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September 12, 2012

"It's Not Just Wrong. It's Dangerous!"

And therefore, contra our usual professions of tolerance and respect for diversity and the First Amendment, it must be ruthlessly crushed before it kills again. Because let's face it: we're not just talking about dissent anymore. We're talking about a public health hazard. Compare and contrast:

Perpetuating a culture where gay teenagers -- who are already commonly battling notions of inferiority and self-hatred -- can be openly and decidedly told they aren't welcome among a preeminent organization that purports to represent and define a standard of behavioral ideals, is dangerous. It's a decided step back in rejecting the culture of gay bullying. We will see more depression, and more suicide. We'll see more discrimination of every sort, and more hatred.

- James Hamblin, The Atlantic

And a new Obama campaign ad:

“Mitt Romney's position on women's health, it's dangerous,” a woman says in the ad.

The narrator then says Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, “allow employers to deny coverage for cancer screenings and birth control,” and says both have backed legislation that would outlaw abortions in cases of rape and incest.

“We can't afford to let him take away our choices, to take away basic healthcare,” the woman in the ad continues. “I don’t think that women’s health issues have faced a crises like this in decades.

Let's stop for a moment, put aside the hyperventilating hyperbole, and lay out the arguments being made here. With respect to the BSA, if a private, non-federally funded organization anywhere in the United States is allowed to set its own membership standards - and allowed to exclude people based on these standards - and the application of those membership standards makes the excluded person feel bad, they have created a "public health hazard". Once this occurs, as Herr Hamblin santimoniously notes, we're no longer talking about freedom of association or free speech. Nossir, we're talking about an Existential Threat to Public Safety:

Boy Scouts is an organization that was and is so close to being great. Remember when they had to put Old Yeller down because he got rabies? It's not like he was a bad dog, but he got a brain infection and he tried to eat Travis.

The policy is embarrassing and archaic, sure. And it's in opposition to the core tenets of scouting, yes. But the real value in speaking against it is that it's dangerous. When a group as massive (2.7 million youth members) and respected as the Boy Scouts makes a move like this, it stands to exacerbate a public health hazard in such a way that we can't just agree to disagree.

Now surely Mr. Hamblin isn't slyly comparing the Boy Scouts of America to a rabid animal that must be destroyed, lest it chew our collective faces off. If that were the case, open minded pundits like William Saletan would surely take him to task.

Likewise, an ad put out by the Obama campaign that falsely conflates actual access to preventative health care, birth control, or abortion with forcing one's fellow citizens to provide reproductive health care services free of charge (to women, but not to men, that is) isn't dishonest. And suggesting that if Mitt Romney is elected, women everywhere will start dropping like flies isn't exactly the kind of fear mongering the Bush administration was so often accused of with regard to terrorists who (unlike the Romney campaign) have openly and repeatedly vowed to destroy Western civilization.

It just seems that way.

Posted by Cassandra at September 12, 2012 07:17 AM

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The Boy Scouts are dangerous. They always have been. The whole point of the organization from its inception has been to prepare boys to become men, and men are very dangerous. The 1911 handbook says:

In all ages there have been scouts, the place of the scout being on the danger line of the army or at the outposts, protecting those of his company who confide in his care. The army scout was the soldier who was chosen out of all the army to go out on the skirmish line. The pioneer, who was out on the edge of the wilderness, guarding the men, women, and children in the stockade, was also a scout. Should he fall asleep, or lose control of his faculties, or fail on his watch, then the lives of the men, women, and children paid the forfeit, and the scout lost his honor.

But there have been other kinds of scouts besides war scouts and frontier scouts. They have been the men of all ages, who have gone out on new and strange adventures...

They had to know how to live so as to keep healthy and strong, to face any danger that came their way, and to help one another. These scouts of old were accustomed to take chances with death and they did not hesitate to give up their lives in helping their comrades or country. In fact, they left everything behind them, comfort and peace, in order to push forward into the wilderness beyond. And much of this they did because they felt it to be their duty. These little-known scouts could be multiplied indefinitely by going back into the past ages and reading the histories and stories of the knights of King Arthur, of the Crusaders, and of the great explorers and navigators of the world.

The Scouts teach honor, personal responsibility, courage, skill, an awareness of the heritage of the West and a commitment to defend it. Of course they have terrible enemies. Of course they must be destroyed.

Posted by: Grim at September 12, 2012 09:28 AM

Someone's got to pay for it. Womyn can't do it for themselves, any more than they can buy their own drinks.

Posted by: Texan99 at September 12, 2012 10:00 AM

I almost sent this one to you a few weeks ago when I first read it, Grim. I was - quite literally - stunned by it.

wrt Texan99's comment, it's hard to imagine such coded sexism getting by the gender police, had it come from a Rethuglican. Think about the message - women are helpless victims who have NO ability to decide how to spend the money they earn. So naturally, any attempt to suggest they should assume adult responsibilities and pay for goods or services they want (as their mothers and grandmothers did before them) is tantamount to "denying them access to health care".

Wow. Just wow.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 12, 2012 10:25 AM

I think it goes beyond deciding how to spend the money they earn to how responsible they want to be for their choices.

Deciding how to spend their money is part of it.

I can't imagine a more sexist message than 'Women are dimbulbs who need Big Brother to take care of them.'

However, isn't that argument part of the bigger picture of taking away all ability to choose from the people?

Posted by: Carolyn at September 12, 2012 10:51 AM

Ack. I wasn't finished. (Oh stop whining)

What about the feminists of a century ago who died to give us the right to vote, to own property and control our money?

Posted by: Carolyn at September 12, 2012 10:53 AM

Ack. I wasn't finished. (Oh stop whining)

That's Romney's fault, too :p

You can't finish without everyone else's help, yanno. Because women are uniquely vulnerable and helpless, while simultaneously being just as strong, smart, and ambitious as men.

When we succeed, it's because we're just so much more highly evolved then the penis-having half of humanity.

But when we don't succeed, it's because the penis-havers, who are dumber and more primitive than women, are somehow keeping us down.... all that inferiority notwithstanding.

The unbearable inaneness of identity politics, whether spouted by radical feminists or the MRA types, never ceases to astound me.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 12, 2012 10:58 AM

Now would be a great time to remind the perennially disenclued Obama administration that annual household spending on health care is just about equal to annual household spending on entertainment.

Or "meals away from home" (an entirely separate category of spending from entertainment colloquially known as "eating at restaurants", something my husband and I almost never did until he made Lt. Colonel because we chose - there's that word again!!!! - to spend our money on more important things like private schooling for our boys).

Which was about 4 times as expensive as health care, so technically we should not have been able to afford it without government subsidies.

How *did* we survive all those years?

Posted by: Cassandra at September 12, 2012 11:04 AM

...on one income, another thing progressives like to claim is "impossible" these days, but which we found to be eminently possible even when we were in the bottom income quintile with two children.


Posted by: Cassandra at September 12, 2012 11:09 AM

"...it's because the penis-havers, who are dumber and more primitive than women,..."

It's not our fault we were given two heads and only enough blood to run one at a time!

Posted by: The Wizzerd of Izz at September 12, 2012 11:45 AM

How to know when you need to file for intellectual bankruptcy: when you have to constantly re-define common concepts.

Public health hazard is no longer associated with a highly communicable disease; it's a group of people acting in concert in a fashion you don't care for.

Barrier to access is no longer about society denying basic civil rights; it's about other people not ponying up the money so you can have free stuff.

Posted by: Allen at September 12, 2012 12:23 PM

That's an interesting observation, Allen.

Years ago I was talking with my youngest boy about linguistics. I observed that the focus of some hard leftists has been to change the language by making certain words off-limits, because it's hard to talk about (much less think about) a topic if you lack the words to describe what you're thinking.

But I think another technique is to change the associations or meanings of commonly used words. The "racist dog whistle" technique is a curious attempt to do both things at the same time: make certain subjects off limits, but also to change the common understanding of certain words and phrases so that, should someone brazenly attempt to discuss off-limits topics in defiance of lefty dogma, listeners will associate their words with what leftists want them to hear rather than what the speaker actually said.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 12, 2012 12:29 PM

"You can't finish without everyone else's help, yanno. Because women are uniquely vulnerable and helpless, while simultaneously being just as strong, smart, and ambitious as men."

There you go again with your insufferable man-hating, gynocentric, feminazi ranting again! It's impossible for men to get an even shake with misandrists like you around!

Posted by: MikeD at September 12, 2012 02:01 PM

Cassandra, when you can't win in the marketplace of free ideas, change the nature of the market. These days it seems even talking about the efficacy of government programs has become forbidden. That's pretty sad.

Posted by: Allen at September 12, 2012 02:53 PM

I agree with the taboo words or changing the meaning a la George Orwell.

After reading that Shining Pearls missive, I tend to agree. Our Eldest ran across one of these privileged grrrls, and it took the powers of saints and martyrs to keep me from snatching her bald-headed whenever she came over. He has become enlightened, but for a while there it was touch and go.

Posted by: Carolyn at September 12, 2012 07:15 PM

Oh, and MikeD, hie thee to a mancave. I know men endure penile servitude, but really, you must contemplate the selfishness of having one which grants you and all similarly endowed beings all things with a mere wave...

Posted by: La Femme Crickita at September 12, 2012 07:18 PM

...who died to give us the right to vote...

Were there feminists who died in this struggle? The only candidate I know of was British, Emily Davidson, and many think she was trying to commit suicide. (She did, after all, jump in front of a running horse.)

There are certainly some Muslim feminists who have been killed, and perhaps there were some American women who were, but I'm not aware of any. Should I be? I was admittedly under the impression that -- some arrests aside -- this was the 'good case' for a civil rights expansion without significant bloodshed. In fact, it's nearly the only example of such an expansion, as I understand it.

Posted by: Grim at September 12, 2012 08:44 PM

I think I was thinking of the Brit; but I do remember reading about women who were being force-fed, and treated rather vilely. I was under the impression a couple of them starved to death. I should not have said feminists. Suffragettes. My grandmother got married in 1916. She registered to vote in 1920. She, being the Scots gentlewoman that she was, believed that women needed to be able to have the scales of justice tip a bit more to the distaff side in some respects.

My family history is a rather different one, what with them being from Utah. One of the rights the wimmin had to give up was the vote as a condition of statehood.

Posted by: Carolyn at September 13, 2012 12:41 AM