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The Herd Of Sacred Cows

Michael Brendan Dougherty, bang on: [1]

Imagine if Saturday’s three London Bridge killers had been British Nationalist party thugs, ramming their car through a Pakistani neighborhood. Would a single decent person have heard the news and immediately said, “Well, this number of dead people is statistically insignificant compared to those that die in car accidents. These punks can’t threaten our society!” Would anyone have asked, “Why are we talking about the killer’s politics? There are thousands of gun murders in America every year and those killers don’t have their politics talked about.” Would they have felt like singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” the next morning to conjure up a vision of a day when people of all political creeds can get along?

We all know the answer.

And yet, even before the victims on London Bridge had stopped bleeding, this was the reaction among society’s best, brightest and most morally self-assured members on social media. The pattern is by now familiar. Even as an Islamic terrorist killer’s proclamations about Allah’s will are still ringing in victims’ ears, these individuals are already declaring that the true danger from the attack is an Islamophobic backlash, and that you’re more likely to die by drowning in your own swimming pool than from a terrorist attack. Do they know how callous that sounds? Do they not realize that sensible human beings react differently to a car accident than to a murder plot? Or that states and car manufacturers are constantly working to decrease the lethality of driving, while terrorists are constantly trying to improve the lethality of their enterprise?

More:

The reason the subject changes so quickly from the people dying in the street to the potential victims of backlash is obvious. Islamist terror is politically inconvenient for advocates of mass migration from the Islamic world. To talk about it honestly might lead people to notice that the Czech Republic, which doesn’t have mass migration from the Islamic world, also doesn’t have Islamist terror attacks. And because of that, Czechs also typically don’t engage in these self-criticism sessions over Islamophobia.

Read the whole thing. [1] MBD says there’s an even deeper reason why managerial elites who run the West don’t speak the bleeding obvious when it comes to Islamic terrorism in the West. But you’ll need to read his column to find out what that is.

MBD’s piece got me to thinking about things we don’t talk about. Take the violence (mostly rhetorical) and intimidation at Washington’s Evergreen State College. If a group of alt-right frat boys took up bats and started patrolling a campus to intimidate ideological dissenters, as is happening with left-wing militants at Evergreen, [2] it would be treated as a national crisis by the media. Mostly, though, there has been silence. More generally, the spate of militant left-wing campus illiberalism has been downplayed, in my view, by the mainstream media. If it’s noticed at all, it is generally taken as a one-off event, and in no way indicative of left-wing thought and practice.

That’s fair, to a point. Evergreen State is a famously left-wing college, so it’s probably accurate to say that there’s not a conservative among its 4,000 or so students. If the Seattle Times is right and only about 200 of the students are behaving militantly, it is likely the case that the overwhelming majority of students are both a) left-wing, and b) staying out of the protests. But their silence and submission to the intolerant militants is itself important, because it shows that there is no will among the more mainstream left to resist the extremes. Lenin understood how important a committed vanguard was to making revolution.

If the institutions of managerial liberalism — especially the mainstream media — cannot bring themselves to fight left-wing illiberalism, they will lose to it. The interesting question is why they won’t resist it — indeed, why they won’t talk about it as a crisis of liberalism. We have heard more than once from conservatives on faculties that they don’t worry about the older liberals among their colleagues. They may be on the left, but they’re on the old-fashioned left, the left that valued freedom of expression. The younger colleagues, those are the hard-core ideologues.

I think there are at least two reasons why the media won’t confront this crisis with the kind of intensity and thoroughness it would if it were coming from the political and cultural right.

For one, there is a natural sympathy with the left-wing protesters, one captured by the Old Left slogan that “Communism is just liberalism in a hurry.” This was what the Old Left said to tranquilize mainstream liberals who would have otherwise objected to them. Yes, the Social Justice Warriors may be too forceful, in the view of managerial liberals in the media, but really, don’t we agree that they want justice and a better world? Should we really be so hard on them?

The second reason is the more important one. Social Justice Warrior militancy is the inevitable fulfillment of left-wing identity politics ideology. This is what “diversity” and “multiculturalism” leads to: aggrieved, group-based militancy. Diversity (as they define it) has become the secular religion of managerial liberals throughout American society. If what SJWs are doing on campuses across the nation is not an aberration but the logical result of diversity ideology, then liberals have a big, big problem. So, like Islam and immigration, they don’t talk about it.

Was it Hitchens who said that if you want to know what a society’s sacred cows are, ask what it is you are not allowed to say in public? A sacred cow is a taboo thought necessary to observe for the sake of keeping society together and stable. Every society — including smaller societies, like churches, families, schools, and so forth — needs them. But at some point, they end up as the Emperor’s New Clothes: official lies that most people don’t believe, and that prevent people from seeing and dealing with truth. In that case, the fervor for protecting the sacred cow can end up destroying the thing the taboo was meant to protect.

I have said in the past that I am extremely uncomfortable with scientific information we’re learning about genetics, because I do not trust humans, given our nature, to deal with this knowledge. I don’t think we should know it, in most cases — but the truth can only be suppressed for so long. I wrote about this kind of thing in a 2012 post about forbidden knowledge.  [3] We’re all hypocrites on this subject: quick to blame others for their cowardice in wishing to suppress certain facts, but also quick to defend our own willingness to do the same thing. Some knowledge deserves to be forbidden. But where do we draw those lines? And who draws them?

I was thinking about this a couple of weeks ago when I got into a conversation with a Cajun woman working behind the counter at a grocery store in town. We were talking about the finicky eating habits of our kids, and somehow that led to schooling. She told me that she took the job at the supermarket so she could afford Catholic elementary school for her daughter.

The woman said her daughter was the only white kid in her first grade class at a public school, and as such, suffered a lot of bullying, much of it racial. She also said she was shocked at how foul-mouthed her first-grader became, just from the crude language she was picking up from her classmates. The mother said she couldn’t stand subjecting her daughter to that, so to Catholic school it was.

This is how schooling in East Baton Rouge Parish has become de facto re-segregated, one family at a time. I don’t blame this mom one bit for doing what she did for her child. This is something that white people talk about a fair amount in the area where I live, but never publicly — that is, never in settings where they think they’re likely to be called racist for noticing. Every now and then, though, it does spill into public discussion, like at this story about meetings the Louisiana state education commissioner held around the state. [4] Excerpts:

After 12 hours of public hearings in six cities this week, the top issue is student behavior, state Superintendent of Education John White said Friday.

White made the comment during a two-hour hearing at McKinley Middle Magnet School on how the state should change its public school policies to comply with a new federal law called the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.

The issue of student behavior, including classroom violence, came up several times in a gathering of more than 100 parents and school officials, including several local superintendents and two members of the state’s top school board — Jada Lewis and Kathy Edmonston.

White said student violence is not on the rise either in Louisiana or nationally, though it is the topic he hears raised the most.

He said disruptive students are often those that need to be in classrooms the most, and that sending them home “is not helpful to them or society.”

Well. A few years ago, a teacher friend of mine ended up with a shattered hand because of an altercation with a juvenile delinquent in his public school classroom. But let’s be tender towards these poor dears.

More:

Gretchen Lampe, an official of the Louisiana Association of Educators for East Baton Rouge Parish, said she thinks institutional racism is part of the problem.

“We’ve got a problem and nobody wants to talk about it,” Lampe told the group during one of the periods of public comment.

Lampe, who is white, said white teachers are routinely sent into classrooms where they “don’t know how to have conversations and understand other cultures.”

So it’s the fault of white teachers that the black kids under the authority in classrooms misbehave and act violently? Right. Anyway, whether or not you agree with Lampe’s diagnosis, she’s right that people don’t want to talk about it. We maintain social peace, if not harmony, by avoiding discussion of the problems, except among those who already agree with us.

Something else the Cajun woman said to me that night in the grocery store brought up another local sacred cow. She told me that her older son is in Catholic school too, and that on his account, there’s a lot of classroom disruption there as well. But it’s not as bad as in public school, so they’ve decided to live with it. I reflected on how friends of mine who have come through the local Catholic school system, or who have kids in it, complain privately about its mediocrity, but wouldn’t do that in public. Sacred cow.

I suppose the Catholic school system could solve its problems, given its autonomy, if the bishop and the bureaucracy wanted to, and if they got enough buy-in from parents. But it’s hard to see what good can come from a frank public debate over race and the public schools. It’s all tied into Louisiana’s racist history, the collapse of the black family, and all kinds of third-rail issues tied to race. So the problem goes unaddressed, and we all muddle along, trying to keep the peace. When there doesn’t seem to be a solution possible, maybe maintaining the taboo on talking about the problem is the best thing to do. It’s dishonest, but the price of honesty in this case might be too high.

This was the calculation Catholic bishops and others made regarding the sexual abuse scandal among Catholic priests — and it was a terrible, terrible mistake. I see today a story about how a California civil jury has awarded damages to Carra Crouch [5], a granddaughter of the late Pentecostal televangelist Jan Crouch, for something the elder Crouch, co-founder of the Trinity Broadcast Network, did to cover up the younger woman’s rape. Excerpt:

According to a lawsuit filed in 2012, Carra Crouch was 13 when a 30-year-old Trinity employee forced himself on her in an Atlanta hotel, where she had accompanied her grandmother to attend a Praise-A-Thon fundraiser. When Carra told “Momma Jan” what happened, the ordained minister did not report the case to police—going against her obligation as a mandatory reporter under California law—and also blamed the teen for being alone with the man.

In the lawsuit, Carra Crouch said her grandmother got angry and asked her, “Why would you have that man in your room? Why would you let this happen?”

“The jury ultimately determined that Jan’s response—by blaming and castigating Carra, by saying words beyond all realm of decency—constituted outrageous conduct,” David Keesling, Carra Crouch’s attorney, told the Los Angeles Times [6].

Blaming the victim, the messenger of bad news, to protect the institution is a common response.

Abortion rights advocates are doing this regarding the Planned Parenthood undercover videos: trying to destroy David Daleiden, the filmmaker, to distract from and negate the horrible truths his videos tell about Planned Parenthood. I wrote about this in 2015 [7], quoting a Ross Douthat column [8] in which he discusses the undercover abortion films, and how the media have trouble reporting on them straightforwardly:

Because dwelling on that content gets you uncomfortably close to Selzer’s tipping point — that moment when you start pondering the possibility that an institution at the heart of respectable liberal society is dedicated to a practice that deserves to be called barbarism.

As Douthat went on to say, this is a human universal. He’s done it. So have I. The evasion goes something like this:

1. [Our side] is accused of doing/supporting/enabling this horrible thing.

2. We are not the kind of people who would do/support/enable that sort of thing.

3. Therefore we are not guilty.

Or it goes like this:

1. Our side is accused, etc.

2. But the people making the accusation are bad.

3. If they are right, bad people win.

4. Therefore, they are wrong.

Or like this:

1. Our side is accused, etc.

2. If the accusers are right, then we will have to stop doing what we’re doing.

3. The cost of that would be too high.

4. Therefore, the accusers are wrong.

Some version of this is how I behaved in the march-up to the Iraq War. This is how I dismissed the warnings of dissidents from that war. But I couldn’t see it at the time. I bet right now, I’m doing the same thing about something else, but I can’t see it. You too.

In 1974, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn published this short manifesto in which he urged fellow dissidents to “live not by lies,” [9] no matter what it costs them (and it will cost them). We always like to think that if we were made to suffer like Solzhenitsyn and other anti-communist dissidents had to suffer, that we would make the brave choices that they did. We are almost certainly lying to ourselves. Every one of us lives by lies now. Maybe not big lies, but there are still truths we do not speak because we judge them to be imprudent. Maybe we’re right to do so. Not every true thing ought to be spoken. Still, to examine one’s own conscience, looking for the lies that we live by, and to repent of them, is one of the hardest things to do.

One more anecdote about this. If you read my book The Little Way of Ruthie Leming [10], you will have seen how my niece Hannah, Ruthie’s daughter, blurted out a terrible truth about the society of our family — a truth that shattered my illusions. She immediately regretted saying it, but it could not be unsaid. That truth, knowledge of which the family had worked for years to keep from me, forced a series of confrontations within myself, and between my parents and me. These were extremely painful, but they were necessary — and in time, healing came, at least to me. I think all the time about the terrible cost of the lie that preserved the illusion of family harmony, and how much better things would likely have been for all of us if we had dealt with the truth earlier.

If anything, that sad legacy has made me even more determined to search out the lies by which I live, and to deal with them as honestly as I can. This is a life’s work, and most of us aren’t willing or able to undertake it. I hate confrontation, and cannot easily judge when I am not speaking out on an issue because of prudence, or because of cowardice. As a Christian, I believe that in the afterlife, we will have a moment in which we will be given a glimpse of the reality of our own sin, and how it disfigured us. If we could see it right now, in all its ugliness, most of us would not survive the shock. I am sure that is true for me, with my own lies and tendency to believe comforting lies hiding behind a herd of sacred cows that I scarcely perceive.

This is true for you too.

Let’s have a thread about sacred cows. Don’t point out the sacred cows of others; that’s boring. Point out your own — ones you’ve had in the past, but managed to kill, and ones you think you might have now. Have you suffered from someone else’s sacred cows? If you are a regular commenter who wants to be anonymous for this thread, that’s fine.

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119 Comments To "The Herd Of Sacred Cows"

#1 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 8, 2017 @ 12:02 pm

You could belong to the Weather Underground (the Sixties one) and still hobnob with the President.

Not quite. You could belong to the Weather Underground and still hobnob with an unknown candidate for state senate in Illinois, provided you had a prestigious position as a professor of economics, had a spacious home in which to hold a fundraising cocktail party, and had a list of friends who could afford to attend.

#2 Comment By Anne On June 8, 2017 @ 12:07 pm

“You could belong to the Weather Underground (the Sixties one) and still hobnob with the President.”

Hobnob? I assume you’re referring to the fact that Bill Ayers and President Obama may have attended the same wedding in the summer of 2014. The fact that many prominent Chicago politicians — from both parties — have worked and socialized with Ayers, who serves on several boards and committees involved in educational reform would make it hard for the two never to have crossed paths. Just as it would have been asking a lot for Presidents from either party never to have “hobnobbed” with former Klansmen such as Senator Robert Byrd and Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. Of course, Presidential hopeful Donald Trump got himself photographed shaking hands and smiling with unrepentant ex-Klansman David Duke for no apparent reason at all other than garnering votes.

#3 Comment By Ellimist000 On June 8, 2017 @ 3:30 pm

A sacred cow that I have pretty much cut up into brisket is the idea that simply picking the right leaders will lead to an enlightened society. Or that most other people would be happy to be in my ideal society, even if (I think) it would give them more freedom, security, and choice.

The one I haven’t given up hope on yet (and I in no way say this to start a fight) is the idea that the WWC and the more impoverished minorities can treat each other equally, work together to fight the elites, and move on from the past without serious suffering by at least one party first. We will see about that one….

A funny aside, I was totally about to make one of those three arguments in response to something you said before you brought that up. You got me! 😀

#4 Comment By River On June 8, 2017 @ 3:37 pm

Motorists killing 40,000 people in the US in 2016, with an estimated 93% caused by driver error – some combination of speeding, drinking, drugs, distraction, bad lane changes etc are hardly “freak accidents” as MBD claims. And his claim that “states and car manufacturers are constantly working to decrease the lethality of driving” is very difficult to substantiate. But I think I get your point, and it’s an important one. Thank you for this article and for the many other terrific ones you write.

#5 Comment By Adam Kolasinski On June 8, 2017 @ 3:40 pm

Siarlys:

Ayers isn’t an economist. He is a retired Professor of Education.

#6 Comment By Giuseppe Scalas On June 8, 2017 @ 6:01 pm

JonF

Oh, Giuseppe, it is indeed possible to make idols of loved ones, but there’s very, very little that should be put before real, live humans– only the things of Elsewhere and Forever, nothing of this world.

Thanks Jon. And still, I have this almost painful feeling… It’s hard to articulate but I suspect you understand.

#7 Comment By zeno On June 8, 2017 @ 6:58 pm

Not sure if it’s a sacred cow or just a knee-jerk response, but — self-righteous rage. Often triggered by genuinely vile sources but manifesting as unsubtle, ungenerous, adrenaline-producing and therefore self-satisfying snark. Directed, since I was teen in the Reagan years, at Republicans and with a special venom reserved for Christian republicans – the Moral Majority crowd and their descendants.

… ok so I just deleted a paragraph of spittle about William Bennett and James Watt. This stuff is hard to turn off, once you start thinking about it.

While making an exception for my father’s kind wife and her family, I think I pretty much figured that every Xian Conservative was more or less Jerry Falwell’s stepchild, before discovering this site via Daniel Larison’s posts in 2006.

I come here for the great talk and to educate myself about how people express their opinions to themselves. Also to prune my own hothouse beliefs. To see what holds up when I air them out. Mostly I type that stuff out and delete it.
I’m in envy of many of y’all’s ability to hold forth. Whenever I come back to check if one of my snarky stabs at some low-hanging fruit has posted, I almost always find that one or two people have addressed the issue better.

#8 Comment By zeno On June 8, 2017 @ 7:09 pm

Also this is probably the right time to link to Ian Svenonius’ “Censorship Now!” Very appropo

[11]

#9 Comment By Sally On June 8, 2017 @ 8:36 pm

Aren’t Sacred Cows by definition imposed by external social, political, or religious pressures?
Even internal taboos like being afraid to talk about Rape outloud is somewhat imposed by what what others will think.
Certainly wondering if maybe we should maybe, just maybe limit the numbers of immigrants and student visas we allow each year into the USA, is pretty much off limits these days.

#10 Comment By First Deacon On June 8, 2017 @ 9:44 pm

“Not too many people examining their own sacred cows in this thread. It seems to be one where most are elevating their own sacred cows and slaughtering those on the other side.”

Why don’t you add yours in opposition to this observation?

Actually, it is hard to see one’s own. I would be tempted to say that I have none, but that can’t true.

OK, maybe this is one. The value of punctuality. I think it matters a lot. I’m surrounded by folks that don’t.

In the past I had sacred cows ripped from me – I used to be an unreflexive liberal, always voted Democrat when I would actually bother to vote, believed all Republicans were at best small-minded and at worst evil, serious Christians were weird/scary, and to be liberal was part of the definition of what made someone a good person. A lot of this came from the politics and unspoken prejudices of my family.

There is a part deux to the story, but as long as my main email address is attached to posts like these, it isn’t going to be told, because some of the parties involved don’t know the whole story, and I’m taking no chances. Suffice to say that the actions of a few very close to me shook me to the core, and with that my unthinking equation liberal=good. Over the years, I’ve had to work at not just flipping to the opposite conclusion.

#11 Comment By Spectator On June 8, 2017 @ 10:25 pm

@Anne

While for someone like myself who has only a modest interest in the degree of Obama/Ayers connection and no personal knowledge of the parties involved, it is reported that Ayers had a significant role in launching Obama’s political career in Chicago, hosted fundraisers for him and had political connections in common.

That Ayers was on”Boards and committees…” may be true as far as it goes, but you left out his role in directing the building of a nail bomb rather like the one recently detonated in Manchester. In the Weatherman’s case, they were apparently so exited about their the act of glorious resistance they were about to set off that they blew themselves up first.

#12 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 8, 2017 @ 11:45 pm

Ayers isn’t an economist. He is a retired Professor of Education.

Fair point. Consider the new corrected data plugged into the original statement.

The Sacred Cows… wasn’t there an episode of Get Smart involving a rock group of that name?

#13 Comment By Ed On June 9, 2017 @ 6:16 am

If a politician ran on a platform that they’d support resegregating the schools, they’d be competitive in most elections.

#14 Comment By Joan On June 9, 2017 @ 9:36 am

By remarkable coincidence, I just took my first stab at an almost literally lifelong sacred cow. Its nature is best summed up in a line said by the Elvenking to Bilbo Baggins at their parting near the end of The Hobbit. I can’t quote it exactly because my copy of the book is packed away somewhere, but the gist of it is that, if more people valued good food and good company (or possibly good cheer) above gold and jewels, it would be a merrier world.

Growing up mostly isolated from extended family, where neighborhood children played together but adults kept their distance, I didn’t know many adults well, only my parents. With only them to observe, I drew some mistaken conclusions about human nature. I observed that my mother was a hard worker, very concerned with respectability and money, and that she was never very happy. (I only later learned a name for her unhappiness: major depression.) My father never seemed to do anything but read. He was cheerful most of the time, generally glad to see me, and he only concerned himself with money and respectability when my mother brought them to his attention, which made him cease to be cheerful. I therefore deduced that concern with money and respectability leads to chronic unhappiness, and I made one of those life-shaping early decisions: that I was going to choose good food and good company above gold and jewels every time. In keeping with that decision, I firmly repressed every shred of ambition, to the point where I spent most of my life unaware that I had any ambition, once I got past my childhood desires to be, at five, a professional dancer and, at ten, a scientist with NASA. (It was the Sixties. We all wanted to be part of the space program.)

I got into the upper middle class anyway because my mother’s concern with money and respectability (in the form of good grades) got me and my siblings into decent colleges, and the economy was at its peak, when pretty much anybody competent could do okay. Every once in a while, I’d have a little jolt of ambition. (For instance, I remember being in a used bookshop one day in my late forties, where books whose titles all started with The Complete (or Collected) Works of were displayed on a shelf near the register. Standing in line, looking at those titles, something in my heart cried out “Where’s the collected works of me?”) But repression generally reasserted itself in a few minutes and I spent most of my life convinced that all I ever wanted was the simple, ordinary pleasures.

Yesterday in therapy, my decades-long denial popped like a soap bubble. I saw that my love of simple, ordinary pleasures wasn’t false, but it was a part of the truth wrongly elevated into the position of the whole. I had elevated it in a mistaken effort to protect myself from getting my mother’s mental illness, an illness I now know to have been biochemical and probably unrelated to her money and respectability concerns. I probably had to go through my own depression in middle age, a depression that was very clearly a side-effect of medication, having nothing to do with my life situation, in order to see that.

Given that it’s been less than 24 hours, I have yet to work through all the implications of this realization. I doubt that there will be any sudden changes. Lifelong habits don’t break in a day. The butchering of this particular sacred cow may take a while. But the pretense of contentment cannot stand. I am undeceived and therefore unlikely to stay my current course.

[NFR: God bless you, Joan. This is what Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is about: the smashing of idols. Reading Dante revealed to me how I had made an idol of Family and Place — and its embodiment, my father — because I desperately wanted affirmation and acceptance from my dad. Once I became aware of that, and repented of it, the healing started. For Dante, writing in the Augustinian tradition, sin is disordered love: loving the wrong things, or loving the right things in the wrong way. As a Christian, Dante understood that anything that we treat as God is an idol. — RD]

#15 Comment By Franklin Evans On June 9, 2017 @ 10:20 am

The following is my sacred cow disclosure. It is my subjective and ego-based view that those who want to “kill” it are seeking to harm me.

[12].

Most readers of any duration here know that I am an advocate of LGBT civil rights, including same-sex marriage. I rarely engage in the more abstract arguments, long since having resigned myself to the sometimes willful ignorance of many concerning the rational, emotional and spiritual lives of same-sex couples.

My use of “ignorance” is deliberate and personal. I was ignorant until a close friend and her sister took it upon themselves to humanize a gay couple, a bit in-my-face as it were, but by the sisters, not the couple. The two men conducted their lives in a general sense exactly as I had conducted my own life with a girlfriend to that point. The only perceivable difference was that I was a man and my girlfriend was a woman, and they were both men.

There is no blanket assumption about same-sex couples that bears any scrutiny, not any I can come up with in my advocacy, nor any those in opposition of such relationships can muster. There are at least anecdotal examples supporting both sides — and let me be blunt, anyone who makes the effort and invests the time to expand their experience of such relationships will find that the advocate’s view far outnumbers the opposition’s view; no one need take my word for it, though they just might be qualified for my “willful” qualifier should they decide the effort and time are not worth it — so the link above to NPR’s Story Corps segment for this week can easily be dismissed as just another anecdotal testimony.

But therein lies the rub.

My attempt here is not intended to be “in your face”. My desire is to humanize just one same-sex couple, via the voice of the surviving loved one of a murdered woman. Listen to that voice, and make one small effort: if she were talking about a man, why would that be valid, and her talking about a woman be not valid? If the only argument you can muster is religious or moral, you might consider your reaction to the pathos in her voice and examine how her love is just as strong and valid as yours. If you cannot arrive at that latter consideration, then I wish you well, and sincerely hope that your willful ignorance never harms you or anyone around you.

Hers is one anecdotal proof that same-sex relationships are not “lifestyle choices”. Should you decide to accept my challenge, I guarantee that you will find many more such stories, perhaps not so tragic by involving a death, but just as poignant, and just as easily “plugged in” to my suggested comparison.

#16 Comment By mrscracker On June 9, 2017 @ 10:43 am

Sweet tea in restaurants.
Don’t only offer the un-sweet variety & expect me to stir numerous packets of sugar into it & wait forever for them to dissolve-which they never do.

#17 Comment By mrscracker On June 9, 2017 @ 10:50 am

Pimento cheese.
Don’t mess with it, grill it, or add weird ingredients to it. Just let it be.
I could add fried chicken to the sacred cow list, too.
Overwrought recipes drive me nuts.
🙂

#18 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 9, 2017 @ 3:17 pm

That Ayers was on”Boards and committees…” may be true as far as it goes, but you left out his role in directing the building of a nail bomb rather like the one recently detonated in Manchester.

For which Ayers could have been sentenced to a long prison term, but he and his equally notorious wife cut a deal with the Justice Department on Ronald Reagan’s watch, so they resurfaced, did not do prison time, and found ways to earn a living using the skills they had available.

Thus, they were out in the world serving on boards and committees, and there is nothing wrong with relating to them as what they were. If you don’t like it, blame Ronald Reagan’s attorney general.

#19 Comment By Elly On June 9, 2017 @ 10:25 pm

After reading more personal ‘sacred cows’ stories here, I will add the one that broke recently after turning 60.
I had been holding my parents in reverence. Trying to be the ‘good girl’ Trying to make them happy. No matter the cost to myself.
I also assumed I knew what would make them, and thereby me, happy.
I saw clearly on Easter Sunday that I could not make them happy, ever. I talked to my therapist a lot about it. It was strange. It was new.
I no longer had to plan my life around trying to make them happy.
I felt released from an assumption or a fantasy or idol. The unseen assumption that I could in fact be responsible for their happiness.
I hope to continue smashing idols. But in the psychological metaphor.
What I see happening in gangs, politically motivated, or not, is quite different, I believe.
Thank you ‘Joan’ and RD.
Have you ever read “Listen Little Man” by Wilhelm Reich? I read it in the 70s.