Liberals and the New McCarthyism Reply

The Left is the best recruiting effort that our side has because they not only go out of their way to give us publicity, but they also do everything they can to drive anyone who is not mentally ill away from their camp.

By Derrick Jensen

Counterpunch

It’s easy enough, some sixty years after the fact, for us to cluck our tongues at the cowardice and stupidity of those who went along with McCarthyism. It’s especially easy for liberals and academics to say that had they been alive back then, they would certainly have had the courage to stand up for discourse and to stand up for those being blacklisted. That’s partly because universities like to present themselves as bastions of free thought and discourse, where students, faculty, and guests discuss the most important issues of the day. Liberal academics especially like to present themselves as encouraging of these discussions.

Bullshit.

A new McCarthyism—complete with blacklisting—has overtaken universities, and discourse in general, and far from opposing it, liberal academics are its most active and ardent perpetrators, demanding a hegemony of thought and discourse that rivals the original.

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Things That Anarchists Say to Me in Private But Never Repeat Publicly 5

By Anonymous

Anarchist News

From Reddit

Can you relate?

1) “Call-out culture was developed to allow activist groups to confront leaders who abused their privilege, but now it is being used to settle petty scores on the level of interpersonal politics. I now have a hard time believing some people when they make call-outs because I have seen too many that were based on nothing. Call-outs have become a way to acceptably inflict social violence and rarely are followed up in any way resembling transformative justice because people are not interested in doing the hard work of working with those who are called out.”

2) “As a white person, if I don’t automatically agree with whichever person of color is directly in front of me, I run the risk of being labelled a racist. This is a result of good intentions where we want to center people of color and their experiences, but it makes no sense because people of color are not a monolithic block who all agree or share the same experiences. I am basically forced to perform a kind of double-think where I am expected to be able to agree with multiple conflicting viewpoints at the same time – or at least pretend to.”

3) “The line, ‘it’s not my responsibility to educate you, educate yourself’ is being used too frequently. People should only say this when it would be seriously difficult to help educate someone. Otherwise as an anarchist it is your responsibility to help educate people who want to learn, or to help find someone who is willing to do it. Furthermore, refusing to explain yourself contributes to a form of classism in which people with less formal education and access to information are marginalized within anarchist communities. As well, this line assumes that there are ‘correct’ resources to be reading that are available, and that the person in question will be able to find them among thousands of conflicting resources.”

4) “Excluding straight/cis/male people makes sense in queer/trans/women’s spaces, but often these people are informally excluded in anarchist spaces that are not any of these things. This hurts our ability to cultivate meaningful popular social power. It’s also related to a dynamic where men of color, native men, immigrant men and other groups of marginalized men are severely underrepresented in anarchist spaces. It also assumes that straight/cis presenting people have the option of being ‘more queer’ or ‘more trans’, which is often not the case depending on their circumstances.”

5) “Calling people out for using the wrong language, for example saying ‘biological female’ instead of ‘person assigned female at birth’, is harmful and makes no sense because not everyone has access to the same information, they’ll never learn if they’re excluded, and the ‘correct’ languages changes every couple of years anyway. People don’t want to be associated with us because they see how punishing we are to each other and it turns them off.”

6) “People use ‘unsafe’ when they mean ‘uncomfortable’ way too often and it diminishes the meaning of the word ‘unsafe’ to the point where it’s not very meaningful anymore.”

7) “People’s obsession with identity politics means the only people who can say stuff like this out loud have to be able to identify themselves as multiply marginalized, and then everyone immediately agrees about how problematic it all is.”

8) “Who cares about who you personally fuck when we’re talking about a broad political movement? Get off the ego trip. What we want is health care, affordable housing, jobs, prison abolition, immigration rights, sex workers rights, and the end of capitalism. ‘Queer’ has become so fashionable that it’s being confused with ‘radical’.”

9) “People have no interest in actually changing things anymore. Talking about class and economics isn’t fashionable, and in some cases it’s downright dismissed and labelled as racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic. Anarchists don’t want to build coalitions with working-class people because they don’t want to be ‘triggered’ by having to explain their politics to people who disagree with them.”

10) “We’ve completely failed to build frameworks for accountability and transformative justice, and instead rely on callouts and social exclusion that replicate the prison system without the benefit of having trials.”

Laughter Is Bourgeoiis: The Roots Of Political Correctness Reply

If you do not read any thing else that is posted on ATS this year, read this.

By Larry Gambone

Political Correctness was around for many years before the mass media caught on. It is definitely not an invention of the late 1980’s as many people seem to think. I recall hearing the term almost 25 years ago, used to describe the very sort of priggishness and authoritarianism encountered in the young woman who though it bourgeois to laugh. Political correctness was an insulting term to most of us. But early-format PC did harm the movement. There were certain things you would not dare to speak or write about. Our real opinions could only be aired among our closest friends, for if it came out that you thought Mao a mass murderer, the Black Panther Party a bunch of gangsters or that certain fringe ferminists were female fascists, you would find yourself attacked as ‘reactionary’, ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’. And there was no place in the leftist counter-culture for anyone having to live under the burden of those epithets.

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Christian Right, Progressive Left: Birds of a feather? 2

This post is a bit dated, and seems to have been written in the 1990s, but the comparison is certainly relevant in the present era.

Progressives and the Christian right are not normally thought to resemble each other. Certainly they don’t like each other. But since I’ve observed both at close quarters, have enjoyed both C.S. Lewis and Noam Chomsky, read Frank Peretti and Molly Ivins, meditated on Francis Schaeffer and Alison Bechdel, what strike me are the similarities.

I list some of the resemblances below. (You can find the differences yourself.) Perhaps each camp will recognize itself a little in the other. What they do with this alarming recognition is up to them.

  • Political correctness/ orthodoxy. Both are highly concerned with correct thinking. Of course only the leftists ever feel bad about this: “politically correct” evolved as a leftist joke. There’s always someone more to the left than you. But then, there’s always someone more fundamentalist than you.
  • Historicism. Both camps view of history as a drama where destiny is on their side. You can even see the same defense mechanisms at work: both good news and bad news are part of the plan– good news of course obviously confirms our impending victory; bad news confirms the dire predictions that are equally part of the ideological inheritance. And the derived tendency on both sides is to sit back and leave the struggle to others: if history is on your side, why exert yourself?
  • Schismaticism. Both camps have a tendency to divide into tiny factions, wasting their energy in fights over absurd points of doctrine. Both tend to admire the ideologically strict and to despise toleration and compromise.
  • As a corollary of this, both sides hate Clinton. (See also Puritanism.)
  • Both are given to conspiracy theories— a conviction that the Other Side is a monolithic unity dedicated to trampling goodness and decency. The idea that the Other Side is itself a fractious mass which defeats most of its own purposes, or that the course of the world is determined more by apathy and stupidity than by active evil, is completely alien to their mentality.
  • Both are convinced of pervasive media bias against them. Rightists babble about the “liberal media”; Christians complain about ‘secular humanism’; progressives are just as sure that the media are the mouthpiece of conservative moneyed interests. Neither side has any clue why its own shrill and narrow-minded magazines are not more popular.
  • Both have violent, separatist fringes (which the other side assumes are typical of the species). At the same time, paradoxically, if you want a pacifist, the two best places to look are in nooks and crannies of Christianity or the left.

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The ‘Liberal’ Police State: It’s Here, It’s Now Reply

By Justin Raimondo

Antiwar.Com

Wesley Clark, the retired general who almost started World War III with Russia, has a bright idea: why not set up internment camps for “radicalized” Americans in order to stanch the threat of domestic terrorism?

Yes, he actually said this, and, what’s more, MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts didn’t even raise a well-manicured eyebrow. The interview took place in the context of MSNBC’s reporting on the Chattanooga shooting, and Roberts asked him what could be done to prevent such incidents. Here is Clark’s answer:

“We have got to identify the people who are most likely to be radicalized. We’ve got to cut this off at the beginning. There are always a certain number of young people who are alienated. They don’t get a job, they lost a girlfriend, their family doesn’t feel happy here and we can watch the signs of that. And there are members of the community who can reach out to those people and bring them back in and encourage them to look at their blessings here.

“But I do think on a national policy level we need to look at what self-radicalization means because we are at war with this group of terrorists. They do have an ideology. In World War II if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.

“So, if these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States, as a matter of principle fine. It’s their right and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict. And I think we’re going to have to increasingly get tough on this, not only in the United States but our allied nations like Britain, Germany and France are going to have to look at their domestic law procedures.”

Gen. Clark isn’t a fascist, or a Fox News fire-breather: he’s a conventional liberal. He was a critic of the Iraq war, a favorite of the Daily Kos/Netroots Nation-types, and he once ran for President. Thankfully his campaign never did get off the ground.

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Social Justice Warriors Disrupt Earth First! Gathering Reply

By Deep Green Philly

AnarchistNews.Org

“Sometime during the middle of the rondy a rupture took place that led to much discussion as well as many emotional outbursts. It also led to a general malaise which in turn led to a mass exodus of about half the camp. It was sparked off by the usual suspects: identity politics, issues of cultural appropriation, and general feelings of discontent with demographics. I’m not going to go into detail about that situation because I’m sure others will be chiming in with their own perspectives on this situation. All I will say about it is that I’ve encountered this sort of thing before at other non-EF! gatherings. There has definitely emerged a certain group of people who take it upon themselves to disrupt what they see as white supremacist organizations. While I wish that they would take that shit to a Hillary Clinton rally or something, I can respect the spirit of it if not the specific tactics and general anti-social, juvenile and trollish behaviors of some of these people (one of whom almost got a fist to the face for trying to get up in mine). Radical communities are struggling enough as it is and don’t really need that sort of social justice warrior adventurism malarkey, but hey, this is the landscape we currently inhabit and what we must endure by having spaces that are open to everyone.”

In the days and weeks leading up to this year’s Earth First! rondy my thoughts were often preoccupied with the state of this world that is lurching from crisis to crisis and slipping deeper into chaos. In a time when our victories seem increasingly few and strictly symbolic, and as the machinery of industrial capitalism continues its assault on the earth and those who depend on it for survival, I was very much hoping for the rondy to be a place of reflection, strategizing, commiseration with like minds, and yes, escape from the mental stress of the city. To a certain degree I was not disappointed; there were a lot of great conversations, interesting workshops and time for reconnecting with nature. Yet, as is often the case, there’s no real escape from the intellectual and emotional quagmire of civilized life.

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Dave Chappelle’s Comeback Tour Takes Aim at “New Intolerance” Reply

Who better to fight the PC moralists than Dave Chappelle?

By Nick Gillespie

Reason

A decade ago that Dave Chappelle was the hottest comedian on the planet. His Comedy Central show created riffs and routines (“I’m Rick James, bitch“) that still haunt the ether like old radio transmissions bouncing back from outer space. His standup was raucous and rude and unbelievably funny. After quitting his show and his career at the very peak of his fame and occasional standup appearances (some of which got pretty nasty between him and his audience), Chappelle is back with a full tour in the U.S. and England (and still occasionally getting on the wrong side of the crowd).

It’s not just Chappelle who has changed over the past 10 years, of course. So has the culture, which has gotten noticeably touchier about all sorts of real and imagined slights. Spiked‘s Tom Slater has a review-essay about seeing Chappelle, who converted to Islam in the late 1990s, perform in London that’s well worth a read if you care about freedom of expression and what is accurately called “the new intolerance.”

A snippet:

A snippet:

His new set is peppered with jokes about him coming face-to-face with the new intolerance. There’s the lesbian couple whose kid is at the same ‘liberal-rich’ private school as his son – one of them laughing along at his jokes about whether or not they qualify for the father-son picnic, the other ‘too committed to her lesbianism’ to entertain them. And then there’s that trans joke, in which Dave, finding himself at a poncey gallery party, is stared down when he dares to ask ‘Is he okay?’ after a cross-dresser collapses in the corner. ‘I support anyone’s right to be who they want to be. My question is: to what extent do I have to participate in your self-image?’

Read the whole thing.

The New Totalitarians Are Here 1

By Tom Nichols

The Federalist

The New Totalitarians Are Here

There’s a basic difference in the traditions of political science between “authoritarians” and “totalitaritarians.” People throw both of these words around, but as is so often the case, they’re using words they may not always understand. They have real meaning, however, and the difference between them is important.

Simply put, authoritarians merely want obedience, while totalitarians, whose rule is rooted in an ideology, want obedience and conversion. Authoritarians are a dime a dozen; totalitarians are rare. The authoritarians are the guys in charge who want to stay in charge, and don’t much care about you, or what you’re doing, so long as you stay out of their way. They are the jefe and his thugs in a brutal regime that want you to shut up, go to work, and look the other way when your loudmouthed neighbor gets his lights punched out by goons in black jackets. Live or die. It’s all the same to the regime.

Totalitarians are a different breed. These are the people who have a plan, who think they see the future more clearly than you or who are convinced they grasp reality in a way that you do not. They don’t serve themselves—or, they don’t serve themselves exclusively—they serve History, or The People, or The Idea, or some other ideological totem that justifies their actions.

They want obedience, of course. But even more, they want their rule, and their belief system, to be accepted and self-sustaining. And the only way to achieve that is to create a new society of people who share those beliefs, even if it means bludgeoning every last citizen into enlightenment. That’s what makes totalitarians different and more dangerous: they are “totalistic” in the sense that they demand a complete reorientation of the individual to the State and its ideological ends. Every person who harbors a secret objection, or even so much as a doubt, is a danger to the future of the whole project, and so the regime compels its subjects not only to obey but to believe.

“Authoritarians merely want obedience, while totalitarians, whose rule is rooted in an ideology, want obedience and conversion.”

This is what George Orwell understood so well in his landmark novel “1984.” His dystopian state doesn’t really care about quotidian obedience; it already knows how to get that. What it demands, and will get by any means, is a belief in the Party’s rectitude and in its leader, Big Brother. If torturing the daylights out of people until they denounce even their loved ones is what it takes, so be it. That’s why the ending of the novel is so terrifying: after the two rebellious lovers of the story are broken and made to turn on each other, the wrecks left by the State are left to sit before the Leader’s face on a screen with only one emotion still alive in the husks of their bodies: they finally, truly love Big Brother.

Americans Are Getting Too Comfortable With Thought Control

I’ve gone down this road of literary and academic exposition because I fear an increasing number of my fellow Americans are, at heart, becoming totalitarians.

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Hate Crimes Charges for Stealing and Burning a Rainbow Flag? 1

Read the story and watch the video here.

On one hand, it looks like this guy was doing more than merely burning a flag that he happened to own. He apparently stole the flag from neighbors. So he’s at least guilty of trespassing, theft, and destruction of property. But charges of felony arson, which is usually applied to the destruction of buildings for purposes of revenge or insurance fraud, and hate crime, given no violence or threat of violence, appears to be present seems a bit excessive. This guy is an asshole, but I wonder if the charges would have been levied if this had involved an American flag, Confederate flag, or, lol, a Swastika flag.

Gabriel Brown raises some interesting points.

“This story is interesting for many different reasons. For the past few weeks and even month, I have seen people calling to burn the Confederate battle flag and to burn the United States’ flag. For decades, it has been determined that flag-burning is a First Amendment right regardless of whether or not we agree or disagree with burning the flag, or a flag that is reflective of this nation-state’s history.

During the past 2 weeks, there have been irrational mob-like calls for digging up Confederate generals’ bodies out of a park in Memphis Tennessee.There have been irrational demands to have street names changed. Stores are now refusing to sell Confederate flag merchandise to the general public. Apple began removing all civil war games with Confederate flag symbols. TV programs like the “Dukes of Hazard” have now been pulled off the air due to the image of the flag on the famous car. There have been people demanding the flag be removed from state capitals, and there have even been advocates of burning and removing the Confederate flag who have posted up memes laughing about how the flag has been removed and replaced with the Gay Pride flag as the new state capital flag…

The irrational lynch mob mentality to burn both the American flag and the Confederate battle flag have become perfectly acceptable and, legally speaking, people have a right to burn those flags whether we agree or disagree as it is protected under the First Amendment right to do so.

All of a sudden, however… if someone chooses to burn the Gay Pride flag, the First Amendment no longer applies to the burning of that flag and it is being labeled a hate crime to do so…

How did a rainbow-colored flag gain superior and privileged protection that not even the United States’ flag, which is the official flag of our nation-state, gain such a degree of protected privilege that you may now be faced with the possibility of jail time if you are to burn this flag?

How did a rainbow-colored flag manage to completely cancel out the First Amendment to such a degree that it is now deemed a violent hate crime to burn it in this country?

Are we going to see lobbying which also deems burning the Israeli flag or the United Nations’ flag a “hate crime” as well, and where they now hold more specially privileged protection than even the flags of this nation-state we live in?

How can you argue that the national flag-burning is legally protected under the First Amendment, but a Gay Pride rainbow flag, is not when all of these objects being burned are simply pieces of cloth with symbols and colors attached to them in a way that is no different than the other?

It is stories like this that are the reason I am very concerned about hate speech laws being passed for any kind for any group because of the potential for abuse that may be utilized once implemented against anyone that ultimately is guilty of the crime of heresy by a religious cult by a group of people in favor of totalitarian humanism.

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What Is A Social Justice Warrior (SJW)? Reply

As I have been saying for the past fifteen years.

On the question of totalitarian humanism, one can theoretically be a cultural far leftist without being a totalitarian humanist, just as in past times one could advocate social justice for the working class without being a Marxist-Leninist. And one could have attitudes similar to those of the SJWs without necessarily being a totalitarian statist. Opposition to totalitarian humanism spans the entire spectrum from far, far, far Left anarchists (like myself) to the far Right (like my friends from the alternative right and neo-reactionary milieus). Unfortunately, a lot of anarchists get suckered by totalitarian humanism in the same way some anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists got suckered by Communism in the past.

By Roosh

Social justice warriors believe in an extreme left-wing ideology that combines feminism, progressivism, and political correctness into a totalitarian system that attempts to censor speech and promote fringe lifestyles while actively discriminating against men, particularly white men. They are the internet activist arm of Western progressivism that acts as a vigilante group to ensure compliance and homogeny of far left thought.

The true definition of SJW is up for debate, but most generally it has become a catch-all term that describes feminists and liberals who actively try to solve the perceived social injustices of modern society by organizing in online communities to disseminate propaganda, censor speech, and punish individuals by getting them terminated from their employment. They have also been successful at positioning themselves in the upper echelons of universities, media organizations, and tech companies.

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Robert Stark interviews Ann Sterzinger Reply

Ann Sterzinger Returns!

Ann Sterzinger

Topics include:

Trigger Warning, her new project with Rachel Haywire

The Pros and Cons of Child Abuse

Why she is a “radical moderate” and why it’s foolish to subscribe to any ideology in its entirety

Why people feel a need to be part of a political team that will support them and how it’s difficult to be politically homeless

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Distinguishing Anarchism from Totalitarian Humanism: A Three Question Litmus Test 1

For a number of years now, I have attacked sectors of the anarchist milieu for either explicitly or implicitly failing to distinguish between anarchism (a stateless anti-authoritarian society) and what I call “totalitarian humanism” (an all pervasive state that ostensibly rules in the name of enforcing “progressive” values, perhaps reinforced by vigilante mob action). I believe these three questions would go along way to distinguish sincere anarchists from totalitarian humanists attempting to usurp the banner of anarchism. Ask any anarchist the following questions, and observe what they say:

1. In your version of anarchism, would small business owners (or cooperative or communes) be allowed to refuse a to bake a cake for a gay wedding?

2. In your system, would conservative institutions such as, for example, Bob Jones University with all of its sexism, homophobia, fundamentalism, implicit racism, etc. be allowed to exist?

3. In your system, would the South African community of Orania, a de facto white separatist Afrikaner commune, be allowed to exist?

If they say “yes” to these three questions, then you have a genuine anarchist or at least a libertarian. If they say “No” to any of these, then you have, at best, a progressive statist or, more probably, a full-on totalitarian humanist.

This simple three-question litmus test would seem to be an effective way of weeding out left-fascist imposters from the anarchist milieu.

White Privilege and Other Hot Air 1

It’s time for anarchists to drop all this “privilege theory” nonsense. Our struggle is against the global power elite, not any race,religion, gender, nationality, etc, etc, etc.

By Keith Preston

Libertarian Alliance

Libertarians of whatever stripe tend to focus primarily on political theory, law, economics, ethics, and philosophy. When it comes to cultural issues, they tend to just fall back on the de facto leftist position or the de facto conservative position, depending on their personal predilections. I don’t think that’s an adequate approach. Instead, I think we need a theoretical framework that recognizes the inevitability and legitimacy of a wide assortment of cultures that really do diverge from each other in terms of core values. Thinkers like Alain De Benoist and Alexander Dugin have addressed this issue at length, and libertarians could learn a lot from them.

I think libertarians (of whatever kind) can do better than to rely on theories developed by Communists like “white skin privilege,” and which found their way into the Western Left via Maoist groups like the Weather Underground.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it shifts the focus away from the Power Elite as the target of enmity, and merely becomes a matter of promoting demographic conflict, e.g. blacks against whites, men against women, gays against straights, atheists against religious believers, natives against immigrants, trees against bulldozers, meat eaters against vegetarians, poor Appalachian whites against Jewish bankers, etc.

The theory behind all that is to ostensibly build “solidarity of the oppressed” in order to avoid allowing the ruling class to play different groups off against one another in a “divide and conquer” type of thing. But it doesn’t work that way in practice. In fact, it has precisely the opposite effect where the ruling class will pose as the friend of supposed oppressed minorities whom they use as middle men between the elite and the demographic and cultural majority they wish to subjugate in order to deflect attention from themselves (see the Belgian colonialists tactics in Rwanda where they favored the minority Tutsis over the majority Hutus as an example of how this works-and didn’t that turn out well?). Also, the cultural left has to a large degree become the cultural majority in the US, and now it is cultural traditionalists who are becoming the minority outgroup.

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California State Assembly passes resolution equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism Reply

The Zionist wing of totalitarian humanism strikes!

By Annie Robbins and Matthew Taylor

Mondoweiss

School’s out, but that didn’t stop California’s state assembly from passing Resolution HR35 buttressing a controversial report commissioned by the University of California that accuses students and faculty of contributing to an environment fostering anti-Semitism on campus.

The report’s recommendations, which seek to limit criticism of Israeli state policies as a form of “hate speech”, have been criticized as an assault on academic freedom and an attempt to limit student and faculty’s first amendment rights to free speech.

There was no debate by lawmakers prior to approval, nor was Israel even mentioned during the introduction of the resolution.

AP:

An Assembly resolution urging California colleges and universities to squelch nascent anti-Semitism also encouraged educators to crack down on demonstrations against Israel, angering advocates for Muslim students.

With no debate, lawmakers on Tuesday approved a resolution that encourages university leaders to combat a wide array of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel actions.

…….

The Assembly’s actions also drew criticism from free speech advocates. Carlos Villarreal, director of the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, called the resolution irresponsible and dangerous because it combines legitimate condemnations of acts of intimidation and hate with specific objections to tactics used to support the Palestinian people.

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/california-state-assembly-passes-resolution-equating-criticism-of-israel-with-hate-speech#sthash.My10E1jZ.dpuf

Gay Marriage, Good News and Bad: Some Thoughts on “Marriage Equality” 1

If during the course of some Twilight Zone moment I had found myself on the Supreme Court this past term here’s how I would have approached the gay marriage issue before the Court:

First, the objections to gay marriage.

1. Gay marriage is against religious teachings. Perhaps, but in a society whose core political charter guarantees free exercise of religion, this is an irrelevant argument.

2. Gay marriage goes against tradition. Perhaps, but then so does marriage based on companionate monogamy. Historically, most marriages were arranged by the families of the bride and groom, and polygamy was also widely practiced, at least among wealthy males. Additionally, an appeal to tradition alone often produces embarrassing results. Case in point: “Tradition” was one of the arguments used by slavery apologists in past times.

3. Gay marriage is unnatural. Perhaps, but the same was said at one time about interracial marriage, which was illegal in parts of the United States until 1967. It is doubtful that many Americans really want to go down that road.

4. A same-sex coupling does not produce children. No, it doesn’t. But then neither does a marriage between two sixty-five year old heterosexual partners. Besides, it’s not like the creation and raising of children is the only or even the primary function of marriage in our own culture. People get married for all kinds of reasons: romance, companionship, sex, money, social status, to defy their parents, immigration status, insurance benefits, and many other things.

Ideally, marital relations would not be a matter that involves the state. Instead, different religious and cultural communities would have their own standards concerning what constitutes a legitimate marriage, and the purely economic aspects of marriage would be no different that an ordinary business contract.

However, the fact remains that we do have state-sanctioned marriage, and this status conveys on marital partners a variety of legal benefits. Among these are inheritance rights, property ownership rights, survivor benefits in the event of the death of spouse, critical decision making prerogatives when a spouse is incapacitated, power of attorney, hospital visitation rights, the exemption of marital partners from testifying against one another in court, and a number of other things.

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The Pecking Disorder: Social Justice Warriors Gone Wild Reply

By Cathy Young

Observer

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Laura Kipnis

The ordeal of Northwestern University film professor Laura Kipnis, hauled before a campus gender equity tribunal for publishing a critique of academia’s current obsession with sexual misconduct, has brought the backlash against “political correctness” to reliably left-of-center venues such as Vox. But this is only the latest incident in the culture wars over “social justice” that have been wreaking havoc in a wide range of communities—including, but not limited to, universities, the literary world, science fiction fandom and the atheist/skeptic movement. More…

UKIP and the Gay Pride March (2015), by Sean Gabb 1

The views Dr. Gabb expresses in this piece are essentially the same as my own. I could have written this piece, almost word for word.-KP

By Dr. Sean Gabb

On the 6th June 2015, the organisers of the Gay Pride March in London announced that they had rejected an application from the UK Independence Party to take part. They had given in to a petition which called UKIP “inherently homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, racist and misogynistic.”

Before making my statement on this ban, I will say the following:

1. I am not, nor ever have been a member of UKIP, and I voted Conservative in last month’s general election.

2. I started denouncing the laws against all-male sex in the 1970s – that is, before many of our leading “gay rights” activists had started filling their nappies. Some of these denunciations were in writing, and enough of them survive and can be found on my website to show that I am telling the truth. I will add that saying what I said as a schoolboy and as a young man could get more than funny looks. It never did in my case, but there was always a risk, and I took that risk.

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Academic Mob Chases ‘Climate Change Contrarian’ Bjorn Lomborg Off Campus Reply

By Brendan O’Neill

Reason

“Are you now or have you ever been a climate contrarian?”

How long before this McCarthyite question is asked of everyone who enters into academia, in order to weed out those who refuse to bow and scrape before green orthodoxy?

If you think this sounds like a far-fetched proposition, consider a recent scandalous act of academic censorship at the University of Western Australia (UWA). And consider, more importantly, the lack of outrage it caused in the West’s professorial circles.

It involves Bjorn Lomborg, the blonde-haired, Danish annoyer of environmentalists everywhere.

Bjorn LomborgBjorn LomborgFamous for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist—in which he argued that, yes, climate change is real, but, no, cutting back on economic growth won’t help—Lomborg has been a brilliant piece of grit in one-eyed green thinking for more than a decade.

The Australian government, headed by the semi-skeptical Prime Minister Tony Abbott, decided to offer a base to Lomborg for his greenish but pro-growth analysis and agitation.

It asked him to bring his Copenhagen Consensus Center, the U.S.-based, Danish-funded not-for-profit think-tank he’s been running since 2006, Down Under. It would now be based at UWA, would be renamed the Australia Consensus Center, would be funded to the tune of 4 million Australian dollars, and would continue to stoke heated debate about whether mankind really is on the precipice of eco-doom (no) and whether more growth, not less, is the most sensible solution to the problems we face (yes).

Well, that was the plan. But it was scuppered by what can only be described as a ramshackle modern-day Inquisition, which found Lomborg guilty of the crime of denial—not of God, but of climate-change alarmism—and had him cast out of UWA.

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The Illiberal Persecution of Tim Hunt Reply

By Brendan O’Neill

Reason

Masur

If you were in any doubt that a dark cloud of illiberalism has descended over the Western academy, then the case of Tim Hunt should put you straight.

Hunt is a British biochemist. A really good one. In 2001 he won the Nobel Prize for his breakthrough work on cells. He’s a fellow of the Royal Society in London, founded in 1660 and thought to be the oldest scientific research institution in the world. And this week he was unceremoniously ditched by University College London for telling a joke.

Hunt’s crime was to make a not-very-funny gag during an after-dinner speech at a conference on women in science in South Korea earlier this week.

“Three things happen when [girls] are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry,” he said. According to one of the attendees, the joke was greeted by a “deathly, deathly silence.”

In a normal world, a world which valued the freedom to make a doofus of oneself, that should have been the end of it. Seventy-two-year-old man of science makes outdated joke, tumbleweed rolls by, The End. More…

It Begins! Montana Man Being Prosecuted for ‘Hate Speech’ and Holocaust Denial 1

By Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Reason

Via Volokh Conspiracy, a disturbing criminal case out of Montana, where Flathead County resident David Lenio, 28, is being prosecuted for making disparaging remarks about Jews on Twitter and denying that the Holocaust happened.

Say what? While this sort of prosecution is common in parts of Europe, Americans enjoy the protection of the First Amendment, which contains no exception for what’s colloquially known as “hate speech.” The only permitted exceptions to free speech protections—as the Supreme Court recently re-articulated—are for obscenity, defamation, fraud, incitement, and “speech integral to criminal conduct.”

As Eugene Volokh explains, defamation law is generally “limited to false factual assertions. It requires a showing that the speaker knows the statement is false, and isn’t just mistaken (reasonably or not). And it requires a statement about a particular person.”

But under Montana’s ridiculously broad defamation statute, “defamatory matter is anything that exposes a person or a group, class, or association to hatred, contempt, ridicule, degradation, or disgrace in society or injury to the person’s or its business or occupation.” And anyone who “communicates any defamatory matter to a third person without the consent of the person defamed commits the offense of criminal defamation.”

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Is the New Political Correctness Already Dying? Reply

Let’s face it. “Social Justice” is the new social conservatism, the Comstockery, the Prohibition movement or the Moral Majority of the 21st century. It’s time for all serious radicals to toss it in the garbage can.

By Jonathan Chait

New York Magazine

The bizarre Title IX investigation of Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis represents a milestone in the growing awareness among liberals that the left’s approach to identity has gone badly astray. The notion that Kipnis’s essay ridiculing the campus sexual atmosphere was not merely misguided, but an act of gender discrimination, crossed a threshold of ridiculousness. The absurdity of the proceedings was compounded, Erik Wemple reports, when Kipnis’s “faculty-support person” briefed their colleagues about her bizarre ordeal, and that person also became the subject of Title IX discrimination charges, the classic witch-hunt logic by which anybody who questions the fairness of the accusations becomes the subject of more accusations.

But what does the episode tell us? It does not show that the Constitutional right to freedom of speech faces a serious threat. The proceedings against Kipnis were dropped, and it’s impossible to imagine that a court could have sustained any formal sanctions against her on the basis of writing an op-ed column, because of, you know, the First Amendment.

What’s important, rather, is that Kipnis’s antagonists believe that she deserves to be punished by the university administration for writing a column they didn’t like. The official demand of mattress-bearing protestors was “a swift, official condemnation of the sentiments expressed by Professor Kipnis in her inflammatory article” on the grounds that the offending column “has caused tremendous hurt to members of Northwestern’s community.”

The move to sanction Kipnis was not a misguided one-off, but the natural expression of a worldview that I described in a story earlier this year about resurgent political correctness. This is a set of illiberal social norms that have spread throughout much of academia and some virtual communities in social media.

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