Monday Miscellany, 7/31/23

Monday Miscellany, 7/31/23 July 31, 2023

Mocking a survey is defined as fascism, a tale of two Supreme Courts, and a Lutheran pastor is driven out of Canada.

Mocking a Survey Is Defined as Fascism

In my experience, engineers, who by profession must work with objective reality, are among the most resistant to postmodern constructivism and woke ideology.  This is especially true of engineering students.

An Oregon State University study of LGBTQ students in STEM fields posted an online survey designed to assess transgenderism among engineering students.  Some of whom responded with imaginative mockery.  The question “what is your gender?” provoked answers such as “pansexual attack helicopter.”  When asked, “what is your race?” the answers included “Afro/Klingon-Asiatic Galapogayation” and “Native American (Elizabeth Warren).”  When asked, “what is your disability?” the answers included “being 2.86% white,” “transgenderism,” and “my country is run by communists.”

Now only 50 of the 349 responses–just 15%–trolled the survey. But the researchers–who were personally offended, triggered, and reportedly traumatized by those responses–labeled them “hate speech” made by “malicious respondents.”

So the researchers changed their study focus and wrote up a paper entitled “Attack Helicopters and White Supremacy:  Interpreting Malicious Responses to an Online Questionnaire about Transgender Undergraduate Engineering and Computer Science Student Experiences.”  The purpose of which, in the words of the article, “is to better understand how these responses relate to engineering culture by framing them within larger social contexts—namely, the rise of online fascism.”

Fascism?  That’s an ideology that has a specific meaning.  Being sarcastic, or even being mean, does not constitute fascism.  White Supremacy?  The “malicious respondents” rejected the category of race by making fun of it, so they were not exalting any particular race.

I’d like to see yet another study emerge from this data about the pathology among woke academics of being impervious to humor.

A Tale of Two Supreme Courts

American leftists want to limit the Supreme Court.   Israeli leftists are fighting against limits on their Supreme Court.

Israel is being torn apart by protests over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to reform the country’s Supreme Court.  A law was passed by Parliament unanimously–the opposing parties all boycotted the vote–to strip the court of its power to overturn any law or policy it considers “unreasonable.”  Hundreds of thousands of Israelis took the streets.

In the United States, judges can overturn a law or policy only if it is illegal, specifically, if it is unconstitutional.  In Israel, simply opposing the law or policy is grounds enough for considering it “unreasonable” and vetoing it.  In the United States, state judges are usually elected by voters, and federal judges are nominated by the executive branch and approved by Congress.  In Israel, all judges, including those on the Supreme Court, are appointed by the Judicial Selection Committee, which has a majority of other judges.

Talk about an “independent judiciary”!  But it is also detached from the democratic process, has no checks or balances, and essentially functions as an unelected executive branch.  And yet, Israeli protesters are claiming that the reforms undermine democracy!

Now I am aware that there are other issues inflaming the debates–for example, the suspicion that Netanyahu wants to weaken the courts as a way of evading his many legal troubles.  What strikes me, though, is the wisdom of the American constitutional system.

What Israel needs is the rule of law, checks and balances on every branch of government, and a written Constitution, which it does not have.

Lutheran Pastor Is Driven Out of Canada

You may remember last year’s “Freedom Convey” in Canada, in which hundreds of truckers drove their rigs to Ottawa to protest the COVID restrictions and vaccine mandates that crippled their industry.

Supporting them was Lutheran pastor Harold Ristau, a decorated military veteran, who led the protesters in the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s Creed, and the Canadian national anthem.

Whereupon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked a wartime anti-terrorism act against everyone who participated in the protest, which allowed him to freeze the bank accounts of both the protesters and anyone who supported them financially.  Joy Pullman quotes Rev. Ristau’s lawyer:

“As soon as they knew your name if you were on the ground [protesting] in Ottawa, they froze your bank account,” [Marty] Moore told The Federalist. “…The federal government met with the banks, they gave the [protesters’] names to the banks, and the banks were then pushed to freeze the bank accounts of anyone with that name in their banks. It was a fascist collaboration.”

Rev. Ristau’s wife pulled the money out of their accounts just before the decree came down.  But there were other consequences:

For peaceably assembling to petition his government for one day last year, Ristau says, he was threatened with the removal of his security clearance and government confiscation of his retirement nest egg, kids’ college funds, and other life savings. Ristau says he’s also experienced serious damage to his reputation, career, and friendships after the government used anti-terrorism measures against peaceful protesters.

Though a party to a lawsuit against the government’s use of the terrorism statute against peacefully protesting Canadians, Rev. Ristau and his family left the country for Kenya, where he is teaching at the Lutheran School of Theology in Nairobi.

The difficulty of raising their children in rapidly apostatizing Western culture also affected the Ristaus’ decision to move across the globe.

“Things are normal here,” commented  Elise Ristau, the pastor’s wife.  “People have traditional values.” In Kenya, she said, “It’s inconceivable to think of transgender mutilation,” something that is not allowed to be questioned in Canada.

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