Amanda, Enemy Of The People
The Woke Temple is a Twitter account run by a liberal who hates wokeness. In a post today, he highlighted this monstrous example of Critical Race Theory. Today he writes:
Here’s what he linked to; the original peer-reviewed paper from which this is taken can be read here. One of the authors, of course, is Robin DiAngelo:
Critical Race Theory is a racist ideology of totalitarianism. Everywhere you see it, oppose it. Our liberty depends on it, as does justice, and the peace of our country.
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Marion Maréchal: Politics Is Downstream From Culture
Good morning from Sacramento, where I’m here to do a couple of days of workshops. A friend sent me this English translation of an interview with the impressive French right-of-center politician Marion Maréchal. Excerpt:
Tyszka-Drozdowski: In an interview with IM—1776 Thierry Baudet said that Trump (and Boris Johnson) made him “very skeptical of our capacity to achieve anything via democratic means.” The late Angelo Codevilla also claimed, for example, that Trump “barked a lot and bit only a little.” What lessons can populists learn from Trump’s presidency and his failures?
Marion Maréchal: Well, the American system is very different from the French system. Nevertheless, there are two things to keep in mind.
First, the power of the deep state, which is particularly strong in the United States, but which is a problem everywhere. When you win an election, you need to have a machine behind you to implement the policies that the voters voted for. Under Sarkozy’s presidency in France, it was a real drama for the Right to achieve this. But when the left wins, they nominate who they want. That’s what Macron did, he changed a lot of the heads of different services and agencies.
The Right is afraid of doing this. When it comes to power, it’s afraid that it will be called ‘fascist’ and so it does what the left wants. So when the Right was in power in France, the administration remained in the hands of the left. This resulted in a political blockade. The government didn’t get the necessary information, it didn’t have the resources to carry out its policies well.
The secondary element is the intellectual centers, media and universities, where the left reigns supreme. The Right will need to make a great effort to create alternatives here through grassroots, social initiatives. Now in France some right-wing voices are appearing in the mainstream media, but they are still insignificant, timid. Above all, I believe that we must not allow our initiatives to depend on the state, to rely on its resources. We must not allow the end of our government to mean the end of us all. This is a big problem, and the reason why I founded the ISSEP [Note: her school for political training — RD].
Change has to be made from the top down, but it will never succeed if we don’t create islands of resistance from below that persist even when the government changes. It is necessary to build islands of resistance in society; it is through them that we will win. I often quote Gramsci, but it was not only Gramsci who said this: political victory comes only after a cultural victory. There are no political victories without cultural victories.
Maréchal speaks here of two of the most important things we US conservatives can learn from Viktor Orban.
First, Orban took control of what you might call the “deep state.” He knew that his government would be sabotaged if he did not.
Second, Orban does not care what his political enemies say about him. Maréchal says that right-wing French politicians are afraid of being called “fascist,” and so hesitate. Here in the US, our conservative politicians are afraid of being called “racist,” or “homophobic,” or some form of “bigot,” and so hesitate. This has to stop.
What she did not mention, perhaps out of tact, is that Trump was a poor practical politician and administrator — something Viktor Orban definitely is not. That is to say, Trump didn’t really know what to do with power when he won it. This is a mistake the populist Right in the US must not make again.
Nevertheless, Trump’s election did change a lot of things for the better on the Right. Yesterday I re-read The Benedict Option to prepare for a talk I’m giving out here. That book was published in March 2017, almost two months after Trump’s inauguration. In it, I was mostly negative about what Trump could accomplish, because (in reading the text) I see that I didn’t trust him to do right by social conservatives, especially on the courts. I was wrong about that, I’m happy to say. But mostly I was right in that book about Trump’s inability to reverse course on the great cultural shifts in the US (though to be fair to Trump, I said that it would be hard for any political figure to do that).
What struck me in re-reading TBO, nearly five years after its publication, is how all the things that sparked me to write the book have accelerated since its publication. If anything, Trump only sped up the process by alarming and consolidating wokeness in power. What this tells us politically is that we on the Right, should we come to power again, have to be aggressive in dismantling wokeness wherever we can. And I think the remarkable surge in the state of Virginia for Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, who is now leading the polls, shows that fighting wokeness is a popular cause. Ordinary people of all races are sick and tired of what the Left is doing to our schools and our institutions with their insane race and gender ideologies. Leaders of the Right needs the courage to stop giving a damn what is said about them in elite counsels, and go after these cretins hammer and tongs. For example, the next GOP administration should ramp up a Department of Justice task force to use existing civil rights laws to investigate and file suit against exemplary universities for creating hostile, racist climates on campus for whites, Asians, and others.
For example, this insane, racist video has been making the rounds this week:
Rutgers professor: “White people are committed to being villains,” “We gotta take these MF’ers out.”
— MRCTV (@mrctv) October 26, 2021
What kind of situation do white students who take her class have to deal with? Why should they have to be afraid that their racist Rutgers professor is biased against them because they are white? Neither Rutgers — a state university, mind you, supported by taxpayer funds — nor anybody else would put up with this lunatic for one second if she were white and said these things about non-white people. But it’s so common today that we just accept it and move on. We need a governments at both the state and the federal levels willing to open civil rights investigations against the most egregious cases. Hold these people and the institutions that coddle them responsible. Make them accountable for what they say and do. Viktor Orban used his authority to defund and remove accreditation from gender studies courses in Hungary, because, I imagine, he recognized how the malignant ideology that the produce is tearing the US and the UK apart. For example, just this week, philosophy professor Kathleen Stock resigned at the University of Sussex after being the victim of sustained and vicious attacks by transgender critics and their mindless allies. Amazingly enough, Viktor Orban wants to do what he can within the limits of his powers to prevent this from coming to Hungary:
We deserve to be invaded at this point pic.twitter.com/QO5L7sQoRZ
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) October 27, 2021
Anyway, the next conservative administration should come in prepared to attack wokeness comprehensively and effectively. In the past, I would have been extremely reticent for the federal government to involve itself in the life of the university. No more. This has to be stopped.
That said, the struggle against the soft totalitarianism of wokeness is going to be a long one. Yesterday the NYT ran a piece on how Millennial bosses are afraid of their Gen Z employees. Excerpt:
Ms. Rodriguez is one of many managers who recalled her Gen Z employees being the first and most vocal in urging companies to demonstrate their support for the protests after George Floyd’s killing. Tero Isokauppila, 37, president of a food business, heard from junior staff asking if his company would post a black square in solidarity with the movement on Instagram. Elaine Purcell, 34, co-founder of the maternity care start-up Oula, got a Slack message from one of her youngest workers after the shootings at Atlanta-area spas in March asking what the team could do in solidarity with Asian Americans.
To many corporate leaders, this invites a welcome correction after decades when businesses were largely silent on racial inequities both within and outside their offices. But some managers are also struggling to balance the demands of their employees for political engagement with their own sense of what’s appropriate for their brands.
“You talk to older people and they’re like, ‘Dude we sell tomato sauce, we don’t sell politics,’” said Mr. Kennedy, co-founder of Plant People, a certified B corporation. “Then you have younger people being like, ‘These are political tomatoes. This is political tomato sauce.’”
This is political tomato sauce. Yeah, and this is a manifestation of totalitarianism, which is a system in which all aspects of life are politicized. When elites of this generation get into the driver’s seat, these Jacobins are going to drive us off a cliff. This is where the wisdom of Maréchal (quoting Gramsci) comes to the fore: we cannot normally hope for meaningful political victory without cultural dominance first. In the podcast I recorded earlier this week with Sohrab Ahmari, he stood on a position common with the integralists, which is that the law teaches the people. Therefore, according to the theory, pass a law and the people will conform their understanding to it.
I am highly skeptical of that. I told him that his team seems to advocate for the Julian The Apostate Option. Julian was the mid fourth century Caesar who tried to reverse the Christianization of the Empire by suppressing Christianity via edict, and promoting old Roman paganism. The effort did not survive Julian’s death; the cultural forces of change in the Christian direction were too strong. I believe the same thing is happening here. Mind you, history is not fated. God is sovereign, and can do what He wants. We Christians must never stop evangelizing and hoping for a turnaround. Nevertheless, we must also accept that this is rather unlikely, and make plans accordingly. A Polish reader e-mailed yesterday, and sent this tweet:
I sat down in Budapest with Axioma, a newish conservative outlet in Hungary catering to young people. Here’s a taste.
— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) October 22, 2021
The Polish reader added:
Ahmari claims that he was “informed” that Poland’s recent abortion laws have shifted public opinion in a pro-life direction. “The people went along with it,” he says, or something similar. I’m sure he believes it but unless every opinion poll since the laws were established has been wrong, the *opposite* is true. I don’t have anything against these guys and didn’t want to make a big thing of this on Twitter or it would descend into a fight, but either they are kidding themselves about the scale of the authoritarianism an actual integralist state would demand — or they are ingeniously trying to shift the Overton Window.
I believe this is true. In fact, one of the most striking things about the Poles I’ve met and talked to in my visits there is how, despite their political and religious (Catholic) conservatism, they are very pessimistic about the long term future of the country. In particular, they — and I’m talking about men and women in their twenties here — have been grieved by how the government’s actions on abortion have radicalized so many of their generation. My closest Polish friend, in his twenties, was denounced harshly by many of his friends simply because he is a pro-life Catholic, and they knew it.
In any case, we on the Right have a civilizational battle ahead of us, one that is going to last at least the rest of this century, I think. Politics is part of it, because law sets the framework in which these battles take place. But if we depend only, or even mostly, on law, we will get nowhere. We have to work symphonically with politics to renew culture, and at ground that means renewing religion. This, of course, is where The Benedict Option comes in, and why St. Benedict is such an important model for us. One of the key political goals we have to fight for is passing laws protecting institutions that do the work of cultural and religious formation, especially in the face of woke fanaticism. But then we also have to do that actual work.
Last night here in Sacramento I went to dinner with some folks, and heard a few shocking stories about actual people they know who lost their livelihoods because they got on the wrong side of the woke in the smallest of ways. I won’t give details, out of respect for my hosts’ privacy, but these cases they discussed even shocked me, and I’m hard to shock. In two of the cases, the victims did things that were perfectly normal yesterday, but when they committed the acts that got them cancelled, inadvertently crossed new lines that had appeared overnight. You think it won’t happen to you, and the next thing you know you are jobless, and none of your colleagues will touch you because they are afraid that the mob will come for them.
Modern progressivism is in danger of becoming dominated by a relatively small group of people who went to the same colleges, live in the same neighborhoods and have trouble seeing beyond their subculture’s point of view.
If you want a simple way to see the gap between this subculture and the rest of the country, look at Rotten Tomatoes. People who write critically about movies and shows often have different tastes than the audiences around them, especially when politics is involved.
“Hillbilly Elegy” was a movie in which the hero was widely known, in real life, to be a Republican. Audiences liked the movie fine. It has an 83 percent positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Culture writers frequently loathed it. It has a 25 percent positive critics’ score. That’s a 58-point gap.
Dave Chappelle recently released a comedy special that took comic potshots at almost everyone. Audiences adored it. It has a 96 percent positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (though admittedly it’s unclear how many of the raters actually watched it). A small group of people found it a moral atrocity and the current critic score is 44 percent positive. That’s a 52-point gap.
A more significant example of the subculture gap recently occurred at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Seventy-three percent of American adults believe race or ethnicity should not be a factor in college admissions decisions, including 62 percent of Black adults, according to a 2019 Pew survey. And yet Dorian Abbot, a geophysicist, was recently disinvited from giving a lecture at M.I.T. about climate science because he’s publicly defended this majority point of view. In other words, the views of the large majority of Americans are not even utterable within certain academic parts of the progressive subculture.
It’s important to understand that this is not just “modern progressivism” he’s talking about, but the culture of institutional elites in the US. They’re 100 percent down with wokeness — and are destroying their institutions, and poisoning the minds of the young with racial hatred and destructive ideas about gender. The kind of populism that can win elections, I think, is one that in part takes on this destructive insanity with vigor — and doesn’t just rant about it, but promises specific policy goals to dismantle wokeness and its pomps and works, all in the name of old-fashioned American ideals like fairness and equality before the law. Why are so many Republican elites so afraid?
This will not come from the Left; it has to come from the Right. I will support politicians who show the willingness and, like Orban, the capacity to do this. Meanwhile, my focus will remain on building what Marion Maréchal calls building the “islands of resistance from below.” It’s not an either-or, but a both-and. By all means keep voting and keep being active in the public square — but don’t forget that you can rack up wins there, but lose the war if you lose your children to woke culture.
Marion Maréchal is not quite right: there can be political victories without cultural victories — this is what happened to Trump — but without cultural victories, the political victories will be shallow and ephemeral. Political victories can clear away space for cultural activism and renewal, as I think Eric Zemmour will do if he should run for president of France and win. (If Maréchal, who is still young, ever becomes French president, it will be in part because of what Zemmour will have done.) But again, as Viktor Orban has said in the past, politics cannot provide ultimate meaning. Those who believe it can end up banging on about political tomatoes, and making everybody miserable and afraid.
On October 18, 2021, January Littlejohn and her husband filed a lawsuit against the Leon County School Board (LCS) in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida with the help of the Child & Parental Rights Campaign, a non-partisan, non-profit public interest law firm.
The Littlejohns informed Deerlake Middle School in August 2020 of their 13-year-old daughter’s gender confusion, for which she was undergoing counselling. They gave permission for a nickname to be used but for no other kind of social transition.
Over the next month, unbeknown to the Littlejohns, the school proceeded to call their daughter by they/them pronouns, solicit her bathroom preferences, and ask if she preferred to sleep with the boys on an overnight trip.
When the Littlejohns asked for more information from school officials, they were told that “by law” only her daughter could authorize them finding out more or providing their input. The school could give no actual legal verification for their stance, but did provide the documents they developed in secret with their daughter, a “Transgender/Non-Conforming Student Support Plan,” with no notice or input from the Littlejohns. Among many directives was included a note that the Littlejohns were not to be notified at all.
After further inquiries for the legal basis of such actions, school officials gave the Littlejohns a copy of the LCS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Nonconforming and Questioning Support Guide, which states the following: “1) parents are not to be informed when their children announce that they identify as transgender; 2) children who express gender confusion are permitted to choose which restroom they will use and that parents will not be notified of such decisions by their own children; and 3) children have a legally protected right to keep from their parents information regarding their gender identity and steps taken by the district to affirm that identity.”
The Littlejohns, and every parent, needs to know that the state is on their side, and not on the side of the woke institutions that want to seize their children and destroy the kids’ minds and bodies. This should not be hard, Republican Party.
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What Do Integralists Want?
If you don’t follow the world of right-of-center Christian intellectuals, you might not have heard of the integralists, proponents of a 19th century political theory that, broadly speaking, conceives of a polity based on Catholic authority.
You might have seen them mentioned if you read the New York Times story on Sunday about right-wing American intellectuals and Hungary. There was this passage, centering Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule, who has become the leader of American integralists:
New approaches were needed. And Vermeule, a recent convert to Catholicism who is considered one of the most limber legal scholars of his generation, was in a position to provide them. Recently, in a spate of articles published in national magazines and small conservative quarterlies, Vermeule has laid out a methodology for halting what he regards as the relentless advance of the liberal “creed.” In place of originalism — a theory espoused by conservative judges which holds that the meaning of the constitution is fixed — Vermeule proposed “common-good constitutionalism”: reading “into the majestic generalities and ambiguities” of the Constitution to create an “illiberal legalism” founded on “substantive moral principles that conduce to the common good.” Vermeule also offered a complementary theory of the administrative state, a topic on which he has written a number of books, that could be used to promote those moral principles. Those occupying positions of power in government administration could have a “great deal of discretion” in steering the ship of bureaucracy. It was a matter of finding a “strategic position” from which to “sear the liberal faith with hot irons.”
Even many of those interested in Vermeule’s ideas consider him extreme; some suspect him of wanting to impose a Catholic monarchy on America. (Vermeule declined to comment for this article.) But scholarship based on Vermeule’s ideas is starting to trickle out, some of it reshaping his concept as “common-good originalism.” Josh Hammer, the opinion editor of Newsweek, has argued that the emphasis on “general welfare” in the preamble to the Constitution, a synonym for the Greco-Roman concept of the “common good,” is a part of America’s heritage that is overshadowed by our focus on individual liberties. Originalism, with its insistence on “one true meaning,” has turned out to be “morally denuded,” Hammer told me. “Is that the end unto itself, or is it something a little greater?” he said. “It’s a viable political concept to care about national cohesion.”
Samuel Goldman, a conservative political theorist who directs the politics and values program at George Washington University, concedes that the historical record supports the view that “many, though not all, of the American founders really did imagine the U.S. as a sort of Christian nation state, in which public institutions would play a significant role in promoting virtue and be committed to specific religious doctrines. It didn’t work out that way, because even at the time, the population was too diverse, the institutions were too precariously balanced to permit it.” He went on to say that what the postliberals are doing seems strange because “it’s a trip back into an intellectual world that no longer exists.”
For Vermuele, promoting “substantive moral principles” might allow the state to intervene in areas like health care, guns and the environment, where “human flourishing” would take priority over trying to divine the 18th-century meanings of terms like “commerce” and “bearing arms.” Abortion would be illegal. But the outcomes of such policies would not always be the expected conservative ones. Vermeule recently argued in favor of a Covid-19 vaccine mandate, on the grounds that the health and safety of the community was necessary for the common good.
Governing for the common good would be the “final rejection” of the neoliberal dogma that “if you leave individuals to seek their own ends, you’ll necessarily build a good society,” Sohrab Ahmari, the former opinion editor of The New York Post, who says he is launching a new media company, told me. Ahmari, a recent convert to Catholicism, is one of Vermeule’s most visible allies and has become practically synonymous with a self-consciously pugilistic right. He urged conservatives in a 2019 essay to approach the culture war “with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square reordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good,” a phrase that has enjoyed a long half-life. “I don’t want to turn this into a Catholic country,” Ahmari told me when I met him earlier this year. But he counts himself among those who believe conservatism has failed because it insists that the only kind of tyranny “comes from the public square and therefore what you should do is check government power.”
The one thing that everyone under the broad category of “postliberalism” agrees on is that we have probably reached the end of the road with classical liberalism. As Deneen observed in his 2018 book, liberalism has beached itself because it succeeded so well in creating a world in which the individual is liberated from anything standing in the way of his individual choice. Turns out you can’t run a society like that. So now what?
What’s more, postliberals generally agree that the claim of liberal neutrality is a false one. Eventually, lines have to be drawn — and liberalism almost always draws them in the same way. The Catholic writer James Kalb wrote an excellent book on this, and talks about it in this 2009 interview. In the piece, he says, “Liberalism is progressive, though, so its demands keep growing. It eventually rejects all traditional ways as illiberal and becomes more and more radical.” Eventually it has to deny all traditions and traditional institutions as oppressive.
Kalb says liberalism isn’t all bad; it simply has to be subordinated to a shared conception of the Good.
Q: You argue that religion can be the unifying force that offers resistance to advanced liberalism, and that the Catholic Church is the spiritual organization most suited to that task. Why do you think so?
Kalb: To resist advanced liberalism you have to propose a definite social outlook based on goods beyond equal freedom and satisfaction.
A conception of transcendent goods won’t stand up without a definite conception of the transcendent, which requires religion. And a religious view won’t stand up in public life unless there’s a definite way to resolve disputes about what it is.
You need the Pope.
Catholics have the Pope, and they also have other advantages like an emphasis on reason and natural law. As a Catholic, I’d add that they have the advantage of truth.
Note well, I don’t know if Kalb is an integralist, but he’s right about the nature of the Good as the basis of a postliberal political order. The problem, though, is that we in the United States are a highly pluralistic nation, in which Catholics are a minority, and the number of Catholics willing to submit their lives to the teaching authority of the Church is very small. Another problem: unlike when Kalb wrote that in 2009, Catholics now have a pope who does things like appoint Jeffrey Sachs to the Pontifical Academy.
The grand problem facing postliberals of the Right is that we can agree that we need to base politics on an authoritative and shared conception of the Good, but we have no realistic idea how to do that in postmodernity. The integralists — at least the ones who have made themselves heard on the fringes of the American Right — have an idea of how to do it … but it’s completely unworkable. Earlier on Wednesday, I recorded a TAC podcast with Sohrab Ahmari, a leading American integralist, in which we explored these ideas. I held off posting this blog entry until after doing the podcast, in hope that I would have some of my questions clarified by it. It was a fine conversation, but I left it as skeptical as I came in.
To be fair, Catholic integralism is an appealing and coherent way of thinking about politics. Here, from The Josias, the leading integralist website, is a short definition of integralism:
Catholic Integralism is a tradition of thought that, rejecting the liberal separation of politics from concern with the end of human life, holds that political rule must order man to his final goal. Since, however, man has both a temporal and an eternal end, integralism holds that there are two powers that rule him: a temporal power and a spiritual power. And since man’s temporal end is subordinated to his eternal end, the temporal power must be subordinated to the spiritual power.
Why is this appealing? Because they’re right that you can’t ultimately separate politics from concern with the ends of human life. Liberalism tries to do this, but it conceals within it a view of the proper end of human life. I’m interested in what integralism has to contribute to the debate, because from what I have seen, at their best, they are good at thinking these things through. As was clear in the conversation with Ahmari (which will be posted later this week), the major weak spot in my position as someone who identifies as postliberal is that I agree that liberalism as we know it has exhausted itself, but I don’t have a suggestion for what should replace it. The integralists certainly do — and their preferred order reminds me of why as flawed as liberalism is, I am not eager to give it up entirely. Let me explain.
Catholic integralism — the idea that the political order should be subordinated to the Catholic Church — is a complete non-starter in America. For that matter, it’s hard to think of a single country in the Christian world where it would stand a chance. Poland is not an integralist state, but it’s probably the place on earth where political Catholicism is the farthest advanced. I’m not a Catholic, but I generally like what the Law & Justice government there is doing. That said, almost all the Poles I’ve talked to, especially young Catholic ones, believe that political Catholicism is a doomed project over time, because so many of the younger postcommunist generation are falling away from the faith. As I’ve said here many times, Poles tell me that within a decade or so, they expect their own country to go the way of Ireland: into a near-total collapse of the Catholic faith. Understand what I’m telling you: these aren’t secularists who want to see this happen; these are serious young Catholics. Father Wlodzimierz Zatorski, a well-respected Benedictine (who died of Covid last year), told me in 2019 that the only long-term hope for the Church in Poland was through establishing strong Benedict Option communities, and re-evangelizing from there.
If political Catholicism is in trouble in Poland, where almost everybody is Catholic, at least nominally, how on earth is it ever going to triumph in the United States, where Catholics (nominal and serious) only number about 20 percent of the population? And of that number, how many of them would be willing to surrender American liberties for a reactionary 19th century ideal establishing the Catholic Church, and making the State subordinate to it? I bet you could fit all of them into Adrian Vermeule’s backyard in Cambridge, Mass.
In any case, the vague definition of integralism on the Josias doesn’t sound threatening. It’s when you start asking what that means in real life that it turns freaky. Normally, intellectual engagement is something to be enjoyed and engaged. There are plenty of non-Catholics who are interested to figure out a workable future under the condition of postliberalism, and would like to talk it all out. Not these cats. See, this is the thing that you must not do — ask what this would mean in real life. It makes our integralists mad. They blow up online, and sneer, act all indignant, and say that you must be one of those David French types for asking. It’s a silly act, but it tells us something important about them. If they thought that their program would be appealing to people, they would be eager to lay it out and try to win converts. They seem to think that they are going to insult and sh*tpost their way to power. They are very, very good at making enemies, especially of the people on the Right who are their natural allies.
But would you want to let any of these folks close to power? Not if you aren’t Catholic — and not if you are a Catholic who doesn’t believe the Papal States under Pius IX were the foothills of the New Jerusalem.
Think I’m kidding? Here’s Adrian Vermeule, their intellectual godfather, in a 2019 post calling for the US to open its southern border to Catholic migrants, as a first step towards dissolving America and creating a globalist Catholic empire. He concludes:
As the superb blog Semiduplex observes, Catholics need to rethink the nation-state. We have come a long way, but we still have far to go — towards the eventual formation of the Empire of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and ultimately the world government required by natural law.
Now, this is mostly a joke, I think. Vermeule, the Yankee archreactionary, is saying that under his ideal plan, migration to America would favor black and brown people, and the poor, who identify as Catholic. He is trolling the libs. But like many integralists, he really does believe that Catholic principles require a world government overseen by the Catholic Church. Good luck selling that to American Protestants. For that matter, good luck selling that to American Catholics. And if he wasn’t joking about opening the southern borders and dissolving the American nation-state, this is important information for us to know.
Vermeule believes, by the way, that Catholics have no choice but to be integralists. In this short presentation at Notre Dame in 2019, he quotes Pope Leo XIII saying that in America, the political order must not be separated from the religious order, the “perfect society” (Vermeule’s words) of the Catholic Church:
Here, from the book Integralism: A Manual of Political Philosophy, by Thomas Crean and Alan Fimister, is what the term “perfect society” means:
I’ll post more from this illuminating book later.
Vermeule calls papal teaching on integralism “irreformable.” Whether it is or isn’t is not a question for me to take up, but it does indicate how seriously he takes this. At that same conference, Gladden Pappin, an integralist academic and close collaborator of Vermeule’s praised the Chinese Communist regime for having a ministry that clearly lays out what the spiritual goals of a society should be — this, by contrast to the US, which has no such office:
He thinks the US should have such an office, and that it should be the Catholic Church. How do we get to that place in a minority-Catholic country, in which the Catholic Church is hemorrhaging members? They don’t tell us.
Well, actually, Vermeule does tell us. Until such time as they can take over, he told the Notre Dame audience, integralist Catholics ought to march through the governing institutions, with the long-term goal of overturning liberalism:
He is admirably clear about what he’s after. But what role would Jews, Protestants, Orthodox, and non-Catholics have in such a regime?
For these and other answers, turn to the Crean and Fimister book, which is a bit dry but admirably clear in its explanations of integralism. I read it here, for free. Here are some quotes; I’m sorry for the presentation, but I could not copy and paste, according to the format:
Got that? Integralism teaches that only baptized Catholics may hold political power, and that they must exercise it in accordance with Catholic teaching. Not quite sure how that’s going to work in the United States of America, but let’s go on:
This is a critical point. It is precisely what was at issue in the infamous 19th century case of Edgardo Mortara, a Jewish child who had been secretly baptized by the family’s Catholic housekeeper. As the Mortara family lived in the Papal States, in which the pope was also the temporal ruler, Pius IX dispatched agents to seize the child so he could be raised with the Catholic education to which he was entitled. He ended up becoming a priest, and did not regret his fate — something that is easy to imagine, but in no way obviates or lessens the cruelty of his taking, any more than it lessened the injustice of those pioneer children kidnapped by Indian tribes and raised as Indians, who preferred as adults to remain with the Indians.
When you ask the integralists what they would do to guarantee that the Mortara case wouldn’t happen again if they come to power, they sometimes become indignant, as if raising the issue was rude or irrelevant. It’s not, though. It is rather unlikely that a situation like this would arise again, but it is also extremely important that the Church renounce its “right” to do this monstrous thing. The fact that integralists will not explicitly renounce the Catholic Church’s right to act in this way is a tell. Many conservatives rightly object to the State (e.g., the state of Washington) retaining the right to seize transgender minors from their families so the kids can have sex-change medical treatments. I’m not sure why we would be eager to embrace a system that gives the Catholic Church the right to seize baptized children from their non-Christian parents. I wish the integralists would tell us instead of getting angry at the perfectly reasonable question.
According to integralism, slavery is not ruled out. The slave simply must have his servitude comport with the law:
According to integralism, all Christian rulers must be subject to the Roman see:
It’s as if the East-West schism and the Reformation had never happened. This is one of those points where you can admire integralism for its audacious logic, but also know that it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of realization in the world as it actually is.
Here is integralism (insofar as Crean & Fimister represent it accurately) claiming that the ruled have no say over who rules them:
As broken-down and beaten-up as liberalism is, do we really want to trade it for a system that says government does not depend on the consent of the governed? I don’t, and I am confident that only a vanishingly small number of American Catholics would.
So the people have no right to choose their own leaders, but it might be prudent to let them act as if they did. Got it. As for religious liberty, here’s what the temporal ruler should and should not do:
By forbidding those people who aren’t Catholics from voting, the temporal ruler will encourage people to become Catholic. That’s the idea. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the integralists that this would stir up rebellion by those who do not want to be ordered around by the Catholic Church, or be made second-class citizens in their own country.
So, what kind of role would people like me and other non-Catholics have to play (“Christendom,” in the integralist definition, does not include Orthodox and Protestant countries)? From the Catholic perspective, Orthodox are schismatics — and should have my citizenship suspended until I see reason and return to Catholicism (or, in the case of my youngest child, baptized Orthodox, leaves her baptismal faith and submits to the Pope):
It’s not like they won’t give unbaptized people anything. The temporal ruler owes them nothing, but he might give them “certain civil rights,” though certainly they cannot be citizens, even if they were born in that country:
Jews, though, do get a free pass to worship, but they had better not seek converts:
This is from a summary of that particular chapter:
What about Muslims? Mormons? Buddhists? Are they entitled to freedom of worship? Doesn’t seem so. I don’t want to live in a polity where these people, despite their theological errors, are not granted freedom to worship.
Anyway, I encourage you to read the entire book. It makes it very clear why integralists like to keep their discussions of what they believe at a very general level, using inoffensive terms like “political Catholicism” (Sohrab’s preferred description), “common good conservatism,” and saying that they seek a political order based on helping man achieve the Good. Those things all sound good, but the devil is very much in the details.
Again: I fully concede that the weakness of my position is that I don’t have a clear, concise goal for what kind of political order should replace liberalism (and by “liberalism,” I mean classical liberalism, not simply the philosophy of the Democratic Party). Integralism does offer a clear, concise replacement; so does orthodox Marxism. Neither one, though, would or should be tolerated by people who cherish liberty — their own, or that of others. Any attempt to impose integralism, especially on a polity that is majority non-Catholic, would cause civil war. I had not realized until I read the Crean & Finster book after our podcast taping, that integralism is not interested in the consent of the governed. That being the case, it’s easier to understand why Vermeule believes, or seems to believe based on his Notre Dame remarks, that integralists ought to bide their time and infiltrate the institutions of government, until the moment when … what?
This is the primary weakness of the integralist position: it is utterly unrealistic in a post-Christian world. If the integralists get power, and think they can re-Christianize the lost lands of Christendom by executive action, they will find their sovereigns treading the same paths as Julian the Apostate, and King Canute. Second, I find it impossible to believe that these men are anything but appalled by many of the actions of Pope Francis. But they hold their tongues, perhaps out of respect for the office, but also because it’s very hard to convince people that the political order ought to be subject to the will of the Roman pontiff when the Roman pontiff is a font of confusion and instability.
Having read Crean & Finster, I understand better why so many of the leading integralists treat those who question them with sneering disdain. If most people knew what they really believed, they would run screaming the other way. It’s a lot easier to sh*tpost on Twitter, accuse people who don’t accept the integralist revelation of being David French acolytes, and so forth, all to the hurrahs and attaboys of the Very Online. But here in the real world, Christians and other conservatives who would like to construct a viable alternative to decaying liberalism had better figure out how to do so in a way that can accommodate pluralism. The more I read about integralism, and listen to integralists, and see the way integralists treat those who question them, the more I run smack into a big reason why liberalism arose in the first place: to provide a way for people who disagree on the nature of the Good to live together in relative peace.
The other day, Sohrab posted this tweet, which I include below with my comment:
Are Burkean conservatives and classical liberals gay as geese now, and us non-integralists are too sinful to see it? https://t.co/tThBcjn0iv
— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) October 25, 2021
At the risk of being called a big old homo by the integralists, let me put a word in for a Burkean approach. Here’s something John Michael Greer wrote about Burke:
The foundation of Burkean conservatism is the recognition that human beings aren’t half as smart as they like to think they are. One implication of this recognition is that when human beings insist that the tangled realities of politics and history can be reduced to some set of abstract principles simple enough for the human mind to understand, they’re wrong. Another is that when human beings try to set up a system of government based on abstract principles, rather than allowing it to take shape organically out of historical experience, the results will pretty reliably be disastrous.
What these imply, in turn, is that social change is not necessarily a good thing. It’s always possible that a given change, however well-intentioned, will result in consequences that are worse than the problems that the change is supposed to fix. In fact, if social change is pursued in a sufficiently clueless fashion, the consequences can cascade out of control, plunging a nation into failed-state conditions, handing it over to a tyrant, or having some other equally unwanted result. What’s more, the more firmly the eyes of would-be reformers are fixed on appealing abstractions, and the less attention they pay to the lessons of history, the more catastrophic the outcome will generally be.
That, in Burke’s view, was what went wrong in the French Revolution. His thinking differed sharply from continental European conservatives, in that he saw no reason to object to the right of the French people to change a system of government that was as incompetent as it was despotic. It was, the way they went about it—tearing down the existing system of government root and branch, and replacing it with a shiny new system based on fashionable abstractions—that was problematic. What made that problematic, in turn, was that it simply didn’t work. Instead of establishing an ideal republic of liberty, equality, and fraternity, the wholesale reforms pushed through by the National Assembly plunged France into chaos, handed the nation over to a pack of homicidal fanatics, and then dropped it into the waiting hands of an egomaniacal warlord named Napoleon Bonaparte.
The existing laws and institutions of a society, Burke proposed, grow organically out of that society’s history and experience, and embody a great deal of practical wisdom. They also have one feature that the abstraction-laden fantasies of world-reformers don’t have, which is that they have been proven to work. Any proposed change in laws and institutions thus needs to start by showing, first, that there’s a need for change; second, that the proposed change will solve the problem it claims to solve; and third, that the benefits of the change will outweigh its costs. Far more often than not, when these questions are asked, the best way to redress any problem with the existing order of things turns out to be the option that causes as little disruption as possible, so that what works can keep on working.
That is to say, Burkean conservatism can be summed up simply as the application of the precautionary principle to the political sphere.
The precautionary principle? That’s the common-sense rule that before you do anything, you need to figure out whether it’s going to do more good than harm.
This is not as potent, clean, or logical as the ideology laid out by integralism. But it has the great advantage of not reducing people, in all their messiness, to abstractions. It is true that all societies have an idea of the Good that is reflected in lawmaking. You can’t get away from it. It is also true that liberalism is not neutral, that the hidden hand within liberalism tends to favor some things as goods and not others (for example, it inevitably emancipates the individual from all unchosen obligations). Again, though, what is the alternative? The answer is not clear, and working it out is going to require a great deal of thought and collaboration on the Right, among various factions. James Kalb is right about needing a thick sense of the Good rooted in religion, but given the woebegone state of Christianity (and not just Catholic Christianity) in the West, it is extremely hard to see how we arrive at that necessary place, absent mass conversion of everyone to orthodox, magisterial Catholicism as a precursor to political discussion. That seems rather unlikely, to put it mildly, so we are going to have to figure out how to do this in the ruins of what used to be Christendom. I believe that integralists really do have insights to contribute to this necessary conversation, but the thing they’re best at right now is making enemies on the Right, among people who naturally should be their allies.
Sohrab thinks complaining about this kind of thing is “tone policing,” but I strongly disagree. It matters how you address people who don’t agree with you, especially as a Christian public intellectual. Nobody is going to be mocked, sneered at, or shamed into adopting a reactionary Catholic triumphalist philosophy that turns non-Catholics into second-class citizens who have no say in who their leaders are. Sh*tposting is a good way to build a brand, but not a community that can convince other men and women of goodwill to join up, for the sake of restoring goodness and moral sanity in the real world.
Note to readers: I will be traveling for most of Thursday, and will not be able to approve comments. Please be patient.
UPDATE: A Catholic priest e-mails overnight:
How do we know that there is a ready-to-hand and authentic replacement for a liberal order that has descended into a left-wing ill-liberal order? Wouldn’t the centuries long run up to the descent mean that any authentic vision would find itself to be a small and marginalized minority? Wouldn’t it be historically and sociologically more likely that the strongest opposition would come from a right-wing ill-liberal order that was a type of mirror image of the left-wing?As I used to say in the 80s to orthodox seminarians who longed for the replacement of the liberals with “law and order” conservatives: “I’m too Irish to be for ‘law and order’ — I want to know whose law and whose order.” I called it trading the 70s for the 40s, and declared I wasn’t keen to live under either regime. Thing is, there’s no guarantee we’re going to like what comes next and there may as a matter of fact be no way at this point to avoid whatever it is.I think we should consider that the collapse of the liberal order in the West could prove long and ugly, with little influence coming from right believing folks for many, many years–if not generations.
I’m dumbfounded. Why would you or any Christian realist desire integralism, even in preference to a repressive regime? It is a mockery of Christianity which never has and, please God, will never exist in the real world. Indeed, from a realist or Christian perspective I fail to see how it actually realizable in our fallen world. Better to live for centuries of marginalization like Christians in the Roman Empire, in Ireland under British tyranny, and in Japan under their anti-Christian rulers, then to live thinking an earthly regime with it’s inherent corruptions–and it attendant corrupting influences on ecclesial leaders and institutions–is an incarnation of Christianity and the Kingdom.Beware, especially when faced with grim options for temporal governance, the implicit triumphalism and delusion of those “realists” or “Christians” who proclaim “we are aligned with truth and goodness, so we must dare to act creatively, to lead, to inspire, to rule.” Like Christ, any realist Christian has to recognize that service in charity and truth rather than ruling must be our constant goal. The road to Hell…
Your critique of the Catholic integralists was excellent. Theirs is a utopian position, undesirable in principle and thoroughly unrealistic in practice. And it ignores the Church’s own robust defense of religious liberty. A world state could only be despotic as Roger Scruton and Pierre Manent have often reiterated (and who wants a world state dominated by the progressive-liberationist-humanitarians around Papa Bergoglio!).Don’t expect a constructive dialogue. When one defends a conservative and Christian vision of democracy, they accuse the likes of you and me of being “right Liberals” who believe that liberty out to be neutral or indifferent regarding the human good and the truth of things. But you and I hardly believe that. Far from it! This rhetorical response is thoroughly dishonest. The alternatives available to us are hardly exhausted by integralism and a decayed relativistic liberalism. The refusal to acknowledge this palpable fact is truly mind boggling.
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Angry Parents Are Not Domestic Terrorists
I have been hard on Republican members of Congress in this space for not being effective in pushing back on wokeness in power, but I gotta say, some GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have been exemplary in giving Attorney General Merrick Garland hell over the Justice Department’s decision to sic the FBI on concerned parents, based on a phony letter ginned up by the National School Board Association. The letter suggested that some parents could be domestic terrorists, and was created by the NSBA in consultation with the Biden White House. After the truth came out, the NSBA disavowed the letter.
AG Garland was on the Hill today being grilled by Senators. “Grilled” is kind; more like flayed and roasted alive. Look:
AG: “We received a letter from the National Association of School Boards.”
Sasse : “No, you didn’t receive an anonymous letter. White House political staff co-wrote it… You know these facts now to be true, but you still won’t disavow your memo.” pic.twitter.com/u5BW3ITVqP
— 🧢מאק (@beingrealmac) October 27, 2021
Merrick Garland’s performance as Attorney General has been shameful. He should resign in disgrace. pic.twitter.com/oyRg9Sc2NV
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) October 27, 2021
You may find the very harsh tone taken by these Senators to be off-putting, but you need to understand what is at stake here. As Andrew McCarthy points out, the Justice Department and the Democrats were using this phony letter secretly drafted in consultation with the White House to justify AG Garland’s memo ordering the FBI to look into whether or not there was a role for the federal government in fighting violent threats against school boards. Here is a crucial point, by McCarthy:
First, they calculate that most Americans are unaware that local violence and threats of violence are not federal crimes and will approve of any law-enforcement monitoring meant to prevent violence, even in cases when such monitoring would suppress constitutionally protected dissent. Democrats insist that violence is rampant at school-board meetings — even though the examples they offer are overwhelmingly threats of violence, rather than actual violence. Their assumption is that under these claimed circumstances, people will figure it is only natural for the DOJ to threaten FBI monitoring of interactions between parents and school administrators.
There is no federal role here, because even if widespread threats of violence are real (and this is strongly disputed), this is a state and local matter. This entire move was to chill First Amendment dissent by making parents afraid that speaking out against what is being done to their children by school authorities could get them harassed by the FBI. More from NRO on today’s testimony:
During the hearing, Republican Senator Ben Sasse questioned why Garland would not disavow his memo when so many state school board associations have rejected it as well as cut ties with the national group. He accused Garland of launching a campaign against parents to politicize the DOJ.
“Why did the Ohio school board association disassociate from the National School Board Association?,” Sasse asked.
“I don’t know,” Garland replied. “Because this was political hackery,” Sasse shot back. The senator reiterated that while legitimate threats should not be condoned or dismissed, “local law enforcement is more than able to handle one idiot or twelve idiots at local school board meetings.”
“But you have made it a federal issue and I have no idea why,” Sasse added. He then demanded that Garland report back to the House Judiciary Committee to share the findings of the task force’s assessment to elucidate for Congress “how big of a threat parents really pose.”
This is a huge issue. Thank God parents like Asra Nomani are leading the charge in Virginia against these school boards, which are trying to advance progressive causes while keeping parents in the dark. A month ago, Fairfax County schools pulled two gay-themed books from school shelves after parental complaints.
What was in one of those books? Here are panels from “Gender Queer,” by Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns. It’s a book about a female who suffered from gender dysphoria, and who tells the story of her life, including her many sexual explorations. I read it on Kindle Unlimited just now, and have slightly edited them for this site:
If this offends you, well, sorry about that, but you need to know what is in many high school libraries. If you don’t see it for yourself, you will be subject to believing the lie that this is nothing but right-wing nonsense. Many school officials would prefer that you not know. In Virginia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is engaged in the Big Lie, saying that all of this, and the Critical Race Theory in schools controversy, are nothing but Trumpist “dog whistles.”
Meanwhile, this week a court found a Virginia high schooler guilty of raping a girl in the girl’s bathroom at the victim’s school. The self-described “genderfluid” rapist was wearing a skirt, and permitted to use the girl’s bathroom. The school board in the interim passed a transgender-friendly school policy, and denied knowing about the rape — which was a lie. The rapist was sent to a different high school, where he has now been accused of raping a second girl.
The other day, campaigning for McAuliffe, former President Barack Obama said:
“We don’t have time to be wasting on these phony, trumped up culture wars. This fake outrage that the right-wing media peddles to juice their ratings.”
It wasn’t a phony culture war. It was a rape. If that rapist had been wearing a MAGA hat instead of a skirt, the media and the Left would be reacting very differently.
McAuliffe and the Democratic Party are gaslighting parents. McAuliffe says that the Critical Race Theory controversy is manufactured, but he’s lying. McAuliffe said in a recent gubernatorial debate that parents should have no role in determining what their children are exposed to in school — that is, the schools that they pay for. McAuliffe said in 2019 that diversity and inclusion are as important as math and English in schools— this, despite the fact that 62 percent of Virginia eighth graders can’t meet proficiency standards in math.
The red-hot controversy over Virginia schools, and the preference of Democratic politicians that parents shut up and sit down and trust the experts, is symbolic of a much bigger fight. The Left believes it knows better, and that its task is to suppress parents for the sake of liberating their children from their parents’ bigotry. In Virginia, Democrats believe that school boards know better than parents. According to a recent Suffolk poll:
“Should parents or school boards have more of an influence on a school’s curriculum?”
School boards 39%
School boards 70%
School boards 12%
School boards 32%
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) October 26, 2021
Could we finally be at the start of the backlash? Could the Left finally have gone too far? The fact that the Loudoun County educrats knew that a genderfluid male raped a girl in a high school girls bathroom and covered it up while they were eager to pass a pro-trans school policy, and other educrats worked with the Biden White House to manufacture an excuse to get the Attorney General to threaten to sic the FBI on parents who were unhappy with what schools were doing to their kids — if the Republicans can’t do something with this, well, what are Republicans for? I think Sens. Sasse, Cotton, and Cruz today showed us what Republicans are for, and I’m grateful for that.
UPDATE: Wonder if Broward County, FL, parents consented to have their little kids go on a field trip to a gay bar named Rosie’s? Probably so. Looks like it’s an annual event.
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Happy Halloween, Bigots
It’s a little thing, but the little things sometimes tell us so much. Look at this Twix candy ad. Watch it till the end:
Twix sponsored this Halloween ad 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/BqrfcmGhHY
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) October 27, 2021
So: a genderfluid little boy bonds with his witch nanny when she uses her occult powers to punish bullies who tell him that boys don’t wear dresses. Thanks, Woke Capitalism.
What is the message of this two-minute clip? That genderfluidity is right and good, and opposing it is what wicked bullies do. That a child struggling with gender dysphoria can turn to the occult for assistance, and to smite his enemies. God made them male and female, says the Bible, but the power of the occult can be accessed to overturn that bigotry.
This radical message, embedded in a humorous ad for Halloween candy.
This is an aspect of the weird totalitarianism we are living through today. We have seen harder manifestations in cases where physicians, academics, and others lose their jobs for questioning transgender ideology. Things like the Twix ad cannot be understood as apart from the overall message discipline of the Left: that there is only one permissible opinion to hold, and those who do not hold it are enemies to be crushed.
This is not a one-off, and it is not neutral. The inability of normal people to understand what is happening here is one reason why this garbage is so effective at changing the way people think. From Live Not By Lies:
One of contemporary progressivism’s commonly used phrases—the personal is political—captures the totalitarian spirit, which seeks to infuse all aspects of life with political consciousness. Indeed, the Left pushes its ideology ever deeper into the personal realm, leaving fewer and fewer areas of daily life uncontested. This, warned Arendt, is a sign that a society is ripening for totalitarianism, because that is what totalitarianism essentially is: the politicization of everything.
Infusing every aspect of life with ideology was a standard aspect of Soviet totalitarianism. Early in the Stalin era, N. V. Krylenko, a Soviet commissar (political officer), steamrolled over chess players who wanted to keep politics out of the game.
“We must finish once and for all with the neutrality of chess,” he said. “We must condemn once and for all the formula ‘chess for the sake of chess,’ like the formula ‘art for art’s sake.’ We must organize shock-brigades of chess-players, and begin immediate realization of a Five-Year Plan for chess.”
Let there be no “candy for the sake of candy.” Every aspect of life must be infused with revolutionary consciousness. The propaganda war must be waged without hesitation. That’s the idea. To play your role, you need to say, “Oh, come on, what’s the big deal? It’s just an ad for candy!” And to play my role, I have to publish things like this blog post. I know that they are counting on reactionaries like me to do this, but what is the alternative? It’s a heads they win, tails we lose deal.
Soon we won’t even recognize our country anymore. Those who grew up in this propaganda world the Left has created will think that we who remember the Before Times are weird, and that little boys who wear dresses and turn to the occult to defend their sexual undifferentiation are the good guys.
Happy Halloween, bigots.
UPDATE: It’s already started in the comments section: What, are you on the side of bullies now?!
This is the same simpleminded reaction that allowed the LGBT education activist group GLSEN to march through the schools with pro-LGBT propaganda, starting twenty years ago. In the year 2000, I wrote a piece about this for the Weekly Standard. Excerpt:
GLSEN/Boston boasts the most advanced programs of its kind in the nation. As goes Massachusetts, in time, so may go the rest of America. Camenker and Whiteman are on the front lines of a battle likely to spread to school districts from coast to coast, as the powerful GLSEN organization, with sponsorship money from American Airlines, Dockers Khakis, and Kodak, presses its radical agenda under the innocent-sounding guise of “safety,” “human rights,” and “suicide prevention.”
“That money goes down a rathole to fund gay clubs in schools, and gay rallies and conferences,” fumes Camenker. “None of the people who get the money are legitimate suicide prevention groups. They’re all these gay groups.”
GLSEN will be holding its annual leadership training conference next month in San Francisco, to be preceded by a two-day workshop teaching students and educators how to push the gay agenda in local schools — even at the kindergarten level — as a human rights issue. Books available from the GLSEN website include Queering Elementary Education and Preventing Prejudice, a collection of elementary-school lesson plans built around themes such as “What Is a Boy/Girl?” and “Freedom to Marry.”
Schools’ surreptitiously introducing this material to students, says Whiteman, “puts kids at risk and puts parents completely out of the loop with the sexual identities of their children. The schools take this elitist attitude that they know best.”
The point of this activist drive, warns Camenker, is to desensitize children to gay sex at a very young age and counteract moral instruction to the contrary given by their parents and religious leaders. If you protest, he warns, be prepared to be stonewalled and sneered at by school officials, smeared in the press, and denounced as a hatemonger and a bigot by gay activists.
Yet what choice is left to parents but to fight? “We’re facing an incredible evil here. It chills you to the bone,” says Camenker, an Orthodox Jew brought closer to his faith by this struggle. “The only way we’re not going to get run over is if people wake up to what’s happening to our children.”
“These people are bullies,” he continues. “People are afraid of them, afraid of being called homophobes. I don’t enjoy this, but this is America, and I’m not going to run away.”
What the LGBT activists did — brilliantly, I should add — is to make advancing LGBT propaganda as key to fighting bullying. Everybody agrees that bullying is bad. But you know what? You can fight bullying by fighting bullying! Forbid it, and punish bullies. Everybody agrees with that. The activists, though, figured out that if you can convince people that fighting bullying and making schools “safe” requires normalizing LGBT, then you’ve won.
This is the same strategy that the Twix commercial uses. It construes opposing genderfluidity — in this case, saying that boys aren’t supposed to wear dresses — as bullying. In the commercial, the boys saying this really are bullies. The implication is that this is the position held by bullies. The fact that some people watching this ad swallow this without thinking about it shows how the propaganda works.
UPDATE.2: Commenter Redbrick:
Honestly besides the obvious liberal idea of this commercial (oppressed gets back at oppressor) and satanic idea (dark powers helping you/the dark powers are the good guys). There is another angle here and one that I think is not talked about enough…control.
The entire mass media main streaming of emasculation. Taking a whole generation of boys and turning them into something else. Dress like a girl! Come on do it…be feminized!
When you do this on a large enough scale you can create spiritual/cultural eunuchs who will never rise up against you.
If you found a report that proved the CIA and the entire USA/Atlanticist ruling cabal had green lit this idea across all the media they control I would not be surprised in the least.
The “turning to the occult” aspect doesn’t strike me as a big deal in this commercial. What is notable is the “crush your enemies” aspect — making the kid disappear, with the last joke being he’ll “probably” come back (with a shrug). How often do candy or toy commercials (or any ads at all, for that matter) feature violence against children (or their banishment to … hell or the netherworld or nothingness or whatever)? Clearly, deplorables who think and act like him are outside the “moral circle.” And if that is not your presupposition when you first watch the commercial — if you are a bit shocked to see this, rather than nodding and smirking with satisfaction — the message is: This is the way all good and normal people think; why else would there be a Twix commercial based on that presupposition? So you should be sure you’re with the normal and good people, inside the circle. And stop trying to have any sympathy or understanding for the deplorables: they’re irredeemable and should be mocked and banished. *That*, really, is the anti-Christian message here, not the black magic. Judge not… casting the first stone… none of those teachings applies to certain people.
UPDATE.3: A reader points out that the Twix ad would be completely unacceptable if the witch had smited a member of a Sacred Victim group. Also, how creepy would this video be if a Muslim kid had prayed to Allah to smite a bully making fun of him, or a Christian kid had done same?
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The Age of Antichrist Is Here
When I was a kid in the late 1970s, I happened upon a copy of Hal Lindsey’s megaselling The Late Great Planet Earth. It was an Evangelical account of the Last Days, purporting to explain how we were living in the times just before the return of Jesus Christ. All of this hit me like a bomb. I didn’t know Jesus Christ was coming back! Why did no one tell me? (I’ve told you before that we weren’t big churchgoers in my family.) And holy cow, I had no clue that the Soviet Union was mentioned in the Bible, and that the European Common Market was going to produce this guy called the Antichrist, and that there was this thing called the Rapture … et cetera. This was thrilling stuff. It electrified my imagination for a year or two. And then it burned out, and with it went my faith for some time.
As an adult Christian, I would laugh at myself, recalling how seriously twelve-year-old me took Hal Lindsey’s speculations, none of which came true. That End Times narrative is really narcotic, though. As a Catholic, I saw a version of it, usually involving devotion to Marian apparitions. A priest friend who had been converted at Medjugorje, but who early in his priesthood wearied of apparition-chasers, told me how frustrating it was to him to be unable to get his most enthusiastic parishioners to focus on the ordinary part of being Catholics. They wanted the spiritual fireworks. It’s a real temptation.
The thing is, the Christian tradition really does say that before the Second Coming of Christ, there will arise a messianic world leader called by Scripture the “Beast,” who is the “Antichrist.” He will lead a mass persecution of the Church, and will oversee a global dictatorship that controls people’s lives so thoroughly that, according to Revelation 13:
16Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,17so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.18This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
I hardly need to point out that there is a massive literature of speculation about the identity of the Antichrist, and how it is connected to the number 666. I find the theory of the Orthodox Christian thinker Jonathan Pageau persuasive: that the Antichrist 666 is not necessarily a single man (though it might be), but the number refers to a total godless system. He writes, in part:
So, we have to be very attentive as these patterns play themselves out. As these patterns start to appear to us in the world, we have to not look for the Ozzy Osbourne, dark Satanist who is going to be wearing all black and looking like a ghoul coming out of the Earth. That is not what 666 looks like. 666 looks like a luminous system that seems like it contains everything and can control everything. And that is why it is so seductive. That is why it can delude us if we’re not careful, because to not participate or to not, let’s say, worship this system can exclude you from the discourse. It makes it very easy to compromise in that sense.
Not long ago, I read that the Romans tattooed slaves on their hands or foreheads, so they would never be able to escape. It hit me, then, that the “mark of the Beast” seen by St. John was not necessarily a literal mark on the forehead or hand (though it might be), but that symbolically it meant that you had to be a slave to the system in order to participate economically — that is, to earn a living.
As a Christian, I certainly believe this dark, totalitarian world will one day come into being. It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of guessing when that might be, and that’s something I never do. But I gotta say, the shape of the thing really does seem to be coming into being. In 2019, I wrote this piece after two prominent Catholic cardinals warned that the age of Antichrist might be upon us — both of them referencing the confused teaching coming from Pope Francis as a dangerous sign of the times. The intellectual giant René Girard, a Catholic, wrote around the turn of the century that we were in perilous times:
The current process of spiritual demagoguery and rhetorical overkill has transformed the concern for victims into a totalitarian command and a permanent inquisition. … We are living through a caricatural “ultra-Christianity” that tries to escape from the Judeo-Christian orbit by “radicalizing” the concern for victims in an anti-Christian manner. … The intellectuals and other cultural elites have promoted Christianity to the role of number one scapegoat.
Girard says we are at the advent of what he calls “the other totalitarianism,” saying that it is
the most cunning and malicious of the two, the one with the greatest future, by all evidence. At present it does not oppose Judeo-Christian aspirations but claims them as its own and questions the concern for victims on the part of Christians (not without a certain semblance of reason at the level of concrete action, given the deficiencies of historical Christianity). The other totalitarianism does not openly oppose Christianity but outflanks it on its left wing.
As I wrote the last time I brought this up, this is the force of what in the Christian tradition is called Antichrist. You don’t have to believe in a literal Antichrist figure to grasp what Girard is saying here. Girard points out that in the symbolic language of the New Testament, Antichrist opposes Christ by imitating him and seeking to be better than him. More:
The Antichrist boasts of bringing to human beings the peace and tolerance that Christianity promised but has failed to deliver. Actually what the radicalization of contemporary victimology produces is a return to all sorts of pagan practices: abortion euthanasia, sexual undifferentiation, Roman circus games galore but without real victims, etc.
Girard wrote that in his 2001 book I Saw Satan Fall Like Lightning. He died in 2015, just as the trans craze was getting started. I don’t think he would have been surprised by any of it.
Why do I bring this up today? Because I just read the latest Substack essay, titled “You Are Harvest,” by Paul Kingsnorth, an English writer living in rural Ireland with his wife and kids. I am a subscriber, so I don’t know if it is behind a paywall or not. Click the link to see. Kingsnorth was formally baptized and confirmed as an Orthodox Christian earlier this year, but his thought expressed in the piece is not based on anything Christian. Rather it is based on a lifetime of observing and analyzing the culture. Read in a Christian key, though, what he writes is staggering, and look, if you can’t read this for free, you would do well to buy a subscription to read his entire series about what he calls The Machine. Any time he refers to “the Machine,” I think “Antichrist.” It fits. Here are excerpts:
Many people see few problems with the march of the digital machine through every aspect of our lives. Many people have simply forgotten what it feels like not to be pulled and pushed and tugged and directed every hour of the day by the demands of the glowing screen.
Many people are not paying attention.
A few days after I lost my game of chess, a couple of friends came to visit us from England. We hadn’t seen them for nearly a decade, and they hadn’t travelled anywhere since the pandemic began, so they were blinking excitedly in the sunlight. They had taken the ferry across the Irish Sea, which had necessitated them performing a particular technological ritual, one which went beyond even the longstanding norm of scanning their digitally-enabled passports and sitting on a boat full of CCTV cameras.
This time they had to have their photo taken, and show their digital proof of vaccination. They also, for some reason they didn’t understand, had to recite a string of numbers into a recording device. If I were being paranoid – and these days I usually am – I would guess that this was part of the creation of an embryonic digital voice recognition system, which will be used in future to supplement the eyeball scans, passport chips and smartphone-enabled health certificates which are already forming the basis of our glorious future of freedom and plenty.
Sometimes I lie awake at night, or I wander in the field behind my house, or I walk down the street in our local town and think I can see it all around me: the grid. The veins and sinews of the Machine that surrounds us and pins us and provides for us and defines us now. I imagine a kind of network of shining lines in the air, glowing like a dewed spiderweb in the morning sun. I imagine the cables and the satellite links, the films and the words and the records and the opinions, the nodes and the data centres that track and record the details of my life. I imagine the mesh created by the bank transactions and the shopping trips, the passport applications and the text messages sent. I see this thing, whatever it is, being constructed, or constructing itself around me, I see it rising and tightening its grip, and I see that none of us can stop it from evolving into whatever it is becoming.
I see the Machine, humming gently to itself as it binds us with its offerings, as it dangles its promises before us and slowly, slowly, slowly reels us in. I think of the part of it we interact with daily, the glowing white interface through which we volunteer every detail of our lives in exchange for information or pleasure or stories told by global entertainment corporations who commodify our culture and sell it back to us. I think of the words we use to describe this interface, which we carry with us in our pockets wherever we go, as we are tracked down every street and into every forest that remains: the web; the net.
I think: these are things designed to trap prey.
Here, Kingsnorth comes to the end of a long passage in which he discusses Jacques Ellul and his theories about how our world is being taken over by “technique.” For Ellul, this means establishing by mechanical means a world in which all things are controlled:
But then, if Ellul is right, this is the direction in which the reign of technique will ultimately take us: towards the dictatorship of the Machine. Claiming in 1964 that technique had already ‘rendered traditional democratic doctrines obsolete’, he suggested that the new way of seeing would overcome any democratic objections, and would always tend towards total control. ‘Efficiency is a fact’, he wrote wryly, ‘and justice a slogan.’ Technique, through sheer dominance, would accrue power to itself until there could be no rational argument (the only kind of argument now accepted) against controlling the minutiae of our lives for the greater good:
Finally, technique causes the state to become totalitarian, to absorb the citizens’ lives completely. We have noted that this occurs as a result of the accumulation of techniques in the hands of the state … Even when the state is liberal and democratic, it cannot do otherwise than become totalitarian. It becomes so directly or, as in the United States, through intermediate persons. But, despite differences, all such systems come ultimately to the same result.
By using the word ‘totalitarian’, Ellul was not suggesting that all nations would become dictatorships, let alone adopt an ideological framework like Nazism or Marxism to guide them. In fact, he said, such ideologies interfere with the direction of technique, which seeks efficiency rather than ideology. ‘Totalitarian’, in this context, simply meant that it would be impossible to escape the Machine and its assumptions. Everywhere you looked, there it would be: staring you in the face, directing your actions, digging into every facet of your life, giving you fewer and fewer escape routes each year.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the times we are currently living in would be regarded by many of our ancestors as apocalyptic. The degree of control and monitoring which we endure in ‘developed’ societies, which has been accelerating for decades and which has reached warp speed in the 2020s, is creating a kind of digital holding camp in which we all find ourselves trapped. The rising paranoia that extends now across the political spectrum and across the Western world – the anger and confusion; the sense of promises broken and established systems gumming up – all of this, I think, can be traced to the rise and consolidation of the Machine, this great matrix which strips from us our understanding of what a human life is, and makes us instead lonely cogs in its drive for self-creation.
Read it all, if you can — and if you can’t, then buy a subscription and read all nine of Kingsnorth’s essays about the Machine. Trust me, it’s worth it.
In this latest piece, Kingsnorth suggests that you watch this 10-minute video of Edward Snowden explaining how the Internet works, and why it leads to our slavery:
It is hard to know how to respond to this in one’s life. At the Touchstone conference recently, a woman asked me why, if I recognized all the evils that come to us through smartphones (primarily surveillance), do I continue to have one? It’s a great question, and the only feeble answer I could give her was that I have to have it to do my job. When I told my wife about the woman’s question, and how unhappy I was with my answer, she pointed out that our daughter’s “dumb phone” was going to be obsolete soon, because it would not be able to work on the cell system. They have made it where we all have to have smart phones if we are going to have cellphones at all. Could you do your job without a cellphone? I couldn’t. There’s no way in the world. So, I am lashed to the system, whether I like it or not. And so are you.
When I talk in Live Not By Lies about “soft totalitarianism,” I am not simply speaking of the particular policies the baizuocracy is putting into place. I am talking about the technical capabilities they have built into the system to control us. The other day I watched a video in which one of the leading Catholic integralists said that it was a shame that progressives understood better than us conservatives that the state ought to be in the business of “soulcraft,” and be guiding the people to virtue. I thought: this right-wing Catholic doesn’t object to the controlling state; he just objects to the fact that secular leftists are in command of it. Well, I don’t want to live in a society in the grips of Dostoevsky’s Catholic Grand Inquisitor any more than I want to live in one gripped by Huxley’s secular World Controller. But we have created, and continue to refine, a system that gives that kind of power to people.
China is where this future is being perfected:
Lin Jinyue, lead designer of China’s social credit system, extolls its value and his hope for worldwide adoption:
“If you had the social credit system, there would never have been the Yellow Vests, we would have detected that before they acted.”pic.twitter.com/6JKC8tDVzP
— Michael P Senger (@MichaelPSenger) October 22, 2021
Right now, in the West, this power is coming into the hands of progressives, who will use it to stamp out racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and the rest. They will be able to detect the existence of these things before people can act on them. The technology is already there; it just hasn’t been implemented. Yet.
The Age of Antichrist is not about Ozzy Osbourne and pale Goths. It’s about nebbishy Lin Jinyue, the head of Human Resources at major companies, and Silicon Valley. And it is here. They are going to use their power to establish a reign of virtue. There will be no room for non-compliant Christians in it (or non-complying anyone else). We were warned 2,000 years ago. We are warned once again by Paul Kingsnorth, whether he knows it or not.
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White Supremacy Ate Harvard Student’s Homework
When the history of our insane age of cultural breakdown is written, this op-ed in the Harvard Crimson, by a black female student dropping out of the pre-med program, will be a primary document. Kyla G. — who, as a Harvard student, is one of the most privileged people on the planet — explains to the university community how white supremacy drove her out. Excerpts:
While this isn’t just another story about the toxicity of pre-med culture, getting weeded out, or leaving my academic path for some earth-shattering love of another aspiration, it is a story of how white supremacy lives and breathes in each of our bodies, spreading between each of us — body to body — like contagion. It is a story of trying to mitigate chronic pain to create the possibility for genuine healing and recovery. A story of a great act of resistance: a Black woman choosing herself.
I took an inorganic chemistry exam the same day that a grand jury failed to charge two police officers with the murder of Breonna Taylor. That day, my body inhaled molecules of white supremacy as they seeped out of my computer from that proctored Zoom room. They entered my bloodstream and catalyzed a metabolism that would allow for the invasion of my body by a violently infectious life form. A chronic pain, caused by the perpetuation of lethally unjust practices and compounded by the silence and avoidance between myself and my educators when it comes to Black women’s lives, would make its way through and onto neighboring cells within my physical being. The presence of the germ of white supremacy would cause a steric hindrance within me, slowing down and even preventing the reactions of learning and healing that I desperately needed for myself and from others in that moment. The exam began, and I haven’t been able to show up mentally or emotionally in a science class since.
Steric hindrances? Golly. There’s more:
But no more. I have chosen a path to justice and healing that is rooted in self-love and preservation.
For Black women, self-care is an act of liberation. It disrupts systems of power — even at places like Harvard — that hold a stake in patriarchy and institutionalized racism. It is a way for us to free ourselves and dilute our pain from historical patterns of trauma caused by everyday violences. It is a crucial aspect of embracing and valuing our dignity and self-worth because trauma doesn’t have to be our destiny. We deserve to heal, to grow, to change. And sometimes it looks like distancing ourselves from potentially toxic, or infectious, scenarios or spaces to protect our energy and safeguard it for our own well-being.
Well done, Kyla! You couldn’t handle pre-med classes, so you blamed your failure on whiteness, and claimed that your dropping out was a revolutionary act. Read the whole thing.
This kind of weaponized self-pity will take Miss G. far. One expects that she will change her major to something that prepares her to work in the baizuocracy as a DEI commissar, where she can work out her insecurities by terrorizing everyone under her authority, and be well-paid for it.
Seriously, though, what a decadent country we are in when a grown-ass woman behaves this way. If one of my children ever wrote something like this, I would read them the riot act. Remember, Harvard is one of the places where America’s ruling class is trained. At what point will the failure of institutions like Harvard to produce people who are capable of actual work, as opposed to manipulating the emotions of those in institutional power, actually hurt them? When will it hurt the system? I’m serious about the dangers of a lunatic racist like Kyla moving into a position of power within American institutions. True, there is a lot of ruin in a nation, but at some point, the bill for indulging this kind of bigoted garbage that justifies incompetence is going to come due.
(Via Steve Sailer)
UPDATE: A reader writes:
I think you were a little hard on that Harvard student.Let me offer an alternative interpretation.She doesn’t have hope.The old script: go to Harvard, become a doctor, join the elite, change the world. This script has been upended in her mind because at any moment the cops might burst in with a no knock warrant and guns out and none of that education or status will matter.I agree that this is not necessarily a race problem, we have steadily militarized the police since 9-11, and don’t show any sign of taking away practices like no knock warrants.She is in a state of despair. She frames the despair in racial terms and that is the fault of her elite education. However, the despair and hopelessness she expresses would tie in as an example of what you are writing your book about. Her world is flat, a battle between the white team and the black team. There isn’t a transcendent reality available for her to actually find the “healing” she seeks, and maintain the hope of being a doctor and making a difference in the world. So she throws in the towel and blames everyone else. What 19 year old hasn’t done that? Unfortunately, she lacks competent mentors to tell her to keep going.You might think, “You are making her a victim, how woke of you…” She is a victim, a victim of rotten education from top to bottom that offers resentment without hope and torpedoes the careers of the brightest minorities before they even get started. She will be applauded for taking this self-defeating stand. And that, is what they call systemic racism.Maybe it is not too late for her to realize that oppressors can be of any colour.I hope not.
It only took me a moment on Google to find that she graduated from the private, college-prep Ursuline School in New Rochelle, New York. According to an organization that granted her a scholarship, she is is “attending Harvard and was granted admission to nearly every school she applied to Princeton, Columbia, Johns Hopkins among them.”
It’s hard to know what her educational and family background really are, but she’s now at Harvard! Does she have any idea how much privilege she has now acquired? Apparently not, because if she did she’s be using that privilege to help others rather than making it about herself.
Sadly, she’s bound to get the wrong message from the Internet-wide backlash to her article and will probably just dig in on her personal narrative all the more.
Good grief! This girl has more privilege than most people in America by far! No wonder she had to blame white supremacy for her not being able to hack pre-med at Harvard. What else was she going to do, except take personal responsibility?
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Dave Chappelle Meets Soft Totalitarianism
From Daily Variety, comedian Dave Chappelle claims that he is in the process of being cancelled by the trans mafia and its allies:
Chappelle also spoke about his upcoming documentary about his summer 2020 comedy tour, claiming that it has now been excluded from film festivals.
“This film that I made was invited to every film festival in the United States and some of those invitations I accepted. When this controversy came out about ‘The Closer,’ they began disinviting me from these film festivals,” Chappelle claimed. “And now, today, not a film company, not a movie studio, not a film festival, nobody will touch this film. Thank God for Ted Sarandos and Netflix, he’s the only one that didn’t cancel me yet.”
Chappelle is rich. He will survive this — but that is totally beside the point. The lesson here is that commissars throughout the entertainment business are willing to throw even one of the most popular comedians in America under the bus if trans activists demand it. If they can do this to Dave Chappelle, and blackball his documentary, there is not one other comedian in the country who is safe from these Stalinists.
What’s happening to Chappelle here is a great example of how this new form of totalitarianism works. People keep saying, “Where are the gulags? How is this totalitarianism if you don’t have the government enforcing ideology?” The answer is that this is a new kind of totalitarianism. You don’t need the government when all the institutional leadership is operating from the same ideological playbook, and willing to silence those who cross ideological lines.
And this, by the way, is another example of how completely wrong liberals are to say that the only thing that drives movie studios is moneymaking. You think there’s no money to be made off a Dave Chappelle documentary? Seriously? This is about fear of the woke mafia. Dave Chappelle, in his special, said he agrees with the trans-exclusive radical feminists, who say that transwomen aren’t women. That is enough to make Chappelle the subject of a cancellation attempt within the industry.
Who among his many Hollywood friends will speak out for him? Bill Maher will, but who else? Are they cowards? If Chappelle goes down, it will be a stunning revelation of who sits atop the oppression hierarchy. That is, if the country’s most popular black comedian, a man who has taken uncompromising stands on race and justice, suffers a career setback because he got crossways the transgender community, that will tell us that sexual minorities are at the pinnacle of cultural and economic power in this country. And notice how the media manufactured a narrative about the anti-Chappelle protest.
In related news, an Indiana congressman tweeted this the other day about the transgender Adm. Rachel Levine — and now Twitter has suspended his account:
Twitter denies a US Congressman access to its platform because he made a statement that is scientifically, verifiably true: that Rachel Levine is a male. Twitter has the right to do this, because it is a private company. But it is so widely used that people who want to keep their Twitter access will not make the “mistake” that the U.S. Congressman did. Change the language, you have changed people’s perception of reality — and the state doesn’t have to pass a single law or decree to get it done. From Live Not By Lies:
Under the dictatorship of Big Brother, the Party understands that by changing language—Newspeak is the Party’s word for the jargon it imposes on society—it controls the categories in which people think. “Freedom” is slavery, “truth” is falsehood, and so forth. Doublethink—“holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”—is how people learn to submit their minds to the Party’s ideology. If the Party says 2 + 2 = 5, then 2 + 2 = 5. The goal is to convince the person that all truth exists within the mind, and the rightly ordered mind believes whatever the Party says is true.
It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you—something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses. In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.
In our time, we do not have an all-powerful state forcing this on us. Under soft totalitarianism, the media, academia, corporate America, and other institutions are practicing Newspeak and compelling the rest of us to engage in doublethink every day. Men have periods. The woman standing in front of you is to be called “he.” Diversity and inclusion means excluding those who object to ideological uniformity. Equity means treating persons unequally, regardless of their skills and achievements, to achieve an ideologically correct result.
To update an Orwell line to our own situation: “The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
The day is coming when nobody will remember what a man and a woman are. The day is also coming where there will be no such thing as comedy, because everybody will be too afraid to laugh.
It keeps rolling on … and nobody stops it. Everybody is sure that sooner or later, the craziness will burn itself out, but it never does, does it? The tyrants who keep doing this to people won’t stop until they are made to pay a price. What price, though? What could practically be done? Ideas?
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The Grand DEI Inquisitor
This is an excerpt from a communication that went out today to faculty of the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota:
This is outrageous. As the professor who sent this to me said, this is:
A clear violation of academic freedom. Imagine you’re untenured and don’t agree with the LGBTQIA+ movement, what do you do? If you don’t write anything, your chair and colleagues will notice. This may cost you tenure. On the other hand, you can write some b.s. made up stuff and violate your conscience. Either way, the university is on a fishing expedition to separate the woke sheep from the Catholic goats. Stunning stuff, really. Other school, of course, will follow, if they haven’t done it already.
This is the woke version of a loyalty oath. It’s a private university, so it can do whatever it likes. But should it do this? Seems to me that a Catholic university ought to pledge allegiance to what Pope St. John Paul II said in Ex corde ecclesiae, his instruction on the nature and duties of Catholic universities. If there are going to be loyalty oaths at Catholic institutions, let them be loyalty to what the Pope said Catholic universities should be like, not what the Woke Magisterium demands.
But why should there be DEI loyalty oaths at all? One presumes that every faculty member would be willing and able to treat each student he or she teaches with fairness. You cannot reasonably expect more. What the University of St. Thomas is doing is passive-aggressive and coercive. I hope that professors there who may be 100 percent in favor of diversity and inclusion initiatives will nevertheless speak out against this appalling coercion.
And I hope all University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) alumni and donors will contact the university and tell it they will be moving their donations to Catholic institutions, or other educational institutions, that don’t bully professors into swearing allegiance to wokeness. Once again, as Ross Douthat said the other day, the United States is full of rich people who could use their money to start new colleges and universities, ones that respected true scholarship and traditional learning, and rejected wokeness. But they don’t. Why not? If you are one of these rich Americans, what’s the answer? Why do you keep giving to Yale, Princeton, Harvard, the University of St. Thomas, and other colleges that are destroying education in America by subordinating it to ideology?
This is not going to go away until we make it go away. This is not going to go away until we value academic freedom enough to risk being hated by ideologues for defending it.