Where have all the Communists gone?

Anyone with eyes, or enough sense to evaluate what Communism has actually done, as opposed to what the doctrine says would be done under it (or what they want to see) could understand that by the late 1960’s Communism was a massive failure, as well as a murderous sham. But Communism was rescued by postmodernists, re-branded as it were, resurrected as Critical Theory. That’s really what postmodernism, the preference for subjective interpretation over objective evidence, does, it re-brands. Failures of courage or moral fiber are re-branded as illnesses, therapeutic approaches are substituted for training (good habits) and self-discipline, the very notion of self-discipline is re-branded as deprivation, and any adversity, even temporary, is re-branded as oppression, thus watering down what true oppression is. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot anyone?

Critical theory has six premises. Here they are in all their glory.

1. Individual identity is inseparable from group identity. There are only two human groups: The Oppressed and the Oppressors. Therefore, every individual is classified under a group label, based on past oppression: racial/ethnic (the darker your skin, the more oppressed), sexual behavior (the less heteronormative, the more oppressed), female (all are oppressed), religious (the less Christian, the more oppressed), class (the poorer is more oppressed), country of origin (the less western, the more oppressed).

2. Oppressors exercise hegemonic power—the ability of a group to impose their values, norms and expectations on another group. This is not necessarily related to the numbers of each group, rather the power to shape. It’s all about power. There is no logic, reason, investigation, evidence, dialogue or debate involved; whoever has the power wins. Therefore, adherents to critical theory will exercise power–infiltrating the “levers” of power: media, education, government (starting with becoming bureaucrats).

3. The Fundamental moral duty of government is freeing the oppressed from the hegemonic power of oppressors, by removing or suppressing intolerance. Justice = liberation from hegemonic power. Ex.: Any “dominant group” claiming that certain moral norms are universally obligatory is oppressive. Such dominating groups and institutions must be silenced in order for humans to be truly free. Followers of Christ who believe that biblical norms governing morality (sanctity of life, marriage, homosexuality) are pre-determined by a Higher Being and apply to everyone equally, are an oppressor group that needs to be silenced.

4. Experience lived is more important than objective evidence in understanding oppression. Rational thought is a tool of oppression when it contradicts an oppressed person’s testimony. Since an oppressed person experiences life differently than oppressors, you have no right to disagree unless you’re in the exact circumstances.

5. Oppressors hide their oppression by appealing to objective evidence. When a member of an oppressed group “speaks their truth”, you say amen, you don’t argue. Using rationality and facts is a sneaky way of gaining and holding power, cloaking your will to dominate.

6. People who are at the intersection of different kinds of oppression experience it in a unique way that no one who isn’t occupying the same intersection can understand. Race, class, sexuality, gender, and religion are foremost among the various roads that can intersect.

Extension of those 6 propositions = “There’s no right or wrong objectively, other than oppression is wrong and liberation from oppression is right.” But what does liberation from oppression look like? To the proponents of critical theory, liberation looks like the rallying cry of the French Revolution–liberty, equality, fraternity. But the true endpoint of the rejection of “universal norms” is always the gulag and the gun: the “killing fields” of Laos and Cambodia, the torture of the “great leap forward”, the mass starvation of the “kulaks”, where “the rich”–anyone who has more (education, possessions) than the least, get “what’s coming to them”. Envy run amok and writ large in the corpses and broken backs.

A better take than “two groups” is “two visions”. Thomas Sowell, in his 1987 book, A Conflict of Visions, talks about the two competing visions of the world. The constrained vision sees the “evils of the world as arising from the limited and unhappy choices available given the moral and intellectual constraints of human beings.” The unconstrained vision sees good things as natural and bad things as the result of evil institutions or intentions. Sowell rebutted an argument that blacks are poorer than whites because of the legacy of slavery. His rebuttal said, “let’s compare where blacks stood 100 years after slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the welfare state.” From 1940 to 1960, the black poverty rate in the U.S. fell from 87% to 47%. After 1960, the poverty rate continued to decline, but at a much slower pace, and that was mainly due to the residual of economic policy of the past. Prior to 1960, the majority of black children were being raised by two parents; during the next 30 years, that reality was replaced by 70% of black children born out of wedlock.

The welfare state isn’t just a plague here. In Iceland over 40% of children are growing up with one parent, while in South Korea, NOT a welfare state, it’s only one out of 66. Sowell cites affirmative action as being a unique policy, in that it “hurts everyone and is beneficial to no one”. He gives the example of when he was teaching at Cornell, and discovered that most of the black students there were on academic probation. He looked up SAT scores and found that the average score for black students placed them in the 75th percentile of all those who took the tests. That would be sufficient to get them into, and be competitive in 80% of the colleges in the country. But at Cornell, the average SAT of all liberal arts undergraduates placed them in the 99th percentile. Cornell’s affirmative action requirements set those affirmative action students up to fail.

“Affirmative action” is a product of the worldview of critical theory, particularly propositions 1, 2 and 3. “Black students” are part of a group, not individuals, “standards” are hegemonic power, and “liberation” is removing the barrier of standards for every member of the group. Since in the unconstrained vision, institutions rather than individual choices are the cause of failure, the power of the institution to set standards must be thwarted. If my reader has absorbed the propositions of critical theory, s/he might think that Mr. Sowell is a black man born to privilege, so I will disabuse them of that notion. Please read this brief bio, especially the part about his early years. https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sowell

In critical theory, Sowell, and his close friend (my other favorite practical economist), Walter Williams, both of whom grew up in similar deprived circumstances, would be considered “outliers” who don’t disprove critical theory because they espouse “white ideas”. But in reality, they embrace the truth of the world as it is, not as they wish it were. Those who would think “well, most people of color benefit from affirmative action”, and see Sowell and Williams as the exceptions who don’t need it, probably have absorbed the propositions of critical theory, seeing the world through that distorted lens.

Our country makes THE list…..Really?

Meghan Daum is a writer I follow on Medium.com. Here, she’s writing about The Perverse Seductions of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

“That (the show) might be a smart way of promoting a new book, especially in a country reeling from our ongoing political fiasco. But the United States is not poised to become a misogynist totalitarian regime simply because there are some monstrous men out there (some with considerable power) and things don’t always move in the direction we’d like them to. It’s this overreaching premise that led Thomson Reuters to include the United States on a list of the 10 most dangerous countries for women, along with India, where public gang rapes are rampant, as well as Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia (plus Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Congo and Nigeria. Whew, aren’t you relieved that the USA is only #10?), places known for “honor” killings, forced marriages, and female genital mutilation. The United States’ inclusion on the list, according to the poll’s website, was attributable to the fact that the survey, which polled 548 “experts on women’s issues,” was conducted last fall, in the wake of #MeToo movement.”

It might be telling that Congo, officially the Democratic Republic of, is on the list, along with the others, not counting the USA. While the dominant religion of 7 of them is Islam, with Hinduism the dominant religion of India, supposedly the dominant religion of the other two–USA and Congo–is Christianity. Telling, because real Christianity–the Bible–shows utmost respect for and care of women. If women are being abused in a culture, it is anything but Christian. In the case of Congo, it is endless war that is the oppression factor, specifically the enthusiasm for rape and torture of the victorious African “soldier”. In the case of the USA, it is imaginary.

“While the United States’ inclusion among the world’s worst women-haters is absurd, if not downright offensive, the list is an important reminder that there are countries in the world that, right now, get pretty damn close to Gilead. Which might raise the question as to why we don’t spend more time talking about them. Some progressives will reduce such comparisons to ‘whataboutism,’ insisting that a bad situation isn’t made less bad because another situation is worse. But another word for whataboutism is perspective. Once an essential tool for thinking, perspective is now a kind of obstacle. It gets in the way of the stories we want to tell ourselves — especially the stories we want to tell about ourselves.

Interesting thought, that perspective presents an obstacle to believing narratives. Since she is writing for women, her focus is on anti-woman narratives. There are also racial, ethnic, religious and cultural narratives. You may have heard the expression, “there are four kinds of people in the world: those who make something happen, those who watch something happen, those who don’t know something is happening, but not sure what happened, and those who don’t know anything is happening.” With regards to pop narratives, they roughly correspond to: narrative promoters, who either believe the narrative or pretend to, mainly because it’s in their interest to do so; narrative agnostics, who are bombarded with the narrative until they aren’t sure what they think; narrative shruggers, who aren’t sure and don’t care anyway; narrative sleepers, medicated enough by social media, entertainment, or other drugs, and miss practically everything. I often wonder if the last group aren’t really the smart ones, since narratives come and go in “their sound and fury, signifying nothing “ (apologies to Shakespeare). Back to Ms. Daum.

“So, what makes Atwood’s persecution story so compelling? In my wilder moments of pondering, I’ve wondered if the extraordinary, unprecedented freedoms now enjoyed by women in places like the United States have made us all the more fascinated with the notion of our own oppression. It’s almost like part of the pleasure of reading the books and watching the show comes from imagining our own punishment and martyrdom. As is often the case with such conjurings, the cartoonish proportions of this punishment transform it from a factual possibility into a speculation, a ghastly fantasy that’s compelling precisely because you know it will never happen in real life. Maybe it’s not so much that we’re living in Gilead, but that some aspect of Gilead is living in us.

Has the “USS Free Speech” already sailed? CR 99.

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 begins with: this measure would call upon all Californians to embrace the individual and social benefits of family and community acceptance, upon religious leaders to counsel on LGBTQ matters from a place of love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy, and upon the people of California and the institutions of California with great moral influence to model equitable treatment of all people of the state. Sorry, but I feel compelled to print and rebut almost the entire resolution, with questions. This is my version of critical theory.

California lawmakers passed a resolution this month telling “religious groups” — including Christian pastors and churches — to “embrace” the LGBTQ worldview, even if it contradicts the moral values of those religious groups. The resolution overwhelmingly passed the California Senate and House this month. Let’s question the assumptions in the actual text of the resolution.

WHEREAS, The California State Legislature has found that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming. The legislature has “found”? Tell me, where did you find that truth? You didn’t mention sin either, but I’m sure that’s just an oversight. It’s good to know that you folks were elected to be the moral arbiters of sexuality.

WHEREAS, Major professional associations of mental and physical health recognize that being LGBTQ is part of natural variations that occur in sexual orientation and gender identity, and recommend responsive services that foster self-acceptance and skills to cope with social stigma and discrimination. Like who? “Natural variations?” In gender identity? How many genders did you say? Two, four, 50 or, if we’re in Great Britain, they’ve found 100!

WHEREAS, Practices or therapies that attempt to create a change in a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are often referred to as conversion therapy. I’ll let that go, that’s at least accurate.

WHEREAS, Some family, caregivers, and communities promote conversion therapy when a person is known or thought to be LGBTQ. Isn’t it true that most conversion therapy is sought by the patients themselves? It’s a little difficult to do “therapy” involuntarily.

WHEREAS, California law recognizes that performing conversion therapy on young persons is ineffective, unethical, and harmful. Sez you? Some people have benefited. Can you back up such a generalization? Unethical, according to whom?

WHEREAS, Conversion therapy has been rejected as ineffective, unethical, and harmful by leading medical, mental health, and child welfare organizations in the United States. Which ones specifically? “Leading?” Led by whom?

WHEREAS, The stigma associated with being LGBTQ often created by groups in society, including therapists and religious groups, has caused disproportionately high rates of suicide, attempted suicide, depression, rejection, and isolation amongst LGBTQ and questioning individuals. Perhaps you have cause and effect reversed. What if those emotional problems were the result of the lifestyle itself, or the emotional problems that were already there fostered the sexual behavior? Can’t be, right? It’s the therapists and religious groups. So tell me, are all the LGBTQ people happy and well adjusted now that they have the power? I’d like to know.

WHEREAS, The State of California has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including LGBTQ youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by family rejection and attempts to change sexual orientation or gender identity. “serious harms caused by family rejection.” Now we’re getting into some pretty intrusive territory. Are you setting the table for direct government intervention in families? What Constitution gives any branch or level of government the authority to “protect the psychological well-being” of anyone?

WHEREAS, In a pluralistic society, people differing along spectrums of political and religious perspectives share a common responsibility of protecting the health and well-being of all children and vulnerable communities. What does that mean? Reads like you’re telling churches what their responsibilities are.

Therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature calls upon all Californians to embrace the individual and social benefits of family and community acceptance. We’re only suggesting what the family and “community” (whom? Probably the church.) should do—voluntarily. We don’t yet have the power to compel, yet.

Be it further Resolved, That the Legislature calls upon religious leaders to counsel on LGBTQ matters from a place of love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy. Yep, this is a more clear step in the slithering under the tentflap. “LGBTQ matters?” Has sexual preference now become a legislative priority? Hey, I thought you L’s and G’s always said, “keep the government out of my bedroom.”

Be it further Resolved, That in addressing the stigma often associated with persons who identify as LGBTQ, we call on the people of California–especially its counselors, pastors, religious workers, educators, and legislators–and the institutions of California with great moral influence–especially its churches, universities, colleges, and other schools, counseling centers, activist groups, and religious centers–to model equitable treatment of all people of the state. Just wait until you bigots don’t follow our call.

It did not require Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) signature because it has no legal force. Republican state Sen. Andreas Borgea said, “When an individual seeks therapy or guidance before a religious leader, whether it be a mosque, a temple, or a church, that’s a private setting. … To disallow or create the pathway where we tell individuals they cannot say certain things should give us pause.

Indeed, Greg Burt of the California Family Council told the Epoch TimesWe believe in free speech. They [the legislators] have every right to criticize our position, but the state government does not have the right to use its power to coerce us to change. And that’s where we believe this resolution is heading.”. I say amen. I wonder if the free speech ship has already sailed.

Now let’s be clear about the implications. I am not criticizing LGBTQ people per se, rather an agenda which is not about respect for their sexuality, but is part of a much larger agenda to replace all vestiges of norms and standards with the tenets of critical theory. C.T. posits that humanity is composed of two groups only—the oppressed and the oppressors. The latter group exercises what C.T. calls hegemonic power—the power to shape and enforce norms, standards and expectations of the culture. The former group consists of anyone who is perceived as not having the power to do that, and the solution is liberation, which consists of destroying the dominant group and replacing it with….that’s the problem, what? I go into a lot more detail in my post “Where have all the Communists gone.” But for my purpose here, understand that non-heteronormative sexuality places them in the category of oppressed. Make no mistake, be not naive, this Resolution 99 IS a powerful salvo against the idea of cultural norms, and specifically against Judeo-Christian norms. It will not stop here.