Author: easporer

A theologian, wannabe philosopher, and seminary grad, I write about things that interest me for fun, to polish my writing skills, and to record my ideas for future reference.

Sure, Black Lives Matter. But The Police Pose No Special Threat.

Watching Terence Crutcher walk away from armed police officers and back to his stalled SUV where he then put his hands down was a bit like watching a B-rated horror flick. You know the kind. One of the many protagonists or otherwise dispensable characters walks into a dark room, warehouse, forest — you name it — only to get bludgeoned, eaten, or sawed in half. All the while you’ve been yelling at the TV, knowing full well what was in store and marveling at the irrational behavior of the poor victim (which you, of course, would never be guilty of yourself). We think this way fairly often, recognizing that bad decisions often lead to bad outcomes, and I suspect that most of us feel completely justified in such considerations. Yet somehow it has become impossible to apply this same logic to real life situations involving real life people without hearing those trite and fashionable accusations that we’re now beginning to “blame the victim”.

I don’t think anyone in his right mind believes that Mr. Crutcher, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, or any of the others who died at the hands of the police deserved to be killed or can be considered wholly responsible for their own untimely deaths. But I also don’t understand how anyone in his right mind can note the behavior of these individuals and then still be surprised at what finally transpired. In virtually every publicized case over the past few years there almost always existed some form of aberrant conduct (or at least questionable conduct) that certainly should have been handled better by police, but which also never should have occurred in the first place. And yet to draw attention to this factor is immediately to brand oneself a racist, as if we don’t apply this same standard to white men as well. Spare me, please. We’re all perfectly happy to tell you that we do. It’s what led police to shoot an unarmed Dillon Taylor as he kept one hand hidden behind his back. It’s what brought about the demise of Devin Guilford after a church basketball game. It’s what got Andrew Henson killed back in June, and then Dylan Noble just over two weeks later. And it’s what got the deaf Daniel Harris shot dead this past August, and shot by a black trooper to boot. And this is only a partial listing. In all fairness to Harris, I might add, one does need to recognize that he may have been attempting to use sign language when he was killed, which may or may not be true. But even assuming for the moment that it is, our principle here remains the same: belligerence and unconventional movements often lead to unfortunate results.

I’m reminded of a portion in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, where he addresses the caution with which policemen approach drivers, usually advancing from the rear and shining their flashlights during those stops which take place in the evening. “Why can’t the officer stand and talk to me face-to-face, like a normal human being?” he asks.

The reason is that it would be virtually impossible for me to pull a gun on the officer if he’s standing behind me. First of all, the officer is shining his flashlight on my lap, so he can see where my hands are and whether I’m going for a gun . . . The police procedure, in other words, is for my benefit: it means that the only way the officer will ever draw his gun on me is if I engage in a drawn-out and utterly unambiguous sequence of actions.

Of course, this is what happens in an ideal situation where the officer supposedly has complete control and is engaging his suspect properly. In those cases where protocol isn’t followed or where uncooperative suspects have brought about increased tensions, there then exists a chance that something somehow may go horribly wrong — fatally wrong.

In explaining the perils of excessive stress upon the brain, Gladwell appeals to, former military man and author, David Grossman who suggests that when under pressure we think most clearly when our heart rate is somewhere within the range of 115 to 145 beats-per-minute.

“After 145,” Grossman says, “bad things begin to happen. Complex motor skills start to break down. Doing something with one hand and not the other becomes very difficult . . . At 175, we begin to see an absolute breakdown of cognitive processing . . . The forebrain shuts down, and the mid-brain — the part of your brain that is the same as your dog’s (all mammals have that part of the brain) — reaches up and hijacks the forebrain. Have you ever tried to have a discussion with an angry or frightened human being? You can’t do it . . . You might as well try to argue with your dog.” Vision becomes even more restricted. Behavior becomes inappropriately aggressive . . .

It would be interesting to know where Betty Shelby’s heart rate was at a time when she had ostensibly never been so scared in her life. And quite frankly, if she really was that scared, then we can probably all agree that Bill Maher is right: she’s in the wrong line of work.

None of this is to suggest that the archetypical racially-prejudiced dirty cop doesn’t exist. Quite the contrary. One study, in fact, which found that officers are no more likely to use lethal force against African-Americans also found that officers are more likely to use non-lethal force against this same group — a study carried out by Roland Fryer from the National Bureau of Economic research, himself a black man, should you insist on making that an issue. If we’re honest with ourselves, we know it’s entirely probable that some — certainly not all, but undoubtedly some — of this non-lethal force must have been the result of biased authority figures abusing their power. People are people, after all. And if cops are people, then it’s reasonable to suppose that they too are subject to many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the population at large.

But however true this supposition might be, however many rogue patrolmen like to rough up suspects of color (or unjustly profile black men in general for that matter), we ultimately find ourselves faced with a narrative that is quite different from the one being told by those involved with the Black Lives Matter movement, which has often implied (or in some cases maintained quite explicitly) a concerted effort on the part law enforcement to exterminate the African-American male. Given the data in Fryer’s study, however, the psychological research, and the existence of similar incidents perpetrated against white victims, it seems entirely disingenuous to assign this kind of blame to the responsible officers as if we can assume that these officers intentionally singled out minority victims simply because, well, “they’re racists and want to kill black people.” To do so is no better and not much different than convicting an innocent African-American for a crime simply because “he’s black and must have done it” — a travesty of justice which is part of what got us into this situation in the first place. More likely, various psychological stressors are at play which have continuously been exacerbated by the egregious rates of crime within the black community and which have been further aggravated by growing anti-cop sentiment. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, at the number of shaky trigger fingers. We should expect them. And in the absence of more complete evidence, we should simply assume that mistakes were committed, not murders.

Spare Me the Hate Crime Rubbish and Stop Blaming Conservatives

Left-wing ingrates over at the Huffington Post, and presumably everywhere else, are now telling us to hold our sympathies for the Orlando massacre victims. Evidently, conservatives are to blame, and Omar Mateen’s homicidal rage was merely (or mostly) the product of an Evangelical-influenced, homophobic culture. Hogwash. That this deluded claim has even been proffered just goes to show how far gone the LGBT community really is, and I fear that we’ve nearly lost a whole generation of them to this tortuous, intellectual violence.

The reason many haven’t called this tragedy a hate crime is quite simply because it is not yet clear that it was a hate crime at all. After all, how can we draw any serious conclusions without being given clear motives? The killer’s professed allegiance to ISIL strikes me as more disingenuous than authentic, and biographical reports from those who knew him suggest that the real cause in all of this was internally psychiatric, rather than externally psychological. To the extent that outside influences did play a role, it would appear that the enigmatic Miguel has more to say than all of the pundits combined: “this crazy, horrible thing he did was for revenge.” That Omar was a semi-closeted homosexual now looks to be beyond doubt, and it hardly seems reasonable to suppose that a gay man can demonstrate a hostile bias or “group animus” towards other gay men. Thus, we’re left with the story of a deranged and jilted lover who is no more guilty of a hate crime than Christina Grimmie’s shooter, Kevin James Loibl. The biggest difference: In an opportunistic turn of events, Mateen took advantage of his Muslim heritage and sought to identify himself with the largest Islamic group known for mass homicide.

Given the gay community’s persecution complex, however, it’s only natural that they are now seeking to pin the blame on a rival community whom they have lately come to despise for reasons which only betray their vast ignorance of religion, morality, history, and politics. More telling is their strange obsession with hate-oriented language, which, if the old, Freudian projection theories hold true, probably reveals more about them than it does of their opponents. Consequently, it would be their own inner demons that drive them with such vitriolic fervor to castigate, incriminate, and ultimately castrate any other group that might show signs of even the most benign disapproval. And conservative Christians are at fault? Spare me. Coming from a faction who still considers Matthew Shepard the poster child for LGBT victimization, this is hard to believe.

Should we choose to damn any party for the vile atrocity perpetrated in the Pulse nightclub, it seems far easier to lay the guilt upon those who have belligerently continued to fan the flames of social unrest and to construct straw men in an ill-founded effort to radically alter the nature of reality. If you declare war as enthusiastically, don’t be surprised at the collateral damage. But even this seems a stretch, and we have to admit that this was neither terrorism proper nor a typical crime of hate, at least insofar as Mateen was a part of the ostensibly hated group. It was the vengeful act of an emotionally disturbed lunatic that came about with very little outside prodding. Those of us who are level-headed enough to see this will continue to offer our sympathies, whether they’re appreciated or not.

Multiculturalism and America’s Broken Body

By the time it reached St. Paul, the metaphor of a body and its members had become a well-worn proverb. From its Aesopian origins to its later use by Menenius Agrippa, the essential theme had always been the same and still remains clear enough today: “a house divided . . .” to invoke the words of Jesus. And how could it be otherwise? It’s hard to believe that anyone could seriously question the theoretical basis of this statement, and yet the mass of multicultural fanatics seems bent on ignoring such a fundamental tenet of political theory. For sure, the old fable assumes a measure of diversity in its use of various limbs and organs, though never so much as to undermine the ultimate unity coming about through this diversity. E pluribus unum. Now, however, we have imbecilic leftists touting the virtues of their steroidal pluralism, striving not only to further the coexistence of various cultures and belief systems (an ideal as American as apple pie), but to convince the general populace that all of these cultures and belief systems are equally valid and true. Is it any wonder that Donald Trump has secured the Republican constituency?

Not a day goes by in which some version of this rancid filth doesn’t permeate the news outlets, usually with regard to gender identity or sexual orientation in some manner, though very often in relation to heritage and nationality: quite possibly the more dangerous of the two. Far from it being acceptable any longer simply to live and let these individuals exist in peace, standing equally before the law as they should, we’re progressively being forced into embracing their proclivities and worldviews as virtually no different from the more traditional values and frameworks which have so far defined this country. Leaving us with a mongrel bastard of their own peculiar ideology mixed with civil rights legislation, the philosophically-minded activists who ended up raping our college humanities departments have turned the political left away from all semblance of reason and have constructed a reality in which an infinite number of realities exists. Thus, it is not any more simply a matter of treating the human and his religion or ancestral customs with the dignity and impartiality they deserve in a free land, but a matter of coercing universal assent to those religions and customs with a stern caution that to do otherwise is “hateful.”

The problem with this radicalized relativism is that in the absence of a dominant culture society becomes little more than a weak confederation of only semi-unified groups that neither trust nor support each other, which isn’t far off from the well-publicized observations of Robert Putnam. But more to the point, when assimilation is discouraged, the people suffer and a country disintegrates. Shouldn’t this be obvious? Yet evidently it is too difficult for a large segment of our population to grasp, despite the tragic drama playing out before their own eyes. What’s worse is that they continue to spew forth their horrific nonsense by proposing more diversity training and more legal action in a misguided attempt at fostering unity when they are, in fact, doing nothing more than dislodging the very rational and Enlightened foundations on which the United States stands. Some have suggested that the collapse of America’s so-called “first city,” Cahokia came, not from environmental assaults or shortages of food, but from the internal strife which was a product of mass immigration and presumably a failure of these immigrants to acculturate themselves with Mississippian society. If such was our beginning, just imagine the end.

Liberals Hate Fat People (Or Just Don’t Understand Medical Science)

Stomaching the hackneyed slogans and trite buzzwords vomited out by the constituents of modern-day pop-culture is becoming more of a challenge every moment, especially when those tools are employed by the left-wing propaganda machine to advocate for some sort of nonsensical lunacy as if it were a noble cause. “So much this!” they say, and “this so much!” It all makes me shudder, and I’ll be damned if I use the word “why” in a title or subtitle ever again. One can only handle reading the same formulaic headings over and over: “why you should do this,” “why you should do that.” Excuse me, but I’ll do as I please, thank you very much. That’s if they don’t “shame” me into compliance.

It’s difficult to understand how the masses fail to see the growing ineffectiveness of their overused catchphrases, and yet this is, by and large, the same crowd that can hardly maintain a firm grip on reality itself. I guess it all makes sense. As a reactionary measure to so-called “body shaming” we’re now being told by some that fat studies is a legitimate academic discipline as a part of the wider fat acceptance movement, which one can easily see influencing body positivity notions that are becoming all the rage, because, you know, western beauty standards are so passé. #HereIAm In other words, obesity is just the new normal because hey, being 65 lbs. overweight never killed anybody. That’s what my doctor says too.

I almost feel guilty for being so crass, but I hardly mean any disrespect. In fact, one might say that, in reality, I’m showing more respect to these individuals by pointing out the cold, hard truth: some people shouldn’t feel comfortable in their body. Maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but a needed corrective nonetheless. For sure, one ought to be satisfied with their best efforts and shouldn’t excessively ruminate on those physical aspects that just can’t be changed. (There really is something to be said for courageously accepting what is after all that can be done has been done — a challenge we must all face.) Neither should anyone be despised or ridiculed for their weight or any other feature for that matter. But let’s not act like we can ignore or avoid the numerous health issues that can and do arise from holding excessive weight, as if these issues are merely “social constructs” which we can simply wish away. Please. If anything should be considered “offensive” it should be the farcical deception of liberal buffoons which could easily cost people their lives. I kid you not. Look them up.

All of this reminds me of, and, at bottom, is exactly the same as that horrific and disgusting neurodiversity movement which ultimately does more harm than good by seeking to keep millions enslaved to their own psychiatric illnesses. You’re depressed? You just think differently. You have autism? It’s a gift. Schizophrenia? Just a variation of normal. Never mind the observable degradation of brain tissue. So far has the left come with their Frankfurt-esque, post-structural bullshit that even something as basic as physical and mental health is made subservient to their neo-Marxist fetish with power struggle and diversity, which is ironic considering that this, in fact, turns them into the very oppressor they despise, or at least makes them accessories. It just goes to show how little regard many of them have for your life and your health, and how little confidence they have in your ability to change.

The Futility of Gun Control: Sometimes “Common Sense” Doesn’t Make Much Sense

When 28-year-old Martin Bryant walked into the Broad Arrow Cafe on one early afternoon during the Australian autumn of 1996, few people undoubtedly had any idea that they would find themselves staring down the barrel of an L1A1, semi-automatic battle rifle wielded by a blonde-haired Tasmanian devil who would then go on to slaughter 35 innocent people in cold-blood, and injure 24 others in what would come to be known as the Port Arthur massacre. As protocol dictates when such tragedies occur, widespread debate on the merits of gun ownership could be found on the lips of politicians, quickly prompting the Howard administration to implement some of the strictest gun control measures not only within the Commonwealth but within the entire world, outlawing such weapons as semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns, all the while keeping a strong grip and a close eye on those who wished to buy other, less dangerous firearms.

 
There is something admirable in a leader’s wish to protect his citizenry from the destructive effects of gun-based violence, and one would be hard-pressed to prove that any such motives were, in fact, prompted by a conspiratorial program meant to disarm the general populace for nefarious political ends. Keeping mentally ill and criminally-inclined hands off certain forms of weaponry seems reasonable enough. And, as expected, firearm-based massacres declined in the years following Australia’s legal reforms. Howard’s gun control was a success — if by success we mean only three fewer mass killing fatalities in the 18 years following its institution as compared with the 18 years preceding it. True, this includes the Snowtown murders, which were drawn out over a period of seven years, starting in 1992 and ending in 1999, which make this incident of a somewhat different sort. But even excluding these particular statistics, we’re left with 71 massacre fatalities before and 62 after — a difference of only nine. And this difference, while no doubt significant in its own right, can easily be attributed to the declining homicide rate, which, I might add, had already been declining in the years prior to 1996 as demonstrated by the Australian Institute of Criminology’s own data. What’s more, firearm homicides began their downward trend all the way back in 1969 and continued despite the proliferation of military-grade rifles throughout some regions of the continent. In short: nothing changed since the adoption of the National Firearms Agreement, and more violent-minded individuals have since turned to burning retirement homes and stabbing children to satisfy their macabre desire to inflict harm.

 
The United Kingdom has fared similarly. With strict gun legislation already on the books, the Prime Minister decided to ban nearly all personal handguns at the prompting of Lord Cullen and due to the tragic shooting of 16 Dunblane school children in the spring of 1996. We’re now told jubilantly by some that the control measures must have worked since the British lasted 14 years before another firearm-based massacre took place, as if this means anything at all. Within the 14 years prior to Dunblane there had only been one firearm-based massacre and apparently none in the 14 years prior to that. Guns were rarely a problem in the Isles and one may, of course, argue that this dearth of gun violence is a product of the draconian regulations that had been implemented, beginning in the 1920s and strengthened in 1937 and 1968. This is fair. Be that as it may, however, such regulations can hardly be considered satisfactorily successful when the homicide rate has virtually been increasing ever since and, after a sharp rise in the early 2000s, has finally evened out to a level not showing any drastic improvement over those seen prior to 1997. Whereas for Australia we could say that nothing changed, for the Kingdom, if it hasn’t gotten worse, it hasn’t gotten much better either. And the British disgruntled sure seem to have a peculiar affinity for explosive devices.

 
In 2003, a CDC task force reviewed the scholarly literature on gun control in an attempt to ascertain the efficacy of such legislation and was ultimately forced to conclude that there existed no actual evidence that any of the policies theretofore instituted worked. One year later, the National Academy of the Sciences essentially agreed after reviewing hundreds of documents, writing, “despite a large body of research, the committee found no credible evidence that the passage of right-to-carry laws decreases or increases violent crime, and there is almost no empirical evidence that the more than 80 prevention programs focused on gun-related violence have any effect on children’s behavior, knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs about firearms.” Both publications rightly urge caution, noting the lack of research on a number of questions that would be relevant to the topic. But I still find myself asking, “if, after all of this, the effectiveness of such policies is so hard to discern, how effective can they be?”

 
The greatest difficulty one encounters in combing through the research is the persistent emphasis on gun availability and gun-based violence, which, to my mind, means very little. Most people, after all, don’t care all too much if they die in a shooting, bombing, burning, or stabbing since they die anyway (although, for my money, a bullet through the spinal cord would probably be best). To whatever extent authors have focused on firearm legislation and overall homicide rates as opposed to just one particular form of homicide, the conclusions seem to be virtually unanimous: little to no impact exists at all. Which just goes to demonstrate that all this talk about gun control as if it can adequately make a substantial difference in curbing American violence is just empty conversation with no basis in reality. Banning assault rifles and mandating restrictive licensing requirements might appear to make a good bit of sense, but at the end of the day, it really doesn’t, since too many other factors drive people to kill and since the deranged have proven themselves quite capable of causing widespread devastation using just about any method.

Calling It What It Is: Homosexuality as Evolutionary Abnormality

I’m well aware that since the early 1970s homosexuality has been more or less excluded from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders due, in part, to the high level of functioning that had always been attained by a vast number of those within the gay community and to what appears to have been an increase in socio-political pressure. I’m also well aware that this apparent gold standard of mental health treatment has long been criticized by some professionals as a “hodgepodge” of “scattered, inconsistent, and ambiguous” research to the point that even the National Institute for Mental Health has distanced itself due to the fifth edition’s lack of scientific rigor. All of this while the other “experts” are still quibbling about the precise nature of normal human behavior; so I trust you’ll forgive me for squinting my eyes and cocking my head in skepticism at the fallacious claim, which I actually heard on at least one occasion, that homosexuality must be a completely normal variation of human behavior, “because,” as they tell me, “the DSM says so.” Sure. 

Very recently I stumbled across Michael Levin’s 1984 article, originally published in The Monist, entitled “Why Homosexuality is Abnormal,” in which (surely you won’t be surprised to hear) he argues for precisely that same conclusion: one which I came to independently and in much the same way. Now, it certainly isn’t any challenge to find a number of thinkers saying exactly the same thing, as recent occurrences make clear, though it has appeared to me that in many cases such individuals are approaching the issue from a religious basis or in a somewhat overly-simplistic fashion, rather than from, shall we say, a more theoretical foundation rooted firmly in evolutionary science. For sure, you’ll hear and read numerous speeches and articles talking about the potential bases of same-sex attraction, all well and good, many quite enlightening. But seldom will you hear any researchers simply calling homosexuality what it is: an abnormality and deviation from normal human functioning. (At most they’ll call it non-adaptive — a spandrel, if you will — but that’s only when they’re in the right mood.) Dig around and you’ll find that some don’t want to even study it anymore. And if you read between the lines, you’ll see it’s because they know exactly where it leads.

As far as I’m aware, it is an obvious truism for those taking Darwinian evolution to its logical ends that sexual intercourse has as its primary function the reproduction of a particular species, in our case the human one ― and please note that I said “primary,” not “sole.” Equally obvious (and painfully so for males) is that females tend to be far more selective in their choice of sexual partners, as confirmed by Hatfield and Clarke in their well-known experiment, wherein of college students propositioned for casual sex not a single female complied, whereas nearly three-quarters of the males were ready and willing. (Surely the remaining 25% must have been gay!) And far from being a mere “social construct” (a term so misused you might consider fleeing, as Joseph from Potiphar’s wife, should it be uttered in your presence) this sort of dichotomy can be observed among other animal populations as well, who can hardly be said to have any advanced notion of culture. And for good reason this phenomenon exists as males have been gifted with a virtually endless supply of sperm, while females are stuck with a limited number of eggs, thus invoking simple economics as the women strive to avoid wasting resources on unfit chaps who may provide unfit offspring.

A strong, vigorous, and resourceful gentleman will do the trick nicely, though, who in turn seeks above all a young, healthy, and attractive lady (it’s really not just what’s inside that counts, you know), both of whom, when they come together, fall in love, have children, and live happily ever after. Cue the olfactory system, and to put it simply, add a measure of dopamine here, a bit of serotonin there; ignore the sweaty palms, and I’m pleased to make your acquaintance. Dim the lights; you know what comes next. The neuroscientists and psychologists tell us of a remarkable system in which hormones and neurotransmitters, such as oxytocin and vasopressin, work to bind the pair and thus equip them for parenting, thereby making sense of that common post-coital awkwardness which often comes to those not seeking commitment. Pedants smart enough to see the excessive simplicity of this example should also be smart enough to see its purpose, namely, that every element of the human mating process can be reduced to biological mechanisms that are also easily explainable in terms of genetic survival via reproduction, from the initial gaze, to the mindless obsession, to every sensation that draws a male and female together. Yet it must be that gays also experience these same emotions and desires, which are, to repeat, emotions and desires that have as their basis the fertilization of an egg and the rearing of offspring, but which are, in the case of those seeking solely same-sex relationships, directed exclusively toward activities that are inherently non-reproductive.

It might be best to define the term “normal” in the present context as something like “that which is consistent with an organism’s proper mode of functioning.” I dislike the word “natural” since it’s far too fluid to use in any meaningful way and since I’m entirely cognizant of the homosexual behavior that appears in what we call the “natural world.” What does that really tell us, anyway? Nothing from my view, except that an appeal to the animal kingdom can no longer be used by those arguing that such activity is, as they say, a peccatum contra naturam. After all, animals are subject to physical and psychiatric abnormalities as well, so it’s hardly worth our time to consider them exemplars of health, wellness, and morality. And besides, despite what you may have thought and probably insist on thinking, morality isn’t even the topic I’m attempting to address. My point in all of this is to make the very simple proposition that, from an evolutionary standpoint, homosexuality ― as a primary orientation in particular ― can almost certainly not be considered a normal and healthy variation of human sexuality any more than using other organs primarily in ways which conflict with their essential nature can be considered normal and healthy. Perhaps such use isn’t entirely unhealthy, but it can hardly qualify as what we would call biologically ideal, and to make claims to the contrary, as seems to be the trend, is, at best, misleading and, at worst, harmful.

In case you’re wondering, I’ll tell you. Thus far there is no consensus within the scientific community on the causes of homosexual behavior, and it’s frequently suggested that a combination of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental influences play a role, no doubt partly because it’s not uncommon to find identical twins ― who are virtual clones ― exhibiting different sexual preferences. Yet, if we’re honest with ourselves, isn’t this really just another way of saying that something went wrong? And even if one stubbornly chooses to embrace the “gay gene” supposition ― that most charitable of hypotheses ― we can really only posit that same-sex attraction might be little more than a residual effect of some other selected gene which has certain benefits. But even then it must be admitted that this still can’t necessarily classify as “normal.” Sickle-cell anemia, after all, is precisely just that: an unfortunate accident in the natural fight against malaria. Those with the gene do show an increased immunity to the disease, but only at the cost of numerous other health issues. And if the residual effects could be discarded, so much the better.

Now don’t begin entertaining the idea that homosexuality is on the same level as such things like sickle-cell anemia in consequence and prognosis. Quite obviously this isn’t the case at all. Nor should you conclude that homosexuality as a disordered use of the reproductive organs must be quite as harmful as a disorder of some other bodily system, such as the digestive from which quite obvious and severe damage can come. It’s not. The notion of a completely safe homosexual lifestyle, however, might be open to question on biological and psychological grounds as the persistent use of bodily members solely for unintended purposes could well lead to some measure of psychological strain. Indeed, as recently as 2011, a study in the UK, led by Apu Chakroborty and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found once more that gays are indeed at a higher risk for mental health issues, just as older research suggested.

The go-to hypothesis for these findings is almost always that of what is called minority stress, the reduction of which should correspond to a reduction in psychological turmoil. Perhaps. But why must we suppose that the totality of negative experiences within the LGBT community are reducible to little more than social rejection? If, as I’ve already pointed out, homosexuality is largely a deviation from nature’s own selected behavior, then wouldn’t this be enough to warrant equality of consideration for the competing suggestion that at least some of the observed health issues among gays and lesbians stem from their lifestyle instead? After all, a brain wired for reproduction could also plausibly be a brain disturbed at the perpetual and inevitable frustration of its default setting, even if that frustration doesn’t always manifest itself in overtly traumatic ways but instead by producing lesser forms of life satisfaction. 

This last bit of speculation may prove to be false, but that still wouldn’t affect the essence my main contention: a contention which will, no doubt, be contentious to say the least and almost certainly misunderstood by those not willing to understand. In fact, I’ve fully prepared myself for the onslaught of hate mail accusing me of trying to spread bigotry and intolerance of gays, so if that’s what makes you happy, fine. What I’m really attempting to do is to keep anyone from making the very silly assertion that homosexuality proper as a dominant orientation is merely a variation of normal sexual functioning or a form of expression equivalent to heterosexuality: that “underneath it’s all the same love.” It’s simply not. And anyone with a modicum of common sense should know better.

The Preposterous Limiting of Free Speech and the Morons Who Actually Want to Do It

For once, the always magnanimous Jeffrey Tayler has written something well worth reading, something that even a raving, lunatic theist, such as myself, can look at and cry “amen!” Granted, the irony that I find so much pleasure in an article subtitled “Laughing at Religion Is Exactly What the World Needs” has not gone unnoticed and, to be sure, much of its content is the usual putrid drivel we’ve come to expect from a Salon writer who apparently has little more than a Sunday school education in theology. But Tayler’s unhealthy obsession with religion-bashing and proclivity for hate-fueled rants notwithstanding (What happened to you as a child, Jeffrey?), the core of his overall contention, in this article at least, is pure, unadulterated gold.

That Bill Maher has been so harshly criticized on so many occasions has often been a thing of disappointment for me, and I sometimes find it rather amusing that the bulk of this criticism comes from those of his own political persuasion, which, as far as I can tell, only reinforces the idea that those on the left have become increasingly totalitarian: liberals in name only. Interestingly, Tayler seems to neglect any mention that modern liberalism is one of the greatest enemies to free speech, choosing instead to focus solely on those Muslims and Christians who demand respect and freedom from offense, all the while failing to note that the Muslims and Christians calling for such action are primarily those who identify with the political left. A curious omission indeed.

None of this is to suggest that conservatives are innocent, mind you. It was, after all, Paul Weyrich who accused Natalie Maines of treason for doing little more than than criticizing George W. Bush (Let’s just bring back the Alien-Sedition Acts, shall we?), and you’ll find no end of non-profit “family” organizations whining over some benign joke or sexual innuendo that offends the delicate sensibilities of their pious, little souls. Rarely, however, have they actually called for the stifling of one’s right to unhindered expression (at least not in recent years), and what gripes they do have often remain in a relatively private setting as opposed to the appalling media circus incited by these idiotic clowns who clamor for that impossibly stupid forced “apology.” Give me a break. The matter is really one of balance and weight, since lunatics on both sides of the aisle will always try to quell the ideas of their ideological opponents in flagrant rebellion against the standards set by Milton, Bayle, Paine, Voltaire, Jefferson, Mill, and yes, the United States Constitution; but to my eye, it is the contemporary left that has been far and away the greatest single transgressor of this most basic human right, convicting the world of thought crimes and raping the minds of those with whom they disagree.

In a horrifying blog entry entitled “Here Is Why It’s Time to Get Tough on Hate Speech in America” a disgusting and evil woman by the purported name of Tanya Cohen, whose writings reek of such unimaginable, closed-minded intolerance that I momentarily thought her a satirist of the highest rank, proposes the outlawing of everything from insults and impoliteness to “speech that undermines the authority of the state.” (Odd that one by the name of Cohen should be so averse to questioning governmental authority.) Laughably she continues to suggest this abominable tripe all the while maintaining that she is a “strong believer in the unalienable right to freedom of speech,” as if one who calls for the banning of unacceptable ideas can possibly have even the slightest idea of what free speech really is. The whole concept of it is based on the exchange of unacceptable ideas and on the anti-authoritarian rhetoric that flourished at a time when the human mind was being liberated from the intellectual tyranny of popes, bishops, and man-made institutions.

Today we have controversy over whether or not public transportation in New York should carry the AFDI’s ad campaign exposing that farcical piss-stain of a religion known as radical Islam, Islamo-terrorism, Satanism, or whatever you prefer to call it. Admittedly, the matter is a sticky one since a company should never be forced to advance a message it finds objectionable, and, as a public benefit corporation, the MTA straddles a unique fence as part private entity and part government organization. It’s not my state. I’ll leave it alone. The whole debate, however, is indicative of the times: times characterized by a shocking sensitivity unparalleled in the history of mankind and accompanied by a fear of every possible offense that may possibly arise. As a result of this forced and artificial “tolerance” the entire left is becoming increasingly intolerant and turning, as Jim Norton says, “into the religious book-burners of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

What Ms. Cohen and her reprehensible ilk, blinded as their are by their own vile stupidity, don’t seem to understand is that the suppression of a word is the suppression of an idea. And the suppression of an idea, even a bad one, is an assault on human progress and probably the most illiberal thing a so-called “civil libertarian” can do. (Don’t sully that word, my dear.) However much I disagree with Jeffrey Tayler and the nonsensical excrement he tries to pass off as “reason,” the man is absolutely right when he says,

“[S]hut up!” is the last command of which the Greats of the Enlightenment and their heirs would have approved. The 19th-century British philosopher John Stuart Mill, in On Liberty, put it best, referring to suppressed speech: “If the opinion is right, [the shutter-uppers] are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.” If Maher is really so wrong, why not let him hoist himself by his own petard?