Not An Animal

“Protect” Minnesota has a new executive director.

We’ll come back to that.


Modern American “progressivism”, like all its many forebears in the past 200 years, has been all about rallying people against boogeymen. From “monarchists” in the French Revolution, to “Wreckers” in Stalin’s USSR to the Wobbly’s “Bosses”, up through “the patriarchy” and “the man” and “counterrevolutionaries” in Red China and San Francisco in the sixties and seventies, and if you have a hard time distinguishing between ’em, join the club.

Today, the boogeymen…er, boogiepeople on the left are pretty much all the things that people who are included are told to be “anti”. “Anti-Racism” “Anti-Misogyny” (not just sexism, anymore – it’s the more active, more malevolent noun these days), “Anti-Fascism”, “Anti-Transphobia”, and on and on – all of which sounds like good things to be “anti”…

…and, unsurprisingly, when you dig into the “Root Causes” of all those nouns, all things trace back to “Western Civilization” in all its particulars: the Judeo-Christian value on the individual and their worth, value, rights and responsibilities and potential of each and every person, as a person with a mind, a point of view, and at the end of the day an indivisible soul of personal, societal, political, intellectual and metaphysical worth.

Those aspects of humanity are anathema to progressivism in all its flavors. The focus is on the group – the Marxists “classes”, the Nazi’s irreducible focus on race, the modern academic Left’s obsession with a byzantine network of intersectional identity groups. The individual is nothing but a vote (for now), an appetite, a widget to be moved through the production line of life (like Obamacare’s awful caricature of Progressive humanity, “Julia”). Progressivism is “Materialist”. Souls, individual intellects and thoughts and reams, all are ephemeral; humans are widgets that consume and produce, and whose worth and value (to those in power) is expressed via their membership in the collective.

Those widgets have a term. “Bodies”. Not people. Not brains. Not souls.

Bodies.


Anyway – “P”M has a new director. And unlike the dotty, dizzy neverending font of comedy that was Heather Martens, or the serial fabulist The “Reverend” Nancy Nord Bence, the new director presents us with a few surprises.

She’s “a gun owner herself” – which might be seen in several ways. Is “P”M moderating? Are they realizing that the culture war has slipped far enough away from them, especially over this past year, that they have to start speaking to people who need to be convinced?

And she’s apparently incredibly famous, since she apparently just goes by “Rashmi”. I’ve turned “Protect” Minnesota’s website, Facebook feed and other social media upside down, and not been able to find any reference to a last name, which is Seneviratne, by the way.

But even during the reign of the serial fabulist the Reverend Nord Bence, “Protect” MN wasn’t nearly extreme enough in its hatred of guns and (law-abiding) gun owners, enough for some people.

“P”M spawned a breakway group, “Survivors Lead” – basically a woman, Rachel Joseph, with a long history of progressive activism and a story; an aunt who was murdered, according to Ms. Joseph’s story, by a gun.

Quick aside: I don’t minimize anyone’s trauma over having a loved one murdered. But in the many times I’ve heard Ms. Joseph’s story, she’s never once mentioned a perpetrator, someone actually holding and using the gun that killed her aunt; that persons evil motivation, the legal fallout from the murder, whether that person was sentenced or not. It’d be wrong to crack wise – “what, did the gun animate itself?” – but omitting a perpetrator, his/her motives and the like from the conversation is incredibly intellectually dishonest.

Anyway – “Rashmi” and her apparent moderation are not going over well with “Survivors Lead”:

The extreme heckling the not-as-extreme about getting less extreme. That qualifies as “dog bites man”, at the very most.

Rather less so? There followed some more, er, ethnically pointed traffic on one social media feed (from which I’ve long been blocked) or another.

After which “P”M – operating through its usual social media persona, the omniscient third person that used to be Martens and Nord Bence – responded:

On the one hand, watching the agents of Big Left eating each other is one of my favorite spectator sports.

And if the biggest semi-organic anti-gun group in MInnesota (shaddap about Moms Want Action already) is pivoting from pushing Linda Slocum’s gun grab bill to highlighting the inequity of gun control (“Race, class and geography all play into who gets to have a gun and who doesn’t” – which is something every Second Amendment activist has known for 50 years) and speaking in the first “person” to the prudence of victims of violence to arm up, then in culture war terms that’s the sound of the first tank crossing the pontoon bridge at Remagen.

But…”white bodied privilege?”

What the flaming hootie hoo?

I thought for a moment – is this a shot back at the Rachel Dolezals and Elizabeth Warrens of the world, with their flip-flopping identities, by “actual” “people of color”, reinforcing the idea that while you might “identify” with one degree melanin or another, your apparent appearance still wins out in the great privilege lottery (which will, I suspect, get pilloried hard by the Trans crowd, for whom perceived identity is everything? I’ll let the fight that one out).

But no. It’s much less hilarious than that.

It’s “inclusion language” – slang or argot that one class of people use to track who is in, and who is “out” – to be sure. That’s part of it, and people are noticing:

Referring to people as bodies is a reminder, writer Elizabeth Barnes says in an interview, that “racism isn’t just about the ideas that you have in your head.” Barnes is the author of “The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability, The Girl Behind the Wall.” In intellectual discussions, theories about social oppression sound almost disembodied; “we talk about prejudice,” Barnes says, “like it’s just a matter of ideas.” The point is to emphasize the physical violence done to black people through slavery, lynching, and police brutality. In the case of women, the term “bodies” highlights “what happens to women’s bodies in health care contexts, in sexual contexts, in reproductive contexts.”

But behond that?

It’s a nod to the materialism of the left – that the mind, the thoughts, the indivisible soul of the indivisual human being is not merely irrelevant, but inconvenient to the obsession with identity.

Your melanin defines you.

In some ways its a cheap ad hominem – “of course you’d think that, you are (add a reference to your target’s melanin, or lack thereof)”. But pointing logical fallacies out to the foot soldiers of Big Left is a little like arguing salinity with sharks; it’s just part of the water they swim in.

So – gun groups eating each other? Good.

The debate contributing to the ongoing hijacking of the language? Bad.

The whole thing participating, in its own little way, in the further erosion of one of the ideals that’s made Western Civilization the most successful, and humane , civilization in human history?

Worse.

Grab A Hammer

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A Jew turned Christian turned Evangelical says Christians “sold” their principles in supporting Trump.  Time to move beyond social battles and forsake the politics of hate, fear and violence.  Time to embrace gun control.  Time to be like Episcopalians.

In other words, Never Trump.

He’s not alone.  Catholic bishops in the United States have embraced Open Borders, climate change, gun control . . .

In other words, Never Trump.

I don’t understand the New World Order.  I’m stuck in the Old World, the world in which the purpose of religion was to save my immortal soul from eternal damnation, a risk posed by my personal moral failings.  Hellfire and damnation were the punishment for sin, not the result of global warming caused by greenhouse gasses emitted by the engine in my car. I was admonished to live in the world, but not be of it, that I might someday be worthy of salvation and heaven.

Either everybody has been doing it wrong for the last 2,000 years or modern religion has completely lost its way.  I’m beginning to think it’s time to write out a few theses and find myself a hammer.

Joe Doakes

When progs finally get around to rewriting the Bible, Christ will work for a non-profit that sought justice for carpenters.

Oh Grouse All Ye Faithful

I left the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) a few years ago because of the relentless politicization of their services,

But on Christmas even, I went back to a local PCUSA congregation for their Christmas Eve concert service; the church has a choir and chamber orchestra and they do a really really excellent musical service. Given how awful Presbyterian choirs usually are, it’s doubly surprising; it’s one of my favorite ways to spend Christmas Eve.

Musically, anyway. Which is a wonderful thing.

But the pastor’s homily was kind of jarring. He asked why we were there – which is far from an unusual Christmas sermon theme, and the pastor asked it far from unusual; we might be there, he speculated, because we were seeking the familiar, or because it was something our loved ones who were no longer with us might have loved, or even because it was our home congregation.

Or maybe, he said, it was out of fear. Fear of the craziness of today’s politics. Fear for some amorphous group he called “the dispossesed”. Fear of the “very real threat” of nuclear war breaking out.

And after almost asking out loud “where WERE you during the Cold War?”, I thought to myself; here’s a minister of a *very* well-off congregation, full of people who gave off visible signs of not just “privilege”, but that self-assured sense people have when they have several generations of assurance that Their Opinions Matter in this world; legislators and city councilpeople return their calls, their agendas find their way into the halls of power, and they were very, very well-represented in Saint Paul’s and Minnesota’s political class.

And this on top of the fact that, for the vast majority of this world – especially in its less tony quarters, far removed from green leafy Crocus Hill – *things have never been better*. For the first time in the history of the world, obesity is a bigger problem to the people of this world than malnutrition. While there are some ugly situations around the world, more of the world has been at peace longer than at virtually any time in history. Outside of a few flashpoints, fewer people per capita are dying violently in this world than at any time in history I can think of.

The minister was talking less about “fear” than about “lingering anger about the wrong person winning the last election”. Which is indistinguishable from fear in some people.

If I were inclined to be bothered by, well, anything on Christmas (and I am not), it would have put an ugly blot on an otherwise beautiful service.

(Which makes it an ugly blot that doesn’t bother me, I guess)

Virtue Preaching

The Methodists, like the Presbyterian Church in the USA that I grew up in (and, it’d seem much of American Catholicism to boot) is slowly spinning itself into an institution that observes a holy trinity; social justice the mother, political correctness the other mother, and virtue-signaling the spirit.

Witness the United Methodists’ bishop, Dr, Karen Oliveto – herself a virtue signal, as the UMC’s first Lesbian Bishop.

Oliveto was elected with a flurry of virtue-signalling glee a few years ago – and has spent her term basically turning the United Methodists into even more of a pseudo-Unitarian cult than it was before:

“Too many folks want to box Jesus in, carve him in stone, create an idol out of him. But this story cracks the pedestal we’ve put him on. The wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting one, prince of peace, was as human as you and me. Like you and me, he didn’t have his life figured out. He was still growing, maturing, putting the pieces together about who he was and what he was supposed to do. We might think of him as the Rock of Ages, but he was more like a hunk of clay, forming and reforming himself in relation to God.

As one person put it: ‘Jesus wasn’t a know-it-all, he was also learning God’s will like any human being and finally he changed his mind…if Jesus didn’t have to know it all innately, but rather could grow into new and deeper understanding through an openness to God’s people [even those he formerly discounted], maybe if Jesus could change his mind then maybe so can we!”

When it comes to the Christian Trinity, it’s said that Catholics obsess over God the Father, the dealer of punishment and guilt, shorting the whole “Salvation” via the Son and Spirit bit.  Evangelicals, on the other hand, focus on the spirit, sometimes to the detriment of the authority, and often to the shorting of the humanity, of Christ.  And mainline American protestants?  They focus on the Son – the redemption, the forgiveness – sometimes shorting the authority and the spirit.

But other than gutting the traditional understanding of who and what Christ was…

…well, she’s LGBTQ…