Archive for the ‘civility’ Tag

Define “conservative”   Leave a comment

Another conversation on Facebook – Define “conservative”

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Taking the Red Pill   1 comment

Before college campuses were adrift in the current morass of anti-thought, New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt published The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, a groundbreaking book that really ought to be read before wading into the tide of “trigger warnings”, “microaggressions”, and “safe spaces” that has become the dominate culture of college campuses. Haidt’s book is the most fascinating work on social science to come out in the last five years.  In 2012, our political landscape was already deeply polarized and that has been magnified by several times in a half decade, but Haidt offers hope and a way forward.

Image result for image of red pill blue pillHaidt starts by delving into the psychological causes behind our tribal politics. Drawing upon social psychology and 25 of original research on moral psychology, Haidt shows how evolution is responsible for shaping people’s morality that both binds and divides and how politics and religion create conflicting communities of shared morality.

According to Haidt, moral attitudes and judgments originate from intuition, not calculated logic. In his 1739 A Treatise of Human Nature, the philosopher David Hume remarked that, “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” According to Haidt, the findings of modern social psychology research largely vindicate Hume.

To illustrate his point, Haidt uses the metaphor of a rider and an elephant. The rider represents the conscious mind with its rational functions and controlled processes. But the domineering elephant is everything else outside the rider’s control: automatic processes that include emotions and intuitions. Although the rider can do “several useful things” such as planning for the future and learning new skills, ultimately “the rider’s job is to serve the elephant.” As a result of this one-sided relationship, the rider mostly “fabricat[es] post hoc explanations for whatever the elephant has done, and becomes good at finding reasons to justify whatever the elephant wants to do next.” In short, “conscious reasoning functions like a lawyer or press secretary.”

How is this reflected in political discourse? When people are asked to believe something that conflicts with their intuitions, they instinctively seek an escape hatch – any reason to doubt the argument or conclusion that is vexing their deeply held beliefs.

Moral judgment is not a purely cerebral affair in which we weigh concerns about harm, rights, and justice. It’s a kind of rapid, automatic process more akin to the judgments animals make as they move through the world, feeling themselves drawn toward or away from various things. Moral judgment is mostly done by the elephant.

If you’re trying to change someone’s mind on a moral or political issue, you have to “talk to the elephant first.”  You can rarely approach someone from a reasoned stance until you have satisfied their emotional or moral foundation.

I’m not going to say I completely agree with Haidt, because my initial first step toward Christianity was actually from a book on reason – Francis Schaeffer’s “The God Who Is There”, but I found a lot of compelling information in Haidt’s book. Through his interdisciplinary research, Haidt and his colleagues uncovered six moral foundations that are shared across human cultures:

1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
4) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

6) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor. We report some preliminary work on this potential foundation in this paper, on the psychology of libertarianism and liberty.

Haidt found left-liberals and progressives recognize primarily the first two moral foundations, Care/harm and Fairness/Cheating, but tend to reject Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity, as proper morals. They feel these are base human traits responsible for patriarchy, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression. The US/EU political left holds an outlier stand compared to most other parts of the world.

Haidt noted that in “Western, educated, industrial, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) cultures,” the moral spectrum is “unusually narrow” and largely limited to the ethics of individual autonomy.

In contrast, many non-WEIRD societies and conservatives use all five moral foundations that include embracing the ethics of divinity and community. Libertarians are a truly unique political species and are not easily placed on the Left-Right political spectrum in that they prize the last moral foundation, Liberty, above all other values.

These are extraordinary differences and would explain the growing political polarization in the United States and why liberals can’t understand conservatives (and vice versa). In today’s political discourse, partisans often seem to argue not so much against each other, but past each other.

Given that human nature is tribal, people automatically form teams with those who share similar values and morals. While morality can “bind” people together through benefits such as group cohesion and unity, it also “blinds” them to the possibilities or even the existence of other legitimate perspectives. That’s the premise of The Matrix. This kind of “moral matrix” can be so strong that it “provides a complete, unified, and emotionally compelling worldview, easily justified by observable evidence and nearly impregnable to attack by arguments from outsiders.”

As challenging as it may be to see through one’s own ideological blinders, empathy is crucial for successful outreach, acts as an “antidote to righteousness,” and has the added benefit of expanding one’s own intellectual horizons.

Why Intellectual Diversity Matters

Human reason has inherent limits, so Haidt reminds us that “we should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play.”

However, under the right circumstances and conditions, people can use their reasoning powers to check the claims of others. That’s what Schaeffer’s book prompted me to do. It’s what I still do when I encounter reasoning that confounds me or makes me feel uncomfortable. When people “feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system.” It is especially “important to have intellectual and ideological diversity within any group or institution whose goal is to find truth (such as an intelligence agency or a community of scientists) or to produce good public policy (such as a legislature or advisory board).”

Companies that wish to attract top talent in an effort to remain innovative have long embraced intellectual diversity as a paramount ideal. Universities, most of which are still committed to the mission to search for truth and push the boundaries of human knowledge, in particular must embrace complete freedom of speechopen inquiryepistemic humility, and tolerance for the most radical and eccentric. Championing viewpoint and philosophical diversity goes hand in hand with these fundamental principles that form the bedrock of a liberal education.

Haidt’s findings from moral psychology are consistent with research from other fields highlighting the value of those who “think different.”

Saras Sarasvathy at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business profiled some of the most successful entrepreneurs and found them to be spontaneous contrarians who have “confidence in their ability to recognize, respond to, and reshape opportunities as they develop” to the point that they “thrive on contingency.” Unsurprisingly, entrepreneurs relish bucking conventional wisdom whether it be following standard management practices or any other kind of defined linear process.

Adam Grant at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has extensively researched how “originals” move the world. Startups, which by their very nature are nonconformist, have a special obligation to hire originals who can seed a resilient culture, anticipate market movements under conditions of extreme uncertainty, and repurpose dissenting ideas in alternative ways. Grant emphasizes how originals can mitigate the risks every company faces:

Conformity is dangerous – especially for an entity in formation. If you don’t hire originals, you run the risk of people disagreeing but not voicing their dissent. You want people who choose to follow because they genuinely believe in ideas, not because they’re afraid to be punished if they don’t. For startups, there’s so much pivoting that’s required that if you have a bunch of sheep, you’re in bad shape.

Eric Weiner speculates that intellectual development is stimulated when one’s world is turned upside down:

Many immigrants possess what the psychologist Nigel Barber calls “oblique perspective.” Uprooted from the familiar, they see the world at an angle, and this fresh perspective enables them to surpass the merely talented. To paraphrase the philosopher Schopenhauer: Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.

Broadly liberal attitudes towards risk-taking, unorthodox thinking, and entrepreneurship are among the reasons why the United States is still the richest country in the world. In science writer Matt Ridley’s wide-reaching book The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, the writer traced the origins and spread of economic prosperity. He credits voluntary exchange and specialization, specifically what happens when different ideas meet, mate, and recombine to create new ideas, for being the main drivers of human economic and social progress.

Innovations often happen when you combine two or more things in unexpected ways. When you have a diverse group of people working on something, magic often happens because each person brings a different perspective and experience to the table. John Daly, University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

Authentic diversity must go beyond identity checkboxes to fully include diversity in ideas. Viewpoint diversity drives creative tension, cross-cultural understanding, and the ability to identify and solve problems from multiple perspectives. Creativity and innovation ultimately depend on people stepping outside of comfort zones and trying new things including exposure to radical and unorthodox ways of thinking.

 

Intellectual diversity creates awareness of our own blinders. While there are obvious economic benefits in that, a marketplace of ideas is one of the key underpinnings of a free society. Truth can emerge when views are freely exchanged, challenged, and refined. People’s individual reasoning have inherent limits but through our collective intelligence, we can achieve the impossible.

Even though our intuition-based morality divides our allegiances into different tribes that seemingly cannot coexist with others, accepting and encouraging intellectual diversity creates awareness of our own blinders and provides a possible escape path out of our moral matrices.

American Civil War 2?   Leave a comment

Image result for image of antifa versus the tea partyI’m writing an apocalyptic series. When I first started, I didn’t really think the US would be headed toward a civil war before my son’s beard completely grew in, but the last year has me rethinking that feeling … at times.

I want to believe that the fears of civil war are mostly overblown, but …. I want such scenarios to stay inside my books, but ….

The Good News?

I see some hard leftists and some hard rightists will to kill each other, but I don’t see even my heavily-armed neighbors shooting at one another or even at the people in neighbors within my city. Politics makes people irrational, but average people don’t shoot each other over political disagreements.

The Bad News?

Some observers disagree with me. They don’t live in Alaska, where politics is an indoor participation sport, and they think there’s a rational argument for why civil war can happen.

 

Jonathan Logan makes a thoughtful, informed argument for the plausibility of civil war:

  • For young people to be susceptible to war (the young fight while the old stay home and direct), they must not be too settled, invested, or satisfied with the status quo and they can’t be living stable lives. They require some motive, be it “making a name for themselves” or “fighting evil” or whatever.
  • Few young people in the West are willing to fight a foreign enemy for their country. (Polls find approximately 12% in Germany and 20% in the US). But when you ask if they would participate in riots against an unjust political order, the numbers shoot up. In Germany, it’s 66%; in the US, it’s about 60%.
  • For a civil war (which is really just a big riot against what is perceived to be an unjust political order) to break out, enough people must perceive the current situation as unbearable and be willing to use violence.
  • The police must be unable or unwilling to keep the two sides apart.

Image result for image of antifa versus the tea partyJonathan Logan’s theory goes like this:

  • There’s a growing inability of “cultural progressives” and “cultural conservatives” to engage in reasonable dialogue. Civility long ago hit the fan and was shredded by the blades.
  • For a long time the “cultural progressives” had success after success. That led to the internal perception that they were not just right but also absolutely right if only those stupid hicks (deplorables) would get out of their way. This was really the general lay of the American political landscape from the late-1960s through to the 2016 election with a couple of moderate setbacks when Reagan restructured taxes in 1986 and when Congress did the Contract with America in 1994.
  • Meanwhile, with limited and sporadic access to the reins of governmental power, “cultural conservatives” grew dissatisfied. They were pushed by progressives on a whole variety of issues to the point where they had a hard time tolerating some of the cultural changes that were forced on them.
  • Before Brexit and Trump, progressives were absolutely convinced that they were right, that they would win, and that the future would be bright. This wasn’t just an assumption. They were convinced of this as surely as they were convinced the sun will rise tomorrow morning. The election of 2016 came as a crushing surprise to them. They didn’t just lose an election. The results of that election destroyed their world perception. OMG, progressive liberals are NOT the center of the universe. The sky IS FALLING!
  • The result is widespread post-traumatic stress disorder. The progressives didn’t just lose; they were traumatized. They now experience anything or anyone that doesn’t go 100% according to their ideology as being violent, hurtful, and triggering. Their coping mechanism is to push harder, become more radical, accept less compromise. They feel that everyone else is actually trying to kill them.
  • At the same time the cultural conservatives experienced something new: victory. They’d just spent a decade in one losing battle after another. First, Bush 2 had reneged on his promises to them and then Obama had told them to sit down, shut up and let their betters lead because they were never getting into power again. Although they won the election of 2016, they are intently aware that there’s a huge mess to clean up. When they see progressives pushing back, they remember all the times conservative values were shelved, denigrated and ignored. They remember what it was like to be backed into a corner. Many of them haven’t actually left the corner yet.
  • So, we have two groups backed into corners with a huge no-man’s land between them. Both groups are deeply polarized and have virtually no shared values on which to find common ground.
  • A defining characteristic of my children’s generation (Millennials) is that they know they can expect nothing from the status quo. Add to that they lack tools for conflict resolution. Their generation is split between progressives and conservatives. Yeah, really, there are many conservative Millennials. Currently they are not the largest generation in existence and they lack influence because they are young. They, therefore, have no way to implement anything that matters to them.
  • So, the Millennials on the progressive side feel they must radicalize because it is imperative to destroy the “evil” other side. Antifa, BLM, RevCom, those groups at the center of the protests and riots, are desperate, hurting, hating, and they feel righteous in their anger.
  • Meanwhile, conservatives are starting to feel fear. Conservatives reject radicalism and the disorder that comes with it. They look at the progressive side and they see agitation, violence and hateful rhetoric. Their natural reaction is to defend themselves.
  • We’re already seeing the more radical of Millennial conservatives and progressives pull out clubs. That’s what happened in Charlottesville and Oakland. That’s a growing trend that doesn’t show signs of stopping. In fact, the progressives have planned a whole series of color-revolution-type protest/riots for November.
  • At the same time, the police are choosing to stand down in these conflicts. More often than not, they agree with the progressive sentiments, but occasionally a conservative administration will not step in the middle of a clash until someone has died.
  • And their refusal to decisively take sides is what allows the ingredients of civil war to ignite. –

I kind of agree with Logan that people are currently so polarized that the ingredients are there for civil war, but I’m going to keep hoping that people will listen to their better angels and just stay home. That’s unlikely with the media stirring the pot in the pursuit of ratings. If a civil war does happen, Judy Woodruff and Sean Hannity will be culpable for causing it.

Notice, I’m not blaming this on President Trump. Why not? Because I don’t think the president is that important. I also don’t think he is seeking to tear the country apart. He is seeking to fulfill his campaign promises and, regardless of whether he does fulfillment well, he’s answerable to the people who put him in office. Let him have his turn. He’ll be out of office in three years if he doesn’t do a good job or seven years if he does and then you’ll get another shot at tyrannizing the country … or not. Maybe by that time, you polarized advocates for coercing “the other guy” will have figured out that politics is poison and that we’d all be better off if we paid less attention to it.

 

 

Cheap Shots Not Funny   Leave a comment

I admire the French satirical magazine Charlie Bedo for its continued confrontation of cultural sacred cows. I’m not a regular subscriber because I don’t read French well enough to fully enjoy it, but I like their cartoons and a friend who is fluent sometimes forwards translated articles. Still, I think they went too far with this cover, which features the phrase “Dieu Existe! Il a noyé tous les néo-Nazis du Texas” as the caption.  When my friend sent me the cover and asked me what I thought, I didn’t even need his translation of the French to know that this was rude and insensitive. I know just enough French to know it said something about “God exists” and “neo-Nazis of Texas.”

The caption translates to “God Exists! He drowned all the neo-Nazis in Texas!”

Charlie Hebdo is not exactly known for kindness, tact, or any sort of respect, but this sinks pretty low even for a magazine that specializes in low.

Before I could think about what I would blog about it, people quickly to remind Hebdo that the world (including the United States) stood by the publication when their offices were attacked by Islamic terrorists and that the U.S. military did a pretty good job eliminating the Nazis during WWII.

View image on Twitter

It pissed off Brad, who lived in Houston for about five years. He says the cover makes no sense. Houston is not a Republican city, the people of Texas most definitely are not neo-Nazis, and people of all races and creeds and colors were affected by the flooding and the storm. It comes off as a cheap shot at a community that is already suffering, and it’s pretty tasteless. If Hebdo is attacked again by folks angry over their slaying of sacred cows, they will have one less supporter and I don’t think I’m alone.

You have a right to free speech, but there are lines that just shouldn’t be crossed.

Posted September 25, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Media, Uncategorized

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Come, Let Us Talk and Listen   Leave a comment

I really strongly believe in the right of every human being to state their opinions without fear of retaliation by government or individuals. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed in that belief. Shouting “fire” in a theater is not an opinion. It’s an incitement to panic. Calling people names has more nuance. If you call someone a derogatory term from 30 feet away, they are responsible to control themselves. If your face is in there and you have a club, they might seek to defend themselves.

Related imageSo neo-Nazi thugs in Charlottsville, Virginia decided to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue by marching in the streets calling “Jews will not replace us.”

I actually mildly oppose the statue removal because I feel like it’s an attempt to scrub history and that doesn’t set well with me, but I have a better idea for our alt-right folks … buy the statue, buy a plot of land, put the statue on the land and stop screaming about it. Really, you could probably do a Kickstarter program and find folks who would fund it for you, but you could also just pass a hood around at the next KKK gathering.

 

These young people clashing in a town with a university founded by Thomas Jefferson imagine that they can change others by marching, waving flags and shouting slogans. It’s not just the alt-right who believe that, but the counter-protesters who are clashing with them also believe it. Please note, folks, that people rarely change their minds about people they oppose when the opposition is driving a boot into their ribs. And, both sides have done that this weekend. There is no good side on this. There’s just violence and aggression.

Many of the young men and women in the alt-right movement come from good homes and, under normal circumstances, would never hurt anyone, but they are a marginalized group that hangs around with others who are similarly marginalized and pretty soon the rhetoric they use to sooth their social pain starts to make sense and it seems reasonable to do the things they do, especially since they see groups like Black Lives Matter get away with smashing shop windows, burning cars and beating Trump supporters. History teaches that no idea is too insane to be off-limits to a group that perceives itself to be powerless through ordinary means of ruling. The means justify the ends

 

But know that the forces arrayed against them also have an intolerant ideology that would seek to subjugate these young men and women and silence anyone who expresses any opinion they deem “incorrect”. They also justify their violence and coercion in the name of “tolerance”, which is pretty ironic because they’re not at all tolerant of diversity of opinion. This burgeoning leftist movement seeks to counter the emerging alt-Right movement by demanding the government crack down further on human rights and freedoms. It’s really a perfect storm for totalitarianism and sort of reminds me of when Hilter stood before the burned-out hulk of the Reichstad and insisted he needed total power to protect Germany from their enemies.

 

What do we who are not caught up in the rhetoric and violence do now? The answer lies in the source of the problem. The huge mess began with bad ideas — bad thinking created by marginalization by a societal elite who doesn’t want to hear any opinions it didn’t approve. The answer to bad ideas is better ideas. We all need to throw ourselves into the intellectual battle as never before.

What are those good ideas?

You’ll find it in the historical progress of the last 500 years. You’ll find there a lot of books and speeches about social harmony, human rights, the aspiration of universal dignity, the conviction that we can work together in mutual advantage, the market economy as a means of peace and prosperity, and, above all else, the beauty and magnificence of the idea of liberty itself.

It’s time to rededicate ourselves to the mission of educating people to understand the left/right cycle is a violent trap that we can escape from if we will embrace liberty and the right of everyone to hold an opinion, even when it is wrong, without fear of physical assault and coercion.

Breast Feeding from the Male Perspective   Leave a comment

Hi, this is Brad. Lela is rewriting, so she’s letting me play on her blog. Oh my!

 

I didn’t know this woman. We were just in a class together. When her baby started fussing, she pulled up her t-shirt, exposing both breasts, and started feeding the baby. Every man in the room (and we were half the group) turned bright red and forgot all about learning anything. I watched as men shifted to relieve pressure from certain parts of their anatomy and smelled at least a few deodorants fail.

Is it just me or do women’s breasts make most men a tad uncomfortable?

There’s something about it that just makes my anatomy react.

Image result for image of covered breastfeedingThat’s not a bad thing when it’s my wife’s breasts, but if it’s some other guy’s girl … nope, that’s not a good thing.

The Bible, actually Jesus in the Bible, tells me that if I look at a woman I’m not married to with lust in my heart, I’m guilty of adultery without every touching her or even talking to her.

Gulp!

So, when I see a woman breastfeeding uncovered in public, I don’t think — “Oh, how sweet!” I think “Please cover up, lady. Don’t make me guilty of what I don’t want to be guilty of.”

And, no, it is a visceral, instinct-based reaction that cannot be controlled. I can look away, but I can’t prevent that “oh-mama!” initial reaction because I am a normal male with normal sexual desires and it is written into my DNA that I’m supposed to be turned on by breasts.

Not too long ago, a Virginia woman did what she normally did when her 19-month-old baby was agitated—she breast-fed her. Trouble is, she did it in church, uncovered. Apparently, she now feels her “rights as a mom have been violated” because the church objected. Is there a right to breast-feed? Is there a right to breast-feed in public? Is there a right to breast-feed n a church? Is there a right to breast-feed uncovered?

I say “No” to all of those questions. There is no right to breast-feed … except on your own property — which means there is no right to breast-feed in public.

Image result for image of covered breastfeedingFirst, let’s get something straight. Lela breast-fed our two munchers and she did it in public and in church … but not uncovered.

The Summit Church in Springfield, Virginia, does not allow breast-feeding without a cover because it could make men, teenagers or new churchgoers “uncomfortable.” Yeah! The one place you really don’t want to have lustful thoughts for a woman you’re not married to is while sitting in church next to your wife and kids hearing a sermon on how you should flee sexual immorality. When a woman breast-fed her baby in the middle of a church service at Summit Church, she was asked to go to a private room. She declined. She was also told by a woman that the sermon was being live-streamed and that she would not want her to be seen breast-feeding on camera.

Yeah, let’s not tune into the titty show on the religious channel. We ordinarily don’t allow people to expose their private parts in the church service. That doesn’t magically change because you’ve got a baby with you.

The woman then fled the church, “embarrassed and in shock.” The next day, she posted a Facebook video of her breast-feeding her child, telling viewers what happened and “urging women to stand up for breast-feeding.” “Breast-feeding is normal,” she said. “I have breast-fed in a few different countries. I have breast-fed all over the place,” she said. “No one has ever said anything to me.”

Now the woman and her attorney “are pressing church leaders to reverse their policy. and issue a statement of apology. I guess there’s a Virginia that protects a woman’s “right” to breast-feed in public. The bills passed without any opposition whatsoever and the governor signed it into law back in 2005.

Before passage of this statute, Virginia law guaranteed mothers the right to breast-feed on state-owned property or any public place without violating the state’s indecent exposure law. Now, a woman may breastfeed in any place where the mother is lawfully present, including any location where she would otherwise be allowed on property that is owned, leased, or controlled by the Commonwealth in accordance with § 2.2-1147.1.

The church said it “was not aware of the law and would look into it.

A similar incident recently happened in North Carolina. There a judge told a women in his courtroom who was breast-feeding her son:

Ma’am, you need to cover up. For you not to realize that is absolutely ridiculous. Step outside, and cover up right now. Stand up, and go, now.

To nurse the child in the courtroom is just absolutely inappropriate. Now step outside and button up, or whatever you need to do to button up.

Yet, under North Carolina law: “A woman may breast feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.”

These laws (like most laws) should never have been passed because there is no right to breast-feed.

I think breastfeeding is in the best interests of the baby and mother and here are 101 reasons why. I agree with the woman who breast-fed her daughter in church that breast-feeding is normal.  I am not against breast-feeding. It is a natural activity.

So are urination, defecation and intercourse, but notice that we don’t do those in public and when we do, most people are okay with us being arrested for it. I’m not suggesting breast-feeding moms should be arrested. I’m suggesting they should take the similarity into consideration and cover up.

Because I am a sexually normal male with a moral code, I prefer (as does my 18-year-old son) that I don’t see bare-chested women. This is especially relevant for Kiernan because he doesn’t have the outlet to go have sex with the woman he’s married to. He’s not married and he claims one of his goals in life is to be a virgin when he marries … but that’s not the easiest thing to do in a society where women feel that somehow their sexually alluring private anatomy changes to something innocent when they are nursing a child. I don’t really understand why some women use breast-feeding as a means to expose themselves in public. I grew up in New York City where they used to (do they still?) arrest men for exposing their genitalia is public. It was a big deal then, and it must still be a big deal here in Fairbanks because the police blotter had some guy being arrested for exposing himself in public a few months ago. So why isn’t it a big deal when a woman does it? Because she’s nursing a baby? I don’t buy that because I know from Lela’s experience that you don’t have to uncover and exposure yourself to public view in order to breast-feed in public.

Then there’s the point Lela made about this when we discussed it. A church is private property. Yes. It’s a public venue, but it is owned by the members of the church. They allow the public in as a courtesy, but the property is not in the public domain. No one, including the government, has the authority to tell anyone what they must allow people to do on their privately held property. Restaurants, stores and churches are all private property.

If government can tell you that you must allow women to breast-feed on your property, then what can’t government tell you that you must allow people to do on your property? Should you be forced to allow public fornication in the middle of the church service? How about urinating and defecating? Male and/or female full-body nudity?

So, you see, there is no right to breastfeed. There is a right to do what you want on your own property, which could include breast-feeding. And there is a right to do what you want on someone’s else’s property as long as you have the owner’s permission and are doing it in accordance with whatever rules they’ve placed on the activity. That goes for breast-feeding, swearing, smoking, drinking, and wearing clothing.

Conversely, if you are on someone’s property and you see a woman breast-feeding her child uncovered, you don’t have the option to pressure the government to make her stop breast-feeding anymore than she has the option to pressure the government to grant her a government-regulated privilege to breast-feed.

Please, ladies, breast-feed … but for the sake of propriety and civility toward the people around you … cover up. It’s not that difficult. Most churches offer “cry rooms” where there are speakers so you don’t miss the sermon and women like Lela can show you how to breast-feed under a drape so you don’t have to relocate unnecessarily. Unless we’re going to stop arresting men for flashing women … but I think that’s really not what you want.

 

This is Lela. Brad wrote this, but I completely agree with it.  I suspect this controversy has arisen because of some women’s insistence that other people can’t tell them what to do even when they’re on the property of those trying to do the telling. Interacting in society means following certain rules. Men don’t pull out their penises in public … and when they do, women call the cops on them. Women should not “flash” men and then try to use their baby as a shield. It is as much sexual assault as when men flash women. Cover up! It’s not that hard and it totally will not injure you or your child. It is among the habits that make up civil conduct within society.

When Was the Last Time an Actor Assassinated a President?   Leave a comment

I’m not terribly surprised by Johnny Depp suggesting “it’s been a while and maybe it’s time.” He’s never struck me as a particularly intelligent person. Celebrities don’t have to be bright or informed. That’s not their job. Their job is to be entertaining and apparently Depp thought his British audience would be entertained by a suggestion that it’s okay to kill a sitting president. It speaks a great deal about the British audience that they laughed. Seriously, people, you were laughing over the prospect of killing another human being.

It’s a great big stupid world. It’s okay to murder babies (and presidents we don’t like), but we really must save the whale … and the snail darter. (With compliments to Randy Stonehill)

Related imageI’m not worried about Depp actually attempting the murder the president, but people unaccountably listen to celebrities and people do stupid things … like whomever sent suspicious white powder to the woman who won the Georgia special election.

Remember when Jared Loughner shot Gabby Gifford? The news was focused on a campaign ad by Sarah Palin that featured what was said to be gun-sights on various election campaigns around the country. “Oh, it’s all Sarah Palin’s fault! Destroy the Tea Party. They want to assassinate politicians.” It turned out Loughner had never seen the ad and there was absolutely no evidence that his rampage was caused by an affiliation with the Tea Party (he had long rambling posts on social media about admiring the Communist Manifesto). But the stink stuck and there are still liberals who will bring it up in conversation. “The Tea Party caused what happened to Gifford.” No, it didn’t. No one in the Tea Party advocated for anyone to go out and shoot anyone … including the President. We gathered peacefully in parks and along highways to protest the socialization of the country. Mentally ill people had to act upon their own delusional systems to decide to shoot elected officials.

And that is the difference between the Tea Party and the Resistance. The Resistance seems to be actively calling for violence against Trump and anyone who doesn’t see his presidency in the same way they do. Kathy Griffin (beheading Trump), Snoop Dog (shooting president in the head), Madonna (blowing up the White House), Robert DeNiro (I’d like to punch him in the face), Joss Whedon (what he wants a rhino to do to Paul Ryan isn’t acceptable fodder for this blog), Marilyn Manson (killing Trump in music video), Larry Wilmer (suffocating Trump with Scalia’s pillow) and several others have actively engaged in violent rhetoric, sometimes veiled as humor, but all designed to invoke a response both from their own followers and from “the other side.” I find it ironic that people are so worried about hurting the feelings of Muslims by talking honestly about Islamic terrorism or the feelings of transgendered people by using standard pronouns to describe them are okay with suggesting that murdering someone for their political views is fine.

So, if some Squeaky Fromm-like person tries to kill President Trump, Johnny Depp should be put on trial right next to that person, as an accessory before the fact. There are limits to what you can say under the concept of free speech. Shouting fire in a crowded theater and suggesting someone should kill the president are examples of when you cross a line and should pay a penalty. But, hey, my guess is that this will not hurt Depp’s career in the least and should an assassination attempt occur, nobody will remember who planted the idea in the public’s mind.

 

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