The Brash Saga

Massey University Misdirects Itself

Obvious Lessons Ignored

Grant Miller
Stuff

Massey University will have eagerly turned the page on 2018, but choices loom about the year ahead.  The university’s leadership will have to figure out what being a Treaty of Waitangi-led organisation means day to day.

More importantly, there’s a badly battered reputation in need of repair. Massey’s self-inflicted wounds came from the university forgetting what universities are supposed to be about – robust debate, for example.

The university council brought in Douglas Martin of consulting firm MartinJenkins to review the decision to cancel a politics club event where former National Party leader Don Brash had been due to speak.   The review team made many reasonable observations. The conclusion vice-chancellor Jan Thomas did not lie about her intentions was also fair.

However, Thomas had turned Massey into New Zealand’s most embarrassing university and the university council’s response was to endorse this state of affairs.  We may infer from council members’ quick backing of the vice-chancellor that they didn’t grasp how badly into the mire the institution had been plunged.

The council also showed its naivete by expressing the hope not talking about the controversy might avoid adding fuel to it. With advice of this calibre, Thomas has every reason to doubt the council’s usefulness as a bearer of wisdom.

Some people at the university think framing the episode as being about free speech is to misunderstand the issue. Not so.  Right from the start, Massey made clear the decision to ban Brash was not just about security. Naively, the vice-chancellor took the chance to take pot shots at Brash.

If recommendations from the MartinJenkins report are all Massey University learns from the Don Brash censorship saga, the university will not have learnt nearly enough.  It quickly became obvious there was basically no substance to any security threat. If the event cancellation were purely about security, the university could have reversed its decision within days and apologised.

If the politics club and university were running out of time to be sure of hosting a safe event, they could have postponed it. Instead, the institution floundered and its communications were a mess.

The front cover of the final report proclaims that it will be about “lessons from this episode”. Yet there was a lesson almost impossible to miss and the reviewers missed it.  The university’s leadership failed to place sufficient value on freedom of speech and that’s one big reason why it managed the crisis so badly for so long.

Freedom of speech is important to the public. It is important to students, former students and parents of students. It should be important to universities too.

Grant Miller is a news director for Stuff in Manawatū.   

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No reason – no excuse

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John 15:22-25

Joh 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now they have no excuse for their sin.

Joh 15:23 The one who hates me also hates my Father.

Joh 15:24 If I had not done the works among them that no one else has done, they would not have sin. Now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.

Joh 15:25 But this happened so that the statement written in their law might be fulfilled: They hated me for no reason.

No reason – no excuse

The generation that saw Jesus in the flesh had claimed to respect and love God. But when Jesus came, in spite of all the miracles he performed among them, they hated him for no reason. Because of that animosity toward Jesus, they are guilty of the sin that really matters: failure to trust him. There is no excuse for that.

Lord, give us all the wisdom to trust in you for our deliverance.

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New Zealand’s Travelling Envirocrats

Expensive Self-Congratulation Is Always Ugly

Wars are expensive undertakings.  International bureaucratic talkfests crafting war plans, strategies, targets, timetables, and bloated bellies are likewise very expensive.  But since it is all necessary in the “war against climate change” such spending is absolute, industrial grade, highest quality kosher salt.

Of course communication via electronic means has never been more pervasive and cheaper.  But this has merely seemed to convince our spendthrift government masters of the need to revert to ancient forms of global communication.  In order to “fight” against climate change, face-to-face communication is absolutely essential.  The electronic age has strangely ushered in a global, “whites of their eyes” old-style model of communication.

According to Stuff, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent and wasted by our travelling climate change warriors:

The Ministry for the Environment spent $45,000 a month to jet its staffers around the globe.  Policy experts were sent on 116 individual international trips – to countries including Korea, Jamaica, Germany, France, Africa, Canada, the United States and China.

An Official Information Act request by the Taxpayer’s Union has revealed the ministry spent $769,955 on international travel between July 2017 and December 10, 2018.  In a single return trip in October 2017, it appeared the ministry had sent a senior policy analyst to Santiago in Chile with the airfare totalling $23,826. However a spokesman later clarified the trip was for two people. 

Jordan Williams, director of the Taxpayers Union, bristles at the hypocrisy involved.  The New Zealand government, as part of its ostensible commitment to combating climate change, hectors everyone else of the duty not to fly.  It’s far too damaging to our environment, don’t you know.   But apparently, such considerations do not register with the self-same governmental climate change warriors who quite happily buy air tickets to travel from the bedroom to the lavatory.

Williams said sending policy analysts on first class trips to international conferences was an “insane use of money for a ministry who tells Kiwis not to fly”.  As the battle to protect the environment from the effects of climate change heats up, the Ministry for the Environment is defending a $760,000 travel bill over less than 18 months.

The ministry’s website offered advice to New Zealanders looking to reduce their carbon footprint, including flying less, working remotely and using video conferencing. 

 The fact that we New Zealanders have to sustain and support such waste is creating a slow burn of mounting anger.  The picture that intrudes relentlessly is of Neville Chamberlain flitting about Europe in the late nineteen thirties,  in meeting after meeting in an attempt to talk Hitler out of going to war.  He returns after the Munich Conference waving a piece of paper on which was Hitler’s signature, committing the Nazi government to peace.  Chamberlain was greeted by thousands.  He waved Hitler’s “token of peace” and declared to the British people that all the travel and talking had achieved “Peace in our time!”.

Instead of Chamberlain, we now have envirocrats flitting from meetings in Bogota to South Sudan, each clutching their white papers affirming triumphant progress in the great War against Climate Change.  They are manic.  They are self-deceived.  But our taxes fund it all.

Wars are expensive undertakings.  At least our travelling envirocrats are able to enjoy the experience of bloated self-importance as they repeatedly whisk and jaw their way around the globe.  That’s worth something, is it not?

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Another “Peace-In-Our-Time” Disaster

Deep Throat Insider

Theresa May’s Brexit Deal – ‘It’s a Trap’

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit “deal” is a deviously engineered, triple-lock trap which will leave Britain stuck for all eternity in the European Union, an anonymous civil servant has confirmed.
The civil servant, writing at Brexit Central, describes May’s Withdrawal Agreement as an “Orwellian misnomer”. Far from helping Britain to leave the EU it keeps it perpetually bound in chains.

He or she goes on to detail the three locks which have been cunningly inserted into the Withdrawal Agreement by legalistically-minded civil servants who know exactly how to sabotage Brexit. 

First is the transition period, lasting until at least 2021.

We must hand over an estimated £39 billion for nothing, be bound by EU law and take orders from an unelected Joint Committee operating under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Will the EU27 agree an equitable free trade agreement before the end of 2020? Unlikely, since all the goodies they want in the “future partnership” are set out in the Northern Ireland backstop, which kicks in automatically on 1st January 2021.

Second is the backstop.

Not only does the backstop carve out Northern Ireland as an EU province and set a border in the Irish Sea, it creates a partial “customs union” that requires us to implement EU trade tariffs and policy with no decision-making powers. Under highly restrictive “non-regression clauses”, the UK also agrees to implement all EU environmental, competition, state aid and tax harmonisation laws, with the unelected Joint Committee and the ECJ once again able to punish us for any perceived backsliding.

Third is the “future partnership”.

Anyone expecting the EU27 to give up the immense advantages they gain under the backstop is delusional. Retaining tariff-free access to the UK market and effective control of UK trade and competition policy must be nirvana for them. To ensure they reap the full benefit, there is the third and final lock in the Withdrawal Agreement. Unless we agree to a “future partnership” as set out in the political declaration, the backstop will endure in perpetuity.

And this is the deal not just Remainers like Theresa May and Philip Hammond but even lapsed Brexiteers like Michael Gove assure us we must sign up to if we are to have any hope of securing Brexit.

“No deal is better than a bad deal,” May once assured us.

By what token is this abject surrender not a “bad deal”?  Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

If so, then I heartily recommend this debut offering in the Sun from Quentin Letts, the columnist who left the Daily Mail in protest at the pro-Remain policies of its new editor.

Politics in Britain at present, and across the whole of Europe for that matter, is an open, sloshing bucket of inflammable petrol. We don’t need any sparks.

Since the days of Oliver Cromwell, Parliament has existed for two reasons — to represent the views of the people and to pass laws.  In the first respect, it is failing lamentably.

You do not have to be a politics wonk to see that Remainer Tory MPs are combining with Labour and other Opposition parties to try to neutralise the referendum result.  It was the largest ever vote in British history and 300 careerist MPs think they can block it.

Please can we have our democracy back?

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Incongruous love

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John 15:19-21

Joh 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would care about you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have selected you out of it, the world hates you.

Joh 15:20 Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

Joh 15:21 But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they don’t know the one who sent me.

Incongruous love

Should a Christian expect the approval and acclaim of the society in which she lives? She should not. It is incongruous that we, the slaves of Christ, should be treated more respectfully than our master did.

What Jesus is getting at here is the world to which he came – the world he loved – did not care for him. It hated him. It crucified him. So, when we experience an indifferent or hating world, we should not be surprised. What should surprise us is when we start experiencing an incongruous love. We should be very careful when that happens, as it may be a signal that we are not being faithful to him.

Lord, give us the wisdom to be skeptical of the world’s approval.

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A Mess of Educational Pottage

“Experience Day Tramps”
The government’s NCEA education system is deteriorating by the year.  Some “woke” schools are voting with their feet.  Simon Collins, writing in the NZ Herald, has written an excellent piece on the issues.  

First up, he presents the argument of the “external exams are evil” folk.: 

At Kia Aroha College in Ōtara, no one sat external exams this year.  “We don’t do exams,” says principal Haley Milne.  “We don’t want to put our young people in the gambling situation of an exam, where people’s lives can fall apart in one day.”

Her mother Dr Ann Milne, who was the principal for 22 years until 2016, says the college aims to develop young people who can think for themselves rather than just recite rote learning.  “Exams are a colonial system,” she declares. “Exams test your memory and that’s all. They don’t actually help you to apply that learning in any way.”

Kia Aroha College is presented as an “extreme” case–but the attitudes and principles at play are found right through the government school system.  The use of external exams is dropping sharply away.

Papers with external exams have dropped from 32 per cent in 2008 to 26 per cent in 2017 of all assessments for Level 1 of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).  At Level 2 externals have declined from 28 per cent to 21 per cent. And at Level 3 they have plunged from 37 per cent of all assessments in 2008 to 24 per cent last year. 

Combined with much higher rates of achievement, merit and excellence in internally assessed papers, the Ministry of Education sees the trend as “a risk to NCEA’s credibility and robustness”.

Is is not strange that  two critical features now stand out in the government school landscape?  Who would have seen that coming.  Firstly, the use of external exams has “plunged”.  Secondly, the achievement and passing rate of internally assessed papers (the majority) have risen astronomically. 

If we were an employer, we would definitely put up a sign: “Internally assessed graduating students need not apply.”
 

And then there are the neanderthals–schools and principals which insist on deploying external exams.  Tim O’Connor, principal of Auckland Boys Grammar School, summarises their position:

Auckland Grammar School headmaster Tim O’Connor is so opposed to the group’s proposals that he has taken his school out of NCEA Level 1 completely from next year, and has developed an alternative system that will still include exams.

Most Grammar students in their last two school years now sit Cambridge exams, which are run not only outside the school but outside the country.  Students will also still be able to opt into NCEA Levels 2 and 3 – but, in most subjects, only courses which include an external exam.

“All our courses have to have externals,” says O’Connor.  “The difference is we are not killing ours [students] with kindness. We are saying we are preparing you for what is to come in an academic environment where you should be assessed in a variety of ways and external exams are part of that.

“You enter an external exam to be able to show the examiner not only the knowledge you have acquired and retained, but that you can then articulate that in a new manner given the impromptu question you have been presented with.  “That is a skill which requires you to have stored quite a lot of fundamental knowledge into your long-term memory.”

The previous government determined that it was going to lift pass rates throughout the country, and set numerical targets.

Most achievement gaps in NCEA have narrowed dramatically since 2011 when the former National Government set a target of 85 per cent of 18-year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2 by 2017.  The target was achieved to within a decimal point, lifting the number of 18-year-olds with Level 2 from 74.3 per cent in 2011 to 84.9 per cent last year.

Our school-by-school analysis shows that schools in the richest communities (deciles 8-10) already had a median Level 2 achievement rate of 82 per cent of their Year 12 students back in 2008 so they had only limited scope to improve, lifting their median to 90 per cent in 2017.

Schools in the middling deciles 4-7 lifted their median pass rate from 70 per cent in 2008 to 84 per cent last year. The most dramatic gains were in the poorest three deciles, where the median pass rate soared from 57 per cent to 81 per cent.   Within that group, the median Māori Level 2 pass rate jumped from 50 per cent to 78 per cent and the median Pasifika pass rate almost doubled, from 42 per cent to 80 per cent.

The median pass rate in state schools rose by 15 points for girls, to 85 per cent, and by 18 points for boys, to 80 per cent.

So–all good then.  Huge improvement and turnaround!  Not really.

Counting only those who entered NCEA in Year 12, last year’s Level 2 achievement rates were 81 per cent at Grammar and an extraordinary 97 per cent at Kia Aroha.  However, these dramatic gains for boys, poorer and Māori/Pasifika students were achieved by taking advantage of NCEA’s vast range of 9360 available courses [emphasis, ours], ranging from “Demonstrate understanding of atomic and nuclear physics” to “Experience day tramps”.

The story is quite different for University Entrance (UE), which is awarded to students who achieve at least 14 NCEA Level 3 credits in at least three out of a much narrower range of traditional academic subjects, and have good literacy and numeracy. These requirements were tightened in 2013 after universities expressed concern about students’ literacy and numeracy.

Schools in the richest three deciles still managed a small lift in their UE achievement rates from a median of 66 per cent of their Year 13 students in 2008 to 69 per cent last year.  But the median achievement rates actually dropped 3 points to 45 per cent in the middle deciles, and slipped 1 point to a miserable 27 per cent in the poorest deciles.

While the pass levels rose considerably, the subjects being “studied” were a polyglot of mish-mash confusions.  A qualification given to a student who “achieved” in day tramps is put in the same category as an ability to “demonstrate understanding of atomic and nuclear physics”. 

The nation’s universities have seen through the rort, and have insisted upon students having achieved in the real subjects, the core subjects, the stuff that really matters–that is, “traditional academic subjects, and have good literacy and numeracy.”

The upshot is this: where a pupil goes to school matters.  There is a horde of government schools which offer an “education” in irrelevancies.  We call these the tiddlywink schools.  They dutifully pat themselves on the back, telling their pupils what wonderful achievement rates they have experienced in irrelevancies such as “experience in day tramps”, whilst muttering darkly about “colonialist education” and the great harm that it does to poor disadvantaged kids. 

Fools then engage in a bit of clever misdirection.  They argue that poor socio-economic areas produce sub-standard education–thus, the rich are ripping off, stealing from, the poor.  But what they cleverly fail to concede is that when it comes to schools in poorer socio-economic areas, parental control and demands are lessened.  In Otara parents may wish for a more traditional, academic education for their children.  But parents have no clout within the system.  They must live with what they are given.  Ironically, this represents a pure and oppressive form of socialism.

But in the wealthier areas (such as the Auckland Grammar zone) parents have far more say, and have far higher expectations for their children’s education; they make demands accordingly.  The school is happy to comply.  It is a win-win outcome.

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The Southern Border Problem

IMMIGRATION

There’s A National Emergency On The Border, But It’s Not What You Think

Trump says there’s a crisis on the border, but the crisis reaches far beyond the border into every institution in Mexico and Central America.

By John Daniel Davidson
The Federalist

During negotiations to end the government shutdown last week, President Trump said he might declare a national emergency over the southern border in order to bypass Congress and build his wall with defense funding. Trump repeated this threat on Sunday, then on Monday morning announced he would address the nation tonight regarding what he called “the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.”

Do we really have a national emergency on the border, or is Trump just trying to leverage the language of crisis as part of his negotiations with Democrats? Yes and no. There is indeed a crisis on the border, but it’s not what you think.

The crisis is not, as Trump would have us believe, that record numbers of illegal immigrants are entering the country.
   In fact, the number of illegal immigrants apprehended on the southern border has been declining for nearly two decades, from a high of 1.6 million in 2000 to about a half-million last year. It’s true that the numbers are up relative to 2017, which saw a precipitous decline from 2016, but that increase has mostly consisted of record numbers of families and children coming from Central America seeking asylum.

As recent reports in the Washington Post and The New York Times explain, this surge of Central American families has overwhelmed border facilities that were designed to detain and process primarily single men. Sparse holding cells are now crowded with children, which has proven dangerous. Last month, two Guatemalan children died after being taken into U.S. custody.

So the surge in Central American families—and the administration’s refusal to manage it, opting instead for deterrence—is part of the crisis. But it could be mitigated by adopting different policies for admitting asylum-seekers at ports of entry, allocating more resources to process asylum claims, and hiring more immigration judges along the border, among other things. If they took the situation seriously, Democrats and Republicans might even be able to reach a compromise on all of this, including some funding for a border wall.

Criminal Networks Profit From Smuggling Migrants

The other, more intractable part of the crisis is much less visible to most Americans, in part because news organizations can’t dispatch reporters and photographers to chronicle it the way they can with massive migrant caravans. This is the crisis of endemic corruption in Mexico and Central America, where criminal networks large and small profit from illegal immigration and exploit Central Americans travelling through Mexico to the United States.

Cartels have in fact been working for years to commercialize illegal border crossings. The opening scene of “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” features a title card explaining that drug cartels now control migration across the U.S.-Mexico border. Film critics and some in the news media scoffed at this upon the movie’s release last year, calling it pure Hollywood fiction meant to raise the stakes of an otherwise lackluster action flick.

But the statement is more or less accurate. Although the phenomena is more complicated than the film suggests, it’s nevertheless true that most illegal border crossings now involve payments to criminal organizations in Mexico. The commercialization of illegal immigration is one of the most underreported stories of the U.S.-Mexico border, and the plain truth is that drug cartels exercise substantial control over who crosses the border, and when. Almost no one crosses without paying—the average fee is usually between $4,000 and $5,000—and often payments continue after migrants are in the United States, to secure passage through Border Patrol checkpoints further inland or pay off debt incurred during the journey north.

In recent years, paying customers are usually Central Americans fleeing horrifying levels of violence and poverty in their home countries. For them, the trip to the U.S. border is fraught with danger. From the moment they cross into Mexico, Central Americans are at risk of kidnapping, violence, extortion, and forced prostitution.

Certainly, most people in these countries don’t want to leave their homes and put their children in harm’s way. But it’s a testament to the dire conditions they face in their home countries—in many cases, certain death at the hands of gangs—that they take a risk most parents would never take.

‘El Chapo’ Shows Why a Wall Won’t Secure The Border

The other aspect of crime and corruption that doesn’t get much attention in the broader immigration debate is the number of national political and military leaders in Mexico and Central America that are in the pay of powerful criminal syndicates—drug cartels also in the business of smuggling migrants over the border.

The trial of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been underway for months now, and a parade of witnesses has gradually painted a shocking picture of Mexican society in what can only be described as a state of deep decay, even collapse. According to reports from the trial, drug cartels exert influence on everyone, from local police chiefs in border towns to the highest federal offices in Mexico City: “In two months of testimony, nearly every level of the Mexican government has been depicted as being on the take: Prison guards, airport officials, police officers, prosecutors, tax assessors and military personnel are all said to have been compromised. One former army general, Gilberto Toledano, was recently accused of routinely getting payoffs of $100,000 to permit the flow of drugs through his district.”

Last week, the star witness for prosecutors was Vicente Zambada Niebla, son of Sinaloa cartel leader Ismael Zambada García, who assumed full control of the cartel when Guzman was arrested in 2016. Zambada had been groomed to take control of the cartel one day, reported the New York Times, and “knew almost everyone and everything” about how the cartel operates.

That includes knowing who was being paid. Zambada testified that his father’s bribery budget often reached $1 million a month, lining the pockets of high-ranking Mexican officials, including an army general who earned a stipend of $50,000 a month and a military officer who once worked as a personal guard for former Mexican president Vincente Fox.

The issue of bribes and government corruption has come up repeatedly during the trial. In November, Ismael’s brother, Jesus Zambada Garcia, testified that Guzman once ordered him to give $100,000 to a general in the state of Guerrero. In subsequent testimony about high-profile payoffs, he was about to implicate current Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador—until a federal judge stopped him.

Zambada Garcia’s testimony reportedly included details about how he, on behalf of his brother, twice paid a high-ranking law enforcement official named Genaro Garcia Luna, once when he was head of Mexico’s Federal Investigation Agency and again when he was in charge of Mexico’s federal police.

And it’s not just Mexico. In late November, the younger brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was arrested on drug trafficking charges. American prosecutors say Juan Antonio Hernández spent a dozen years moving large shipments—“multi-ton loads”—of cocaine through Central America to the United States. The indictment states that Hernández, who stamped cocaine packets with his own brand, T.H. for Tony Hernández, paid off a slew of Honduran officials and demanded bribes from drug traffickers, for himself and “on behalf of one or more high-ranking Honduran politicians.”

A Wall Can’t Solve This Problem

Of course, large-scale drug-trafficking and human smuggling are two different things. But the criminal networks that engage in them overlap to a considerably degree, such that any attempt to seal off the border to illegal immigration must be understood in this broader context.

In fact, the most important difference between drug trafficking and human smuggling is that with the former, both migrant and smuggler have an incentive to get across the Rio Grande—the smuggler wants to get paid and the migrant wants to escape danger. A border wall will no more keep migrants from crossing the Rio Grande than a Border Patrol checkpoint will keep drugs from flowing into the U.S. interior. In both cases, there are powerful entities at work along the border with strong motives to get drugs and people into the United States.

All of which to say, the crisis extends from our southern border through Mexico and Central America, and involves almost every institution in those countries, not to mention entire U.S. communities along the border.

In confronting this problem, one thing is certain: if we don’t address the enormity of the corruption and societal decay in Mexico and Central America, it won’t matter how much money Congress approves for Trump’s border wall. No wall will be high enough to keep out the mass exodus of people who will give up everything they have, who will risk their lives and the lives of their children, to escape the failing states to our south.

John is a senior correspondent for The Federalist.

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Our two destinies

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John 15:16-18

Joh 15:16 You did not select me, but I selected you. I destined you to leave and produce fruit and that your fruit should stay, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.

Joh 15:17 “This is what I am commanding you: Love one another.

Joh 15:18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you.

Our two destinies

Jesus has been conversing with his disciples about his future. He had warned them that he was about to leave and go back to his Father and that he would return. These are Jesus’ two destinies, Now, Jesus reveals two destinies for the disciples as well. They too will leave this life. They will die as well. But before they die, they will produce fruit, and that fruit will stay. In the larger context, that fruit includes other disciples. But in this present context, we can see that it also includes reciprocal love, perseverance through unjust suffering, and prevailing prayer.

Our time is short. We need to stay on task.

Lord, give us the courage to live out our destiny, to produce lasting fruit.

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Holy Myths and Gross Prejudices

Transgender Taboos: Don’t Question … or Else

By John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera, Op-Ed Contributors
The Christian Post

There are a growing number of people who transitioned from one gender to the other, only to regret it, and then try to reverse the process. Why aren’t we hearing their stories?

Here’s a fun fact: the word “taboo” came to the English language from natives on what is now the nation of Tonga. Believe it or not, when British explorer James Cook first visited the remote island, he noticed that certain things, in particular certain foods, were strictly off-limits. When he asked why, they replied these things were “taboo,” which meant “consecrated, inviolable, forbidden, unclean or cursed.”

Now in English parlance today, we tend to use the word “taboo” as a figure of speech or hyperbole. We don’t think of whatever is being referred to as literally being “consecrated,” “inviolable,” “uncleaned” or “cursed.”

Or do we?

A recent article in Canada’s National Post identified something it called the “new taboo.” It’s off-limits to even talk about the increasing number of people who, having undergone gender-reassignment surgery, now not only regret their decision, they want to reverse the procedure.

Five years ago, Dr. Miroslav Djordjevic, described in the article as “the world-leading genital reconstructive surgeon,” met a patient who had undergone the male-to-female surgery at another clinic but now wanted it reversed.

It turned out to be only the first of many stories Djordjevic would hear “about crippling levels of depression following their transition, and, in some cases, even contemplated suicide.” He told the National Post “It can be a real disaster to hear these stories.”

Why then are these disaster stories so rarely heard? Because they are taboo.

The very same article told readers about allegations that Bath Spa University in England turned down “an application for research on gender reassignment reversal” because the project was deemed ‘potentially politically incorrect.’” Or perhaps a more accurate word would be the one chosen by the National Post: “taboo.”

Recently on BreakPoint, I told you about a stunning piece in the New York Times written by a man planning to have gender-reassignment surgery. In it, he not only admitted the surgery would not make him happier, he admitted that the very prospect of the surgery made him more depressed and suicidal.

The author deserves our pity, but the decision to run the article without even questioning what on earth is going on, is the very definition of something being “taboo.” Questioning the sacredness and inviolability of the desire to transition invites the digital equivalent of the wrath of the gods that ancient Polynesian feared for violating taboos.

That’s hyperbole, you say. Is it? Because there are many more examples. Like the July/August issue of the left-of-center publication, the Atlantic Monthly. It contained an article that merely counseled caution in treating young children who claim to be transgender.

It didn’t matter that the author, Jesse Singal, was on solid scientific ground to urge caution. It didn’t matter that a 2013 study found two-thirds of pubescent children who experience gender dysphoria no longer have those feelings five years later. Singal and the Atlantic violated the taboo, and they were digitally stoned for it.

In fact, this cultural taboo is so strong, it can cost parents custody of their children. Recently, a Christian family in Ohio lost custody of their 17-year-old son because he wanted to begin hormone therapy. A family court awarded custody to the child’s grandparents, because they were more amenable to his desires.

Instead of asking the more obvious question—Can’t we just wait a year and not do anything drastic until he’s 18 and doesn’t need parental permission?”—the judge removed a minor from his home. This is taboo in action.

All who interfere with one’s desires to transition these days are simply considered cursed. Meanwhile, victims’ stories go unheard.

[Resources

The new taboo: More people regret sex change and want to ‘detransition’, surgeon says, Joe Shute | National Post | October 22, 2018

‘This Is What I Want’: The New York Times Reveals Serious Problems with Transgender Ideology, John Stonestreet | BreakPoint.org | December 5, 2018

Originally posted at Breakpoint.

From BreakPoint. Reprinted with the permission of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. “BreakPoint®” and “The Colson Center for Christian Worldview®” are registered trademarks of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.]

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Mockery and Sarcasm Called For

Twelve Debunked Climate Scares We Can Laugh at in 2019

James Delingpole
Breitbart News

2019 won’t be the year the climate change scare finally dies, unfortunately. But the people pushing it will look increasingly desperate, sad and piteously short of evidence to support their junk science theories.

Here, courtesy of the Global Warming Policy Forum, are the top twelve climate scares debunked in 2018. Share it with your alarmist friends to wish them a happy, sceptical New Year.

January 2018:  Worst-case global warming scenarios not credible: Study
PARIS (AFP) – Earth’s surface will almost certainly not warm up four or five degrees Celsius by 2100, according to a study released Wednesday (Jan 17) which, if correct, voids worst-case UN climate change predictions.

A revised calculation of how greenhouse gases drive up the planet’s temperature reduces the range of possible end-of-century outcomes by more than half, researchers said in the report, published in the journal Nature.

February:  ‘Sinking’ Pacific nation Tuvalu is actually getting bigger, new research reveals

The Pacific nation of Tuvalu — long seen as a prime candidate to disappear as climate change forces up sea levels — is actually growing in size, new research shows.

A University of Auckland study examined changes in the geography of Tuvalu’s nine atolls and 101 reef islands between 1971 and 2014, using aerial photographs and satellite imagery.

It found eight of the atolls and almost three-quarters of the islands grew during the study period, lifting Tuvalu’s total land area by 2.9 percent, even though sea levels in the country rose at twice the global average.

March: BBC forced to retract false claim about hurricanes
You may recall the above report by the BBC, which described how bad last year’s Atlantic hurricane season was, before commenting at the end: “A warmer world is bringing us a greater number of hurricanes and a greater risk of a hurricane becoming the most powerful category 5.” I fired off a complaint, which at first they did their best to dodge. After my refusal to accept their reply, they have now been forced to back down

April: Corals can withstand another 100-250 Years of  climate change, new study
Heat-tolerant genes may spread through coral populations fast enough to give the marine creatures a tool to survive another 100-250 years of warming in our oceans.

May: Climate change causes beaches to grow by 3,660 square kilometers
Since 1984 humans have gushed forth 64% of our entire emissions from fossil fuels. (Fully 282,000 megatons of deplorable carbon “pollution”.) During this time, satellite images show that 24% of our beaches shrank, while 28% grew. Thus we can say that thanks to the carbon apocalypse there are 3,660 sq kms more global beaches now than there were thirty years ago.

June: Antarctica not losing ice, NASA researcher finds
NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally says his new study will show, once again, the eastern Antarctic ice sheet is gaining enough ice to offset losses in the west.

July: National Geographic admits they were wrong about notorious starving polar bear-climate claims
The narrative behind the viral photo of a polar bear starving, reportedly thanks to climate change, has been called into question by the National Geographic photographer who took it in the first place.

August: New study shows declining risk and increasing resilience to extreme weather in France
This risk factor for French residents of cities stricken by a disaster has been falling with every passing decade.

September: Coral bleaching is a natural event that has gone on for centuries, new study
Coral bleaching has been a regular feature of the Great Barrier Reef for the past 400 years, with evidence of repeated mass events dating back to well before Euro­pean settlement and the start of the industrial revolution.

October: Climate predictions could be wrong in UK and Europe
Current climate change predictions in the UK and parts of Europe may be inaccurate, a study conducted by researchers from the University of Lincoln, UK, and the University of Liège, Belgium, suggests.

November: Number and intensity of US hurricanes have remained constant since 1900
There’s been “no trend” in the number and intensity of hurricanes hitting the continental U.S. and the normalized damages caused by such storms over the past 117 years, according to a new study.

December: Alarmist sea level rise scenarios unlikely, says climate scientist Judith Curry
A catastrophic rise in sea levels is unlikely this century, with recent experience falling within the range of natural variability over the past several thousand years, according to a report on peer-­reviewed studies by US climate scientist Judith Curry.

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