Of vaginas, penises, urethras and where to put them

And I mean that all figuratively and literally when it comes to the culture wars. Figuratively, as in up until yesterday in human history, the vagina denoted femininity while the penis signified masculinity except apparently in these tumultuous times. In the literal sense, I’m not referencing some grotesque sexual fetish. Sorry perverts, my aim today is toward the mundane excretory chore of expelling urinary and fecal matter from the body strictly for detoxification and the public facilities inside of which we — a sexually dimorphic species in which the fact that male urethras are located in the male sex organ seemingly correspond with the existence and design of urinals — answer nature’s undignified call. This post is all business, not pleasure, especially in lieu of the sick and twisted.

Speaking of the sick and twisted, I would be remiss to not mention how deranged it is to craft bathroom policy such as the Obama administration’s edict unilaterally rewriting Title IX. Now, the unambiguous, objective meaning of sex includes the entirely arbitrary notion of gender identity. Worse yet, it makes it easier for anyone with a “John Thomas” to expose the offending appendage to the fairer sex, who typically only welcomes JT’s saluting in the bedroom. Voyeurism, rape and sexual molestation have only been around since the first human orgasm, so yeah, what could go wrong?

But, but, but what about the transgendered, bigot?” Well, for starters, they’re deluded; riddle me this, social justice warrior: Is society obligated to indulge this delusion and punish and treat the vast majority who don’t want to endorse it as tantamount to racists? Yeah, I’m sure you have a well-rehearsed narrative about restroom violence perpetrated against the transgendered individuals whose appearances don’t conform to traditional gender norms. Can you substantiate it? Is there really an epidemic of this alleged manifestation of animus? Do you have any statistics? On the contrary, here’s 25 recent cases of bathroom malfeasance against women and children with a host of more examples likely ready to be found thanks to a minimal amount of search engine diligence.

And even if rape and sexual assault are exceedingly rare, say as uncommon as getting zapped by lightning or attacked by a shark, it’s still prudent to take precautions and not invite disaster. The very grave nature of an incident like suffering a lighting strike, the maw of Jaws or sexual assault renders unjustifiable the willful dereliction of commonsense serving the prevention of such death and injury. We put up nets at beaches and strongly advise against, if not prohibit, golfing during storms. Likewise, public policy should and ought not be made overlooking how evildoers could take advantage of it in their pursuit of villainy regardless if many of them actually do so. This issue is not a matter of likelihood as much as principle.

Moreover, how does the privacy and safety concerns of .07 percent of the population — which are worth consideration but I don’t grant as terribly pressing — overrule the privacy and safety concerns of the rest of 99.03 percent? They don’t. The “right” to use a preferred bathroom becomes to look a lot less like an expansion of liberty as its increasing implementation imposes the wills and values of a tiny, tiny minority and its influential cadre of supporters upon everyone else. Not to mention such policies promote discrimination against the “cisgendered,” as I might too prefer to enter into the ladies room insofar as heterosexuality inheres within and thereby “matches” my chosen gender identity. Again, boys will be boys; perverts will be perverts. Girls just have to get past their discomfort.

Still, let’s for the moment disregard the constitutional qualms about the separation of powers and preserving our governmental republic or valid practical safety concerns. It’s been made abundantly clear in the last 50 years that the sexual revolutionaries don’t give a damn about them. Whether it’s defending free speech on campus or upholding due process in rape allegations, they view those type of acts as shams hiding prejudice if not also outright deferrals toward rotten institutions and traditions deserving of incineration with the rest of the world. Our conflict is no longer one of honest disagreement between differing visions of constitutional liberalism but a fight to the death about competing values. Progressives, even unconsciously, behave as privy to this fact; conservatives in general still seemingly project their own goodwill onto their rabid opposition, whose latent totalitarianism becomes more evident each year.

So, I’m going to plant my ideological flag here, stop appealing to reasons that are ineffectual on the Leftist demagogue and pretending there’s any philosophical common ground to be shared. I reject gender as merely a “social construct” with nothing to do with sex. Hell, I believe there’s real differences between the sexes and therefore also genders. Thus, men ought to act as men and women ought to act as women, as in accordance to their respective naturally-set masculine and feminine ends. As a result, I maintain the ludicrous idea of society at large ought to reflect this good within its norms and institutions instead of continually trying to deny and destroy the metaphysical and moral realism embedded within them, the latter of which is achieved in the passing of nondiscrimination statutes defending gender identity sought after by the LGBTSTFU brigade.

As just exemplified, I’m too prone toward polemic to be a philosopher, but I’m versed enough in “the ways of the Force” to remember Plato observed that “philosophers are spectators of all time and all existence.” With this hindsight and foresight, it’s hard not to see what’s really at stake. That, the ever steepening trajectory the Left is piloting civilization on will lead to ruin. As a matter of necessity, lines must be drawn, resolute stands taken.

Does this all mean I’m obstinately against any accommodation or tolerance, properly understood, for those experiencing “gender dysphoria” and or choose to frustrate their Aristotelian natural end in favor of disordered behavior? Of course not. It does mean, however, I’m staunchly opposed to legitimizing penises in public places where they have no non-nefarious reason of residing. Whether the intent is sexual predation or social engineering, it’s all still molestation. Therefore, conservative resistance in the bathroom front of the “culture wars,” as witnessed in North Carolina’s HB2 and other states’ religious liberty bills, isn’t the new “Jim Crow” or any form of insidious discrimination. Anyone who declares otherwise is a slanderous bigot (ahem, LORETTA LYNCH!).

My stance: No transgender penile colonies; no transgender penal colonies,

Modus Pownens


An open letter to the idiots who are ruining my alma mater, Mizzou (The University of Missouri)

Congratulations, Mizzou, UM System President Wolfe has resigned. Apparently, Chancellor Loftin is also on his way out. Due to the idiocy of a few despicable people, “change” has been imposed on everyone, both the innocent and guilty.

This result wasn’t a triumph of liberal ideals overcoming repressive conditions, but conversely, a renunciation of our Enlightenment heritage, a victory of sheer will and puerile emotivism. It wasn’t democratic deliberation but mob justice, pure and simple.

I submit it’s this dereliction of reason, not racism, that is the insidious threat that goes bump in the night at MU.

Are there significant numbers of racist minds, conscious or otherwise, on campus? Does MU’s collective culture foster these bigoted or “insensitive” attitudes and thereby “oppresses” – whatever that means – black and or minority students?

Perhaps, but neither activists citing a handful of events, no matter how unfortunate, unacceptable and publicized, over a span of several years on a campus of tens of thousands nor their allusions to personal anecdotes sufficiently demonstrates these alleged conclusions.

Moreover, their appeals to Michael Brown’s death and when MU enrolled its first black student compared to other universities, as presented, does not seem pertinent to the question whether MU is “institutionally racist” in the here and now.

Despite the insistence to the contrary, MU’s culpability is not at all obvious, as the accusations against the university are not particularly clear. A comprehensive and strong case that does not conflate individual acts of racism with an overarching system of racism must be given to substantiate the claims of “institutional” or “systemic racism,” “privilege,” “implicit bias,” etc. – whatever those phenomena are. They are frequently posited but hardly ever defined, perhaps except in self-serving ways that circumvent debate rather than contribute to it.

See, Jonathan Butler and company like to do a lot of telling but not a lot of showing, and to paraphrase a translation of a Latin proverb, what is gratuitously asserted, can be gratuitously denied.

As glaring as this inability to put forth an argument that does not suffer from equivocation, red herrings or other fallacies is, it’s all outdone by Butler and company’s habit of avoiding them all together as exemplified by their flair for begging—I mean burying the question underneath an avalanche of innuendo and demagoguery.

They have a great preference for sophistry over rationality, a tendency to resort to hashtag slogans instead of arguments and a fondness for ad hominem invective as a substitute for “respect” in dialogue, as apparently our institution’s value they clamor for only applies to them on their narrow terms.

For example, in the Missourian story headlined, “How MU has come face-to-face with racism on campus,” there’s the following quote: “’If you are white and you don’t recognize that there is oppression and you don’t do anything about it, you are part of the problem.’”

Within such a proclamation — the content of which has been similarly regurgitated in several places — there is no effort to convince or reason but to bludgeon. It’s not an argument. Even if constructed into one – “You’re not me (black); therefore, you’re wrong and the scum of the earth – is sheer Bulverism. Alas, this encapsulates the contemptible state of the one-side discourse surrounding this subject at MU.

Truly, Butler and his associates seemingly have no qualms about denouncing the community as being on “the wrong side of history” or resorting to other inflammatory epithets that, by implication, link us as morally comparable to the likes of Selma or Bull Connor. Yet, they don’t have the courtesy to provide a single fire hose, attacking dog or piece of evidence that typically or clearly characterizes a society built to disenfranchise, demean and or exploit a minority.

Hence, the calls for “discussion” are a mendacious joke, as most of everything that’s been uttered is a sweeping indictment that borders on calumny and seemingly is intended to engender compliance. If not assenting to our accusers’ narrative is an act of harm, i.e., “white silence is violence,” given their penchant for drama, then my dissent is likely to be construed as “genocide.”

Indeed, if not ignored, I expect to be excoriated as a racist, my subconscious “supremacist” impulses divined from my syntax, jargon and tone in a form of perverse literary psychoanalysis.

It does not matter that I don’t find the color of their skin appalling, only their methods and disdain for the truth by eschewing civil debate. My impassioned opposition would still be rushed forth as proof that further “change” is required, i.e. that #racismliveshere, but on the contrary, their zeal to demonize me only would vindicate my words.

Yet, instead of holding Butler and his cohorts accountable for their abhorrent discourse, as in forcing them to cease with the personal attacks, reconsider their assumptions and positions, nuance their claims — you know, thinking and not solely emoting – we’ve coddled their inanity and taught them the lesson that if one finger-points and cries “racist” loud enough, one gets to remake MU in his or her image.

In a whole institution supposedly systematically predisposed against them, constituent institution after constituent institution here rallied to Butler’s call, assuredly a siren song for any university founded on the liberal pillar of freedom of thought and expression in the pursuit of knowledge.

As our conduct over the last couple months, especially last week, shows, MU seemingly no longer values this principle. Instead of training critical thinkers inoculated against rhetorical manipulation, we are more interested in inculcating chronic feelers, who are not only susceptible to but enamored by it.

As such, I suspect the climate for academic freedom is about to get “chilly” here.

Undoubtedly, Wolfe lost his job not because MU did not seek and punish the perpetrators in those high profile incidents of racism, nor did it refrain from looking into legal repercussions when appropriate. The drunken student who interrupted the Legion of Black Collegians has been long removed from campus, the bizarre “Poop Swastika” prompted an immediate investigation by MUPD, Payton’s Head’s account of his drive-by slurring lacked details for any sort of lead. The university, in no way, tolerated these high-profile acts of racism.

Rather, he was excommunicated because he did not partake in Butler and his allies’ level of outrage; he was not a true believer, and for them to catalyze their “change” onto the rest of us, they needed someone more amenable to their views as system president.

Now who’s to say this episode can’t and won’t happen to anyone here again. Apparently, Wolfe’s failure to acknowledge them as legitimate by not getting out of a car was the proximate cause for the calls for his head, yet, at the time, these activists, with their diatribe delivered by bullhorn, seemed intransigent to interruption of any kind during Homecoming.

If Wolfe’s example is any indication, each member of the faculty, staff and student body better take care with every glance, word and thought. And yes, our mental contents have been deemed inappropriate, as diversity training always justifies itself on the supposition that those in need of it have both “offensive” thoughts and subconscious urges in need of purging, lest we create an “unsafe” environment manifested by our speech, actions or lack thereof.

Make no mistake: We’ve just abdicated MU to ideologues who not only see a mere hint of disagreement with them as tantamount to a hate crime but find racism, discrimination and insensitivity anywhere and everywhere. They perceive “prejudice” in body language, such as how fast one walks while acting to assist them. They feel “oppression” from Thomas Jefferson’s statue off the Quad. No amount of catering to their demands, e.g., diversity re-education, hiring quotas or Wolfe’s resignation, more social justice centers, will ever make this institution suitable to their totalitarian standards.

Moreover, it’s safe to presume they have no idea what an ideal MU looks like. Whether Butler and his compatriots realize it or not, “change” for the sake of “change” has become the end in itself for everything they do. As their behavior and linguistic mischief illustrates, they’re about subversion, not transformation. They’re destroyers, not reformers. By appeasing them, we’ve shackled ourselves to their capricious will and its increasingly insatiable and punitive whims searching for higher education utopia.

To borrow from Arthur Miller, “We are what we always were in Mizzou, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”. We are flirting with a puritanical hysteria that might not make Joseph McCarthy blush, but I find my face flushed in a couple of ways for a multitude of reasons.

Butler is finally eating food again, which, of course is good. No one wanted to see him starve to death, but he, his allies and enablers really never stopped feasting, as this institution cannibalizes itself.

Modus Pownens

Rorty on the role of college indoctrinat–I mean education

It’s an old post, but I recently discovered this nugget on Edward Feser’s blog about a unnerving passage attributable to the late American pragmaticist philosopher Richard Rorty and his casual musings monologue (it’s more villainous) on the general schema of college education and his view of himself within it (added emphasis mine):

It seems to me that the regulative idea that we—we…liberals, we heirs of the Enlightenment, we Socratists—most frequently use to criticize the conduct of various conversational partners is that of “needing education in order to outgrow their primitive fear, hatreds, and superstitions.” This is the concept the victorious Allied armies used when they set about re-educating the citizens of occupied Germany and Japan. It is also the one which was used by American schoolteachers who had read Dewey and were concerned to get students to think ‘scientifically’ and ‘rationally’ about such matters as the origin of the species and sexual behavor [sic] (that is, to get them to read Darwin and Freud without disgust and incredulity). It is a concept which I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities, invoke when we try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.

What is the relation of this idea to the regulative idea of ‘reason’ which Putnam believes to be transcendent and which Habermas believes to be discoverable within the grammar of concepts ineliminable from our description of the making of assertions? The answer to that question depends upon how much the re-education of Nazis and fundamentalists has to do with merging interpretive horizons and how much with replacing such horizons. The fundamentalist parents of our fundamentalist students think that the entire “American liberal establishment” is engaged in a conspiracy. Had they read Habermas, these people would say that the typical communication situation in American college classrooms is no more herrschaftsfrei [domination free] than that in the Hitler Youth camps.

These parents have a point. Their point is that we liberal teachers no more feel in a symmetrical communication situation when we talk with bigots than do kindergarten teachers talking with their students….When we American college teachers encounter religious fundamentalists, we do not consider the possibility of reformulating our own practices of justification so as to give more weight to the authority of the Christian scriptures. Instead, we do our best to convince these students of the benefits of secularization. We assign first-person accounts of growing up homosexual to our homophobic students for the same reasons that German schoolteachers in the postwar period assigned The Diary of Anne Frank.

Putnam and Habermas can rejoin that we teachers do our best to be Socratic, to get our job of re-education, secularization, and liberalization done by conversational exchange. That is true up to a point, but what about assigning books like Black Boy, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Becoming a Man? The racist or fundamentalist parents of our students say that in a truly democratic society the students should not be forced to read books by such people—black people, Jewish people, homosexual people. They will protest that these books are being jammed down their children’s throats. I cannot see how to reply to this charge without saying something like “There are credentials for admission to our democratic society, credentials which we liberals have been making more stringent by doing our best to excommunicate racists, male chauvinists, homophobes, and the like. You have to be educated in order to be a citizen of our society, a participant in our conversation, someone with whom we can envisage merging our horizons. So we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours.”

I have no trouble offering this reply, since I do not claim to make the distinction between education and conversation on the basis of anything except my loyalty to a particular community, a community whose interests required re-educating the Hitler Youth in 1945 and required re-educating the bigoted students of Virginia in 1993. I don’t see anything herrschaftsfrei about my handling of my fundamentalist students. Rather, I think those students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents. It seems to me that I am just as provincial and contextualist as the Nazi teachers who made their students read Der Stürmer; the only difference is that I serve a better cause. I come from a better province.

Pretty brutal, honest words that cause me to reflect on my time at the academy. I can think of a handful of classes that aimed to cure me of my superstitious filled bigotries. It also causes me to wonder on the introductory philosophy course I took: Why did we skip the Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Augustine, the Scholastics, more than 2,000 years of Western thought, and instead dive into Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion as the first substantive and maybe one of the few works of philosophy we freshmen and sophomores would ever study? Is it because discussing the existence of God is a provocative topic that might interest a couple hundred millennials with low attention spans, or was it a bias for Hume’s epistemology that’s partial, though superficially, to secularism? Why did we spend only our time on the moderns, the implication being this is when real philosophy started? Is it because everything, prior to Descartes, at least lots of it, to borrow a phrase from Rorty, “give(s) more weight to the authority of the Christian scriptures,” and we can’t have that?

Upon reading Rorty’s confession here, I’m inclined to think my professor’s selection of topics was in part due to the attitude Rorty described, though not so conscious and disdainful. Of course, not all professors whose politics are “liberal” are this unethical, as my college experience also affirms. Yet, I can’t help but think that my peers, myself and generations before have been conditioned to be chronic feelers not critical thinkers, rendered purposefully more susceptible to the sophistry of emotional and psychological manipulation.

I feel compelled to point out how illiberal Rorty’s view of education is and he admits to such. There is no plurarilty of views, no “tolerance” of the rube-headed religious “other,” no inclusivity of those who believe deplorable thoughts, as narrowly defined by the elect. Just “herrshaft.” “Hegemony.” And “der Wille zur Macht” to implement it. On the converse to whatever Horkheimer means by the phrase, “real democracy” has never been engendered by such an outlook on the universe.

Ah, but Rorty’s cause is just because the “benevolent Rorty knows best. He has a proper, pragmatic understanding of things, and as such, it is his duty as an influential member embedded in a cultural institution to convert as many as possible; cull the rest. This is the work that needs to be done. The dissenting “bigots” have no place in the society, the utopia being erected by he and those “enlightened” enough to prophesize its coming.

I’ve quoted it before, but I’ll do it again: “The philosophers have only variously interpreted the world; the point, however, is to change it.” Marx’s pithy statement encapsulates the mantra of the leftist. Rorty was thorough enough to grasp and utilize it.

What number of us have fallen prey to he and his ilk’s applied machinations?

I can’t and won’t dare to say, but too many,

Modus Pownens

Why I like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

To show that I’m not just a philosophical and theological stick in the mud, devoid of pop culture savvy, I’m going to do something a little new in this post. With The Avengers: Age of Ultron released Thursday, I thought I would take the time to come out and say that I am thoroughly a fanboy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-Man has been my favorite superhero since childhood, but Disney/Marvel just got the licensing rights to put the web-head back on the silver screen — and hopefully well compared to the dreadful Amazing Spider-Man 2.

The MCU character I really connect with is the quintessential super-soldier himself, Steve Rogers, a.k.a Captain America (Chris Evans). In a time when the Left controls all the mass disseminators of culture — Hollywood, TV, news media and academia — it’s fantastic that a character that represents old-time American values isn’t just rewritten to accommodate today’s rampant moral relativism and politically correct Orwellian doublespeak. He actually is extolled and portrayed sympathetically as a paragon of moral fiber and virtue. His man-out-of-time schtick has never come off as a goody-too-shoes boy scout to me but rather as someone who has moral convictions, plants his feet and says, “I believe in x” or “y is wrong, and I won’t stand by it.” This is refreshing and appreciated.

For instance, in the original Avengers, somehow this exchange (if you want the actual scene) got into a movie: Not only did director Joss Whedon, a self-avowed atheist, stayed faithful to the character, but he showed he actually understands Christian theism better than many of today’s New Atheists. The sophisticated theist (here, here, here) does not hold God to be anything like Thor, Loki, Zeus, Ra, Ganesha, Quetzalcoatl, etc. Even though philosophically-minded theists disagree among themselves whether God is ipsum esse subsistens — Subsistent Being Itself — or is the necessary, infinite and maximally great being amongst contingent, finite and imperfect ones, comparisons to Odin, Vishnu, Marduk and the like are mere caricatures. As Edward Feser pithily puts it: “When you understand why I dismiss all other gods, you’ll understand why I dismiss your ‘one god further’ objection as puerile.”

Contrasted with the Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier inculcates some good political wisdom instead of theological thought. As a brief synopsis to add context, after the events of the Battle of New York, as depicted in the Avengers, Cap has gone to work for S.H.I.E.L.D, an advanced and clandestine intelligence agency headed by the sometimes shady super-spy Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Cap finds himself clashing with Fury due to his manipulations, lack of honesty and his plans to execute a morally ambiguous answer to a 21st-century problem that should resonate in this post-9/11, Patriot Act, drone-warfare age. Not to give the details away, but Cap calls him out on it, describing Fury’s plans as such: “I thought the punishment came after the crime…By holding the gun to everyone on Earth and calling it protection?…This isn’t freedom. This is fear.” The whole scene needs to be watched to see how Cap responds to Fury’s retorts. Our hero recognizes that big, sweeping governmental solutions, where the ends justify the means, aren’t enlightened nor do they preserve liberty.

Cap’s criticisms are inherently conservative in nature, not progressive. Ahem, cue up Grubergate, “If you like your plan you’ll keep your plan” and Marxist eschatology, where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat to immanetize workers’ paradise, as a few examples that come to mind. See, agents of the Left operate under the delusions that they know best, that their utopias are not only true but achievable and that these axioms absolve the lying, defamation, bloodshed and domination of every facet of human life and will to get there. Don’t believe me? Who wants to tax soda? Who wants to introduce legislation to dictate what is considered officially consensual sex between a man and a woman? Who wants ensure that the appropriate numbers of people of each sex, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation are on TV, hired by employers, distributed correctly among professions or admitted into college? Who wants to implement policy to address the issue of racism despite there being no overt racists, i.e. correct thought-crimes or subconscious crimes? Who wants to re-educate people via “sensitivity training”? Who looks to punish those who refuse to bake a cake for a ceremony because of sincere religious and moral convictions when this spiteful patron could easily go somewhere else? Who demands the state step in to remove religious symbols from public ground lest the non-religious or those from different faiths take offense and feel stigmatized? Find those who call upon governmental force, that by its nature is always backed by a barrel of a gun, or other formally coercive and direct means like boycotts or terminations of employment as a first resort to confront every problem or diverging of opinions under the sun. Good, now those are your totalitarians.

The second gem of conservative virtue, which is very much related to the nefarious nature of the Left as described above, comes in one of those cliche scenes when a villain monologues about his scheme to our plucky protagonists. Within this one, this evildoer waxes:

…humanity could not be trusted with its own freedom. What we did not realize is that if you try to take that freedom, they resist…Humanity needed to surrender its freedom willingly…[We’ve] been secretly feeding crisis, reaping war. And when history did not cooperate, history was changed…[We’ve] created a world so chaotic that humanity is finally ready to sacrifice its freedom to gain its security. Once the purification process is complete, [our] new world order will arise.

I would replace “chaotic” with “unfair” or “unjust” and “security” with “equality” in order to apply it more accurately to designs of the Left. But this is another apt characterization. As I argued earlier, the Left does not believe in the liberty of free-market solutions, permit dissenting ideas to challenge its own in the marketplace of ideas or think the rule of law and its system of checks and balances, constitutional or otherwise, will right itself. It ultimately does not trust us with our own freedom, as evidenced by the perpetual attempts to regulate everything and politicize anything in everyday life as justification for its interference.

I maintain these machinations really picked up steam when Marx’s intellectual successors like Gramsci, Adorno and Horkheimer were puzzled as to why the apocalyptic communist revolutions never occurred like Marx and Engels had predicted. After all, white Russians opposed red Russians; Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists fought again Mao Zedong’s communists; and the United States and its Western allies challenged the Soviet Union and its satellites. Therefore, these Marxist philosophers set out to determine why the popular uprisings struggled to even spark, let alone why heaven on Earth had not occurred as forecast, i.e. “What we did not realize is that if you try to take that freedom, they resist.” In the 1930s, Gramsci focused on what is known as cultural hegemony, where the ruling class transmits its values and beliefs, via educational institutions and mass media, to the exploited classes for the downtrodden to adopt them against their better interests as a means of control. Adorno, Horkheimer, Mercuse and others submitted a critical theory of Western civilization, which I believe has proven as one of the most influential contributions of philosophy in the last century. Critical theory is not only alive but has thrived on college campuses in its relentless pursuit to chastise the West, breeding and festering in university departments like African-American, gender and queer studies. Though I also submit the conditioning starts in earlier education, however, where do you think the myths of the wage gap and 1 out of 5 college girls are sexually assaulted exactly are born from? Moreover, gen-ed courses feature curriculum that indoctrinates students to believe that America is still fundamentally racist, white Christian males are the great oppressors, capitalism is the great evil and American imperialism is as heinous if not worse than the forcible subjugation of foreign peoples as perpetrated by ancient Rome, the Mongol khanates or Hirohito Japan. Meanwhile, the critique — if you can really call it that — ignores the inconvenient fact pertaining to all the cultural, intellectual, technological innovation, individual wealth and personalized autonomy in a nation that has never been so populous and ethnically and ideologically diverse in history. Reveling in both its shrillness and simplicity, this appraisal of America and the West thoroughly has been reinforced and perpetuated by our popular media and culture, which curiously also was a locus of scrutiny for Gramsci, Adorno and other Marxists from the Frankfurt School.

Isn’t it interesting that what these philosophers identified as weapons against the weak, within a generation of their writings, have become magically the inverse: tools to promote “social justice”? What a convenient and fortuitous reversal, unless its just the Hollywood and other media creme de la creme decidedly projecting their values onto the common person to adopts as his or her own, another manifestation of Gramscian cultural hegemony coming from a direction that heavily veers to the Left. Based on what we see on TV, doesn’t the outside world seem so “chaotic,” “unfair” and “unequal” that many of our “liberal” friends have mistakenly bought into it all and are unwittingly “ready to sacrifice their freedom” to ensure “equality”?

Let’s go through another litany of examples to demonstrate what I mean: Who wants to drastically raise the minimum wage even though it naturally will result in a sharp drop in jobs?; who wants the government to provide for entitlements to education and housing and more benefits to the unemployed despite that such initiatives impoverish cities like Detroit and Baltimore; who wants to redefine marriage, rendering mothers and fathers as optional to their children in the view of the state?; who wants to ban assault rifles and enact other gun control measures that likely will be ineffectual on gun violence, in general, because handguns are overwhelming the deadliest firearms in the country?; who demands that the Washington Redskins change its name because some people in a minority find it racially insensitive, despite such a change would fail to address the real empirical problems within their communities? Doesn’t it seem like an extremely bad, crisis-steeped world that requires decisive, comprehensive action from Big Brother, as everything from video games to “mansplaining” is somehow a form of overbearing oppression and injustice?

Furthermore, for the Left, “when history did not cooperate, history was changed”: Travyon Martin, the teenager who pounded “white hispanic” George Zimmerman’s face before being shot in self-defense, is Emmett Till; Ferguson, when a community abandoned all counsel from Rev. Martin Luther King to flaunt the rule of law and further impoverish itself, is Selma. “Hands up, don’t shoot” was and is a lie, yet demonstrators continue to repeat it to protest racist police brutality even though the evidence shows Michael Brown’s slaying was not an example of racist police brutality. Illegal aliens are now “undocumented workers,” and “global warming” has become “climate change.” A University of Virginia fraternity’s members gang-raped a girl, except that they didn’t. Orwell: War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength.

As for the purification process, look no further than Memories Pizza which apparently deserves to be threatened out of business because its owners wouldn’t service a same-sex wedding if they were ever asked. A gay hotelier must pay penance for meeting with “anti-gay” Ted Cruz. Actress Alice Eve is harangued until she recants for stating the irrefutable truth: Bruce Jenner is a man whether or not he feels like he has the soul of a woman. More Orwell: “…we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

Anyway, I could go on ad infinitum chronically how today’s mainstream Left and progressives are the antithesis of what they claim to be. With Marvel in mind though, I summarily find it absolutely great that Cap finds that it his duty to say the Orwellian obvious like “This isn’t freedom. This is fear” to the “enlightened” Fury. I’m ecstatic that Cap fights against those who have lied, slandered and manipulated their way to cajole people into endorsing things that makes government bigger for no real purpose or reason other than some elite agenda. I find it hilariously ironic that all this appears in and can be gleaned from a singular work within one of the propaganda engines that the Left uses to “win young hearts and minds.”

Oh, and if you disagree with me, and or this analysis rubs you the wrong way, you should still give the film a try anyway, as it’s highly entertaining. Like the best superhero movies such as The Dark Knight or The Avengers, it not only stands alone but actually transcends the genre. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has elements from spy thrillers and 80s action fare. The fight sequences are arguably the best Marvel has ever produced, and I propose could be the best in recent memory. For the most part, they’re less CGI, more hand-to-hand combat and practical effects. Plus, this is the best iteration of the Winter Soldier I’ve ever seen. He’s a Terminator, not a whiny brat — at least so far — and actually a physical match for Cap. Overall, strongly recommended.

Enjoy (***Major spoiler after 02:57***),

Modus Pownens

Michael Hanby on the “Brave New World” of same-sex marriage

Sometimes, other people are simply better at explaining the alleged “bigoted” philosophical opposition against same-sex marriage better than me. Published about a year ago, here are some highlights from Michael Hanby’s article at The Federalist, which should be read in its entirety, about the cultural assumptions that underlie the push for same-sex marriage.

The force with which an idea (same-sex marriage) has taken hold that is unprecedented in human history and unthinkable until yesterday, the speed at which it is sweeping aside customary norms, legal precedent, and the remnants of traditional morality is nothing short of breathtaking. That it should have achieved this feat thanks largely to sentiment, fashion, and the brute power of a ubiquitous global media, with so little real thought about its profound effect upon human self-understanding or its far-reaching practical implications, is more astonishing still. Though its power seems inexorable, we would do well nevertheless to exercise perhaps the last reserve of real freedom still available to us—the freedom to think about the true meaning of things—lest we be deceived about what this moment portends or caught unawares as it washes over us. For beneath the surface of this rising tide of ‘freedom and equality’ lies something very close to the brave new world of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian imagination.

Hanby is so very on the ball here. The meteoric rise of this “civil rights” issue is nothing short of remarkable, and the lack of vetting is indicative of the decline of Western civilization. For a society who once touted the use of reason in making law and public policy, to so readily abandon its application in the face a group of clever people asserting their agenda is merely the next step in “freedom,” “equality,” “civil rights” is disturbing of a nation that crafted something as ingenious, revolutionary and influential as the Bill of Rights.

To accept same-sex unions as ‘marriage’ is thus to commit officially to the proposition that there is no meaningful difference between a married man and woman conceiving a child naturally, two women conceiving a child with the aid of donor semen and IVF, or two men employing a surrogate to have a child together, though in the latter cases only one of the legally recognized parents can (presently) contribute to the child’s hereditary endowment and hope for a family resemblance. By recognizing same-sex ‘marriages’ the state also determines once and for all that ARTs (assisted reproductive technologies) are not merely a remedy for infertility but a normative form of reproduction equivalent to natural procreation, and indeed it has been suggested in some cases that ARTs are an improvement upon nature. Yet if this is true, it follows that no great weight attaches to natural motherhood and fatherhood and that being born to a father and mother is inessential to what it means to be human, or even to the meaning of childhood and family. These are not fundamentally ‘natural’ phenomena integral to human identity and social welfare but mere accidents of biology overlaid with social conventions that can be replaced by ‘functionally equivalent’ roles without loss.

Bingo! This paragraph encapsulates what we “bigots” vehemently oppose about same-sex marriage. It has nothing to do with what Adam and Steve or Mary and Eve do behind closed doors. It has everything to do with what it entails about the family in the eyes of culture and law. We just think it is highly foolish, as a society, to view and treat mothers and fathers as optional. That, social disaster probably will unfold from such a publicly accepted sentiment, i.e., more children growing up without either a mommy and daddy. There is a pretty substantial consensus of data that out of wedlock births correlate with poverty (here and here). And that’s not an insult to single parents — who most undoubtedly are doing the best they can for whatever reason they are raising a child alone — but an acknowledgement of what for millennia was obvious: A child’s life generally is invaluably enriched when he or she knows and lives with his or her biological parents and forever complicated, if not diminished, when one or both of those parents are taken away whether by divorce, death or even in more contemporary phenomena such as adoption and assisted reproductive technologies (surrogacy and in vitro fertilization). That’s what we are being unfairly dubbed as on the “wrong side of history” for. Plus, there’s always the fact we are even entertaining the idiocy of granting the state leeway to effectively determine and regulate what is family and how it’s created — although this, as Hanby also notes, is contradictory as the family existed and preceded the first state — sounds like the happy suicide of individual liberty.

Moving on, Handby continues to strike gold:

…worrisome is the fundamental anthropology—the philosophy of human nature—implicit in it (same-sex marriage and the practical policies to implement “equality)…And to declare that there is no difference between conceiving a child through procreation in a marriage and through the technology necessitated by same-sex unions is to say something definitive about what a child and the human being are, even if this goes unrecognized. Indeed it is all the more definitive the more it goes unrecognized.


To declare same-sex unions marriage and their technological ‘reproduction’ normative is essentially to reconceive the child not as a person but as an artifact. It is to deny that he is essentially the natural fruit of a love inscribed into his parents’ flesh; since love is now a mere emotion with no bearing on the meaning of the body, which has been relegated to the sub-personal realm of ‘mere biology.’ It is to deny that his being from his parents and having a lineage is deeply constitutive of his humanity or his personal identity; since the very notion of ‘lineage’ is confused by these new artificial combinations and since ‘mother’ and ‘father’ are merely names affixed to a social function which can be performed in creative new ways.  And it is to deny that he is his own being with inviolable dignity who cannot be manipulated or controlled; since it was a process of manipulation and control that brought him into being in the first place. The technological dominance of procreation asserts, contrary to the child’s true nature and to his parents’ unquestionable love for him, that a child is essentially a product of human making, an assemblage of parts outside of parts that are the parts of no real whole, whose meaning and purpose, as with all artifacts, reside not in itself but in the designs of its maker.

It’s this type of reasoning that leads people like Robert Oscar Lopez to conclude that surrogacy and other artificial reproductive industries is the new slave trade. That, the child, dehumanized, is commoditized to be bought and sold. The very fact that these practices have grown into multimillion dollar industries firmly suggests that this use of technology to trump biology is no longer the exception to the rule but is the rule. That Katy Perry, a pop culture icon and a role model to many, says she’ll make a child essentially because she wants one and can just demonstrates how children are thought of not as “created equal,” but as tacitly inhuman enough to be coaxed into the world due to the sufficient combination of whim and money. The recognition of same-sex marriage officially legitimizes it as normal and acceptable, and all of this, the playing God and playing parent, is simply abhorrent.

Of course, I expect the typical proponent of same-sex marriage to bristle and dismiss this insinuation as absurd and offensive, like they do with every principled “hey, wait a second” raised to halt their parade. Note, however, this taking offense doesn’t address the argument and deflects from what’s at issue: Should we redefine marriage, as a society, in such a way that makes familial biology irrelevant and enables the widespread creation and purchase of human beings as not only morally ok but good? If the same-sex marriage cause is so righteous, then its apologists should be able to utter a satisfying answer to this question that irks our liberalized American sensibilities without just resorting to red herring epithets of “bigot” about those who pose it.

Experience also tells me that there are proponents of same-sex marriage also will bring up the heterosexual couples, who for the reason of one of them being infertile, utilize surrogacy or IVF to have a kid. Why can’t two men and two women? In other words, I’m being marked as arbitrary.

Again, this criticism misunderstands several important details. The marriage debate, fundamentally, is the question about whether or not same-sex relationships are meaningfully different than opposite-sex relationships. Two classes, types, categories — or what have you — of relationships are subject to scrutiny here. I repeat: classes, types or categories. Therefore, misguided are the appeals to individual members or the parts of members within these classes, types or categories as having sway over the whole class, type or category. Whether or not some heterosexual couples choose to adopt or use artificial means to achieve pregnancy or if a person is impotent is irrelevant. Such reasoning is a fallacy of composition and subsequently a category error. For all intents and purposes, it’s like saying, because some apples in the barrel are orangish in color, then the whole barrel itself contains orange-colored apples, and due to these discolored apples, the company should ship all apples with oranges with the understanding they’re the same type of fruit. Likewise, the context of what’s being argued and proposed in Hanby’s article, my post here and mostly the issue at large is on the level of society and public policy making, not the realm of individual or relatively small groups of couples as exceptional cases. Referring to them misses the point whether or not we, as a society, ought to regularly utilize artificial reproductive technologies and make motherhood and fatherhood superfluous. Carve them into stone and institutionalize them.

Consequentially, as Hanby astutely points out in this “Brave New World” where people confuse apples with oranges:

Thus deprived of the desire or even the capacity to think about the true meaning of things, and unable to perceive the loss, people will not merely be susceptible to manipulation by sentimental platitudes and sophistic arguments—‘People shouldn’t be discriminated against based on who they are or who they love’—they will be eager for it.

The push for the same-sex marriage is not the cause of what Hanby describes but more likely a symptom. One of the crucial ways it became a political hot topic is because the sexual revolution has trivialized sex to the degree where the ability to procreate, the essence of marriage, has been so castrated from the form of human association to which it is unique, anything that can be construed under the nebulous notion of love rings of wedding bells. Same-sex unions naturally fit the bill. Logically speaking, so do polygamy, incest, pedophilia and bestiality, all of which further render successively marriage an even more meaningless and non-distinctive relationship. If the LGBT lobby is truly invested in civil rights and desires to be ineffectual on the traditional family and marriage, civil unions are the apt compromise.

That’s the “brave new world” we ought to live in,

Modus Pownens

P.S. As I have co-opted Handby’s incisive words, I urge you to read it in his intended context.