Moloch For Moderns
At what point are we going to wake up, see what the Left is doing to our children, and fight back hard? From City Journal:
Patricia (a pseudonym) is the mother of a teenage girl who in recent years has come to identify as transgender. She lives in California, considers herself progressive, votes Democrat, and leads a group for parents of children with rapid onset gender dysphoria (ROGD)—that is, youth who suddenly experience distress with their bodies and believe that undergoing medical “transition” will make them whole again. When I spoke to her recently, she recounted how her daughter’s at-first-lesbian and then trans identity emerged in response to feelings of shame about being white.
I have since spoken to more than a dozen ROGD parents and parent-group leaders who tell a similar story. Their schools compulsively tell their children how awful it is to be white, how white people enjoy unearned “privilege,” how they benefit from “systems” put in place by and for white people for the sole purpose of oppressing “people of color.” Plagued by guilt, the children—almost all of them girls—rush to the sanctuary of “LGBTQ+” identity. Once there, they are catapulted into hero status. According to Patricia, some teachers at her daughter’s school are more forgiving toward “queer” and “trans” kids who hand in their homework late.
The students, especially the girls, absorb this messaging. They are acutely sensitive to how identity affects their social status and academic fortunes. They want the warmth that comes with queer/trans identity, but above all they don’t want to be thought of as vicious oppressors. Lacking maturity and self-confidence, they fail to put “anti-racist” indoctrination in its proper context. They do not appreciate its ahistorical, anti-intellectual, and anti-humanist foundations, nor are they aware of the incentives leading teachers and administrators to foist it on them. Being white is not something these teenagers can escape, but they can mitigate its social costs by declaring themselves part of an oppressed group.
You can’t become a BIPOC, but you can become queer. More:
The information asymmetry between parents and school personnel, I learned from speaking to parent-group leaders, is one of the main reasons concerned parents don’t speak up.
Once a child embraces a new “LGBTQ+” identity, her parents will find themselves powerless to stop what can easily become a swift decline in her mental and physical health. Her school, in addition to fueling her desire to escape “white cis” status, is almost guaranteed to have “affirming” and “inclusive” policies, meaning that it will unquestioningly use her preferred name and pronouns and, in many cases, hide that information from her “unsupportive” parents. An adult at Josie’s school encouraged her son to leave home and take up shelter at an LGBT center. Examples of teachers actively coaching students on how to “socially transition” without arousing suspicion at home, even providing them with chest binders, are not unheard-of. While this may not have the pedophilic connotations of “grooming,” it comes close in its deep antipathy for parental authority and its unilateral usurpation of parental responsibility for sexual education.
In April, parents at GUSD intercepted a private email exchange between top-level administrators after a teacher asked for guidance on how to teach LGBT content to third-graders. Craig Lewis, then in charge of the district’s “Restorative Practices & Positive Behavior Intervention and Support,” wrote that the district must “teach that LGBTQ+ is everybody” and that “we are all probably best described as queer.” According to Jo (a pseudonym), who is fighting for school transparency in the district, parents protested against critical pedagogy indoctrination at a school board meeting, but teachers’ union representatives went around the room videotaping those who spoke out, plainly hoping to intimidate them into silence. A number of parents filed Public Records Act requests to see what was being taught and said to their children at school. To the extent school authorities responded at all, they did so with evasion and gaslighting.
Read it all. Leor Sapir is the author. The attack on children’s psyches is satanic. What kind of country are we going to be living in when these wounded children become adults?
The progressives really are groomers, you know:
— James Lindsay, weaponizing your mom (@ConceptualJames) June 18, 2022
More from that academic paper, discovered by James Lindsay:
They want to teach little children to “live queerly.” In this passage, the emphasis is from James Lindsay:
They want to groom children into “queer ways of knowing and being,” and to “[read] each other to filth”. (“Read for filth” is a slang term meaning to gravely insult someone.) There it is. Plain as day. Read Lindsay’s entire thread for more.
Unfortunately, we have to deal with an administration that is totally onside with the Groomer-Industrial Complex. Here’s some good news from Republicans, though:
Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and the Republican Study Committee, a House caucus led by Representative Jim Banks (R., Ind.), announced on Wednesday that they would be introducing the Protecting Minors from Medical Malpractice Act in both chambers of Congress this session.
The bill responds to growing concerns over the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgical procedures to alter minors’ physiology and outward appearance. Once signed into law, the bill would allow victims and legal guardians to sue surgeons who perform gender-transition surgeries on minors — or doctors who prescribe them hormone treatments — up to 30 years after the subjects reach the age of majority.
Other provisions would clarify “that federal law cannot be construed to force medical practitioners to offer such procedures” and prevent “federal health funds from going to states that force medical practitioners to perform gender-transition procedures.”
Follow Libs Of TikTok to get real world news that the media don’t want you to see. For example:
Here are some images from the book. pic.twitter.com/vxRu4O1dp8
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) June 23, 2022
Lots of good reader response to this post. A reader I’ll call “A” responds:
It’s probably the case that a lot of parents are going to be faced with losing a child to some version of this. You’ve seen the statistics with the Zoomers? Propaganda works! It especially works when the entire social order supports it, and anybody who opposes it is treated as a neo-Nazi Klansman. That Hungarian media law you wrote about last year — it was trying to prevent kids being propagandized into hating their bodies and thinking that they need to cut off their breasts or their balls to be whole. This is what the Florida education law was meant to fight. What did we see? The entire media, business, legal, medical and liberal political order come down hard on them as the absolute antithesis of freedom and democracy.
This is true. A second reader — B — sent me these highlighted screenshots from a Politico piece about the right-of-center Italian politician Giorgia Meloni:
B observes, “A very revealing choice of words: what was mainstream yesterday is ‘radical’ today.”
Yes! This is how the propaganda works! Meloni believes in things that were perfectly mainstream until five minutes ago, but now she’s a problematic radical in the eyes of Politico.
Back to reader “A”:
The woke left is like a missionary religion. It believes all white people should be forced to convert to the successor ideology, and that professing the True Faith should be required to enter into the middle and upper classes in our society. When the right lost the culture war in 2015 [I’m guessing he means Obergefell — RD], the left was free to reshape the culture as it wanted to, and is no longer required to debate the opposition. It is free to crush them.
It’s worth noting how far removed these people are from the traditional concerns of the left. The woke left is totally at peace with globalization, unrestrained capitalism, powerful multinational corporations, the security state, and the oligarch class. Any leftist prior to 1980 would have screamed bloody murder about all of these things. But the woke left treats it like the Ring of Power: they are happy to welcome domination by these powerful elites, as long as the elites guarantee that they never have to worry about some white heterosexual Christian saying something that scares them. James Poulos got it right when he prophesied the coming of the Pink Police State. This is why the modern urban professional classes in Western countries can console themselves for being good leftists even while they embrace a level of inequality, exploitation, marginalization, and warmongering that they would have recoiled from in their youth.
Make no mistake: the woke left literally is coming for our children, and if we don’t hand our kids over, we will be denounced as a bigot covered in the blood of the sacred victim classes, as we had killed them ourselves. I remember when you published The Benedict Option five years ago. Everybody thought is was overly alarmist. Today, we are getting to the point where if you don’t have a Benedict Option community, you are at serious risk of losing your kid to the madness.
This reader, with whom I’ve corresponded before, and who is a military veteran, writes:
When we went to war after 9/11, the government told us that we had to do it to protect our way of life from those who hated us, and wanted to destroy that way of life. Now we have lost two wars, and have lost that way of life. The terrorists didn’t take it from us. It was stolen from us from within.
Even further, all the time, effort, and energy that the right put into “shoring up the imperium” (MacIntyre) and supporting our foreign adventurism would have been far better spent conserving a semblance of our traditional culture at home. Your friend Douthat got it right when he said that the collapse of the Bush administration directly foreshadowed the emergence of Obama as a liberal Reagan, and the subsequent defeat of the right on every social issue in question for the last ten to twenty years. If Republican establishment types (the kind that have learned nothing and forgotten nothing, but is prepared to launch another war, this time in Ukraine) want to know why they are so hated, there you go.
Shame on Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine! That said, I’m not sending my son to fight and die to queer the Donbass and to make Ukraine safe for woke capitalism. Who from abroad can look to what we in the US and the UK (where I am staying temporarily, and boy, wokeness reigns) are doing to ourselves, and see our decadence as a model? The evil of Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin does not make us morally sane, you know.
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The Cathedral Vs. Yeshiva
Yeshiva was represented in the lawsuit by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a high-profile public-interest legal and education firm based in Washington, D.C.
Eric Baxter, the vice president of the Becket Fund and the lead attorney on the case, said the judge’s semantic analysis had led to an “obviously mistaken” ruling that missed the forest for the trees.
“Courts don’t get to quibble over whether you said enough in your article of incorporation about your religious character,” Mr. Baxter said. “That is contrary to clearly established case law that says courts don’t get to second-guess a religious institution’s religious activities when its religious characteristics are plain and obvious.”
He added: “There are few religious institutions of higher education that are more religious than Yeshiva.”
Mr. Baxter shared documents in court that illustrated how religion shapes Yeshiva’s operations, including a policy that encourages students to undertake intensive religious studies in Israel, with 80 percent doing so; a requirement that male students spend between one and six hours a day studying the Torah; and another policy stipulating that every door on campus must show a mezuza, a traditional religious item.
Yeshiva also said that student government officers are instructed to help the administration “maintain the religious atmosphere on campus” and that student clubs and other activities are reviewed for “religious compliance.”
“Nobody goes to Yeshiva University thinking they are getting a strictly secular education, and courts cannot get into the business of saying, ‘Well this isn’t religious education, this is secular education,’” Mr. Baxter said.
This is a completely bizarre ruling. How willfully blind do you have to be to say that Yeshiva is not a religious institution? Something tells me that the judge had her mind made up before the first arguments were heard. Another thing that ticks me off is that LGBT rights are widely accepted and celebrated in nearly every college and university in this land. Yeshiva is one of a relative handful of institutions of higher education where people who choose to attend do not have to violate their religious consciences by burning a pinch of incense to the LGBT Caesar. But the Grand Inquisitors of the new religion will not tolerate any dissent. Their god is a jealous god. LGBT has been baptized by capitalism and is now one of the Blessings Of Liberty™ that the United States must establish firmly here, and export like
cultural imperialists missionaries the world over. The consequences of this activism are completely and totally irrelevant. The loss of traditional liberties, and the crushing of religious believers who do not submit, don’t matter, as long as the Narrative is locked in. We should have learned this long ago with the general indifference towards inner-city violence that would be national news if it happened in the suburbs.
This particular ruling seems to have hinged on a technicality — in 1967, Yeshiva amended its charter to call itself an educational institution. Of course, it has never stopped being religious, and presumably its administration and trustees took for granted that this was widely accepted and uncontroversial; after all, their name is Yeshiva. Since I am a higher education administrator, I know how decisions are made inside universities — most likely, back in 1967, the amendment to the charter allowed Yeshiva to apply for federal grants and funding that might not have been available to it otherwise. Somewhere in a filing cabinet the minutes of the meeting where that decision was made may exist. Or they may not. Now, here they are.This ruling terrifies me more than anything that’s happened in this space recently. If religious people are to ever follow the Benedict Option and make a strategic retreat from secular institutions, we will need religious higher educational institutions, and not just Christian ones. We need Yeshiva, we need a Muslim equivalent, we need a broad array.I’m actually not opposed to LGBTQ+ clubs on public university campuses like mine. We are state-funded and we need to treat RUF, Hillel, the atheist clubs, the Muslim Students Association, the LGBTQ clubs, and every other one, equally. We are bound by the First Amendment.But this Yeshiva ruling is an unprecedented assault on religious freedom. I despise Donald Trump, I voted for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, but today I hope this case gets to the Supreme Court quickly, and thank God for Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. (I’m still a little queasy about Kavanaugh….)I say this knowing that resting my hope in politicians or judges is a form of defeat. I’m a professor, I know that culture eats strategy for breakfast. Fighting the lawsuit may be a bulwark — or may just be buying time.
The Culture War is really a War of Religion. We are fighting Moldbug’s Cathedral, which, if you don’t know the concept, read this:
I notice more people using this label, which I coined a long long time ago, and have always had ambivalent aesthetic feelings about. I used a capital C, but I see more of the miniscule and I think it’s better.
“The cathedral” is just a short way to say “journalism plus academia”—in other words, the intellectual institutions at the center of modern society, just as the Church was the intellectual institution at the center of medieval society.
But the label is making a point. The Catholic Church is one institution—the cathedral is many institutions. Yet the label is singular. This transformation from many to one—literally, e pluribus unum—is the heart of the mystery at the heart of the modern world.
The mystery of the cathedral is that all the modern world’s legitimate and prestigious intellectual institutions, even though they have no central organizational connection, behave in many ways as if they were a single organizational structure.
Most notably, this pseudo-structure is synoptic: it has one clear doctrine or perspective. It always agrees with itself. Still more puzzlingly, its doctrine is not static; it evolves; this doctrine has a predictable direction of evolution, and the whole structure moves together.
The Cathedral is now every institution in modern Western life. Mostly what’s left to us devotees of rival religions is guerrilla warfare and subversion. Let’s get on with it. In the meantime, understand that we are fighting for our right to exist, and that if that means voting for political candidates we find distasteful, but who will stand up for us when the more respectable ones will not, then we have no choice to be vote for our allies.
UPDATE: A religious liberty lawyer writes:
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View From Your Table
I haven’t done one of these in ages, but this one — well, it’s one for the ages! The reader writes:
For years I had considered myself a foodie (I no longer prefer the moniker not because I don’t love good food and drink but because I don’t wish to make idols of such things). Even so there were some foods I eschewed… such as oysters. Meanwhile my favorite author (our working boy) wouldn’t shut up about them. One fateful day on the Gulf Coast I tasted and saw that they were good!
Eight years later I finally had the chance to visit Rod’s mecca: Huitrerie Régis. Be advised, dear Reader, that reservations are in fact required these days. But thankfully we could still order a few dozen to go. We carried our precious cargo to the banks of the Seine and voila! I must admit after a long walk I had begun to doubt if it would prove worth the effort. But these were indeed the best oysters I’ve ever tasted. Deliciously briny up front with mind bogglingly sweet flesh. Thank you Rod for leading me down the path!
The reader, a Californian, sent me a short iPhone video of the meal, taken on the banks of the Seine, with lilting jazz music. I know my work here on this planet must be done, because I died and went to heaven, and am posting this from the great beyond.
Régis retired, and passed on the shop to new owners, but the quality is undiminished. Unless they have a new policy, you can’t make reservations; you just have to show up and wait. Readers, it’s worth it — but also a delight to take the oysters to go, and walk over to the Seine. Make sure to have a bottle of cold, dry white wine.
What are YOU eating this summer?
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DeSantis Vs. Hated GOP Establishment
This part of the New Yorker‘s profile of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is saying the quiet part out loud:
For decades, the Democratic Party had commanded a majority of Florida’s registered voters. But the state was changing, as Trump’s election helped energize a shift in political affinities. The Republican Party’s rank and file became increasingly radical, and G.O.P. leaders appeared only too happy to follow them. “There was always an element of the Republican Party that was batshit crazy,” Mac Stipanovich, the chief of staff to Governor Bob Martinez, a moderate Republican, told me. “They had lots of different names—they were John Birchers, they were ‘movement conservatives,’ they were the religious right. And we did what every other Republican candidate did: we exploited them. We got them to the polls. We talked about abortion. We promised—and we did nothing. They could grumble, but their choices were limited.
“So what happened?” Stipanovich continued. “Trump opened Pandora’s box and let them out. And all the nasty stuff that was in the underbelly of American politics got a voice. What was thirty-five per cent of the Republican Party is now eighty-five per cent. And it’s too late to turn back.”
Jeremy Carl is right about the GOP establishment, though I think the NYer piece, though clearly hostile to DeSantis, is worth reading:
I won’t link to the New Yorker profile of @RonDeSantisFL , which only rarely rises above a typical media hit piece, but this quote explains so much of why the GOP establishment is so hated by GOP voters. pic.twitter.com/fkmAB29wM6
— Jeremy Carl (@jeremycarl4) June 20, 2022
Last night I got this text stream from a sophisticated conservative friend back in the US (I changed it slightly to hide his identifying details]: