Sunday, May 31, 2015


From White House spokesman Josh Earnest (via Legal Insurrection):

Even expressions that are offensive, that are distasteful, and intended to sow divisions in an otherwise tight-knit, diverse community like Phoenix, cannot be used as a justification to carry out an act of violence, and certainly can’t be used as a justification to carry out an act of terrorism.

Yet another sign of our degraded press corp that they can listen to the phrase “tight-knit, diverse community” without noticing, let alone pointing out, that “tight-knit” and “diverse” actually mean opposite things.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Into the Meat Grinder

A few years ago, Robert Wright of Bloggingheads remarked during a discussion on Iran how difficult it was politically to articulate the position that, while the Iranian regime was doing any number of evil things, those things, in context, weren't quite as evil as many American commentators were making them sound in their efforts to whip up support for some unspecified hardline response.

I remember thinking something similar last year during the controversy over Lena Dunham's admitting in one of her published personal essays that she had, at age nine, over-handled her six-year-old sister. This admission inspired a couple of conservative blogs to post articles with titles along the lines of "LENA DUNHAM: CHILD MOLESTER!!!" I was never entirely sure whether these headlines were offered in good faith or in the spirit of this is the way the Left treats the Right, so turnabout is fair play; it probably varied writer to writer. My own position at the time was, yes, Lena Dunham may be an insufferable Leftist midwit, and she shouldn't have done what she did, and her parents, to the extent that they knew, should have sternly disciplined her, but on the other hand, haven't nine-year-olds been "playing doctor" for a long time without hyperbolic accusations of "abuse"?

Well, behold the specter of asymmetrical media power! From the Democrat-Gazette:

Springdale police began looking into the case in December 2006 when officers were notified about a letter containing allegations of improper touching in the Duggar home. The report says the letter, written 31/2 years earlier, had been found in a book lent by a family friend of the Duggars to someone else.

According the the report, an investigator identified as "W. Taylor" called Michelle Duggar the day the tip was received and was told the family was in Chicago to appear on Oprah Winfrey's television show and wouldn't be back in Arkansas until the following Monday.

The report says staff members for Harpo Studios, producer of Winfrey's show, received an email that warned of the allegations. Studio staff members faxed a copy of the email to the Arkansas State Police on the same day as the anonymous tip was received, according to the report.

The email said, in part, "I think you should know the truth before they make a complete fool of you and your show. They have been on TV before and come across as a perfect family, which couldn't be further from the truth," according to a summary in the police report.

Taylor and Springdale detective Darrell Hignite began interviews in the case Dec. 12.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar told police they learned of a person improperly touching people at their home in 2002 and 2003, according to that Springdale Police Department report. Victims also told police they had been improperly touched, sometimes while they slept. The instances happened over a period of several months.

The person accused admitted to the actions, was disciplined and eventually sent to Little Rock for counseling for three months in March 2003. The decision to send the person to counseling was made after Jim Bob Duggar consulted with leaders of his church.

After returning from counseling, the person was taken by Jim Bob Duggar to an Arkansas State Police corporal. That officer gave the perpetrator "a very stern talk" but didn't report the matter to child-abuse investigators, the report quotes Jim Bob Duggar as saying.

On Dec. 20 of that year, investigators concluded the statute of limitations had expired, precluding any possible sexual-assault charges. The case was sent to the Washington County prosecutor for review. Circuit Judge John Threet, a deputy prosecutor at the time, said he didn't recall the case but wouldn't be allowed under the law to comment on the matter even if he did.

Investigators also filed a "family in need of services" affidavit with Washington County Juvenile Court, the report says.

The sealed Washington County Circuit Court file for "Josh Duggar vs. the Arkansas Department of Human Services," CV 07-921, was found in 2007 by a Northwest Arkansas Times reporter, who now works for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A trial in that case took place Aug. 6, 2007, according to notes attached to the file. Sealed cases aren't supposed to be left in public view, but the Duggar case file had been left in a stack of routine court filings at the circuit clerk's office. The reporter saw no other information on the case at the time.

Amy Webb, spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, said she couldn't comment on any case involving a minor and couldn't confirm or deny there had been a case, she said Wednesday.

Both Josh and Jim Bob Duggar were asked about the case in 2007, and both declined to comment.

I have never watched the Duggars' television show -- I apparently don't have a taste in Red State entertainment -- and I don't have a strong opinion about the Duggars' lifestyle choices. I don't personally want 19 children, nor could I afford to support them, but if the Duggars can and do, then so what? Likewise, if enough people are interested in the drama such a family generates to support a TV show (as apparently there are: the show has millions of fans), then so what?

But the Duggars identify as Christian, so, like Lena Dunham, they have a built-in constituency rooting for their failure, albeit one with the actual power to ruin lives and cancel TV shows. I chose the Arkansas Gazette article because, as near as I can tell, this was the paper that “broke the story” (more on this in a bit), last Wednesday.  (I didn’t hear about it until Friday night.)  But the article nicely illustrates what I find so wrong about the reporting.

First of all, the article is almost comical in its efforts to avoid addressing the first question that came to my mind:  how old were the victims?  In fact, we apparently don’t know:  all birthdates were redacted from the police report.  We do know that the victims include four of the Duggar daughters, the four oldest of which would have ranged in age from 9 – 13 when the problem began and 10 – 14 when they were resolved.  Now, this is pretty bad, but the reporting on the story is trying to insinuate, without coming out and saying so, that Josh is a pedophile.  I don’t think the evidence supports this charge.

As headlines go, “BREAKING:  14-YEAR-OLD FEELS UP 13-YEAR-OLD!!! DETAILS AT 11:00!” isn’t exactly national news.  So the narrative appears to be converging on, for instance, this: “BOMBSHELL DUGGAR POLICE REPORT:  JIM BOB DUGGAR DIDN’T REPORT SON JOSH’S ALLEGED SEX OFFENSES FOR MORE THAN A YEAR”.  The fun part about these kind of articles is that the authors never come out and state their premises or implications.  The premise appears to be that parents are obligated to nuke their own families at a child’s first infraction; the implication is that by no doing that, Jim Bob was indifferent to his son’s behavior.  The second of these is clearly false from the record:  the allegations came to his attention on two occasions, the first in March of 2002 and the second in March of 2003.  He obviously thought that he had fixed the problem the first time; when he learned that he hadn’t, he sought advice from his church, who helped him find a counseling program, and then accompanied him to discuss the matter with the police.

Further, when the police renewed their interest in the case in December2006, the Duggars were extraordinarily cooperative.  (Frankly, under similar circumstances, and with a similar conviction that the problem was not ongoing, I would have lawyered up to protect both myself and my son.)  So the “scandal” angle isn’t even justified by a cover up.

The story of the 2006 revelation is weirdly Gothic:  a “letter” written . . . enclosed in a book, forgotten . . . discovered by third party.  It literally reads like a pitch for a screenplay from the Brontë sisters..  Then there is the email to Oprah from a “61-y-o female:

Before you air the Duggar family from Arkansas with . . . .you need to know the truth.  They are not what they seem to be.  . . . has molested . . . while . . . were sleeping and the parents have been hiding this secret for a long time.  Jim Bob lies to his church and his friends to make him look good.  At this moment he is in trouble with the church for lying about . . . and things that concern the ay the church members reacted.  I think that you should know the truth before they make a complete fool of you and your show.  They have been on TV before and come across as a perfect family, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  They jump from show to show to receive gifts fro their family and to make them look really good to.  Please consider this and confront them abou their secret.

[Spelling errors as they appear in the police report.]

The writer With the exception of the “molestation”, nothing in this email is true; in fact, the police report says that the Duggars were quite open (except with the media) about the incidents with anyone that asked them about it.

Then there is the 2007 “discovery” of a juvenile court record of the case with notes about an August 6 “trial: by a reporter who, twelve years later, happens to be working for the paper that is bringing this story to the public eye.  There is certainly some skullduggery here:  why did the reporter sit on this story for so long.  Why is it brought to light now?  Apparently the present story is driven by the FOIA release of the “cavalierly redacted” police report.  But then, if such reports are FOIA releasable, why was it requested now rather then?

My speculation:  this reporter obtained the juvenile court record unlawfully, not accidentally as is now claimed.  Years later, he needed a job and obtained one by promising the Democrat-Gazzette a scoop about the Duggars.  Maybe this didn’t happen, but I would sure like to hear the real story.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


From Evelyn Waugh's 1932 novel of Africa, Black Mischief:

The train which brought the Emperor to Debra Dowa also brought the mail. It was a great day at the British Legation. The bags were brought into the dining room and they all sat round dealing out the letters and parcels, identifying the handwritings and reading over each other's shoulders . . . .

"I say, though, here's something interesting, my word it is. Can't make head or tail of the thing. It says, 'Good luck. Copy this letter out nine times and send it to nine different friends' . . . What an extraordinary idea."

"Envoy dear, do be quiet. I want to try the new records."

"No, but Prudence, do listen It was started by an American officer in France. If one breaks the chain one gets bad luck, and if one sends it on, good luck. There was one woman lost her husband and another one who made a fortune at roulette -- all through doing it and not doing it . . . you know I should never have believed that possible . . ."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Further Thoughts on Property

All metaphors have useful limits.  For instance, I was struck by this element of the “Man Box” from the last lesson:

  • Views women as property/Objects

To the extent of my knowledge of the history of Western Christendom, women as a class have been literally “property”, in the same way as slaves were property, exactly never.  But metaphorically speaking, it is true that men were seen, and to a limited extent seen today, as having something akin to an ownership interest in the women in their care:  their wives, primarily, but also blood relatives.  And by having such an interest, they were expected to defend it from predatory males.  As Steve Sailer has pointed out, failing to defend your women from forcible rape is deeply shameful.  Historically, it means that your menfolk lost the war.

But the essence of property is this:

If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.

The Bible does not to by knowledge ever instruct, “Thou shalt have property.”  Instead, it has the Eighth Commandment.   if logical inference isn’t your strong suit, it spells it out in the Sixth: 

If it’s not yours, don’t sleep with it. 

And to keep you well out of trouble, it tacks on the Tenth: 

If it’s not yours, don’t even look at it too fondly. 

These kind of boundaries are understood by married women, religious or not:  they speak of “my husband”, and the property implication isn’t merely accidental; on the contrary, with respect to other women, it isn’t even merely metaphorical.  The armed services, for all their sponsorship of this feminist carping, give the property understanding the force of law:  adultery is still punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as Kelly Flynn and David Petraeus learned the hard way.

Framed that way, it becomes obvious that to the extent that our culture has a problem with sexual assault, it is not property in women, but rather the absence of property in women, that has brought us to it.  It is yet another experiment in communism / utopian anarchism, where nobody owns anything, therefore anything is up for grabs.  And like all such experiments, it founders on the “Tragedy of the Commons”:  there is little thought given to care and protection.  If nobody owns anything, why give a sh!t.

Now, confronted with this framing, the feminists will of course assert that this is not what they meant.  What they actually meant was that women should have property in themselves, that they “own themselves” and their sexuality.  But in practice, this amounts to nothing more than sexual free-agency, an assertion that women should be unconstrained, not just by law, but by religion, by community standards, by anything save their own passing fancy.  Women are made free to sell themselves to the highest bidder, be the currency charm, physicality, or more typically, sufficient quantities of alcohol.

Which brings us to our present pass.  What were once bright and immutable lines separating lawful access from unlawful access have been made fuzzy and every-shifting.  And men, wanting sexual access, will do what they can to shift that line in the direction favorable to their interests, and be sufficiently successful at it to make the game worthwhile.  But it’s in the nature of that game for someone to wind up on the wrong side of it, not very often perhaps as a percentage of couplings, but regularly enough in the absolute sense to generate the statistics that feminists like to complain about.

Monday, May 04, 2015

SAPR Training 2015, Vol 3: Men and Manhood

From the slide:

Flip the Script Vol 3 Men and Manhood_p1

Flip the Script Vol 3 Men and Manhood_p2

Question 1. The intent of this question is for participants to discuss the cultural expectations that are put on men, to include aggression, no emotions, bread winner, to always want sex and money, to be the athlete, to love war and violence etc.

Allow participants to share their thoughts and feelings about these expectations. These are often described as the “Man Box”

  • Do not cry openly or express emotions (With the exception of anger)
  • Do not express weakness or fear
  • Demonstrate power/control especially over women
  • Aggression-Dominance
  • Do not be “like a woman”
  • Heterosexual
  • Tough/Athletic/Strength/Courage
  • Makes Decisions – does not need help
  • Views women as property/Objects

Blame Darwin.

If I had to make a list of qualities a man should possess to maximize his opportunity of passing his genes to the next generation, this would be it.  First, a man must be able to protect his herds from predators, which means having both the strength and courage to stand his ground when fleeing in terror is immediately more appealing.  Second, a man must not be conquered, killed or enslaved by other men, which means having those qualities, plus aggression and emotional control, lest his enemies sense weakness and opportunity.  As warfare becomes more sophisticated, decisiveness prevents being tactically out-thought.  And most important, if a man’s work is not to be squandered, he should remember to do some baby-making when he gets home, and he better damn sure not be a cuckold, which means keeping his women in line and out of the power of other men.

Now, I will be the first to admit that, in our present age, this is by no means an exhaustive list of the traits we need to cultivate for our people to endure and thrive in a competitive world.  The kind of personality necessary for, saying sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer screen designing the next generation of weapon systems, or working on an assembly line manufacturing those weapon systems, is probably not the same personality that risks his life to slaughter people at close range.  And these , and these or any other qualities can reach the point of diminishing – indeed, net negative – returns.  Decisiveness can be rash; courage can be heedless; emotional control can be hard on mental health; jealousy can be hard on relationships; and dominance can eventually provoke resentment and rebellion.

So yes, all things in balance.  But absent the imminent threat of invasion and conquest – our society faces these threats for other reasons, as my readers well know – where this balance is struck is mostly determined by where and how women bestow their romantic attention.  I will be the first to rejoice when we see fewer cheerleaders at football games and more at math club.  But until that happens, the vision of masculinity that prevails in society will be very different than that promulgated by our SAPR overlords.

From Tony Porter’s TED talk:

I can remember speaking to a twelve-year-old boy, a football player.  And I asked him, I said, “How would you feel if in front of all the players, the coach told you, you were playing like a girl?”  Now, I expected him to say something like, “I’d be sad,” or “I’d be mad,” “I’d be angry,” something like that.  No, the boy said to me, “it would destroy me.”  And I said to myself, God, if it would destroy him to be called a girl, what are we then teaching him about him about girls?

Of course, Tony Porter has this exactly backwards.  I would submit the following as a universal constant:  in every society, everywhere and always, the definition of masculinity among twelve-year-old boys is to not be a girl.  That is what makes the coach’s criticism so effective:  he isn’t required to explain to his players why being effeminate on the field is bad.  They know why its bad, known it in the core of their being since the onset of puberty.  Socially, we might have a larger range of facilities in our definition of masculinity than we are presently using; as a lifelong nerd, I fervently hope we do.  But to simply assert, as Tony Porter is apparently doing, that we should discard the “man box” in favor of equality is lose forever any credibility with twelve year olds forever.  We might keep those twelve-year-olds in line with threats of violence, assuming that the SAPR lords retain the loyalty of men described above.  But when those twelve-year-olds become men themselves, they will invent their own version of masculinity free of civilized moderation.  And we won’t like it.