It’s been awhile since I wrote a “State of the Culture” update, because I’ve been keeping up with a lot of the culture news by writing columns on individual issues. But the news is coming in a bit of a torrent these days, so I’ll be writing a few more of them lately.
The Left always finds a way to punish those who stray off the reservation, especially when it comes to one of their major strongholds: academia. To the surprise of nobody, Dr. Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto has been denied grant funding for the first time. As the National Post reported:
And he’s certain that the rejection from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the government agency that supports post-secondary research, is linked to the controversy surrounding his stand on gender-neutral pronouns such as “zie” and “zher,” and the modern notion of gender as being fluid.
The university demanded that he stop discussing the issue, and Peterson refused. Since then, his act of defiance has single-handedly created a cross-continent discussion on the usefulness of these pronouns and on the totalitarian tactics used by those who wish to enforce their use. Prominent atheist Sam Harris thinks the fictitious pronouns are a joke, and radical feminist Camille Paglia applauded Peterson’s stand. But eventually, the enforcers found a way to make Peterson pay:
“I think that it’s (the controversy) provided someone with a convenient opportunity to make their displeasure with what I’m doing known,” he told Postmedia in a recent phone interview. “I can’t shake the suspicion.”
Nothing else has changed, he said: As usual, he has three top-calibre graduate students working with him; his “citation counts,” the number of times a work is cited by peers, are rapidly rising and have always been high. Indeed, it’s the graduate students’ loss of income that Peterson feels badly about, though he’s working already on alternate ways to raise funds for them.
“Almost all of it (the grant money) is used to pay my grad students their supplement so they can get their PhDs,” he said. Another chunk would have gone to pay research subjects. There was also a small budget for the students to travel to present their data. Much of the five-year, $399,625 grant was for continuing work on research the SSHRC has previously approved and funded; the last time, in 2012, was for the largest amount ever awarded to a psychologist.
The application, which runs to 41 pages, was for continuing research in three areas: the technical investigation of the structure of personality, particularly improving the mechanisms by which personality is measured; assessing personality and political beliefs; and for online interventions for people to improve performance at school and work.
As usual, the Left proves that it believes in free speech: You are free to think and say precisely what they do.
Dr. Scott Masson, a literature professor, made a great point online the other day in regards to Christians sending their children to public schools. Don’t use your child as “bait and light,” says Masson, “and spend your evening hours contradicting the teacher whose authority you have placed him under every day.” As I said in my book, sending your child to a public school to represent Christianity is the modern equivalent of sending your son or daughter on the Children’s Crusade, and will probably end in a similar fashion.
If you want an explanation for why things are disintegrating on campuses and why millennials responded to Trump’s election with cry-ins and comfort dogs, we now have one. From The Daily Wire:
According to The Wrap, research compiled by David Poltrack, CBS’ chief research officer and their ratings expert, as well as Nielsen Catalina Solutions, found that millennials consider themselves adults at age 30 because that’s when they typically are completely responsible for themselves – they no longer reside with their parents and pay entirely for their own bills.
Well that makes a lot of sense. It’s like that one meme that made the rounds on social media after the Women’s March on Washington, featuring a picture of young men storming the Normandy beaches on D-Day: “The Men’s March Against Fascism Had A Lot Less Signs.”
Another fun statistic? The Daily Mail reported that 92% of radical left-wing protesters still lived with their parents.
There’s some good news out of the state of Alabama, where lawmakers may have finally found a way to protect religious liberty in the Age of Obergefell. From the Conservative Review:
A state-level marriage bill in Alabama is showing a potential way forward for balancing marriage and religious freedom in post-Obergefell America.
It’s been nearly two years since the Supreme Court issued its Obergefell ruling. Since then, Kim Davis went to jail, was released, and finally ended her lawsuit just a few months ago, but that really doesn’t give an answer the serious questions about the nature of marriage and the power of the government to redefine.
Last week, the Yellowhammer State’s Senate passed a measure that would abolish marriage licenses altogether while removing ceremonial requirements for obtaining marriage.
Instead of the state issuing documents and requiring that agents of the state take part in the marriage process, the state would simply record affidavits of marriage between two consenting parties.
The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Greg Albritton, (R), introduced similar legislation last year, which never became law. It’s also similar to a measure that was introduced in the Oklahoma legislature in 2015.
“When you invite the state into those matters of personal or religious import, it creates difficulties,” Albritton told the Associated Press in regards to his efforts last year. He continued, saying:
Early twentieth century, if you go back and look and try to find marriage licenses for your grandparents or great grandparents, you won’t find it. What you will find instead is where people have come in and recorded when a marriage has occurred.
This would eliminate situations in which conscientious objectors to same sex marriage in the government could be forced to directly cooperate with something contrary to their faith, while not blocking access to marriage contracts for same-sex couples. More importantly, it gets the state closer to its appropriate level of involvement, which should be close to nothing.
The Left, of course, will oppose this tooth and nail. They’re not interested in tolerance. They’re interested in using the powers of the state to force those who disagree with them to collaborate with them.
Just when you thought the transgender activists couldn’t possibly get any more ridiculous than they already are, they do. From The Daily Wire;
According to Everyday Feminism’s transgender feminist Riley J. Dennis, if you have a “genital preference” and are not sexually attracted to both a penis and vagina, you are transphobic; or, as he interchangeably uses, “cissexist.”
In a video posted last week, Riley argues that “genital preference” is actually a form of discrimination against trans people. For instance, if you “identity” as a straight male but have a preference for women without penises (because in Leftist Land some “women” have penises), you’re transphobic.
“Gender” preferences are allowed, so long as gender is defined by the Left’s Baskin-Robbins-esque Gender Chart, where feelings supersede biology.
“Some people are making the argument that it’s not cissexist at all to only be attracted to people with one kind of genitals,” complains a disagreeable Riley, before educating us all on the magical wonders of intersectional feminism.
“If you’re a woman who only likes women, go ahead, identify as a lesbian, but some women have penises, and if the fact that some lesbians might be attracted to those women offends you, it’s because you don’t think trans women are real women,” he says.
Got that? If you, as a male, find yourself unattracted to drag queens or “women” who do not possesses any of the biological attributes of a woman, you are most definitely a hater of some sort. Or something. These people are ridiculous. I don’t really care that they take themselves so seriously, I just wish they’d stop insisting that we all do, too.
Speaking of transgender activists, a fascinating undercover report was published over at The Federalist, detailing what unfolded at a transgender conference, which started with stories like this one:
“I was scared to go alone to my ultrasound; so I took a friend. Throughout the procedure, the nurse kept referring to me as a ‘she’. Each time, my friend would correct her. After a while, the nurse seemed confused. ‘She’s having a baby,’ she insisted.” ‘No,’ my friend responded, ‘he’s having a baby.’ It was very upsetting. A week later, the nurse called and left a voicemail with the results of my exam. ‘His cervix and bloodwork look healthy,’ she said. I was so happy. The nurse had finally gotten it.”
Yeah, you read that right. I presume what the nurse had finally “gotten” was the nudge of a gun barrel in her spine, a reminder that she was out of step with today’s insanity. Biology is out. Crazy is in, and it’s mandatory:
Antipathy toward men was a common theme. We heard from a speaker who after 25 years of marriage as a man transitioned to female with the full support of his wife, to whom he remained married. For decades, he had taken the stairwell from work down to the parking lot. As a newly transgender woman, he heard a door close behind him and described feeling a woman’s fear for the first time: “I had never had to feel that fear before as a man. But now, for the first time as a woman, I felt a fear of men that all women feel.”
I learned it’s illegal in my state to refuse to use someone’s preferred pronoun. Almost every presenter had a story of a time they got a coworker, employee, or boss fired. A speaker (pronouns xe, xyr, xemself) passionately told us of a time when xe had an older coworker who referred to xem as “ma’am.” When xe repeatedly told him xe preferred to be referred to as xem, he responded that he couldn’t, because he had been brought up to be polite and use sir and ma’am.
A quick visit to the supervisor resulted in the coworker being fired. There was standing ovation in the conference hall, with one member of the audience saying how “brave” xe was to enact change. Xe publicly responded that xe “needed to go above his head to get what I needed.”
Being “outed” is a constant fear for a transgender, whether it is your voice or stubble that gives you away, or a coworker or document. One speaker pointed out that while bathrooms represent the most obvious way to be outed, using a male bathroom is also a gender-affirming cathartic act. Ultimately, transgender people want to even be in stealth to themselves, with their birth certificate as the final reminder of the gender they are born with. Currently only four states in the United States allow people to alter their birth certificates to retroactively change reality.
The revolution is here, ladies and gentlemen. And that last sentence I wrote may soon be illegal.
Which reminds me of a great quote from D. R. Silva: “I will never compromise Truth for the sake of getting along with people who can only get along when we agree.”
For anyone interested, my own book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.