In a Congressional hearing yesterday concerning the Obama administration’s “guidance” that public schools have to let trans students use locker rooms, bathrooms, and so forth, or lose federal money, California Democrat Zoe Lofgren gives us a taste of what’s to come. From HuffPo’s slanted coverage (but the quotes are accurate; watch the video above):
Lofgren criticized the submitted testimony of Gail Heriot, of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, who spoke as a witness during a Wednesday House Judiciary Committee hearing on regulatory overreach.
Heriot argued that trans people shouldn’t be accepted as the gender they identify with, saying, “If I believe that I am a Russian princess, that doesn’t make me a Russian princess, even if my friends and acquaintances are willing to indulge my fantasy.”
Lofgren was not having it.
“I’ve got to say, I found this rather offensive, and it says to me that the witness really doesn’t know anything and probably has never met a transgender child who is going through, in almost every case, a very difficult experience finding themselves,” Lofgren said.
“I think it’s very regrettable that comment was put into the record, and I think it’s highly offensive,” Lofgren added.
When Heriot tried to respond, Lofgren shut her down.
“I think you’re a bigot, lady, I think you are an ignorant bigot,” Lofgren said.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) halted Lofgren’s remarks, declaring her “out of order.” But the congresswoman didn’t back down from her criticism.
“We allow witnesses to say offensive things, but I cannot allow that kind of bigotry to go into the record unchallenged,” Lofgren said.
“Does that mean you think I am a Russian princess?” asked Heriot.
“I have no idea,” Lofgren responded.
Lofgren, plainly, is an ignorant bigot. Ignorant, because she professes agnosticism as to whether or not the witness sitting in front of her is a Russian princess, and a bigot because she believes any questioning of the trans dogma, even in the name of biological reality, is HATE.
Understand: for the sake of achieving a left-wing goal, powerful politicians like Zoe Lofgren, who represents Silicon Valley, are prepared to call anyone who denies that the Emperor actually has a vagina an enemy of the people.
Commissioner Heriot’s question to Lofgren, and Lofgren’s answer, makes a fool of Lofgren, and cuts to the heart of this madness. But Lofgren is today a hero on the left because of her ridiculous outburst. And unlike the witness, Zoe Lofgren is a Congresswoman. She has the power. And don’t you think for a minute that she and people like her, in legislative positions, in business, and in the media, won’t use it against anyone who disagrees. Says Denny Burk:
What is chilling about this video is that the congresswoman has no compunction whatsoever about attacking the witness. Her animus and contempt for the witness are obvious. She believes she is justified in shaming and shouting her down. The witness’s views don’t deserve respect or a fair hearing. They just need to be silenced.
Isn’t it precisely this kind of thinking that gave us the directive in the first place?
We had better be prepared to fight. I am glad that my state’s Attorney General joined the 11-state lawsuit against the Administration over this policy. He didn’t wait for our Catholic Democratic governor to get involved, no doubt reasonably figuring that you cannot expect any Democrat to go against the LGBT juggernaut today, not even to defend common sense locker room rules.
Elect Hillary Clinton, expect four years of the Zoe Lofgrens of the world, going full, hysterical left-wing McCarthyite. They’ve got the cultural wind at their backs.
You readers are making my job easier this week by making such great comments, and sending in such great e-mails. Reader Annie writes:
Last week we found out my dear friend’s nephew, who she helped raise as her own son, is addicted to heroin. He didn’t graduate high school and has never had a job (my friend had to relocate to take care of an elderly relative, for whom there was no other help. So it was another relative doing most of the work during her nephew’s teenage years). His mother is a crack addict whose presence has been solely destructive. Of her four children, the only one thriving went to live with her father and grandparents as a toddler, and so was raised with stability. I do not know how the others will ever work, or, more importantly, form lasting, meaningful relationships. Is my friend doomed to spend her entire life keeping them from utter self-destruction? At the moment it seems likely. It’s care for them forever or watch them die. And they might die on her watch anyway.
And it’s not just unstable homes. I have relatives and friends in one of the wealthiest suburbs of the country who have moved back in with their parents: not from economic need, but from total social and emotional collapse. They were raised without limits, without adequate self control, and they’ve been broken by it. They suffer anxiety, depression, manic disorders. They can barely hold down a service job for a few weeks before it’s over and back to the basement for more bizarre social media antics and binge-watching. What is going to happen to them? What happens when their parents pass? It is heart-breaking and terrifying.
We’re moving to a more rural community in a few months, for a number of reasons. But the town is also home to a heroin epidemic. How much can I protect my children? Yet, there is nowhere that is safe. You can do everything “right” and still lose them.
There are no simple solutions and no single causes. But I sure as hell know the approaches on the table are doing nothing at best, and are accelerating things at worse.
I once used the phrase “broken home” in conversation and was scolded by an upper class, well-educated woman. I was astounded – what was I supposed to say? I realized she didn’t want me to make people feel judged. But I’ve seen the not judging, from the rich and the poor. It kills. We need to worry less about virtue signaling through words. We need to change the reality. It’s not going to happen by pretending this was all inevitable, or happened in a vacuum, or that social shifts didn’t play an enormous role.
Reader Edward Hamilton, a conservative and college professor, writes:
In the interest of avoiding epistemic closure, I made an intentional decision to work my way through this Aviva Chomsky piece on Salon today — and was surprised to find myself feeling like I was appreciating the institutional deterioration of campus culture in a much deeper way. (At Salon, mirabile dictu!) Obviously there’s a lot of Chomsky’s perspective that I find problematic, but I think that the central insight of her argument is one that I haven’t seen nearly as well-articulated elsewhere, including here.
Her argument, in effect, is that the economic and class-oriented aspects of academic experience are being concealed by the intense focus on race and gender as a sort of smokescreen that co-opts liberal thinkers into passively accepting the corporatization of higher education. In an ideal world, a more useful Left would be providing a powerful counterbalance against the transformation of college from an intellectually motivated culture into one that revolves around business concerns, at the expense of the traditional faculty-student relationship. But since modern liberals can’t help but intermingle their causes — c.f. how Occupy Wall Street protests inevitably attracted all kinds of weird cultural movementarians with no interest in financial regulation! — all of the pressure that could have been brought against the real threat of monetization of academic world can instead be trivially deflected by administrators into conceded protest demands that relate to symbolic cultural issues. By throwing tinder on the student anger surrounding how horrible right-wing Christians are oppressing sexual minorities (not really a problem on most college campuses to begin with), administrators redirect student protests toward these issues and make themselves look sympathetic and responsive. Then they can ignore the greater economic injustices associated with rising debt loads, replacing permanent faculty with desperate underpaid adjuncts, and creating massive layers of bureaucratic cruft that bleed away money from government-subsidized programs originally intended to improve the quality of the workforce.
The result is a double tragedy. The Left, instead of doing the good it ought to accomplish by critiquing the baser aspects of corporate greed (the original purpose of the OWS movement) has been neutered and transformed into a frenzied mob arguing over semiotic power and tribal purity. And all these new administrative positions required to monitor the fulfillment of student demands provide the university with one more excuse to fleece students (and their parents, and their future spouses/children) by hiring utterly superfluous staff members into lifelong sinecures.
Please, please, read through the Chomsky piece, choke past the more tendentious bits, and come away with a greater appreciation for how everyone involved in this contrived war between the cultural right and left is being abused in order to prop up the next financial crisis.
Honestly, I suspect that college administrators are thrilled to death to hear that students are refusing to read Marx because he fails to punch all the correct identity-politics tickets. The American left is swiftly being domesticated into an anodyne collection of useful idiots serving the self-interest of a class of shrewd economic elites. Ayn Rand couldn’t have planned it any better herself.
I’m really glad you brought this up, Edward. I did read the whole Chomsky piece, on your recommendation, and while it was worthwhile, your summary was much better, because it did away with the obscuring left-wing verbiage.
It is impossible to improve on your analysis, so I won’t try. I will say, though, that this has been around for a while in one form or another, though boy, are the stakes high now. You’ve probably heard me gripe before about how in newsrooms, the agonizing that management does over the “lack of diversity” there is real and never-ending (really, it is; I’ve been to professional conferences, read memos, heard newsroom discussions, etc.). But it’s a sham diversity, and always has been. Most of them, they do not want any kind of intellectual diversity. They want fifteen shades of the same kind of liberal. And here’s the thing: I am convinced that they honestly don’t know what they’re doing.
But they’re doing it, and they believe it makes them virtuous. In my experience, most arguments don’t even matter. This is, for them — and in my experience, they are almost always white people — they want not to improve the quality of newsgathering (though that’s what they say they’re after), but rather to feel good about themselves, and to win the respect and affection of others within their professional circles by signaling their virtue.
You know, a real Marxist could probably see this. Any half-wit conservative could see this (and I’ll have you know, I’m not just any half-wit conservative, no sirree). But so very many within the professional journalism bubble are blind as bats.
OK, that’s the dead horse I keep beating. I know. But it’s of a piece with that other liberal-dominated institution, the university. It’s the way establishment liberals roll. Hillary can start as many small wars in brown-people countries as she wants, and shake her money maker in front of as many Wall Street bigs as makes her happy, but as long as she fights to let ladyboys into the girls’ locker room, all is forgiven by her crowd.
A reader writes:
I have been reading your posts regarding the abandonment of middle America. This is of particular poignancy for me as I was shuttled around between various rural industrial towns and suburban working class as well as upper middle class communities during my youth. This was still when there was a carrot being dangled and a pot of gold to chase even in the most meager cow towns. It’s not just rural America or the rust belt that has been abandoned as Mr [Kevin D.] Williamson’s posts would suggest. The malaise is everywhere. Part of it which few seem to be addressing lies in the attitude of the educational establishment which they purvey to the cannon fodder in their grasp. Even in the 1970s the pervasive sentiment was “What, do you want to work in a factory?”
They succeeded in producing generations with expectations completely out of line with the reality before them. Anecdotally, I can offer this tidbit of my experience. I am by trade an engineer and a manager. I run an engineering department as well as the tool and die and mechanical / electrical maintenance departments for a ( gasp, these still exist? ) Midwestern metalworking company. When we run employment advertisements, the replies to the ads are as follows; Maintenance: Eastern European recent immigrants, primarily Polish. Tool and Die: mostly US born some Polish and Russian, but all are in their 50’s or older, nothing coming down the pike. Engineering: Recent graduates of Indian or Mideastern origin, very few native born. And none of the applications are from native born with experience. It’s as if they vanished into thin air.
And yet, we read about the multitudes who are unemployed. They were merely led astray by those who were entrusted with their developmental care. Now they really do have no applicable skills. And as for the factory floor production positions within our company, the vast majority of applicants we receive are Hispanic. We are a short bus ride from the most impoverished ghettos you could imagine, but few applications come from those quarters. The complacency of generations of parents, placing blind trust in the motivations of the bureaucrats of the kid factories is at least partially to blame. The decline and abandonment in rural areas has been the thread which tied these posts together, but the underlying disease is shot throughout the entire body of our nation as well as most of the western world.
If Trump were to bring those jobs back to America, who would do them? Again, it’s anecdotal in my case, but teachers and administrators in public schools around the nation — schools that serve the poor and working class — e-mail or tell me personally that they don’t know how most of these kids will ever hold a job or form a stable family. Their home lives were too chaotic for them to get their feet on the ground. Many of them have no fathers involved in the picture, and moms with serial boyfriends. Drugs are a big part of their lives. They have no sense of direction or ambition. They are barely educated (despite the teachers’ best efforts). They don’t want to work. Et cetera.
It’s not so much that they’re unemployed as it is that they’re unemployable.
Milo Yiannopoulos’ event at DePaul University had to be cut short Tuesday night after protesters stormed the stage, blew whistles, grabbed the microphone out of the interviewer’s hand, and threatened to punch Yiannopoulos in the face.
Watch the video clip here. More from the Breitbart story:
Yiannopoulos attempted to continue the event, but protesters refused to leave the stage and the group of security guards (which DePaul forced both the organisers and Breitbart to pay for) refused to intervene.
In one of the presidential campaign year’s more grisly spectacles, protesters at a Donald Trump rally in New Mexico threw burning T-shirts, plastic bottles and other items at police officers, injuring several, and toppled trash cans and barricades.
Police responded by firing pepper spray and smoke grenades into the crowd outside the Albuquerque Convention Center.
During the rally, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was interrupted repeatedly by protesters, who shouted, held up banners and resisted removal by security officers.
The banners included the messages “Trump is Fascist” and “We’ve heard enough.”
Donald Trump and Milo Yiannopoulos are provocateurs, no question. But they are proving something important about the militant left: that it is often racist against whites, and has no intention of allowing any opinions other than its own to be voiced in the public square. And whether in the streets or in a university lecture hall, it will use violence to impose its will.
A reader writes:
Here’s a true story. When I was in medical school there was a group of 20-40 students who were self-defined “progressive brown people” (their words, not mine). I was once told by one member of this group that eventually brown people were going to “outnumber white people” and when “Texas goes Democratic” it is going to be “game over for white people”—they will end the hegemony of white culture and tax me so much there will be no privilege left to give my children. They also had some pretty negative things to say about the allegedly vanilla sexual preferences of a married friend of mine. Now these people were drunk, and being a bow tie and tassel loafer wearing milquetoast, I merely raised my eyebrows and walked away. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it happened at a “top 10” medical school party.
I almost posted that story in the AltRight thread. I mean, what are you supposed to do when people think like this? It’s crazy. BLM protested my midnight Mass, which might make sense if I was in SSPV and invited Williamson to say it. When someone says that loving Western culture makes you a “white supremacist”, it’s hard not to shrug and say “yeah, so, what if I am?” Now, I’m not a white supremacist in any meaningful way (heck I voted for Obama, twice, although, I do regret the second vote, and Cardinal Sarah’s new book is on my must read list), but if all that is left is tribal conflict (and I’m not saying that it is), I’m picking my own tribe. Part of the Alt Right’s appeal is that people like David Brooks (and I really do like poor David and don’t mean to make him a punching bag), and to some extent me, is that we aren’t really willing to go to the mat for what we value because we are afraid of being called mean names. Say what you will about the AltRight, and from what I’ve seen they are pretty odious, but the debate on immigration is the first time I’ve seen the Overton Window shifted to the Right on a major issue. And they successfully fought back over GamerGate. The conventional right could probably learn some backbone from them, if nothing else. I don’t see things getting better anytime in the near future. I’m buying 100 acres and a gun.
The center is not holding. The militant left is going to drive a lot of people towards the militant right. In the fall campaign, Trump is going to go full “Amnesty, Acid, and Abortion” — and the emotional reaction that seeing video of violent Black Lives Matter activists and other Social Justice Warrior militants in action (which we will see, all throughout the fall, because they cannot help themselves, and not even media spin will be able to hide it) will frighten a lot of law-and-order people into voting for Trump.
Relatedly, Damon Linker, a pro-gay rights liberal, whacks Obama hard for his political overreach on trans locker room and bathroom rights:
President Obama’s decision to become a champion of transgender rights just might be enough to move a significant number of culturally conservative voters who have been troubled by Trump firmly into the anti-Democrat column.
Why did Obama do it? The answer isn’t especially clear to me because I’m not the right kind of liberal.
In purely political terms, the decision seems inexplicable. The number of transgendered people in the United States is vanishingly small — something on the order of 0.3 percent of the population. Many people, like me, who have no problem with allowing transgendered adults to use the bathroom of their choice nonetheless think it misguided to indulge the decisions of children in this area. (Kids aren’t allowed to drink alcohol, drive, vote, work, or volunteer to fight in the military, but they should be permitted to change their birth gender?)
I supported gay marriage for 10 years before it became the law of the land. I think opposition to allowing transgendered people to use the bathroom of their choice is silly and sometimes cruel. But there’s more than one way to win an argument. And in all but the most egregious cases of injustice, liberal governments should resist the urge to prevail through force.
Read the whole column. It’s good. It comes from an old-fashioned liberal. The SJWs will deal with his kind too, if they get any more power. The media have soft-pedaled this thing, but when it gets right down to it, all the diversity rhetoric in the world is not going to matter when a man recognizes that in voting Democratic for president, he is voting for a party that wants to send mentally disturbed males into his daughter’s locker room, and call it justice. The liberal elites in this country, as well as the business Republicans, are pleased to virtue-signal by catering to the desires of .03 percent of the population, and throwing a substantial number of ordinary people and their families under the buss. I am absolutely certain that Hillary Clinton will continue Obama’s SJW crusade on the LGBT front, religious liberty and common sense be damned. These pink police state jackboots are trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
I find myself somewhat unnerved by this comment in a feminism thread on this blog, considered in this context. Brad Wilcox is a Catholic sociologist at UVA who researches the family. He’s also a friend of mine. Jack Donovan is a pagan masculinist/tribalist who has written approvingly of Virginia group that has built a Benedict Option for white supremacist pagan males. As a Christian, I am sorry to say that Jack Donovan is a very smart man who understands something important about what’s happening in this country, something that many of us conservative Christians do not. Here’s the comment, written by a female reader:
On the Maxim Masculinity article, I disagree with Brad Wilcox’s method. He says what the women want to hear, “Men need to man up and get married”, but he fails to account for why men get married, and finally fails to be that enticing to actual single men. They don’t do it so they can live another 10 years, or have better health, or more cash (and really how insulting is that.) They want a loyal woman who will help them achieve their most meaningful goals. Women want this too, just that women’s reproductive goals center around security (essential to having a good family) and men’s reproductive goals center around fertility (also an important aspect of family.)
And feminism has decisively cut down on married-woman fertility, while increasing it among unmarried women. From my vantage point, in an un-moored society, marriage makes no sense for most guys, whose better bet of reproduction lies in large numbers of low-investment ‘scores’.
MGTOW message on (pagan) Jack Donovan’s site is: Courage, Strength, Mastery, Honor. Religious Brad Wilcox’s message: pony up, get married, you’ll get more cash and a longer easier life. Brad’s message is not even in the same universe, which is too bad for people who care about making a viable marriage culture.
I haven’t talked to Brad about this, but my guess is that in the story to which the reader refers, Brad was speaking as a social scientist, not a committed Catholic or family activist. He and Donovan are engaged in two very different modes of discourse. Brad probably holds some of the same basic beliefs about masculinity and culture that Donovan does, though from a Christian point of view, yet he was asked to speak as a sociologist, from the point of view of academic research.
That said, the reader’s comment highlights something powerful: that reason is largely impotent in this fight. I’ve heard it said that one reason American Christian men are attracted to Orthodoxy is because it is so masculine — not in a John Piper way, but in something more organic and ancient. There is something about the vigor of the Orthodox ritual that seems far less tame than Western liturgies or services, but more to the point, Orthodoxy stresses the struggle of the Christian life, the quest to conquer oneself.
Listen to this Russian Orthodox hymn, sung by a Russian male choir. Seriously, give it about 30 seconds. It sounds like something out of Tolkien, as if the mountains themselves were crying out to God. Now, you are not going to experience that kind of singing in your ordinary Orthodox church. But that is the spirit of Orthodoxy, right there, and you will find that the deeper you go into the tradition and its worship.
Even including the second highest level of masculinity, there’s a 56% gap between male 18-24s (18% at level 0 or 1) and over 65s (74%), and a 28% gap between 25-49s (46%) and over 65s.
There is a dramatic difference between young and old women on their self-defined level of femininity as well, but not quite as large. Only 39% of 18-24 year old women say they are almost entirely feminine (at level 5 or 6) compared to 77% of over 65s.
American men are much more likely to think of themselves as exclusively masculine. Overall 42% of American men say they are completely masculine, compared to 28% of British men.
I wonder to what extent America has numbers so high because we have a larger black and Latino population than Britain does. Anyway, here’s Tyler Cowen on masculinity and our current crises:
Donald Trump may get the nuclear suitcase, a cranky “park bench” socialist took Hillary Clinton to the wire, many countries are becoming less free, and the neo-Nazi party came very close to assuming power in Austria. I could list more such events.
Haven’t you, like I, wondered what is up? What the hell is going on?
I don’t know, but let me tell you my (highly uncertain) default hypothesis. I don’t see decisive evidence for it, but it is a kind of “first blast” attempt to fit the basic facts while remaining within the realm of reason.
The contemporary world is not very well built for a large chunk of males. The nature of current service jobs, coddled class time and homework-intensive schooling, a feminized culture allergic to most forms of violence, post-feminist gender relations, and egalitarian semi-cosmopolitanism just don’t sit well with many…what shall I call them? Brutes?
There are constructive forms of masculinity, and destructive forms of masculinity. Giving oneself over to gun violence and fathering children that you won’t care for is a destructive form. But middle-class male culture, at least white male culture, doesn’t know how to nurture a healthy masculinity. The middle-class white American church certainly doesn’t. Eventually, the provocations of Social Justice Warriors, especially when they are race-based, is going to empower the militant whites, especially those drawn to pagan masculinity, and they are going to do what the rest of us would not do: Fight. This, because the best — that is, those who want peace, civility, and tolerance — lack all conviction to defend the conditions under which we can have those things against their enemies.
Trump is a vulgar, crass, alpha-male brute. But he doesn’t care what SJWs and liberals say about him. He fights, and sometimes fights as dirty as they do. That’s not nothing. White liberal middle-class society and many bourgeois conservatives have demonized within themselves, collectively and individually, the instinct that would have given them the strength to fight civilization’s enemies on the Left and on the Right. It’s partly because of self-hating white people like this (from Nathan Heller’s New Yorker story about Oberlin):
Earlier this year, a sophomore, Chloe Vassot, published an essay in the college paper urging white students like her to speak up less in class in certain circumstances. “I understand that I am not just an individual concerned only with comfort but also a part of a society that I believe will benefit from my silence,” she wrote. She told me that it was a corrective for a system that claimed to value marginalized people but actually normalized them to a voice like hers.
Idiot. Nobody has to try to take away her right to speak; she’s giving it up because she feels too ashamed to exercise it, because she’s white.
The answer to this racist SJW garbage is not to embrace white supremacy! But without a forceful, effective, unambivalent response to the unhinged militant left, sooner or later the forces of white supremacy are going to organize the dispossessed, demoralized, chaotic white rabble, and the SJWs, as well as the Washington elites, aren’t going to know what hit them. God knows I’m not saying I want this to happen, but I think it probably will happen if we continue on this current trajectory. Slouching rough beasts and all that. It’s Weimar America.
UPDATE: Reader Grotto comments:
The connection between the Alt-Right and the various masculinity movements deserves some elaboration. As many have mentioned, the demographics of the Alt-Right are young and male, and the role of young male frustration (sexual or otherwise) cannot be overstated.
As Dreher adequately documents, the hegemonic narrative regarding gender is clearly insane. And while the level of insanity has climbed exponentially in the past decade, virtually everyone under-30 (my generation) has been marinated in relentless gender-equivalence propaganda since kindergarden. But, as the male cohort grows older, the distance between the experienced reality of of the dating market and the official dogma becomes unsustainable. The cognitive dissonance is simply too great, and boys are driven to seek answers elsewhere. And those answers come, with varying degrees of accuracy and crudity, from the PUA/Game/MRA/RedPill blogs. Whatever their faults, they all have one redeeming quality – they are manifestly not insane. This comes as a great shock and relief to boys. A shock because they realize the magnitude of the deception they have experienced, and a relief because they realize they are not the crazy ones.
These blogs are essentially applied evolutionary psychology. The systematizing, logical male mind is placed in the dispassionate, clinical service of disassembling every polite fiction about courtship, and replacing it with an amoral imperative. Women are to be understood, then mastered. And once women are mastered, they are irrelevant. Onto the next challenge. Unless you are in this generation, you have no idea the sea-change that is occurring. 35-year-olds are teaching 25-year-olds, who then repackage it for 15-year-olds.
This then becomes the primary infection vector for other forms of thought crime. Once one aspect of the progressive catechism has been shown to be false, the whole edifice falls under suspicion. While the intellectual roots of the alt-Right don’t come from the masculinity crowd, most of their new converts do, and therefore the dominant attitude and aesthetics of the alt-Right come from this wing. They hate sentimentality, and have a Nietzschean sense of life – true meaning in life comes from removing the shackles of slave morality, and freeing your ambition from the cloying masses who might call you racist or sexist or homophobic.
Is it any wonder then, appeals to marriage based on life expectancy or lifetime earnings are rather ineffectual?
So as I said, the monk, who has facilitated our monastic tour, has earned his sermon. He asks us in Romanian, translated by our host, a simple question: What is the point of our learning about key moments in the history of Byzantium or modern Orthodoxy, if we aren’t going to be transformed by these truths ourselves? And we, all of us with Ph.D.s in some aspect of Orthodox history, smile politely, because modern academia does not have an answer to that question, inasmuch as academia is premised upon a tacit agreement never to ask it at all.
That is such an Orthodox question, what the monk asked. I will return to it momentarily. But read on:
As we drive from site to site, the earth is awakening from winter as if to illustrate this resurgence. Between site visits, I am reading Laurus, the oft-discussed recent novel by Eugene Vodolazkin about Arseny, a fifteenth-century Holy Fool. Arseny can see into the future. Somehow, despite living in the Late Middle Ages, he steps on a plastic bottle, as if foreseeing the terribly littered landscape around me that still suffers from the communist years. As I’m reading, our academic host gets up on the bus to explain at last a story so many of us have been asking about. Who is this modern saint whose picture we see in every parish church and corner market? Like the protagonist of the novel, his name too is Arseny—Arsenie Boca (1910-1989). An artist and persecuted priest, he helped with the Philokalia translation into modern Romanian, and was well established as an Abbot when communism arrived. We learn of the miracles, bilocation among them, unwittingly documented by communist authorities. For a moment, Vodolazkin’s enchanting novel does not seem so bizarre.
He’s right. I can no longer imagine what it’s like to read Laurus through non-Orthodox eyes — but here’s the point where I should say that two Orthodox friends of mine who read it after I urged it on them told me they didn’t get it. Anyway, reading Laurus, even the parts that we would call “magical realism,” I kept nodding and thinking, “Yes, that’s how it is. That’s how it is in our religion.” Orthodox believers (in general) expect miracle and wonder with a naturalness that I have never seen outside of Pentecostals. More:
The Romanian Christians I meet do not see their Orthodoxy through rose-colored glasses. Politically speaking, all of them are concerned about the territorial ambitions of Putin’s Russia. Among the clerics, many worry that similar ambitions by the Russian church might overwhelm the long-awaited pan-Orthodox council to be held this summer. Within the Romanian Orthodox Church itself, troubles of nationalism, phyletism, and complicity between church and state remain sources of concern. But its faithful also have recourse to the great cloud of witnesses that awaits them on every church wall, and the humble resilience that—alongside non-Orthodox Christians like the Reformed pastor László Tőkés—proved a match for Communism.
But at each of the places we visit, the question comes up again, from scholars, from monks, and finally—on the eve of Lent—from a bishop: Why, we are asked, are you interested in the history of Orthodoxy if you are not transformed by it yourself?
Milliner’s piece prompted me to muse here on a thought that occurred to me this past Sunday, standing on the side of the nave of the Clear Creek Abbey crypt church, watching a solemn high mass celebrated with austere reverence by the Benedictine monks who live there. It was beautiful, it was holy, and I was privileged to witness it, and to pray with my Catholic brothers and sisters.
But at the same time, I thought: I guess I really am Orthodox now. As beautiful as this is, Orthodoxy is who I am now, and I am grateful to God for it.
Notice that I didn’t say, “Orthodoxy is what I believe now.” It’s much deeper than that. The difference is that I have been marinating in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom for so long that it has soaked in and, to use social anthropologist Paul Connerton’s phrase, “sedimented into my bones.”
You might remember my writing last year about Connerton’s dense but powerful book How Societies Remember. Here is an excerpt:
Connerton discusses three types of memories — personal (something in the past that the individual experienced), cognitive (something in the past that the individual knows from having learned it second hand), and habit-memory, which he defines as “our having the capacity to reproduce a certain performance.” It’s like muscle memory: we may not remember how we learned the thing, but we can recall it when necessary. Reading this, I recalled the experience of Father George Calciu, a Romanian Orthodox priest, who was able to celebrate the Divine Liturgy while in a Communist prison because he had committed it to memory. The liturgy reminded him of who he was and what was true, in a time and place in which the authorities brutally tried to force him to forget. Connerton calls this third kind of remembering “habit-memory.”
When a society really wants to remember something as a society — e.g., mythical, religious, or historic stories that tell a people who they are and what they must do — it invents commemorative ceremonies around those stories. It is not enough to tell a particular story; the story has to be “a cult enacted.” That is, the story must convey a metaphysical truth, and thus has to be granted sacred status as an event that is taken out of the past and in some mystical way re-presented in the present. This is, of course, what the Orthodox Divine Liturgy and the Catholic Mass do. Rites are ways that societies maintain a living connection with their past, and enter mystically into it. Connerton says that “performative utterances are as it were the place in which the community is constituted and recalls to itself the fact of its constitution.”
In simpler language, this means that the words spoken in a rite both bind its participants together and remind the people who they are, as a people. Further, the most effective rituals involve the body. Connerton:
To kneel in subordination is not to state subordination, nor is it just to communicate a message of submission. To kneel in subordination is to display it through the visible, present substance of one’s body. Kneelers identify the disposition of their body with their disposition of subordination. Such performative doings are particularly effective, because unequivocal and materially substantial , ways of ‘saying'; and the elementariness of the repertoire from which such ‘sayings’ are drawn makes possible at once their performative power and their effectiveness as mnemonic systems.
The most effective rituals do not vary, and are removed in the form of speech and song from everyday life. And:
Finally, ritualised posture, gesture and movement, instead of flexibly combining to impart a variety and ambiguity of information as in what we conventionally describe as everyday situations, is restrictive in pattern, and hence easily predictable and easily repeatable, from one act to the next and from one ritual occasion to the next.
What he means is that to remember who we are, our Story must be ritualized in some public ceremony, or ceremonies. Those rituals must not be simply commemorative; there has to be something more going on — “a cult enacted,” which is to say, an idea taking material form. And it must be not simply something we carry in our heads, but something that is in our bodies. It must be a “habitual memory” — something we carry with us without thinking about it. “In habitual memory the past is, as it were, sedimented into the body,” writes Connerton.
How does this work? Connerton’s explanation is complex, and hard to summarize. The essence of it, however, is that the Word must be made Flesh. We must live out the ideas in the Story so deeply that they become second nature to us — not ideas, but practices. The beginning pianist knows how to read music, but he cannot really play the piano if is conscious that he’s reading the notes. He becomes a pianist when he can play fluidly, without thinking about it. He has become habituated to music.
This has happened to me with Orthodoxy, to a degree that took me by surprise on Sunday. After I had been Catholic for a few years, Protestant worship (on the occasion I had to experience it) seemed so thin to me. Let me be clear: I am not making a judgment on the moral or spiritual qualities of the worshipers, only on the aesthetic quality of the worship, and the way it affected my response to it. Now, having been Orthodox for a decade, I have the same reaction to Catholic worship. Again, this is not to claim that Orthodox Christianity is more true than Catholic or Protestant Christianity (though I believe it is), but rather to observe that aesthetics matter when it comes to imprinting a particular way of thinking, of being, of experiencing a world.
It genuinely startled me how much the Orthodoxy liturgical life, as well as the modes of prayer, the fasts, and so forth, has formed me internally. Lex orandi, lex credendi. And, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have been able to say that until we started our little Orthodox mission here in Starhill three years ago, which required me to engage with Orthodoxy on a level I had previously resisted.
The question the Orthodox monk in Romania asked Milliner and his group — What’s the point of learning about Orthodoxy if you aren’t going to be transformed by these truths? — reveals a frame of mind that I recognize immediately as Orthodox, a mindset that has made an enormous difference to me personally. Of course one can study Orthodoxy from the point of view of an academic, and many do. The naive question the monk asked, though, tells you that Orthodoxy doesn’t really care if you know about Orthodoxy in your head; it wants you to know Orthodoxy in your heart, and to live it. Truth is not a proposition, not essentially; truth is a Person, and an experience of that Person. For the Orthodox, it’s wonderful to study theology, but if that study doesn’t lead you to a more direct, real, and transformative encounter with the living God, then it is a poor thing. Or at least a thing that is far less than it could be. It’s like living in a house isolated by a snowdrift, and having a shovel in your garage, but being so taken by the object of the shovel itself that you don’t pick it up and use it to dig your way out.
In my book How Dante Can Save Your Life, I talk about how the daily, hour-long practice of the Jesus Prayer, following the monastic tradition, was key to my healing, even though I didn’t quite see the point of it all when my priest told me to do it. Later, when I was healed, I asked him why he had assigned me that intense prayer rule.
“I had to get you out of your head,” he said.
Which is itself a very Orthodox answer. My priest could see that my knee-jerk tendency to abstract things, to separate myself from them and hold them up as objects of contemplation from a distance, was at the heart of my inner illness. As long as I bracketed the things of God off intellectually, no matter how strongly I affirmed them with my reason, I would always be on the margins, tormented by the analytical mindset. Father saw that it was far more important for me to experience God in prayer, and not prayer composed of a series of stated propositions, but simply being still in the presence of the All-Holy.
This is how Orthodoxy is. Or at least as I have found it to be. And I love it.
A couple of Catholics separately came up to me last weekend at Clear Creek, having heard me say that I am an ex-Catholic, and tried to engage me in a conversation that they plainly wanted to end in my return to Rome. Unless Catholics are hostile and persistent (these folks weren’t), I’m not bothered by these conversations. These people want the best for me, and to them, that means returning to Catholicism. I usually say, “Please pray for me,” and I mean it, because I do need prayers. But I don’t have the slightest interest in returning to Catholicism — and I’m not angry about it.
To the contrary, my extremely painful experience of losing my Catholic faith and being rebuilt, slowly, in Orthodoxy, has made me grateful to see folks thriving in Christianity as Catholics or Protestants. I would make a terrible Orthodox evangelist, because even though I would love for them to discover Orthodoxy and its joyful depths, I am incapable of engaging in apologetic arguments. It’s not that I believe apologetics are unimportant. Of course they are important! But I have no credibility to do them, given my erratic faith history, and besides, I don’t really want to get into it. Living a faithful, small-o orthodox Christian life is hard, no matter which tradition you do it in. I feel that I can better help folks by encouraging them, genuinely, in their own tradition, rather than get all up in their business and telling them how and why they’re getting and doing it wrong. That kind of intellectual arrogance led to my spiritual near-death experience as a Catholic. I was so full of pride in being Catholic, and so willing to talk about Catholicism as an intellectual matter, that I did not see how fragile I had left myself.
God broke me, or rather, allowed me to break myself on the rocks of my own rage and pride and arrogance. And He rebuilt me as an Orthodox Christian which, I suspect, has made me a better mere Christian. Why? Mostly because I have been delivered from the chronic intellectualism that made experiencing God more difficult. It will always be there, because it’s in my nature, but it controls me far less than it once did. Orthodox Christianity showed me the way, and not only showed me the way, but led me. I hope that all people will come and see what we have in Orthodoxy (though a single visit alone probably won’t be enough; I’d say come every Sunday for a month). But even if you don’t, or won’t, I would strongly suggest to every intellectually-oriented Christian of all traditions, including those who are nominally Orthodox, to think about the Romanian monk’s question in context of your own tradition: Why do you ask questions of Christianity if you don’t want to be transformed by Christianity yourself? In other words, what is the point of your intellectual inquiry? Having all the facts and arguments in your head will not help you when you are put to the test.
Everybody’s talking about the new Nathan Heller piece in The New Yorker, profiling the new left-wing student activist generation at Oberlin College. And boy, is it quite a read. You can read it and guffaw at the crazy Social Justice Warriors, but there’s something deeper going on there (and on many other campuses). Here’s the nut graf:
Such reports flummoxed many people who had always thought of themselves as devout liberals. Wasn’t free self-expression the whole point of social progressivism? Wasn’t liberal academe a way for ideas, good and bad, to be subjected to enlightened reason? Generations of professors and students imagined the university to be a temple for productive challenge and perpetually questioned certainties. Now, some feared, schools were being reimagined as safe spaces for coddled youths and the self-defined, untested truths that they held dear. Disorientingly, too, none of the disputes followed normal ideological divides: both the activists and their opponents were multicultural, educated, and true of heart. At some point, it seemed, the American left on campus stopped being able to hear itself think.
Heller doesn’t take a position at all on any of this, just lets Oberlin voices speak. And it’s damning. For example:
This spring, at Oberlin, I tracked down Cyrus Eosphoros, the student who’d worried about the triggering effects of “Antigone.” We met at the Slow Train Café, a coffee joint on College Street, one of the two main streets that make up Oberlin’s downtown. (The other is called Main Street.) Eosphoros is a shy guy with a lambent confidence. He was a candid, stylish writer for the school newspaper and a senator in student government. That day, he wore a distressed bomber jacket and Clubmaster glasses. His hair was done in the manner of Beaver Cleaver’s, with a cool blue streak across the top. Eosphoros is a trans man. He was educated in Mexico, walks with crutches, and suffers from A.D.H.D. and bipolar disorder. (He’d lately been on suicide watch.) He has cut off contact with his mother, and he supports himself with jobs at the library and the development office. He said, “I’m kind of about as much of a diversity checklist as you can get while still technically being a white man.”
Oh for eff’s sake. More:
Half a century ago, Eosphoros might not have had access to élite higher education in the United States. In that respect, he is exactly the sort of student—bright, self-made, easily marginalized—whom selective colleges like Oberlin have been eager to enroll. So I was taken aback when he told me that he’d just dropped out for want of institutional support.
“There’s this persistent, low-grade dehumanization from everyone,” he said. “Somebody will be, like, ‘Yeah, I had a class with a really great professor, and it was wonderful,’ and I’ll be sitting there, like, ‘Oh, yes, that was the professor who failed me for getting tuberculosis,’ or ‘That was the professor who, because I have double time on exams, scheduled them during lunch.’
I googled Cyrus Eosphorus. On the first Google results page was an op-ed he wrote earlier this month for the Oberlin Review, which introduced his piece promisingly:
Editor’s Note: This op-ed contains discussion of medical malpractice, ableism, transphobia and homophobia.
Oh goodie. Eosphoros launches into a crackpot rant against a local Catholic hospital.
The directives contain no statements on queer people or psychiatric treatment, so the Mercy Health system appears to be making its own decisions there. However, in my experience, it consistently and dangerously provides sub-par treatment on those grounds as well.
Last year, the College forcibly institutionalized me at Mercy Regional Center in Lorain.
Oh, I bet they did! More from young Eosphorus:
While hospitalized in Lorain, the psychiatrist on call asked me what I had to look forward to; I excitedly told him about my plans to propose to my girlfriend. He informed me that I was suicidal due to “anxiety” — this time provoked by “being in a same-sex relationship.” I am a man, but he didn’t believe me the fourth time I told him, either.
Because you have a vagina, you weirdo! No wonder the shrink thought this cat was crazy.
Nathan Heller meets a liberal professor who was targeted by a student he snapped at in class, and who denounced him to the administration for creating an “unsafe” environment:
“On or about December, 2014, student character changed,” Roger Copeland, a professor of theatre and dance, announced early one afternoon. We were sitting at a table in the Feve, a college-town grill. Copeland was wearing an extremely loud Hawaiian shirt. He has thinning silver hair, glasses that darken in the sunlight, and a theatrical style of diction that most people reserve for wild anecdotes at noisy cocktail parties. At one point, I looked up from my notepad to find that he had donned a rubber nose and glasses.
At which point you take nothing else Roger Copeland says seriously. A grown man, having a meeting with a reporter from The New Yorker, behaving that way. Patch Adams meets Chairman Mao.
Here’s where it gets seriously dark. Heller talks to the head of the Comparative American Studies program, which is said to be responsible for a lot of the radicalism on campus:
How, then, to teach? Two years ago, when the Black Lives Matter movement took off, “it felt like it was going to be a moment when we were really going to have a national conversation about police brutality and economic inequality,” Kozol said. She was excited about her students’ work in Cleveland and elsewhere. “But then, at some point, it became really solipsistic.” A professor who taught a Comparative American Studies seminar that was required for majors went on leave, and, as she was replaced by one substitute and then another, Kozol noticed something alarming: the students had started seating themselves by race. Those of color had difficulty with anything that white students had to say; they didn’t want to hear it anymore. Kozol took over the class for the spring, and, she told me, “it played out through identity politics.” The class was supposed to be a research workshop. But students went cold when they had to engage with anyone outside their community.
Kozol tried everything she could think of. She divided the seminar into work groups. She started giving lectures. She asked students to write down one thing they would do to contribute to a more productive dialogue. Only one person responded. So she did what she had never done in two decades of teaching: she dissolved the course mid-semester and let students do independent study for a grade.
Something is very, very seriously wrong at this place, and with a society that produces people like this. When Heller meets with the university president, Marvin Krislov, the man tells the reporter that he loves getting together with students over ice cream to work out their problems.“There is nothing like ice cream to bring people together,” he says.
Yeah, he said that.
The sense of entitlement among these students is simply off-the-charts. One girl named Megan, a Bronx native who “identifies as Afro-Latinx,” expresses her exhaustion after the living hell that is life at Oberlin:
Then she wanted to get as far away from the United States as she could. “Working my piece of land somewhere and living autonomously—that’s the dream,” she said. “Just getting the eff out of America. It’s a sinking ship.”
Babe, you come from the Bronx. You would be lucky to be able to grow a Chia pet.
Heller transcribes a priceless snit-fit among minority students he meets with, who apparently just make stuff up:
But the alumni reactions were the worst, according to Adams. “They are quick to turn around and call twenty-year-old students the N-word, and monkeys, and illiterate uneducated toddlers, and tell us to go back to Africa where we came from, and that Martin Luther King would be ashamed of us,” she says. “We knew realistically that most of those demands were not going to be met. We understand legality. We understand finances—”
Thank you, Tawana Brawley. How many people in this room believe that alumni of one of the most legendarily liberal colleges in the nation call black students racist names and tell them to go back to Africa? Nobody? Right. Let’s continue:
“We see the pattern of nonresponse,” Slay says.
Zakiya Acey furrows his brow. “The argument was ‘Oh, so students ask for this, but it’s not legal,’ ” he says. “But it’s what I need. And it’s what this country needs, and it’s my country. That’s the whole point. We’re asking—”
“We’re asking to be reflected in our education,” Adams cuts in. “I literally am so tired of learning about Marx, when he did not include race in his discussion of the market!” She shrugs incredulously. “As a person who plans on returning to my community, I don’t want to assimilate into middle-class values. I’m going home, back to the ’hood of Chicago, to be exactly who I was before I came to Oberlin.”
Yes, this person in dire need of a straitjacket is griping because a 19th-century German Jew writing a dense book of economic and social theory while sitting in the British library didn’t factor race into his analysis of capitalism. And so it goes.
Please read the whole thing, especially if you have children who are thinking of applying to college. You would ruin them if you sent them there, or to other colleges also overrun with SJW derangement. The college professor who sent me this piece comments:
The stories tell the ways in which, like Dostoevsky’s demons, students have turned against their teachers. Really, however, the subtext of the story is the abandonment of authority by one generation, and what happens to the next generation when adults forgo their obligation to enrich and pass on an inheritance. (This is what I refer to as the “Friday Night Lights” problem: a culture falls apart when adults are interested only in their own happiness, and the kids are left to their own devices to figure out ways to survive amidst heartbreak and dissolution.) When a president believes he can still the students’ pain and quiet their confusion with ice cream socials, and a professor – while wearing a rubber nose and glasses – complains that students won’t look him in the eyes, you know that authority has ceased to function. Students will have no choice but to adopt the empty slogans of their elders, having no knowledge of a rich cultural inheritance to draw upon, and fill them with their rage.
There’s a part of me that takes pleasure in the irrationality of the contemporary cultural left destroying itself. But these are actual lives here, and institutions that people now gone have loved, and took generations to build. All being dismembered by ideology and pathology. This doesn’t just happen, though, and Oberlin is not the only school like this. This sickness says something about the American ruling class. Only because he takes his cues from a culture like this could a President of the United States order every public school in the country to let boys who think they are girls use the locker room. The backlash in this country when it all starts to come apart is going to be a terrible thing to behold. If you’ve read your Dostoevsky, and if you know your early 20th century history, you know where this kind of thing went in Russia.
UPDATE: Great comment from DancerGirl, who, it may interest some readers to know, is black and a liberal:
“The most revealing thing said by a student in the article is, “l can’t produce the work they want me to do.””
Maris, that line hit me like a 2×4. He’s so busy doing whatever, he can’t do what he went there to do — learn.
But I have to take issue with the sparseness of your excerpt because you left out the context, in which he complains about the way in which the courses are set up. “You know, we’re paying for a service. We’re paying for our attendance here. We need to be able to get what we need in a way that we can actually consume it. . . . I can’t produce the work that they want me to do. But I understand the material, and I can give it to you in different ways. There’s professors who have openly been, like, ‘Yeah, instead of, you know, writing out this midterm, come in to my office hours, and you can just speak it,’ right? But that’s not institutionalized. I have to find that professor.”
I read that passage and wanted to kick everybody’s ass. All of them.
1) “I’m paying for my education, therefore, I should decide how I will be taught.” This reasoning is also known as the logical breaking point of the customer service model in higher education. If he is so convinced that he can decide how he should be taught and examined, I don’t think school is the right place for him. Student, teach yourself. (See also, Yale English majors who resent having to read — get this — canonical British writers. Why, you might ask? Because they were white and male; the students wish to “decolonize” the English curriculum by abolishing the requirement that they read the people who established it. You see, no one writing in the Western tradition today was ever influenced by Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, etc. Check it out:http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/05/24/yale_students_want_to_remake_the_english_major_requirements_but_there_s.html)
2) “I can’t take an exam in order to prove baseline competence in a class, and it’s unreasonable to expect me to do so. But I know the material, really, I do, and if you just let me come to office hours and chat, I’ll prove it to you!” I will grant that instructors have evaluated student learning through oral exams for millennia, but somehow, I don’t think he’s looking for a Socratic dialogue with his professor.
3) If I were the department chair for the professor he described, and I learned that he or she had engaged in such shenanigans, I would raise holy hell. And if he or she didn’t have tenure, it would go in the file. Because that is professional malpractice.
Who broke this generation, and how do they get fixed?
Reader Ingvar writes, in a comment on a thread that’s fallen off the main page:
We live in a many times more complex society than our ancestors did. If you shut off the power in my home city of Toronto in a winter with subzero temperatures for more than lets say two days tens of thousands will die. Heat goes out, elevators stop working, water becomes scarce (you can’t drink ice or snow if you can’t melt it), people can’t cook or dispose of waste in a safe fashion. Add to that social unrest which makes it difficult for the tradespeople and engineers to get around so they can fix things and you’ve quickly got a major disaster. Millions dead.
In Toronto I don’t think we have a collective story any more than can help us to weather this sort of thing. We don’t identify with any past or collective history that might inspire resilience or the necessary mutual social support. The Raptors or the Blue Jays winning championships won’t help us then. Churches and other religious communities might provides some support, but there aren’t enough of us I think to make that big a difference. All of a sudden, once our current prosperity goes, the survivors (probably grouping largely around racial lines) will be warily facing one another groping for weapons. And we’ll have to relearn, if we can, the civic virtues that currently mark our community (relatively honest police for example, something 80% of the world doesn’t have). If you asked the average Canadian what makes our government less corrupt than most in the world, they probably couldn’t give an answer. They don’t know. I don’t think we are mature enough anymore to even ask that question collectively and give an honest answer. We are turning our backs on the ideas and communal bonds that made our society possible. Not that they were perfect, but they got us this far.
I don’t want to catastrophize too much, but I really don’t know what to think. I don’t know that anyone does. We’ve never had a community like Toronto before in the history of the world. We’ve never had a society this complex. If a disaster does happen, I hope there is a sufficient remnant that can identify effectively with our Christian and British/European past to rebuild something based on those roots which have given us what we already have. And I hope capable of learning not to make the same mistakes we are making.
I don’t have anything to add to this, except I think he’s very much on to something. And heaven knows it’s not just Toronto. It’s most of us. Except you, Clear Creek.
Newly released 911 tapes reveal tense moments after a baby may or may not have survived an abortion at a Phoenix family planning clinic back in February.
The incident struck a chord with many pro-life advocates, who held a vigil and protested the incident. Others wondered about not only the legality, but the morality of the incident.
In the 911 calls, a clinic worker told the dispatcher a fetus that was removed had vital signs.
“There was a termination that was performed,” the worker said. “There is a fetus that is breathing right now, so we need someone to do services.”
The 911 operator asks if the fetus has been harmed in any way.
The worker answered no, and said the fetus needed further help other than what the clinic could provide.
“The fetus is breathing so we need care for it now,” said the caller. “We can’t provide that care except for oxygen and we’re trying to keep the fetus stable until someone arrives.”
Federal law states that a clinic has to provide medical care to a baby who survives an abortion.
That was the case in this incident.
“Nobody did anything wrong,” said Kat Sabine, Executive Director of the Arizona chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America in April when she spoke with 12 News.
Sure, if by “wrong” you mean “illegal.” In truth, you people are a bunch of baby killers.
WKYC KPNX, the Phoenix TV station, ends its report:
According to documents, the fetus died minutes after being taken to the hospital.
Wait, do “fetuses” die? No, babies die. Tell us,
WKYC KPNX, is a just-delivered infant who is alive and breathing on her own, fully separate from her mother’s body, not a human being until and unless the abortion clinic decides she is? What kind of journalism is this?
UPDATE: My apologies to WKYC, which as readers point out, is a Cleveland TV station. They apparently used text from KPNX, the Phoenix affiliate. It’s still WKYC’s responsibility — it chose to present the text on its own website — but the text originated at KPNX.