Transgender Newspeak

“The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.” – George Orwell

One of the abiding fixations of the Left is its obsession with trying to control language and punish thoughtcrime.  It loves  speech codes.  It encourages punishment of people, not only for saying and thinking unapproved ideas, but for saying things that sound like unapproved ideas, as when a bureaucrat a few years back used the word “niggardly” (a word derived from Northern European tongues that means “cheap” or “miserly”) in something he wrote and was set upon by the Racism Gestapo and hounded from his job.  It didn’t matter what the word meant.  It only mattered how it made ignorami feel.  In similar ways, we are currently seeing a crackdown in some academic circles as students afflicted with a bad case of the Feels are silencing all discussion of anything in the world of ideas that they deem to be “triggering”. Rooms full of adults trying to have a conversation are being shushed and silenced in deference to bullies who have figured out a way to make everything All About Them.

The apotheosis of this, it seems to me, is the current cultural ascendancy of Caitlyn Jenner.  Only in Millennial America could an incredibly wealthy member of the Kardashian clan sucker a huge number of Americans into playing along with indulgence of his mental illness and persuade us that by bravely facing the applause of our Manufacturers of Culture, he is the new Rosa Parks.

But what is even more amazing to me is the Orwellian language and the layers of hypocrisy and sheer lies that go with this enterprise as the enforcers of the “new normal” go to work.

Steven Greydanus remarked yesterday: “The more I read and think about it, the more I realize that my difficulty with people calling Caitlyn Jenner a woman begins not with disagreement, but with honestly having no idea what they’re saying or what they mean to claim. In this context, I literally don’t understand what is meant by “woman.”

Exactly.  The truth is, we simply have no idea what those demanding approval (and threatening reprisal for disapproval) of this rich man’s delusion mean by “woman”.  The word has been entirely drained of meaning beyond “Whatever the hell I say it means right now, buster, and you better knuckle under or else.”  This is of a piece with the smashingly successful move to make “marriage” mean whatever the Nietzschean will says it means.  But, of course, when words come to mean whatever we want them to mean, we kill them as useful words.  A word that means anything means nothing.

The next layer of the lie is the amazing doublespeak about the Icon presented for our veneration by Vanity Fair. And Icon it is. Its purpose, like the entire rollout campaign issuing in yet another Kardashian “Reality” Show, is to make that cover go down in history as a watershed moment in western culture. It is an image, an artefact, crafted for our consumption and delectation with *intense* care: a testament to the work of the photographer, the clothing designer, the cosmetologist, the hairdresser, and, above all, the Photoshop artist.  It is pure image and nothing but image and it is designed with the highest and most expensive energies of an army of experts to make Caitlyn Jenner look Hawt and to tell the world that this image–this surface, this product of technology–is who she is in her deepest being.

And then, right on the high heels of this loud, in your face demand to accept this image as truth from Sinai, we are told “Stop focusing on her looks!”

It’s the oldest strategy in the world: tempt and accuse.  Classic.

Beyond this, of course, is the fundamental incoherence at the heart of the LBGT narrative: the triumph of the will over nature.  The core of gay discourse is summed up by Lady Gaga: Born This Way.

Fine.  Let’s grant that.  I, for one, have no idea what the genesis of homosexual attraction is.  If somebody tells me they have always felt same sex attraction, I’m not going to call them a liar.  They oughtta know.  But then are layered on a lot of dubious propositions that I am commanded to accept.  Any appetite I have is natural, therefore good, therefore the world must approve it, because everything “natural” is automatically good.

Well, speaking as somebody who has a natural attraction to chocolate–and has diabetes–I find this proposition highly dubious.  And the Tradition explains why–our human nature is afflicted with original sin and concupiscence: the weakened will, darkened intellect, and ***disordered appetites*** that lead us to do all sorts of self-destructive things.  If I call my doctor “chocophobic” for not affirming me in my desire for a thousand pounds of Dove Bars, I may succeed in shutting him up, but that won’t mean that diabetic payback won’t be a bitch.

Still and all, let’s grant the simplistic premise “Born this way=good”.  You must never thwart what Nature has done.  Fine.

Then how is it that in the next breath we are to fall down in veneration when somebody who was born with the full complement of male equipment and juices tells us “With sufficient will power, drugs, and surgery, I shall thwart what nature has done by trapping me as a lesbian in a man’s body.”

Once again, I return to Steve Greydanus’ mystification about what the word “woman” even means to people threatening punishment and ostracism to those who do not kowtow to this imperial demand of a rich man (and those who are using him) for approval.

What it comes back to, as ever, is not so much that our culture has rejected Christianity completely, but that it only retains bits and pieces of it.  The same people who insist that there is no such thing as human nature (which is inherently sexual) are the people who insist that it is folly to simply treat the environment like garbage and expect no consequences.  They laugh like the rest of us at this:

They get that nature is not infinitely malleable to our will–when it is non-human nature. But under the influence of a concupiscence they do not believe in–but which still believes in them–they seriously delude themselves into believing the lie that our human nature *is* infinitely malleable. And under that delusion, people do a lot of other things to the bodies God gave them besides pretend they are the opposite sex. They deliberately maim themselves. They claim to be members of other species and alter their bodies to try to look like it. They seek happiness in all manner of tormented ways. And increasingly, because we are too lazy to care, we applaud and let them run down these blind alleys because we are ourselves have no idea what the good is anymore and we therefore cling to one of the few goods we know: neglect (which we call “tolerance”).

Now you and I are never going to meet Bruce/Caitlyn. Indeed, the day to day contact most people have with transgendered people is vanishingly rare. And it always will be. There will be a burst of Transgendered Liberation stories in the news now. But it will not really show an uptick in occurrence, merely an uptick in the press jumping on this story.

But what we will meet more and more of is the loss of an ability to even conceive of a common human nature and common moral vocabulary. And when the ability to communicate is lost because Newspeak has replaced plain language, what humans historically have shown themselves quite able to do is inflict violence. Transgendered and gay people have been on the receiving end of such violence many times. The way to stop that is not to remove the possibility of a common language by draining words of meaning. Nor is it to engage in Orwellian doublespeak calculated to crush dissent. It is to recover what we truly seek: truth, beauty, love, friendship, and the Source of all these, which is God and not our own weakened will, darkened intellect, and disordered appetites.

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  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Hear, hear! I’ve practically quite discussing any but the most banal topics with secular leftists simply because what they say is meaningless, and further, they refuse to engage with the OED, or even Webster, catalogued meanings of even the most common words. They have lost, intentionally in many cases, the ability to formulate anything but gibberish, and encounter cogent replies as same.

    • Ben Hammer

      Yes, see Raymond, in this thread. Utter gibberish – it’s not even good frontier gibberish. I have absolutely no clue what point he is trying to make

      • Deo Credo

        This is amazingly childish. So from reading this i gather that to have a conversation one must establish both the fine points of grammar as well as a mutual understanding of a definition of each word. Any attempt to have a discourse on an actual topic will be shouted down with technicalities and hot air. I stand in awe of the ability to completely shut down any intelligent conversation which I believe was the point of the actual article. I learned so much today. Who new that a dictionary is not a reference book, but rather a quickly (the second it is published) outdated historical record of how words used to be used. Who new that legal rights depend on if I feel they are being enforced fairly. If I don’t then they aren’t a right no matter what anyone else thinks or what is written into the law. Sadly, I remember wheni could have a conversation with someone I disagreed with. Those days are long gone. Glad my family isn’t this stupid. I mean I was talking to them just the other day and I mispronounced a word. Sadly For the Andrew and Raymond’s of the world, my family instantly recognized what I meant to say from the clear context of the conversation and so we skipped all the legal wrangling and just communicated our thoughts. What a bunch of rubes we are.

    • Andre B

      I’ve practically quite quit discussing any but the most banal topics with secular leftists simply because what they say is meaningless, and further, they refuse to engage with the OED, or even Webster, catalogued meanings of even the most common words.

      FTFY
      Love,
      A secular leftist.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        I applaud your pitiful corrections of typographical errors resulting from autocorrect. The very act of correcting the error demonstrates i was understandable.

        If I’d been criticising a lack of proofreading, you might have a point. As it stands, you just look small.

        • Andre B

          Oh well. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Unless you literally clapped while you wrote that, you’re no better than the slimy secular leftists you decry for avoiding the dictionary.

          But if you had been clapping….how did you manage to type your response?!

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Aww, you should have kept reading. You wouldn’t appear an ignorant pedant right now.

            • Paul B. Lot

              I mean, I was going for “light-hearted gadfly”, but I’ll take “ignorant pedant” in a pinch. :)

              My question remains unanswered, however:

              did you use the force?

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                No, I didn’t clap, as applaud has multiple definitions.

                • Paul B. Lot

                  :)

          • Sue Korlan

            Autotyping.

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      I can provide a prime example of this – it’s from a conversation I was having with a pro-abortion advocate. http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t229/jrwahlund/11113593_10152728383416249_82192454664951161_n.jpg

      • Andre B

        Of course, without any context, this isn’t a terribly useful example.

        Not only is there merit to his point that dictionaries serve as records of how words are used, but it’s perfectly valid to point out that words may come to mean many different things, and be used in different ways.

        • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

          You can see the entire tedious conversation here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/chicksontheright/liberals_hate_religious_freedom_unless_it_involves_satanists_and_abortion_chicks_on_the_right/?utm_source=reply&utm_medium=email&utm_content=comment_date#comment-2025221138

          By your logic, then, no one can ever communicate because we don’t have a common reference for what words mean. In this instance, I pointed out that two different dictionaries define a child as “a fetus” or “an unborn human being.” He still denies the reality that the word “child” can, indeed, refer to a fetus.

          • Paul B. Lot

            You can, both in the “freedom of speech” sense and in the “it’s grammatically acceptable” sense, put the phrase “by your logic” in where you did…but grammatical correctness is a necessary, not sufficient, condition for reasonable statements.

            Your conclusion “then, no one can ever communicate” simply does not follow from the premises “dictionaries serve as records of how words are used” & “words may come to mean many different things, and be used in different ways”.

            The sentence does not contain a logical payload.

            • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

              Sorry, I disagree that those words mean what you think they do. Instead, I choose to believe that they mean the following: “You, JoAnna, are the most awesome person who ever lived and I tremble before your greatness.”

              To which I can only reply, “Thank you!”

              • Paul B. Lot

                You have drawn an equivalence between the factual statement, “words may come to mean many different things, and be used in different ways”, and what you seem to believe was meant, “in any given context the meanings of words are as malleable as their originator wishes”.

                A “Tour de France” of logicality.

                No, really, I mean that. :)

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                Actually, Paul is absolutely correct. Andre was repeating a banality with no bearing on your point, and you should have recognized this.

                • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                  Well, I’m not at my best today.

          • Andre B

            By your logic, then, no one can ever communicate because we don’t have a common reference for what words mean.

            Let’s pump the brakes, shall we? I pointed out that words can come to mean different things, not that any word can mean anything. So, no, nothing that I’ve said implies that can’t find consensus on what words mean.

            In this instance, I pointed out that two different dictionaries define a child as “a fetus” or “an unborn human being.”

            It’s more accurate to say that you pointed to two different dictionaries that offered fetus/unborn as *one of* the definitions of ‘child’, not *the* definition of ‘child’. I mean, for pete’s sake, for the first one you give you even acknowledge that it’s the #4 definition! The #1 definition was “a person between birth and full growth”.

            He still denies the reality that the word “child” can, indeed, refer to a fetus.

            Again, seems more accurate to say he’s not restricted to defining ‘child’ as only a fetus. Does he anywhere explicitly reject fetus as a possible definition?

            • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

              “Does he anywhere explicitly reject fetus as a possible definition?” Yes, he does. Multiple times.

              • Andre B

                In which case, assuming you’re accurately representing him, he would be wrong.

                Shall I take your silence on my first two points as conceding faulty logic on what my comment implied, and that fetus is just one of many definitions one may find for child?

                • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                  “I pointed out that words can come to mean different things, not that any word can mean anything.”

                  But this guy goes far beyond that. He refuses to acknowledge that this word can possibly mean this particular thing in any way, shape, or form. (And he says so, multiple times, if you care to read the entire conversation.)

                  “It’s more accurate to say that you pointed to two different dictionaries that offered fetus/unborn as *one of* the definitions of ‘child’, not *the* definition of ‘child’. ”

                  Yes, and? Doesn’t change the fact that “child” is a valid term for a fetus, according to two dictionaries.

                  • Andre B

                    But this guy goes far beyond that.

                    And, to the extent that he might elsewhere do that, I’ve already agreed with you that he’s mistaken. However, my response (and your charge of what it logically implied) have to do with your specific, initial quote of him. I’m not sure why you are appealing to things presented later in the discussion.

                    Yes, and? Doesn’t change the fact that “child” is a valid term for a fetus, according to two dictionaries.

                    I mean, are you under the impression that I denied any of this? The way you initially phrased things seemed too restrictive, and I pointed out a more accurate way to do so. In a thread bemoaning a supposed trend of words losing their meanings, I would think you would welcome such attempts at precision.

                    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                      In the original quote I posted, Mr. G said that the dictionary was not a reliable source when it comes to the definition of words – which is indeed a prime example of what Hezekiah Garrett was lamenting.

                      I disagree that how I phrased things was too restrictive – I agreed with Hezekiah Garrett in that it is baffling how so many people suddenly seem to think the dictionary is no longer a reliable source for looking up the definitions of words, and provided an example from my own experience.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      it is baffling how so many people suddenly seem to think the dictionary is no longer a reliable source

                      VS.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexicographic_error

                      +

                      http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/wordsinvented.html

                    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                      And what evidence do you have that the words in question are in error or made up?

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      You have either misunderstood, or made yet another faulty leap of logic.

                      I am not making a comment about “child” or “fetus.”

                      You have raised a new, separate, issue; a supposed plethora of people who “suddenly seem to think the dictionary is no longer a reliable source”.

                      It is to that new, separate issues, that I addressed my response. You can tell…because it’s a “Reply” to the “Post” in which you raised the new, separate, issue.

                      1) Dictionaries have contained errors for as long as there have been dictionaries. Lexicographers are human, and as such fallible.

                      2) Dictionaries do not track the meanings of words as they appear now, only as they have appeared up until now, in a given context. A common-usage dictionary which was current two years before Shakespeare began writing/performing his plays would be badly out of date within five.

                      Unreliable dictionaries are nothing new.

                      If your intuition is correct, and somehow people today are much more skeptical and careful about their vocabulary and how they use it, than they were back-in-your-day; well then.

                      Maybe we’re making “Progress.”

                    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                      okay, so what evidence do you have that (1) and (2) are both true in the case of the definition of “child” in two different dictionaries?

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      Ibid.

                      You have either misunderstood, or made yet another faulty leap of logic.

                      I am not making a comment about “child” or “fetus.”

                      Please also note: it would not be necessary for 1) and 2) to be “both true” of, or applicable to, any given dictionary’s given definition of a given word for it to be challenged — one would suffice.

                    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                      But if you are going to claim either are true or even possible, there should be some evidence of that.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      But if you are going to claim either are true or even possible, there should be some evidence of that.

                      When did I claim any such thing?

                      Ibid.

                      You have either misunderstood, or made yet another faulty leap of logic.

                      I am not making a comment about “child” or “fetus.”

                    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                      But you are trying to claim that the dictionary is wrong due to error, or that the words have been made up?

                    • Andre B

                      In the original quote I posted, Mr. G said that the dictionary was not a reliable source when it comes to the definition of words – which is indeed a prime example of what Hezekiah Garrett was lamenting.

                      Look, maybe what G says elsewhere is coloring your view of the initial quote in question (and because I know what ‘tedious’ means, I’m not going to read your entire exchange). There’s a difference between saying, as G seems to in your quote, that a dictionary definition is a reflection of the meanings and usages of a word at a given time, and saying that dictionaries are unreliable sources of definitions.

                      Specifically, he’s absolutely correct in saying that he’s not obligated to define fetus as child based on you pointing to one of many definitions of child (#4 in your first example, below), anymore than you are prevented from defining child as fetus based on a different definition (#1 in same example).

                      I disagree that how I phrased things was too restrictive

                      I mean, you said:

                      I pointed out that two different dictionaries define a child as “a fetus” or “an unborn human being.”

                      Neither of those dictionaries defined child as only a fetus / unborn human, there were many, many other definitions listed, and some of them are mutually exclusive. So yes, you were imprecise (in this case, restrictive) with your phrasing.

                      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/child?s=t

                    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                      where does it end, though? Don’t we need a common reference point on what words mean in order to even have a conversation?

                    • Andre B

                      Denying a valid definition of a word is one thing that prevents conversation (and G might be guilty of that). Making it seem like there is only one correct definition of a word when there are many, not being able to correctly summarize another’s position, and/or the inability to deduce the implications of statements (things you seem guilty of) are other contributing factors.

                    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                      I never said or claimed there was only one correct definition. So not sure where you are getting that from.

                    • Andre B

                      Again, thanks for demonstrating that you can’t correctly summarize the other position.

                      I’ve outlined several times now how your restrictive phrasing “mak[es] it seem” like there was only one correct definition.

                      https://disqus.com/home/discussion/markshea/transgender_newspeak/#comment-2062540732

                      https://disqus.com/home/discussion/markshea/transgender_newspeak/#comment-2062634033

                      https://disqus.com/home/discussion/markshea/transgender_newspeak/#comment-2062665406

                    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                      Makes it seem =/= stated unequivocally

                    • Andre B

                      Now you’re getting a hang of it!

                      Ta

      • Anonymous
        • Thomas

          Anyone who regrets the pregnancy that resulted in the birth of his child should truly not surprise us with anything else.

  • Raymond

    “One of the abiding fixations of the Left is its obsession with trying to control language and punish thoughtcrime. It loves speech codes. It encourages punishment of people, not only for saying and thinking unapproved ideas, but for saying things that sound like unapproved ideas…”

    Dear Kettle
    You’re black.
    Sincerely,
    Pot

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      Dear Pot,

      Funny how you can’t provide any actual evidence.

      Love, Kettle.

      • Raymond

        Ya want some evidence? Glad to oblige…
        “set upon by the Racism Gestapo and hounded from his job”

        “students afflicted with a bad case of the Feels are silencing all discussion of anything in the world of ideas that they deem to be “triggering””

        “the applause of our Manufacturers of Culture”

        The use of language in ways that enhance your world view and reduces others’ world view? Here you go…

        • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

          Um, I’m failing to see how that’s evidence.

          • PalaceGuard

            Because shut up! That’s why! 😉

          • Raymond

            Of course you are…you are one of the beneficiaries of that language.

            • chezami

              Shorter Raymond: Clear language is oppressive. Using it victimizes him. Shut up.

              • Raymond

                Shorter chesami: Shut up. Shut UP. SHUT UP!

                • Hezekiah Garrett

                  Actually, Raymond, he’s the blog host. If he wanted to shut you up around these parts, you’d be erased.

                  So frankly, you’re either a lair, or incredibly confused. I’m betting on confused, since the evidence thus far is ample.

                  • Raymond

                    Sure he can shut me up. I appreciate his allowing this discussion. But that doesn’t mean I’m not right. He complains about others who attempt to use negative language control the discussion, while he uses negative language to control the discussion. Including his responses to the comments.

                    Unless the whole thing is satire, in which case I profoundly apologize for missing the point.

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      No, that isn’t his complaints at all.

                      Look at it this way, profoundly confused is far more honorable than profoundly dishonest.

                • chezami

                  Raymond: I moderate these comboxes. If I want you to shut up, I can simply block you. You are here on my magnificent and magnanimous sufferage and bountiful generosity. You’re welcome. Continue your heroic posing.

            • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

              Again, failing to see how that is evidence.

              • Raymond

                Your failure to understand is not my problem, once I have provided examples.

                • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                  It would help if you provided evidence that actually supported your assertions, but you haven’t done so.

        • Guest

          Your thesis seems to have changed from “You also seem to control language and punish thoughtcrime using speech codes &c.” to “You also use language in ways that support your worldview at the expense of others’.” Those are different accusations, and they require different data to support them.

          • chezami

            There you go again. Using language to clarify instead of to obscure. This is triggering for Raymond. Stahp!!!

        • Claire Dalton Pak

          i think there’s a big difference between effective use of rhetoric and wholesale redefinitions of words or ideas to mean what we want them to mean. The quotes you’re pulling from this post don’t prove your point.

          • Raymond

            You don’t think the word Gestapo is an attempt to control the discussion?
            You don’t placing quotation marks around “triggering” is trying to reduce the concerns of people who have legitimate fears and traumas?
            You don’t think “Manufacturers of Culture” is phrased in such a way to denigrate, even though the Catholic Church is the greatest manufacturer of culture of them all?
            Can’t argue with that logic.

            • Claire Dalton Pak

              No, I think that “Gestapo” is used as a metaphor (an effective one, I might add.) I think that the use of scare quotes around the word “triggering” is meant not to mock people with legitimate fears and traumas, but to instead mock people who conflate “that offends me” with “that makes me feel unsafe and threatened and therefore you must not say it.” I think that “Manufacturers of Culture” is an effective way to describe the ruling cultural elite. And YES, the Catholic Church IS one of the greatest manufacturers of culture of them all. In fact, not ONE of the greatest, but THE greatest. It’s good that you acknowledge that.

              • Raymond

                I see. So the term “Racism Gestapo” is not intended to silence those who object to instances of racism. Using scare quotes around “triggering” is not intended to limit responses from people who have traumatic triggers. And “Manufacturers of Culture” isn’t intended as a sarcastic designation? I’m afraid I have to disagree.

                • Claire Dalton Pak

                  We’re having two different arguments. First of all, “Racism Gestapo” isn’t’ meant to “silence those who object to instances of racism.” I myself object to actual incidences of racism, and yet here I am, not at all feeling as though an attempt has been made to silence me. “Racism Gestapo” is meant instead to MOCK (not silence, but mock) people who find “incidences of racism” where none exist. Mark’s cited example, of the mistaken interpretation of the word “niggardly,” was perfectly chosen.

                  The scare quotes, again, are not meant to “limit responses” but to mock. NOT to mock people who have actually been victims of trauma (me again, and I still don’t feel silenced), but to mock people who can’t distinguish annoyance or hurt feelings from trauma. Finally, I fully acknowledge that “Manufacturers of Culture” is meant sarcastically. Who said that it’s not OK to use sarcasm, or irony, or metaphor, or parody, or satire, or any of the many other rhetorical devices that writers use? Mark’s post doesn’t express objection to any of that. It expresses objection to people who insist that black is white or that up is down (and they can if they want to) and who further insist that everyone else must believe that black is white and that up is down, or face punishment.

                  • Raymond

                    “Who said that it’s not OK to use sarcasm, or irony, or metaphor, or parody, or satire, or any of the many other rhetorical devices that writers use?”

                    I think Mark did. Including in this comment stream.

                • chezami

                  “So the term “Racism Gestapo” is not intended to silence those who object to instances of racism.” Correct. It’s meant to make fun of people who concoct charges of racism where none exist, because (among other things) when they do they harm the work of those fighting racism where it does exist.

                  “Using scare quotes around “triggering” is not intended to limit responses from people who have traumatic triggers.” Correct again! It’s intended to limit responses, not to victims of genuine trauma, but to people who have not, in fact, suffered any real trauma who insist on shutting down adult discourse based on their need to make everything about their Feels.

                  “And “Manufacturers of Culture” isn’t intended as a sarcastic designation?” Of course it is. So what?

                  You are now wandering rather far afield from your original points.

                • Ye Olde Statistician

                  Also “racism gestapo” misconstrues what the gestapo was and how it operated. Late Modern rhetoricalism — the belief that what you call something is more important than what that something is is a quite different critter::
                  But post-modern man prefers words to things, and theory to fact. The controversy is now over the word “genocide,” which the Turks, as a people, are commanded to accept. Insofar as they remain unmoved, by what was done by Turks to the Armenians one hundred years ago, they are in a sense off the hook. The debate is now about whether the word “genocide” applies, no longer about what it applies to.
                  — David Warren

                  But yes. Calling Ronald Reagan a “fascist” was simply an outburst of petulant name-calling; it did not seriously mean that he wanted all business and industry controlled by “boards” or “syndicates” organized by the State. The term “racism gestapo” may be intended not to “silence,” but merely to hold up a verbal mirror and say “Look, this is how you come across.”

                  IOW, there may be other reasons for a rhetorical trope than the most unkind literalism you can come up with. Lots of things can get called “racist” today that bear little resemblance to the true quill and rather bemuse those of us who saw things in the 60s.. It has become a “boo word,” a rhetorical device intended to silence one’s opponent. Just as calling critics of Obama “unpatriotic.” (And these were the same folks who earlier had celebrated attacks on the previous president as being the true patriotism.

                  An unruly crowd surrounds a speaker and shouts so loudly and continuously that the speaker cannot be heard and then as a final act rushes the podium leading the speaker to flee.

                  Is this merely legitimate protest or is it a denial of the speaker’s rights. (Contractual: she had been paid to come and give the speech.) Does it make any difference that it was on a college campus and the speaker was a conservative? What are we to make of the black high school student who demanded the white teacher get out of the classroom (and followed up with physical threats)?

                  The world is chock full of folks who have treated others badly and this is not restricted to any particular doers or their targets. But there is a difference between interfering with people in the exercise of their rights. This is quite different from people not having those rights.There was a time when women did not possess the right to vote. Preventing a woman from entering the booth was not then a violation of her rights. But after the 19th amendment, to do so was a crime. Similarly when a crowd of young black men drives white voters away from a polling station in Philadelphia.

              • Paul B. Lot

                The use of the phrase “Racism Gestapo”, and the equivalence it is meant to construct between [a secret police for capable of, organized for, and willing to abduct, imprison, torture, mutilate, and murder any enemy of the state] and [popular American political correctness sensibilities], reveals one to be an un-serious participant in a serious discussion about important topics.

                Endorsing someone else’s use of it reveals one to be an un-original and tractable un-serious participant in a serious discussion about important topics.

                *EDIT*

                I should clarify: I am not against your using it, or Mr. Shea’s having used it.

                I think it’s helpful to allow the fools to declare themselves openly.

                • antigon

                  ‘I think it’s helpful to allow the fools to declare themselves openly.’
                  *
                  Me too Mr. Lot, & accordingly appreciate your joining Mr. Mond & Mr. B in thus declaring thyselves with such openness.

                  • Paul B. Lot

                    *bows*

    • chezami

      The beloved tu quoque: for when you got nuthin’.

    • Guest

      I feel like you are using your privilege to trigger me…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8mEdgsg7_w

  • John Zulauf

    ” It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. ” — George Orwell

    http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit/

  • Guest

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

  • http://www.lampofthebody.com/ Dave Zelenka

    I feel that it’s important to understand this in context of evolution. Many Christian’s shy away from this topic. The classical Darwinian model is a bottom-up form of evolution, where genes drive a species composition. But we are finding more and more that the development of species (through epigenetics) occurs due to a species changing based on environmental stresses: the phenotype does actually alter the genotype. This is important because it says, how we live our lives does indeed change us and our offspring. What we do, what we learn will changes our species.

    The form is most important. The form that we are called to, of course, is God’s design for us.

    We also see species like insects adapt different morphological structures based on the environmental stresses.

    This is the same for our species, but it takes a darker turn, since we are moral beings. That is, our fantasy lives alter who we are. I truly believe this is what’s going on. Follow me?

    We are seeing adaptations within the individual and society because of
    sexual stresses and pain and hurt that has been place on our society:
    abuse, sexual content in media, hate, etc.

    Of course, this will breed social chaos and already is within the social fabric, families, and the individual.

    As a side note, I think addiction of various sorts will greatly increase this issue. We are become an addicted people, drugs, alcohol, technology, etc. And addictions easily move from one sphere to another. They will move into the sexual sphere, and once again, alter our species phenotypically, behaviorally, genetically and socially.

    Here’s the good news. As with invasive species in the natural realm, God’s creation will eventually only accept a species if it is fit within the forms that he has designed. So, we will need to have patience. These trends within culture and society will not succeed and will die off. However, we must stand strong with what we believe, what we do, and what we teach. We must love others. Ultimately the archetypal form for the human creature is a loving, holy being, aka, Jesus Christ. So, as you know, we must latch on to him: eternally. This is what the Gospels teach us. He will prevail.

  • Andre B

    It [the Left] encourages punishment of people, not only for saying and thinking unapproved ideas, but for saying things that sound like unapproved ideas, as when a bureaucrat a few years back used the word “niggardly” (a word derived from Northern European tongues that means “cheap” or “miserly”) in something he wrote and was set upon by the Racism Gestapo and hounded from his job.

    If Shea is referring to the David Howard incident, then it bears mentioning that both Salon and the chairman of the NAACP (two of the Right’s favorite Leftist bete noirs) came out in support of Howard, and that he was subsequently offered his old position (which he decline in favor of a different position in the administration).

    • chezami

      None of this changes the fact that this and dozens of other episodes of PC Thoughtcrime are epiphenomena of the Left. Nobody’s saying *all* Lefties buy this crap. But when destruction for Thoughtcrime is inflicted, it tends to come from the Left. It’s tic that’s deep in the Left’s DNA (though the Right is starting to embrace it because the Right, being intellectually bankrupt, is start to imitate the Left in its increasingly nihilist hunger for Power for Power’s Sake.

      • Andre B

        Perhaps, if you restrict yourself to this moment in time, here in the US, you can argue that the Left is the more frequent practitioner of thought crime. On the other hand, rewind the clock just over a decade ago, and the Right was doing a pretttty good job of intimidating people with talk of “Real Americans” and “Patriots” in the wake of 9/11.

        Also, if you care to go further back, let’s not forget a certain Wisconsin senator named Joe.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          Or a certain Hun named Atilla.

          • Paul B. Lot

            Or a certain little Austrian.

            • http://robertfking.wordpress.com/ Roki

              Or a certain Athenian gadfly executed for atheism and corrupting the youth.

              The desire to control how people think and speak and behave is hardly a modern phenomenon, and it fits fairly well into both “right” and “left” ideologies – albeit with differences of emphasis.

              However, technology is a force multiplier. So the language and cultural manipulations of the 14th century took centuries to propagate, those of the 18th century took only a century, those of the 19th century took decades, those of the 20th century took years, and now linguistic manipulations are having national or even global impact in a matter of weeks or days. What seemed absurd fantasy in Orwell’s “1984” has become technologically possible, and threatens to become actual.

              • Marthe Lépine

                Maybe even more than “threatens” to become actual. When I saw the movie “1884”, a long time ago, I had been wondering how that government had managed to introduce all that surveillance equipment in peoples’ homes… Nowadays, as soon as some new electronic gadget becomes available, people line-up, sometimes for hours or an entire night, at the front of the stores in order to be the first to purchase the gadget. They seem to do it quite willingly. So now we have TV sets that can record and transmit what is being said in your living room, and cell phones capable of recording what you say even when they are turned off, just to name a few…

              • Alma Peregrina

                This is one of the best comments in the entire thread (if not in the entire Internet). I salute you.

        • Colin Gormley

          A casual perusal of Mark’s work will show that he is no stranger to the Right’s own sins on the matter. The reality is though is that the Left has pretty much abandoned the concept of free speech to “I tolerate any speech that I agree with.” The Right seems to be on a crash course to catch up.

          • Andre B

            I think that, as usual, this is an example of the “other side” appearing to be a uniform monolith. Some of the most strident free-speech absolutists I know of consider themselves to be progressives – David Plotz of Slate comes to mind, as does Sam Harris, to name just two – and would likely be considered Leftists by those here. A recap of the Charlie Hebdo fall-out is a good reminder that there are fault lines re: free speech in both Left and Right camps.

            • Colin Gormley

              >David Plotz of Slate comes to mind, as does Sam Harris, to name just two

              That they may consider themselves free speech advocates does not mean that they are. Even the speech code advocates consider themselves advocates of free speech.

              • Andre B

                If you have examples of either arguing against free-speech, I’m happy to amend my thinking.

                • Colin Gormley

                  Not those two specifically. My point was more that simply saying that one is an advocate of free speech doesn’t mean anything. Sloppy copy and paste on my part. Apologies.

                  • Andre B

                    No worries.

                • antigon

                  Dear Mr. B:
                  *
                  See YOS above, & amend away.

                  • Joseph

                    Hahaha.

                  • Andre B

                    You’re so cute.

                    PS. Why would you think I would see this, and not YOS?

                    • antigon

                      Dear Mr. B:
                      *
                      Not to say cuddly.
                      *
                      PS: Shorter, easier for you to understand.

            • Ye Olde Statistician

              “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.”
              — Sam Harris

              Additional comment added:
              Yes, the staff of Charlie Hebdoe was massacred. Definitely a fault line.

              • Andre B

                Re: Harris, I think it’s pretty clear he’s not talking about speech, but rather actions:

                The following passage seems to have been selectively quoted, and misconstrued, more than any other I have written:

                The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense. This is what the United States attempted in Afghanistan, and it is what we and other Western powers are bound to attempt, at an even greater cost to ourselves and to innocents abroad, elsewhere in the Muslim world. We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas.

                This paragraph appears after a long discussion of the role that belief plays in governing human behavior, and it should be read in that context. Some critics have interpreted the second sentence of this passage to mean that I advocate simply killing religious people for their beliefs. Granted, I made the job of misinterpreting me easier than it might have been, but such a reading remains a frank distortion of my views. To someone reading the passage in context, it should be clear that I am discussing the link between belief and behavior. The fact that belief determines behavior is what makes certain beliefs so dangerous.

                When one asks why it would be ethical to drop a bomb on Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al Qaeda, the answer cannot be, “Because he killed so many people in the past.” To my knowledge, the man hasn’t killed anyone personally. However, he is likely to get a lot of innocent people killed because of what he and his followers believe about jihad, martyrdom, the ascendancy of Islam, etc. A willingness to take preventative action against a dangerous enemy is compatible with being against the death penalty (which I am). Whenever we can capture and imprison jihadists, we should. But in many cases this is either impossible or too risky. Would it have been better if we had captured Osama bin Laden? In my view, yes. Do I think the members of Seal Team Six should have assumed any added risk to bring him back alive? Absolutely not.

                He’s definitely correct in pointing out that his phrasing makes it easy to misconstrue his view, but in the end I don’t think this is an example of Harris advocating against free speech.

                As to your additional comment:

                Yes, the staff of Charlie Hebdoe was massacred. Definitely a fault line.

                I’m not sure what your point is.

                • Ye Olde Statistician

                  A recap of the Charlie Hebdo fall-out is a good reminder that there are
                  fault lines re: free speech in both Left and Right camps.

                  Of course, it has nothing to do with Left or Right, save that the Left will constantly make excuses for such acts. The notion that the reaction to the massacre was of greater concern than the massacre itself is simply one more example.

                  In radical Islam, both Left and Right are Western ideas and inherently haram.

                  • Andre B

                    Of course, it has nothing to do with Left or Right, save that the Left will constantly make excuses for such acts.

                    That’s right, the Left, and only the Left, made excuses for the massacres. We didn’t see any Popes, other Catholic figures, conservative religious leaders, or anyone on the Right at all saying Hebdo had it coming to them. You nailed it.

                    The notion that the reaction to the massacre was of greater concern than the massacre itself is simply one more example.

                    Perhaps you’ll elab-oh wait never mind, bye.

              • Paul B. Lot

                Do you then, I take it, disagree with Mr. Harris?

                • Ye Olde Statistician

                  “In the wake of 9/11”

                  After the fall of the towers, four muslim youths were on the subway when several construction workers got on fresh from the recovery efforts at the site. The youth hung their heads in shame. One of the construction workers spoke to them: “Hold your heads up. We’re all Americans.”

                  +++

                  Some while later, a muslim friend of mine returned to the USA after two years residence in Jordan and my :Left Wing friends assured me that she would not be allowed back into the country or would be relentlessly grilled. They were very certain of this. But of course she went straight through customs with no hassle. In fact, the customs agent, whose name was Ibrahim, was quite courteous.
                  +++
                  One waits patiently for the societal Islamophobic backlash, but all we find are scattered individual events.

                  +++
                  My wife recalls “Whites Only” and “Coloreds Only” water fountains from a time when colored people really did not have the rights. Today, anyone setting up a whites only lunch counter would find himself sued precisely because the social consensus (and the law) holds that they do.

                  • Paul B. Lot

                    You’ll forgive me if I mention that:
                    a) these disconnected anecdotes don’t convey any extra meaning to me, besides the content of the paragraphs themselves; and
                    b) you failed to answer my question.

                    • Ye Olde Statistician

                      a) They illustrate how the Late Modern favors Theory, as shown in some earlier comments. The phenomenon known as “Selma Envy” holds that one today faces the same hostility and danger as were faced by their grandfathers on the Selma Bridge, and magnifies social snootiness (or worse, merely behind the curve in Approved Speech) into great conspiracies full of dog whistles and the like. IOW, one should take a deep breath and lie down with a wet washrag over one’s face.

                      b) A common tactic is misdirection and distraction: raising of peripheral questions, etc.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      You are remarkably bad at clear and direct speech to be, under a blog-post about the evils of contorted meanings, posting with as much elephantine self-importance as you manage here.

                      a) I’ll take your word for all of…this.

                      I still don’t understand why you thought the class needed to hear your thoughts on the subject. Ie. With regard to Mr. Harris’s comment; what is your point?

                      b) Indeed, red herrings can be the bane of cogent conversation. As I have offered none, I am again impelled to inquire; what’s your point?

                      YOU decided to quote Mr. Harris to vague effect. I, on the other hand, have asked a piercingly apropos and pithy question to pin down your amorphous meaning.

                      You have so far failed to reply with something approaching a reasonable response.

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      ‘ with as much elephantine self-importance as you manage here… . I, on the other hand, have asked a piercingly apropos and pithy question to pin down your amorphous meaning.”

                      That is honestly the funniest thing I have read in a long time.

        • chezami

          You’re new here, aren’t you?

          • Andre B

            ??

  • http://hjg.com.ar/ Hernán J. González

    “the day to day contact most people have with transgendered people is vanishingly rare”

    I know one or more catholics who had thought the same, till some day they had to deal with that kind of human contact – perhaps one from his intimate circle (perhaps even a son or daughter), perhaps a priest in the confessionary.
    I guess you are not stating that fact merely to dismiss the problem (the problem for us, normal catholics, of how to behave -concretely- towards a trangendered person), but anyway, we could start here here http://www.owningourfaith.com/participantsbios

  • ManyMoreSpices

    In this context, I literally don’t understand what is meant by “woman.”

    The entire “trans” enterprise cannot be sustained amidst the rest of the sex/gender/sexuality theorizing from the LGBTQWERTY crowd. For it to make any sense, other elements of the Queer Canon must yield. That becomes apparent as soon as you start taking the trans-claims seriously, but you’re not supposed to do that. Your role is to applaud.

    We’re told that biology – specifically, the possession of certain organs – is not what makes you a man or woman. The believe that the organs in your pants or the DNA in your cells in what makes you a man or a woman is pejoratively described as a “reductionist” view. No, what makes you a man or woman is how your feel in your head.

    Well… hold on a second. Among other problems with this, it simply replaces the reductionism of determining gender by the organ in your pelvis with the reductionism of determining gender by the organ in your skull. A woman is not someone with a uterus; it’s someone with a female brain. If you’re worried about reducing gender to the presence of a particular type of organ, this is not an improvement.

    Of course, this cannot be reconciled with the insistence from Womyn’s Studies types that we’re all born as blank slates, and any desire to wear dresses and nurture or wear pants and build things is something we’re brainwashed into by the Patriarchy. If being a woman means that you generally prefer to behave in a particular way common to women (in Jenner’s case, to look fabulous on the cover of Vanity Fair), such that acting that way is essential to what it means to be a woman, then those desires are biology, not Patriarchy.

    But wait: if possession of certain organs is not what makes you a man or woman, what is with Jenner types who decide that it is necessary, as part of “transitioning” to womanhood, to acquire breasts? Surely if being a woman is just about what’s in your head, then your body shouldn’t matter. But oh, organs matter terribly, to the point that transgendered people don’t feel at home in their bodies.

    The intellectually honest among the Social Justice Warriors know this, of course. That’s why a small number of radical feminists reject the idea that a man can “transition” and actually be a woman. These feminists are pejoratively called “TERFs,” trans-exclusionary radical feminists, and they’re despised by the gender revolutionaries for not getting with the program. As wrong as the TERFs are on many things, they recognize that manhood and womanhood are biological concepts that are more than mere illusions or cultural constructs.

    TERFs correctly understand that it makes no sense for a man to say “I feel like a woman,” any more than it makes sense for a man to say “I feel like a dog” or “I feel like a pine tree,” for that matter. The internal, subjective experience of being a dog is not accessible to anything that isn’t a dog. Indeed, it doesn’t even make much sense for a woman to say “I feel like a woman,” because doing so necessarily requires access to the subjective internal experiences of other women, which no one has. There’s a hard epistemological limit here. Jenner can’t actually say that he feels like a woman. What he can say is that he doesn’t like his body, and that he seems to have experiences in common with women more than with men. But the only thing he – or any of us – can say that we feel like is ourselves.

    • Raymond

      While I agree that there are people who take this whole thing too far, I think the basic message of the LGBTQ community is that they want and deserve the same rights and privileges that white Christian males have. Including the right to marry and to live according to their gender identity. The extent that these discussions spin out of control, the basic message is one of regaining dignity and equal protection under the law.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        What’s the point of putting “white” and “Christian” in there? What legal rights do white Christians enjoy that black Christians or white Jews do not?

        • Andre B

          What legal rights do white Christians enjoy that black Christians […] do not?

          I’ll take “Questions naive white people ask” for $200, Alex.

          • ManyMoreSpices

            Blacks and whites, Jews and Christians all have the same legal rights. That’s not to say that the world is equally easy for all these groups, or that belonging to one does not come with certain social advantages that the others do not enjoy. But as a matter of legal rights? Everyone’s got the same ones, in America at least.

            Good job assuming that I’m white, by the way.

            • Raymond

              If those rights are not respected and equally applied, they aren’t rights.

              • ManyMoreSpices

                It’s serendipitous that in a discussion over perverting language, we have two people come along and demonstrate the concept perfectly, without a hint of self-awareness.

                I said that Christians and non-Christians in America have the same legal rights. Along come Raymond and Andre to insist that “legal rights” means something other than what the term actually means.

                • Andre B

                  I said that Christians and non-Christians in America enjoy the same legal rights. Along come Raymond and Andre to insist that “legal rights” means something other than what the term actually means.

                  I mean, no – I took issue with the black/white part of your comment. Feel free to correct yourself accordingly.

                  • ManyMoreSpices

                    So Jews and Christians have the same legal rights? That’s something you believe? Good, we’re in agreement there.

                    Weird that you would think that the fact that blacks and whites have a different experience in America means that blacks have fewer rights, but the fact that Jews and Christians have a different experience means nothing of the kind.

                    • Andre B

                      Not only did you not correct yourself, but kept digging your hole deeper.

                      So Jews and Christians have the same legal rights? That’s something you believe?

                      I’m not familiar enough with this specific facet to say, so no that’s not something I believe.

                      Weird that you would think that the fact that blacks and whites have a different experience in America means that blacks have fewer rights, but the fact that Jews and Christians have a different experience means nothing of the kind.

                      I like how you’re euphemize a ‘long, ongoing history of systemic, often institutional discrimination’ as a ‘different experience’. Slow clap, buddy.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Thanks pal. God bless.

                • Raymond

                  You can’t say that Christians and non-Christians enjoy the same legal rights when dozens of armed Christians surround a mosque and scream racist and anti-Muslim comments. I don’t think the church-goers are enjoying freedom of religion.
                  You can’t say that whites and blacks enjoy the same legal rights when white police kill unarmed black people while saying things like “f— your breath!” I don’t think that man enjoyed his right to life.

                  • ManyMoreSpices

                    Being yelled at is not a deprivation of any legal right.

                    Moreover, the fact that a right is not respected does not mean that the right does not exist. You have to be very careful with language here. If someone murders you, you’re no longer alive. But your murder is punished because you have a right to be alive.

                    • Raymond

                      By people with machine guns who are surrounding your church?

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      Where and when did anyone surround an American mosque with machine guns?

                      Just like “churchgoers”, machine gun has a particular meaning, one you obviously are distorting.

                    • S. Murphy

                      You didn’t see the biker w the MK-19 on his handlebars?
                      Or was that a movie?

                    • Paul B. Lot
                    • Guest

                      Number of machine guns pictured: 0

                    • Raymond
                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      So, no machine guns then?

                    • Raymond

                      “Some brought two or three firearms, from pistols and revolvers to shotguns and assault rifles.”

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      Again, so no machine guns? I am going to give you a hint here, fun though this is: Assault rifles aren’t machine guns.

                    • Raymond

                      A distinction that doesn’t make a difference. Feel free to refute the letter of my statement while ignoring the spirit. I still win.

                    • Guest

                      With respect, it makes an world of difference to the BATFE.

                    • Raymond

                      you’re still not addressing the point of my comment.

                    • Andre B

                      If Raymond’s point is that there’s a substantial difference between 1) simply being yelled at and 2) having one’s place of worship surrounded by a large group of heavily armed people yelling at you, then the semantics of ‘assault rifle’ vs ‘machine gun’ aren’t the real issue.

                    • Guest

                      Then his point should be clear enough on its own, with no need to invent facts to emotionally reinforce it.

                    • Andre B

                      I mean, you want to make a big deal about the whole ‘AR’ v ‘MG’, as if it makes a difference (I could just as easily imagine somebody accusing him of emotional rhetoric had he said AR). Cool.

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      It was the part which interested me. Before one of you chuckleheads starts misrepresenting me, Let me say I find such actions reprehensible, I think Mohammed cartoon contests are a ridiculous misuse of valuable freedoms, and frankly, I sometimes suspect we’d all be better off if Isis wins.

                    • Andre B

                      As long as we’re being pedantic, while ‘assault rifle’ and ‘machine gun’ have distinct definitions and so are not, strictly speaking, interchangeable, neither are they mutually exclusive. An assault rifle can be a machine gun, and vice versa.

                    • Guest

                      Unless the writer had very detailed knowledge of the weapons written about, it is extremely unlikely that the term was used correctly in the story.

                    • Andre B

                      Also entirely irrelevant to Raymond’s point.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      I think it is technically impossible to determine from the pictures whether or not any of those weapons are “machine guns” in the sense of being fully-automatic. Certainly many of those weapons are easily modifiable to be full-auto.

                      None of pictures I’ve seen seem to contain squad-automatic or crew-served weapons — so if this is your point; you are correct.

                    • Guest

                      They are not easily modifiable; this is a myth. If they were, they would be regulated as machine guns under the NFA:

                      https://www.atf.gov/content/firearms/firearms-industry/guides/national-firearms-act-machinegun

                    • Andre B

                      http://www.wired.com/2015/06/i-made-an-untraceable-ar-15-ghost-gun/

                      Yeah, I doubt there’s any workarounds to gun regulation.

                    • Guest

                      As I understand it – and the author agrees – that’s not illegal. (You would have to be colossally stupid or out to make a point in order to broadcast your violation of federal firearms law – look what Adam Kokesh went through for his demonstration.) Nor is it relevant, since he doesn’t claim that it’s an automatic weapon.

                    • Andre B

                      I know he doesn’t claim it’s an auto, he says as much in the first paragraph. Besides the un-evidenced claim that it’s not easy to mod semi to auto fire, you seem to be making an argument that, even if it were, “they would be regulated”. I’m giving you an example of technology that allows for easy – and clandestine – creation of firearms receivers. How do you regulate that?

                    • Guest

                      The same way you regulate anything else: make the law, and if knowledge of violations comes to the regulators’ attention through legal means, enforce it. Can you get away with violations? Sure, but some people always have – their actions were still regulated, they were just in violation. We don’t say there is no law when a law is broken; the latter would be impossible if the former were true.
                      It still seems odd to offer a story in which no laws were broken as evidence that it’s easy to circumvent the law.

                    • Andre B

                      It still seems odd to offer a story in which no laws were broken as evidence that it’s easy to circumvent the law.

                      I mean, if you don’t see how easy it’s becoming, then you’re not paying attention.

                      From the same article:

                      There’s even a way to anonymously buy that highly regulated lower receiver—almost. Like many gun vendors, Ares sells what’s known as an “80 percent lower,” a chunk of aluminum legally deemed to be 80 percent of the way toward becoming a functional lower receiver. Because it lacks a few holes and a single precisely shaped cavity called the trigger well, it’s not technically a regulated gun part.

                      When the technicalities that allow you to avoid regulation are this trivial, I think it’s safe to say that it’s easy to circumvent the law.

                    • Guest

                      So you can’t anonymously buy a lower receiver, then? Is that what you’re saying? And if you anonymously buy a chunk of metal, it’s 100% legal to craft it into a regulated gun part? Is that also what you’re saying?

                      You can’t both follow the law and circumvent it.

                    • Andre B

                      And if you anonymously buy a chunk of metal, it’s 100% legal to craft it into a regulated gun part?

                      I mean, crafting != regulating. If you crafted a part yourself, the only way it becomes regulated (the way we would typically talk about gun regulation) is if you had it subsequently serialized and registered.

                      As the article points out, it’s not yet illegal to simply craft a fully functioning receiver, only to buy/sell such things. So, you know, if I craft 50 receivers, and give them out to my friends and family…did I do anything illegal if no currency is exchanged? Would you consider such a thing to be circumventing a regulation?

                    • Guest

                      “If you crafted a part yourself, the only way it becomes regulated (the way we would typically talk about gun regulation) is if you had it subsequently serialized and registered.”

                      This is not true. Regulations don’t stop applying simply because the regulator is not aware of the item. The regulations simply go unenforced.

                      As to your last question, it may in fact not be legal to anonymously transfer a firearm. Washington, for instance, just passed a law requiring background checks for free transfers (and the way it was worded, the law might even apply to cases where someone borrows your gun to go to the range for the afternoon – but I digress). But let’s assume that it is. Again, you cannot both follow the law and circumvent it. If a thing is legal to do, that’s the end of the discussion, even if it’s illegal to do other similar things. The results may be similar, but the process is not.

                    • Andre B

                      The regulations simply go unenforced.

                      One might even be tempted to say that the regulations were circumvented 😉

                      Again, you cannot both follow the law and circumvent it.

                      Sigh. That you aren’t actively breaking the law doesn’t mean you’re not circumventing it. As the article points out:

                      the rifle’s lower receiver; that’s the body of the gun, the only part that US law defines and regulates as a “firearm.”

                      When you’re buying an 80% receiver, you’re circumventing any of the above mentioned regulations that would normally apply b/c a few more holes need to be drilled into it before it’s recognized as a “firearm”. If the regulations are meant to prevent people from accessing firearms without first passing background checks and registering their weapons – then buying an 80% and drilling the remaining holes, while technically legal, is a circumventing these rules. I dunno how else to put it. Maybe you don’t know what the word means.

                      to avoid being stopped by (something, such as a law or rule) : to get around (something) in a clever and sometimes dishonest way

                      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/circumvent

                    • Guest

                      The law prohibits purchasing a firearm anonymously and it specifically defines what a firearm is. It does not prohibit crafting one for your own use. Since no firearm was purchases anonymously but rather was crafted from materials that are not firearms, I’d say the law was not circumvented unless the purpose of the law was to prevent people from obtaining firearms anonymously at all. If this is the case, I’d say the law was rather badly crafted.

                    • Andre B

                      “The law prohibits purchasing a firearm anonymously”

                      “unless the purpose of the law was to prevent people from obtaining firearms anonymously at all”

                      weh…
                      but…
                      you just wrote…
                      i mean…

                      Yeah, at the end of the day, we have no idea what the intent of those laws prohibiting anonymous purchasing of firearms were designed to do.

                    • Guest

                      What if I told you that there are ways to obtain things that don’t involve getting them from someone else? If I buy lumber at the hardware store, I have not bought a deck, even if that’s what I wind up with in the end. Where did the deck come from?

                    • Andre B

                      We’re talking about whether or not it’s easy to get around gun regulations these days…but do keep telling me about your deck.

                    • Guest

                      If you are unable or unwilling to discuss things by analogy, I suppose I can get back to the work I ought to be doing.

                    • Andre B

                      Broadly speaking, the point of most gun regulations – the thing we were presumably discussing – is to prevent specific people from possessing firearms, and/or to have a record of who does own specific firearms.

                      If your deck analogy manages to touch on these issues, by all means, do keep telling me about your deck that you have but did not buy.

                    • antigon

                      Gentlemen, please! One can’t adequately express how fascinating this discussion is, at least as a cure for insomnia. But can’t we return to the still more fascinating exploration of how the words ‘legal rights’ are as offensive as the word ‘niggardly?’

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      “They are not easily modifiable; this is a myth.”

                      I suppose the truth of your statement hinges on one’s definition of “easily”.

                      I have a cousin who, on his own and as teenager, modified a Ruger .22 rifle to be full auto *fire more than one shot per trigger pull* — using only hand tools.

                      I’d call that “easy”.

                      Further; the ATF link you used to support your assertion states that guns are classified (and therefore regulated) as machine guns if they can be “readily restored” — not if they can be “easily modified”, which was the term I used.

                      “Readily restored” means that they were originally designed with the functionality, and have had it retroactively handicapped. “Easily modified” means that they were originally designed without the functionality, and have had it retroactively added.

                      As an aside, it’s funny to me how, in a thread below a post ostensibly about the evils of ignoring and distorting language, there are so many defenders-of-orthodox-speech….willing to ignore and distort language to score internet points.

                      *Edit for accuracy, per @Hezekiah Garrett*

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      Your cousin did not modify a 10/22 to full auto with hand tools. He either shortened his sear firing was uncontrolled upon triggerpull, or he installed an aftermarket device that enabled him to rock the trigger. Neither is full auto.

                      Besides, full auto is north the only distinguishing characteristic of a machine gun.

                      U.S. Navy Firecontrolman here, with plenty of experience maintaining an armory.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      I apologize, you are correct.

                      I should have said that my cousin modified a semi-automatic carbine to fire more than one shot per trigger pull.

                      Which means he turned the .22 caliber Rugger carbine into a machine gun.

                    • Andre B

                      Besides, full auto is north the only distinguishing characteristic of a machine gun.

                      You south be more specific then about west you mean. East.

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      Again, You demean only yourself jumping onto petty autocorrect errors for paragraphs composed on a 3inch screen. You may think you ‘win’, but you still look like a loser to adults in the room.

                    • Andre B

                      Maybe that’s what the adults think, but they probably also think you should stop using a child-sized phone.

                      U.S. Civilian here, with plenty of experience having a sense of humor.

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      Finally, someone knows what a machine gun is !

                    • Andre B

                      BTW, as long as they’re registered under NFA, fully-auto weapons appear legal in AZ, so I’m not sure you could say with certainty that there were no machine guns.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Arizona

                    • Guest

                      Legally transferrable machine guns are priced in the five-figure range these days, so I’d bet that those weren’t. The price is due to rarity; civilians are unable to register machine guns made after 1986 and even then the machine gun must already have been so registered before then.

                      So you’re technically correct, but only in the sense that it’s technically possible for me to be president some day.

                    • Andre B

                      So you’re technically correct

                      Which, given this who thing was touched off by Hezekiah’s pedantry, means I’m winning at that game.

                    • Guest

                      In order to actually win, you will need to honestly answer this question:
                      Assuming the knowledge were available, what stakes would you be willing to offer as to whether there were any legally-owned machine guns present at that rally?
                      I’d bet a lot that there were none.

                    • Andre B

                      I love it. You are amazing. A gift that keeps on giving.

                      Let’s recap.

                      Raymond points out to Hezekiah ManyMoreSpices that the protest wasn’t simply people yelling at others, but rather a large group of heavily armed people. In saying this, he uses the term ‘machine gun’ (MG). Hezekiah chooses to focus exclusively on what might be a misuse of the term MG. Raymond quotes the WaPo piece, which notes many of the protesters were armed with multiple weapons, including handguns, shotguns, and assault rifles (AR). Since Hezekiah isn’t interested in addressing the main point, he tries (and fails) to make the correct distinction between MGs and ARs. Now, that Hezekiah is so keen on maintaining the “no MG” position, I can only assume a few things (maybe you have more insight): 1) that he believes the WaPo’s lack of explicitly mentioning MGs means that no MGs could be present (which seems naive); and/or 2) that he believes that the state of AZ allows ARs but not MGs, and so no MGs could be present (both naive and incorrect).

                      My responses to all the above were to point out that 1) MG v AR is a red-herring to begin with; 2) that Hezekiah didn’t correctly distinguish between MG and AR; and 3) that in the event Hezekiah was under the impression MGs were illegal in AZ, to point out they were legal if registered properly.

                      Now you’re asking me if I think there were any legally-owned machine guns at the rally…as if that’s at all relevant.

                      Here’s a stupid question in return: how many illegally-owned MGs do you think were at that rally?

                      EDIT: for correct ID.

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      Actually, Let’s recap honestly. Raymond was having his discussion with someone else when he made an outlandish claim and I requested more information.

                      If you can’t keep up with who’s who in a combo, maybe you should hang it up, son.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      An MP-5 is a “machine gun”, a modified Glock 9mm would technically be a “machine gun”…neither are going to be as deadly as high-capacity semi-automatic high-powered rifles….which were being carried by the protesters.

                      My $.02 is that Raymond seeing a picture of protesters with these Assault Rifles slung across their backs, and describing the situation as “people carrying machine guns”, is not a major error in any sense, much less an “outlandish” one.

                    • Andre B

                      Ah! Fair. He was initially responding to ManyMoreSpices. I’ll adjust accordingly.

                      The rest pretty much stands unchanged. Dad?

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      Asking for evidence of a claim is not pedantry. Again, your incredible ignorance is on display.

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      I haven’t claimed there were none. I asked what evidence existed to support Raymond’s claim that there were. He repeatedly offered what he thought was such evidence, because he doesn’t know what a machine gun is.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      Being yelled at is not a deprivation of any legal right.

                      Do you have even the slightest conception of what you say? Or do you just take someone else’s words, put a “not” in there somewhere, and regurgitate?

                      Being “yelled at” most certainly can be an infringement of one’s rights *depending on the circumstances*; from the upper level of international “human rights” right on down the legal hierarchy to civil infractions and contract breach.

                      Good lord man, try harder to say something cogent next time, please.

                      *Edit for clarity*

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Or do you just take someone else’s words, put a “not” in there somewhere, and regurgitate?

                      Yep, that’s pretty much all I do. You nailed me.

                      I’ll try to do better.

                      Anyway… if you and I have a contract not to yell at each other, and then I yell at you, well… yeah, I suppose that I have breached that contract. You win this round, Paul.

                      But as a general matter, in a free society, someone protesting outside your establishment is not a violation of your legal rights.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      Passive-aggressive acquiescence is not the prize I was hoping for, but it seems to be the prize I won.

                      Do you honestly believe that “being yelled at” can never be an infringement of one’s rights?

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      No, which is why I said that if we have a contract under which I agree not to yell at you, and I yell at you, I have violated a right that you were supposed to enjoy. And I suppose that yelling at certain times and at certain volumes will violate content-neutral laws designed to curtail noise.

                      Putting feral and preposterous examples aside, and focusing on context and trying to remain on-topic, protesting outside a mosque – the example here – is not a violation of any legal right of the Mohammedans contained within said mosque.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      I mean, come on @ManyMoreSpices:disqus; you’re really going to add another passive-aggressive element to our discussion and complain about the fact that I didn’t respond to your unacknowledged (poor netiquette that), and after-the-fact, edits to a comment you made?

                      +1

                      This was your original, to which I responded:

                      Or do you just take someone else’s words, put a “not” in there somewhere, and regurgitate? Yep, that’s pretty much all I do. You nailed me. I’ll try to do better.

                      That bit of bookkeeping aside: are you stating that the only conceivable infringement of an American Citizen’s rights arising from being-yelled-at is in the context of a signed contract prohibiting said yelling?

                      *Editted for comma placement*

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      This discussion is going far afield. Let me see if I can ground it.

                      The original assertion by Raymond was:
                      “You can’t say that Christians and non-Christians enjoy the same legal rights when dozens of armed Christians surround a mosque and scream racist comments.”

                      I responded by saying that being yelled at was not a violation of their legal rights.

                      Now, had I wanted to write 5,000 words on the topic, I would have first cleared the decks by postulating that if the yelling amounted to intimidation or violated a noise ordinance, that would a violation of someone’s rights.

                      I then would have spent a long time explaining that having someone protest your church, business, or home generally isn’t a violation of your legal rights. I would have further explained that whether the protests were legal would not hinge on whether their content was racist. I would have further explained that there is no legal right not to hear bigoted words about your race or religion.

                      I would have wrapped up by saying that even if one group endures more protests than another group, that doesn’t mean that the former has fewer legal rights than the latter, because there’s no general legal right not to be protested. I then would have said that this does not mean that it’s as easy to belong to a minority religion as it is to belong to a majority religion. But that’s a question of culture, not law.

                      Rather than write all that, I used “being yelled at is not a deprivation of any legal right” as shorthand. And I stand by that: with a few trivial exceptions, that’s true.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      None of the “exceptions” you listed are “trivial” in my mind.

                      More the to point, however, I can well imagine a potent legal case for “armed [persons] … surround [a group of people] and scream racists comments” being an instance of in your words, “intimidation”, or in legal terms assault.

                      *Edit*

                      I hesitate to add more snark to our exchange, but I really am surprised that in a discussion about the well-being of your fellow a) humans and b) citizens, you would take such umbrage at being called-out for what you claim is mere imprecision and laziness on your part.

                      Why not just clarify from the start, and say “look, sometimes yelling is infringement, sometimes not, I don’t think case XYZ is an infringement.”

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Why? Because there is no level of explanation that could possibly escape your pedantry. You could always find a way to follow up with “Yeah, but what if they were also doing THIS, while simultaneously doing THAT? What then, you jerk?”

                      Yelling at someone, as a general matter, is not a violation of anyone’s rights. The vast majority of yelling incidents that occur in the world are not legally actionable. If there’s a specific reason to believe that a specific incident could amount to a criminal act, we can talk about that. But as a general matter, standing outside an establishment and yelling is not a crime.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      “But as a general matter, standing outside an establishment and yelling is not a crime.”

                      What does this new, and also false, assertion have to do with the phrase in question, which was: “Being yelled at is not a deprivation of any legal right.”

                      [Yelling outside a building] — While it can, actually, be illegal; on the surface it sure seems silly. I see why you picked it.
                      [Yelling nonsense at people as they enter a building] — I’m sure it can be illegal; but it’s a little more personal, more visceral…a bit less silly.
                      [Yelling racial slurs, while visibly armed, at a group of minority ethnic/religious people as they enter their socially unacceptable-place-of-worship] is a lot less silly, and very likely to be illegal. <— this last one is the scenario that you commented in reply to. I see why you’ve shied away from it, and instead started talking about breaching don’t-yell-at-me-contracts.

                      (For my money, it also sounds A LOT more Kristalnachty than accusing someone of being insensitive.)

                      As a final note, in response to your: “there is no level of explanation that could possibly escape your pedantry”. You might be correct.

                      It is conceivable that you might be incapable of producing a statement free from fundamental flaws of logic and rhetoric. I don’t know. Try harder?

                      What I do know is that, apart from the types of “yelling” we’ve discussed so far, potentially-illegal forms might be:
                      -[Having screaming fights in an apartment which impede your neighbors’ quiet enjoyment of their domicile]
                      -(According to the SCOTUS) [Screaming “fire” in a crowded theater]
                      -[A white teacher screaming at a black child to get out of his classroom.]
                      -[An emotionally abusive husband screaming to his wife that if she doesn’t quiet the baby he’s going to do _________.]
                      -[Any civilian screaming anything at any member of law enforcement]

                      These are off the top of my head. This short list took me 2 minutes to write and format. I am sure there are many more potential instances of illegal yelling.

                      I suppose one you could deal with everything I’ve said so far is to admit that as-written your phrasing was incorrect, but that your real point was _________. Maybe you make the point that I made for you at the end of my previous post.

                      Another would be to edit things you’ve said before to add retro-active, passive-aggresive caveats, and then continue to complain about pedantry.

                      I wonder which you’ll chose?

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      However, in my country at least, I would assume that being surrounded by armed men who yell at you would seem rather threatening, and making threats of violence or death (by being armed and verbally aggressive), which could definitely be assumed in such a case, is illegal.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      Oh, look.

                      @ManyMoreSpices:disqus has again edited a comment, without acknowledgement, to save face.

                      +2

                  • Hezekiah Garrett

                    How incredibly small minded. Muslims aren’t churchgoers, you Christian bigot.

                    • Raymond

                      so you prefer the term mosquegoers? ok….

                      and I’m not a Christian. Catholic for fifty years, None for four years.

                    • antigon

                      Our Lady thanks you for your former service Mr. Mond.

                • thisismattwade

                  I’m just amazed at your patience to keep jockeying around with a person is fairly obviously ignorant.

            • Andre B

              Everyone’s got the same ones, in America on paper / in theory, sometimes, but rarely in practice, even in America in the year 2015.

              FTFY

            • Andre B

              Good job assuming that I’m white, by the way.

              I mean… 1) whether or not you are white, that sort of question is still typical of many naive white folks’ mindset that the law is color-blind; and 2) I’m probably correct in my assumption about you.

              • ManyMoreSpices

                The laws is color-blind, save for some affirmative action and related set-asides that only benefit racial minorities. Blacks and whites have the same legal rights under law.

                How that works out in practice is another matter. I’ll say it again: the fact that a right is deprived does not mean that the right does not exist. Suppose a white cop prevents a black citizen from voting. That’s a violation of the right to vote that the black citizen has. It doesn’t mean that the black citizen doesn’t have the right to vote. It means just the opposite. The black citizen has the same right to vote as any white citizen.

                • Andre B

                  The laws is color-blind, save for some affirmative action and related set-asides that only benefit racial minorities. Blacks and whites have the same legal rights under law.

                  You’ll notice that I specified “on paper / in theory, sometimes, but rarely in practice, even in America in the year 2015”. One need not go that far back to find examples of the law itself explicitly discriminating against racial minorities (eg. racial housing covenants). I’m also not sure it’s fair to say all races enjoy the same legal rights when the mandatory sentencing for certain offenses implicitly targets certain racial groups.

          • W. Randolph Steele

            Amen. My African-American wife and I can answer that! Also, my close Jewish friend as well.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              Like clockwork, Mr. Steele references his African American wife. The frequency with which this occurs almost makes one wonder if he chose his mate for her utility in combox discussions. I’m in a multiracial marriage too, but I haven’t found much opportunity to dwell on it, mostly because she’s a fabulous human being, for a white girl at least.

              • W. Randolph Steele

                Actually, SHE CHOSE ME! And it’s a great, wonderful love story and has been for 15 years. She gets mentioned when I think it applies,like above. I will conitnue to do so when I think “naive white people” or outright racists appear.

      • JM1001

        Including the right to marry…

        But this assertion risks being a little question-begging, since it presupposes answers to questions that are exactly what’s at issue: What is marriage? What is it for? And what is the state interest in regulating marriage?

        The traditional view and the liberal view have fundamentally different answers to these questions, which determine whether same-sex marriage can be properly characterized as a “right” at all.

        • Raymond

          I’m kinda thinking the issues of same sex marriage is something of a derail of this comment thread. My point was that – despite shrill unfortunate overreactions on both sides – the main issues for the LGTBQ community are dignity and equal protection.

          • JM1001

            Yes, of course LGBT people should be treated with dignity and equal protection. Agreed on that score. The problem is when people casually smuggle into that idea the “right to marry,” which doesn’t necessarily follow — not even from “dignity and equal protection.” Again, it will depend on answers to questions about the essential features, purposes, and state interest regarding whatever social institution we’re talking about.

            • antigon

              Dunno, Mr. 1, since people casually smuggled in the idea about the inherent dignity of grotesque perversion, don’t see why it should stop there. As it hasn’t of course.

          • ManyMoreSpices

            At least in the context of “trans” stuff (which is what this discussion is about), we’re drilling down some fundamental questions about the nature of humanity.

            It’s a violation of someone’s dignity to treat him poorly because he’s attracted to other men, or wants to wear a dress. It’s a violation of objective fact to say that a dog has five legs because we’re going to start considering tails to be legs. And that’s what the trans discussion is about: calling men women, and vice-versa.

            I strenuously object to anyone being mean or doing violence to Jenner. I also strenuously object to the insistence that I pretend that he’s a she.

            • antigon

              I suppose it’s mean to say Madame Jenner exemplifies American manhood, mais aussi c’est vrai!

          • antigon

            I know it’s impolite to mention this, but there is the problem that bonking feces or having your feces bonked is a grotesque perversion & thus inherently destructive to the bonkee/er’s dignity, which per accidens is also necessarily tough on the common good.

            • Joseph

              One of my major contentions when speaking with advocates and apologists for feces bonking. I always ask them the rhetorical questions: why do you wash your hands after you take a crap? why are you told not to touch your face when you have feces on your hands? why are you told from a young age to take particular care in keeping your genitalia clean? if having your own feces on your genitalia is, for good reason, not considered healthy or good hygiene, why on earth would you want to deliberately smear someone else’s feces on your genitalia? what is the difference between the act of anal sex and wiping the rim of a dirty toilet bowl with your junk and why would you choose one over the other when, in essence, you’re doing the same thing?
              .
              The poop chute apologists are completely inconsistent in that regard.

              • Garbanzo Bean

                The old line was “sex is a filthy disgusting thing you should save for someone you love.” The apologists of the libertine ideology liked to use that line to make fun of old-school thinking and to rationalize sex education. And yet, there is actually some logic to the disgusting-vs-intimate thinking: you would not put your tongue in just anyone’s mouth (one hopes). See http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/leithart/2014/10/love-and-disgust

        • Raymond

          To the extent that two individuals in a committed relationship want to do things like share insurance coverage, make medical decisions for one another, leave estates to the surviving member, adopt children, etc. the government regulates marriage. Marriage as a sacrament is “regulated” by churches and church organizations, and they can define them and perform them as they wish. But two people have the right to the legal benefits of marriage and to have the marriage performed in a church that supports the couple’s relationship.

          • JM1001

            To the extent that two individuals in a committed relationship want to do things like share insurance coverage, make medical decisions for one another, leave estates to the surviving member, adopt children, etc. the government regulates marriage.

            Yes, that’s the liberal answer to the question of why the state regulates marriage — defined as a list of benefits from the state for people who are committed to one another. (Interestingly, if this is the case, then there is no non-arbitrary reason to limit such benefits to romantic unions consisting of only two people. Romantic unions of three people, or five, or ten, or however many, would also have to be permitted. So-called “polyamorous marriage” could very well be the next big issue. Indeed, there is no non-arbitrary reason to limit such benefits even to romantic unions at all, if two people or a group of people who are nonetheless committed to each other want to share benefits with each other.)

            On the other hand, the traditional view has a different answer to the question of why the state regulates marriage: A just government properly concerns itself with those things that pertain to the common good. Since societies only flourish if families flourish — and since the union of a man and a woman, ordered towards the generation of new human beings, is the very first society — then the institution of marriage as a union of man and woman ordered towards the creation and rearing of children is a legitimate interest of the state. On this view, the institution of marriage is not merely defined as a list of government benefits, but as a particular kind of human society based on monogamy, fidelity, and sexual complementarity — which are the goods necessary for the creation and rearing of children.

            The state, therefore, should not institutionalize within civil marriage that which would undermine those goods — or at the very least, not call such unions “marriages.”

            This is the gulf between the liberal view and the traditional view on why the government should be involved in marriage at all. Is it merely to offer certain benefits to people who are emotionally committed to each other? (If so, then we must also allow polyamorous unions and perhaps even unions of non-romantic partners.) Or is it to promote and protect “the first human society” — the union of a man and a woman for the generation of new human beings?

            • Raymond

              I think I agree that the same sex marriage issue could lead to support for group marriages and non-romantic marriages and the like. I think in the case of group marriages there would be a host of other legal issues, such as how people would be added to the group, consent to sexual contact with others in the group, how people would leave or be removed from the group, etc. I think that would be enormously complicated, and it wouldn’t be for me, but I can see where that would be a logical extension of the premise.

              And I’m afraid you have some issues concerning “traditional” marriage as the “very first society”. In the very first society, whatever that means, women were the property of men and were bought and sold by husbands and fathers, or the women were raped and then taken as wives. “Traditional” marriage as you think of it happened much later, and it is still not universally practiced even today.

              And the phrase “ordered towards the creation and rearing of children” is particularly unhelpful in defining marriage. Are you suggesting that older couples past child bearing years cannot get married, or that their marriages are somehow invalid? How about marriages in which one spouse in infertile or has an infirmity which makes then incapable of sex? Or couples who have the ability to conceive but decide not to? I know that The Church has positions on much of this, but many of the Church’s teachings are alienating of those in those situations, even though the Church considers them “loving”.

              And there are plenty of people who are generating new human beings, so I don’t think you should be concerned about that.

              • JM1001

                I think that would be enormously complicated, and it wouldn’t be for me, but I can see where that would be a logical extension of the premise.

                Indeed. In fact, I have found it rather fascinating and enlightening to observe this debate over the years. Not so long ago, the suggestion that the argument for same-sex marriage does not logically exclude (and may logically necessitate) polyamorous or group marriage was routinely dismissed by same-sex marriage advocates as scare-mongering and faulty “slippery slope” reasoning. Now many of those same advocates are pushing for that very thing. It turns out the slope is indeed slippery after all.

                And I’m afraid you have some issues concerning “traditional” marriage as the “very first society”.

                I mean ontologically first. Obviously there have been perversions of the ideal that one can endlessly cite in history. But that doesn’t change the central claim of the traditional view: that the union of one man and one woman ordered towards the generation of new human beings is the basic unit of any human society — and, therefore, the “first human society.” Just because X was not always practiced in history — or is not universally practiced today — does not show that X has no rational basis and is not the moral ideal. Citing various historical examples in no way addresses the ontological point that the “first human society” is a man and woman uniting to create a child.

                Are you suggesting that older couples past child bearing years cannot get married, or that their marriages are somehow invalid? How about marriages in which one spouse in infertile or has an infirmity which makes then incapable of sex? Or couples who have the ability to conceive but decide not to?

                A married couple does not have to intend to conceive — or even be capable of conceiving — in order for the sexual act to be ordered towards the generation of new human beings. The sexual act — by its very nature, and completely independent of the couple’s intentions — is ordered towards that end. So even if the couple is infertile, the sexual act is still by its very nature ordered towards the end of procreation, even if that end can never be fulfilled. Sex between older couples past child-bearing years, or between infertile couples, therefore has what one may call an intrinsic potentiality for the generation of new life — even if this potentiality will never be actualized. As long as this element of sexual complementarity exists, then, on the traditional view, the couple is still properly married, regardless of whether the sexual act can fulfill its end.

                And there are plenty of people who are generating new human beings, so I don’t think you should be concerned about that.

                Well, again, that’s one of the things the traditional view is concerned about. If a just government should be concerned with those things that pertain to the common good — and promoting marriage as a male-female unity inherently ordered towards the generation of new human life is the reason for the state’s regulation of marriage — then demographics becomes a concerns for governments. Eliminating the traditional view in civil marriage — effectively severing the link between marriage and procreation — would undermine this state interest, by promoting unions that lack sexual complementarity and therefore have no intrinsic potentiality for the generation of children. Google “declining birth rates” and you get a slew of articles on this problem. Many nations — particularly in Europe — face demographic collapse. So it’s a real concern.

                The traditional view holds that such a problem would be made worse if the government effectively removed the historical procreative norm from marriage altogether.

        • captcrisis

          The liberal view is consistent. The traditional view is illogical, riddled with weird exceptions , and not defensible wherever free discussion is allowed.

          • JM1001

            Well … thank you for another string of question-begging assertions. Since you seem to be a fan of logic, you should be aware that when you mount an objection against an argument, it has to contain a bit more substance than saying it’s “weird” and preemptively not allowed inside the “free discussion” club … although, that would seem to imperil the status of the club as one of “free discussion.” I know, I know: it’s easier to just spout the word “illogical” rather than actually making an argument, but that’s just how reason works — you actually have to use logic, not just pay it lip-service.

            • captcrisis

              The liberal view is simple: love each other, and commit to each other. It doesn’t matter what body part goes where or who has an orgasm where.

              The traditional view is that it has to be a man and woman because they can procreate. But couples past childbearing age can marry. Also . . .a man has to have testicles to get married. But . . . a woman doesn’t have to have a uterus. But if the man loses his testicles afterward, they don’t have to divorce.

              Can a paraplegic man get married? It requires a medical exam to see if the impotence is permanent. But a paraplegic woman can get married, no problem.

              Then there is the whole complicated body of Catholic teaching on the requirement of “true semen” being transferred into the vagina. For a good laugh look up perforated condoms and sperm samples. It gives one a headache, making God out to be a silly lawyer.

              • JM1001

                But couples past childbearing age can marry. Also . . .a man has to have testicles to get married. But . . . a woman doesn’t have to have a uterus. But if the man loses his testicles afterward, they don’t have to divorce. … Can a paraplegic man get married?

                You would do well to read Raymond’s posts (which were actually thoughtful) and my responses to them. He already raised some of the same objections you did — objections which fail because they fundamentally misunderstand the traditional view of marriage. In short, a husband and wife who are unable to have children or who are past child-bearing years are still properly married, since their marriage still has the essential component of sexual complementarity. Their ability to conceive has nothing to do with their essential nature as male and female. The traditional view does not require that the couple be capable of procreating — only that they are sexually complementary, which is intrinsically ordered towards the end of procreation, even if this end can never be fulfilled.

      • SteveP

        I’m still awaiting the IRS to give me back the tax levied on my father’s estate just like they gave a levied tax back to Edith Windsor.
        .
        Why do you want me to be treated like a second-class citizen? Why cannot I not have equal protection under the law?

      • antigon

        And to have their anuses recognized as vaginas, let’s not neglect that crucial right!

    • Howard

      Whoa, better get with the times! The whole “transitioning to an animal” thing has been done.

      Somehow I can imagine Noah urging his neighbors to enter the ark, only to hear they have decided to transition into fish. Good luck with that!

      • ManyMoreSpices

        Wrong comment, friend.

        • Howard

          I’m not quite sure how to take your response. I think you misread me. “Better get with the times” was sarcastic. The rest of it was to point out that however ridiculous it may be “for a man to say ‘I feel like a dog'”, the cutting edge of insanity got there years ago.

          I fear that although Noah’s neighbors may have wanted to transition to fish, they could not actually become fish.

          • ManyMoreSpices

            I mean that I think you meant to reply to Mike17 above. I don’t see how your comment relates to mine at all.

            • Howard

              Whoops! Sorry!

  • vox borealis

    Excellent commentary. Thank you! (sound of applause).

  • anna lisa

    My 23 y.o. nephew has hung out with the Kardashians a few times. They’re ‘Murican royalty. All of his cousins were in awe. They think they’re a freak show, but would all gathered around to hear about his adventures. *People love to be appalled.* (Isn’t that half the reason we read the internet?)

    Stranger than that story is the one about the pretty young lady that asked my oldest son to be her confirmation sponsor at U.D. She was there on a full scholarship, and has a genius IQ. She converted to Catholicism, but then became the full-blown, skirty-supertrad that could reference encyclicals with her photographic memory. A few years into the traddy phase , it lost some of the allure, and she turned up pregnant. She converted a gay blind man to Catholicism. They married, settled into family life, and had another child. This became horribly mundane. She chucked the Catholicism and asked her husband to embrace an open marriage with people of any sex. At one point they almost joined an Indian sex commune. Then she decided she didn’t want to be a wife anymore, and that she is a man trapped in a woman’s body.

    After divorcing her husband she met a transgendered former man who says he’s a lesbian. Last thing I heard about my son’s friend is that she’d had a double mastectomy, and that she and her man-lesbian are legally married in Texas because she’s legally a woman, and he’s legally a man. My son says that she chides anyone who says “him” or “her”. She has different words for these shifting states that don’t offend her.

    I. am. not. exaggerating. a. single. detail.

    (I think our culture is just horribly bored.)

    All the options *seem* to sound exciting, but then you have to live with them.

    • orual’s kindred

      I was actually thinking about this topic yesterday, including the “transgender female lesbian” as one of the more-mainstream identities that people might come up with. I suppose otherkin, demisexuals and similar others can soon become more mainstream as well. And no, I don’t think you’re exaggerating details. I’ve seen a wide range of preferred pronouns.

      • anna lisa

        The young woman that I spoke about told my son that her Mom had her on the pill at 12 because her Mom was afraid she would get pregnant. She thinks being exposed to all of those artificial hormones messed with her head.
        It’s very possible.
        I need to Google “demisexual”. I hadn’t heard of that one. How about “Omnisexual”? I hear my kids laughing about that one. And to think–I didn’t even know homosexuality was a thing until I was in middle school. My second grader thinks it’s hilarious to ask his fifth grade brother if he might be gay.
        Strange times. I’m just hoping it can all blow over and people can get back to just being people.

        • orual’s kindred

          Yes, it’s quite possible.

          I’ve heard of “omnisexual”, and was under the impression that it differs slightly from “pansexual”. I checked and they seem to be pretty synonymous. According to Urban Dictionary, an omnisexual is “one whose romantic, emotional, or sexual attractions are geared towards others regardless of sex and/or gender expression.”

          Well, there seems to be an air of trendiness in this plethora of labels. It’s quite likely that for some people this is in fact the case. Neither will I be surprised if some will continue to identify as such to keep up appearances. I also wonder how many well-meaning people are misled in this regard due to societal influences (impressionable children and teenagers being actively told to “explore their sexuality”, imitating those they look up to, etc). What will happen when the fad wanes, I’m not sure.

          However, I do think that mankind in general is undergoing an identity crisis, and many people have real problems regarding their sexuality. I’m not sure any of that will blow over any time soon. And I worry about when the world finds some other “cause” to “celebrate”, or when for some reason or another no longer finds such people appealing or useful.

          • anna lisa

            You’re right, it won’t blow over soon. –It’s tiring though. Activists for *anything* become such a one-note bore.

            I try to explain to my kids that the root of the problem for anyone of *any* orientation is the mantra of our age, which is:
            “follow your bliss”
            instead of
            “greater love has no man than to lay down your life for another.”
            But even that so-called bliss is a rip-off and the Devil can’t do anything about it. He is unable to produce happiness in humans. Cheap thrills. exploitation and loneliness without exception–long lasting pleasure and happiness–never. (That picture of Bruce Jenner epitomizes that train wreck!)

            You’d think we’d have done the math by now.
            How sad and ironic to be so blind and enslaved while proclaiming freedom and liberation.

            • orual’s kindred

              It is very tiring. Terms like genderfluid (“a gender identity best described as a “dynamic mix of boy and girl” according to Urban Dictionary ) actually exist, because people are of the opinion that biological sex is a social construct, and nothing is stopping them from changing it. How fascinating to have advocates of equality casting their ideologies in the framework of power play. Talk about redefining.

              And the “follow your bliss” mantra, like similar other mantras, still follows a pre-determined standard. Not many people allow that Hitler was following rather more than his bliss, after all :-) And he still gets labelled as a monster precisely for pursuing his dreams. Talk about useful scapegoats.

              Regardless of whether or not he actually wants to be a woman, and regardless of whether or not he willingly chose to be the center of the media frenzy, I do think that Bruce Jenner is in fact being exploited. (And I think I will call him Caitlyn when I speak to her directly. Other than that, I’m not sure I’m still bound by courtesy to do so.) The kind of treatment from the very people who, if not ought to, at least claim to care for him has been shameful. Let me be clear: I will not be surprised if the whole thing turns out to be a PR stunt for that so-called reality show which I think cannot be cancelled soon enough. I won’t be surprised if at some point in the future he undergoes some other change that someone decides will bring the show ratings or put their clan in the spotlight again. And I am not approving or condoning his actions in any way. Nonetheless, others are taking advantage of him. And I do worry about his stability and well-being. But apparently people don’t care much about these things before a celebrity dies from an accidental overdose, or suicide. The bread is spicy and the circus is fabulous.

              And yes, that picture is a train wreck. (I suppose you’ve read Pia de Solenni‘s take on it? She also links to a post from a photographer that discusses it in a technical context.) For myself, I want to know why Bruce Jenner, in what is supposedly his defining moment, is squeezed into a corner. (Apparently, he said that once that issue is released, he would be free. This article uses the word “inspiring.”) Talk about propaganda.

              Freedom and liberation indeed.

              • anna lisa

                I hadn’t read Pia de Solenni’s piece, but she completely nailed it. And yes, even the feminists and “lesbians” must feel a little dirty.

                I don’t think Bruce Jenner set out to victimize himself, or to be a PR stunt, because he knows that if he were discovered by the LBGT(XYZ) lobby, they would roast him. Regardless, he still must know in his gut that he was/is behaving in a way that would make him useful to his family’s business. Even they must be terrified about what would happen if the whole world suddenly turned around and said, “we’re done with you.” In their heart of hearts they know that the public is fully capable of this. They’d have a healthy stock portfolio and good investments that don’t depend upon their endorsements!

                At the end of the day, my heart goes out to Jenner. He seems like a kind and wounded soul, and yes–a complete victim. (I wonder if he was “juicing” when he was the world’s greatest athlete–and messed with his hormones…?) Regardless, I’d rather give the man a hug, and tell him he’s loved.

                • orual’s kindred

                  Well, they could have some (or a lot of) big players backing them. I was under the impression that was how things worked behind the scenes. Anyway, I won’t speculate further; I don’t find it very pleasant, and I will defer to your view of it. And I certainly concur with this:

                  He seems like a kind and wounded soul, and yes–a complete victim. (I wonder if he was “juicing” when he was the world’s greatest athlete–and messed with his hormones…?) Regardless, I’d rather give the man a hug, and tell him he’s loved.

                  I do wonder how often he actually hears that.

                  • anna lisa

                    “I don’t find it very pleasant,”

                    (sigh) Yes.
                    Forgive me if I belabored the point.
                    Speaking to people who aren’t part of the madness brings relief to the unpleasantness!
                    Thank you.
                    (btw–sorry for the typos in my posts. I should learn to proofread better. ) I read and write sometimes under laughable conditions, but it’s also a therapeutic form of escape for me.
                    We had a crazy day today. Our fifth grade end- of-the-year party that I drove for was soaked by a strange tropical storm (sort of unheard of in our parts) and then my 4th child graduated from H.S. shortly thereafter, outdoors in a steady downpour. I was rushing, and fielding calls from the two kids that forgot stuff in the back row of my car from the beach party during the ceremony.
                    So why on earth, am I online discussing other peoples’ problems?
                    Because good Catholic people who have a firm voice in the midst of so much chaos remind me that there is static goodness despite the din, noise, and frenetic activity.
                    God Bless you, orual’s kindred. Cheers to you. and cheers to my 4th-born Blaise Augustine, on his graduation day! :) :) :)

                    • orual’s kindred

                      Oh, no, please, no need to apologize! I brought up the topic after all. And you only responded once! I’m not sure how that’s belaboring at all 😀 Also, please do not hesitate to speak about matters that bother you! (I hope my saying so is not improper.)

                      And thank you for your kindness! I must try, even while I blush, to actually live up to such words. I’m afraid the best I can say is I try to remind people that some goodness not only remains in spite of the chaos, but will actually overcome it. (Because there is! And it will! :-) )

                      I am glad to hear about the lives of people here. I thought tropical storms are not unheard of in California? (Did I understand correctly that you live in California? Or do you mean your specific location?) That sounds like a hectic day, though, even without the rains. I hope the ceremony and the party turned out well! I’m amazed at how you’ve managed so many things at once. And I so hope no one got sick from the cold/rain! I’ve had a pretty long day, myself, and I only wish it involved something half as interesting as parties and beaches and graduations.

                      Cheers and congratulations to Blaise Augustine! And to you as well of course :-) :-) :-) You and your family sound like wonderful people. I pray that God blesses you always!

                    • anna lisa

                      Thank you so much for your kindness! Blessings on you and yours too!

                      We stood on the lawn at our courthouse with umbrellas, both grateful and annoyed with the storm.

                      I was born and raised here in Santa Barbara, and have *never* seen rain like that in June. (Goodness knows we *really* needed it) In years past, sometimes we would get the edge of a tropical storm with a few sprinkles.

                      The jet stream has shifted, and doesn’t seem to want to budge, so now we are getting weather like Northern Mexico. We had weather consistently in the 80s throughout the entire winter. It was really nice but the reservoirs are becoming alarming. One day in January I got into the ocean with the kids, and couldn’t believe how warm it was. I’ve never experienced that in the dead of winter *ever*.

                      What’s really sad is to see all the seal pups abandoned on the beach because their mothers are starving. The warmer waters don’t have enough fish for them. :( (The water seems to be getting cooler again though, but that’s my unscientific take on it).

                      A couple of weeks ago I saw no less than a team of seven people rescuing an adult seal. It’s nice that they care so much, but a distressed homeless person doesn’t seem to elicit as much compassion…

                      –Uh oh–new subject! Lol :)

                    • orual’s kindred

                      So there are areas in California that don’t get a lot of rain, at least in June. And your ocean water is typically cold? Fascinating! It’s too bad that there’s less fish though :-( I hope the water cools down soon. I’m so sorry that the seals aren’t feeding well!

                      And I’m afraid homeless people aren’t as cute as seals :-( Did you hear about the advocacy group that made homeless people read mean tweets about them? Even in PSAs supposedly for their benefit the poor and/or homeless get shafted.

                      And I say all this relates to the blog post! …I just can’t think of how at the moment 😀

                    • anna lisa

                      Yes, when compared to other places, sometimes people are surprised at how bracing the ocean can be here. August and September are really nice though. The kids don’t seem to mind the colder water the rest of the year. My theory is that their pain receptors are not so highly developed as adult ones! We even have wet suits but they never use them.

                      We have a lot of homeless people. I give money to every single one that asks (if I haven’t been cleaned out by the teens.) I didn’t do that very much before, because there are many places where they can get food, and I was told they will buy drugs and alcohol. I was told that it made the problem bigger, and to donate to organizations instead. Now, I realize my mistake, when I have the opportunity to look them in the eyes, and wish them well. Most of them are extremely gracious and grateful. Half ask God to bless me. Institutional help is good, but can also be part of the problem. You get to know individuals. Some of them spend their days on laptops in Starbuck’s/Peet’s, so it’s hard to tell that they are homeless at first. The addicts look like the typical homeless person you see in the movies. Some of them are really old women. Maybe they’re tougher? I don’t see men that old! We were coming out of a theater last month, and saw one of them sleeping, slumped over on a bench. (I think the cops will move them on if they try to lay down.) My husband whispered to her that he wanted to give her something, and she woke up, smiling at us angelically. Most aren’t sweet like that. Some are either extremely mentally disturbed (and at times have appeared to be possessed, yelling expletives in the back of the church.) Most just look like people down on their luck with addictions. A lot have signs saying they are vets. One of my cousins, who grew up in a wealthy household ended up on the streets–long and very sad story. I pray for her a lot. She died alone in a car.
                      Yes, this all relates to the blog post–upholding the dignity of the marginalized.
                      –And apropos to the conversation here– the keynote speaker at my son’s graduation was a transvestite.
                      At dinner afterwards I asked my son what the deal was with an eighteen year old girl having the voice of a 45 year old woman who’d smoked her whole life and he had to explain things to me (It was raining, and we were kind of far away)…
                      It’s funny– none of us picked up on it during his/her speech. We were wondering why he/she was speaking down to the crowd though–lot’s of sarcasm and theatrics, I turned to my husband and said “somebody slap that girl” He laughed and said
                      “at least she’s entertaining.” :/

                    • orual’s kindred

                      I do miss the ocean T__T

                      Indeed we are bound to help others whenever and as best we can. While we should certainly exercise prudence, and remember our duty to protect ourselves and those we have a responsibility to, blanket statements like “they’ll use the money for drugs/alcohol/etc” is not helpful in this case, as with others. I have known people who use others to avoid actually having to work. They are not on the street. They never have enough, of course, but they are well-supported by those who believe their flattery and outright lies.

                      In contrast, yes, when you look people in the eye you get to know them, if only briefly. One time two children stopped me and asked me for my drink, which the elder promptly gave to the younger. I didn’t have enough money to buy drinks for both of them. Once, when I did had a bit of extra cash to give for one old lady, several people followed soon after. And when I ran out, I also looked the last person in the eyes, and said so. All I could give him then was my attention. Neither could he beg indefinitely, and he went away without becoming upset or violent.

                      None of those I have come across were idealized characters. The people I met were people, who I rather think affect me more than I affect them. I used to meet another child on my way home, who would try to talk to me. He almost always had a few flower garlands with him, which I suppose some relative ordered him to sell to make himself useful. He was very developmentally-challenged, and I could barely understand what he was saying half the time, but he was often quite cheerful and we got along. He would sometimes gesture to me sometimes that he was hungry (often when I had nothing extra) but no, he took nothing from me.

                      And then there was the old man I met last Christmas. He scarcely looked at the office goodie bag I had given him, greeting me instead with such pleased surprise, that I felt like I was a long-lost friend, or perhaps even a relative. I was sorry that the way I was going was different from his.

                      I’m praying for your cousin. Worldly fortunes can change so quickly.

                      And the popular attitude of smirking at others does get so wearying. As with other fads, there is a glut of cheap knockoffs, with hardly any wit or humor to counteract the pretentiousness and contempt. I doubt I would have found the speaker entertaining either.

                    • anna lisa

                      orual’s kindred,
                      You renew my faith in mankind.
                      I had to look up T_T, then I could see it!
                      I can’t live without the ocean. (Perhaps a mild exaggeration) :-)
                      Bless you. Thank you for praying for Suzanne. She left behind 4 children, and died while both parents slept in mansions with different spouses.
                      You are such a gentleman to keep giving me a lovely and thoughtful reply. Please don’t feel obligated.
                      Today, I have the rare pleasure of having all 8 of my children sleeping under one roof! TGIF –and much, much more. :-)

                    • orual’s kindred

                      I find it amusing how people would lump Christians into some kind of repressive box, but here in this discussion ‘gentleman’ is used to describe a woman 😀 (though I do still feel more like a girl). I haven’t seen the same from “progressive” sites/discussions 😀 And talk about keeping to the original topic!

                    • anna lisa

                      Oh orual’s kindred, I make that mistake from time to time, but hope that you wouldn’t consider that insulting in the least. Good manners transcend gender. I did try to google what orual’s kindred means and was surprised that in this world of information it didn’t yield any results.. So I’m racking my brain trying to figure out where my wrong assumptions came from, and I think that it is because you have qualities that remind me of some of my husband’s most honorable qualities–he approaches subjects like these with an extreme pragmatism, and kindness. He is measured and clear-headed. He’s also not afraid to feel sentimental, ( the guy is thrilled if I buy him a new orchid plant for his desk!–it doesn’t worry his sense of masculinity in the least)
                      And yes–maybe that is an interesting twist on all of this hullabaloo about outward appearances, when wholeness and integrity are what we as humans should be aiming for. All of us know in our gut that the whole circus tent of the Kardashians is not and has *never* been about being authentic (“true to yourself” Ack!)
                      –Anyhow–not to end on a bad note–I feel bad for those people–all of them, it’s like watching people being paid to self destruct before your eyes. What a tragedy.
                      :-)
                      Please consider my mistake a compliment!
                      I remember enjoying reading in St. Teresa’s autobiography, how she would tell her nuns to Man up!(lol) It isn’t an insult to women, but a reprimand to some of the behaviors that women can resort to when they lack fortitude. (And when men start behaving in this manner…oh. no. ….) God Bless you :) :) :)

                    • orual’s kindred

                      Oh no, I don’t consider it an insult at all! Indeed, good manners transcend sex and gender roles, and I am greatly humbled (hah!) that you should consider me worthy of such associations. I thank you and will certainly try to live up to them!

                      I have hear Dr. Peter Kreeft speak of this in a talk (not sure which anymore, and I apologize). He said (and I’m paraphrasing) that problems arise when people tie in sexual being too closely with sexual doing, and classify people as only masculine and only feminine. We’re people, and we’re messy, and these things get messy as well. For people with sexual and identity issues, it becomes even more so. None of this, I think, reduces the significance of traditional conceptions of maleness and femaleness, and masculinity and femininity. In fact, it highlights not only the reality of our human frailty, but also how political ideologies and bodily alteration simply do not go far enough to address the deep and complicated problems that some people face.

                      And speaking of faces (woo segue!) Orual is the protagonist of Till We Have Faces, one of my favorite books by C.S. Lewis. Perhaps even this Wikipedia entry can demonstrate why I gravitate to her :-)

                      Thank you for your great kindness and generosity in this discussion (as well as in others)! I am afraid it has done me more good than it has you. I hope it hasn’t been too much trouble. And God bless you too! :-) :-) :-)

                    • anna lisa

                      Ooooohhhhhh! I have meant for so long to read Till We Have Faces! I’ll bet I even have it in a bookcase. I was an English major many a moon ago, but at a Protestant college. I dropped out as a 20-year-old Junior because I was seven months pregnant with my first baby. I remember sitting in the library reading Goethe, and being too young and inexperienced with life to appreciate the craziness of the Romantics. So I chucked it all, and never went back after the baby. Haha, –so my oldest child and I closer in age than my youngest child and my oldest! Needless to say, it’s been busy :) At the moment I have a book downloaded on my phone that was #1 on the NY bestseller list last week. I read it for an hour, and couldn’t figure out why people think it’s great. I will give it one more chance, but it is so depressing. C.S. Lewis sounds like an excellent change to say the least.

                      I think I know which Peter Kreeft talk you are referring to. Fascinating talk.–and yes–I was moved by his kindness and compassion for those who feel transgendered. I wish there were more sensible Catholic voices out there like his.

                      Orual, thank you for your generous words! I ask God to help me to be kind constantly. It’s a tightrope walk sometimes with the older kids because they can really be unreasonable at times. It’s humbling too because the one that tempts me to impatience the most reminds me of *myself* at that age. Ha! God has a sense of humor!

                      Orual–It’s *never* too much trouble to speak with lovely Catholic people. Never. Thank you!I have enjoyed our exchange of thoughts and ideas too. A very dear Catholic friend came into town yesterday evening. (She lives in Spain now, so I was totally surprised) I realized after we talked our faces off, how much I miss having a good conversation with someone who “gets it”. :) !

                    • orual’s kindred

                      It is indeed heartening to speak with good people with similar beliefs :-) Thank you as well! And I find the way mothers manage to manage things while raising children as actually rather miraculous. I mean I can barely manage my own bag :-( And to think that you started while you were in college! I That’s so amazing. And I rather think you’re doing quite well by your children :-)

                      Peter Kreeft is wonderful. And if I remember correctly, I first heard of Till We Have Facesfrom him.

                      One of the things that I appreciate about that book is the lack of cloying dishonesty in the depiction of Orual. Her troubles are demonstrated without any embarrassing self-servicing, excusing, or wish fulfillment. Instead, her faults are shown to be all these and worse. I appreciate that very much.

    • Lamprotatia

      Borderline personality disorder.

  • orual’s kindred

    And when the ability to communicate is lost because Newspeak has replaced plain language, what humans historically have shown themselves quite able to do is inflict violence.

    And also engage in legalism. There seems to be the question that while Bruce Jenner identified as Republican, it’s not certain where Caitlyn Jenner stands. And I found this article on Hot Air interesting.

  • donjohn9

    I think the author is spot on when he states that “the day to day contact most people have with trans-gendered people is vanishingly rare….and that this is merely an uptick in the press jumping on this story.”

    I disagree with the author’s blanket statement about liberals. It’s the media that goes crazy over wording and one of the biggest media companies is the Fox News parent, hardly liberal.

    I have to admit it is confusing. Caitlyn Jenner; my understanding is that he hasn’t had surgery, meaning she is still anatomically a he. He only looks like a she. Because he wants to be seen as a she, we call him a her. Whoa. It’s really good that there aren’t a lot of people like this. Imagine if society had a large population of people like this. We’d all have to hang a sign around our necks so we would know who to date.

    • JonWRowe

      He is a woman who still has a penis.

      • antigon

        And accordingly exemplifies American manhood.

      • asmondius

        He is a genetic male, and will always be.
        .
        Hackling off his arms and legs would not make him an inchworm.

      • Alma Peregrina

        “He is a woman who still has a penis”

        The fact that this sentence can be seriously said, and in fact be the standard of “intelectual thought” today, makes me depressed.

        • JonWRowe

          And yet the person who so asserted knows how to spell “intellectual.”

          • Alma Peregrina

            The fact that a person who knows how to spell “intellectual” and who nitpicks about word spelling doesn’t find anything wrong with the sentence “He is a woman who still has a penis” makes me even MORE depressed.

            BTW: It was an autocorrect error, since english is not my (and by extension my computer’s) native language.

            • Joseph

              He’s a racist.

              • Alma Peregrina

                ???

                • Joseph

                  He’s intolerant to your non-native English spellchecker. But he’s cool with men believing they are women.

                  • Alma Peregrina

                    1) Racism has nothing to do with native languages. English is not my native language, but I’m caucasian.
                    2) He assumed I was an english native speaker. He didn’t have a way to know I wasn’t. He assumed too much, but he wasn’t necessarily prejudiced against non-native english speakers.

                    I do get what you’re trying to do, and I appreciate that. But I don’t like to throw labels around lightly just because I disagree with someone. I leave those strategies to the “tolerant ones”.

                    • Joseph

                      It was a joke. Sheesh.

                    • Alma Peregrina

                      You’re right. I overreacted to your comment, thus spoiling your joke. I’m sincerely sorry for that.

                      It’s just that I’ve been a little enbittered by Internet discussions and I’m trying my best to better myself in that regard. I was just trying to be fair, in order not to scandalize Jon Rowe even further.

                      But I guess it wasn’t necessary to ruin the joke for you. Again, I’m sorry.

      • Gail Finke

        HA HA HA HA.

  • Robbie J

    BRUCE Jenner is seriously sick. An absolute lunatic. Or else he is someone so addicted to fame/the whole ‘celeb’ thing that HE will stop at nothing to gain instant fame/notoriety even if it means mutilating his own (God-given) body. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if six months; one year down the road he goes all the way to “end it all”. It’s a sad fact that not a few mentally disturbed persons end up taking their own lives. I hope it never comes to this.

  • Mike17

    I wonder when the first person will turn up somewhere and
    claim that he is a dog (or whatever) trapped in a human body. He will then go
    through whatever processes have produced the female lookalike character called
    Caitlyn Jenner and be made to look like a dog. And he will insist that his
    birth certificate is altered to say that he is a dog and his passport will be
    similarly altered. As a dog he will do all sorts of things that humans are not
    allowed to do and get away with it as dogs cannot be prosecuted. Of course we
    laugh at the idea of a man claiming that he is really a dog but it’s not so
    long ago we would have laughed at the idea of a ‘transgendered man claiming
    that he is a lesbian’. And look where we are now.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      You need to do some reading on Otherkin.

  • Joseph

    Until this week, like most people, I had absolutely no idea who Bruce Jenner was. I’ve flicked around a bit, read some of his interview transcripts, etc.
    .
    I’m being totally honest here, I feel really sad and sorry for him. When I used to walk amongst the homeless years ago and made the sad discovery that almost all of them that I had met suffered from a wide range of mental illnesses, drug addiction, and psychological issues that surfaced at certain points in their lives because of things that had occurred to them in their youth, that these poor people needed help that wasn’t available to them in the current system, that they had been abandoned by their nation and their families, that, even if they landed a job and had a place to live, they still would not be able to function in society and would probably end up where they already were, that they were not *lazy* people that simply wanted to lay about and drink/use drugs with the pittance they scraped together from begging, I was personally affected.
    .
    When I read what Bruce Jenner has said, listen to him speak, I’m confronted with the same reality. Here’s a man in desperate need of psychological help and care… and no one is helping him. Instead, like Elvis and Michael Jackson, he is surrounded by those who would use him for their own benefit. They found his weakness and they are preying on it. Like Elvis, they will, for as long as possible, try to ensure that he doesn’t totally self destruct because with his self-destruction will come a challenge to their enterprise. They’ll stall it for as long as possible. It makes me really sad. The abusive comments towards him are misplaced. One shouldn’t ridicule someone with a mental illness who is unstable and some of the distasteful comments out there targeted at Jenner certainly aren’t helpful. Jenner is the wrong target. He’s the one getting played in all of this. When his inevitably self-destruction takes place, it’s those comments that his users will point to as the cause.

    • JonWRowe

      “Here’s a man in desperate need of psychological help and care… and no one is helping him.”

      You are assuming that the psychological/psychiatric field has the answers (therapy, medications, cure) that you think Jenner needs. I think you also assume that Jenner hasn’t met with such professionals. In reality these professionals are actually on the other side.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        I think you’re assuming he’s assuming this. That psychology and psychiatry have abandoned the field doesn’t mean no one needs psychiatric and psychological help, merely that there is almost nowhere to get it.

        • JonWRowe

          “Almost” or in fact “nowhere.” I want to know more about this help. If Jenner desired it he can get antidepressants or antipsychotics.

          I think you folks are assuming somehow if only he had the right talk therapist his condition could be removed and that macho-manly identity we assumed he had could be instated. I don’t think such “help” exists.

          • Howard

            Why is it you don’t think that?

            • JonWRowe

              I haven’t seen any evidence such exists. That’s the bottom line. Have you?

              I have read Paul McHugh’s case where he notes what’s called “gender dysphoria” naturallly abates in many cases. And I myself personally (and impersonally) know of feminine gay men who have experienced themselves as women, only to find themselves comfortable in their shoes as the gender to which they were assigned at birth.

              So I don’t deny McHugh’s point there. But what he fails to show is that any kind of “help” — therapy, treatment, cures — works. Where is the evidence that such exists? In the case of the gay men I know, the gender issues resolved naturally without therapy or help.

              What we might call “gender dysphoria” — like a lot of things good, bad, and indifferent — comes in different shapes and sizes.

              By way of analogy schizophrenia. Some schizophrenics become lucid without medication. Some become functional WITH medication. And some have schizophrenia so severe that even with medication, they are gone.

              What medications do folks like Jenner have that are proven to help? Again, I don’t think it’s a “mental illness.” But by way of analogy it’s the like the schizophrenia that doesn’t go away regardless of what is tried.

              The main difference is these kinds of schizophrenics don’t function — they end up on the streets, in jails or the care of others. Folks like Jenner do function and thus don’t need “help.”

              • Howard

                Actually, I was wondering if you denied it as a possibility, or what. I am somewhat sceptical of “talk therapy” as a magical cure-all, but I wondered if you thought this to be simply incurable. It seems you more doubt the adequacy of our current “cures”, which is an entirely plausible position.

                • JonWRowe

                  I don’t deny it as a possibility. I want to see evidence it exists. I do doubt the adequacy of the current cures or treatments. This doesn’t seem the kind of thing that you can make go away.

                  • Guest

                    It might not be. In some cases, it seems likely that it is not. That doesn’t mean you completely surrender to the delusion.

                  • Howard

                    Fair enough. After all, we still can’t cure the common cold.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Then you assume wrong.

            • JonWRowe

              Prove how my assumptions are wrong.

      • Joseph

        If a man in my neighbourhood walks up and down the street dressed like Abraham Lincoln, speaking like Abraham Lincoln, and demanding that everyone addresses him as Abraham Lincoln because he actually believes he’s Abraham Lincoln, there is no assumption that he requires psychological/psychiatric attention. There is no question that he does. And though there may not be a *cure* for his obvious mental illness, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t need help in that area. He is not, nor can he ever be Abraham Lincoln. No one in the neighbourhood would object to the nice men in white coats to one day take Abraham Lincoln to a new home.
        .
        However, if a man walks up and down the street dresses up like a woman, takes hormones to speak like a woman, takes more hormones to supplement breast implants to look like a woman, goes so far as to mutilate his own body by removing his genitals so he can feel like a woman, and demands that everyone addresses him as a woman, we’re somehow expected to believe that’s totally normal behaviour? Abraham Lincoln man (who didn’t actually mutilate himself but clearly suffers from a very similar disorder) would get mental help without any objection from the neighbours, but the man who goes to physical extremes to support his idea that he is a woman (though, like Abraham Lincoln, he can never be) is advised against getting that help?
        .
        How cruel. In order to preserve your enterprise, you would withdraw the help this man so obviously needs. That’s evil.

        • JonWRowe

          Joseph: Your claim isn’t sound in the sense that you are mixing your philosophy in (and I’m not saying the philosophy is incorrect) with claims of medical science (which your philosophy is not).

          The Abraham Lincoln example sounds like schizophrenia of which there are different types — some treatable, some less so.

          There are for instance highly functioning forms of schizophrenia and yes, many people including myself would object if you locked up a highly functioning schizophrenic who was responsibly holding down a job and not hurting anyone else. Now THAT’S evil.

          • Joseph

            A person who insists that he’s Abraham Lincoln and also insists that everyone accept that he is Abraham Lincoln when he clearly cannot be is suffering from schizophrenia and is in need of help (whether it’s treatable is not important here). A man who insists that he’s a woman, insists that everyone accept him as a woman, and mutilates the body given him by nature is, however, *not* a schizophrenic. Got it. I totally understand now. I just have to sit back and don the pop culture headphones and allow myself to be reprogrammed because I’m, apparently, not the one making sense. Thanks… any particular programs you recommend to drain my mind of rational thinking? You seem to know a few.

            • Gail Finke

              Well, no. A person who thinks he or she is a different gender is not a schizophrenic. That’s a fact. One could argue — I would argue — that hte person did have a mental illness. But not schizophrenia. That is a real brain disorder that makes it impossible for most people to do anything normal in their lives. I realize that you’re making a point here but to anyone who has mentally ill family members or works with the mentally ill you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about and are shooting yourself in the foot with this argument.

              • Joseph

                I wasn’t intending to state, literally, that they suffer from schizophrenia. I was illustrating the double-standard in thinking of Mr. Rowe. Mr. Abraham Lincoln may not suffer from schizophrenia either, but since Mr. Rowe instantly made that assumption (which may be an incorrect diagnosis), I applied the same to an obviously similar case.

        • JonWRowe

          “[Y]ou would withdraw the help this man so obviously needs.”

          Actually no I’m saying whatever help Jenner needs ought be given under non-coercive circumstances. You don’t have a clue about Jenner’s history with professional therapists of the psychiatric kind. If Jenner sought a “cure” in the sense to remove the feelings and have the macho-male identity everyone assumed he had instated (and such cure, for which, as far as I know, doesn’t exist), I’d have no problem with it.

          • Guest

            Traditionally the standard for committing a person involuntarily has been “danger to self and/or others.” Arguably, a strong desire to have oneself mutilated seems like it might fit the bill.

            • JonWRowe

              This happened to Deirdre McCloskey who was involuntarily institutionalized for a very short period when she announced her plans for a sex change.

              Now, what a tragedy it would have been for humanity if “he” were locked up and couldn’t get out. McCloskey happens to be the greatest living historian of economic ideas, and arguably the greatest living non-fiction writer and most of her greatest work has been done after the sex change.

              • Joseph

                No sure where I said anyone needed to be *locked up*. I did state, however, that most people wouldn’t bat an eyelid if Abraham Lincoln were *locked up*. Would that make it right? I don’t think so, I don’t think locking someone up unless they are a clear threat to those around them is not a solution. But, he’d need help.
                .
                In the case of Jenner, I’d hate to see the man locked up… but to deny that he needs help is just ridiculous. McCloskey may have been a genius, but there are many genius’ who are mentally unstable. It doesn’t make them less of a genius. But denying that they have mental issues because their particular mental issue has manifested itself in a way that appeals to a particular sub-culture who needs them as examples to promote a particular form of sexuality is indeed evil. Like Elvis, he is being used. Unlike Elvis, I don’t think he minds. After all, this has firmly placed him back under the spotlight. If it was a private endeavour, it would have remained private.
                .
                Fame fades, however, especially in modern times. Once the spotlight fades again, what will he be left with? His mental instability.

          • Joseph

            One can be a man without machismo without pretending he’s a woman and going through medical procedures to come as close to it as possible. I have a couple of male family members who would be considered *effeminate*. But they live with that label without denying the fact that they are men. Just because one is *effeminate* doesn’t mean that they are a woman trapped in a man’s body.
            .
            That’s the general problem with today’s society. If they aren’t *macho* enough, they must play for the other team and can only realise their true selves by cruelly modifying their body. We have to stop that.

        • Howard

          I think the implication is that he might need an exorcist, not a psychiatrist.

        • SteveP

          There is more revenue in cozening LBTQ folks than in nickel-and-dime Abraham Lincoln impersonators.

    • antigon

      Sorry, Joe, couldn’t disagree more. As Mr. Rowe below points out, our professionals understand that Madame Jenner exemplifies what American manhood has been about for some decades now.

  • SteveP

    Good article Mark. My synopsis of Bruce Jenner: the culture is dead for it lauds a man for sporting fake breasts which will suckle no child.

  • Kim58

    Love this article! This is the first time I think I’ve ever seen anyone use the example I’ve been saying for years with regard to the “Born that Way” mantra…only in my example I use chicken wings (nothing better than crispy chicken skin…mmm, mmm good!) but unlike you I don’t have a health issue like cholesterol that acts as a check against me indulging in it, I don’t avoid chicken wings because of possible health consequences (which might be alleviated by some medical/science breakthrough) but rather because there is absolutely nothing of nutritional value in chicken skin that is a benefit to my God-designed body. Likewise, even if science or medicine could eliminate all the potential health risks involved, there is absolutely nothing of value in sex between men or sex between women, or mutilating our bodies to look like something else, or men and women destroying health fertility systems to engage endless sterile sex, or women having a new life scraped out of their wombs. But Newspeak today keeps telling us of all the wonderful benefits of these depraved behaviors and the people just keep nodding their heads in agreement!

  • SteveP

    The Social Media Magisterium strikes again: see Deacon Greg’s linked post with a scolding in regards to the appropriate Christian response to a man publicly making himself a eunuch for a bit of wealth.
    .
    The article is a fine example of Christian busybodies – ignoring St. Paul for thousands of years all the while jeering “you ain’t the boss of me!”

  • Godsaves70

    I remember when I was little back in the ’70s when Bruce Jenner was on the box of Wheaties. When he was a true HERO. Now he is truly to be pitied!

    • Howard

      “Put not your trust in princes.” Not in Wheaties boxes either! But yeah, I remember that, too. In some ways I think it was the last real Olympics, before the boycotts of ’80 and ’84 and before pros were admitted. I think there is nothing random about this destruction of an icon.

  • Ken

    I’m still waiting for it to be revealed that this is completely contrived for “reality TV.” Would anyone be surprised if this was all made up so there could be a widely successful “reality TV” show? I heard that he could gain up to 500 million for all the attention he/she is getting.
    My local school board recently approved for Transgender to be protected from discrimination and the Washington Post had an “editorial” that was shocked at all of the stupid questions being posed like what bathroom the person would use. Even if a person was totally in favor of Transgender wouldn’t that be a viable question? They concept that you can’t even raise a logical question or be called stupid by a major publication is astounding but just shows the power of the “thought police” as Mark wrote about above.

    • Veritas

      I’m thinking about this as you are.

      Since he won gold in ’76, he said then that he was going to financially capitalize on the medal. In a few years he’ll still be standing to take a leak while depositing a fortune in the bank.

      Nice article, Mark.

    • Joseph

      It’s an extreme way to shock your way into popular culture relevance, but you’re right. It looks like the money is there for the *reality* TV show and they’re ready to go. Didn’t think about it like that until now (I don’t know why).

  • antigon

    Mr. Shea:
    *
    What your post fails to grasp is the realistic nature of modern newspeak, which seeks to help folks recognize that Madame Jenner is the perfect representative of American manhood, not to say – & not mentioning any names here Archbishop Cupich – the American episcopacy.

  • TIM

    Why even bother to address this Nasty Bruce Junk – !!!???

  • Greg

    I love the tone of this article.

  • Cecilieaux Bois de Murier

    You forget that the Left got its “trying to control language and punish thoughtcrime” from the august Holy Office of the Inquisition, a Church institution that still survives as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.

    • Alma Peregrina

      You forget that tu quoque is a fallacy.

      • Cecilieaux Bois de Murier

        You don’t understand the meaning of tu quoque (“you, too”) much as you did not understand my point. I did not argue that the Catholic Church also did this (it did), but rather that the Catholic Church’s institutionalized thought control is historically the source of all Western forms of attempted thought control, conservative and progressive alike.

        • Alma Peregrina

          I do understand the meaning of tu quoque, even though I concede I misunderstood your point.

          As for your real point, I refer you to Roki’s comment down bellow. It is not true that institutionalized thought control in the West began with the Inquisition. Claiming that it was so stems from a basic misunderstanding of both History and human nature.

        • Fra Grebma

          Cecilieaux,

          yes, you were engaging in the “tu quoque” fallacy albeit mixing it with a false claim and another fallacy.

          That other fallacy is your snide against the continuity of the Holy Office and the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. Yes, the latter sprang from the former and one can rightly say it is the same institution (though one could also call the latter the daughter of the former) but are you trying to imply here. The CDF does not engage in the real or imagined wrongdoings of the Holy Office. By you logic one could damn the current United States as a bunch of slave-holding, tax-evading and Indian-slaying rebels, as the US all engaged in this behaviour.

          As to your false claim, the “Holy Office” – though certainly not a proponent of free speech (who was at the time?) – did not hunt down “thought criminals” in the modern sense. It had its watch on public writing and speeches in a specific field (theology and philosophy) and even in that field did not act as often as you seem to imagine. An accusation of “newspeak” is of course absurd, as the Holy Office did not enforce speech codes that tried to “revolutionize” common language.

          Neither do I agree with Roki’s point that the first case of “thoughtcrime” was Socrates. He wasn’t punished for “thinking wrongly” but for (allegedly) being a bad influence on Athenian youths. The prosecution could point to Alcbiades and Critias – two of the city’s most terrible politicians – as Socrates’s pupils. Socrates was killed as a nuissance, not as a heretic. (And no, the word “atheism” was never used in his case either.) Of course, there was even less of cases of “newspeak” in Socrates’ time.

          However, Socrates’s pupil Plato at leat imagined something akin to a state dictating what to think in his “Republic”.

          I however agree with the second part of Roki’s comment about the role of technology.

          PS. Since Roki’s comment is so difficult to find (buried in the discussion below), let me quote it in full:

          “Or a certain Athenian gadfly executed for atheism and corrupting the youth.

          The desire to control how people think and speak and behave is hardly a modern phenomenon, and it fits fairly well into both “right” and “left” ideologies – albeit with differences of emphasis.

          However, technology is a force multiplier. So the language and cultural manipulations of the 14th century took centuries to propagate, those of the 18th century took only a century, those of the 19th century took decades, those of the 20th century took years, and now linguistic manipulations are having national or even global impact in a matter of weeks or days. What seemed absurd fantasy in Orwell’s “1984” has become technologically possible, and threatens to become actual.”

  • JM1001

    Came across this review of the new Netflix show Sense8 a few days ago, in which the transgender character (played by a transgender actor … or actress?) gives a monologue with some choice words for Thomas Aquinas — words which apparently end with, “So go f–k yourself, Aquinas.” LGBT advocates have been praising the monologue.

    I haven’t seen the show, nor do I intend to. That little monologue alone was enough to kill any interest I had in the series; I don’t care for preachy, agenda-driven fiction. That’s a surefire way to destroy a story. And, sure enough, most reviews are mixed, if not outright critical of the show’s lackluster storytelling. I thought it was interesting, though, that the character says “hating” isn’t on the list of seven deadly sins. Aquinas does in fact address the question of whether hatred should be considered a capital vice (Summa Theologica II-II, Q. 34, Art. 5). After concluding it is not, he then goes on to argue that hatred arises from envy, which is a capital vice (Ibid., Art. 6).

    It would be interesting to see some discussion on this. I don’t expect the LGBT advocates who are praising this monologue — or even the writers of Sense8 — have actually bothered to read much Aquinas. But Aquinas’ argument for not reckoning hatred among the capital vices is actually kind of interesting:

    As stated above (I-II, 84, 3,4), a capital vice is one from which other vices arise most frequently. Now vice is contrary to man’s nature, in as much as he is a rational animal: and when a thing acts contrary to its nature, that which is natural to it is corrupted little by little. Consequently it must first of all fail in that which is less in accordance with its nature, and last of all in that which is most in accordance with its nature, since what is first in construction is last in destruction. Now that which, first and foremost, is most natural to man, is the love of what is good, and especially love of the Divine good, and of his neighbor’s good. Wherefore hatred, which is opposed to this love, is not the first but the last thing in the downfall of virtue resulting from vice: and therefore it is not a capital vice.

    • Alma Peregrina

      ..

  • rloge

    A lot of words trying to get your brain around a simple word, woman: “an adult female person” (according to the Merriam-Webster webpage.) I think we can agree that Caitlyn is 1) a person and 2) an adult. I guess it’s that third word, female, that’s giving so many people problems. If you’d look that one up, I believe you’ll see where the trouble lies. (Or you could just use a mirror.) Its definition is so simple: “of, relating to, or being the sex that bears young or produces eggs.” This is Caitlyn’s gender. You just can’t accept the fact that she is female. Oh, and gender. . . . ? That’s “the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex.” So simple.

    • http://www.adoroergosum.blogspot.com/ Nathan Barontini

      Wait a minute. You define female as “of, relating to, or being the sex that bears young or produces eggs.” Assumably, you understand that Jenner can neither bear young nor produces eggs. Thus, by your own definition, Jenner fails to qualify as a woman, yet you incoherently continue “this (a woman) is Caitlyn’s gender.” Odd.

  • Gail Finke

    I heard Mark Steyn the other day say “all human beings look the same naked now — thanks to Bruce Jenner we all have breasts AND a penis.” In a thoughtful essay I read yesterday by a person born female but who calls herself a man I read that “top surgeries” are far more frequent than “bottom surgeries” for transgender people, and that for most it is the hormone treatments that make the biggest difference and many never go beyond that. In other words, people who have these surgeries are far more interested in what they look like (adding or removing breasts) than anything else. I do understand that these people are very troubled — most, unlike Bruce Jenner, will never achieve fame, riches, and adulation by such operations or drug regimens — and there is a case to be made that if hormone treatment and less radical plastic surgery help this very small segment of people feel less troubled, it ought to be done. I don’t know that I agree, but there’s a case to be made for that. However, that is not the case being made. The case being made is that this tiny group of troubled people are actually correct that they “are” somehow a different gender and that “gender reassignment” treatments will not just ease their pain but are their just due and will “correct” reality, and that their mental and emotional pain is not disordered, and that they are bravely fighting for their “authentic” selves. This is simply not true. I saw a Facebook post by Glenn Beck yesterday that said, “Now is the time that we have to start saying bull crap — No, that’s not true. I won’t say that. I won’t remain quiet anymore. No, I won’t go down any farther with you.” I think he’s right. The only way to fight Newspeak is to say “Bullcrap.” That’s not true, I won’t say it, and I won’t go along with you.

  • BGZ123

    Wish I had time to respond in detail. Mostly nonsense. – – – The “niggardly” example was an obvious case of idiocy immediately condemned by, among others, Julian Bond and the NAACP, and the guy got his job back. – – – Are you really surprised that the Jenner “news” is being converted to a reality show? How about condemning all those who waste their time watching reality shows? – – – Who exactly is saying that “everything ‘natural’ is automatically good”? Honestly, when I hear that line, it’s usually from fundamentalists who assume everything natural is God’s will. – – – You really don’t understand how the word “woman” is being used in this context? Give me a break. – – – Minor point, but the gratuitous Nietzsche reference makes no sense. – – – More importantly, what is the purpose of this diatribe? From its tone, it seems clearly aimed at arousing hostility and instigating conflict. Would be nice if as an apparently religious man you worked towards peaceful cooperation and mutual understanding instead.

    • Joseph

      Translation: If you’re really a religious person, you’d just shut up and remain silent because that’s what we expect a good religious pet to do. A really religious person has no place in this discussion.

      • BGZ123

        Huh?

    • Dagnabbit_42

      Ah, BGZ123, you had me going for a minute there; your satirical send-up of the ignoramuses almost had me going. Nice one.

      You’re right: Folks who’re really wholly approving of Bruce Jenner’s latest method for finding happiness would do exactly as you depicted it: They’d dismissively assert that a consistent definition for what was meant by “woman” in the Jenner usage was “obvious” — and proceed to change the subject in the hopes that no one could notice they didn’t (coudn’t) offer one!

      There is, truly, a substantial portion of the population who’ve never learned how to Call Things By Their Right Names. No wonder the sciences are suffering.

      • BGZ123

        Dagnabbit 42, you may find a basic linguistics course of interest. Many, if not most, words do not have clear and unchanging definitions.

  • niknac

    Yes, there is a transgendered army out there. Thousands no doubt. LOL.

  • Gunnar Thalweg

    This one was a bridge too far for me. I admit that pop culture, as I’ve gotten older, has done a better and better job of trolling people who think like me, and I respond far too much, and get angry and upset, way too much. I get trolled.

    But I just couldn’t care in this case. It’s just so whacked, so out there, so silly, that all I could do is laugh.

  • http://platytera.blogspot.com Christian LeBlanc

    I am waiting for a man and a woman to marry as a man and a woman, respectively.
    The man is a gay woman in a man’s body.
    The woman is a gay man in a woman’s body.


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