DECODE: Diversity

n. The state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness.

History: The word “diversity” dates back to the mid-14th century, where it initially meant “the quality of being different.” In the late 15th century, it took on a negative connotation, becoming associated with things that were “contrary to what is agreeable or right.” By the 17th century, however, this definition was obsolete, and in the 1790s, with the emergence of modern democracies, “diversity” was used to identify the virtue in those nations that attempted to keep a single faction from holding all of the state power. At that time, the term had nothing to do with ethnicity, gender, or sexual identity (these were not concerns of that age), but this would all change in the 20th century, particularly in the 1960s with the rise of the civil rights movement. What started as an honest effort to end the oppression of racial minorities soon devolved into an attempt to control thinking—to force people to acknowledge and respect all types of difference, whether sexual, ethnic, or cultural, but to do so without acceding to the concept of difference. Thus, today, we are expected to both value individuals who are different from ourselves and deny that there is any sort of norm from which they differ. Doing otherwise is the one type of “diversity” that cannot be tolerated.

Etymology: “Diversity” is derived from the Old French diversité, which means “a unique feature” or “oddness.” It also has roots in the Latin diversitatem, the definition of which is “contrariety, contradiction, or disagreement.” Consequently, one simply cannot divorce the word from the idea that differences do exist and that one such difference can be found in the differing opinions that we have about the value of attributes, behaviors, or beliefs that differ from our own. In the present era, of course, this is not the situation at all. Rather, “diversity” now demands that we not only accept all dissimilarities without judgment, but also refuse even to identify them as such. “Diversity training,” which is all the rage in both corporate and university contexts, has systematized these requirements. Participants are taught to respect the differences of their peers while at the same time turning a blind eye to them. They likewise learn to suppress any objections they have to “diversity” itself, these being opinions that are absolutely not protected within the social environment that “diversity training” seeks to create.

Effect: The ironic outcome of the present definition of “diversity” is that it has created a situation in which people no longer try to relate to those who are different from themselves, out of fear that they will accidentally call attention to the differences themselves. Those differences, therefore, become more marked and pronounced than ever before, preventing any true understanding or respect among differing groups of people, which is the very thing that the contemporary concept of “diversity” had hoped to foster. Worse still, “promoting diversity” has become shorthand for “policing thought.” No matter how obvious or factual a difference might be, you must not admit to noticing it, and heaven help you if you should harbor an opinion about that difference, especially if your opinion is a negative one or in any way constitutes a moral condemnation of another’s behavior or beliefs. All this is to say that “diversity” is really not about respect or understanding at all anymore; rather, it has quickly become one of the surest methods of imposing relativism upon the culture, scaring us into an ethic of silent and passive acceptance.

Are You a Honda or Are You a Hummer?

cars

A popular article lately at the Salvo website is Regis Nicoll’s Hooked on a Feeling: Is Gender Just a State of Mind? from way back in 2007, our second issue. I recommend the entire article to you. It covers a lot of ground—from The Barbarians to the Greeks to Jean-Paul Sartre to the feministas—but I’ll just post this bit below as it is a helpful illustration.

Imagine the owner of a sport coupe who, desiring an off-road vehicle, attempts to modify his street car accordingly. Notwithstanding the merits of mud tires, grill guards, and heavy-duty shocks, no amount of alteration is going to turn his Accord LX into a Hummer. More likely, the minute gains he achieves will only exacerbate his frustration with the gap in what he has versus what he wants.

How much healthier for him and his Accord if, instead of trying to modify his car to suit his desire, he alters his desire to conform to his car? While the latter—even with much effort—may be difficult, at least it remains possible.

“Are you a boy or are you a girl?” asked The Barbarians. Those of us who can tell the difference between an Accord and a Hummer should have no trouble with our answer.

Further reading from Salvo:

Gender Benders
Is My Sexual Identity an Accident Just Waiting to Happen?
by Robin Phillips

Failed Operations
Medical Malpractice in an Age of Gender Denial Disorder
by Terrell Clemmons

Femi-Nihilism
The Feminist Mistake
by Terrell Clemmons

The History of the Bikini

Operation_Crossroads_Baker_Edit

Just in time to kick off the summer months, I share with you the following from Salvo issue 29. The “she” who is being referred to here is Jessica Rey, founder of Rey Swimwear, and this article tells a bit of her story—and the story of the bikini as well.

. . . In June 2013, she gave a genteel, ten-minute talk called “The Evolution of the Swimsuit” that set off a verbal firestorm in the blogosphere.

She started off with a little history. The first bikini was designed in 1946 by Louis Réard, who worked in his mother’s lingerie shop. He named it after Bikini Atoll, the site of post-World War II nuclear bomb testing, because he expected an explosive reaction from the public. He had to hire a stripper because no French model would debut it for him. Later, in the wake of the 1960s’ sexual revolution, “liberated” feminists began casting the bikini as symbolic of “the power of women.” The reframing stuck, and in 2003, a New York Times reporter called it “the millennial equivalent of the power suit.”

Jessica then related the results of a 2009 neural imaging study conducted on male students at Princeton University that had turned up some interesting results relevant to women’s choices in fashion. “Brain scans revealed that when men are shown pictures of scantily clad women, the region of the brain associated with tools, such as screwdrivers and hammers, lit up.” Furthermore, she said, some men showed “zero brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that lights up when one ponders another person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions.”

This was not what the researchers had expected. One professor said, “It’s as if they’re reacting to these women as if they are not fully human,” as if they were “objects, not people.” This study, together with a related one on men’s language choices after seeing the images, led analysts at National Geographic to conclude that bikinis “really do inspire men to see [women] as objects”—as things to be used, rather than persons to connect with.

This turns the notion of the bikini as a “power suit” entirely on its head. If these findings are to be believed, the bikini is a profound tool of disempowerment. Jessica’s point, therefore, was this: If a woman wants to be taken seriously—as a valuable, fully human person rather than an object—she would do better to dress more modestly. . . .

Fascinating stuff. I recommend the entire article to you. Decent Exposure: And a Refreshing Resilience in Women’s Fashion by Terrell Clemmons. As a man, I can fully attest that these scientific findings on the male brain are accurate. Don’t shame me, feminists. I was born this way.

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Do Science & Religion Mix?

by Greg Koukl

The view that science and religion don’t mix is guilty of at least three logical errors.

First, it commits the either/or fallacy by asserting that a view is either scientific or religious. Intelligent design has been pegged as a religious view, and therefore as non-scientific. But in fact, there is scientific evidence to support design models. And we see the blending of science and religion in Big Bang cosmology, which posits that the universe had a beginning, thus implying the existence of a creator.

Second, it commits the straw-man fallacy by assuming that creationists make no use of scientific methods. This is not the case. Creationists would be happy to present a ton of scientific evidence for their view, if they were allowed to. This evidence needs to be addressed instead of disqualified.

Third, it assumes that the reigning scientific views do not have religious significance. This is false. All cosmological views have religious significance. If evolutionary naturalism is true, then the only place for God is in the imaginations of believers.

A clear, hard line between religion and science just isn’t possible. Instead, the two should work together, and the strengths of each should be drawn upon to give us a total picture of reality.

This short piece originally appeared as a sidebar to “‘Faith’ No More” from the Salvo Science and Faith supplemental issue. Subscribe to Salvo today to receive the issue free.

Salvo Partner Organization Links. June 6, 2016

Can Evolutionary Theory Be Taken Seriously?
by Jonathan Wells, Discovery Institute
Stephen L. Talbott, a senior researcher at the Nature Institute in Ghent, New York, recently published online a fascinating article titled “Can Darwinian Evolutionary Theory Be Taken Seriously?” (The short answer is, not really.) . . .

A de-sexed society is a de-humanised society
Tyranny comes disguised as ‘civil rights’.
by Stella Morabito, Mercatornet
The latest exhibit of this general rule is President Obama’s directive that seeks to force a transgender bathroom, locker room and dorm policy on the entire nation, starting with schoolchildren. Many of us are taken aback by this news, but we really shouldn’t be. The order is merely the latest incarnation of a long line of social engineering. The goal, as is always the case with such movements, is to remake humanity. What the people behind this latest version won’t tell you is that their project requires each and every one of us to deny our own humanity. Let me explain.

“The Faith of Christopher Hitchens”
A Very Strange Friendship
by Eric Metaxas, Breakpoint
A new book with a provocative title is sending shock waves through both the Christian and atheist communities. In “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens,” writer and commentator Larry Alex Taunton recounts his friendship with one of the most prominent and outspoken atheists—not to mention intellectual giants—of our time. There is a lot to say about this book, and I’m not going to try to say it all in one program. Tomorrow I’ll talk about the firestorm ignited by this outstanding book and do my part to set the record straight.

Identifying the Person as the Problem: Euthanasia for Mental Illness

It was a practice that is foreign to most us today: The victim was executed for a crime committed against her. In the case of sexual defilement in which the woman was the victim, the woman was stoned to death in order to keep her uncleanliness out of the tribe. It seems barbaric to our modern-day sensitivities.

But, what if a woman wants to be punished for something done to her? What if she sees herself as too defiled to enter into the community? What if she thinks she should be killed?

Today victims of child sexual crimes and sexual assault are not put in jail or executed for being dirty. The Enlightenment brought with it the idea of autonomy, and with autonomy comes personal responsibility. The just response to sex crimes is to have the perpetrator tried and convicted in a court of law. However, in our modern world, the community’s responsibility toward the victim is a bit hazy. Dealing with the aftermath of sexual crimes, in particular, tends to be private and personal.

The Dutch Euthanasia Commission granted a 29-year-old woman permission to die by physician-assisted suicide. She suffered from post-traumatic stress from childhood sexual abuse that occurred from age 5 to 15. Among her mental health co-morbidities (because people with PTSD tend to express several types of symptoms), she had what was deemed “untreatable” anorexia due to depression and anxiety.

The Psychological Damage of Sex Crimes

In the up-coming issue of Salvo (Issue 37), I wrote the Casualty Report on sex trafficking. In doing the research for this report, one of the key ways that traffickers and pimps maintain control of their victims is by making them feel worthless. By shaming their victims through abusive and degrading tactics, the victim will not only lose her will to fight back, but she will lose hope for a way out. This is how pimps “train their victims.” Once the cycle of shame has begun, the victim will stay in the abusive relationship because she doesn’t believe she deserves better. Even once she is out of the abusive situation, she will often engage in self-harm as a way to cope with her deep-seated sense of worthlessness.

In his book Shame Interrupted Ed Welch says that “any sexual violation brings shame on the victim…it should be bring shame on the perpetrator” (Welch, 14). Shame is something far deeper and more intense than guilt. It is dehumanizing. Welch defines shame as

[Y]ou were disgraced because you acted less than human, you were treated as if you were less than human, or you were associated with something less than human, and there are witnesses. (Welch, 2)

The 29-year-old woman was treated as something less than human for most of her childhood. When she was approved for physician-assisted suicide, she was treated as less than human then, too.

PTSD Is NOT Incurable

In an op-ed for TIME online, Joan Cook, a trauma psychiatrist, says that “No provider anywhere should ever tell a trauma survivor that their condition is incurable.” She points out that treatment can be hard and it can take a long time, but it is not incurable.

In a Huffington Post article by Jenni Schaefer, author and survivor of sexual abuse, she attests that she was not competent to make a rational and informed decision about physician-assisted suicide while in the throes of her mental illness. The feelings of hopelessness, she says, are part of the illness.

In The Netherlands, one of the criteria for approval for physician-assisted suicide is that the patient must be competent to make the decision. How can she be both rational and competent and have an “incurable” mental illness?

Jenni’s mentor and PTSD expert, Dr. Tim Brewton, said that it is the obligation of the therapist to instill hope. He says that from a clinical perspective,

I do not believe in ever giving up on an individual’s potential for recovery. In fact, I think it is the duty of a doctor or therapist to instill hope of improvement, particularly in a young person. One very important lesson that I have learned over the years is that I can never predict who will improve and who will not. I have been proven wrong too many times, and we cannot see the future. It is better to be present in the moment with patients and to do one’s best to help them sit with their discomfort and move forward in all ways possible.

Shame consumes a person until the person is completely gone. Welch points out that the deep logic of anorexia, which the woman suffered from, is that the person feels unworthy and deserves nothing, so she gives herself nothing and perhaps she can just disappear (Welch, 28). This woman felt unworthy of life and the Dutch Euthanasia Commission agreed with her.

Autonomy and Compassion

Sexual crimes violate the person, not only physically, but also mentally. It is the ultimate expression of treating another as an inhuman piece of meat, a means to an end. If the victim survives the attack, she is not free; she is in mental bondage. Her autonomy has been stripped from her. Killing her is not honoring her freedom to choose when and how she will die. It is honoring the perpetrator’s original intent, which is to consume and discard.

Our enlightened and progressive culture has a habit of “solving” the problem by getting rid of the person, whether it is the unborn, the disabled, or the mentally ill. The problem of suffering is solved by eliminating the sufferer. This is sanitized by calling it “compassionate” and justified by invoking autonomy. If Western countries, like The Netherlands, really do value freedom and autonomy, then true freedom means helping the victim out of her mental bondage by showing her the love and dignity that she doesn’t think she deserves.

Note: After writing this post, I came across this column by Clare Allen in The Guardian, (“The label ‘incurable’ is not a justification for ending a life”). In it, she makes several observations about mental illness and euthanasia including a point that should be more obvious than it apparently is: “It seems to me that anyone who has lived through 10 years of sexual abuse may benefit more from being listened to than labelled.”