many or how few children there are.

So it’s the union that produces citizens in which the state should be interested.  And it doesn’t matter whether that union takes place traditionally or in a petri dish or even at all.  I know that’s a hard thing for us grown-ups to wrap our heads around these days.  I do understand, believe me, that it doesn’t feel easy.  But it’s just one of those buried truths that have a way of outing themselves rather unpleasantly when ignored. You can take it or leave it, but it’s still true whether we like it or not.

If there are concerns about inequities, people of goodwill should find a way to address the inequities without endowing a centralized bureaucracy with the power to impose legal isolation on every single one of us, and particularly on children.

Families are the Roots of Community          

Below are a few claims DePaulo uses to support her belief that marriage should be abolished, and by logical extension, why she believes each and every person should be legally single:

  • Married people are “insular” and don’t contribute much to community
  • Married people don’t call their parents or siblings as often as singles do
  • Singles do more things “in the community” than marrieds do:  “They participate more in civil groups and public events, they take more art and music classes.”
  • Singles, not marrieds, keep cities lively and dynamic
  • Singles, she says, visit sick and infirm people more than married people in Britain do

DePaulo doesn’t cite sources on the above.  She’s suggesting, I guess, that singles are in some form, morally superior because, for example, they call Mom and Dad more than married people.  This is silliness.  Just arguing on her terms, I’d venture a guess that married couples are far more involved in community schools.  I don’t know how many members of legislatures and county councils and people who work for non-profits are married versus single.  But I’d be willing to bet it’s quite a majority of marrieds, even today.   And, no, married people are not morally superior for this participation.

Intimacy, not Separation, is What Breeds Trust

But I do find one of DePaulo’s observations of particular interest.  She writes that “getting married changes people in ways that make them more insular.”  I think what DePaulo perceives as “insular” is probably just a by-product of intimacy. Intimacy requires time and a certain degree of exclusivity and privacy in relationship. Committed relationships usually require intense work and a great degree of self-sacrifice that’s not going to be handily visible in the public sphere.  Nevertheless, that kind of interpersonal work with family members pays huge dividends for society because it tends to build empathy.

What this means, though, is that contributions to the community by marrieds – with or without children – are going to have deep roots and perhaps might not be as apparent to people like DePaulo who look to have everybody engaged on the surface, primarily in public places.   Not so much in private places which seem “insulated” from the larger community.  It seems that DePaulo doesn’t view the nurturing of one’s own children as something that counts in this scheme of things.  Nor perhaps would running a scout troop, or volunteering at your child’s school or with their sports teams, or through a church.  And certainly not the hard work of ironing out a committed relationship with or without children in the home.

If the only kinds of community activities that “count” in DePaulo’s eyes are at specific places identified as “community” – whether they be parks and recreation, theater groups, environmental groups, and so on – well, then, perhaps singles do those things more because that’s where the people are?  Or perhaps because practically every young adult today has “mandatory community service hours” to put in as requirement for high school graduation?   Regardless, DePaulo’s view speaks volumes about her stunted view of community and who contributes to it.

Abolishing Marriage Would Abolish Community 

I think we all understand in our gut that intimacy breeds trust.  Without trust – which has been declining over the past several decades – people become alienated and true community dies. You can have lots of people out there doing lots of activities, busy as bees at the hive.  But if there are no bonds of family intimacy which serve as the unseen ground water that irrigates the community – or what goes on unseen inside the hive of community by both marrieds and singles — then you don’t really have a community.  What you have left is a shell of a hive with the bees buzzing about outside of it.  Yes, you can see them better that way.  But without the hidden core – consisting of families, consisting of both marrieds and singles – each of us ultimately has no place to go.

Let’s abolish the Big Lie that abolishing civil marriage would “get the state out of the marriage business.”  It would do the exact opposite, which is why statists love the idea so much.  I leave you with this excerpt from my Federalist piece:

All of the machinery of this bait-and-switch operation is well in motion to abolish civil marriage, and with it family autonomy. So our national conversation on marriage ought to cut right to the chase. Ultimately, the real question is not about who can get married, but whether or not we may live in a society that recognizes marriage and family. Abolishing civil marriage is a dangerous proposition that imposes legal isolation on everybody, making us all strangers to one another in the eyes of the state.

Thank you Janna, Thank you Rivka for Speaking out

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Mary Cassatt,   Mother and Child, A Goodnight Hug (1880)

My last post was about Janna Darnelle’s Public Discourse piece describing how her husband left her for a man and how a judge made sure the ex husband got primary custody of the children.  The judge’s decision was indicative of a growing prejudice among sitting judges in favor of the LGBT agenda.  But my main point was that the net effect of redefining marriage can be summed up in one word:  separation.  It absolutely requires that children be forcibly separated from at least one parent.  It cannot be otherwise.  In this case, that parent was the mother.

After Janna spoke out about her heartbreaking experience, she was attacked by trolls of the LGBT lobby. She used a pseudonym and she never identified her ex-husband by name.  But her ex-husband made a point of exposing Janna on an LGBT blog so that their attack machine could harass Janna, call her an “unfit mother,” and contact her employer to accuse her of “anti-LGBT bigotry.”

And when Rivka Edelman came to Janna’s defense, she too was attacked by bloggers of the LGBT lobby. You can read Rivka’s Public Discourse piece here: “Ruthless Misogyny:  Janna Darnelle’s Story and Extreme LGBT Activism.”   Some excerpts here:

The publication of Janna Darnelle’s story led to a spate of blog posts full of vitriol, calling her “a pitiful creature,” accusing her of mental instability, and questioning her very existence.

With the help of her husband’s comments, Scott Rose set off to dig up and publicize as much personal information as possible about Darnelle, such as high school graduation and real estate records. Rose has harassed Darnelle with threatening messages. He has even contacted Darnelle’s employer . . .

In writing this piece, I know that I risk being labeled a bigot. Like Janna Darnelle, I will probably have to endure a whole host of misogynistic terms. I’ll be called crazy, unhinged, laughable, bitter, fat, old, and ugly. In other words, I am just a woman who dares to say rich privileged white men do not have the right to women’s bodies and body parts.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Rivka’s prediction proved true.  We should all be grateful that she was willing to step up to the plate to call out the Stalinist LGBT tactics, knowing the risks.

In the end, this should clarify for us that free speech is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition.  The breakdown of civil society is so thorough today that we have to expect to be attacked when standing up for the truth or for any friend who speaks the truth.  It can only get worse if we don’t resist.  We have no choice but to fight on, reach out to others, and keep talking!

Judge Separates Children from Mother, Because “Gay Rights”

This iconic photograph by Dorothea Lange evokes a mother’s sense of despair and isolation.

Janna Darnelle’s husband told her he was leaving her for a man.  But that wasn’t the end of it.  The judge awarded primary custody of the children to her ex-husband.  He made more money and Janna was a lowly housewife.

Read about it in Janna’s Public Discourse essay — for which she was pilloried by never-to-be-satisfied LGBT forces (more on that later) — by clicking here:  “Breaking the Silence:  Redefining Marriage Hurts Women Like Me — and Our Children.”

The piece ran last month, but I want to be sure to include it as a post because it illustrates so clearly the forces in society that seek to separate and isolate us.  Activist judges are increasingly becoming the arbiters of all personal relationships.  Claiming gayness in America today serves as a trump card among many or most sitting judges.  Janna explains:

My husband wanted primary custody of our children. His entire case can be summed up in one sentence: “I am gay, and I deserve my rights.” It worked: the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. At one point, he even told my husband, “If you had asked for more, I would have given it to you.”

This shouldn’t surprise any of us though.  Separating children from their mothers has become an art form today, condoned by social engineers in academia, in the media, in Hollywood, as well as from the bench.  Here’s more from Janna:

My husband had left us for his gay lover. They make more money than I do. There are two of them and only one of me. Even so, the judge believed that they were the victims. No matter what I said or did, I didn’t have a chance of saving our children from being bounced around like so many pieces of luggage.

As for the ceremony at which Janna’s ex “re-married:”

“. . . my children were forced—against my will and theirs—to participate. . . local news stations and papers were there to document the first gay weddings officiated in our state. USA Today did a photo journal shoot on my ex and his partner, my children, and even the grandparents. I was not notified that this was taking place, nor was I given a voice to object to our children being used as props to promote same-sex marriage in the media.

This is the ugly underbelly of “redefining” marriage:  just like divorce, it’s all about separation.  Let’s not forget that.  Separation and isolation.  The whole point of it is to separate men from women, children from mothers, and children from fathers.  And, in a very real way, redefining marriage is part and parcel of the no-fault divorce culture that shoves children away from stable childhoods.  A child’s sole purpose in this new scheme is to accommodate the “happiness,” or the “authentic living” or the whims of certain adults who rule over them. Because in this paradigm nobody else matters.  In this picture we see how the child’s discarded mother becomes a non-person in the eyes of the state.

 

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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Licensing Parents?

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/16/Phenylketonuria_testing.jpg/1024px-Phenylketonuria_testing.jpg“Imagine you cannot raise your own child without special permission from the state. In this matrix, getting permission means getting a license. And getting a license means the state performs psychological evaluations and background checks and passes judgment on your fitness to be a parent.”

The above is an excerpt  from my Federalist essay today:  “Licensing Parents: A Statist Idea in Libertarian Drag.”   In it I focus on an article I read recently, entitled “Licensing Parents,” which was written by an academic named Andrew Cohen and appeared on a website that claims to be libertarian and run by several pretty well established academics whose slogan is “free markets and social justice.”   Though it ran a couple of years ago, I thought it noteworthy to see the whole concept of children as state property dressed up as a libertarian idea. My article today did not discuss a piece on the same topic which ran last month in Wired:  “It’s Time to Reconsider Restricting Human Breeding,” by Zoltan Istvan.   I hope to get to that later.

I expect to see more of a drumbeat on the idea of licensing parents as the government takes over more and more functions of the family.  (The best friends these programs have may be folks who claim to be for limited government.) Along with those policies comes a watering down — and basically a takeover — of all of our personal relationships by the State.  Naturally, it starts with the takeover of the family.  We can no longer write off such ideas as “wacky” since we live in an era of particularly implausible and wacky government policies now coming to fruition. So please read, digest, and fight on.

What is a Human? — Part III

“Greetings from Earth” Image of male and female, representing the reality of humanity, as inscribed on plaques in Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecrafts, launched by NASA, 1972, 1973.

If you’re a reasonable person, you probably don’t mind engaging on a topic that involves the reality of things.  Facts are within this realm.  Observable truth, is, for example, that Boston is north of Washington.  Of course, we must all agree on the definition of the word “North” in order to arrive at any agreement. And we must all agree on the relative locations of Washington and Boston.  If everyone in the room were suddenly to challenge this fact, and say that Boston is south of Washington, you’d be taken aback.

When a fact is challenged loudly, it’s destabilizing because that takes us to a place of unreality.  If we’re stuck in that realm long enough we can lose our compass, our anchor. And things start looking very surrealistic as we enter that Twilight Zone.

Exchanging opinions, beliefs and various dogmas are a different story.  If you believe something very strongly, but it’s not part of the realm of universally observable fact, you should expect some skepticism when you express it publicly.  UFOs fall into this category.  And I would say transgenderism does as well.  The problem is that transgender law is hellbent on challenging essential facts about human reality.

One observable fact about humanity — defined in science as well as biblically and in the plaque of the Pioneer spacecraft illustrated above  – is that it comes in two kinds. Males and females are the same in all of their biological systems, except for the reproductive system. In that they are absolutely distinct.  The question transgenderism raises for us is:  Can a person who rejects the sex they were “assigned” at birth become the other sex because he or she believes it to be so?  If you say the answer is “Yes,” then pray tell: what does that mean for our sense of reality?

It means some seismic things.  If we no longer agree on the definition of terms “male” and “female” that has vast implications for everything else in the landscape.  When the terms are corrupted, when the map is compromised, people easily become displaced and disoriented, without direction — which means ripe for manipulation.  This changes the whole experience of being human, placing us in a trap of ambiguity as to who and what we are.

If that’s where transgenderism leads us, what does it bode for human relationships?  And power and freedom?

To be continued . . . .

 

What is a Human?

“What is a Woman?” is the title of a very recent feature about transgenderism in New Yorker Magazine.    It focuses on a bitter debate going on between transgender activists and radical feminists.  The trans activists would have you believe that being a woman is something you can define for yourself.  They’d say a man is a woman if he believes himself to be so.  “Not so!” retort the radical feminists who reject that idea pretty much as just another example — quirky but more insidious than ever — of male chauvinism.   The latter call themselves “rad fems” and seem to be a remnant of the feminism of the 60’s.  Rank and file feminists of today have marginalized and abandoned them, choosing to fall in line with the trans agenda.

If you have the chance to read the New Yorker piece at the link above, you’ll want to ask yourselves these questions:  What do the trans activists want?  What do the rad fems want?  What exactly is going on here?  And what has it got to do with me?  On the last point I would say it has everything to do with you.  This is not a debate we can chuckle about on the sidelines.  For those not tuned into the gender wars, this may seem amusing.

But I personally see nothing amusing about it.  There’s something seismic going on beneath the surface and we ought to be very aware of it.  What is really at stake here is not merely a matter of defining what a woman is.  There is a hidden and much bigger question at stake:  “What is a Human?” And that’s the question the trans agenda really intends to settle for each and every one of us.  It’s intended to define all of us and all of our personal relationships.

Let’s pay attention . . . to be continued tomorrow.

 

With Big “Borg” Government, Resistance isn’t Futile. Submission is Futile.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Star Trek, but I’m fascinated with one of its stock villains “The Borg.” The Borg is a collectivist hive mind that goes through the universe, sucking in everyone in its path, erasing individual identity.   Up at the Federalist today is my essay about the dangers of big government, with my take on the Borg:  “The Government is the Borg and Resistance Isn’t Futile.” Click here to read it in full.

The Borg’s stated goal is utopian: to “achieve perfection.”  It greets its victims by saying “Resistance is futile.”  Sounds a little bit like how bureaucracies work.   My point is that whenever power gets too unchecked, too unbalanced, too centralized, it’s on a trajectory to abuse that power.  And the ultimate destination if left unchecked seems always to be imposition of death.  That’s just a fact of history and a fact of life.

I wish everyone would become familiar with two fascinating studies that have been done on the dangers of centralized power.  The first is the book Death by Government, by R J Rummel (d. 2014) His central point — echoing Lord Acton’s famous quote that  “power corrupts” — is that power kills and absolute power kills absolutely.  Rummel spent much of his career compiling statistics of 20th century death tolls from government abuses of power.  The bottom line?  169 million lives lost through government killing of its own people.  How does this compare with all the casualties — both military and civilian — of all the wars and conflicts of the 20th century? 38 million.   Death by government was more than four times more lethal than all the wars of the 20th century combined.

The second study is a course entitled “Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century” in which University of Tennessee Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius draws the direct connection between master plans for Utopian societies and the terror that is always required to push those utopian programs forward. (You can obtain this series of  very engaging lectures from thegreatcourses.com.) Seems utopian dreamers have no patience or tolerance for any kind of resistance whether active or passive.

I think the best defense is for everyone to champion their own individuality with the understanding that other people matter.  That’s the whole basis of de-centralized power. Speak your mind thoughtfully, with the understanding that free speech is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. Cultivate friendships. Reach out in goodwill, one on one and face to face.  And be of good cheer.  Solid relationships are the best bulwark against state power.  A sense of humor always comes in very handy, too.

In the end, it is not resistance that is futile.  Submission is what really kills us all in the end.  Submission is futile.