What’s the Difference?

“The increasingly pervasive stereotype of gender neutrality often relies on bogus science combined with fanciful anthropology, both of which assert that there is no necessary connection between our gender identity (i.e., being feminine or masculine, together with many of the things this can entail within a given cultural context) and the fixities of our biological sex. This idea is enshrined in countless sociology, anthropology, and women’s studies courses at colleges and universities, where students are regularly taught that there is no necessary relation between one’s biological sex and one’s gender.”

From Unmaking a Difference Is Gender Neutrality the New Stereotype? by Robin Phillips

Family Dissolution

From The American Conservative: Evolution, Individualism, and the End of the Family. It’s a long article and this quote comes near the end, but I highly recommend the entire piece to you.

. . .

To a large extent unintentionally, but surely and dramatically, the three great philosophical movements of the nineteenth century—individualism, statism, and evolutionary progressivism—drove familism to the farthest extreme of atomism. In most states, the industrial revolution loosened the family from parental control. Its first result was a rapid increase in the birthrate of these industrial countries, followed by a rapid decline. By 1870–80, the birth rates had begun to decline in almost all European countries. Except in the peasant-agrarian countries of Eastern Europe and Southern Italy, they were below reproductive levels by 1930.

Legal backstays of the family—some degree of manus, potestas, coverture, and mutuality—were destroyed on a large scale, more so in some countries and periods than in others. The individual arose and became the subject and the dependent of the state. Theories of the family as but a nominal group, a private contract to be broken at will, gained ascendancy. The minds of the people were being filled constantly with the idea that “happiness,” as defined by individual egotism, was the goal of life. Marriage and family must justify themselves according to this concept of “happiness” or be abandoned. Happiness is a very subjective term, being defined each moment, each day, and in each age by different psychological considerations. Consequently, the family had no understandable objective for its guidance.

. . .

This Fracking Debate

Gasland.

FrackNation.

Matt Damen has decided to throw his hat into the ring now too on this fracking issue.
The Promised Land.

I have a hard time knowing what to believe. In general I don’t trust rich Americans, so I probably won’t be siding with the director of Gasland or Mr. Damon on this one.

I just have one question. Since we should not be dependent on foreign oil and we should not tap our domestic resources, what’s the alternative?

Experimental Science Confused

When experimental science is confused with the study of origins, or with the study of consciousness, then subjective beliefs can be smuggled in where experimental observation necessarily ends and conjecture must necessarily begin. Conjecture must take over at a certain point because the study of origins deals with one-time, unrepeatable events from a deep past, and the study of human consciousness depends on the subjective responses of those whose minds are being studied.

And amid this confusion a philosophic preference like theological naturalism can be smuggled in. This occurs, for example, when scientists argue that life could not have developed in the relatively short time available for its development and therefore it must have come from space. Or when, as some cosmologists argue , a la Carl Sagan, that “billions and billions” of universes, called multiverses, must have existed in order for natural processes to have created life in one of them.

This is from a review of the book Science’s Blind Spot: The Unseen Religion of Scientific Naturalism by Cornelius G. Hunter. I felt it was worth sharing. It especially relates to an article in the new issue of Salvo where Regis Nicoll states what is certainly true for everybody:

The sum-total of our knowledge is infinitesimal compared to our ignorance, making some kind of faith an indispensable part of human existence. So the question is not whether we base our convictions and actions on faith, but what faith we base them on.

–Homo Credens: Everybody Has Faith Even After They Lose It by Regis Nicoll

Prisoners of Porn

A good read from Alain de Botton at the Wall Street Journal website on pornography–a topic that has been covered much in the pages of Salvo. Maybe people will be more ready to hear this message if it’s not told by “religious fundamentalist” types. Of course, the reasons given here are almost identical.

Why Most Men Aren’t Man Enough to Handle Web Porn

All parties, on left and right, believe in freedom. The question is whether there are ways of having too much freedom, or of using it in the very wrong way, so that it starts to hurt other things we care about, like prosperity, safety and happiness.

The issue comes to a head with internet pornography. The standard view is that people should be left to look at porn as much as they like, just as they should be left to buy guns, eat unhealthy foods, divorce and remarry eight times and make nothing of their talents: it’s a free country, after all.

But what is freedom? If you listen to the theologian and philosopher St Augustine, real freedom doesn’t mean the right to do anything whatsoever. It means being given access to everything that is necessary for a flourishing life – and, it follows, being protected from many of the things that ruin life.

Consider pornography. Part of the problem is that it’s extremely tempting to some people, as alcohol and crack cocaine are. Commentators who don’t investigate the issue much, who might once have had a peek inside Playboy or caught a preview of a naughty film on the television channel of a hotel rest too easy that there’s no problem. But there is. A largely unwitting alliance made up of Cisco, Dell Oracle ORCL Microsoft MSFT and thousands of pornographic providers have now found a way of exploiting a design flaw in the male gender. A brain originally designed to cope with nothing more tempting than an occasional glimpse of a tribesperson across the savannah is lost with what’s now on offer on the net at the click of a button: when confronted with offers to participate continuously in scenarios outstripping any that could be dreamt up by the diseased mind of the Marquis de Sade. There is nothing robust enough in our psychological make-up to compensate for developments in our technological capacities.

Read the rest. . . .

Here are the Salvo articles on pornography.

Slave Master: How Pornography Drugs & Changes Your Brain by Donald L. Hilton, Jr.

Blindsided Kids: Thanks to the Internet and the Supreme Court, Pornography Is Now Available In Every Home In America by Marcia Segelstein

Porn in the USA: Examining Our National Addiction by John Coleman

Porn Is Not Free: The High Social & Personal Costs of Pornography by Regis Nicoll

The Story of Shelley Lubben, Former Porn Star by Judith Reisman

“For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself…After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.” -C.S. Lewis

Is Gender Neutrality the New Stereotype?

From the new issue of Salvo:

Unmaking a Difference
Is Gender Neutrality the New Stereotype?
by Robin Phillips

I was alerted to the rise of a new stereotype when I read that London’s most popular toy store, Hamleys, was undergoing a complete overhaul. In a move full of symbolic significance, the shop did away with separate girls’ and boys’ sections.1

In itself, this might seem like a harmless bit of remodeling. But it is significant that these changes occurred after activists had condemned the toy store as “sexist.” Hamleys’ attempt to expunge gender from playthings is part of a larger political project that seeks to remove all vestiges of gender from every facet of society, replacing them with a new unisex stereotype to which we must all conform.

I wish I could say that the new stereotype of gender neutrality was limited to toy stores like Hamleys. Alas, no. Earlier this year, the UK newsletters were full of stories about the case of little Sasha Laxton,2 the child of the secret gender.

continue reading . . .