Hobby Lobby reveals how public and private spheres have changed in the last few decades

Church rejects Obama as GodBack in the 1980s, when I was a good ol” liberal Democrat (sort of in the Kennedy mold), I kept hearing those Bible Thumpers in the Moral Majority bandy about a word: “Secularist.”

What the heck was that? Nobody I knew (and everyone I knew was a person of the sort-of Left) called him or herself a “secularist.”

What in the world did those zealots mean by labeling me that way and pretending that I’m doing something damaging to them? I understood what was really going on:  Very religious people were abnormal, and then there were the rest of us who were non-religious, or slightly religious in a genteel, non-obtrusive fashion.  The fact that our “religion”  closely paralleled the Democrat Party platform, meaning that laws were informed by our “religious” values was just a coincidence.

We were not foisting anything on them.  If anything, they were the foisters, especially with their stupid pro-Life values.

I’ve obviously come a long way from then, haven’t I?

One of the things that helped me on my journey to rationality was Stephen Carter’s The Culture of Disbelief. It was he who explained to me that to hold values in opposition to traditional Christianity is itself a value system.

Bingo! Light bulb moment. As of 1994, I finally understood what the Moral Majority was complaining about. I didn’t yet agree with the values they advanced, but I instantly became much more sympathetic to their complaints about Leftist, secular culture encroaching upon them.

The societal change Carter noted — that the absence of religious values (as opposed to religious doctrine) was taking over the public forum — has only accelerated in recent years. I actually hadn’t thought about it in any specific way until I read Megan McArdle’s very thoughtful post about the Left’s hysteria in response to the Supreme Court’s extremely narrow, common-sensical Hobby Lobby ruling.

For conservatives, even non-religious ones, the ruling’s correctness was a no-brainer:  The holding that government cannot compel people to purchase a product inconsistent with core doctrinal beliefs is true both to the Constitution and to the traditional American ethos of keeping the state out of people’s religion.

But what if the state itself is the people’s religion? McArdle believes that this trend, which sees public space co-opted by non-religious beliefs that have been themselves elevated to absolute “values” explains much of the hysteria, not among the professional Left, but among ordinary DemProgs.  The change in attitude McArdle notes explains both why Leftists cannot appreciate the seriousness of the issue for religious people and why they do not view the Obama administration’s actions as coercive.

I’m quoting McArdle at some length here, because the logic underlying her theory is so tightly constructed, it’s difficult for me to quote her without doing damage to her reasoning.  I urge you, though, to read the whole thing:

I think a few things are going on here. The first is that while the religious right views religion as a fundamental, and indeed essential, part of the human experience, the secular left views it as something more like a hobby, so for them it’s as if a major administrative rule was struck down because it unduly burdened model-train enthusiasts. That emotional disconnect makes it hard for the two sides to even debate; the emotional tenor quickly spirals into hysteria as one side says “Sacred!” and the other side says, essentially, “Seriously? Model trains?” That shows in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent, where it seems to me that she takes a very narrow view of what role religious groups play in the lives of believers and society as a whole.

The second, and probably more important, problem is that the long compromise worked out between the state and religious groups — do what you want within very broad limits, but don’t expect the state to promote it — is breaking down in the face of a shift in the way we view rights and the role of the government in public life.

To see what I mean, consider an argument I have now heard hundreds of times — on Facebook, in my e-mail, in comment threads here and elsewhere: “Hobby Lobby’s owners have a right to their own religious views, but they don’t have a right to impose them on others.”As I wrote the day the decision came out, the statement itself is laudable, yet it rings strange when it’s applied to this particular circumstance. How is not buying you something equivalent to “imposing” on you?

I think you can understand this, however, as the clash of principles designed for a world of negative rights, in a society that has come to embrace substantial positive rights — as well as a clash between old and new concepts of what is private and what is public.

All of us learned some version of “You have the right to your beliefs, but not to impose them on others” in civics class. It’s a classic negative right. And negative rights are easy to make reciprocal: You have a right to practice your religion without interference, and I have a right not to have your beliefs imposed on me.

This works very well in situations in which most of the other rights granted by society are negative rights, because negative rights don’t clash very often. Oh, sure, you’re going to get arguments about noise ordinances and other nuisance abatements, but unless your religious practices are extreme indeed, the odds that they will substantively violate someone else’s negative rights are pretty slim.

[snip]

Alongside this development, as Yuval Levin has pointed out, we have seen an ongoing shift, particularly on the left, in the balance between what constitutes the private and the public spheres, and who has powers in which sphere. There’s a reductive tendency in modern political discourse to view public versus private as the state versus the individual.

In the 19th century, the line between the individual and the government was just as firm as it is now, but there was a large public space in between that was nonetheless seen as private in the sense of being mostly outside of government control — which is why we still refer to “public” companies as being part of the “private” sector. Again, in the context of largely negative rights, this makes sense. You have individuals on one end and a small state on the other, and in the middle you have a large variety of private voluntary institutions that exert various forms of social and financial coercion, but not governmental coercion — which, unlike other forms of coercion, is ultimately enforced by the government’s monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.

[snip]

[O]utside of our most intimate relationships, almost everything else is now viewed as public, which is why Brendan Eich’s donation to an anti-gay-marriage group became, in the eyes of many, grounds for firing.

For many people, this massive public territory is all the legitimate province of the state. Institutions within that sphere are subject to close regulation by the government, including regulations that turn those institutions into agents of state goals — for example, by making them buy birth control for anyone they choose to employ. It is not a totalitarian view of government, but it is a totalizing view of government; almost everything we do ends up being shaped by the law and the bureaucrats appointed to enforce it. We resolve the conflict between negative and positive rights by restricting many negative rights to a shrunken private sphere where they cannot get much purchase.

Put another way, once upon time, things not directly within the government purview were neutral territory in which I didn’t impose upon or demand from you, and you didn’t impose upon and demand from me.  We might have thought the other excessively moral or immoral, but we danced together in uneasy harmony.

Beginning in the 1980s, though, the Left co-opted the public space, declaring that it was not neutral territory but was, instead, government territory.  Further, because Leftists deny that their belief in non-Christian values is itself a value, they insist that by doing so they’re not infringing on First Amendment rights.  They insist upon this denial even as they promote and guard their own secular faith with all the vehemence of a true religious zealot.

The Obama healthcare mandate reflects the fact that, for the Left, the distinction between your private religious space and all the other public government faith space has morphed again.  Now, as a person of faith, the only space you have that’s yours is within the four walls of your home.  Everything else is within the public purview, meaning that it’s under government control and government values (which are, by definition, statist, hostile to matters of faith, and identical to the Democrat platform).  With this rejiggered view of public and private, the government is not infringing upon your religion if it imposes obligations on you (even obligations that directly contradict your faith) as long as it is not constraining you within your own home.

Put another way, the DemProg interpretation of the First Amendment’s promise that the government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion boils down to this:  I can’t force you to pay for or perform an abortion on your own daughter (provided she lives in your house), but I am not impinging on your faith if I force you to pay for or perform an abortion on your neighbor’s daughter.   Under this definition, your objection to paying for or performing that abortion on the neighbor’s child constitutes an unreasonable attempt to enforce religious values in the public arena.

Found it on Facebook: Margaret Sanger’s ultimate goal

If you’ve been educated in the American school system at any time during and after the late 1960s, you’ve been taught that Margaret Sanger, had her emotions terribly wrung when she saw the terrible suffering poor women (mostly immigrants and blacks) experienced because they had child after child after child under the most appalling economic circumstances.  To the extent Sanger was one of the major forces helping women break the cycle of annual pregnancies that destroyed their health and well-being, I have to applaud her.  I don’t do pregnancy well and I’m not exaggerating when I say that a third might have killed me.

What I’ve learned since leaving school is that relieving women’s suffering was only one of Sanger’s goals, although it was the only one that she was willing to discuss publicly.  When speaking with friends, she was more straightforward about her ultimate plans for birth control and abortion:

Margaret Sanger

(I checked and that quotation appears to be real, rather than libelous and apocryphal. It comes from her comment on the ‘Negro Project’ in a letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, December 10, 1939., a document found in the Sanger manuscripts, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts.)

Sanger would undoubtedly be proud to learn that her beloved Planned Parenthood overwhelmingly targets African-Americans and other minorities.

Incidentally, it’s recently acquired knowledge such as this, all of which runs directly counter to the careful myths on which I was raised, that makes me increasingly hostile to America’s abortion culture.

What I would say to UCSB’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs about Free Speech, blacks, and abortion

Michael YoungNational Review’s Alex Torres has unearthed a really disgusting example of academic-think over at UCSB. That’s where Mireille Miller-Young, who gets paid to teach students about porn and sex work, with a little bit of “black culture” on the side, not only aggressively stole a sign from a pro-Life display in a Free Speech area, but also physically attacked a teenage girl who tried to recover the sign. Michael Young, UCSB’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, finally waded into the fray and . . . attacked the pro-Life people who had properly set themselves up in the university’s oh-so-limited “Free Speech space.”

To do Young justice, he did say that the Founders, despite being slaveholders, had the right idea with Free Speech.  It’s just that he really doesn’t think that people who disagree with his world view should exercise it.  It’s so . . . rude of them!

After reading the claptrap and tripe emanating from Mr. Young’s computer, I sat down and, in a fine frenzy, wrote him the type of letter that he’d never read and that I, after read it, realized that I would never send.  It’s a very brutal letter, and I’ve learned the hard way that the brutal letter is the first draft that never actually goes out. I still want to say what I have to say, though, and that’s why we have blogs.  So — here is the letter that I would have sent Mr. Young if I were a less polite person than I am in real life:

***

Mr. Young:

I don’t usually pay attention to what goes on in America’s campuses, having been fortunate enough to have walked off the last one almost 30 years ago. However, your recent email to UCSB students regarding Mireille Miller-Young’s decision to physically attack a teenage girl with whom she disagreed is so extraordinary that I believe you deserve to hear from one of the people who pays your salary (i.e., a California resident).

I couldn’t help but notice that you’re black. Did you happen to know that New York City and Mississippi abort black babies in numbers far in excess of blacks’ representation in those respective populations? The number of black babies aborted in New York in 2012 (that would be 31,328) was greater than the number of black babies born in New York in 2012 (a mere 24,758). Moreover, although blacks are only 25% of the New York population, 42% of all New York abortions were black babies.

Meanwhile, down in Mississippi, between 1994 and 2010, black women aborted 39,000 fetuses. Over the same period, white women aborted 14,500 fetuses. Put another way, over a 16 year period, black women had abortions at a rate more than twice that of white women. While blacks make up 37% of Mississippi’s population, they accounted for 72% of its abortions.

Did you know that Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s founder, was a eugenicist who promoted abortion primarily as a way of ridding America of blacks and other “undesirables”?

Knowing all this, are you sure you want to attack as divisive those people who are shocked that the most dangerous place in America for a black child is the womb?

One of the things that consistently amazes me about black Americans is that they embrace policies that have been manifestly disastrous for them. Welfare, by making black men unnecessary, destroyed the black family structure. Being a university type, you probably know that study after study shows that the surest way out of poverty is a traditional family. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if it turns out that you would rather be run over by a truck than turn your back on the welfare state, despite the appalling damage it has wrought.

I’m willing to bet you were horrified when Paul Ryan said that people of good will need to work on the disastrous pathology of inner city neighborhoods in which young men — almost invariably young black men — prey on each other and on all the men, women, and children unlucky enough to be caught in the crossfire. I’m equally willing to bet that you were not horrified when President Obama said that the federal government needs to work on the disastrous pathology of inner city neighborhoods. Considering that these deadly pathologies escalated dramatically with LBJ’s great society, I’d be much more scared of Obama’s threatened federal help than I would be of Paul Ryan’s suggestion that a societal change would be a good thing.

Frederick Douglas accurately predicted what the Great Society would do to black society:

“What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!

And so it goes. You’re not the only group in America that has sold its soul to a political ideology that is profoundly damaging to its best interests. As a Jew, I’m equally appalled by the way in which American Jews consistently embrace political parties and politicians that are hostile to Jews — and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per family at campuses rife with blatant antisemitism. The Democrat party is kind of like the mafia: once you’re in, you don’t leave, even when it becomes deadly to you and yours.

All of which gets me to your utterly appalling attack on pro-Life people. First of all, you should be agreeing with those pro-Life people, since the Democrats who so rabidly support abortion are the same Democrats presiding over the slow extinction of the black race in America. Second of all, as a high level functionary in a university, you should be embracing people who challenge the stifling orthodoxy of American academia. It’s this groupthink that has rendered you and Miller-Young incapable of using anything other than violence and invective to challenge ideas with which you disagree. My strong suspicion is that you’re deeply afraid that, if you had to confront these disagreeable ideas on their merits, you might have to rethink your own values.

To coddle students because they feel “outrage, pain, embarrassment,” etc., is a gross failing on your part. The world is a cruel place. (Indeed, I’m being intellectually cruel to you now by calling you on your ignorance, prejudice, and fear.) To take tens of thousands of dollars per student from parents and taxpayers in order to produce scared little bunny rabbits who are afraid to think, confront, challenge, and analyze is a form of fraud. You promise to educate and develop the young mind, even as you’re actively complicit in turning those same youngsters into bland piles of Leftist mush, swinging wildly between anger and hurt, with no pause in between for rigorous thought.

The most narrow-minded, stultifying place in America today is a university (or perhaps they would be better called monoversities, since the orthodoxy of group think permeates every department). Both you and the students under your care deserve more than the pabulum all of you are currently imbibing at UCSB.

Even worse than burning dead fetuses is the female abortionist supporting gender-driven abortions

Nazi crematoriumEvery conservative online publication today is talking about the British hospital that used aborted and miscarried babies as part of the fuel for its heating system.  I, and others, have commented that even the Nazis didn’t use their crematoria for heaters, although one cannot deny that the Nazis harvested everything they could from the bodies of those they murdered (gold teeth, hair, prosthetic limbs, etc.).  Many people came up with the Soylent Green analogy, which is apt.

What happened in England is a grotesque, reprehensible thing.  It’s also completely logical.  The premise of abortion is that the fetus is just a jumble of tissue, no different from removing a tumor or cyst. Things removed from people’s bodies in a hospital have to go somewhere, and cremation is the cleanest way to dispose of human tissue and other potentially contaminated remains.  And in a day and age of recycling and “green energy,” why not recycle that living matter into heat?  It all just make sense.

My point is that, if you’re going to make abortion legal, you must inevitably contemplate some way of disposing of the results of that abortion.  Being clean and energy-efficient is as good a way as any of ridding yourself of something you’ve already determined is valueless.  As I said, the story is grotesque but logical (even predictable).

black_babyThe news story that blew me away this morning, however, was the one reporting that the female head of the biggest abortion provider in England is entirely comfortable with sex-selective abortions (meaning abortions carried out solely because the fetus is female):

Ann Furedi, of BPAS, said the law does not prevent women from choosing a termination on the grounds of gender and she even compared it to abortion after rape.

[snip]

However, Mrs Furedi – whose charity carries out more than a quarter of abortions in England and Wales, argued that if doctors believe going ahead with the pregnancy would damage the mental health of the mother, the abortion is within the law.
Writing for online magazine Spiked, she said: “A doctor agreeing to an abortion on grounds of rape would be breaking the law no more and no less than a doctor who agrees an abortion on grounds of sex selection,” she said.

“While it is true that the sex of the foetus is not a legal ground for abortion, nor is rape, or incest, or being 13 years old. Nor is being homeless, or abandoned, or just feeling there’s no way you can bring a child into the world… yet they are all reasons why a doctor may believe a women has met the legal grounds of abortion.”

She added: “The woman gives her reasons, the doctor decides on the grounds as set out in the law … there is no legal requirement to deny a woman an abortion if she has a sex preference, providing that the legal grounds are still met.

“The law is silent on the matter of gender selection, just as it is silent on rape.”

It’s probably worthwhile filling you in on a few facts about the killing of females both in and outside of the womb. In 2010, the Economist wrote about the toll gendercide was taking on the would-be women in the world:

In January 2010 the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) showed what can happen to a country when girl babies don’t count. Within ten years, the academy said, one in five young men would be unable to find a bride because of the dearth of young women—a figure unprecedented in a country at peace.

The number is based on the sexual discrepancy among people aged 19 and below. According to CASS, China in 2020 will have 30m-40m more men of this age than young women. For comparison, there are 23m boys below the age of 20 in Germany, France and Britain combined and around 40m American boys and young men. So within ten years, China faces the prospect of having the equivalent of the whole young male population of America, or almost twice that of Europe’s three largest countries, with little prospect of marriage, untethered to a home of their own and without the stake in society that marriage and children provide.

[snip]

Parts of India have sex ratios as skewed as anything in its northern neighbour. Other East Asian countries—South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan—have peculiarly high numbers of male births. So, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, have former communist countries in the Caucasus and the western Balkans. Even subsets of America’s population are following suit, though not the population as a whole.

[snip]

In China the sex ratio for the generation born between 1985 and 1989 was 108, already just outside the natural range. For the generation born in 2000-04, it was 124 (ie, 124 boys were born in those years for every 100 girls). According to CASS the ratio today is 123 boys per 100 girls. These rates are biologically impossible without human intervention.

[snip]

Other countries have wildly skewed sex ratios without China’s draconian population controls (see chart 1). Taiwan’s sex ratio also rose from just above normal in 1980 to 110 in the early 1990s; it remains just below that level today. During the same period, South Korea’s sex ratio rose from just above normal to 117 in 1990—then the highest in the world—before falling back to more natural levels.

The Economist article, which is excellent, goes on to describe the consequences of these increasing gender imbalances, one of the more frightening of which is an excess number of young men without the civilizing influence of women.

The numbers lost to sex-selective abortions are staggering. Back in 2011, Ross Douhat examined data suggesting that at least 160 million girls were killed in the womb for no other reason than that their culture preferred boy babies.

There is nothing in the world more hostile to women than sex-selective abortions. Absolutely nothing. Life for women is hard all over, but only sex-selective abortion has wiped out 160 million of them. Yet Ann Furedi who, as head of England’s single largest abortion provider must surely call herself a feminist, says that this gendercide is A-OK.

Perhaps I’m erring in calling Furedi a feminist. It’s certainly a reasonable assumption that she is, because in every Western nation, abortion is presented to us as a civilized necessity for saving, elevating, aiding, and supporting women. It’s the way, as Obama said, that we make sure women aren’t “punished with a baby.” Those who oppose abortion, say the Democrats, are engaged in a “War on Women.”  The corollary, of course, is that those who support abortion must by extension support women.

Furedi, however, seems to have declared a war on babies and, more specifically on female babies.  That doesn’t sound feminist.  That sounds profoundly misogynistic.  And perhaps, within that framework, there’s nothing random about the fact that the same woman who cheerfully condones mass murder of women is married to the leader of the British Revolutionary Communist Party.

I’ve often said that one of the things that drove me from being staunchly pro-abortion to being primarily pro-Life (although leaving a door open to abortion in certain cases) is the extremism we see in the abortion culture. No matter how much the abortion spokespeople and the Democrat party (but I repeat myself) wrap themselves in the mantle of women’s rights to justify abortion, their every pronouncement makes it plain that their focus isn’t on letting women live, it’s on letting babies die.

Furedi — who heads England’s biggest abortion “charity” — has just become the poster child for the Left’s Big Lie.  By support gender-selective abortion she reveals that the “pro-abortion = pro-women” mantra is hollow.  She doesn’t care about women. She cares about killing babies. Otherwise she could not condone the continuation of a practice that has already accounted for something far in excess of 160 million female lives.

The burned babies heating hospital buildings is disgusting, but it’s just the final manifestation of a cult that has nothing to do with women and everything to do with genocide and gendercide.

Four links about abortion and government coercion *UPDATED*

Newborn baby seconds after deliveryI’m running late, but I had to share these four things with you:

First,  a New York Times opinion piece saying that it would be a gross travesty if the Supreme Court were to deny Hobby Lobby employees their absolute right to have a religious company pay for their birth control and abortifacient pills.

Second, an opinion piece by Pastor Rick Warren explaining why it would be a gross constitutional travesty if the Supreme Court were to hold that the First Amendment is limited to allowing people to attend a House of Worship, rather than to live their lives according to their faith.

I leave it to you to determine which of the two articles makes more constitutional, practical, and moral sense.

And to round things out:

Third, a news story from England about the fact that, not only did hospital’s incinerate fetus corpses (from both miscarriages and abortions) in a regular incinerator, two of them used the corpses to help heat the buildings.  I don’t think even the Nazis used the crematoria as heaters.

Fourth, a news story from England saying that the head of England’s largest abortion provider (and, presumably, a feminist) said that it’s perfectly fine to abort infants simply because they’re girls.  That is the reductio ad absurdum of abortion and feminism.

UPDATE:  AJ Strata has a lot of excellent thoughts about England’s newest energy source.

Saturday mid-day roundup (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI have learned something about myself over the past 5.5 weeks:  I will never master crutches.  After all this time, I still fall going up the stairs, get vertigo going down the stairs, topple over when trying to reach light switches, get abrasions on my skin, and exhaust my injured shoulder.  My big hope for this coming week is that the doctor tells me I can ditch the crutches and use a cane or go unaided on my own two feet.  In the meantime, though, I’ve got stuff I want to share with you:

In 2008, Obama won in significant part by hooking up with pop culture and making himself “cool.”  The implication was exactly what it is in high school:  if you hang with the cool kids, you’ll be cool too.  Obama was cool because he hung with Hollywood . . . and young voters were cool because they wore Obama t-shirts.  Obama is trying to reprise that cool factor with his current campaign to get healthy young people to sign up for Obamacare.  Now that actually money is involved, I suspect he’ll have less success than in 2008, when all you needed to be cool was a t-shirt and a vote.

***

When it comes to understanding how the media functions as the PR arm for the Democrat party, you can’t do better than to read John Hinderaker’s article describing the downstream fallout from the Washington Post‘s cheap and false attack on the Koch brothers. (Hinderaker’s challenge to the original WaPo article is here.) Not only does Hinderaker strip bare the ugliness behind the Post’s defense of its own bad reporting, he also analyzes why the Left is so obsessed with the Koch Brothers, the problems Democrats are starting to have with the “green” worldview, and the money behind the Democrats’ attacks on the Kochs.

***

Two Democrat politicians, one in Arkansas and one in Alaska, have rather foolishly chosen to attack their Republican opponents for having been in the military. The GOP has done an ad highlighting these attacks and focusing on the fact that there is something honorable about having served in the military. I agree, but for me there’s more than that going on.  When I think about military service, what I think about is competence and responsibility. In a society where young people avoid both — and, indeed, are encouraged by law to remain infantile until their 26 — the military forces young people to step up. I know that there are shirkers in the military, but the statistical likelihood is that someone who spent many years in the military is probably a can-do and will-do kind of person.

***

Over the years, I’ve written about the fact that people who support abortion use a very dishonest debate tactic when they pretend that the world is the same as it was before Roe v. Wade. The implication is that, if abortion again becomes limited to life-of-the-mother (and perhaps rape and incest) cases, young girls will be thrown starving into the streets and children will be raised with the stigma of bastardy. In a world in which single mothers are one of the fastest growing demographics, this is ludicrous. The Left also pretends that women will once again return to back alley abortions, complete with unsanitary coat hangers. Indeed, one pro-Abortion outlet is giving “cute” little coat hanger necklaces to those who donate money to the cause.

Here’s something interesting, though: Just as the pro-abortion crowd lies about the world as it is, implying that unwed pregnant women will once again be driven into the snow (barefoot, of course), so too is it lying about the world as it was. Kevin Williamson finds contemporaneous evidence from Planned Parenthood itself saying that, back in the 1960s, while abortion was illegal, it was also safe — indeed, probably safer than at places like Kermit Gosnell’s House of Abortion Horror.

***

J. Christian Adams asks a good question: Why does Michelle Obama’s mother live rent-free in the White House? It might have made sense when the Obama’s first arrived in D.C. with two fairly young daughters, but it makes no sense now. I guess, though, that Michelle loves her Mommy and wants to make sure that Mrs. Robinson also gets to enjoy the pleasures of staying in $8,000 per night suites in Beijing (taxpayer-funded, of course).

“White Trash” is not a skin color, it’s a state of mind. One aspect of the WT state of mind is the person who, when he knows someone else is paying the restaurant bill, orders the most expensive thing on the menu. The Obamas are quite definitely White Trash.

***

In my real-me Facebook world, my friends still cling to the Anthropogenic Climate Change theory. In the real world, actual scientists (as opposed to PhD-holding crusaders looking for large government grants) are finally waking up and smelling the con-job coffee. It remains to be seen whether the climate-change generation is going to be able to walk away from this false God.

***

A couple of weeks ago, I said that the hate-crime hoaxes coming from the Left meant that I didn’t believe a gay guy who claimed (without corroboration) that his aged Baptist minister grandfather, who had been married for 65 years, confessed on his deathbed that he was gay. Maybe grandpa did; maybe he didn’t. It’s just that, as I said, absent ample evidence, I don’t believe the Left. In that vein, I point out that yet another hate-crime has proven to be a hoax.

***

Last week, I showed a picture of a school workbook telling students that the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms provided that the government first gives them permission to do so. Someone asked for the provenance of that image. It turns out that (surprise! surprise!) it comes from an Illinois Middle School.

***

Reading travel tips that Chinese give those of their compatriots heading to America I thought to myself, “What a nice country we have.”

Abortion and self-loathing blacks

black_babyThere’s a story out of Santa Barbara today about a UC Santa Barbara professor who went berserk in a campus free-speech area when she saw a pro-Life display with graphic pictures of aborted fetuses.  She tried to lead a mob against it, grabbed a display and ran off with it, and then got into a physical altercation with a 16-year-old.  And just who was this professor?

The professor at the heart of the controversy is Mireille Miller-Young, an associate professor whose area of emphasis is black cultural studies, pornography and sex work, according to her faculty webpage. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday by The College Fix.

A check at her website confirms that she’s not a white person dabbling in black cultural studies but is, instead, a black person.

So, to recap:  A black woman who’s entire intellectual life revolves about being black violently attacked an anti-abortion display.  Gawd, she must really hate herself.  And no, she doesn’t hate herself because of her lack of self-control; she clearly hates herself because she’s black.

Just to clarify what seems like a rather blithe conclusion, let me add some other facts to the mix:

The number of black babies aborted in New York in 2012 –31,328 — was greater than the number of black babies born in New York in 2012 –24,758.  Moreover, although blacks are only 25% of the New York population, 42% of all New York abortions were black babies.

Between 1994 and 2010, black Mississippi women aborted 39,000 fetuses.  Over the same period, white women aborted 14,500 fetuses.  Put another way, over a 16 year period, black women had abortions at a rate more than twice that of white women.  While blacks make up 37% of Mississippi’s population, they accounted for 72% of its abortions.

In 2011, throughout  the entire US, 7,380 blacks were homicide victims.  So yes, these posters are correct:

MostDangerousPlace1

Most dangerous place for a black

We often speak of self-loathing Jews, people such as George Soros or Noam Chomsky, who are deeply hostile to Judaism and Israel. We don’t speak often enough about self-loathing blacks. Only someone deeply conflicted about herself and her place in society would violently attack members of an organization that are working hard to save tens of thousands of black children annually from a premature death.

You know that I’m not hardcore pro-Life.  Instead, I’m a former abortion supporter who is finding it harder and harder to carve out any legitimate moral and intellectual ground to support America’s abortion culture.  People such as Professor Miller-Young are facing the cognitive dissonance of abortion, not be sitting back and reevaluating the facts and revisiting their values, but by engaging in violence so that they can avoid that kind of reevaluation.  (It is, I should add, a painful process.)

Downton Abbey tackles abortion (SPOILER ALERT)

downton-abbey-wallpaper-8SPOILER ALERT!!! I’m going to be discussing last night’s episode of Downton Abbey.  If you haven’t seen it yet, and are still planning on watching it, STOP READING RIGHT NOW.

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Okay.  Are those of you still with me okay with a spoiler?  Good.  Let’s get going with this post then.

We started watching Downton Abbey when it first came to America.  In the first and second seasons, it had everything an anglophile history buff could desire:  A ridiculously gorgeous setting, breathtaking pre-WWI fashions, solidly good acting, and an interesting plot-line that followed the upstairs and downstairs life of an aristocratic household on the verge of a war that exacted a great toll on England and fundamentally changed the British landscape.

And of course, it had Maggie Smith, who is a delight in every single scene.  As the Dowager Countess, a proud, loving woman struggling to accept all the changes in the world, she is witty, acerbic, and an absolute low-key comedic joy.

Downton Abbey is now in its fourth season and is dragging us through the 20s.  When I say “dragging,” I mean that pejorative deliberately.  The show has bogged down into being a classy, costumed soap opera.  I still watch for the costumes and for Maggie Smith, but otherwise it’s mostly a yawn.  Something interesting happened last night though.

As some of you may already know, the Earl of Grantham’s upstairs family began the series with three daughters:  Mary, the beautiful, snotty oldest (now a widow); Sybil, the beautiful, free-spirit youngest (now dead); and Edith, the ordinary looking, catty, uninteresting middle child.  Edith has consistently been unlucky in love, including being dumped at the altar.

Things finally started to go well for Edith last season when she met a handsome newspaper editor/publisher who fell in love with her.  The only problem was that he had a mad wife (shades of Mr. Rochester) and couldn’t divorce her to marry Edith.  Eventually, he decided to move to Germany (a scandalous thing to do immediately after WWI) and become a resident there, so that he could get divorced.  Sadly for Edith, he has since disappeared in Munich, and we don’t know what’s happened to him.  (By the way, if you’re British and do know what’s happened to him, please don’t tell me.) Even worse for Edith, she’s just discovered that she’s pregnant.

One of the threads in yesterday’s convoluted plot (complete with a boring rape story line) was Edith’s decision to go to London to get an abortion.  It’s obviously a difficult decision for her.  The aunt with whom she’s staying forces her to reveal her plans and, instead of being angry at unmarried Edith for being pregnant, is compassionate, and tries to talk her into having the baby.  Edith, though, is terrified of being a social outcast.  She loves the father, she wants the baby, but she cannot bear the thought of complete social ignominy.

So off they go to the abortionist.  I assumed that this would be the point where a compassionate 1920s doctor makes a speech about the evils of illegal abortion.  Instead, after being admitted in a clean, unadorned waiting room, by a clean, unadorned receptionist/nurse, Edith realizes that having the abortion will cut her off from her family just as surely as having the baby will.  She would no longer be able to stand going into the nursery where her niece and nephew live.  This promise of future regret overwhelms her . . . and she leaves the abortionist.

In a show full of hackneyed soap opera twists and turns, I did not see this one coming.

The whole abortion thing just got weirder in California

One of the reasons given for legalizing abortion was so that it could be done by doctors, rather than less qualified practitioners.  (Although the Gosnell case revealed that being is physician is no guarantee of quality.)  Given that a driving argument behind abortion was to put women in the hands of medical professionals, there’s something deeply ironic about the recently passed bill in California handing abortion back to practitioners who aren’t doctors.  I get leting midwives and nurse practitioners do abortions, but physicians’ assistants?  Really?  In my admittedly limited experience, PAs take temperatures, write notes in charts, rub in unguents, and generally do the stuff that LVN’s (who are less trained than RN’s) consider beneath them.  But they’re going to be allowed to do abortions?

I know that Hillary is going to look Americans in the face when she runs for president and boast that she’s committed to keeping abortion safe, rare, and legal.  Well, at least she and her fellow Progressives will be telling the truth about the “legal” part.

Why have a lot of little posts, when you can have one really big one?

I’ve been coming across so much interesting stuff this morning that I’m going to do another flotsam and jetsam post.

One of the things we’ve long known is that the Left lies about statistics.  Examples of this are “1 in 4 women have been sexually assaulted” canard and the “women earn 76 cents for every dollar men earn” lie which is (a) factually inaccurate and (b) misleading because it ignores the fact that women’s commitment to their children means many of them voluntarily take a different career track.  (The only place this is factually true, I think, is the Obama White House, where he definitely pays women less.)  Tom Elia therefore suggests that, before blindly accepting Texas Democrats’ charge that the proposed abortion law would close all but 5 of Texas’s 42 abortion clinics (because of the requirement that the clinic be within 30 miles of a hospital), we might want to check whether this is actually true.

Before you get your knickers in a twist about the revelation that the EU has been colluding with the US to hand over European data to the NSA program, remember that the source is a virulent anti-American, antisemitic truther.  This may explain why The Guardian, after touting the story, then pulled it.  Having said that, it’s not hard to believe Edward Epstein’s theory that this was never a whistleblower case but was, instead, a carefully thought out plan of espionage.

You’re my readers, so I know all of you are already aware that we’re on the verge of the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg.  Nevertheless, I thought I’d still mention it, along with the fact that at least some Americans are aware of how significant that battle was.  World War I saw bigger battles, with more deaths (Ypres, the Somme, etc.), but I’m not sure that any Civil War ever saw such ferocious days as the Civil War did at Antietam or Gettysburg, or any of the other sites where Americans clashed against each other.  I believe it’s very useful to remind some people (and I’m not naming names) that America is the only country in the world that has ever shed so much blood to fight slavery.

Just a moment to mourn Andrew Pochter, the idealistic American Jewish kid who went to Egypt to help raise up the poor Arabs and died in a welter of blood during an anti-Morsi protest.

I think things in Egypt are about to get much worseTwenty-two million Egyptians signed a petition demanding Morsi’s ouster.  Do they really think the Muslim Brotherhood is going to walk away?  If Egypt does fall into a Civil War, it will make what’s happening in Syria look like a Sunday school picnic.

Naive people think a mosque is just a House of Worship.  While it is definitely a House of Worship, it’s also something more:  a symbol of conquest.  That’s why it has to be higher than the surrounding buildings.  And that’s why, in Germany, the air is being filled with the amplified sounds of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer five times a day.

Charlie Martin, one of my favorite PJ Media writers, is at it again, writing smart stuff, this time about climate change and a really important question:  is there any evidence that humans matter?

And while we’re on the subject of climate, Robert Zubrin explains in simple terms why Obama’s recently announced climate plans will impoverish America.  With Obama focusing on climate change (despite more and more data that the entire theory is wrong), even as the economy stagnates, national secrets go walking, and the Middle East is aflame, my first thought was that he was like Nero fiddling while Rome burns.  Reading Zubrin’s analysis though of the devastating Obama’s plans will bring to the economy, the better analogy would be Nero pouring accelerant on the flames licking at Rome.  If you doubt that, check out Obama’s recent appointees, all of whom have drunk full of the climate change Kool-Aid.

Republicans are saying that this time, really, for good and for true, their eyes are open.  That whole Gang of Eight thing made them realize that the Democrats are not their friends in Congress and they promise, never, never, never again to ever again, really ever, let the Democrats play them like that.  How dumb do Republicans think we are?  Republicans are Charlie Brown, Democrats are Lucy, and Americans are a poor, kicked-around, deflated football.

A New Jersey teachers union leader said that the rich send their children to public school so that they don’t have to have contact with the poor.  I know of at least one case where this is true.  Back in 1971, busing came to San Francisco.  I was bussed from one middle class school near my home to another slightly less middle class school far from my home.  It made friendships difficult (none of my friends were near), and there were a few more black kids, but otherwise it was no big deal.  My friend, however, was bussed from her middle class school to a school in Bayview-Hunter’s Point, one of the worst slums in San Francisco.  She could beaten up every day for the first two weeks of school.  Her parents, fortunately, had the money to pull her out of the public school system and they put her in Brandeis.  So yes, they didn’t want her to have contact with the poor — because the poor wanted to have a bit too much contact with her.

If you’re wondering what’s going on in Turkey, Claire Berlinsky will explain it to you.

This is an Open Thread, so please feel free to add to it.

The complete intellectual degradation of the abortion debate

9 month old fetus

The starting point for any discussion about abortion is, of course, Roe v. Wade.  Pro-abortion people like to throw that case name around like a magic talisman that allows abortion from the moment of conception until some time after birth.  They invariably forget that Roe v. Wade was a very limited ruling. It did not create an unfettered right to abortion. Instead, it established a delicate balancing act over the entire length of the pregnancy between the State’s interests and the woman’s interest in the fetus.  Based upon the state of medicine in the early 1970s, the court saw viability as starting sometime within the second trimester.  The specific weeks or months of a pregnancy, though, weren’t the issue.  Viability trumps all:

With respect to the State’s important and legitimate interest in potential life, the “compelling” point is at viability. This is so because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb. State regulation protective of fetal life after viability thus has both logical and biological justifications. If the State is interested in protecting fetal life after viability, it may go so far as to proscribe abortion during that period, except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.  (Emphasis added.)

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 163 (1973).

The Supreme Court has decided myriad abortion cases since Roe v. Wade, all of which push back on limitations states attempt in impose on abortions in the early weeks.  The one thing that none of these cases have done is to limit the viability standard.  Instead, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court actually expanded the viability standard by saying trimesters are irrelevant.  The only thing that matters when it comes to determine the State’s interest is average fetal viability under current medical practices:

We have seen how time has overtaken some of Roe’s factual assumptions: advances in maternal health care allow for abortions safe to the mother later in pregnancy than was true in 1973, see Akron I, supra, at 429, n. 11, and advances in neonatal care have advanced viability to a point somewhat earlier. Compare Roe, 410 U. S., at 160, with Webster, supra, at 515-516 (opinion of REHNQUIST, C. J.); see Akron I, 462 U. S., at 457, and n. 5 (O’CONNOR, J., dissenting). But these facts go only to the scheme of time limits on the realization of competing interests, and the divergences from the factual premises of 1973 have no bearing on the validity of Roe’s central holding, that viability marks the earliest point at which the State’s interest in fetal life is constitutionally adequate to justify a legislative ban on nontherapeutic abortions. The soundness or unsoundness of that constitutional judgment in no sense turns on whether viability occurs at approximately 28 weeks, as was usual at the time of Roe, at 23 to 24 weeks, as it sometimes does today, or at some moment even slightly earlier in pregnancy, as it may if fetal respiratory capacity can somehow be enhanced in the future. Whenever it may occur, the attainment of viability may continue to serve as the critical fact, just as it has done since Roe was decided; which is to say that no change in Roe’s factual underpinning has left its central holding obsolete, and none supports an argument for overruling it.

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 860 (1992) (emphasis added).

In sum, what the Supreme Court has done over the years is to expand pre-viability rights, while contracting the window of time within which those rights apply.  This is an important point to keep in mind when considering the House’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy.  First, don’t let the 20 weeks throw you.  The method the House bill uses to calculate fetal age translates to what most women would consider 22 weeks pregnant, which is when fetus’s can survive outside the womb.  (There are two different time measurements, in the same the way that Celsius and Fahrenheit are two different temperature measurements.)

Right out of the box, the pro-abortion media gets the bill wrong.  In a Washington Post article, the Post claims the House bill goes beyond the Supreme Court, which it does not:

The bill would narrow the window currently set out by federal law and the Supreme Court, which bans most abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Some Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed similar laws in recent months.

As you can see from the quotation above, the Supreme Court did not place a time-limit on abortion.  It placed a viability limit.  Once the average fetus is viable with modern medical care, the State has rights.

Now that we’ve established the law, let’s look at what Barack Obama has to say about the House bill, which he has declared he intends to veto in the unlikely event it gets through the Senate:

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1797, which would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose.  Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor.

Forty years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose.  This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution.  The Administration is continuing its efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion.  At the same time, the Administration is committed to the protection of women’s health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make.

If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.

This is a steaming pile of manure.  It cites to Roe v. Wade without understanding it, and which completely ignores Casey, all in an effort to give women unfettered abortion rights from conception through to some moment after delivery.  Reading the statement, it’s difficult to remember that our President is a Harvard Law graduate and former constitutional law professor. I mean, we know he didn’t author it himself, but how in the world could he have put his imprimatur on it?

I’ve commented before on the factual dishonesty of the abortion debate.  Abortion proponents pretend that we’re living in the 1950s, when out-of-wedlock pregnancy was a stigma, not a commonplace.  I guess it’s unsurprising that the intellectual debate would be equally dishonest.  One could say that the good thing about mass murderer Kermit Gosnell is that his “post-birth” abortions have brought to light the intellectual paucity of the Democrat party when it comes to abortion.  The Supreme Court has insisted on a balancing act, and the Democrats have responded by putting their thumb firmly on the abortion side of the scale.

photo by: fekaylius