Detecting Totalitarian Ideologies on Independence Day 2020

JRM Blue jacket Mary Sweetened thumbnail

“Soft power” systems to justify the accumulation of hard power, disarming victims and providing cover for abusers.

 Today is July 4th, 2020, Independence Day in the United States. I’m going to a cook-out today as soon as I finish this video, so I’m dressed in my picnic clothes. America is on edge today. We are seeing increasing restrictions to try to control the coronavirus. We are seeing rioting in the streets and the destruction of monuments.

We don’t feel like “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Independence Day is a good day to reflect on totalitarian ideologies. How can we tell the difference between the government making legitimate use of its power to protect the common good, and the arbitrary illegitimate use of that power? How can we distinguish calls for reform and calls for revolution? These are not theoretical academic questions. The future of our way of life depends on getting this right. Continue reading “Detecting Totalitarian Ideologies on Independence Day 2020”

Why I Stopped Talking About Economics When I Started Talking About Family

Originally published at The Stream on January 8, 2019, reprinted here with the exact tagline that appeared with the article. 

Tucker Carlson is right. But his method is wrong. 

Tucker Carlson’s monologue on January 2 set off a firestorm of negative commentary. I want to say for the record: I agree completely with Carlson’s closing statement, “If you want to put America first, you’ve got to put its families first.” I also want to say for the record: I disagree with the wrappings in which Carlson presented his important message.

Talk About the Family, and Only the Family

Here is why he is profoundly correct: Continue reading “Why I Stopped Talking About Economics When I Started Talking About Family”

Secular Arguments for Marriage are Not Enough

My latest at Crisis

“The Marriage of the Virgin” 1644 Phillipe de Champaigne

Scott Hahn is a prolific Biblical scholar with a huge fan-base among orthodox Catholics. He doesn’t need my help promoting his new book, The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of Social Order. But I need some help from him. I need his help convincing my pro-marriage policy-wonk friends that our defense of marriage needs spiritual and theological arguments, along with natural law arguments. What we are doing isn’t working.

Losing the Public Policy Argument
No serious person can deny it: marriage, the institution of one-man-one-woman-for-life, is getting clobbered in public policy debates. I’ve been involved in pro-family debates for a long time and I’ve used plenty of social science data and logical reasoning. I’m convinced the secular world needs more than secular arguments.

We have lost the male-female requirement for marriage. We have Continue reading “Secular Arguments for Marriage are Not Enough”

The Church Militant Needs the Church Suffering and Vice Versa

The Church asks that we pray for the souls in purgatory, especially in November. We are the Church Militant. The Souls in purgatory are the Church Suffering. They need our help.

There’s only one door out of purgatory for the Holy Souls there. It opens only into heaven. But here’s the catch: they open it by suffering long enough and thoroughly enough to be purged from a lifetime of imperfections.  They are trying to join the saints in heaven, the Church Triumphant on the other side of the door. They can get there a lot quicker if we help them with our prayers and sacrifices on their behalf.

What do you suppose will happen once they get to heaven? Those members of the Church Suffering will become members of the Church Triumphant. They will, in turn, pray for us. They will have our backs.

Remember this scene from The Return of the King?

 

This kind of help can be ours.

The souls in Hell have nothing to offer anyone on earth. The Evil One cannot revive corpses. He has no power to allow the dead souls he has dragged into Hell come back to life and bother the living. The Communion of the Saints, living and dead, gives us an advantage the Evil One cannot match. Let’s use it to the fullest.

Pray for the repose of the souls of the dead. Face it: we need all the help we can get right now.

Divorce Rates, State by State

The Lake Charles American Press published an article about state-by-state divorce rates.

Louisiana has the fourth highest divorce rate in the country, according to 24/7 Wall Street, a financial news and commentary website. The state rate is 20.8 divorces per 1,000 married couples. Only Arkansas, Idaho and Nevada had higher divorce rates. Oklahoma held down fifth place.

The article acknowledges that income and employment have a lot to do with a state’s divorce rate.

Louisiana’s median income of $45,146 is much lower than the national median income of $57,617 and the state had an unemployment rate last year of 6.1 percent…. Massachusetts, on the other hand, had a $75,297 median income and an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent. Also, 42.7 percent of the state’s adults hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, the highest percentage in the country.

This points to the growing gap between the college educated, and everyone else. The college-educated professional classes denigrate marriage, (It’s just a piece of paper), chastity (Abstinence is for losers) and celebrate divorce (Kids are resilient) and (Divorce is liberating). But when it comes right down to it, the professional class gets married before having kids, and stays married.

Professional women cannot meet their aspirations for their own children as a single mom. So they get married and stay married. But delayed childbearing is the price of entry into the professions. So the educated classes are deeply committed to the Contraceptive Ideology. (Separating sex from child-bearing is an entitlement.) 

God love the working and middle classes of this country. They try to do the right thing. They are frequently the butt of jokes and the object of derision by the “betters.” Yet the good salt-of-the-earth people, like those we have here in Louisiana, still strive to do the right thing. I love them. They are in my mind and heart, a lot of the time.

Transgender Policy Rescinded: Novena for Our Nation

LifeSiteNews reports:

In a reversal of federal policy that pleased marriage advocates and angered LGBTQI groups, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memo interpreting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as not intended to apply to transgenders….

Sessions explained that the word “sex” in the 1964 law means “biologically male or female,” so that particular statute says nothing about “discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”

Naturally, the LGBT Legal Establishment and their friends in the media have a different interpretation. BuzzFeed’s headline tells its own story: 

This headline is accurate as far as it goes. But, it does not point out that:

  • Congress never passed a law including gender identity as part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
  • Existing discrimination law was built around the prohibition of discrimination against people for immutable characteristics, such as race.
  • “Gender identity” is not an “immutable characteristic:” an individual does not need a medical or psychological diagnosis, in order to define themselves into the classification of “transgender.”
  • Eric Holder, Attorney General under Obama, issued his own memo back which held that the 1964 law includes gender identity.
  • Therefore, current Attorney General Sessions’ memo simply returns federal policy back to what it was in those dark medieval days before 2014.
  • The steady expansion of discrimination law from race to a category into which a person can define themselves, is not self-evidently “progress.”

The idea that the sex of the body is a social construct, which can be socially reconstructed, and now, personally, reconstructed through a combination of hormone therapy and surgery is a full-out assault on our existence as bodily creatures. We are mammals.  Sexual differentiation between male and female is a reality of the entire mammal class.

The sexual radicals resent the fact that we are created male and female. The transgender ideology is a reflection of that resentment. This is not a small, harmless idea. Nor is it something that is so crazy it will naturally burn itself out. We must oppose the ideology and the ideologues, while showing love and compassion to the people in its grip.

One more thing: this memo was issued on October 4. Thousands of people have been praying a 54 Day Novena for our Nation, that ends today, October 7.

Coincidence? You believe what you want to believe. I’ll believe what I want to believe.

Doing it like Jesus would

“La crucifixion” (1597) by El Greco

Most of my readers have probably heard about the Ruth Institute’s dust-up with being called a “hate group.” We showed up on CNN’s republication of the SPLC’s “hate map.” Our credit card processing company dropped us unceremoniously. I want to ask you to help us.

Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Many of you have sent complaints to Vanco, our (former) credit card processing company. Some have written to Wells Fargo Bank, which is evidently the banking partner in the background of Vanco, and most likely the instigator of the change. Thank you. I appreciate it very much. Many of you have sent donations to the Ruth Institute. Thank you for that as well.

But today, I would like to ask for one more thing. I ask you to pray for the officers in charge at Vanco and at Wells Fargo. If you have already written to them, please write them again, telling them you are praying for them.

What prompted this request? I went to confession today, before 6:30 AM Mass. (Our church has confessions for a half hour, prior to every Mass. What a blessing!) Anyhow, the priest asked me to pray for those I have harmed, and those who have harmed me. So why not Vanco and Wells Fargo?

Our telling them we are praying for them will have an impact on them, far beyond anything we can predict or even realize after the fact. So, do this for me, please, won’t you? We will not win the culture war by fighting on the turf chosen by our opponents. We can only win on the turf chosen by Christ. Our opponents won’t even think about genuine love (as in willing the good of the other person) as a genuine weapon. We can do this.

What it is Like Being Smeared by the SPLC

This is an abbreviated version of a Wall Street Journal article by Professor Carol Swain, formerly professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University.

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, was to testify before the House Homeland Security Committee about threats posed by domestic extremist groups. The hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed because of Hurricane Irma. As a black conservative who has been smeared by the SPLC, I recommend against reinviting Mr. Cohen….

Dr. Carol Swain, a former Vanderbilt professor of law and political science.

What landed me in the SPLC’s crosshairs was a Sept. 10, 2009, Huffington Post blog entry titled “Mission Creep and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Misguided Focus.” I pointed out the SPLC’s silence about video footage released after the 2008 elections showing members of the New Black Panther Party, decked out in full paramilitary regalia, patrolling a polling precinct in Philadelphia where they were clearly intimidating white voters.

Although several news organizations covered the story, the SPLC ignored the incident. At the time, the law center was spending an inordinate amount of time attacking then-CNN host Lou Dobbs for his relentless focus on illegal immigration. It demanded that CNN fire the anchor. After CNN and Mr. Dobbs parted ways, the SPLC took credit for getting him off the air. I ended my post with a one-liner that raised the ire of the organization and had a devastating effect on my life. I wrote: “Rather than monitoring hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center has become one.”

The SPLC’s retaliation was vicious and effective. On Oct. 17, 2009, my photo appeared on the front page of my local newspaper, the Tennessean, with the headline “ Carol Swain is an apologist for white supremacists.” That was a quote from Mark Potok, at the time the SPLC’s national spokesman. The context for Mr. Potok’s attack was a review I gave for a film titled “A Conversation About Race.” I endorsed it for classroom use because it offered a perspective on race rarely encountered on university campuses. Mr. Potok argued that the filmmaker was a bigot. I felt then and now that the perspective needed to be heard.

This negative article was featured on the front pages of several newspapers and it went viral, especially in black media outlets. The attacks did not subside until this newspaper’s website published a lengthy article titled “In Defense of Carol Swain.”

Being targeted by the SPLC has had a lasting impact on my life and career. Offers from other universities ended and speaking opportunities declined. Once you’ve been smeared in this way, mainstream news outlets are less likely to cite you as an expert of any kind.

Yet today I wear the SPLC’s mud as a badge of honor because I know I am in the company of many good men and women who have been similarly vilified for standing for righteousness and truth. Other SPLC targets have included Ben Carson (who eventually received an apology and retraction), Somali refugee Ayaan Hirsi Ali, terrorism expert Steve Emerson, political scientist Guenter Lewy (who successfully sued the SPLC), attorney Robert Muise, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, and Princeton professor Robert P. George. The SPLC has tagged Mr. George, a devout Catholic intellectual, as “anti-LGBT.” … (Likewise, the SPLC considers the Ruth Institute ‘anti-LGBT.’  JRM) 

The SPLC should not be dignified with invitations to provide congressional testimony about domestic extremism as long as it continues to advance a transparently partisan agenda—one Mr. Potok has publicly acknowledged is designed to “destroy” groups it opposes.

Ms. Swain, a former professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University, is author of “The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration.”

Appeared in the September 12, 2017, print edition of the  WSJ article, behind a paywall. Please consider subscribing to the WSJ, if you appreciate this article. Also, if you are a subscriber, please write them a nice note, thanking them for their attention to this issue. 

Ruth Institute Statement on being cut off by Vanco

The Ruth Institute, of which I am the President and Founder, issued this statement on Friday, August 31:

The Ruth Institute learned at 2 PM Thursday that Vanco, our on-line donation processing service, was cancelling our service immediately. Their letter stated:

Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute. The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse. Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies.”

We immediately went to the donation page on our website and found it had already been shut down. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute made these statements in response:

  • The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a “hate group,” so be it.
  • Vanco, Card Brands, and Wells Fargo are private businesses. The Ruth Institute respects their right to conduct their businesses as they see fit. We just wish wedding photographers, bakers, and florists received the same respect.
  • No one from Vanco, Card Brands or Wells Fargo ever contacted the Ruth Institute to inquire about how we “promote hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse.”
  • The Ruth Institute is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map,” which was recently in the news. We have been on this “Hate Map” since 2013. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever been inspired to riot or shoot anyone by our activities.
  • We have compiled the items which some groups have found objectionable on a page called “Where’s the Hate?” Anyone interested can review that material and judge for themselves whether the Ruth Institute belongs on a list with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.
  • The Vanco company markets itself to religious organizations. Many churches use their services for processing donations. We surmise that Vanco dropped us because we hold views about marriage, family and human sexuality that are considered “Anti-LGBT.” Our beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups. Christian organizations that utilize Vanco’s services may wish to reconsider.
  • Donors to the Ruth Institute can rest assured that their private information has not been compromised. Supporters can send checks to our main office, 4845 Lake St.; #217; Lake Charles, LA 70605.

To interview Dr. Morse, please email info@ruthinstitute.org.

The Ruth Institute’s Statement on the SPLC “Hate Map”

For immediate release, August 23, 2017. 

The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a “hate group,” so be it.

Once again, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map” is in the news, this time due to CNN publishing it in the wake of the events in Charlottesville. The Ruth Institute is listed on that map as an “anti-LGBT” group. In fact, The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization creating a mass social movement to end family breakdown by energizing the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution.

We were first listed on that map in 2013. At that time, no one from the SPLC contacted us about the possibility of being included on their “hate map.” They made no effort to understand our mission, then or now. No one outside the SPLC knows how organizations come to be included on the list. No one knows how to get off the list. The SPLC sets itself up as judge, jury and enforcer of the charge of “hate.”

People who cannot defend their positions using reason and evidence resort to name-calling to change the subject away from their anemic arguments. The “hate group” label is a club such people invented to bludgeon their political opponents.

The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a “hate group,” so be it.

We have assembled a few of the materials that some have found hateful on our page called Where’s the Hate? The Ruth Institute invites the public to review these items and decide for themselves who is “hate-filled.”

The Ruth Institute categorically condemns white supremacy, racism, Nazism, and all violent totalitarian political movements. However, under the circumstances, the Ruth Institute is honored by the “hate group” label, pinned upon us by people who show no capacity for reasoned argument.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, please email us at  info@ruthinstitute.org.

This statement was originally published at The Ruth Institute, August 23, 2017.