A temporary holding place for this blog until such a time as a new site is launched.
Welcome to The Asylum. Just as before, Josh is always right.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Catching Up

There's quite a bit that's been going on both in and outside the City of Hillsdale that I've been meaning to get to but just haven't had the time.  We can thank the multiple farces taking place at City Hall for that.
That being the case, and for the sake of organization, this is article two of two this week, and it focuses on a few state and social issues.  The other article, covering a local issue, can be found here.

Also, here's a reminder that the Hillsdale City Council is meeting with the BPU board in the council chambers at 7:00 Thursday evening to determine what to do now that the city has voted down Rick Rose's proposed new contract.  I would highly suggest that you be there.

It's Time For Michigan To Acknowledge Reality

For those of you just joining us since I turned my attention to City Hall, you should know this about me: I'm very much a politically conservative social liberal.  If you don't understand what that means, I'll enlighten you.

The single worst mistake the Republican Party ever made was to tie themselves to the "Moral Majority," or what we today refer to as the "religious right."  Social conservatism and political conservatism are oil and water; they do not mix.  One cannot claim that the basis of their political philosophy is small government when they're attempting to use the government as a means of enforcing their (backwards, outdated, completely incorrect on both scientific and Biblical bases) religious beliefs on others.  That makes such a person a theocrat, not a conservative.

This is exactly why I'm not a Republican.  Nor am I a Democrat.  I don't belong to any party.  I don't buy into the two-party, two-ideology lie, because that's exactly what it is: a big, fat, gigantic lie.  I'm what I refer to as a "little-L libertarian."  If you really want an accurate description along the political spectrum, I'm fairly minarchist, but not to the point of rejecting government where it has proven its worth.

I'm also a constitutionalist, which means that I find the United States Constitution and (most of) its amendments to be the best framework the world has ever seen for upholding the liberties of all people equally.  My philosophy is that government exists only to uphold the liberties of all people against threats from both inside and out.  If I were to still identify with a political party, I'd be what was once called a Goldwater Republican.

Does anyone besides me even remember what a Goldwater Republican is anymore?

Now, all that having been said...

A federal lawsuit has been filed by the ACLU against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson for requiring gender confirmation surgery in order to change the gender marker on a person's driver's license or state identification card.

This is a good thing.

I'm not going to get into the details of the case.  You can read them for yourself in the story linked to above.  But what I do want to explain to you is why the S.O.S. will change this policy, and not long from now even if they don't change it as a result of this case.

Gender is a biological trait separate from physical sex.  It is not outwardly visible, it's rooted in the fetal development of the brain.  You can read up on all the science of that in any number of places (the APA is a good place to start), but the short story is that there are two hormone bursts in the womb: one early on which affects brain development, the other later on which affects physical development.  Depending upon a variety of factors, including their strength and, to some extent, genetics, these hormone bursts are masculinizing.  The stronger they are, the more masculine a child will be; the weaker the burst, the more feminine.

What's key here is that the two separate bursts' strength may not necessarily match up.  When they don't, the person is transgender: born with an outwardly visible physical sex that does not match their internal, mental gender.  And no two people's sex-gender connections are exactly the same.  Even cisgender people have differing levels of masculinization in their development.  It's not a disorder or a defect, it's simply the natural development that we all go through, and only when a transgender person is able to self-identify -- which can happen as early as the age of two, and possibly earlier -- will anyone know that the difference is there.

Now here's where the Secretary of State's policy runs into trouble: transgender people do not -- I repeat, do not -- always require surgery.  Statistics are very hard to come by on this topic because of privacy regulations and the fact that the openly transgender population is so small to begin with, but it has been well-documented among those who are willing to share such information that surgery comes down to a case-by-case basis.

That concurs with the recommendations of the credible psychiatric and medical bodies which research these things and set governing guidelines for care, including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Endocrine Society.  They all agree that gender confirmation surgery may be a medical necessity for some while, for others, social transition and/or medical intervention short of surgery is enough to alleviate the patient's suffering.

So for the State of Michigan to step in and say "you're not really what you say you are unless you've had surgery," that is entirely contradictory to every credible medical authority on the matter.  It is clearly discriminatory, and whether or not it's malicious in intent is irrelevant.  What matters is that it's rooted in ignorance of science and biology, and it is causing further harm to people who have a right to self-identification whether anyone agrees with them or not.

Besides, if their gender marker doesn't match their gender, how is someone looking at that little plastic card going to be able to verify that they are who they say they are?  Isn't that the whole purpose of a government-issued I.D. to begin with?

So what does all of this have to do with political conservatism and social liberalism?  I'm glad you asked.

State Attorney General Bill "The Will of the People" Schuette -- who I've proven in the past is mathematically and factually incorrect on that "will of the people" bit in regard to the unconstitutional Michigan Marriage Amendment -- and the supposed "conservatives" in the state legislature (including our own state representative here in District 58) remain on a crusade to keep all things homo-gay illegal.  Same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, transgender rights... all of these things are being actively fought against for no valid reason whatsoever by people who have nothing on their minds other than hatred on the basis of dogma that has long been disproven and wouldn't belong in government even if it were true.

These people are not political conservatives.  They contradict the very principles they claim to hold dear.  They are big-government political liberals who simply want to use government for their own purposes.  They are no different from the big-government liberals on the other side of the aisle, they just use the same means to a different end (if you'll pardon the ironic expression).

And they're going the way of the dodo.

Yes, I mean that quite literally.  They and their rhetoric are going extinct.

See, those of us who know better have had enough of this crap.  And if you don't think we're the majority, you'd better check again.  My generation, the Millennials?  We're greater in number than the Boomers, and we're nothing if not socially liberal.  To say that we will not tolerate such bigotry is an understatement.  To say that we're just lazy and won't do anything about it is foolish ignorance.  To say that the day isn't coming anytime soon is just plain stupid.  Look around you.  It's already here.

This policy will change, and Michigan will be better for it.  The change may not come as a result of this court case (though I'd bet good money, which I don't have, that it will).  But it will change.  The "religious right" may have to be dragged into the present day kicking and screaming, but nobody is going to pay attention to their little temper tantrums.

You don't get to choose whose rights are recognized and whose aren't.  The 14th Amendment says "all persons."  No person or law gets to say otherwise.

And Speaking of Acknowledging Reality...

While the Girl Scouts are again making news for some reason about their now years-old policy of accepting transgender girls into their troops (which is a good thing), Boy Scouts president Bob Gates -- yes, that Bob Gates -- is making news for begrudgingly allowing gay scout leaders and adults into their troops.  Which is... and I hate this expression, but it's appropriate here... it is what it is.

The reason given for Gates' change of... oh, shall we say, tune, is thus:

“We must deal with the world as it is,” Gates told assembled Scout leaders. “Not as we might wish it to be.”


“In open defiance,” to quote Gates’ speech, Scout Councils in Greater New York and Denver have this year accepted gay adult leaders. “While technically we have the authority to revoke their charters, such an action would deny the lifelong benefits of Scouting to hundreds of thousands of boys and young men today and vastly more in the future. I will not take that path.”

So basically, the BSA President is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.  He doesn't want to further divide the organization, which would certainly happen if he put it up for a vote by the National Board, so he's just leaving it up to the local councils, which will... well, further divide the organization.  But hey, at least they'll have the freedom to do the right thing, right?!  Right?!

You know, I'm no Albert Oinsteen, but it seems pretty obvious to me that if you do the right thing, even if you lose some members in the controversy, you're going to be rid of the forces dragging your organization back to the dark ages and you'll gain leaders who want to be there for all the right reasons.  The girls have it figured out.  Why can't the boys get it through their thick skulls?

And finally...

Get The Duggars' Out Of My Face

I'm really sick of hearing about Josh Duggar.

Yes, yes, we all know where the irony is here.  He and his family are hell-bent on keeping TEH GAYZ! (*gasp!*) from shoving their sexuality down everyone else's throat, and now we come to find out that he made a habit of forcing himself on his young relatives.  Yeah, ha-ha, ain't that always the way.

What few people who aren't pointing to the well-known pattern of virulent homophobes having skeletons in their own closet, those are the naive few who are just shocked that such a fine, upstanding young man could possibly do something so horrible.

You see, in our modern society -- divided strictly along the lines of hardcore fundamentalists on one side and practically everyone else on the other -- there is no middle ground.  Everyone picks an extreme, and if you disagree with their extreme, well then, you're just a horrible person!

Me?  I really don't care.

Not that I condone what he did, but I'm burnt out on these stories.  We all know the pattern.  We all know the people who are pretty much destined to follow it.  None of us are surprised when the news breaks.  So what's the big deal?

"But he's such a big public figure! It's such a massive public fall!" you may argue.

Hey, check your Bible there, genius: we've ALL fallen. None of us have any higher ground to stand on in that regard.

"But Jesus has forgiven him, and he's clearly moved on, so we should, too!" you may argue.

If this were a one-time instance of him inappropriately touching a young girl when he was a young teenager, I would agree with you.  But it wasn't.  This was multiple instances with multiple people, close relatives included.  That's not the type of offender who can simply admit to "mistakes" and move on.  And knowing what we do about his beliefs about women and their Biblical role in relation to men (which is dead wrong), we cannot simply accept his word that he would never do it again, because it's a systemic issue.

All that having been said, I'm sick and tired of hearing about it.  The media coverage is out of proportion.  These people are famous for being famous, much like Paris Hilton or Barack Obama.  They haven't done anything to earn their fame.  They were thrust in our faces by the media.  And like good little drones, we ate it up.  And now that the toothpick superstructure has begun its inevitable collapse, we're eating it up all the more, because we didn't want to watch it being built in the first place.  It's cathartic for us, I understand that.  But it's also sickening, and I'm done with it.

The most you and I can do, and the most you and I should care about all of this, is to simply take it for what is, pray, and move on.  He's already had to resign from his job with the so-called "Family Research Council."  TLC isn't going to cancel his family's show any more quickly than A&E canceled Duck Dynasty (which is to say not at all).  Oh, sure, they've pulled reruns for the moment, but A&E suspended the Duck Dictator for a while, only to bring him back when the morons who watch his show complained loudly enough.  We all know Josh Duggar is going to continue to find support in similar circles.

There's another problem I have with this, as well, and it might seem to contradict my underlying point, but it really doesn't.  A judge ordered the Springdale, Arkansas police department to destroy all records of these reports while others are kept indefinitely.

Must be nice to have money.

No, this has nothing to do with the statute of limitations or expunging the record of a minor or any supposed rehabilitation Duggar may have undergone.  This is protection for a price, plain and simple.

Not that it matters; the information is already out there anyway.

But why destroy those records now, especially when the records of who knows how many other people are still in existence simply because they're not famous reality TV stars?  There is no answer to that question except this: money buys a blind eye.  While I don't want to give the man or his family any attention at all, there is no excuse for those records being destroyed.  None whatsoever.  It is wrong on every level.

However, aside from suggesting that the people of Arkansas craft legislation to prevent future occurrences like that from happening, there's not much else I want to do with this story.

The less attention Duggar is given, the less influence he has.  Make him persona non grata and be done with it.

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