Slippery

Remember how 10-15 years ago we were all in favor of sex ed at school because it’s important that children learn about contraception?

Well, I was always against because the whole idea is ridiculous in the age of the internet. But that’s not the point. The point is that it seemed like an innocent and reasonable thing. But as always, it was a very slippery slope that led to this.

Or remember gay conversion? Every reasonable person was and still is against. But it’s been weaponized to make sure nobody dares help kids with gender dysphoria.

All of our good, kind feelings are being weaponized against us.

59 thoughts on “Slippery”

  1. I agree with most of your points. I do, however, have problem with an arguments that schools should not indoctrinate children because it interferes with parents or churches indoctrinating children. Yes, in some areas wokeness has gone too far. But I am old enough to remember religious right crying “indoctrination” with respect to perfectly reasonable things as well…

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    1. The schools are failing so badly at teaching basic reading and math skills that I’d rather they stuck to that and left anything more complex to others.

      If we had schools that achieved great results in teaching actual disciplines, then ok, let’s talk about it. But they graduate functionally illiterate people. Why are they wasting time on ideas, then?

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      1. As any professor, I would prefer our students to be stronger than they actually are. But I cannot call our average student “functionally illiterate”. It may be a function of the country, or particular geographical area, of STEM versus humanities versus students who do not know what they want, or a dozen of other things, but our students can be worked with. So my perception is influenced by that.

        On the other hand, by virtue of not being conservative, I do not have an automatic predisposition to believe that family or traditional institutions such as churches are better capable of explaining anything to children. (Learning from observing parents is a different thing, but it does not easily apply to sexuality-related issues.) Some percentage of parents are downright abusive, some are basically decent people but incapable of discussing sexuality-related issues for a variety of psychological or cultural reasons, etc, etc. I am very sorry, but I do not trust an average religious person to be very good at it. (For exactly the same reasons I do not trust super-woke-bordering-on-quasireligious people being good at it.) Thus, for a significant percentage of children access to this kind of information and these kinds of discussions at schools may be beneficial, at least in terms of net effects. This information being accessible on the internet is not exactly the same thing – the structure into which to put available information is more important than information itself. For example, I guess we all agree that one can get some very wrong ideas about sex and relationships from porn…

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        1. A few months ago, news reports came out that in NYC there are 23 schools with at least one class where every single student failed both math and English proficiency. That’s a 100% failure rate for an entire class.

          In California, it’s worse. In Chicago… Let’s not even.

          Why is anybody wasting time on talking about sex when the situation is so dire? There are schools in California where two thirds of students can’t read in English by the eighth grade. (Obviously, we all know why California). It’s like a doctor whose patient is in cardiac arrest who, instead of treating the patient, starts lecturing about the importance of flossing. Yes, flossing is great. But can we discuss this after the patient is prevented from croaking.

          Today I had to have a conversation with a mom whose kid has had 6 years of Spanish with As in all courses. The mom doesn’t get how it’s possible that the kid is placing into our Spanish 101. “What was she learning for these past six years?” she asks.

          But I’m sure the kid is very well informed about this voodoo science of gendered brains and such.

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          1. // in NYC there are 23 schools with at least one class where every single student failed both math and English proficiency. That’s a 100% failure rate for an entire class.

            The possibility you ignore is the concentration of the weakest students in one or several classes.

            For instance, in Israel the weakest students in (often otherwise very good) schools are put in Mabar and Etgar classes. As opposed to a usual class of close to 40 students, Mabar is supposed to have 18-25 students with various problems, and their goal is to graduate high school with a high school diploma, studying the minimum required subjects on the lowest possible levels.

            // schools in California where two thirds of students can’t read in English by the eighth grade. (Obviously, we all know why California).

            Children of undocumented migrants? What can teachers do, if many students don’t know neither English nor anything in their mother tongue? Israel had special teachers of Hebrew at schools for children of new immigrants, but here the immigration was legal and the government freed funds for those purposes.

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      2. There is also another way to look at it. The following is not completely 100% bulletproof argument, because my daughter is grown up by now and I am going to project how she was when she was little on today’s circumstances.

        So let’s say we are dealing with a child who is not questioning that she is a girl. She looks like a girl, she is not confused by anybody for a boy, she does not pretend to be a boy. She is not a particularly girly girl, somewhat of a tomboy, but this is perfectly fine, because nobody is making any far-reaching conclusions from it, and nobody has any strong narrow ideas about how girls should be. She has dolls, stuffed animals, lego, bow and arrows, etc. Not because we are deliberately avoiding imposing any gender on her, but because girls can do whatever they want. Second-wave feminism, you know… :). I hope you get the general philosophy…

        Now suppose she goes to the elementary school with some woke sex ed curriculum. Why would we suddenly lose all self-confidence about this particular issue and become afraid that our daughter would become confused about her gender identity, as opposed to just accepting the facts of life – some kids are boys, some are girls, some feel something in between, and some are confused, and this is OK too, everybody is worthy of respect, end of story?

        (In reality, being white and otherwise indistinguishable from Americans, but not Christian, was far far bigger problem for our daughter in American elementary school than any excessive wokeness of anyone. And it was in an R1 university town.)

        I cannot help but think that those parents who get most alarmed about it (and I mean genuinely emotionally alarmed, not just opposing it on principle for some political reasons) have some unresolved psychological issues around sexuality and gender.

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        1. I absolutely agree that normal parents shouldn’t worry. This is an affliction that strikes kids of really shitty parents who aren’t honest with themselves about the damage they do.

          But you know, it’s like pedophilia. Pedophiles target kids who are already damaged. But it’s still not ok!

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          1. And I in turn agree with you. But this was actually my point – that some woke curriculum, all by itself, cannot “confuse” somebody who is not already predisposed to be “confused”. Predisposed by shitty parents, or maybe the kid is genuinely psychologically or physically in between, or for some other reason, I am not making value judgements here…

            Some long time ago the bugbear was that curriculum accepting of premarital sex would have the effect of people having more premarital sex… (yes, but so what?)
            More recently the bugbear was that curriculum accepting of being gay would make more kids gay (did it?)

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            1. On the other hand, I fully endorse Clarissa’s original point: literacy is more important. My parents completely avoided discussing anything related to sex, with us. Zero. When I decided I needed to know, I went to the library, found a book on women’s sexual health, read it cover to cover. Done. Because literacy works.

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              1. I’m with Foucault who said that the way we obsessively talk about sex is a sign of a sexually unhealthy culture. Less talking would, at this point, be a great relief.

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            2. “would have the effect of people having more premarital sex… (yes, but so what?)”

              So what? Seriously?!

              I would hope – but not trust – that any school curriculum sex ed would strongly discourage children from having premarital sex. Given the many psychological, physiological and sociological dangers, it’s really not a “so what?” thing at all.

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              1. // any school curriculum sex ed would strongly discourage children from having premarital sex

                I cannot access academic papers, but the abstracts all say something like “these data do not support the belief that exposure to sexuality through formal sex education influences premarital sexual behavior.”

                However, some links claim “Study Finds that Comprehensive Sex Education Reduces Teen Pregnancy.”

                I wouldn’t be surprised if the latter were true. The Internet is full with explicit materials which most teens are exposed to. Formal sex ed may not influence their decision to have sex or not, but for kids who will regardless of what school says – being informed may be helpful to being more responsible about it.

                Also, who should be discouraged from premarital sex: children, teens or adults?

                Google says

                “According to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average age of first marriage for women in 2017 was 27.4 years. For men, it’s slightly older at 29.5 years”

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              2. // any school curriculum sex ed would strongly discourage children from having premarital sex. Given the many psychological, physiological and sociological dangers, it’s really not a “so what?” thing at all.

                Want to share an anecdote from my personal life:

                As a teen, I shared my view that teens should abstain with a male high school classmate, who – it is important to note – was a great student, a responsible person and very psychologically mature, much more than me then.

                He disagreed. Don’t remember his exact points, but the main point was that anything could happen and one should live in the present to, not wait all the time for the future. For instance, one could get killed during IDF service.

                I am not for small kids or early teens having sex, but they usually don’t want to themselves, unless sexually or o/w abused.

                As for older teens, 17+ years old, it’s a very individual matter. It may be a healthy part of growing up, while lack of romantic experience may augur the future of

                // The neo-feudal urban order appears to incubate not only an aversion to having children, but also difficulty in relations with the opposite sex. In Japan, roughly a third of men enter their thirties as virgins, and a quarter of men are not married at age fifty. This sex recession even affects places like Hong Kong’s famous Wan Chai “red light” district, which is now being remade into an upscale hipster area as the sex trade plummets. China’s young men are so disconnected socially that the Communist Party and some private firms are teaching them how to approach women. This is being tried elsewhere too. “The problem is not getting people married or having kids,” said one researcher in Singapore. “They don’t even date.”

                This is clearly a product of modern urbanism, but in China the problem has been exacerbated by the former one-child policy, which in combination with a strong cultural preference for male offspring has resulted in a demographic challenge. //

                From Joel Kotkin’s “The Coming of NEO Feudalism: A WARNING TO THE GLOBAL MIDDLE CLASS”

                When one is a virgin in late 20ies or 30ies, it’s a huge “psychological, physiological and sociological” problem in itself.

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              3. Hmmm…
                Before it goes downhill, let’s make sure that you are reacting to what I actually said, and not to what you think I said.
                I am not endorsing sex between 13 year olds, for example. Not because I give a rats ass about their marital status, but because I do not think that they are grown up enough to be appropriately responsible for themselves and others, to the degree that is commensurate with possible consequences of having sex.

                I am literally talking about sex before marriage in the context of the society where, as pointed out by El, “average age of first marriage for women in 2017 was 27.4 years. For men, it’s slightly older at 29.5 years”. If someone wants to abstain until 27.4/29.5, it is of course their right. But it is a minority preference that should not be hoisted onto anybody any more than ueber-wokeness should be hoisted onto anybody.

                Whether we like it or not, public schools have two functions – providing information and socializing kids. There is no point pretending that it is not so, or trying limiting it to information only, leaving socialization to family and church. I prefer schools to be open about that socializing dimension of their function and get the socialization part right. Experience of many European countries, that have smaller rates of teenage pregnancies, sex crimes, less STD, etc, than in the US demonstrate that it is possible to get it right, or at least more right. And if the US is failing at getting it right, this is due to some cultural reasons specific to the US (and to lesser extent Canada).

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              4. “I am not endorsing sex between 13 year olds…”

                So it’s not really a “so what” after all?

                So good that the state has now taken over the sex education that was previously privately provided through literature, peers, family, social organizations and religious institutions. In those bad old unenlightened days, rates of child sexually transmitted diseases, child pregnancies, child sexual exploitation, child abortions, and welfare support for unmarried teens raising their own babies were simply through the roof.

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              5. “There is no point… trying limiting [public schools] to information only, leaving socialization to family and church.”

                As the state grows, it colonizes social areas that were previously considered private, the terrain of “family and church,” and attempts to universalize through its institutional network the socio-economic values of its bureaucrats.

                But, despite the claims of its acolytes, the state can itself never be a source of virtue as it is designed for another purpose – to resolve societal conflict though authoritatively reallocating always scarce resources from political losers to winners. Unless we hold the view that might is right, the exercise of political power can never be mistaken for virtue. There can be virtue in political action but the state itself can never itself be virtuous.

                We know that the state is a failure at economic planning, that private actors are more economically efficient. Pluralism is both democratic and delivers the goods. And so, despite its promises, the state can similarly never deliver on its rosy promises of creating a better world through social engineering — like, in this case, displacing the “family and church” in favour of the state-mandated woke “sex education” of children.

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        2. “have some unresolved psychological issues around sexuality and gender…”

          Perhaps I misunderstand. Are you saying that people who object to the state “teaching” their kids “some woke sex ed curriculum” are psychologically troubled?

          I’m perfectly OK with public schools teaching literacy and science because there’s some large measure of societal consensus on its meaning, values, and outcomes. But the state imposing wokester values about personal and interpersonal matters like sexuality is always going to be wrong in any society that aspires to be pluralist. (And, I think it’d be crazy to believe otherwise.)

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          1. OK, I expand my argument a bit… First of all, I admit that I do not have first hand experience with public schools as they are right now, and do not know for sure what degree of wokeness is average and widespread and what woke phenomena happened just once upon a time and became a horror story.

            Returning back to my daughter, I am sufficiently young, and she is sufficiently young, so that at the time she went through North-American public schools it would be reasonable to expect that said public schools would teach her that there is nothing wrong with being gay, for example. And this possibility did not bother us one tiny bit. Why? Because a) we genuinely believe that there is nothing wrong with being gay; b) because we do not feel that our daughter owes it to us to live in a certain way – get married, produce grandchildren, choose some particular profession, etc and c) because if in the end she actually turned out to be gay, it would not occur to us to blame indoctrination by schools for that. If indoctrination was that easy, the Christians would successfully indoctrinate all gays into being straight long ago.

            So yes, when someone demonstrates a belief that indoctrination is so easy, or is too afraid of indoctrination, I ask myself – why… Is it something psychological directly related to issue at hand (in this case- gender and sexuality)? Is it desire to control one’s children? Is it wishful thinking – if indoctrination was that easy, one would be able to indoctrinate others into one’s value system, if only one had access to the media… Etc.

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            1. I’ve had this discussion recently where my interlocutor sincerely didn’t understand why I objected to anti-racist trainings at work. “What’s so wrong with people teaching you how to be less racist?” he asked.

              And it was the exact same thing back in the USSR, remember, when if you wanted to buy something good and useful you were forced to purchase an unwanted item. The unwanted item was the price of admission, so to speak, to the wanted one. And back then there were people who’d say, but what’s the big deal? Why not just take the unwanted item? It’s not that expensive, and who knows, it might come in useful one day.

              It’s a self-respect issue. For me, this was something that absolutely drove me nuts. The obligatory trips to kolkhoz – gosh, many people loved those because you are outside with friends, so what’s not to love. But it drove me nuts because I hadn’t chosen it. I was forced like I wasn’t a person but a thing. I still get angry when I think about it even though I actually had a fantastic time in those trips.

              I don’t know how to explain it because you either have this feeling or not.

              The kolkhoz and the unwanted item, though, aren’t as bad as the anti-racism trainings and the rest of this junk. Because here there’s an added aspect where somebody presumes to be morally superior to you. Humiliating is the only word I can find for this. Who are these people to lecture me about anything, you know?

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              1. As for gender dogma in schools, what is the purpose behind it? To teach kids that being gay is fine? Because these kids don’t have access to TV and internet? Those who really don’t are not in public schools, anyway. The point, in my opinion, is to humiliate the parents and create animosity within families. And yes, it won’t work for great families like yours or mine. Just like the Pavlik Morozov crap didn’t work on us. But it’s still a totalitarian strategy.

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              2. And as for specifically trans brainwashing, if somebody decides to experiment with gay sex, whatever, no harm done. But trans involves extremely invasive body modifications. It is absolutely possible to bamboozle an impressionable kid into demanding puberty blockers, and if parents are legally barred – as they increasingly are – to seek psychological help or refuse to administer this vile shit, then it’s a lot more serious than anything that has to do with homosexuality. So the analogy doesn’t hold.

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              3. // To teach kids that being gay is fine? Because these kids don’t have access to TV and internet? Those who really don’t are not in public schools, anyway. The point, in my opinion, is to humiliate the parents and create animosity within families.

                If hearing “being gay is fine” creates animosity in a family, may be those kids are precisely the ones who need to hear it at school the most.

                There are many (often weird) things on TV and Internet. Hearing this message from state representatives gives it power which TV lacks.

                Imagine a family of Russian immigrants. Should their children not hear being gay is OK because it may make parents angry? What if hearing being black is OK makes parents angry too? You know, such families exist.

                Shouldn’t children of immigrants being socialized into their new society? F.e. children of Middle-Eastern immigrants hear that women are considered equal here and FGM is forbidden?

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              4. What creates animosity is what was in the original link: the constantly repeated idea that if parents aren’t immediately and fully supportive of “transitioning”, they are abusive.

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              5. Another Soviet example is workplace exercise routines. At certain times of day, everybody had stop work and do an exercise routine together while the boss supervised.

                Nobody denies that exercising is good for you and we should all exercise more. But this way of doing it is humiliating. And like now, I just wasn’t managing to explain it to people back there.

                I came to this continent because I was sure this was the place where everybody would understand. But I was mistaken. Totalitarianism is attractive everywhere.

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              6. We always make the mistake of thinking that totalitarian methods will only be used to indoctrinate everybody into the “good” beliefs that we share. Then we discover that nobody was planning to stop there and feel shocked.

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              7. There are few things that infuriate me more than these! Things that are obligatory, but not for the reasons stated.

                I completed most of community college while still in high school, thanks to dual enrollment. For part of that time, I worked for the college as a tutor: a job you could not apply for– you had to be recommended by a professor, and then they asked if you wanted the job. I won a departmental award, and maintained a 3.8 GPA. When I had only three classes left to graduate, they told me I could not register, and could not graduate, because I did not have a high school diploma.

                I was forced to go and pay money to take the GED test (high school equivalency for flunkies and drop-outs: looks terrible on job applications!), so they’d let me graduate from community college, which I’d already done most of the work for. They needed it so they could check some stupid check-box on some form to satisfy some idiotic and inflexible filing requirement. I am still a little angry about it.

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              8. Gosh, I’m so with you. When I moved to Canada, I applied to college and submitted my translated and notarized transcripts plus the Ukrainian originals. They refused to accept either because they had some ancient list of approved languages which listed Russian as the state language of Ukraine. I brought them a copy of the Ukrainian Constitution to prove that Ukrainian is the only state language of Ukraine but they had their list and wouldn’t budge. It was actually quite offensive because they weren’t recognizing the national sovereignty of my country. Ukraine had been independent for almost a decade by that time.

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              9. “can anyone guess?”

                Ooh, a riddle! Did you get a Russian-speaker to certify that it was actually in Russian? Did you forge a copy in Russian?

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              10. Ah, ok, these readers are too smart for me. 🙂 Yes, I came back the next day, said I now had a Russian version, and demanded a Russian person to confirm. They produced a Russian lady who shrugged her shoulders, said “yeah whatever,” and it was all done.

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              11. Goody! I’d love to see a post on something your views have changed about over time, and what precipitated the change. I am fascinated by what causes people to change their minds.

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          2. // As the state grows, it colonizes social areas that were previously considered private, the terrain of “family and church,” and attempts to universalize through its institutional network the socio-economic values of its bureaucrats.

            Based on what I’ve been reading and discussing, the state is shrinking and has been weakening for quite a while instead of growing.

            Most importantly, even if we accept ‘the state is growing and colonizing’ narrative, w/o state participation, children are trapped by often questionable views of their parents, and a church parents choose will repeat what children already hear at home.

            When a state enters the picture, it gives children a chance to be exposed to other views. It adds to what children hear at home, not erases it, and the home is a more significant influence than any school can ever be anyway.

            Parents, who are afraid of children becoming aware other viewpoints exist, often strive for total control, as if children were their things and not human beings and citizens in their own right.

            // As the state grows, it colonizes social areas that were previously considered private, the terrain of “family and church,”

            Btw, why the repetition of the word ‘church’ all the time? I thought church attendance was declining in America too, not only in Europe.

            Israel – with its number of Haredi Jews currently exceeding 1 million (around 12% of Israeli population) – is more religious than America, imo. And there are numerous non-Orthodox (non-Haredi) Jews who are religious, f.e. the numerous national-religious group.

            However, even in Israel, there is a relatively large (semi) secular population who don’t attend a synagogue except 1-2 times a year on holidays.

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            1. OK, let’s say the state arrives at a “viewpoint” that Jews are evil. Should it be able to expose children to this existing viewpoint? Who’s going to decide which viewpoints are good and which aren’t?

              The viewpoint that biological sex isn’t real is not supported by any science. It’s fashionable voodoo. Why should people be exposed to it by an institution that isn’t even managing to teach reading skills successfully?

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              1. // OK, let’s say the state arrives at a “viewpoint” that Jews are evil. Should it be able to expose children to this existing viewpoint?

                They’ll be exposed to it anyway in this case. A state is composed of many people voting for politicians who express their voters’ views and prejudices.

                // The viewpoint that biological sex isn’t real is not supported by any science. It’s fashionable voodoo.

                I don’t disagree with it. However, may be you and those people define the term “biological sex” differently? I doubt they are all scientists. 🙂

                // Who’s going to decide which viewpoints are good and which aren’t?

                It’s a bit like saying:

                “Eating too much leads to obesity, diseases and early death.
                Research showed fasting prolongs life in mice. (It’s true.)
                Therefore, the ideal is to stop eating altogether.”

                If schools may teach “fashionable voodoo” in this case, it doesn’t mean they should stop teaching what is called “values,” desert their traditional task of socializing children into their society to let this society continue existing in future generations. You defined it as a central goal of schooling in nation states yourself.

                It does mean a national conversation is necessary.

                You defined the abolition of the common core as one more successful step in a direction to make state stop educating kids.

                You supported defining common values ‘with teeth’ like gender equality and keeping religion separated from a state, and then teaching them at school too, even if f.e. immigrant parents in EU wouldn’t like it.

                Why not have a national conversation and yes teach about gender & racial equality, yes support kids regardless of their identity, but not push very questionable ideas and the latest woke points on them? If American citizens are enable to come to some agreement, can a nation state continue to exist?

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            2. “When a state enters the picture, it gives children a chance to be exposed to other views…”

              Pigs will fly.

              States are about winners imposing outcomes on losers. In social engineering, there can only be one truth. Social engineers hate and fear pluralism. When the wannabe Chairman Maos say “let a hundred flowers blossom,” they’re lying.

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              1. // When the wannabe Chairman Maos say “let a hundred flowers blossom,” they’re lying.

                America is not a dictatorship. Neither is Israel, but teaching values of loving one’s country, people, the value of meaningful IDF service and so on is one of the central tasks of Israeli education system. Schools have always taught ‘values.’

                Both in America and in Israel parents may choose a religious / secular/ private school for their kids which would be the best fit.

                // States are about winners imposing outcomes on losers. In social engineering, there can only be one truth. Social engineers hate and fear pluralism.

                What is the solution?

                If pluralism isn’t bounded by ‘truths’ of common culture, supported by state and school system, societies descend into ethnic-religious sectarianism and violence.

                A nation state may exist only as long as it imposes its narrative. A state itself is a product of social engineering, of ‘one truth’ backed by guns.

                I say let’s accept we need a common narrative, while fighting against excesses and distortions of science.

                Many scientists are warning the current approach to trans issues is not backed by real science. You, American citizens, may stop it easily if you organize. Isn’t it a part of political participation expected of citizens?

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              2. “A state itself is a product of social engineering, of ‘one truth’ backed by guns.”

                On the contrary, a state is the product of power, not ideas – of guns, rather than “one truth.” No one should understand this better than an Israeli.

                And, more specifically, liberal democracies are not the product of “one truth,” one socially-engineered collectivity, but are instead designed to protect individual rights and the pluralism of individuals freely associating in groups of the like-minded. Again, no one should understand this better than an Israeli.

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  2. // In those bad old unenlightened days, rates of child sexually transmitted diseases, child pregnancies, child sexual exploitation, child abortions, and welfare support for unmarried teens raising their own babies were simply through the roof.

    Depends which days you’re talking about…

    As for welfare support for unmarried teens, google “Forced Adoptions of the Babies of Unmarried Mothers” and “Catholic church apologises for role in ‘forced adoptions’ over 30-year period”

    “In Canada alone, this happened to more than 300,000 women. Many say they became pregnant unwittingly due to what would today be considered sexual assault or date rape — concepts that didn’t exist in their time.”

    Saying STDs or child sexual exploitation are recent phenomena is like Arabs today saying “gays don’t exist in Iran” or “gays are extremely rare among Israeli Arabs (as opposed to Jews).”

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  3. // the constantly repeated idea that if parents aren’t immediately and fully supportive of “transitioning”, they are abusive.

    This is horrible when it happens, especially since the link talks about kindergarten and elementary school students.

    However, is the answer to throw the baby out with the bathwater and forbid schools from saying a word about bullying?

    As for hiding children’s transgender identity, would you be for or against schools not informing parents their daughter is pregnant and wants to have / had an abortion? What about turning to a school nurse for birth control or even questions about it, if it goes against parents’ religious beliefs?

    There is a slippery slope here, but the issue is hardly black and white.

    I think the real problem lies in the push towards transitions, which sometimes happens, not whether parents like it. It would’ve been abusive even if all parents were 100% behind the idea of their children’s transitioning. Most people are against it once they see the data – it can be stopped.

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    1. –“However, is the answer to throw the baby out with the bathwater and forbid schools from saying a word about bullying?”

      Are you familiar with how schools typically function with regard to bullying?

      When my older sister was in high school, a gang of other girls repeatedly hit her in the hallways, trapped and humiliated her in the bathroom, and followed her off school property after school where they knocked her down and rubbed her face in the dirt. The administration would not do anything about it. My parents were forced to take her out of the school, and send her to a parochial school, so that she would not kill herself.

      Nothing has changed, in enforcement. What I hear from current parents says these things still happen, and admin still refuses to do anything unless the bully happens to be a white guy, and the person bullied is an accredited minority of some sort– it is no wonder everyone wants to be trans! It’s the only way a white kid can get a bullying complaint taken seriously (My white sister was bullied by a group of black girls. That’s still a non-starter). Mostly what HAS changed is that now the schools have tons of seminars and propaganda about not bullying, to go with their chronic inaction. So now, if you are bullied in school, you also have to waste a bunch of time learning about how your school is a safe, bullying-free zone. Yay!

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      1. Elon Musk was was bullied so badly at school that he was once hospitalized, something many in Silicon Valley would be familiar with. Of course now he can get his revenge by eliminating the jobs of all the bullies.

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  4. // el: “A state itself is a product of social engineering, of ‘one truth’ backed by guns.”

    GSW: On the contrary, a state is the product of power, not ideas – of guns, rather than “one truth.” No one should understand this better than an Israeli. //

    Probably it’s my language comprehension problem – I don’t understand the meaning of your first sentence. Can you rephrase it, please?

    I wanted to say that every state was founded on some ideas / foundational truths. For instance, the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel states the one truth of our state, why we are here, what is this new state founded for and for whom:

    // The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

    After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

    Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses.

    recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.

    This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

    https://www.knesset.gov.il/docs/eng/megilat_eng.htm

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  5. // And, more specifically, liberal democracies are not the product of “one truth,” one socially-engineered collectivity, but are instead designed to protect individual rights and the pluralism of individuals freely associating in groups of the like-minded. Again, no one should understand this better than an Israeli. //

    Why “no one should understand this better than an Israeli”?

    I see my country as quite similar to European nation states in their youth: strong patriotism / nationalism, national conflict over borders, Israel as a melting pot for all Jews coming to live in it, and so on.

    Don’t think the concept of ‘multiculturalism’ suits us all that well since the term was created in US and Canada, while Israeli realities are different.

    We are all “one socially-engineered collectivity” since we are all Jews. Zionism, Jewish nationalism, creates this collectivity. Only once one lives within the bounderies of ‘togetherness’, pluralism – within those limits – becomes possible and socially accepted.

    It is true even for old European societies. Otherwise, why would they be worried about cultural changes brought by mass migration?

    European countries accepted individual rights (rather than group rights) and pluralism precisely because of their high social and cultural cohesion, high levels of mutual trust in society.

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    1. “This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.”

      This “natural right” is only one of many competing political claims to territory based on “ideas” and Israel’s daily existence depends on its ability to militarily defend its borders. Guns underwrite the “natural rights” of states.

      “Why ‘no one should understand this better than an Israeli’?

      Israel is a pluralist liberal democracy where individuals are allowed to freely associate under the law. It is surrounded by states and terrorist entities where the tyranny of “one truth” is absolute and who seek to destroy Israel in large part because of the democratic freedoms enjoyed by Israeli citizens.

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      1. // Israel is a pluralist liberal democracy … surrounded by states and terrorist entities … who seek to destroy Israel in large part because of the democratic freedoms enjoyed by Israeli citizens.

        As flattering as it is, saying “in large part” is an exaggeration, reminding one of some American conservatives saying “They hate us for our Freedoms.”

        We are hated by the Muslim & Arab countries because we are neither Muslim nor even Arab. The hatred is tribal in large part, not merely connected to anything political.

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  6. “This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.”

    I have never, ever understood this claim. What could possibly give any person a natural right over land that is already inhabited by someone else?

    I know you’re not allowed to say that because That’s Antisemitic or whatever. I apply it equally. There was no natural right for Europeans to swoop in and take over the Americans, which were already inhabited. There was no natural right of Brits to the land inhabited by the Australian aborigines. There was no natural right of the Dutch to South Africa.

    I am not arguing that none of those people have a right to be there now. History is full of conquest. If you decided conquest was unfair and must be fixed, we could shuffle around every human being on earth trying to make it right, and the results would not make anyone happy. “We took it. It’s ours now” is the history of nearly every existing nation on earth. It is curious to me that people would then need to come up with some weird, logically contorted reasoning to explain why their conquest was right, and good, and not like every other conquest in history…

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  7. “What could possibly give any person a natural right over land that is already inhabited by someone else?… I am not arguing that none of those people have a right to be there now.”

    Agreed. The idea of blood-virtue or blood-guilt is a dead end. The living, and only the living, have (a) claims to political rights and (b) obligations to fulfill political responsibilities. The dead are dead and can legitimately have neither rights nor responsibilities in a liberal democracy.

    And so, whether one is sympathetic to the idea of political Zionism or not is less relevant than the facts on the ground. Israel has occupied its territories for 70 years and close to 80% of its Jewish citizens were born there. Those whose ancestors were dispossessed by force from Israeli territory have no valid claim to ‘throw the Jews into the sea’ as the dead are dead.

    Under international law and custom, Israelis collectively have the right of self-defence of their territory against those who would seek to destroy them. In the end, sovereign states are underwritten by guns, not ideas.

    (Btw claims for slavery reparations based on the thin reed of skin colour in the USA should be judged by the same standard – the dead are dead and can have neither rights nor obligations in a democracy.)

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    1. I always stun my students by destroying the myth that Hernan Cortes and other Spanish conquerors “stole land from its righteous owners.” I explain how Aztecs were conquerors themselves who came from elsewhere, subjugated everybody in sight, and were so hated by the people they had conquered that Cortes’s army was almost completely composed by the tribes that hated the Aztecs and not by “white people. ”

      Students are stunned and invariably ask “but whose land was it originally???”
      Then I go back to the theories about the way that the American continents were populated in prehistoric times and we end up with the origins of life on earth. The point of the exercise is to demonstrate that “whose land was it anyway ” is a dumb game.

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      1. “stole land from its righteous owners.”… “whose land was it anyway ” is a dumb game.

        Osiander argues that Roman and medieval Europeans did not locate themselves spatially as both the Empire and Christendom identified themselves in relation to the trajectory of a historical process – time was privileged over space.

        Every European locality had an origin story but these were often disconnected from the specific territory of that locality. For example, the Scots considered themselves Scots not because they inhabited Scotland but because their Scythian ancestors were the first people to be converted to Christianity by the disciple Andrew, brother of Peter, at the behest of the lord Jesus himself.

        With the development of territorially-bounded sovereign states as feudalism declined, Europeans first began to develop a spatial sense of their political communities.

        https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198294511.001.0001/acprof-9780198294511

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        1. That’s an important point. People often think that their way of defining themselves has existed always because it seems so natural to them. What they forget that it might simultaneously feel completely “natural” and also be a very recent (historically speaking) invention.

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          1. “a very recent (historically speaking) invention”

            Outside my field, but it might have some significance for teaching your students about this era that Cortes’ conquest of the Aztecs occurs more than a full century before the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 that is frequently thought to mark the beginning of the modern territorially-defined sovereign state.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westphalian_sovereignty

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            1. Gosh, it definitely has a huge significance. Every semester they are stunned to discover that the concept of “a country” and “borders” was irrelevant to the Mayas and Incas.

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              1. “the concept of “a country” and “borders” was irrelevant to the Mayas and Incas”

                For sure the 16th century Spaniards would not have a fully modern conception of a territorial state with clearly defined borders and interests distinct from the personal interests of the Holy Roman Emperor who he served.

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              2. Exactly! Thats why even in 1605 Cervantes’s Don Quixote is “a man from La Mancha,” not “a man from Spain.” Local identities meant a lot but Spain was a literary concept that people didn’t perceive as very relevant.

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        2. “their Scythian ancestors”

          in re-reading this I realize that this point would not be entirely clear to readers unfamiliar with this ancient geographic reference. The Scythian origin theory of the Scots would place them generally in the area of the northern Black Sea at the time of St. Andrew. Osiander observes that a popular origin theory of the English, along with several other medieval localities in Europe, tied them to Troy. Again, the point here is that space does not define community identity but time and a connection to a historically significant narrative.

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