The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

May They Rest in Peace

The last couple of years have seen the passing of several individuals whose thought has been influential on my own. In May of last year, the Hungarian born historian, John Lukacs passed away from congestive heart failure. I have had cause over the last month to recall Lukacs’ definition of history as “the remembered past” more than once. The past itself, of course, is beyond the reach of the mad iconoclasts, but history, through which we learn from the past, is under siege. It was from Lukacs, especially his first volume of memoir Confessions of an Original Sinner (1990), rather than from Mencius Moldbug, that I learned to embrace the label “reactionary.” He was an Anglophile and a Roman Catholic, who had fled to the United States after his native country was taken over first by the Nazis and then by the Communists, preferring America’s liberal republicanism over either of the rival twentieth century totalitarianisms, but whose sympathies in many ways lay with the pre-modern, pre-liberal, order of civilization. He warned against the dangers of populism and nationalism, but was also the author of a pamphlet that argued strongly against the kind of immigration that populists and nationalists generally oppose. He was also wise enough to see that the Modern Age was over, without turning that into a weird pretext for separating language from reality.

The following month came the news that Justin Raimondo had passed away from lung cancer. Raimondo was a very interesting character. He was raised in the state of New York and lived most of his adult life in California, two rather left-leaning states. He was the founder and editor of, a website opposed to American military interventionism and adventurism. Raised Roman Catholic, he lost his faith, and was openly homosexual. While that may sound like the resume of an ultra-progressive, he supported arch-conservative Pat Buchanan all three times Buchanan ran for the presidency of the United States, to the point of actually working for the campaign. The last time Buchanan ran it was as the Reform candidate in 2000. Raimondo had addressed that party’s national convention urging them to nominate Buchanan, obviously successfully. More recently, and right up until his death, Raimondo had been a strong supporter of Donald J. Trump. His politics were, in fact, right-libertarian, and more specifically the kind of right-libertarian that is called “paleo-libertarian.” Think Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, and Hans-Herman Hoppe. Indeed, Raimondo was the author of the biography, An Enemy of the State (2000) of the father of paleo-libertarianism, Murry N. Rothbard. He was also the author of a history of the American “Old Right”, i.e., the American Right of the 1930s and 1940s that preceded William F. Buckley Jr., National Review, and the American Conservative movement. This Right began as opposition to the expansion of the American government in the Depression under FDR, and also on non-interventionist grounds opposed American entry into World War II prior to Pearl Harbour. Raimondo’s history was entitled Reclaiming the American Right: Reclaiming the Legacy of the Conservative Movement (1993). Buchanan wrote the foreword. I have read both of these books, as well as his The Terror Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection (2003), although it was the monthly column he wrote for Chronicles in the last few years of his life that I appreciated the most out of all his writings.

Earlier this year, in a single week we lost both Sir Roger Scruton and Christopher Tolkien. Tolkien, who was the youngest member of the 1930s-40s Oxford literary club, the Inklings, will be remembered not as a primary author, but as the editor who took the supplementary writings to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings that his father, J. R. R. Tolkien, had left behind, edited them for publication.

Sir Roger Scruton, on the other hand, has left behind a vast corpus of writing on pretty much every subject imaginable. While primarily a philosopher who specialized in aesthetics – the branch of philosophy that deals with art and beauty – he was a true polymath. I have written reviews of two of his books – The Meaning of Conservatism (1980) and How to Think Seriously About The Planet: The Case for an Environmental Conservatism (2012). The first was written at the beginning of the premiership of Margaret Thatcher and the presidency of Ronald Reagan to show that true conservatism was not an ideological argument for freedom and capitalism, per se, but a reflexive defence of the good things which make up a civilized order, which are “easily destroyed, but not easily created.” The second examined the conservative roots of environmentalism to make the case for the responsible preservation of the beauty of our surroundings and our natural resources while avoiding the pitfalls of extremism that the environmentalism movement is noted for falling into. Many other of his books, including but not limited to his memoir Gentle Regrets, his short introduction to Beauty, his books on the aesthetics of music, his history of the Anglican Church, his takedown of the thought of the leading intellectuals of the Postmodern and Critical Theory influenced New Left, and his defence of Western Civilization against those who would attack it from without and within, The West and the Rest, have been of tremendous benefit to me. Countless of his insights, such as into the difference between “giving offence” and “taking offence”, as well as his countering the left-wing charge of “xenophobia” with that of “oikophobia”, a term borrowed from the Lake Poet Robert Southey, are particularly relevant to this moment in time. So, for that matter is his personal experience. As related in Gentle Regrets and elsewhere in his writings, it was when he witnessed student radicals in the late 1960s behaving basically the way BLM and Antifa are acting today, with nothing but Marxist gibberish to back up their actions, that he realized his fundamental opposition to this sort of thing and became a conservative. Let us hope that many today will experience something similar, in reaction against the revolting, in both senses of the word, “woke.”

Alan Clark used to refer to Enoch Powell, the Tory statesman who delivered a famous speech warning against immigration and the consequences of the Race Relations Bill to Birmingham in 1968, as “the prophet.” The same appellation could be applied to French author and explorer Jean Raspail, who died earlier this month at the age of 94. He travelled the world in his early life, exploring, and doing what could have been preparatory field work for a career as an anthropologist. His earliest writings were travel memoirs, later he turned to writing novels, incorporating his experiences of the world while globetrotting into his fiction. It was these which won him critical acclaim. His religious and political views – he was a traditionalist Roman Catholic, a royalist who longed for the restoration of a legitimate, Catholic, French monarchy, and someone who deplored most if not all modern ideas, trends, and movements – also found their way into his books. The most well-known of his novels, however, which appeared in French in 1973 and in English translation by Norman Shapiro in 1975, was The Camp of the Saints.

The title alone, borrowed from the twentieth chapter of St. John’s Apocalypse, suggests the prophetic nature of the novel. The story opens on Easter morning on the French Riviera, where a retired academic from his home near the ocean, watches as masses of liberal lunatics gather on the beach to welcome the arrival of a vast mass of the poorest of Calcutta’s poor, arriving on ninety-nine ships. The novel then goes back a few months in time to explain how they got to that point. The Belgian government had closed down a charitable adoption program when it was swamped with too many applications, after which, a prophet of sorts, “the turd eater”, having been turned away from the Belgian consulate, addresses the multitude with a parable that curiously borrows the lines from Revelation from which the title of the novel is derived, although twisting their meaning to the effect that the thousand years allotted to the God of the Christians was at an end, and now He must surrender His kingdom to Allah, Buddah, and an assortment of Hindu deities. At his encouragement they board the hundred ships – one is lost along the way – and set sail for France. This provokes much discussion in France over what is to be done – but due to the extreme liberal cultural climate, everyone - the politicians, news media and celebrities, clerics, very interestingly headed by a Latin American pope – all give the answer that the migrants must be accepted and welcomed. The armada is dubbed the “Last Chance Armada” as in the “last chance for mankind” and this, along with “We are all from the Ganges now” and other such tripe are the only acceptable way of speaking about the situation. A handful of individuals are brave enough to dissent – we are slowly introduced to them throughout the novel – and these all gather at the aforementioned academic’s house to make one last stand for Western Civilization. When the French president, who knows full well what must be done and had been counting on the only remaining right-wing publisher in France to make the point for him, sends the military to the beach, he cannot find the courage to order them to fire, and leaves it up to their consciences, at which point they defect. France is swamped and shortly thereafter coloured immigrant communities rise up in major cities throughout what was once Western civilization, while Western borders fall as the Chinese swarm into Russia, the Palestinians overwhelm Israel, etc. The narrator, indicates that the bastion from which he is writing, Switzerland is about to fall, bringing white, Christian, Western Civilization to an end forever.

It is almost twenty years since I read this novel for the first time. I have read it many times since and, to compound the thought crime indictment against me, have given copies of it out to others. Over the course of the last decade, it has come more and more to resemble a prophetic description of our own times. Its author lived to see this happen. Let us hope and pray that the story does not end the way he wrote it.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

A New Apologetics is Needed

Today is June 28th which is a black letter day on the Church Kalendar, dedicated to St. Irenaeus, the second century Bishop of Lyons remembered for his Adversus Haereses, written against the Gnostic heresies of his day. Tomorrow, however, is the red letter Feast of St Peter and St Paul the Apostles, Martyrs. Both of these dates are appropriate for a brief discussion of Christian apologetics. This is a subject that ties in well with what we have been looking at last week, especially in Friday's essay about Critical Theory. The general theme of my last three essays has been the social science departments of the universities and how they have been functioning as indoctrination centres for far left ideology for much longer than many people realize. These were a continuation of an examination begun in May of how the universities have betrayed their foundations. Critical Theory, regarding which we only scratched the surface in my last essay, has from its beginnings in the Institute for Social Research in the 1930s, spread throughout the humanities, turning these disciplines into instruments for instilling the kind of left-wing doctrine now manifesting itself as "wokeness." The founders of this transdisciplinary methodology made no attempt to disguise the fact that this was their goal - it is written right in to their account of Critical Theory as being distinguished from older forms of theory by its end of transforming its object, society as a whole, rather than understanding it. While obviously there is much in Critical Theory which somebody, like myself, who regards Sir Roger Scruton's observation that "good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created" as axiomatic, must oppose on political grounds, it also poses a specific challenge to the Church in the field of apologetics. Critical Theory, like its parent ideology Marxism is inherently hostile to the orthodox Christian faith and is a particularly effective tool of the enemies of the faith in that it inoculates those steeped in it against contrary evidence by making traditional forms of presenting evidence out to be part of the system of oppression that it seeks to overthrow, thus turning any traditional evidence-based argument raised against them into confirmation of their own position. The challenge in this for the Christian apologist is how to penetrate such a wall.

The reason that apologetics is a particularly suitable topic for today and tomorrow, is that St. Peter was the one who commanded that it be done, St. Paul is the best example in Scripture of someone who actually did it, and St. Irenaeus was a notable apologist among the Church Fathers.

The first thing that needs to be said about apologetics is that it does not mean the confession of wrongdoing and imploring of forgiveness. This needs to be stated emphatically in the present cultural climate, in which left-wing mobs are forcing people to make such public demonstrations, not for their sins, but for their skin colour, ancestry, and often sex and faith. There is a place - a prominent place - for confession and seeking forgiveness in Christianity, but never for any of those things. It is our sins, that we are commanded to confess in Christianity, and it is primarily God from Whom we seek forgiveness. Secondarily, of course, we are also commanded to seek the forgiveness of those we have harmed by our personal sins. This is enjoined upon us as individual believers as part of our living out of our faith, and collectively as a body is incorporated into our Church liturgy where it occupies a prominent place. Both Morning and Evening Prayer, the daily Offices in the Book of Common Prayer, open with a General Confession followed by a clerical pronunciation of God's absolution because it is only as penitent and forgiven sinners that we can enter into God's presence to worship Him in an acceptable way. For the same reason, a General Confession and absolution precede the liturgy consecrating the elements of the Sacrament in the order of Holy Communion. Obviously, confession of sin and forgiveness are central elements of orthopraxis. They are not, what is meant by apologetics.

The apology in apologetics is the same kind of apology in Plato's dialogue of that name. An apology was the speech on behalf of the defendant in the Greek court system. In Plato's Apology - and Xenophon's for that matter - we have an account of Socrates speaking in his own defence at his trial. He gives witty answers to the actual charges against him, suggesting that Aristophanes' play of a quarter of century earlier had so prejudiced Athens against him as to lead to these proceedings. The real issue, he maintains, is that he has annoyed his fellow citizens with his constant questioning. He gives an account of why he has pursued this path and concludes by saying that if he were to be offered release on promise to cease and desist he could not give it because "the unexamined life is not worth living." Condemned to death, he accepts his fate but warns the consequences will be worse for the city than for him.

Christian apologetics is the offering of such a defence of the Christian faith. It is to be distinguished from evangelism, which is the proclamation of the basic message of the Christian faith, the Gospel, the Good News that God has given mankind a Redeemer in His Son Jesus Christ, Who died for our sins and rose again. Evangelism has as its end that those who hear would believe and be brought into the Church. Apologetics is auxiliary to evangelism, not a substitute for it or an alternative means of seeking the same end. This cannot be stressed enough because the most basic mistake an apologist can make is to try and do the work of an evangelist through apologetics. Few, if any, have ever been argued into believing.

St. Peter commanded apologetics when he wrote "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." (1 Pet. 3:15-16)

In the book of Acts we have multiple examples of this in the life of the Apostle Paul. In his speeches to the multitude in Jerusalem in Acts 22, before Felix the governor in Acts 24, and before King Agrippa, Berenice and Festus in Acts 26, St. Paul exemplified apologetics in the meaning that most closely conforms with St. Peter's words. Here, St. Paul had been accused of wrongdoing, and gives an account of his faith, in answer to the false accusations against him. This would be one of the primary tasks of the early apologists of the first few centuries before Christianity was legalized. Frequently, the Church would be accused of all sorts of things such as cannibalism and incest, and the apologists would answer these charges and defend the faith with the end of achieving peace and legal acceptance in the Roman Empire. However, attacks on the faith also took the form of philosophical arguments against its content. Apologists would also answer such arguments, and after the legalization of Christianity this became the primary task of apologetics. Interestingly, St. Paul also provides an example of this sort of apologetics in his address to the Stoics and Epicureans at the Areopagus in Acts 17, although he was not responding to a specific philosophical objection to Christianity so much as providing a philosophical explanation that he had been invited to give by the curious.

In St. Irenaeus we find an example of yet another role of apologetics - defending the orthodox faith against attacks from within by those teaching heresy. In the Scriptures, it is St. John who practices and enjoins this aspect of apologetics in his first two epistles. St. Irenaeus, although he was a bishop in what is now France, was raised in the Church in Smyrna in what is now Turkey. The bishop of that Church was Polycarp, who had been a disciple of St. John and ordained directly by him.

Apologetics has remained an important element of Christian theology ever since. It is divided into branches differently depending upon whether the criteria is the particular element of Christianity being defended or the particular methodological approach being used.

Today, the challenge from Critical Theory is demanding an answer from Christian apologetics. The apologetics of the last two centuries has been largely addressed to arguments arising out of the various strands of Modern philosophy that have descended from the English/Scottish, French and German branches of the so-called Enlightenment. The "Postmodernism" that arose in French art and literary criticism in the same period that Critical Theory was spreading throughout the humanities has also been addressed extensively, although perhaps to a degree unnecessarily because it is its own refutation. Critical Theory has not received adequate attention from apologists and, indeed, can be said to have largely been ignored by them. Dr. Neil Shenvi and Dr. Patrick Sawyer have made Critical Theory the focus of their defence of the Christian faith, but their work seems to be only in the last year or two, and there are few others. This seems extremely odd because when you look at the tensions that have existed between orthodox Christianity and other social groups in the West in the last two to three decades the arguments of the other groups have come in a Critical Theory framework. Considering that Critical Theory had dominated the humanities and social sciences, that the West is now in the grip of a neo-Maoist cultural revolution that spouts Critical Theory-derived slogans in which there have been calls for a Kristallnacht against stained-glass depictions of our Lord and Saviour, and many within the Churches are trying to incorporate this entirely un-Christian way of thinking, we need to do better than that.

Evidential apologetics is obviously worthless for this purpose. Evidential apologetics is the kind of apologetics that argues "Christianity is true because of such-and-such proofs." "Scientific creationism" is entirely a form of this sort of apologetics approach. It is useless against Critical Theory because of the latter's built-in explanation of all evidence, inductive or deductive, brought against it as being part of the system of oppression. Presuppositional apologetics might be better, but only slightly, at least without significant revision.

What is needed is a whole new apologetical approach that counters Critical Theory at the level of its own basic claims. The idea that oppression conveys moral, intellectual, and cultural enlightenment upon the oppressed ,is one example of Critical Theory's claims, Apologetics needs to be able to counter these claims without setting off the intellectual loop that translates any counter-argument into confirmation of the Theory. It is almost tempting to borrow from Nietzsche's master-slave morality distinction, which comes from the rival branch of the post-Kantian German philosophical tradition to that in which the founders of Critical Theory were steeped, but, of course, that is as anti-Christian a line of thinking as Critical Theory itself.

There is much work to be done in laying the foundation of a counter-Critical Theory apologetical approach. It would be well to emphasize again the distinction between apologetics and evangelism. People are seldom if ever argued into believing, and those who are trapped in Critical Theory behind its anti-argument wall, are even less reachable. Reaching them must not be our priority - we must leave that to the Holy Spirit, working through the Gospel, in answer to prayer. It is to prevent others from falling into the Critical Theory mind-trap that must be the goal of our efforts.

Friday, June 26, 2020

It Is Time to Criticize Critical Theory

If you have not already figured it out by now, please allow me to state that the perpetrators of the present wave of anti-white race hatred and Maoist cultural revolution cannot be reasoned out of their narrow and highly destructive point of view. It is not for the sake of rescuing them from their error that we must speak such truths as the fact that when the percentage of blacks among those who die at the hands of the police in the United States is compared with the percentage of blacks among perpetrators of murder, robbery, and other violent crime rather than their percentage of the general population, the first percentage is disproportionately low rather than disproportionately high. It is for the sake of having a sane grasp on reality ourselves. A wall of immunity has effectively been erected around the insular, “woke” point of view protecting it from any intrusion by “things as they are.”

How did we ever arrive at the place where so many people accept the elevation of personal experience as a member of a designated group as being authoritative over verifiable fact?

A large part of the answer to that has to do with the way in which the universities have become leftist re-education camps for brainwashing and indoctrinating young people with wokeness. This is true of universities in general, although the biggest culprits have been the humanities and social sciences departments. While the ascendancy of the STEM disciplines points to another, older, problem in academia, the fragmentation of what ought to be regarded as an integrated whole, human knowledge, they have been more resistant to being turned into factories of wokeness than the humanities. The humanities are venerable in themselves, but they have been corrupted by the social sciences, the source of the problem. My last two essays examined the inherent leftism of sociology, which aspired to be the umbrella discipline of the social sciences, and how the rise of the Boasian school of cultural anthropology amounted to a left-wing takeover of the discipline that produced the immediate ancestor of today’s woke anti-racism.

In this essay I will be looking at Critical Theory, which was the main channel through which the leftism of the social sciences infected the humanities.

Critical Theory is the methodology associated with what is commonly known as the “Frankfurt School.” The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory are often equated with “Cultural Marxism” but the latter is far less precise and a distinction needs to be made here. What is usually meant by Cultural Marxism is the infiltration and takeover of culture generating institutions by leftists who then subvert these institutions into generating a culture that supports progressive causes. Taken broadly, this could describe everything that I have been talking about in my last two essays as well as this one. As a specific strategy, it has more to do with the theories of Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Communist Party leader who was imprisoned by the Fascists, than with the Frankfurt School. Gramsci theorized that the capitalist bourgeoisie had prevented the socialist revolution that Marxist theory regarded as inevitable by means of culture through which they maintained their hegemony over the proletariat by causing them to value the bourgeois values as their own. His theory and proposals for a proletariat counter-culture were translated into a strategy recognizable as Cultural Marxism in its ordinary sense by the student revolutionaries of the 1960s, particularly Rudi Dutschke who coined the phrase “the long march through the institutions.” While perhaps similar in intention, the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School attacked Western Civilization at a much deeper level than this.

The Frankfurt School gets its nickname from the city in Germany in which it was founded. In 1923, Felix José Weil endowed the newly formed Universität Frankfurt am Main, now Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, with funds for the establishment of an affiliate sociological think tank. This thinktank was given the name Institut für Sozialforschung - the Institute for Social Research. It was thoroughly Marxist from the beginning, but in the 1920s under its first two directors its Marxism was the textbook, straight out of Marx and Engels, variety. In 1930 a new director, Max Horkheimer took over, and under his leadership it developed the distinctive form of neo-Marxist thought that has been associated with it ever since. It was Horkheimer who recruited to the think tank most of the notable names of its first generation – the psychoanalyist Erich Fromm, the social critic and musicologist Theodor W. Adorno, the cultural critic and essayist Walter Benjamin, and the sociologist and philosopher Herbert Marcuse. Only a few years after Horkheimer’s directorate began, the Institute was forced into exile by the rise of Adolf Hitler. The Third Reich revoked the Institute’s charter, and they fled briefly to Switzerland before re-locating to New York City in 1935 where Columbia University offered them a new home.

You may recall from my last essay that Franz Boas had become Professor of Anthropology at this very university in 1899, and in the next two to three decades, his doctoral students at Columbia, indoctrinated in his left-wing version of anthropology, had spread out to take charge of all the major anthropology departments in the United States. Now, a second major centre of left-wing thought was located in the same university. Their ideology was not identical. Boas was well-known for his opposition to psychoanalysis in general and Freud in particular, whereas the Frankfurt School included a number of prominent Freudians and it frequently blended the ideas of Marx and Freud. Interestingly, one of the best known and most influential examples of the latter, Herbert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization (1966) is an argument against the same thing, sexually repressive morality, that the anti-Freudian disciple of Boas, Margaret Mead argued against in Coming of Age in Samoa (1928). There were, however, a number of strong parallels between Boasian and Frankfurt School thought, most notably when it came to anti-racism. Boas, remember, pushed very hard for a cultural approach to anthropology which leaned heavily towards nurture as opposed to nature, against previous anthropologists, especially from the physical branch of the discipline, who stressed nature in their study of race, and his disciples, most notably Ashley Montagu, took this to the extreme of denying the existence of race, a denial which in the second half of the twentieth century came to be imposed as dogma upon all of the social sciences and even the real sciences. The year Boas died, Horkheimer became scientific director for the American Jewish Committe which at his recommendation sponsored a series of “Studies in Prejudice” that were published with Horkheimer as the general editor. The most influential of these was The Authoritarian Personality (1950), authored by a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, headed by Horkheimer’s Frankfurt associate Theodor Adorno. The gist of the book was that the average white, Christian, middle class, family in the United States of the 1940s to 1950s, was turning everyone into evil racist Nazis by suppressing their homosexuality and instilling in them respect for their fathers as authority figures.

That this book's idiotic and vile thesis received general acceptance among the liberal Left can be attributed to the fact that it was presented as scientific research and progressives tend to uncritically accept anything that is handed to them in the name of science even if it is obviously nothing of the sort. It is interesting, therefore, to note that while Horkheimer served the AJC in the capacity of science director, Critical Theory as he himself had explained it was a repudiation of science.

In an essay entitled “Traditional and Critical Theory” which appeared in 1937 and served as a basic introduction to the methodology of the Frankfurt School, Horkheimer criticized the fact gathering methodology, and the organizational principle of linking propositions into a systematic whole, of the traditional theory which had prevailed in the social sciences in imitation of the natural sciences, and which he condemned as serving the “industrial production techniques” which dominate capitalist society. His own Critical Theory he distinguished by the fact that it does not strictly separate subject and object, but includes a moral element of protest against the existing order, and an activist element of striving to change that order. It is to be applied to society as a whole.

While there are some interesting parallels between the Frankfurt School’s criticism of traditional theory and the orthodox Christian traditionalist criticism of Modern science these are dwarfed by the major differences. If the integration of the social sciences and the humanities in Critical Theory sounds like an appealing step away from the fragmentation of knowledge in the Modern Age, for example, realize that in Critical Theory this is not an argument for recovering a holistic view of things as they are that was lost in the transition to modernity but for weaponizing every discipline in the cause of revolution. The revolutionary cause is, in the end, the chief defining characteristic of Critical Theory and with Critical Theory, as with “orthodox” Marxism, and indeed with every other form of revolutionary ideology, the assumption that the revolutionary who is quick to point out the injustices and oppression of the existing order is capable of replacing it with one without injustice or oppression, or at least with significantly less injustice and oppression, is hardly borne out by the history of revolutions which almost always increase the total amount of injustice and oppression rather than lessen it. If we look around at what is being done today by mobs stirred on by people whose minds have been steeped in Critical Theory, it is evident that these revolutionaries are no exception.

This essay has only begun to scratch the surface of what can be said about Critical Theory, which has evolved and expanded considerably since the days in which Horkheimer and Adorno wrote the Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947). My purpose here was not to provide an exhaustive treatment of the subject – obviously, that cannot be done in an essay – but an introductory glance at the link through which the agenda the Left was pursuing in the social sciences already in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, spilled over into the humanities in the mid twentieth century. I hope to explore this further in future essays. In the meantime, for a look back at many intellectuals who were influenced by this sort of thinking in the last sixty years, including Jürgen Habermas the most prominent figure of the second generation of the Frankfurt School – which returned to Frankfurt after the war, leaving some of its leading figures behind – see the late Sir Roger Scruton’s Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left (2016).

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Subversion of Anthropology

In my last essay I argued for the de-funding of the social sciences, especially sociology. I also argued that unlike the humanities, which have only relatively recently been corrupted from their original purpose and turned into factories for churning out cultural Maoists, sociology had far left leanings right from the beginning.

Today we will be looking at another social science, this time one of the disciplines where the humanities and the social sciences intersect. This discipline has been dominated by far left thinking for over a century now, but unlike in the case of sociology, this can be traced to a definite moment when the field underwent a hostile takeover, subverting it from its original course. The discipline in question is anthropology.

If you run an internet search for the “father of modern anthropology” or even just the “father of anthropology” the results that will pop up will for the most part name either Claude Lévi-Strauss or Franz Boas. I just ran such a search and Lévi-Strauss was the first and highlighted result.. This is highly amusing in that while both answers are wrong, Lévi-Strauss is even more wrong than Boas, as the latter was already the first chair of the department of anthropology at Columbia University nine years before the former, who died only eleven years ago, was born. Incidentally, no, Claude Lévi-Strauss was not the guy who made blue jeans. Levi was the first name of the jeans guy, not part of a hyphenated family name.

We shall return to Boas momentarily, for Boas was the architect of the left-wing takeover of anthropology in America. I shall defer discussion of Lévi-Strauss and his similar, but later, influence in Europe to another day. First, let it be noted that anthropology is much older than either of them. Arguably – and James M. Redfield, the University of Chicago classic professor, said this very thing – it goes all the way back to Herodotus, the father of history. Even, however, if we limit ourselves to Modern anthropology, it is still older than either Boas or Lévi-Strauss. Nor does the qualifier “American” produce an accurate answer in Boas. Lewis Henry Morgan, the prominent nineteenth century American anthropologist, died in 1881, a few years before Boas even arrived in the United States.

In reality, Modern anthropology goes back to the eighteenth century, the period of the so-called “Enlightenment.” It was in this century that Gerhard Friedrich Müller, a German historian working in Russia, pioneered the scientific collection of data pertaining to specific people groups that is called ethnography and which is the basic field work that informs all branches of anthropology. In the same period the Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus developed the Modern system of taxonomy, the first to classify human beings and apes together under the category of primates. In 1779 German physician Johann Friedrich Blumenbach took the taxonomy of human beings a step further and classified people into five “races” based on common physiognomic traits. We shall have more to say about this later, but for now note that while Blumenbach was not the first to try and sort people based upon physiognomy, his system of classification was the one which prevailed and became the basis for physical anthropology. Physical or biological anthropology was one of the two main branches of anthropology from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century. The social anthropology of Sir. E. B. Tyler and Sir James G. Frazer was the other.

Now, there is much in the anthropological writings and theories of this period that an orthodox Christian traditionalist can find to disagree with. Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough (1890), for example, much like the positivism of sociology founder Auguste Comte, argued that religion was an intermediate stage in man’s progress from myth to science, which argument requires the nonsensical presupposition that efforts to explain and understand creation without recourse to its Creator are superior to those which do make such recourse. Also, the theories of Charles Darwin and his cousin Sir Francis Galton, which are problematic for a similar reason, were extremely influential on nineteenth century anthropology. These problems are miniscule, however, compared with those of Boasian cultural anthropology.

Franz Boas was born in Prussia in 1858 into a family of liberals and radicals, who had supported the early nineteenth century revolutionary movement that was descended from eighteenth century Jacobinism. He shared the leftist views of his family, although it might be slightly anachronistic to call him a Marxist. He studied physics, mathematics, and geography in the universities of Heidelberg, Bonn and Kiel, receiving his doctorate in 1881. He shortly thereafter joined an expedition to Baffin Island. His initial interest was geographic, but the experience converted him into an ethnographer. He briefly returned to Germany and pursued further studies in this field, before permanently re-locating to North America, where he joined the small anthropology department of Clark University in Massachusetts in 1888 and was named its head the following year. In 1896, he became the Assistant Curator of Ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan as well as an anthropology lecturer at Columbia University. In 1899 we was given the position of Professor and made the head of a new, united department of anthropology at Columbia, where he remained until his death in 1942.

Under Boas, Columbia’s new united anthropology department became the first in the United States to offer a doctorate in the field. This gave Boas an unprecedented amount of influence over the discipline of which he made full use. He pushed to make it more professional, as can be seen in his famous dispute with William John McGee over the organizational structure and principles of the American Anthropological Association when it was founded under the latter’s leadership in 1902. While this is hardly ground for criticism in itself, the fact that he was the only one giving out Ph. D's in the field at the time meant that making the discipline more professional translated into filling it with his own disciples. Indeed, by only a little over twelve years after the AAS was formed, it was packed with Boas’ students who comprised a super-majority on its executive board. About the same amount of time later every anthropology department in the United States was headed by someone who had been trained personally by Boas. The first recipient of the doctorate in anthropology he had initiated, Alfred Kroeber, had gone on to become the first Professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Edward Sapir, another of Boas’ students who worked under Kroeber for a time, became Professor of Linguistics and Anthropology at the University of Chicago in the 1920s, before finishing up his career as head of the department of anthropology at Yale in the 1930s. Melville Herskovitz, who founded the first African Studies program in the United States at Northwestern University, was another of Boas’ students. A list of Herskovitz’ classmates while studying under Boas reads like a “Who’s Who” of early twentieth century anthropology, including Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Elsie Clews Parsons.

Boas was noted for disparaging the work and ideas of almost every anthropologist who had preceded him. The obvious positive spin that can be placed on this is to say that he was forcing the discipline down a new, more respectable, path by imposing rigorous standards upon it. Those who interpret him in this way point to his opposition to generalization. First the facts must be collected, he would argue, and only then can a general theory be drawn from them. Those who laud this as empirical rigor maintain that he can be criticized only in that that point in time never came, and that an increasing skepticism as to whether it could ever be reached can be traced from the beginning to the end of his career.

The flaw in that interpretation of Boas is that it became apparent by the end of the twentieth century that he had, in fact, encouraged extreme sloppiness – the opposite of rigor – among some of his best known students. The foremost example of this pertains to the work of Margaret Mead.

While Mead’s career spanned most of the twentieth century and included many accomplishments, she is still best known for the book that launched her career and made her famous in 1928 – Coming of Age in Samoa. It was a study, based on field work she had done on the Samoan island of Ta’u, of girls in that society in the age range that corresponds with what we would call adolescence in the West. As she depicted them, these girls passed through this period between childhood and adulthood without any of the emotional and behavioural turmoil associated with this age here, due to the absence of a rigidly enforced sexual morality. For forty years this was the most read book of anthropology

In 1983, New Zealand born anthropologist Derek Freeman, who had taught in Samoa in the 1940s, and later returned to do further anthropological research in the 1960s, published the first of two books he wrote rebutting Mead. Entitled Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth it argued that the society Mead had studied had all the problems she claimed it didn’t and that it was more rigid when it comes to sexual morality than the West rather than less. Mead, Freeman argued, had spent far too little time doing her fieldwork, and had been taken in by girls who deliberately told her tall tales. He had interviewed some of the girls she had spoken to in the 1920s, obviously now decades older and more mature, and they confessed to having done just that. His second book, The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead, focused more on this evidence that she had been duped.

Freeman’s books generated a huge amount of controversy. Defenders of Mead, who were mostly cultural anthropologists themselves, argued that the Samoa Freeman knew had underwent a major transformation since Mead had done her field work, that research done elsewhere supported Mead’s conclusions even if her Samoan research was faulty, that the mature Samoan women whom Freeman had interviewed were lying about having lied when they were teenagers, and that Freeman had an ideological axe to grind.

Certainly the latter charge holds true about Mead herself. It is not necessarily what you might think. While her book did indeed seem to have a strong influence over the loosening of sexual mores in the West in the 1950s and 1960s – or at least was cited as making a “scientific” case for it – her primary agenda was quite different from this and the opposite of that which is imputed to Freeman. It is evident from Boas’ foreword to her book what that was. She wished to please her teacher-mentor by providing him with evidence for his favourite ideological axe – the nurture side of the nature versus nurture debate.

The case against Boas is often overstated by sociobiologists, evolutionary psychologists, behavioural geneticists and others who lean heavily to the nature side in said debate. Boas was not a nurture absolutist, although he seemed to be moving in that direction towards the end of his career. It was his students who took his position to the extreme of imposing the tabula rasa view of human nature upon the next generation or two of anthropologists – and with help from the behaviouralists in psychology upon the social sciences in general. Nevertheless, his championing of the nurture side in the debate is part and parcel with his feud with the anthropologists who had gone before him. These, especially after Dawin and Galton, stressed nature, sometimes to the apparent exclusion of nurture.

Boas maintained that the primary determining factor in human society and behaviour is culture. This seems to have come more from his left-liberalism than from any actual evidence. A cultural explanation of human behaviour and social institutions lends itself more easily to an ideology that wishes to radically alter these than a hard-wired, universal, biological explanation. Furthermore, and this is especially relevant in light of the nature of the leftism that is currently spewing forth from the social science departments of the universities, it was race as it was being studied by the physical anthropologists to which Boas took particular exception. If Boas was not truly the father of anthropology – except, perhaps, of cultural anthropology if there is any validity to the distinction between it and social anthropology – he was certainly the father of anti-racism.

Remember that Blumenbach had classified people into five races based on physiognomic traits back in 1779. While the nomenclature for these was not constant, these remained the five major races that physical anthropology studied until it become politically incorrect to continue to do so. Population geneticists continue to study them under the label “populations.” The basis of classification is different. A population in population genetics is distinguished by an identifiable degree of shared genetic relatedness, whereas a race in physical anthropology was distinguished based on physiognomy. Nevertheless, compare the populations discussed in the book of late population geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza with the races identified by Blumenbach, Cartleton Coon, and John R. Baker, and it is obvious that they are the same groups. Which makes it rather frightening that Cavalli-Sforza insisted that race does not exist and that his work proves it. This is cognitive dissonance on the level of Orwell’s “we have always been at war with Eastasia” which indicates that a sort of totalitarian groupthink is at play here. The origin of that groupthink can clearly be traced to Boas, through his student Ashley Montagu, who wrote Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (1942) and co-authored and later helped revise UNESCO’s “Statement on Race.” (1)

This denial of a basic factual aspect of human nature, combined with the claim that it was socially constructed to serve oppressive ends, and the demand that everybody pay at least lip-service to the denial in the interests of combatting the “oppression” is very familiar today. It is the thought paradigm that produces “wokeness.” We have just seen that it goes back to the Boasian takeover of anthropology a century ago.

This means that it is time to cut anthropology as well as sociology off from the public purse.

(1) Montagu was also the author of The Elephant Man. It is his only work with merit.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Scrap the Social Sciences – Especially Sociology

Jeff Minick had an excellent suggestion last week at Intellectual Takeout, a cultural commentary website operated by the Charlemagne Institute. He proposed that instead of defunding the police, the universities which have been churning out these barbaric Maoist thugs who are trying to tear down Western Civilization should be defunded instead.

I can legitimately claim to have been ahead of the game on this one. Towards the end of May, while George Floyd, who is the pretext for all this crime, violence, and destruction, was still alive and kicking, I wrote not one, but two essays in response to the pissing and moaning from the University of Manitoba after they had their provincial operating grant slashed by five percent. I concluded the first one, “How the Universities Have Betrayed the Founding Principles of Academia”, by saying:

A five percent reduction of their funding? That's a start and it is only just considering that it is the experts they have been producing and telling us to listen to who have done so much unnecessary damage to the economy that supplies the government revenues that pay for their grants. It would be better to cut them off altogether until such time as they return to the principles of the Great Academic Tradition.

Indeed, I can even claim to gone a step further than Mr. Minick. He has excluded the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) departments from his proposal:

I don’t mean in all academic departments, of course. American universities still lead the world in scientific research. We still produce fine mathematicians and excellent engineers, though not enough of the latter. Our colleges and universities still graduate skilled nurses and doctors, business professionals, and computer scientists.

By contrast, these were the very departments I condemned in the essay referenced above, on the grounds that by dividing what was traditionally regarded as a unified whole – human knowledge – into isolated fields that had little to do with each other, they were producing the very sort of thing – “experts” who profess far more knowledge they actually possess, and masses who ignorantly take their every word as Gospel – that the Socratic school attacked at the beginning of the Western Academic Tradition. Of course, at the time I was thinking of the way the lockdown, suspending our basic freedoms, had been so widely accepted because the “experts” recommended it. Since then we have passed from Apocalypse 2020 Mach I: The Stand to Apocalypse 2020 Mach II: The Camp of the Saints and in the context of the latter, Mr. Minick is quite right to target the humanities as they are presently being taught in the universities, as I did in my second essay, “The Bonfire of the Humanities.”

There is a third major division of university departments which deserves “defunding” in the light of the present crisis, however. Indeed, most of the bad ideology which is now corrupting the humanities has bled into the liberal arts from this division. The division in question is that of the “social sciences” or as they are sometimes called the “soft sciences.”

The social sciences occupy a kind of middle territory in academia between the humanities and the STEM disciplines.” The social sciences purport to be “sciences” in the same sense as the “hard sciences” of physics, biology, and chemistry, all of which fall under the S in STEM. Human behaviour, especially the organized behaviour of groups such as communities and societies, is their subject matter. While this has been a major subject for organized human knowledge right from the beginning – the entirety of the Platonic canon can be said to be concerned with it in one way or another, as are the Ethical and Political writings of Aristotle – the social sciences are distinguished from previous studies of human behaviour by their claim to apply the methodology of Modern science. This is why some disciplines, such as history, can be classified as falling under both the humanities and the social sciences, depending upon the approach to the subject matter taken.

Conservative Christians have subjected the methodology of Modern science to sound criticism from a number of different angles. Gordon H. Clark, for example, the Calvinist theologian and apologist, who was for many years the chairman of the Philosophy Department at Butler University, argued that it was epistemologically worthless in his The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God (1964). Its value, Clark argued, is strictly utilitarian. It helps us to improve our standard of living, but it does not lead us towards the truth. Its laws and theories, for all of their usefulness to mankind, are always false. George Grant, the conservative Canadian Anglican philosopher who taught in the philosophy department of Dalhousie University and the religion department of McMaster, criticized Modern science and the technology with which it is inseparably intertwined, from an ethical standpoint. Modern science is Baconian science, and as such has as its end the subjecting of all it studies to the human will, or as Bacon himself put it “the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.” This, Grant argued was the goal of the Age of Progress, which in theological terms amounted to an eschatological view of history that substituted the “Kingdom of Man” for the “Kingdom of God.”

The social sciences are especially vulnerable to both of these critiques. Since human beings are themselves the subject of the social sciences it is that much more impossible for them to separate the output of the study from the input of the investigator. As for Grant’s criticism, if we agree with him, as I happen to do, that the project of bending nature to serve the will of man set mankind down a wrong path of trying to put himself in the place of God, then the further down the path we get, the deeper into error we sink, and surely the bending of our own nature to our own will is about as far down the path as is possible to get.

The preceding criticism calls the value of the social sciences into question. The positive case for defunding them is that they do little other than indoctrinate gullible young people with left-wing ideology turning them into the sort of people who like to put on masks to intimidate lecturers they disagree with, stir up riots, and vandalize the memorials of the past. Not a dime of public money should ever go towards such indoctrination. The humanities are also guilty of this, but there is a significant difference between them and the social sciences in this regard. The humanities are the disciplines, mostly going back to ancient times, which formed the core educational curriculum up to the Renaissance. If they are churning out neo-Maoist cultural revolutionaries today, this is because they have been infiltrated and subverted from their original purpose. Taught properly, they would do no such thing. With most of the social sciences, however, the corruption goes back almost to the very beginning of the disciplines.

In the case of sociology, a convincing case can be made that is was built upon the shaky foundation of left-wing ideology right from the very beginning. Sociology has long been held in suspicion by those who view it as simply the dumping ground for all the spare parts left over from the other social sciences and not a real discipline in its own right. Conversely, its proponents have maintained that it is the unifying discipline of the social sciences, that ties anthropology, psychology and all of the others together.

Sir Isaiah Berlin wrote in his biography of Karl Marx (1937) that he was the “true father of modern sociology in so far as anyone can claim the title.” By this, he did not mean that Marx had thought up all the basic ideas of sociology and laid down its operating principles in its writings. He meant that Marx, as a critic, forced those who were doing this work, to clarify their ideas. That having ben said, Marx and Auguste Comte, who founded the discipline in the more formal sense, were both heavily influenced by Henri de Saint-Simon.

Saint-Simon was born into a French aristocratic family and as a teenager took off to North America and fought in the American Revolution under George Washington. After his return to France he joined the Jacobin Club in the early stages of the French Revolution. It is important to remember, that while it is now commonplace to speak of the Left as “Marxist” as if it began with Marx, the subversive movement against Christian civilization is much older. It was first called the Left in the French Revolution, but even the Jacobins, who took Cromwell’s revolt of a century and a half earlier as their inspiration, were not the originals. The Left is older, therefore, than Saint-Simon, although it did not go by that name until he had joined it. He left his mark on what it would thereafter be, however, in that he was the first socialist. Marx and Engels classified him as a “utopian socialist”, but all of the different socialisms that sprang up in the nineteenth century, from Proudhon’s to that of Marx and Engels themselves which eventually became the dominant socialism, can be traced back in one way or another to Saint-Simon.

Comte was a student of Saint-Simon in the most literal sense. He served him as secretary for a period in the early 1800s, during which time he also studied under him. It was in this period that Comte’s first writings appeared under Saint-Simon’s patronage.

Given the influence of the French Revolutionary and first socialist Saint-Simon on sociology’s official father, Comte, and Marx’s influence on the development of the discipline as discussed by Berlin, it is hardly a huge leap of logic to saw that the overwhelming left-wing dominance of this field that is evident today, as it was throughout most of the last century, can be attributed to a left-wing slant having been built into it from the very beginning.

It should be noted that Robert Nisbet’s The Sociological Tradition (1966) can be cited as giving evidence to the contrary. Nisbet was that rara avis, a conservative sociologist, which is all the more unusual in that he received his Ph.D from Berkeley, began his teaching career at that stronghold of left-liberalism, and ended it at Columbia University, the epicentre of the outbreak of the cultural revolutionary brand of leftism in North American academia. In The Sociological Tradition, he identified five “unit-ideas” of sociology – community, authority, status, the sacred, and alienation – and traced the history of each in the thought of such nineteenth to early twentieth century sociological pioneers as Comte, Durkheim, Weber, Tönnies, and Simmel. With regards to each of these, he argued that the early sociologists had borrowed heavily and knowingly, from how these same concepts appear in the counter-revolutionary writings of Edmund Burke, Louis de Bonald, François-René de Chateaubriand and Joseph de Maistre. As the discipline was being established, he argued, the ideas of two polar opposite figures, Alexis de Tocqueville and Karl Marx, struggled and strove to shape it. He argued that Tocqueville, who represented the thought drawn from the well of the aforementioned counter-revolutionaries, had triumphed over the revolutionary socialist Marx, before the nineteenth century was even over.

Nisbet’s history of sociology is not as contrary to the idea that it was built with a left-wing bias as it may appear. He was not arguing that sociology itself was traditionalist, conservative, or reactionary, much less that the average sociologist was any of those things. He merely maintained that the aforementioned unit-ideas had been borrowed by the early sociologists from the writings of the right-wing critics of the Enlightenment Project and the French Revolution. Unit-ideas are the basic concepts from which philosophies and theories are constructed, in the history of ideas as postulated by Arthur O. Lovejoy in The Great Chain of Being (1936), from which Nisbet borrowed the term. Much like how the same kind of brick used to build a school can also be used to build a slaughterhouse, so can unit-ideas from one philosophical tradition, be borrowed in the construction of another that is radically different. In this case, the unit-ideas in question were used by the counter-revolutionaries to challenge the individualistic values of Enlightenment liberalism. These leading figures in sociology borrowed these concepts from the counter-revolutionaries because they also rejected these liberal values, but they put them to a radically different use.

If Nisbet maintained that Tocqueville was triumphant over Marx by the end of what he called the “Golden Age of sociology”, he was not so naïve to think that this was still the case. In the new “author’s introduction” to the 1993 re-issue of his book, he discusses the poor state of sociology in the United States when he was a student, and the renascence it underwent in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the forces that brought about that renascence was the influx of European scholars who had fled the Third Reich. While these scholars were not all Marxists, a great many were. These included both classical Marxists and the neo-Marxists whose re-interpretation of Marxist theory into cultural rather than economic terms produced the Critical Theory that is now being shoved down everyone’s throats, in academia and out, by the militant woke. While Nisbet makes no comment on this directly, it is interesting to note that toward the conclusion he states that “The pathetic truth is that what I have chosen to call the sociological tradition, the tradition emanating from Tocqueville in the first instance and continuing unmistakably in the writings of Weber and Durkheim and others, is in serious straits at the present time, as is sociology as a whole.” He then makes reference to an article by Irving Louis Horowitz entitled “The Decomposition of Sociology” which complained that sociology “has largely become a repository of discontent, a gathering of individuals who have special agendas, from gay and lesbian rights to liberation theology” and that this was driving all the real scientists out. Horowitz, whose own company Transaction Books put out this re-issue of Nisbet’s book, felt so strongly on the matter that he expanded that very article into a book, which Oxford published that same year, in which he stated “Sociology has become a series of demands for correct politics rather than a set of studies of social culture.”

The state of sociology that Horowitz and Nisbet decried twenty-seven years ago has certainly not improved since then. It has gotten much, much worse and is bearing a most toxic form of fruit.

It is time that it be cut off from the public purse entirely.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Father

It is Father's Day. It is a wonder we are still allowed to celebrate it. Feminism long ago identified the enemy it wished to destroy as patriarchy - "father authority". Today, feminism is triumphant, and patriarchy, despite Steven Goldberg's thesis, (1) is all but dead. Perhaps the iconoclasts presently engaged in tearing down history have not gotten around to Father's Day yet. Or perhaps the feminists are satisfied with having stripped fatherhood of its essential meaning by destroying its authority and are content to let the vestigial honour remain. The latter suggestion is unlikely. It is not in the nature of feminism or any other leftist movement to refrain from utterly humiliating and debasing its defeated foes.

The feminist assault on the authority of earthly fathers is and always has been ultimately aimed at the highest fatherly authority of all, that of God. Feminism, like the anti-racism (actually "anti-white" racism) that has recently exploded into a tsunami that threatens to sweep away all of Western Civilization, has historically come in both "liberal" and "radical" (far Left or Marxist) forms, of which the radical, in both cases, is now in the ascendancy, but liberal and radical alike are descended from the Puritan rebels of the seventeenth century, the Whigs, and as Samuel Johnson famously put it "the first Whig was the devil." There is much in the way of witty and wise comebacks to feminism which can be gleaned from the words of Dr. Johnson, by the way, despite the fact of it not yet having been in its infancy when he walked the streets of London. His conversation with the bluestocking Mrs. Knowles as recorded by Boswell is one example. His words to Dr. Taylor "Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little" are another. A paraphrase of the latter is the conclusion to which Stephen Leacock argued in "The Woman Question", written in 1915 on the eve of women's suffrage - and Prohibition - but still, in my opinion, the best commentary on the women's movement ever written. Feminism is not actually the subject of my essay, however, so lest it be permanently sidetracked I shall give one more quotation, this time from Fran Lebowitz who said "Women who insist upon having the same options as men would do well to consider the option of being the strong silent type" and move on to the Fatherhood of God.

In the early stages of liberalism's "long march" through the Churches, it looked like the Fatherhood of God was all that they intended to leave intact of orthodox Christian doctrine. In reality, this was misleading, not because the Modernists were more orthodox than they seemed, but because they had reduced the Fatherhood of God to a single facet, that which corresponds to the "universal brotherhood of man." This is a Scriptural aspect of the Fatherhood of God, to be sure, but it is not the whole of it. Indeed, the most unequivocal statement that all people are the children of God in all of Scripture is to be found in St. Paul's address to the Stoics and Epicureans at Mars Hill in Acts 17. In the twenty-eighth verse of the chapter he quotes first from Epimenides of Crete, then from either Aratus of Soli or Cleanthes of Assos. It is the second quotation, which, ironically, regardless of which of the two Stoic philosophers who both said it that the Apostle had in mind, was originally addressed to Zeus, that asserts that we are all God's offspring. Ordinarily, the Scriptures speak in terms of "Creator" and "creation" - or "creature" in the older English - to refer to this aspect of God's Fatherhood, and it is not what was highlighted in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Ironically, the same liberals who seemed bent on reducing the Christian kerygma to the Fatherhood of God, and the Fatherhood of God to this one aspect of it, also embraced the theories by which Darwin and others sought to explain the existence of man without God, thus undermining the fragment of Christian faith to which they still clung. Today, the "Fatherhood of God" is no longer in vogue among liberal theologians due to its gender specificity. It has become far too common to hear gender neutral re-formulations of the Trinitarian benediction such as Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, although this is not as bad as the "Father/Mother" stuff that pops up in certain circles.

In Christian dogmatics and systematic theology (2) the subcategory of Theology Proper that pertains to God the Father is called Patriology or sometimes Paterology, never Patrology which is a less common synonym for Patristics, that is, the study of the writings of the Fathers of the Church. It is the counterpart of Christology and Pneumatology. Often dogmaticians and theologians willl omit Patriology, not because they regard the Father as being of less importance than the Son and Holy Ghost but because they find it much harder to distinguish this part of Theology Proper from the whole. The very first thing the Apostles' Creed affirms is "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." Similarly, the Nicene Creed begins with "I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible." It is the full deity of the Son and the Holy Ghost that the Church Fathers had to defend against the heretics, not the deity of the Father. The closest thing to a heretical attack on the deity of the Father was the Gnostic, especially Marcionite, attempt to distinguish the Father from the Old Testament Jehovah and equate the latter with their concept of an evil demiurge. The expansion of the opening affirmation of the Apostles' Creed into that of the Nicene was the Nicene Fathers' answer.

Jesus explicitly identified His Father as the Old Testament Jehovah in John 8:54 "it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God." In the Old Testament, Fatherhood is frequently used to denote the relationship between Jehovah and national Israel. The most striking example of this is in the fourth chapter of Exodus. Here, after He has finally persuaded Moses to go to Pharaoh and speak for Him, and Moses has taken leave of his father-in-law and gotten ready to return to Egypt, God tells him that after he has performed all the signs and Pharoah has still refused to let Israel go, he, Moses, is to say "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn." (vv. 22-23) Here the contest between Jehovah and Pharaoh is set up as the King of Kings, demanding the release of the son whom a lesser king holds hostage, and obtaining that release only through taking the firstborn of the lesser, rebellious, king. In the New Testament, of course, we find that all of this foreshadowed what would take place on the last Passover of the old age. Again, the King of Kings would demand that a lesser, rebellious, king, in this case Satan, would release his captives, in this case the entire world held in bondage through sin. Here, however, God does not obtain the release through the death of the rebel's son, but through the sacrifice of His Own, His Only-Begotten Son, whereby all those who are so set free - redeemed, in the literal sense of the term - are elevated to sonship through adoption.

In all of this, multiple facets of God's Fatherhood can be seen. It means one thing when we say that God is Father of all and that we are "all his offspring." This means basically that God is our Creator Who continues to care for us as His creation. It means another thing when the Scriptures say that God is the Father of Israel and that Israel is His "first-born son", to which image from Exodus, the rest of the Old Testament, especially the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah, makes frequent reference. This is a metaphorical way of denoting the more intimate relationship that existed between God and Israel than between God and the general world, It possibly also, although this is not explicitly spelled out, includes an allusion to the circumstances by which Israel came into being (that Abraham had physical descendants at all was due to the direct miraculous intervention of God). It means yet another thing for God to be the Father of Jesus Christ. In the previous senses, the "Fatherhood" of God applies to all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, with special reference to the First Person only through appropriation in the theological sense of the term. When we speak of God as the Father of Jesus Christ, however, we are referring to an internal relationship within the Trinity. It is paradoxically the most literal and the most metaphorical sense in which God is Father. Jesus is the "Only-Begotten Son" of the Father, meaning the Only Person of Whom it can be said that He is God's Son in the most literal sense of a Son Who comes from the Father naturally and so shares His own nature. (3) Yet this is metaphorical because the "begetting" or "siring" referred to is not the physical act, requiring a mother, and taking place within time so as to have a before and after. The Son comes from the Father and shares the Father's nature, but to share the Father's nature is to be eternal, with neither beginning nor end, and so the begetting of the Son is also eternal. It means yet another thing for God to be the Father of those who have been redeemed by Christ. The Scriptures speak of this in terms both of regeneration and adoption. God is the Father of the redeemed by regeneration in that through the working of the Holy Spirit He imparts new spiritual life to people who had been born spiritually dead through Original Sin. He is the Father of the redeemed through adoption because He joins the redeemed to His Son in the mystical Body of His Church in which they share in the privileges of the Sonship of the Head.

Taken together, these facets show the many ways in which God is Father, a truth about God so basic that it is the first and most fundamental affirmation of the Creeds.

The enemy of God, through his earthly feminist agents may attack the authority of earthly fathers, aiming through them at that of God the Father, but the latter he can never overthrow. This is how we know that feminism, seemingly triumphant in our own day, is ultimately a defeated foe.

Thanks be to God.

Happy Father's Day

(1) Steven Goldberg was chair of the Department of Sociology at City College of New York until he retired about twelve years ago. He was one of the very few in his discipline to be a true scientist rather than an agent of Marxist indoctrination. In his The inevitability of Patriarchy (1973), later expanded into Why Men Rule (1993), he argued that human nature made the abolition of patriarchy impossible. Note, however, that he was not using "patriarchy" in the root sense of "father authority" but in the sense of males being on average higher up the heirarchy of power and status than females.

(2) Dogmatics is the exposition of the articles of faith contained in the ecumenical Creeds and, for the Churches of the Magisterial Reformation, their particular Confessions. Systematic theology is the complement to Biblical theology, the latter examining doctrine in its Scriptural context, the former organizing it according to theme or topic. In practice, dogmatics and systematic theology are virtually identical. Francis Pieper's Christian Dogmatics (Lutheran) is the same type of work as Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology (Presbyterian/Reformed). The categories into which both assign doctrines are indistinguishable.

(3) The Holy Ghost also shares The Father's nature but not as a Son. Spirit, in Hebrew and Greek, is the same word as breathe. Jesus is the Son of God through His eternal begetting, the Holy Ghost is the breathe of God.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Re-Open the Churches Now!

On Monday, June 15th, the provincial government of Manitoba announced that it was extending the state of emergency that we have been under since March for another thirty days. There had been no new cases of the bat flu from China reported that day. The total number of deaths from this virus in Manitoba remains at seven. There are, as of the afternoon of Friday June 19th, nine active cases in the province. Two hundred ninety-three people have recovered. Nobody is currently hospitalized here, let alone in the Intensive Care Unit, because of this disease. There is clearly no cause for extending the state of emergency. Its original justification, remember, was to prevent hospitals and ICUs from being swamped. This was always a dubious justification for suspending everyone's basic liberties and putting us under universal house arrest. Today, there is clearly no foundation for it whatsoever.

Friday the 19th also marked the fourteenth day after a radical Marxist anti-white, anti-cop hate group that many consider to be a terrorist organization, was allowed to host a rally on the grounds of the provincial legislature. The social distancing rules were not enforced at this rally which was reported to have been attended by a couple of thousand people. This rally was one of many that the same organization has been holding in cities across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe since the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a repeat criminal offender with multiple convictions, died of a heart attack on May 25th. Although his death is being treated as a homicide he had overdosed on fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opiod, related to heroin but much more potent. A dosage of 3 milligrams is fatal and people have been known to die just from touching the stuff or catching a whiff of the fumes. Floyd had 11 nanograms per millilitre in his blood when he died and 5.6 ng/mL of norfentanyl, which is a metabolite of fentanyl. Nobody has yet survived having more than 4.6 ng/mL in his blood. He also had the SARS-CoV-2 virus and has the distinction of being the first person with this virus to have his death attributed to something else. This is because after purchasing a pack of cigarettes with a fake $20 bill, he was arrested as he was entering into a state of Excited Delirium due to the mixture of drugs - he also had methamphetamine, morphine and THC in his blood - in him. In this state he was uncooperative and the police restrained him using a nasty-looking but non-lethal knee hold as they called the paramedics. He had already begun uttering his famous last words "I can't breathe" before officer Chauvin's knee was upon him because he was already entering into the state of respiratory and heart failure that fentanyl overdoses produce. With the amount of drugs in him he would not have survived the day even if the storeowners had called social workers to come and let him talk about his feelings over tea and cookies rather than summoning the police. Nevertheless, thanks to a video of part of the police's encounter with Floyd that portrays the police in the worst possible light, which the mainstream media pounced upon because it supports their lying narrative about how blacks - who commit a much higher percentage of the murders and robberies in the United States every year than their percentage of the population - are unfairly picked on by the police, most people were convinced that a cop murdered Floyd. Black Lives Matter and their Antifa allies took advantage of the outrage thus generated by the media to organize these meetings that they call "rallies" and "protests" but which frequently break out into violent and highly destructive riots. In other words, not something that merits a special dispensation from following all the rules and restrictions that are still being imposed on everyone else.

The significance of the fourteen day marker is that this is the incubation period of the bat virus. This period did not produce a major spike in cases. Quite the contrary, on Friday it was announced that there was no evidence that the virus spread at all during the rally, which mercifully did not devolve into the burning of the city although it was as full of anti-white race hatred rhetoric as any other of these "protests." This eliminates anything that remains of the case for keeping the province in a state of emergency and not immediately lifting all restrictions.

By the way, the period since Floyd's death in which the media has been preoccupied with trying to stir up a race war and burn what remains of Western Civilization to the ground, saw any number of quietly underreported discoveries and admissions from public health organizations that this virus simply was not as dangerous as they were claiming in March.

I remarked weeks ago that the Churches would be the last that these drunk-with-power politicians and health bureaucrats, who consider abortions to be "essential" and have allowed marijuana shops to remain open throughout the lockdown, would allow to reopen. A petition has been started asking the Manitoba government to remove the restrictions on worship. Premier Brian Pallister, when asked about the petition, said that the Churches should "have a little faith."

I wonder if he realizes how blasphemous this is. It could be paraphrased "I want and expect and demand from you that which belongs to God alone."

He also said "We've liberalized our rules and deregulated faster than almost every jurisdiction in the country." In other words, we ought to be grateful that he is loosening tyrannical, totalitarian and draconian rules that should never have been imposed in the first place faster than the other provincial despots.

He also said:

The churches won't make health policy. Dr. Roussin and our health experts are making that health policy and they have good reason for being careful about the restrictions that are necessary to keep us all safe. I think it would be in the best interest for all of us to show respect for that and to make sure that we're, all of us, working together to protect our own health and the health of others.

Dr. Brent Roussin, whom I grew sick of seeing in the news every day as far back as March 21st, allowed thousands of people to gather for an anti-white hate rally two weeks ago, but will only allow Churches to open at 30% capacity as of Monday. That alone is sufficient evidence for me to conclude that he and his experts are incompetent at making health policy.

Brian Pallister and his chief public health officer clearly consider Churches to be less "essential" than doctors who murder unborn babies, stores that sell mind-destroying hemp by-products, and the purveyors of anti-white hate rhetoric. They have actually managed to out-Communist Pierre Trudeau. It was Pierre Trudeau who added the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to Canada's Constitution in 1982. The second section of the Charter identifies conscience, religion, and peaceful assembly among the "fundamental" freedoms of all Canadians. The above mentioned petition simply asks the government to respect those fundamental freedoms. If these freedoms are fundamental then Churches and other places of worship are essential. They ought to have been declared such at the beginning of the unnecessary lockdown, even though, as I argued at the time, the distinction between essential and non-essential is not the government's to make.

In the 365th line of his tenth Satire, Juvenal said "orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano." This means "pray for a sound mind in a healthy body" and alludes to an already extant saying that went back at least as far as Thales of Miletus. It is often used today to convey the message that physical health is important to psychological health, usually to promote exercise, nutrition and other wellness programs. It works the other way around, however, that psychological health is essential to physical health and this is how the ancients used the phrase as is evident in the larger context of Juvenal's poem. The ancients were also not as prone to compartmentalizing the psychological and the spiritual as we in this materialistic age are. Spiritual and psychological health go together and are essential to physical health.

In other words, open up the Churches. The longer they remain closed, the more mental and spiritual breakdowns will occur and manifest themselves in things like anti-white hate rallies, and that will be far worse for our physical health in the long run, than the bat flu from China.

Friday, June 19, 2020

“Social” Injustice

I was a theology student back in the 1990s when I first noticed how many liberals or progressives seemed to think nothing of casually throwing the accusation of “racist” against other people. Even liberals or progressives who were also professing Christians and presumably acquainted with the Ninth Commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” At the same time I was becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the label “racist” had the power to destroy a person. Being labelled a “racist” could cost a person everything – his livelihood, career, reputation, social standing, friends, and in some cases, family. It did not sit well with me that a word that had this kind of destructive power could be thrown around so lightly with little to no consequences to the person doing the throwing. Especially, since there was no acceptable defence against the accusation. Anything anyone might say in his defence, from a simple denial to making reference to friends of other races, was taken as being itself evidence of guilt. This was a disgusting repudiation of the idea of the presumption of innocence, similar to feminism’s demand that women who accuse men of rape or other forms of sexual assault should be automatically and uncritically believed.

If anti-racists had too much power and too little responsibility then, twenty to twenty-five years ago, it is much, much, worse today. This is true even though the only time that comes immediately to my recollection in which someone actually faced discipline for an unsubstantiated accusation of racism occurred this very week when Jagmeet Singh, the federal leader of the socialist party, was ejected from the House of Commons for calling a member of the Bloc Quebecois a racist. Sadly, his suspension was only for the rest of the day.

Despite Singh’s slap-on-the-wrist, the power mixed with unaccountability of progressive anti-racists is much worse today than it was when I was a student. Back then, most people still understood racism in terms of overt acts – calling someone a derogatory slur, turning someone down for employment because of his skin colour, outright stating that you don’t like such-and-such a race. The concept of institutional racism was around but for many the expression did not convey what the Cultural Marxists intended. Instead it suggested such things as slavery, segregation, and other laws and policies that had treated specific groups negatively in an overt way. What the Cultural Marxists had intended by the term, was a “racism” that was unconscious, that was built into institutions but not in an overt way like segregation, a “racism” in the guilt of which all the members of the race which supposedly benefits share whether they know and acknowledge it or not.

Like I said, that idea was already around when I was a student, although at the time it was largely contained within the campuses of academia. It has obviously become much more powerful since. Today anyone with any sort of civil or ecclesiastical authority is expected to confess the “systemic racism” of his country, and many have lost their position or been threatened with the loss of it for denying “systemic racism.” This is partly a matter of all the students whose heads were being stuffed with that drivel decades ago now being in positions of influence outside of academia. The change in terminology also likely contributed to it. “Systemic racism” does not as easily bring to mind the slain dragons of slavery and segregation as “institutional racism” and is thus easier to sell as a present day problem.

Whether it is called “institutional” or “systemic” however, it is still nonsense. It is parallel to the theory in feminism that argues that rape is not primarily a criminal act of sexual violence by a specific man against a specific woman but an instrument whereby men as a class dominate women as a class in the guilt of which all men share. No, I am not making that up. You can find it in Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will (1975). A related theory reasons that because power is not equally distributed between males and females, and inequality of power apparently nullifies consent, therefore all heterosexual intercourse is rape. Andrea Dworkin’s Intercourse (1987) was widely interpreted as teaching a form of this theory, although she approached a similar conclusion through a much less syllogistic avenue of cultural critique. Clearly related to this last theory is the theory that women are naturally lesbians and that heterosexuality is itself a false social construct created by the patriarchy to oppress women.

Whether we are talking about the mental flatulence that feminism has produced in its rapid descent into total lunacy as outlined in the previous paragraph, or anti-racism’s equally kooky idea that all whites are guilty of a kind of unconscious “racism” because property rights, the rule of law, and every other fundamental element of Western Civilization supposedly have a built-in bias that favours them against other races, we are talking about theories that are fundamentally and deeply unjust, even though their proponents claim to be advocates of “social justice.” Feminist theory and the theory of systemic racism allow feminists and anti-racists to make blanket accusations of crimes of oppression against all men as a group and all white people as a group. Intersectionality theory compounds the guilt for those who are both male and white. Individual men, individual white people, and even individual white men, according to these theories are guilty, even though they may not be conscious of it. This, however, is to declare huge numbers of people to be guilty, in the admitted absence of mens rea.

Mens rea, which is literally translated “guilty mind”, is consciousness of committing a crime. While ignorance of the law is no excuse, criminal culpability requires mens rea. This, like the presumption of innocence, is a fundamental principle of Common Law justice. So, for that matter, is the principle that laws, especially those defining new offences, ought not to be applied retroactively. This principle is being torn to shreds by those who are presently demanding that we raze all monuments to the ground, erase all history, and start again from Year Zero, because they have judged the past to be guilty of failing to live up to their freshly coined standards.

These new standards, furthermore, are expressed in terminology coined by Cultural Marxists, whose modus operandi is to identify a group within society as being oppressed, coin a term, usually ending in –ism or –phobia, and assign it the meaning of an irrational and pathological prejudice against the group in question, and then apply it to any attitude, action, or even word that members of the group or even a single member of the group, claims to personally experience as the –ism or –phobia, and then heap tons of moral condemnation upon anyone and everyone, past and present, to whom those attitudes, actions, and words could be attributed. Since the experience of the “victim” is held to be incontrovertible, the extension of each of these neologisms is infinite. Anything a “person of colour” experiences as “racism” is held to therefore be “racism”, anything that a woman experiences as “sexism” is held to therefore be “sexism”, etc. Cultural Marxism is an outright assault on yet more principles of Common Law justice. It places the accuser beyond cross-examination and weighs the scales heavily in his favour and holds people responsible for what it itself claims to consider to be irrational pathologies.

Common Law justice is not perfect, nor has anyone ever claimed that it was. No human system of justice is ever perfect. It is far better, however, than anything that has gone by the name “justice” in any country that has been foolish enough to allow itself to be governed by a form of Marxism. Like all long-standing, traditional institutions, it corrects itself over time, which a rigid ideology like Marxism simply cannot do. It is far closer to true justice, than any form of Marxist justice, Cultural or otherwise, can ever be.

Therefore, when feminists, anti-racists, and the like tell you that what they are demanding is a form of justice, don’t believe them. It is injustice that they are demanding.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Final Destination of Progress

A teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia has just been given a three-day suspension for some things that occurred in the 2018/2019 school year. The offences involved showing a Grade 8 class clips from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and South Park. To my surprise, the objection to the videos appears to have been entirely based on the old-fashioned grounds that they contained sexual and scatological references that were inappropriate to be shown to children at that age. It is rather refreshing to learn that there is a principal or school board out there somewhere that still cares about such things. I was expecting to read that the complaint about the South Park video had to do with some snowflake kid being triggered by some -ism or -phobia or another. As crass, crude, profane, blasphemous, and vulgar as Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s popular show undoubtedly is, it also has the merit of being the furthest thing from woke that is currently on the air.

In an old episode of the cartoon – it was the second last episode of the third season and the last to air before the year 2000 – Eric Cartman gets a colon infection which causes rectal bleeding. Cartman, interprets this as his having gotten his “period” and mocks the other boys for not having gotten theirs yet. Since the other boys are just as ignorant of the facts of biology as Cartman, they take his mockery seriously. Kenny gets the infection as well and, interpreting it the same way as Cartman, accidentally kills himself by turning a tampon into a suppository. Kyle just fakes it, and this leaves the more honest Stan out. At the end of the episode, God shows up at a change-of-the-millennium, New Year’s concert in Las Vegas, and offers mankind the opportunity to ask Him one question. Stan wastes the opportunity by asking Him why he has not had his period yet. God explains to Stan what the educational system of the state of Colorado had failed to do – that only girls get periods. He then returns to heaven, promising to answer another question in another two thousand years.

While the Y2K theme would seem to make this twenty year old episode rather dated, it has nevertheless become timely and topical due to the spot of bother that J. K. Rowling has recently found herself in.

Rowling is, in case there is anybody who doesn’t know, the author of a bestselling series of fantasy novels about a wizard-in-training named Harry Potter. In one sense she could be said to follow in the tradition of George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, and Charles Williams. She is a professing Christian, who utilizes the fantasy genre, and sometimes expresses her faith through her writing (this is most evident in the final volume of the Harry Potter series). Unlike Lewis and Williams, whose centre-right, reactionary, and traditionalist views also came across in their novels, she is left-of-centre in her views.

Ironically, in a way her left-of-centre views make her much more vulnerable to the charges that have been levelled against her than either Lewis or Williams would have been had the vocabulary to express those charges existed in their day. This is because in today’s left of intersectionality and wokeness and Critical Theory, the name of the game is “who is the wokest of them all?” with everybody closely watching everybody else’s every word, so as to be able to pounce at the slightest detected deviation from the ever-evolving, politically correct, party line and be the first to declare “I’m more woke than thou” and thus control the herd which immediately closes ranks and marches lockstep in shaming and excluding the offender, who may or may not be readmitted after a sufficient display of contrition. Those of us who don’t care to play this game, and/or are militantly anti-woke, simply aren’t vulnerable to this kind of in-group control. The “cancel culture” which the left uses against its open opponents, is a related but different phenomenon. It works by applying the pressure described above, not to the left’s enemies directly, but to people around them who do care about their woke status.

So what did Rowling do to turn the woke mob against her?

In a tweet on June 6th, she made reference to an article that had appeared on Devex with the title “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.” Now, somebody like myself would have no sympathy whatsoever for the point of view expressed in an article with such a title. This is not true of Rowling, who merely poked fun at the absurd wording at the end of the title. She said “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” The word, of course, is “women.”

Twenty years ago the main running gag for an entire episode of South Park worked because the equation “people who menstruate = women”, which is obviously true, was still uncontroversial. Today, merely pointing it out has brought a howling mob with pitchforks and torches to Rowling’s doorstep, accusing her of witchcraft – oops, I mean “transphobia” – and demanding that she be burnt at the stake.

By saying that “women” is the word for “people who menstruate”, you see, she categorized “people who menstruate” but who self-identity as men as women, and excluded from the category of “women” people who do not menstruate but who self-identify as women. Today’s woke left considers this to be a kind of pathology. Even when it comes from those like J. K. Rowling who are feminists, that is, adherents of the movement which until recently was understood to advocate on behalf of those who are biologically female. (1)

This is not the first time this particular turf war between these factions of left-wing identity politics has occurred. Six years ago, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights here in Winnipeg, which is now, amusingly, facing accusations of racism, was attacked by a transgender advocate who went by the name of Athena Thiessen in the pages of the Winnipeg Free Press for inviting Germaine Greer to speak. Germaine Greer is the Australian feminist who became famous for her 1970 book The Female Eunuch. She preached a form of feminism that was far more heterosexually sex-positive and involved far less male-bashing, than the sort Andrea Dworkin was preaching, and was therefore much more popular. Nevertheless, her progressive credentials were impeccable until the trans-activists objected to her strongly worded viewpoint that only people with double X chromosomes and born with female anatomy were women and that any opinion to the contrary undermined feminism.

More recently – last year as a matter of fact – transgender activists again went to war with a famous feminist, this time Camille Paglia of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. They protested her lectures and tried to get her fired, mostly on the grounds of a few paragraphs from an interview she gave the neo-conservative Weekly Standard two years previously. She had said:

Although I describe myself as transgender (I was donning flamboyant male costumes from early childhood on), I am highly skeptical about the current transgender wave, which I think has been produced by far more complicated psychological and sociological factors than current gender discourse allows. Furthermore, I condemn the escalating prescription of puberty blockers (whose long-term effects are unknown) for children. I regard this practice as a criminal violation of human rights.

It is certainly ironic how liberals who posture as defenders of science when it comes to global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence) flee all reference to biology when it comes to gender. Biology has been programmatically excluded from women's studies and gender studies programs for almost 50 years now. Thus very few current gender studies professors and theorists, here and abroad, are intellectually or scientifically prepared to teach their subjects.

The cold biological truth is that sex changes are impossible. Every single cell of the human body remains coded with one's birth gender for life. Intersex ambiguities can occur, but they are developmental anomalies that represent a tiny proportion of all human births.

Some might object to this example in that Paglia has long had the reputation of being a feminist who despises all other feminists, and that while she is a registered Democrat, her political views are libertarian rather than progressive liberal, and often right-libertarian at that. Nevertheless, it is still an example of the trans lobby attempting to destroy someone for saying something that anyone would have been laughed to scorn for disagreeing with up until a few years ago.

In their attack on Rowling, the trans lobby has garnered a lot more support than in these previous examples. The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, and hosts of other media outlets joined in the condemnation. They even trotted out the actors who made their names playing Rowling’s characters to denounce, or at least disagree, with her.

Perhaps you are wondering how we arrived at the point where people can be widely condemned as “ignorant” and having an irrational pathology for which they bear moral culpability (2) simply for speaking the truth that biologically female persons and only biologically female persons are women. While this subject warrants an entire essay of its own, I will provide a brief explanation here.

Decades ago, progressives began attacking the basic presupposition of all previous Western thought, that our ideas and the words in which we express them, are subject to and accountable to, things as they are. Even in the field of ethics, which holds human behaviour as it is accountable to human behaviour as it ought to be, the standard of human behaviour as it ought to be was regarded as part of the larger order of things as they are. Approaching the subject from different angles in the language and social sciences departments of the universities simultaneously, they developed theories that interpreted this presupposition as being oppressive. Instead, they argued, things as they are must be subject to words and ideas, which in turn ought to be subject to one’s personal self-definition and experience.

After decades of brainwashing young and ignorant university students with these nonsensical theories, they are now spilling out into the real world, and we are being told that if someone defines or experiences himself as female, our words and thoughts must be made to conform to this, rather than to the male anatomy that he was born with.

In other words, we have arrived at the point where if we want a solid grasp on reality, we would do better to ignore the TV news and most newspapers and magazines and turn to twenty year old re-runs of South Park.

This is what progress looks like and the final end of progress is now in view. That end is where the entire world has been transformed into an insane asylum. In theology, the word for that is hell.

(1) Although this writer takes the side of such feminists as Rowling, Greer, and Paglia against the trans lobby in this essay, he disagrees with feminism in all its forms and is an unapologetic supporter of patriarchy in the root meaning of that word - father authority.

(2) The idea of someone bearing moral culpability for his own irrational pathology is itself a contradiction. This contradiction is inherent in the definition of every -ism and -phobia coined by progressives to pathologize and demonize their enemies. For this reason, all of these words are without real meaning.