By Jonathon Van Maren
A few updates from the frontlines of the culture wars around the world:
Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary continues to attract the ire of progressives. Earlier this year, his government passed a “Stop Soros” package to blunt the influence of Soros cash, and now they are insisting that state-funded universities teach genuinely useful skills. Apparently, that does not include gender studies. From FOX News:
Hungary’s populist government is stopping universities from offering courses in gender studies, saying there is no need for graduates in the labor market and they take taxpayer money away from other programs.
The move, announced this week, comes after Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government won a comfortable majority in April after an election focused primarily on immigration. Since then his Fidesz Party has been implementing key parts of its election manifesto.
In a statement, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said that there is “no demonstrable demand for graduates of ‘social gender studies’ in the Hungarian labor market.
“There is no economic rationale for studies such as these, and so we have reason to presume that it was not created in response to labor market needs, and equally not to furnish students with skills that can be readily and directly converted on the labor market,” he said. It is also questionable to what extent studies with admittedly such low student numbers are economical and sustainable.”
Hungary’s HVG said that it would only affect two of the country’s universities, but also that such courses had been in the government’s crosshairs for a while.
It seems unlikely that other governments will follow suit.
Yesterday, I wrote about the news that Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop has found himself in court again—a mere six weeks after his victory at the Supreme Court of the United States. This time, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is targeting Phillips for declining to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition. LGBT activists, I pointed out, are simply determined to punish Phillips with incessant lawfare until they wreck his business or they break him. And as ugly as that is, there are some truly repulsive details that have emerged since then. From the National Review:
Lest anyone wonder whether this request was made in good faith, consider that this same person apparently made a number of requests to Masterpiece Cakeshop. In September 2017, a caller asked Phillips to design a birthday cake for Satan that would feature an image of Satan smoking marijuana. The name “Scardina” appeared on the caller identification. A few days earlier, a person had emailed Jack asking for a cake with a similar theme — except featuring “an upside-down cross, under the head of Lucifer.” This same emailer reminded Phillips that “religion is a protected class.”
On the very day that Phillips won his case at the Supreme Court, a person emailed with yet another deliberately offensive design request:
I’m thinking a three-tiered white cake. Cheesecake frosting. And the topper should be a large figure of Satan, licking a 9″ black Dildo. I would like the dildo to be an actual working model, that can be turned on before we unveil the cake. I can provide it for you if you don’t have the means to procure one yourself.
And finally, two days later, a person identifying as “Autumn Marie” visited Phillips’s shop and requested a cake featuring a pentagram. According to ADF, “Phillips believes that person was Autumn Scardina.”
Autumn Scardina is the attorney that peppered Phillips with disgusting requests until Phillips refused to create a cake that Scardina felt could form the basis of another lawsuit. The Colorado Civil Rights Division, obviously looking for a way to get revenge on Phillips for their defeat at the Supreme Court, accepted this witch-hunt as evidence that Phillips was again violating the civil rights of an LGBT person. And so a baker who just wanted to be left alone is back in court, defending his right not to celebrate things he finds immoral.
In case you needed more reasons to pull your kids out of the public school system, Ontario’s teacher’s union has decided to defy the decision of the democratically elected (yes, that is a needed reminder) Doug Ford government to repeal Kathleen Wynne’s 2015 sex-education curriculum at the request of parents. From CTV News:
Blowing whistles and waving signs, Ontario’s elementary school teachers descended on Queen’s Park to protest the Progressive Conservative government’s decision to return to a decades-old sex-ed curriculum. Following its annual meeting at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto this morning, members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) took to the sidewalks to voice their objection to Premier Doug Ford’s divisive plan to repeal the current sex-ed curriculum introduced by the provincial Liberals in 2015 and revert to a previous version first developed in 1998…
Sam Hammond, the union’s president, told CTV Toronto that EFTO is prepared to do “whatever is necessary” to defend its members who defy the government’s directive in the classrooms.
“We intend to and will defend our members in any way that we need to on a go-forward basis,” he told CTV News Channel during the protest. “We are advising them to use their professional judgement, that’s enshrined in our collective agreements and ministry documents, to teach any or all parts of the 2015, the current modern curriculum.”
This is the state of modern education: Many progressive teachers’ unions believe they know what is best for other people’s children, regardless of what parents say about the matter and regardless of what democratically elected politicians have to say about it. NDP leader Andrea Horwath appears determined to portray herself as the champion of the people fending off the fascist Ford machine, but perhaps someone should remind her of a very important fact: Ontarians rejected her, they rejected her party, and they have done so for decades. If Ontarians had wanted her to be premier, they would have voted for her. They did not. “The people,” it appears, wanted someone else.
For anyone interested, my 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.