My annual Passover post, with Biden in Pharaoh’s role this year

Every year, I publish a variation of my Passover post, with the latest enemy of freedom starring as Pharaoh. This year, Biden is Pharaoh.

For roughly 3,500 years, Jews have been telling and retelling the story of Passover — which is also the story of the world’s first revolt against a totalitarian dictatorship. The story remains relevant because each generation sees dangerous tyrants abusing their people and trying to expand their reach beyond their own borders. As we stare down those monsters, the thing to remember is that those atop the tyranny pyramid care about only one thing, which is that their tyranny remains stable and protected. I’m a little late this year (the past three days have been busy), but it’s still Passover work, so it’s time for this year’s iteration of my annual Passover post.

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There are those who, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as a celebration of freedom (for it celebrates the world’s first successful slave revolt), justice, and morality (insofar as it gave us the Ten Commandments), deride the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the Egyptian people’s genocide. The basis for this theory is the way in which God hardens Pharaoh’s heart after each plague, even as Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go. This engenders the full cycle of plagues, culminating in the death of the firstborn.

Those familiar with the Bible understand that this objection is predicated upon ignorance. The tenth plague, which saw God strike down the firstborn in every family without the Pascal lamb’s blood above their door, was not a random punishment. It was, instead, divine retribution for the Pharaoh’s own decree, in effect at Moses’s birth, that all firstborn Jewish males should be drowned in the Nile.

Also, I was re-reading Dennis Prager’s superb The Rational Bible: Exodus and was reminded that each one of the plagues essentially attacked one of the Egyptian’s many gods. Only in this way could God demonstrate that they were false idols and that he had the power to control the symbols with which they were associated. Of course, for those who see the Passover story as a neo-Nazi story, even that reasoning isn’t good enough.

One can bypass the whole issue by saying that the many plagues, culminating with the firstborn’s death, are nothing more than dramatic license, meant to increase the tension and danger surrounding the Jew’s escape from Egypt. After all, if the exodus had been easy, it wouldn’t have been much of a story. Imagine if Moses had asked, “Hey, Pharaoh, can we go?” and Pharaoh had answered, “Sure.”

That narrative lacks punch and heroism. More importantly, God’s involvement is minimal or, at least, unexciting. Surely it resonates more strongly with the people reliving the narrative every year to have an escalating series of plagues, with the audience on tenterhooks as to whether those pesky Jewish slaves will actually be able to make a break for it.

But frankly, the above reasoning is silly. The Bible is not so superficial. There is, instead, a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, no matter the burdens he places upon his people. A blood-filled Nile River may, at first, seem appalling, but the red recedes and life goes on. Pharaoh still holds power. The same is true for each subsequent plague, whether lice, boils, frogs, darkness, or anything else. As long as Pharaoh realizes, after the first panic, that he is still powerful, he will always reconcile himself to his people’s incremental destruction.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might have a theoretical concern that a starving and frightened populace could turn on him. However, provided that he is assured that his people will continue to fear and worship him, their suffering is irrelevant. It is only when the price becomes too high — when the plague struck Pharaoh in his own palace, killing his firstborn* — that Pharaoh is convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed in 3,500 years. Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII. For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over. Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him. Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was not only willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed, but they went along with Hitler’s demand to continue to divert military supplies to the Holocaust. The war ended only when Hitler, facing personal humiliation, killed himself and the remaining high command, see their lives at stake, finally gave up or committed suicide too. Hitler and his commanders were Pharaoh. Only when they, personally, faced a humiliating death would they stop fighting.

The same held true for the Japanese. Truman did not decide to drop the bomb just for the hell of it. Even impressing the Soviets was an insufficient reason for doing so. What swayed Truman was his advisers telling him (credibly as it turned out) that the Japanese Bushido culture would not allow Japan to surrender. Instead, Truman understood that, despite an inevitable American victory, without drastic action, that victory would take another year, and cost up to 100,000 American lives and as many as 1,000,000 Japanese lives (including Japanese civilians).

Truman had two choices: Wage war for at least another year, killing 100,000 Americans and up to a million Japanese civilians, or end the war instantly, with no more American casualties and an estimated 100,000 civilian Japanese casualties. Put that way, the choice was a no-brainer.  Not only would he save the military, but he would also save tens of thousands of POWs, both military and civilian. One of the Dutch civilian POWs saved was my Mom, who was on the verge of starving to death in a Japanese concentration camp.

The Japanese high command was Pharaoh. No amount of smaller plagues could stop the command from its chosen path. Only a large plague would swiftly lead to the inevitable conclusion.

The only way to destroy an evil institution is to decapitate it. That’s what God did with the 10th plague. That’s what Truman did when he dropped atom bombs on Japan. That’s what the Allies did when they engaged in total war against the Nazis. In each case, the only way to end a tyrant’s rampage of murder, torture, and enslavement was directly hurting the tyrant’s person.

Those who prefer the stability of tyranny to the risks of freedom are the same people who refuse to accept that, under tyranny, the innocents are always going to die, with the only question being whether they will die quickly or slowly. That’s the problem with an evil regime. If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, you’re going to end as cannon fodder. Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned, and Biden will open America’s southern border while ramping up the welfare system and pushing Critical Race Theory, a pernicious racial theory every bit as bad as the Nazi’s racial theories. Ensconced in the White House, and surrounded by unelected fanatics, nothing will stop them. The American economy can collapse and whites can become the subjects of actual purges and the Biden administration will continue on its path — as long as the tyrants in charge can retain their power.

People of goodwill must sometimes recognize that the generation raised under tyranny is a lost generation that cannot be saved, whether because it will die under the tyrant’s lash, in the tyrant’s war, or in a war against the tyrant. Sometimes, when slaves finally taste freedom, they fear it. The Bible recognizes this problem, banning the Promised Land to those who were slaves in Egypt. They were a lost generation.

For this reason, when one sees a people groaning under tyranny the most humane thing to do is to destroy the tyranny quickly and decisively even if that process causes people to suffer. Most of them were always going to be lost. Our actions are for the benefit of subsequent generations and, if we are lucky, for those who survived both the tyranny and the liberation.

Protecting freedom for the greatest number of people sometimes demands proactive behavior. And there is nothing more proactive than an overwhelming response when a tyrant starts putting out feelers to see how far he can go. If Chamberlain had done that in 1938, WWII might have been avoided.**

The only way to stop tyranny is to fight tyranny. For liberty-loving people in America, that’s a challenge, because, for the first time in my lifetime, the tyrant is their unfettered government. Still, we have weapons. For one thing, every last one of us needs to stop bowing down before cancel culture. Even non-conservatives need to realize that there is no end to cancel culture. Its practitioners must constantly strive to prove their purity and they can do this only by attacking others.

Today, I put up a post at American Thinker about the push at Oxford University to cancel the entire Western music system (musical notations, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.) because it existed at the same time as the African slave trade. Apparently even then, if Europeans who had nothing to do with and probably no knowledge of the slave trade didn’t speak out, they were complicit! I made a point regarding events at Oxford that I think is relevant here:

I think the Oxford music teachers know this is bunkum. They’re raising it only because they feel that, unless they chime in on the Black Lives Matter issue and show themselves to be on board with it, they will be the next target. Under the tyranny that is BLM, if you’re not with them, you’re against them, and if you’re against them, you will be destroyed in the next purge (and there’s always a next purge).

As I watch the endless waves of BLM stupidity in corporations and academic institutions in the English-speaking world, I’m reminded of nothing so much as the mourners at Kim Jong-il’s funeral. They knew that the secret police were watching and that anyone showing insufficient grief was at risk of being carted off to a concentration camp. That’s why you see videos such as the one below showing thousands of people engaged in hysterical weeping. Yes, they were told that their communist godhead had died, but what you’re seeing in these videos isn’t grief, it’s fear.

We have to stop playing this fear game. When they call us racists, when they subject us to the appalling racist Critical Race Theory, when they use race to justify overthrowing our southern border, we need to speak out even more loudly. We need to fight their ideology at every turn. We need to boycott the woke companies. We need to fund organizations that will handle lawfare for people fired because they exercised their constitutional rights.

Do anything and everything you can think of to push back against this administration. That does not mean violating the laws; it does not mean impoverishing yourself; it does not mean violence. However, it does mean speaking up constantly, withholding what money you can from complicit organizations, and backing down only when your safety is at risk (something, sadly, I know about doing).

With that, I’d like to wish all of you a Chag Sameach (Happy Passover). Whether Jewish or not, I hope that the Pesach celebration serves as an occasion for all of us to remember that, though the price may sometimes be high, both for slave and master, our goal as just and moral human beings must be freedom. So please join with me in saying, as all Jews do at this time of year, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

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*The fact that Pharaoh survived the last of the ten plagues tells us that he was not his father’s firstborn son. Either an older sibling died or Pharaoh was the younger child in a family unrelated to the Egyptian ruling family and, through a coup, seized the throne.

**And yes, I am aware of the argument that Chamberlain might not have been Hitler’s dupe. Thanks to England’s anti-War fervor after WWI, which led to disarmament and the drawing down of her military, Chamberlain might have believed by 1938 that England could do nothing to stop Hitler. That belief would have led him to choose appeasement as the only option. I don’t agree with this view because bullies will back down quickly if their intended victim fights even minimally, but I’ll give Chamberlain the benefit of the doubt because he was a decent and patriotic man.

IMAGE: Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh (1537). Master of the Dinteville Allegory. As part of The Met’s Open Access program, the data is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.

The message in the cold that I caught

I believe that there’s a lesson about masks — and what they’re really good at in today’s world — in the bad cold I caught.

I have a cold, a nasty, snuffly, sore-throat, stuffy-nose, I-feel-sick kind of cold. The same kind of cold that I’ve probably had 200 times before over the course of my life. When my nose isn’t stopped up, my sense of smell is perfect; my blood oxygenation is a marvel of good health; and I’m not running a temperature, so I’m not worried that this is covert COVID. It’s just a cold.

What I find interesting is the fact that I caught a cold in the first place. After all, for the past year, I’ve been practicing good virus hygiene: I work from home so I limit my interactions with other people and, when I go out, I wear an N95 mask (which I bought in a moment of prescience last February). I also keep my hands to myself and disinfect them when I return to the house or the car, always making sure to keep my hands away from my face until I’ve disinfected them.

So how in the world did I catch a cold which, last I heard, is a virus? I have two theories:

Theory Number One: Even an N95 mask will not block viruses or, at least, it won’t block all the particles that come my way. As many have pointed out, when people who work with drywall or other particulate matter take off their N95 masks at the end of the day, their faces under the mask are still covered with fine particulate matter. The mask blocks a lot but not all of the particulates. So, maybe that’s how I got this cold and could be how I’ll still manage to catch COVID, assuming I don’t decide to get a vaccine (and that’s assuming vaccine supplies arrive in my community, which they haven’t yet).

Theory Number Two: The N95 mask gave me the cold. This is my preferred theory.

Masks are meant to be used only once. The reason for that is cross-contamination.

Tear your mind away from the mask for a minute and think in terms of surgical gloves. You’re preparing chicken for dinner and you hate to touch the germy meat (uncooked, chicken is the most germ-laden meat), so you put on some nice surgical-style rubber gloves. When you’re done prepping the chicken, you don’t take your gloves off. Instead, you keep them on as you make the salad, prepare the potatoes, take the chicken out of the oven, and plate the food. After that, you carelessly strip off your gloves and leave them lying by the sink. You pick them up again after dinner, put them on, and use them to wash and dry the dishes.

The next day, you and everyone else in the family is horrifically ill with food poisoning. Should anyone be surprised? All that the gloves did was keep that E. coli away from your hands. In all other ways, they were the perfect vector for spreading the E. coli from the raw chicken to every other raw surface in the kitchen or on your food. The gloves were theater, nothing more.

That is exactly the case with the masks people wear. Ideally, we should all be going through N95 masks at a ferocious rate, several times a day if we’re not home. The way it should work is that, in the car, you disinfect your hands. Then, you put on a brand new N95 mask. You go into the grocery store and do all your shopping. When you get near your car, you strip the mask off and throw it away. You then disinfect your hands before touching anything (e.g., your steering wheel, gear shift, face, etc.). And you do this every time you put on and take off that mask over the course of the day. That’s the only way to prevent cross-contamination.

Of course, that’s not what anyone does. We all have our one mask. We carry it around in our car, purse, or backpack. We put it on and take it off constantly. When we’re with other people, they’ve done the same with their masks. In addition, many people have poorly fitting masks or they feel claustrophobic, so the mask repeatedly ends up below their nose, and then they keep pulling it up over and over.

The cross-contamination is non-stop and renders the masks completely useless — except, perhaps, to contain the big, gloppy droplets when someone with a cold, flu, or allergy sneezes or coughs, and even then that person handles the mask over and over after the fact. Those gloppy particulates are why, if you have a cold, it’s probably polite for you to wear a mask, as the Japanese and South Koreans have done for years.

I discovered the secret of preventing colds a long time ago: Whenever I return to the car, I disinfect my hands. Long before disinfectant mania, I had pump bottles of disinfectant in my car and I used it religiously. That’s because I figured out that the three big cold vectors in my life were shopping cart handles, door handles, and credit card readers (along with those icky pens). If I kept my hands away from my face until I reached my car, and disinfected before I touched anything, I stayed healthy.

Now, though, because of the whole mask thing, despite my hand disinfecting ritual, I’ve still got that mask collecting bacteria and viruses, and following me wherever I go,  It’s a snare and a delusion, as it is for everyone else. Perhaps next time I go to Costco, I’ll buy that big box of generic masks so I can end the cross-contamination game — except, of course, I know that those masks do nothing to stop the free flow of viruses, not to mention the fact that they’ve become a major source of pollution.

In my humble opinion, masks are not the solution; they are one of the problems.

Is there an upside for men hidden in the Equality Act?

Bear with me here, because I’ve got a weird theory about the Equality Act and the whole transwomen (i.e., fake women) thing.

I am and will continue to be second to none in my assertion that there is no such thing as transgenderism — that is, wishing you were or believing you are a member of the opposite sex does not make you one. If you treat me with respect, I will accord you the courtesy of pretending that you are whatever the heck you want to be. However, if you insist that your delusions are real and, worse, insist on remaking all of America and, indeed, all of human society to accommodate your delusions, I’m going to push back very, very hard.

So that’s where I stand on transgenderism and, until there’s actual science to support this leftist societal lunacy (and there isn’t), I’m not budging on the issue. But….

The other day, Abigail Shrier testified before the Senate regarding the ludicrously misnamed Equality Act. Shrier isn’t opposed to transgenderism — or at least, that’s the position she’s taken so that she won’t be shouted down when she talks about her real passion, which is women’s rights. Shrier’s point is that opportunistic men will take advantage of the Equality Act to get into women’s prisons (where they rape actual women), locker rooms and bathrooms (where our daughters are at risk), and university and business spots reserved for women.

As I was listening, it occurred to me that, while I agree with Shrier 100% regarding women’s physical safety, when it comes to those university and business spots reserved for women, it’s the opportunistic men who may have a point. I know, I know! But hear me out.

Men are a minority in college, something that’s happening all over the world, and it’s very bad for men. Before Wuhan virus madness took over the world, even the Washington Post had noticed:

Fifty years ago, 58 percent of U.S. college students were men. Today, 56 percent are women, Education Department estimates show. This year, for the first time, the share of college-educated women in the U.S. workforce passed the share of college-educated men, according to the Pew Research Center.

It’s not just that more women opt for college. It’s that fewer men do, affecting their opportunities and lifetime earnings.

“It’s a crazy cycle,” said Adrian Huerta, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California who focuses on college access and gender. “We know that when you have a college education, there are good outcomes with health. You’re more likely to live longer. It matters for employment stability and civic engagement. You’re less likely to rely on social services.”

Men are also being squeezed within colleges. While men are much more likely to engage in college-level sports, Title IX equity forces colleges to spend exactly the same on women’s sports as they do on men’s. Since most colleges can’t spend more on women’s sports, they simply cut back on men’s sports.

And of course, speaking of Title IX, under Obama’s administration, men were presumptively guilty whenever a woman accused them of sexual wrongdoing. Along with that presumption came the denial of the right to speak to parents or attorneys, denial of the right to question witnesses, and denial of any other due process before they were labeled “sexual predators” and kicked to the curb. Trump reinstated due process rights, but Gropey Joe Biden has removed them. Most colleges will be happy because the hard left administrators in charge of allegations of sexual misconduct tend to be “womyn” and “womxns” who truly hate men.

Once out of college, it’s women who are coming to dominate some of the professions that are associated with status and wealth. The majority of medical students are women. In 2016, women also became the majority in law schools. Women have already been the majority of veterinary students for a decade.

At a more general level, at the dawn of the Wuhan virus insanity, women were the majority in the workforce:

Going into 2020, the U.S. economy generally seems strong — especially for women, who hold the majority of jobs for the first time in almost a decade. Women held 50.04% of American jobs as of December, excluding farm workers and the self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up from 49.7% just one year ago.

What’s driving the surge in female employment? The two industries that experienced the biggest overall gains, health care and retail, both employ many women and are fueled in part by demand from economically-empowered female consumers, says Amanda Weinstein, assistant professor of economics at the University of Akron.

Meanwhile, as women have gained increased control of spending in American households and entered the workforce over the last century, they’ve helped fuel the rise of the service sector, which includes healthcare, education and retail, all industries with lots of female employment. In turn, services such as daycare, home health care, and food preparation have made it easier for women to join the workforce.

While these statistics look great for women’s libbers, it’s questionable how good they are for families, in general, and children, in specific. It turns out there’s truth to the saying “happy wife; happy life,” and the corollary, although it doesn’t rhyme is “happy mother; healthy, happy children.” When mom is absent or overwhelmed, no one is very happy. But that’s a subject for a different post.

Of course, there are still legions of women who go into the jobs traditionally associated with women — teachers, social workers, child care, dental technicians, nurses — something that inordinately frustrates feminists. Some of it is because women’s interests genuinely lie in those directions. And some of it is because women do want to be mothers to their children and that means jobs with more flexibility. When you’re preparing for trial or are doing your 13 years of training to become a neurosurgeon, there’s no such thing as personal time. But still, when you look at the statistics, men are slowly being squeezed out of the old upper-class professions.

My point is that the societal pendulum has gone way overboard when it comes to promoting women and holding back men. This matters. Let me repeat part of the quotation from the Washington Post, above:

“It’s a crazy cycle,” said Adrian Huerta, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California who focuses on college access and gender. “We know that when you have a college education, there are good outcomes with health. You’re more likely to live longer. It matters for employment stability and civic engagement. You’re less likely to rely on social services.”

Huerta could have added that this trend also decreases men’s chances with women. Women tend to look for higher status males. I’m sure leftists will say that this is a cultural artifact, but I think it’s a lizard brain thing. When young women meet a young man, their lizard brain checks out the young man for fathering potential. Lizard brain says that the young man should be physically healthy and should have the potential to be a good provider. What’s cultural is that, for about a century, the white-collar professionals were the good providers. That’s no longer true. Men are losing out in the dating game.

(By the way, the corollary to young women looking for high-earning men is that an enormous number of women who married high-earners, raised families, and then found themselves in the market again for a relationship, surprise themselves when they’re drawn to men who aren’t so Type A/Alpha Male/High Earning. Without lizard brain urging them to find a good provider for their hypothetical children, older women can really get to know the guys — and they discover there’s a virtue to the more mellow ones.)

The ultimate point of all of this is that men have been getting the short end of the educational and employment stick for a long time now. I wouldn’t be surprised if opportunistic men fake transgenderism just to re-level the playing field a bit. That is, it’s not that they want to rape little girls in women’s restrooms. It’s just that they want a chance to go to college, but have noticed that some colleges have such imbalances that their incoming classes are up to 65% female.

What’s glorious for these men under the Equality Act is that they don’t have to behave like women, they don’t need to take hormones, they don’t need destructive surgery, and they don’t need to date men. Instead, they just have to announce that they are women and it’s done. If they continue to act like men…well, they’re “butch.” And if they date women, they’re “lesbians.”

So when young feminists start to complain that men are coming for their positions in academia or at the hospital or big law firm, maybe it will comfort them to know that the men are just swinging the pendulum back a little toward the center.

Photo of transgender flag by Lena Balk on Unsplash; edited by me.

Is there an upside for men hidden in the Equality Act?

Bear with me here, because I’ve got a weird theory about the Equality Act and the whole transwomen (i.e., fake women) thing.

I am and will continue to be second to none in my assertion that there is no such thing as transgenderism — that is, wishing you were or believing you are a member of the opposite sex does not make you one. If you treat me with respect, I will accord you the courtesy of pretending that you are whatever the heck you want to be. However, if you insist that your delusions are real and, worse, insist on remaking all of America and, indeed, all of human society to accommodate your delusions, I’m going to push back very, very hard.

So that’s where I stand on transgenderism and, until there’s actual science to support this leftist societal lunacy (and there isn’t), I’m not budging on the issue. But….

The other day, Abigail Shrier testified before the Senate regarding the ludicrously misnamed Equality Act. Shrier isn’t opposed to transgenderism — or at least, that’s the position she’s taken so that she won’t be shouted down when she talks about her real passion, which is women’s rights. Shrier’s point is that opportunistic men will take advantage of the Equality Act to get into women’s prisons (where they rape actual women), locker rooms and bathrooms (where our daughters are at risk), and university and business spots reserved for women.

As I was listening, it occurred to me that, while I agree with Shrier 100% regarding women’s physical safety, when it comes to those university and business spots reserved for women, it’s the opportunistic men who may have a point. I know, I know! But hear me out.

Men are a minority in college, something that’s happening all over the world, and it’s very bad for men. Before Wuhan virus madness took over the world, even the Washington Post had noticed:

Fifty years ago, 58 percent of U.S. college students were men. Today, 56 percent are women, Education Department estimates show. This year, for the first time, the share of college-educated women in the U.S. workforce passed the share of college-educated men, according to the Pew Research Center.

It’s not just that more women opt for college. It’s that fewer men do, affecting their opportunities and lifetime earnings.

“It’s a crazy cycle,” said Adrian Huerta, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California who focuses on college access and gender. “We know that when you have a college education, there are good outcomes with health. You’re more likely to live longer. It matters for employment stability and civic engagement. You’re less likely to rely on social services.”

Men are also being squeezed within colleges. While men are much more likely to engage in college-level sports, Title IX equity forces colleges to spend exactly the same on women’s sports as they do on men’s. Since most colleges can’t spend more on women’s sports, they simply cut back on men’s sports.

And of course, speaking of Title IX, under Obama’s administration, men were presumptively guilty whenever a woman accused them of sexual wrongdoing. Along with that presumption came the denial of the right to speak to parents or attorneys, denial of the right to question witnesses, and denial of any other due process before they were labeled “sexual predators” and kicked to the curb. Trump reinstated due process rights, but Gropey Joe Biden has removed them. Most colleges will be happy because the hard left administrators in charge of allegations of sexual misconduct tend to be “womyn” and “womxns” who truly hate men.

Once out of college, it’s women who are coming to dominate some of the professions that are associated with status and wealth. The majority of medical students are women. In 2016, women also became the majority in law schools. Women have already been the majority of veterinary students for a decade.

At a more general level, at the dawn of the Wuhan virus insanity, women were the majority in the workforce:

Going into 2020, the U.S. economy generally seems strong — especially for women, who hold the majority of jobs for the first time in almost a decade. Women held 50.04% of American jobs as of December, excluding farm workers and the self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up from 49.7% just one year ago.

What’s driving the surge in female employment? The two industries that experienced the biggest overall gains, health care and retail, both employ many women and are fueled in part by demand from economically-empowered female consumers, says Amanda Weinstein, assistant professor of economics at the University of Akron.

Meanwhile, as women have gained increased control of spending in American households and entered the workforce over the last century, they’ve helped fuel the rise of the service sector, which includes healthcare, education and retail, all industries with lots of female employment. In turn, services such as daycare, home health care, and food preparation have made it easier for women to join the workforce.

While these statistics look great for women’s libbers, it’s questionable how good they are for families, in general, and children, in specific. It turns out there’s truth to the saying “happy wife; happy life,” and the corollary, although it doesn’t rhyme is “happy mother; healthy, happy children.” When mom is absent or overwhelmed, no one is very happy. But that’s a subject for a different post.

Of course, there are still legions of women who go into the jobs traditionally associated with women — teachers, social workers, child care, dental technicians, nurses — something that inordinately frustrates feminists. Some of it is because women’s interests genuinely lie in those directions. And some of it is because women do want to be mothers to their children and that means jobs with more flexibility. When you’re preparing for trial or are doing your 13 years of training to become a neurosurgeon, there’s no such thing as personal time. But still, when you look at the statistics, men are slowly being squeezed out of the old upper-class professions.

My point is that the societal pendulum has gone way overboard when it comes to promoting women and holding back men. This matters. Let me repeat part of the quotation from the Washington Post, above:

“It’s a crazy cycle,” said Adrian Huerta, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California who focuses on college access and gender. “We know that when you have a college education, there are good outcomes with health. You’re more likely to live longer. It matters for employment stability and civic engagement. You’re less likely to rely on social services.”

Huerta could have added that this trend also decreases men’s chances with women. Women tend to look for higher status males. I’m sure leftists will say that this is a cultural artifact, but I think it’s a lizard brain thing. When young women meet a young man, their lizard brain checks out the young man for fathering potential. Lizard brain says that the young man should be physically healthy and should have the potential to be a good provider. What’s cultural is that, for about a century, the white-collar professionals were the good providers. That’s no longer true. Men are losing out in the dating game.

(By the way, the corollary to young women looking for high-earning men is that an enormous number of women who married high-earners, raised families, and then found themselves in the market again for a relationship, surprise themselves when they’re drawn to men who aren’t so Type A/Alpha Male/High Earning. Without lizard brain urging them to find a good provider for their hypothetical children, older women can really get to know the guys — and they discover there’s a virtue to the more mellow ones.)

The ultimate point of all of this is that men have been getting the short end of the educational and employment stick for a long time now. I wouldn’t be surprised if opportunistic men fake transgenderism just to re-level the playing field a bit. That is, it’s not that they want to rape little girls in women’s restrooms. It’s just that they want a chance to go to college, but have noticed that some colleges have such imbalances that their incoming classes are up to 65% female.

What’s glorious for these men under the Equality Act is that they don’t have to behave like women, they don’t need to take hormones, they don’t need destructive surgery, and they don’t need to date men. Instead, they just have to announce that they are women and it’s done. If they continue to act like men…well, they’re “butch.” And if they date women, they’re “lesbians.”

So when young feminists start to complain that men are coming for their positions in academia or at the hospital or big law firm, maybe it will comfort them to know that the men are just swinging the pendulum back a little toward the center.

Photo of transgender flag by Lena Balk on Unsplash; edited by me.

Conservatives need a leader — and all we’ve got are politicians

Since November 2020, conservatives have been adrift, something that won’t change until someone moves to the head of the pack and brings them together.

One of the things that makes leftists leftist is that they are pack animals. They move in unison. Even when they’re being insanely tribal, as with Columbia University having separate graduation ceremonies for Blacks, “La-tinx’s,” Native Americans, Asians, gays, and low-income people, they still have an overarching ideological lockstep.

Meanwhile, the very nature of conservativism is a kind of “leave me alone” attitude that doesn’t want to move in lockstep with anybody. That approach to life, if given free rein and tempered with morality, tends to make for a very good country. The problem is when conservatives find themselves facing off against insanely well-organized leftists.

That’s what we’re seeing now in America. It’s not just that the leftists have control over the federal government, it’s also that they are moving with the precision of a synchronized swimming team. At the same time, it’s impossible to corral Republican senators and House members to do anything together. Republicans have NeverTrumpers, RINOs, Chamber of Commerce types, core conservatives, and every other “diverse” form of conservativism. Across the aisles from them are Democrats who can count on every last person to climb on board. (To the extent that’s not always true, the exceptions are notable precisely because they are exceptions.)

When Democrats lose an election they know whom to attack: As one, they attacked the Republicans. The four years of Trump’s presidency stand as Exhibit A. When Republicans lose an election, they also know whom to attack: Each other. In Congress, you can always count on Democrats to vote the straight Democrat ticket. And you can always count on the Republicans to go to war against each other.

So what happens when you have a situation such as the one we’re now facing, where not only are the Democrats triumphant, but Republicans have lost completes faith in the system because they believe, probably rightly, that the election was strongly affected by fraud? What happened wasn’t just any fraud, either. Jay Valentine calls it sovereign fraud, meaning that it wasn’t just random actors, but was a coherent government strategy from Democrats at every level of the government.

Unfortunately, the only thing that will pull conservatives together at this point is a true leader. Trump, much as I love the man, is not a true leader. He is a systems man. In 2015, he realized there was something very broken with the American system and he tried his darndest to fix it. He had no idea he was swimming among sharks, and when he did realize that, he did not know how to handle the sharks. That’s part of why he lost the election. Now that Trump is down in Florida, he is making plans to get rid of his political enemies but he shows no sign of wanting to lead 80 million disaffected conservatives who feel utterly betrayed by the political system.

No other leaders are appearing either. I really like Ron DeSantis, but he is focused on Florida. I really like Kristi Noem, but I think she’s a politician, not a charismatic, constitutional leader. The same is true for Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Dan Crenshaw, etc. All of them are politicians, who mostly vote a conservative line, for which I am very grateful, but they are not leaders. They are not charismatic. They don’t bring people together. And right now the Republicans are seriously fallen apart.

I find this whole thing pretty darn depressing. So today, as I did last week, I went to a beautiful place called Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston. Spring is working its way through the gardens and I came back with some flower photographs which I always enjoy taking. I plan to go back every week for a while just so I can see the place come alive as Spring progresses:

Wolf pack image, with a powerful leader, by Thomas Bonometti on Unsplash

Second Appeal: Help ALL the Dems get on the ballot!

YES Paul Goldman and Lee Carter, too!

Paul Goldman and Lee Carter deserve the grateful thanks of every lover of liberty. If it was not for them and their law suit in Richmond Circuit Court, there would be the Teslaesque new ballot access method: Electronic signature!

So do it! Even if you can’t stand the Democrats, do it for our Democratic Republic! Voters should have choices. If you are a Dem and believe in liberty and voter choices, then you should help ALL the candidates.

See this prior blog post for details.

Today’s gay push is a continuation of the 1970s and for the same reason

The leftist LGBTQ+ push began in the 1970s, took an AIDS break, and is now back — for the same reasons and with the same benefits as before.

Perhaps you read that Milo Yiannaopoulos has decided to grow up and leave his gay past behind him:

Milo Yiannopoulos, the gay man whose conservative messaging and willingness to speak the truth sparked riots on university campuses may well trigger more outrage now that he describes himself as “Ex-Gay” and “sodomy free,” and is leading a daily consecration to St. Joseph online.

Two years ago, when Church Militant’s Michael Voris famously challenged Yiannopoulos to live a chaste life, Yiannopoulos was not defensive. Instead, he acquiesced, and humbly admitted his human weakness.

“I know everything you’re saying, and I’m just not there yet. And I don’t know if I’ll get there,” Yiannopoulos told Voris at the time.

It seems that he has now arrived “there.”

While Yiannopoulos, in the interview, talks about having originally embraced the gay lifestyle to irritate his mother (and that must have been one heck of a mother-son relationship), I haven’t forgotten what he said really got him started down that road: He was molested by a priest and another man when he was only 13. Indeed, at the height of his flamboyance, Yiannopoulos said that it was a wonderful experience and that all gay men should get that start — which led to his fall from grace.

That assertion, of course, was both whistling in the wind and a cry for help. It is not a wonderful experience to be homosexually molested when you’re 12, even if it feels good physically. It messes with your brain’s pleasure center and leaves you confused about sex. It takes maturity, insight, and will to walk away from that. Good for Yiannopoulos for figuring things out.

Of course, Yiannopoulos is bucking a cultural trend. The “in” thing now is to be gay if you can’t find it within yourself to be transgender, with 1 out of every 6 Gen Z adults claiming to be LGBT+ — although I feel I’d like to know more about the poll that reached that conclusion. Still, there’s huge pressure on young people to embrace some variation of homosexuality, with girls, especially, being pushed to lesbianism and transgenderism. (The two, of course, are mutually exclusive because if girls are being told they’re boys, there’s no way they can be lesbians.)

I realized today that what we’re seeing now is a continuation of the push towards homosexuality that began in the 1970s. Because I grew up in San Francisco in the 1970s and worked there in the 1980s, I got a front-row seat to the gay lifestyle.

What I figured out during those two decades is that there are some men who, for whatever reason, are absolutely homosexual. I don’t know if they’re “born that way” or reflecting very early experiences,  but in elementary school, we kids already knew which boys were going to be gay and which girls were going to be lesbian.

But I also figured out that children who are not naturally inclined to homosexuality can be pushed into being bisexual, gay, or lesbian. As Dennis Prager has always said, it’s easier with girls, but you get enough social pressure, and it works for boys too. I think Yiannopoulos, a young man molested as a teen and with mother issues, fell into that second category of gay men. Indeed, the flamboyance may have been the overkill he needed to fight against his natural heterosexuality.

For the young men in the second class — they really can go both ways — my observation was that a lot of their homosexuality was a toxic blend of narcissism, laziness, and selfishness. In San Francisco in the 1970s and early 1980s, male homosexuality was fantastic: Unlimited, no-strings sex (helped along by poppers and bathhouses); two-income, no kids lifestyles with another guy who was also “into” open relationships; no worries about pregnancy; no limits on sexual experimentation (increasingly bizarre practices were all just part of the spectrum); and no having to court women, which is always a pain when women are strident feminists.

Regarding courting women, a lot of straight young men today really hate having to deal with their female peers. They’re castigated as “incels” and some really are weirdly off the charts. However, many others just don’t know how to deal with the young women that leftist society grooms to be angry, neurotic, and hostile to men.

What stopped the gay party in the 1980s was AIDS. However, nowadays, AIDS just isn’t a thing. You can avoid it or live with it. You’re no longer going to die with it, as a generation of young men I once knew did.

With AIDS sidelined, all the things that drove homosexuality in the 1970s and early 1980s are back again. This time, though, institutional America is helping it along. For big government types, homosexuality has a lot of benefits: Despite the fashion statement of gay people having children, it’s mostly a non-child lifestyle. And again, before I go further, let me say that I know there are exceptions. I have known gay men over the decades who are passionately family-oriented, completely monogamous, and repulsed by the insane lifestyles of the radical gay crowd. Still, for leftists, a gay lifestyle is mostly the antithesis of the nuclear family and, of course, the nuclear family is a bulwark against the state.

Leftist gay men are also political powerhouses. They bring to their activism the testosterone of men living in an all-male hothouse and the cultivated emotionalism of women. Conservative gay men don’t show these traits. They’ve arrived at their politics rationally and they tend to have lifestyles that are built around things other than their sexuality: shared interests, careers, hobbies, family, etc. They are like other conservatives but for the fact that their sexual desires are homosexual, not heterosexual.

If you’re wondering why homosexuality is the vehicle for this leftist push, think about it: Other than food and drink, is there any urge stronger than the sex drive? There is no easier way to attract young people to the cause than to get them drunk on what seems like no-strings, user-friendly sex of all. It’s crack cocaine without the side effects and the illegality. Bring kids into the gay lifestyle — as happened with Milo — and they’re yours, although Milo went off the tracks by being conservative. No wonder every TV show, every movie, every everything has gay characters, far in excess of their actual representation in society. They’re cool, funny, hip, and free. Again, they’re crack cocaine.

I’m not a homophobe and never have been. That is, I don’t care with whom my friends sleep as long as, in other ways, they have traits I like in people: interesting minds, good senses of humor, loyalty, patriotism, a commitment to the nuclear family structure even if they don’t embrace it themselves, racial color-blindness, etc. However, I dislike leftist gay men because too many of them are everything I dislike about the left, only with the added high of emotions on testosterone.

But to my original point, make no mistake: This is not a new trend. It’s a continuation of yet another long leftist march through institutions, the institution, in this case, being the nuclear family with its subset of stable sexual mores. And the push for homosexuality is done in service to allying young people with leftism. Now that Milo has gone back to heterosexuality, he is, therefore, more dangerous than he ever was before.

P.S. The one thing I absolutely and unreservedly despise about the whole gay movement is that it took the rainbow away from society at large. Now rainbows mean “gay” instead of being a universal symbol of hope and beauty. That’s just so wrong.

Image by Karl Bewick on Unsplash (cropped)

Reconnecting with our fellow Americans

In 2021, we must make an effort to reconnect with our fellow Americans, creating personal goodwill, rather than anonymous, woke anger.

I’ve been hearing from friends who have been unlucky enough to be in lockdown states. Without exception, they are depressed. The depression isn’t just because of the sad state of American politics, the unseemly power of the woke mob, the saggy economy, or any of the other grim stories in the media. Their depression is because they’ve been isolated from human contact for too long.

One of these friends directed me to Mollie Hemingway’s short post from yesterday, in which she talked about Kurt Vonnegut and shopping. Her point was that Amazon’s horrible sin isn’t just that it’s deliberately destroying smaller businesses and that it made out like a bandit thanks to the lockdowns. Instead, Amazon’s sin, just by existing, is that it forces us away from our fellow citizens.

Hemingway learned that, not long before he died, Kurt Vonnegut made the same point in an essay, and elaborated on that point in an NPR interview. (I can’t find the NPR link, and Hemingway doesn’t include it, but I’ll copy from Hemingway’s article.) Hemingway’s lead-in is that, when Mr. and Mrs. Vonnegut need envelopes, Kurt, rather than going on Amazon as his wife recommends, heads to the store:

KURT VONNEGUT: Oh, she says well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope.

I meet a lot of people. And, see some great-looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is, is we’re here on Earth to fart around.

And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore.

DAVID BRANCACCIO: Well you wrote in the book about this. You write; What makes being alive almost worthwhile–

KURT VONNEGUT: Yeah.

DAVID BRANCACCIO: –for me besides music, was all the Saints I met who could be anywhere. By ‘Saints’ I meant people who behaved decently, in a strikingly indecent society.

KURT VONNEGUT: Yes. Their acts of kindness and reason. On a very– on a face-to-face. On a very local.

That resonated with me. As longtime readers know, I grew up in a very snobbish household (European parents). I completely (and without any good cause for doing so) internalized that snobbish attitude. I was judgmental, impatient, and condescending. When I complained that I had problems making friends, my mother commiserated by telling me the others just weren’t good enough for me — and I believed her.

I started figuring things out in my 30s and have spent the decade since working extremely hard to be a nice person. It is a daily effort because I’m not naturally nice. One of the virtues of political writing is that it gives me a place for my venom. I have no trouble channeling all my natural malice toward public figures I believe are destroying my country and making the world a dangerous place.

One of the things that has helped me be a nicer person is discovering that, if you ask the right questions, everyone has something interesting to tell. For that reason, I always start conversations with people — clerks, gardeners, guard gates, whomever. Saying “Hello, how are you?” as if you mean it (which I do) always gets a smile. Then, if there’s time, commenting on something that you know matters to the other person — her artistic nail polish, his looking forward to the coming weekend, her manifest efficiency, his beautifully deep voice — often sparks a conversation. My favorite thing is when I can hear the conversation continuing with other people in line after I’ve moved on.

I very strongly believe that part of America’s falling apart is that we no longer see or speak to each other. Once upon a time, daily commercial transactions bound Americans together. At the grocery store, the butcher’s, the hardware store, etc., we’d see the same clerks and run into the same friends and neighbors. Those small interactions, repeated over and over, create a strong sense of community. I know that’s true because, for all its political leftism, that’s what life was like raising kids in Marin County. I lived in the functional equivalent of a small town, recognizing people wherever I went. Few were friends but all were friendly.

Nowadays, especially thanks to the lockdowns, we do much of our shopping online. Even when we do visit a physical store, such as rising into a grocery store after work, people are masked and turned inwards. Saying “hello” through the mask requires physical effort.

Social media, contrary to its name, hasn’t made us more social; it’s made us more angry. We don’t see each other’s faces so it’s easy to yell and insult. The very nature of a mob is that its very mass makes it impersonal. No one person is responsible for the physical or emotional damage it does. It’s the rare person who, like Clarence Thomas during the race riots after Martin Luther King’s death, looks at what he did while he was part of the mob and is so horrified that he completely revamps his life.

My theory — and I have no way of proving it — is that people who feel unseen and unheard, which is where our society has gone, especially in the last year, aren’t just lonely people. They are angry people. They know that they, their lives, and their opinions have value, but no one sees and no one listens.

In this regard, I think each of us has a responsibility (I know this sounds banal) to be nice. See people. It makes a huge difference. And a little gratitude doesn’t hurt either.

I’ve been blessed in that I’m allowed to be out and about, thanks to South Carolina’s loser restrictions. Even when I’m most downhearted about the political scene, I can remind myself that those Americans who aren’t working overtime as a shrill woke mob on social media are pretty darn nice people.

***

After I wrote the above, but before I pushed the “publish” button, I watched Tucker Carlson. I think his opening monologue about Meghan’s and Harry’s unutterable self-centeredness, their lack of gratitude, and their blindness to others in the world — a disease that afflicts many of America’s rich and powerful — is an appropriate coda to a post about valuing the people in our world:

Image: Service with a smile, 1923. Library of Congress.

Where is Sandy Sanders and What is he Doing? Running for Judge…

I owe my readers an apology. I did not think the judgeship thing would take this long. And now the seats on the Court of Appeals are approved but the people have not been selected; we are in to use a soccer term penalty minutes. Yes people can help me; email your senator and delegate. But I thought I’d stay quiet. But my next post is important. Please help get all the Dems on the primary ballot. It is best in a democratic Republic for a diversity of views to be heard. Stay tuned. Either Jesus opens a door for me to be judge of the Court of Appeals or He has something else for me to do.