Sex crime and police matters

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I completely understand why Nottingham police want to fight back against the street harassment of women, but I think we are treating the symptoms, not the causes. Additionally the medicine proposed by Nottingham Police is also toxic. It erodes civil liberties, misallocates police resources, reinforces victimhood culture, allows subjectivity into a domain where evidence is vital to justice, sexist and open to abuse by malicious women or pressure groups with an interest in exaggerating the scale of the problem.

What are the misogynistic hate crimes that Nottingham Police will record separately and make a “police matter”?

“Incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman.”

Example include:

  • Wolf-whistling
  • Staring at body parts (breasts)
  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Unwanted physical or verbal contact
  • Unwanted mobile phone messages
  • Taking photos without consent

None of this is evidence based. It is all about subjective experiences, how the women feel.

Feel not think

Nor is it even about crimes. The mere recounting of an alleged incident will result in a recorded “hate” incident….

No crime is still crime

What are we to make of all this?

I really want us to solve this problem. I come from a family and culture where male respect for women and being a gentlemanliness are highly valued. Where I grew up, the abuse of women – verbally or physically – would earn any man a thorough hiding at the hands of other men. Merely swearing in front of women was considered an embarrassing lapse that might earn you a smack on the ear from an older male.

I am the father of two daughters and I want them to live in a safe, decent society free from harassment of any sort. I also want them to live in a free and fair society, not a nanny state where every human interaction needs to be policed and the mere feelings of a designated member of a “victim class”- entirely independent of evidence or objective standards – are sufficient to criminalise actions. Those feelings are also enough to classify any public encounter or incident as a “hate incident”, again unlinked to evidence, which will lead to a body of “evidence”, that will possibly derange public policy and policing.

We have the familiar cast of bunglers in this story. The state trying to shore up collapsing social mores with ham-fisted and discriminatory over-legislation and destruction of civil liberties. We have social worker-bureaucrats – like Nottingham’s “hate crime manager” David Alton- securing their jobs generating a growing list of hate-crime victim groups and classifications. We have pressure groups grinding their political axes.

My main gripe with this police reaction is that is addresses the symptoms not the causes.  In Turkey, they understand this.

 

Chemical castration of sex offenders in Turkey condemned by women's groups | Global development | The Guardian 2016-08-17 19-01-10

Turkish women’s groups understand that punishing individual sex offenders, however cruelly, will not stop systematic problems unless the root causes are addressed. Photo is a screenshot of the Guardian website, click the image for the article.

Women’s rights groups, lawyers and doctors have condemned Turkey’s decision to introduce a mandatory chemical castration programme for convicted sex offenders, arguing the treatment does not address the underlying reasons for widespread violence against women, and that bodily punishment will instead lead to increased abuse.

Özgül Kaptan, director of the Women’s Solidarity Foundation (Kadav), has condemned the law – which came into effect on 26 July, at a time of extended legislative powers – as misguided.

“It’s a very bad and dangerous decision,” she said. “The law reduces crimes related to sexual abuse and rape to the one offending individual and to that individual’s body, which disregards the systemic problem of why so many men in Turkey commit these crimes or are violent against women.

“Men are taught to think that they have a right over women. We need to change ideas about gender equality and masculinity. What we really need is a change of attitude, of education. That cannot be done by passing such a law, or overnight.” – The Guardian, “Chemical castration of sex offenders in Turkey condemned by women’s groups“,  Monday 15th August 2016

The Turkish feminists have an unlikely ally, Rob Slane writing in Conservative Woman magazine. All emphases mine:

The other big problem with the statement itself is that it is so vaguely worded as to be essentially meaningless. It could include just about every attitude or example of behaviour men exhibit towards women (or should that be men exhibit towards woman?), and is thus at the mercy of entirely subjective definitions of what does and what doesn’t constitute a misogynistic hate crime. Does it include a man attempting to give up his seat for a woman on public transport? The definition is vague enough to include it if the lady in question perceives it to be demeaning.

Of course you might say that this is not the sort of thing Nottinghamshire police are talking about. What they are actually trying to address is real, low-level harassment that women in their area often face. What do you say to that then?

Simply that this is a hopelessly foolish way of dealing with it, and the method merely confirms that we took a wrong direction way back when. In the first instance, police forces continually complain about overstretch and of the need to free up resources. How does this woolly-worded initiative achieve this? It doesn’t. What it could end up doing, though, is forcing officers to spend their time investigating hundreds of low-level instances of harassment, and so missing the more serious incidents.

So how do you deal with incidents of low-level harassment? There are no quick fix answers to this, but the clue is to work out how we got here. How did we get to the stage where young boys today have immeasurably less respect for girls today than they would have had even 20 or 30 years ago? How did we get to the stage where multitudes of young men see females through the porn filter? How did we get to the stage where the chances of a woman finding a man who will be responsible and faithful to her are becoming less and less each year?

…Much of what are now being labelled “misogynistic hate crimes” are simply a consequence of the tearing up of the very relationships and social expectations that once required males to be respectful towards women. Yet having done it, we are surprised to see the outcome – a generation of males who are less respectful towards women. As C.S. Lewis put it, “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

And so having torn up those relationships which were so vital, women must now apparently look to the State to step in and deal with the consequences. In the past, other men would have performed this function. A man who was seen to be hassling a woman would have been told in no uncertain terms by others in the community to quit it. And he would have quit it, knowing that the consequences of continuing were most unfavourable to him. Who will do that now? Those that might be prepared to do so know they run the risk of being beaten to a pulp.

The answer to the disrespect and unpleasant hassling of women is not to be found in yet more laws and more policing of such incidents. Instead it is in recognising that far from bringing liberty and a more civil society, the hacking away of the relationships and social boundaries mentioned above has largely destroyed the foundations from which true liberty and civil society can begin to flourish. Only when we have reconciled ourselves to this might we begin once again to see boys growing up into men who really do respect women.

http://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/rob-slane-so-called-misogynistic-hate-crime-is-the-bitter-fruit-of-the-feminist-assault-on-marriage/

I agree with Rob on this. We have gone badly wrong somewhere and the solution is not the police. It is cultural, political and educational. It is about values. Involving the police seldom helps and sometimes even inadvertently hurts:

Carceral solutions to structural problems have a tendency to have the most negative consequences for more marginalised people. They also tend to help marginalised people the least.

…What we are very likely to see with treating misogyny as a hate crime is that there could well be more arrests and prosecutions, but only under particular circumstances: when a Nice White Lady™ is victimised by a Nasty Black Or Brown Man™.

…It’s a repeated pattern in carceral solutions, and means that help will not go to the women who need it most because the police would rather come down hard on people that they already despise.

At the end of the day, the solution to misogyny is the same boring old thing that is the solution to everything else: societal change, starting with ourselves. Challenge it where you find it and nurture and embody alternatives, and support and believe survivors. The police are not, and have never been, the magic bullet for solving problems that they cannot even begin to solve.

Misogyny is misogyny, and the police have never been our salvation.

From https://stavvers.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/at-best-treating-misogyny-as-a-hate-crime-wont-make-any-difference/

Another gripe I have is that many of these laws are unenforceable. The dreadful spate of sexual harassment crimes and rapes now plaguing Sweden show us that even with dozens of witnesses, stringent police attention and tokenism in the form of “Don’t Grope” bracelets, almost all the cases “were dropped due to lack of evidence or problems with identifying suspects.” These were large scale group molestations of young women and girls, even gang rapes, and the police are pretty much powerless. The culture of the perpetrators – in this case recent migrants to Sweden – is a key factor in the problem. The police are too overstretched and weak to protect women. Their powers and staffing are designed to manage a law-abiding culture where women are respected and safe. A sudden growth (through migration) in the numbers of men who do not share those values have overwhelmed them with dreadful consequences for Swedish women and girls.

We also have the now familiar discrimination against men we find so often in gender stories these days. Why does only the harassment of women count as a “hate incident”? This definition is sexist towards men by downgrading harassment against them, and prioritising crimes against women, even though men can and do experience harassment at the hands of women. Why not just expand the gender hate crime category if you have to, even if you know the victim split is 10 to 1. At least it does not actively discriminate against one gender.

The Nottingham police provisions also reinforce victimhood culture and the continued atrophying of our ability to conduct ourselves with agency and independence without needing to resort to authority to adjudicate every minor dispute:

We’re beginning a second transition of moral cultures. The first major transition happened in the 18th and 19th centuries when most Western societies moved away from cultures of honor (where people must earn honor and must therefore avenge insults on their own) to cultures of dignity in which people are assumed to have dignity and don’t need to earn it. They foreswear violence, turn to courts or administrative bodies to respond to major transgressions, and for minor transgressions they either ignore them or attempt to resolve them by social means. There’s no more dueling.

Campbell and Manning describe how this culture of dignity is now giving way to a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture. But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized. 

…The key idea is that the new moral culture of victimhood fosters “moral dependence” and an atrophying of the ability to handle small interpersonal matters on one’s own. At the same time that it weakens individuals, it creates a society of constant and intense moral conflict as people compete for status as victims or as defenders of victims.

I have other misgivings. The vague wording and muddled definitions are also based on notions that are inimical to legal justice. The idea that that feelings and pure subjectivity are sufficient to establish guilt. It is not. Evidence and objectivity are the cornerstones of justice. Granting powers of judgment exclusively to women, without any restraining requirements of evidence or even clear rules, creates a Judge Dredd like situation on the streets of Nottingham where all humans identifying as women are the judge and jury of any man they encounter.

As we have seen with false accusations and feminist abuses in Canada, malicious women abusing the legal system to persecute men is far from rare. These sorts of laws are wide open to abuse by miscreant women. Even the most ludicrous, paranoid, divorced-from-reality compulsive liar attention-seeker will have serious police attention, their incident added to the official register of “hate” incidents and some innocent man will suffer the all the trials of the falsely accused “hate” criminal.

See more:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/19/the-u-k-police-force-that-sees-misogyny-as-a-hate-crime.html  – Excellent

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/13/nottinghamshire-police-becomes-first-force-to-record-misogyny-as/

http://guerillawire.org/justice/nottingham-policefur-coat-and-nae-knickers/

https://stavvers.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/at-best-treating-misogyny-as-a-hate-crime-wont-make-any-difference/

http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/vote-should-wolf-whistling-made-11612859

http://www.uptheclarets.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?t=5840

 

Synthetic Tolerance

Pink chair

From The Guardian:

Elton John has called for a boycott of fashion brand Dolce and Gabbana after he said the designers labelled children born through IVF “synthetic”.

The singer and songwriter, 67, who has two children with his husband, David Furnish, angrily rebuked the Italian designers for criticising same-sex families and the use of fertility treatment.

Business partners Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who were once a couple, have previously voiced their rejection of same-sex marriage, but in an interview with an Italian magazine this weekend they extended their objection to include same-sex families.

In an Instagram post on Sunday morning, John said: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’.

“And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.

“Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana.”

In summary,  If I disagree with your opinion, I will attempt to destroy your livelihood. No dialogue, no tolerance, no debate, no attempt to persuade – just attack!

Gabbana is spot on in his response:

“I didn’t expect this, coming from someone whom I considered, and I stress ‘considered’, an intelligent person like Elton John.

“I mean, you preach understanding, tolerance and then you attack others?

“Only because someone has a different opinion? Is this a democratic or enlightened way of thinking? This is ignorance, because he ignores the fact that others might have a different opinion and that theirs is as worthy of respect as his.

“It’s an authoritiarian way of seeing the world: agree with me or, if you don’t, I’ll attack you.”

Elton John would do well to remember that human rights (including gay rights) were built on the principles Free Speech, empathy and tolerance. Elton John preaches tolerance but displays utter intolerance to anyone who disagrees with him.  This is both hypocrisy and chauvinism.

Let me give Jonathan  Rauch the last word. This is from his magnificent book Kindly Inquisitors:

Today I fear that many people on my side of the gay-equality question are forgetting our debt to the system that freed us. Some gay people—not all, not even most, but quite a few—want to expunge discriminatory views. “Discrimination is discrimination and bigotry is bigotry,” they say, “and they are intolerable whether or not they happen to be someone’s religion or moral creed. ‘ Here is not the place for an examination of the proper balance between, say, religious liberty and anti-discrimination rules. It is a place, perhaps, for a plea to those of us in the gay-rights movement—and in other minority-rights movements—who now find ourselves in the cultural ascendency, with public majorities and public morality (strange to say it!) on our side. We should be the last people on the planet to demand that anyone be silenced.

Partly the reasons are strategic. Robust intellectual exchange…serves our interest. Our greatest enemy is not irrational hate, which is pretty uncommon. It is rational hate, hate premised upon falsehood. (If you believe homosexuality poses a threat to your children, you will hate it.) The main way we eliminate hate is not to legislate or inveigh against it, but to replace it—with knowledge, empirical and ethical. That was how Frank Kameny and a few other people, without numbers or law or public sympathy on their side, turned hate on its head. They had arguments, and they had the right to make them.

And partly the reasons are moral. Gay people have lived in a world where we were forced, day in and day out, to betray our consciences and shut our mouths in the name of public morality. Not so long ago, everybody thought we were wrong. Now our duty is to protect others’ freedom to be wrong, the better to ensure society’s odds of being right. Of course, we can and should correct the falsehoods we hear and, once they are debunked, deny them the standing of knowledge in textbooks and professions; but we equally have the responsibility to defend their expression as opinion in the public  square. Finding the proper balance is not easy and isn’t supposed to be.

What I am urging is a general proposition: minorities are the point of the spear defending liberal science. We are the first to be targeted with vile words and ideas, but we are also the leading beneficiaries of a system which puts up with them. The open society is sometimes a cross we bear, but it is also a sword we wield, and we are defenseless without it. We ought to remember what Frank Kameny never forgot: for politically weak minorities, the best and often only way to effect wholesale change in World One and World Two, the worlds of things and sentiments, is by effecting change in World Three, the world of ideas. Minorities therefore have a special responsibility to Peirce’s injunction: Do not block the way of inquiry. Our position as beneficiaries of the open society requires us to serve as guardians of it. Playing that role, not seeking government protections or hauling our adversaries before star chambers, is the greater source of our dignity.

See also

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-dg-protest-direct-action-or-a-two-minute-hate/

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/dg-said-something-we-disagree-with-destroy-those-deviants/16780

http://twitchy.com/2015/03/15/hypocrite-elton-john-boycotts-designers-who-disagree-with-him/

 

Sordid state brutality

[Another in the series of posts forgotten in my drafts folder for years. This one since June 2011]

At face value, this is a tale of a supposed enlightened Western state that allowed ideologically motivated courts to support child rape, and helped a girl divorce her parents.

I have been unable to verify this beyond the article linked below, but here is the e-mail I received. It believe it.

Hi Jonathan

I read your web posting regarding the fears of M’s mother about her daughter and social services. I also read the comment to your posting about the lady who’s sister had 5 children removed from her. I want to share with you a short summary of our tragic experiences in this regard in New Zealand. I think you may be South African – we are also South Africans, having emigrated from Durban to NZ with our 3 children in 1994. The story below summarises what tragically happened to our family at the hands of NZ authorities. I welcome any thoughts or comments you may have.

Kind regards,
<Name redacted>
London

New Zealand – where the State supports underage child sex and a child “divorcing” a good family in order to silence State wrongs

Our family was innocently sucked into social services and family court involvement through the activities of our teenage daughter in New Zealand. We are loving, capable, committed and well-educated parents for whom our family is top priority. Alarmingly, one day we discovered that adult men were having group sex with our 14-year old daughter, so we asked police to prosecute as sexual crimes had been committed. Police informed us that they could only prosecute the men under instruction from social services, so following their advice we reported the matter to social services.

However social services’ view was that our 14-year old daughter’s group sex activities was “love and romance”, and within 30 minutes of meeting only with her, concluded that she should be removed from our home so that she could continue to explore her sexuality with adult men, unimpeded from family influence. They determined that as parents we had no right to protect our underage daughter from sexual criminals.

We opposed our daughter’s removal with every effort we could, and only after we had obtained the assistance of several MPs, did social services agree to leave our family alone. However, the State was not happy that we wanted to hold them accountable for their inappropriate intervention in our family. Realising they had no legal grounds to remove our daughter they secretly encouraged her to leave home on her own, promising her that when she was 16 the State would provide for all her needs on condition that she has no further contact with her family.

As soon as she turned 16 our daughter left home, and the State financed her to live independently. They even prevented us from paying her school fees.

What followed next was a chilling series of events. The State was not happy that we sought accountability – they wanted all information about their involvement with our family silenced. So the State financed our 16-year old daughter to take out gagging orders against her whole family – her parents and two brothers – thereby preventing us from seeking accountability for inappropriate State interventions. These gagging orders involved an attempt to set historical legal precedent in New Zealand because it required that she had to legally “divorce” her family and go into State care (even though she had already left home) in order to gag her family. More details can be read in this cover story of a national magazine:

http://www.investigatemagazine.com/archives/2006/03/investigate_oct.html

We opposed the gagging proceedings in the courts firstly because the State financing a teenager to divorce a good family is a heinous concept, and secondly because we require freedom of speech to seek accountability for the inappropriate State interventions in our family. There were never any allegations of inappropriate parenting – ours was simply a case of the State wanting to silence us so that we could not seek accountability for their appalling interventions. At one point our daughter’s State funded lawyers dragged us through the secret courts in an attempt to have us imprisoned for allegedly breaking an interim gagging order, imposed while the court deliberated on whether to permanently gag us. Eventually we won the court cases, however the State had prolonged proceedings for 2 terrifying years so that our daughter was now 18 – an adult legally fully independent of family. In effect, through furtive means they had achieved their objectives of silencing us and keeping our child isolated from all family influence.

The secret Family court made it very clear that they were quite prepared to send an innocent family to prison in order to keep us quiet at all costs. We were told we needed to be “re-educated”. We are not permitted to detail events inside the secret court, however our own lawyer concluded that we would never get a fair trial in New Zealand because we sought State accountability.

Social services’ earlier actions in alienating our daughter against her family when they encouraged her to explore her sexuality, were hugely exacerbated by the numerous court cases to gag us. When the State pits a 16-year old girl against her whole family in protracted court gagging proceedings, the alienation effects are obvious and significant. We regard the State intervention in our family as severe child abuse. Top world expert psychologists concluded that our daughter is victim of Stockholm Syndrome – a condition where the victim acts similarly to some kidnapping victims who protect their kidnappers. We have received written comments from over 50 leading psychologists and counsellors condemning in the strongest terms the State intervention with our daughter.

Our daughter is now 22, refuses to have any contact with her family, and encouraged by the State, she has changed her surname. She has told us that her abandonment of her family as well as the court gagging proceedings against her family were to protect the State authorities we sought to hold accountable. A description of the State activities which have alienated her from her family, would fill a sizeable book. She has survived on State social welfare now for over 6 years even though her family have always been very willing and capable of supporting her. Her lifestyle has clear evidence of the consequences of living independently from good family influence since 16, for example, after she left home and while still at school, she began a 4-year sexual relationship with a TV presenter/nightclub owner twice her age, continuing even after his high-profile wedding. We learned this only in 2010, when she sold the sordid details of this affair to a national magazine.

Our eldest son, a quiet, reserved, sensitive boy, was dealt to with particular harshness and hostility during the secret Family court gagging procedures. He endured a vicious attack by the judge and lawyer during one court day, simply because he was our son. They savagely bullied him to ensure his silence, so that he would never dare speak of what the State has done to his family. He had witnessed first-hand what social services did to his young sister, and experienced severe bullying in the secret courts despite never even being accused of doing anything wrong. Like us, he was terrified of a judge who threatened to imprison him not because he had done anything wrong, but simply because he was our son – and his parents posed a threat to the State for wanting to seek accountability. Shortly after the court cases our son killed himself. The ex parte gagging orders taken out against our two sons without them being permitted to defend, still exist today.

A large number of laws have been broken by the State in their involvement with our family, both inside and outside the secret courts. In effect, we lost two children – one dead and one severely alienated. We have fully documented our experiences, however, through a campaign of terror the State effectively silenced us and prevented us from seeking redress or publicising our ordeal. To date, no one has yet been held to account.

Our multiple secret court appearances left us frightened and afraid, and concluding that it is too dangerous to live in a country where one has no protection from the law – the family courts are NZ’s Guantanamo Bay where, cloaked in secrecy, the State does it’s dirty deeds without the constraints of the law or the rule of law. We had endured two years of secret court terror, at the hands of a delinquent teenager empowered by a team of State-financed, ideologically-driven lawyers. Even though we eventually won the court cases, the total disregard for proper procedures and disrespect for the rule of law inside the secret court fills us with fear. The very day we won the last court case we began packing our bags – we uprooted our high-tech business, and we left the country. The business now employs Londoners instead of Aucklanders, and is soon to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Prospective immigrants into NZ should be warned that their families may suffer the same fate as ours if they try to protect their under-age daughters from sexual criminals or seek accountability for misguided State authorities.

History shows that details of atrocities tend to eventually emerge (Anne Franks for example). Only then does the country learn the lessons and improve. If the details of our experience were ever to emerge onto the world stage, New Zealanders would hang their heads in shame. Politicians and judges should realize that evil thrives under suppression and secrecy, to the country’s detriment. Creating a great nation, requires openness and freedom of expression, so that evil is exposed, lessons are learned and improvements made.

Germany had it’s Nuremberg trials, South Africa had it’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission – hopefully one day society will have a just forum where families such as ours can seek redress. We believe this is our only chance to begin to reverse the damage to our daughter. Our life goals have been shattered, and never a day goes by without us suffering the consequences of the actions of social services and the secret family court.

In a subsequent mail, the dad wrote in reply to my request to publicise the story:

Yes, please publicise our story. The message needs to get out. It effects us every single day of our lives. Ours is not the only horror story – we have read of many others – however we feel that we have an obligation to get our story out, as we are credible witnesses, have meticulous records of events, and the wrongdoings against us were so clear cut and extensive. Because we eventually won the court cases, ours is not a situation of sour grapes having lost – we won, but the court cases should never have occurred in the first place. However, even though we won, we are terrified of the secret courts having witnessed how they operate.

Terrifying stuff….

Three great books on Moral Philosophy and Ethics

These three books go brilliantly together. Here is the order I read them in. The images link to Amazon.com kindle editions.

The_Righteous_Mind__Why_Good_People_Are_Divided_by_Politics_and_Religion_-_Kindle_edition_by_Jonathan_Haidt__Politics___Social_Sciences_Kindle_eBooks___Amazon_com_
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Amazon_com__Moral_Tribes__Emotion__Reason__and_the_Gap_Between_Us_and_Them__9781594202605___Joshua_Greene__Books
Moral Tribes by Joshua Greene

The_Quest_for_a_Moral_Compass__A_Global_History_of_Ethics__Kenan_Malik__9781612194035__Amazon_com__Books
The Quest for a Moral Compass by Kenan Malik

C.S. Lewis on Masturbation

“For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides.

And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman.

For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival.

Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity.

In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself…After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.”- Personal Letter From Lewis to Keith Masson (found in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3)

Via http://www.catholic.com/blog/matt-fradd/c-s-lewis-on-lust-women-and-masturbation 

Fathers driven to desperation by hostile courts

From Denmark comes this grim story of a father driven to commit desperate and illegal acts to kidnap back his son, awarded to him by the Danish courts, from his mother in Austria. 

Yet another case of fathers driven to desperation by biased courts. 

A court in the Austrian city of Graz has halted the trial of a Danish man accused of kidnapping his son from his estranged wife after he failed to show up for the court hearing yesterday morning. According to Austrian news bureau APA, the case cannot be completed while he remains absent.

Thomas Sørensen’s lawyers had expected him to turn up for the case but told the presiding judge that he was concerned about the possibility he would be sentenced to prison. Sørensen was given a one-year suspended sentence last year for unlawful imprisonment, child abduction and serious assault for going to Austria and taking his son, Oliver, who was five at the time, out of the car belonging to his Austrian mother, Marion Weilharter, while she was dropping the boy off at kindergarten. A co-conspirator held Weilharter down while Sørensen grabbed Oliver and subsequently drove him back to Denmark.

…The Danish courts have already ruled in favour of Sørensen and consider the case closed, but the courts in Austria gave sole custody to Oliver’s mother Marion Weilharter.

Facing kidnapping charge, father stays away from Austrian trial | The Copenhagen Post | The Danish News in English

The Dickless Society

 Dickless society

Just watched an extraordinary program on DR2 (Denmark). 

Reality TV star Thomas Blachman (of X Factor fame) has launched a new series to raise awareness of the feminization of society, what he characterised as “the dickies society”. 

The format is somewhat unconventional: 

Blackman and his guest sit on a couch in a black room, and a series of female models present themselves to them, disrobe, and stand there stark naked whilst Blackman and his guest discuss them, their bodies, lust, society etc. 

I did not really understand most of it, but my wife tells me the discussion was very interesting and not sexist at all. Quite the opposite, Blackman and his guest were thoughtful, open about their own vulnerabilities, and very respectful to the models. 

None the less, it has all gone off in Denmark. They are debating the show on the local equivalent of “Panorama”. 

More:

http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Blachman

http://cphpost.dk/who/who-thomas-blachman

Lies about lying

On a recent series of flights to Las Vegas (18 hours in the air!) I finished Sam Harris’s new book “Lying“.

The book is a manifesto for truth-telling and as such reminds me of Brad Blandon’s classic “Radical Honesty“.

Both books argue persuasively that lying (“to intentionally mislead others when they expect honest communication”) is both morally wrong and deleterious.

Of the two books, Blandon’s is the more aggressive, but both insist that one must always be honest, even if it means apparent harm to others will come of it.

I do not have my cliff notes from Radical Honesty, but here are my clippings from Harris’ “Lying”:

“People lie so that others will form beliefs that are not true. The more consequential the beliefs—that is, the more a person’s well-being depends upon a correct understanding of the world—the more consequential the lie.”

“The intent to communicate honestly is the measure of truthfulness…It is in believing one thing while intending to communicate another that every lie is born.”

“Once one commits to telling the truth, one begins to notice how unusual it is to meet someone who shares this commitment. Honest people are a refuge: You know they mean what they say; you know they will not say one thing to your face and another behind your back; you know they will tell you when they think you have failed—and for this reason their praise cannot be mistaken for mere flattery.”

“Honesty is a gift we can give to others. It is also a source of power and an engine of simplicity. Knowing that we will attempt to tell the truth, whatever the circumstances, leaves us with little to prepare for. We can simply be ourselves.”

“It can take practice to feel comfortable with this way of being in the world—to cancel plans, decline invitations, critique others’ work, etc., all while being honest about what one is thinking and feeling. To do this is also to hold a mirror up to one’s life—because a commitment to telling the truth requires that one pay attention to what the truth is in every moment. What sort of person are you? How judgemental, self-interested, or petty have you become?”

“While we imagine that we tell certain lies out of compassion for others, it is rarely difficult to spot the damage we do in the process. By lying, we deny our friends access to reality—and their resulting ignorance often harms them in ways we did not anticipate. Our friends may act on our falsehoods, or fail to solve problems that could have been solved only on the basis of good information. Rather often, to lie is to infringe upon the freedom of those we care about.”

“False encouragement is a kind of theft: it steals time, energy, and motivation a person could put toward some other purpose.”

“A wasteland of embarrassment and social upheaval can be neatly avoided by following a single precept in life: Do not lie.”

“This is among the many corrosive effects of having unjust laws: They tempt peaceful and (otherwise) honest people to lie so as to avoid being punished for behavior that is ethically blameless.”

“What does it mean to have integrity? It means many things, of course, but one criterion is to avoid behavior that readily leads to shame or remorse. The ethical terrain here extends well beyond the question of honesty—but to truly have integrity, we must not feel the need to lie about our personal lives. To lie is to erect a boundary between the truth we are living and the perception others have of us. The temptation to do this is often born of an understanding that others will disapprove of our behavior.”

“Vulnerability comes in pretending to be someone you are not.”

“An unhappy truth of human psychology is probably also at work here, which makes it hard to abolish lies once they have escaped into the world: We seem to be predisposed to remember statements as true even after they have been disconfirmed.”

“Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. To lie is to recoil from relationship. ”

“By lying, we deny others a view of the world as it is. Our dishonesty not only influences the choices they make, it often determines the choices they can make—and in ways we cannot always predict. Every lie is a direct assault upon the autonomy of those we lie to. And by lying to one person, we potentially spread falsehoods to many others—even to whole societies. We also force upon ourselves subsequent choices—to maintain the deception or not—that can complicate our lives. In this way, every lie haunts our future. There is no telling when or how it might collide with reality, requiring further maintenance. The truth never needs to be tended in this way. It can simply be reiterated.”

When I arrived back from Las Vegas, I was catching up with the fine reads on The Browser, and came across a great article on this very topic.

In a piece called, “7 Things Happen to You When You Are Completely Honest“, James Altucher explores the consequences of living a truthful life.

His advice is saner that Harris and Blandon.  He warns of the following consequences:

#1: PEOPLE WILL STOP SPEAKING TO YOU
#2 PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU ARE GOING TO KILL YOURSELF
#3 PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU ARE CRAZY
#4 PEOPLE WILL GET FRIGHTENED
#5 PEOPLE WILL FIND YOU ENTERTAINING
#6 PEOPLE WILL TRUST YOUR ADVICE
#7 YOU BECOME FREE

His advice is lovely though:

“My own personal motto is: honesty to a point. I will never harm anyone. I believe in what Buddha said to his son Rahula the day after he showed up after abandoning his son for 7 years:

before, during, and even AFTER you say something, make sure it doesn’t hurt anyone.

But even despite that rule, people will stop speaking to you because not every hurt you can control. Historical is hysterical for many people.”

In his final section, “#7 You become free”, he writes:

“At first we hug our boundaries in chains. We think “if we tell the girl we like her, she might not like me back”. We think, “If I say I like this candidate, my friends might hate me.” If I say X, everyone else might say Y. And so on. But more and more we start to feel where those boundaries are and we push them out. We push them further and further away from ourselves. Until finally they are so far away it’s as if they don’t exist at all. You don’t need money for that. Or a big house. Or a fancy degree or car. Every day, just push out those boundaries a little further.

We reach for that freedom. We never truly get there. We’re always striving to see how far they can go, just like a little child with her parents. But eventually, the boundaries are so far away we begin to feel the pleasures of true freedom.”

Finally, just tonight, I came across two stories in the Economist on the subject of lying and how technology can peek inside the mind.

The terrible truth: Technology can now see what people are thinking. Be afraid

Mind-goggling: It is now possible to scan someone’s brain and get a reasonable idea of what is going through his mind

Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital

It is not often that a newspaper article can cause a fight in my household (unless it is one where my wife quotes Hamas supporters). But the other day, merely quoting this article led to a serious bust up for my even considering the premises Catherine Hakim’s book reviewed by Will Self:

In a typically razor-sharp exchange of dialogue which establishes – yet again – that The Simpsons provides the most coruscating illumination of contemporary mores, Lisa says to her grade school teacher that “Good looks don’t really matter”, to which Ms Hoover replies: “Nonsense, that’s just something ugly people tell their children.” Stripping away the layers of irony from this statement we can reveal the central premise of Catherine Hakim’s book, which is that not only do looks matter, but that they should matter a great deal more. Furthermore, the people who tell young people – and in particular young women – that their beauty and sex appeal are of little importance are themselves ugly, if not physically then at least morally. For, as Hakim sees it, it is an “unholy alliance” of wannabe patriarchs, religious fundamentalists and radical feminists who have – in Anglo-Saxon countries especially – acted to devalue what she terms “erotic capital”. In Hakim’s estimation, for all young women, and in particular those who are without other benefits – financial, intellectual, situational – an entirely legitimate form of self-advancement should consist in their getting the best out of – if you’ll forgive the pun – their assets.

via Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital by Catherine Hakim – review | Books | The Guardian.

I dare you to read it. I double dare you to agree with it in the presence of your female better half…

An Excerpt From ‘The Symposium’ ~ By Plato

This was my reading that I gave at my friend Jason’s wedding last year. I recently found it again and thought it would make a lovely post

“Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of the ills which prevent us from being happy.

To understand the power of Love, we must understand that our original nature was not like it is now, but different. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions.

Now these creatures were so powerful and lofty in their notions that they even conspired against the gods. Thereat Zeus and the other gods were perplexed; for they felt they could not slay them, nor could they endure such sinful rioting. So Finally Zeus in all of his wisdom said “Methinks I can contrive that men shall give over their iniquity through a lessening of their strength.” and so saying, he sliced each human being in two.

Now when our first form had been cut in two, each half longed for its fellow to come to it again; to fling their arms about each other and in mutual embrace yearn to be grafted together as once they were. Thus anciently is mutual love ingrained in mankind.

Well, when one happens on their own particular half, the two of them are wondrously thrilled with affection, intimacy, and love, and are hardly to be induced to leave each other’s side for a single moment. These are they who continue together throughout life. No one could imagine this to be the mere amorous connection: obviously the soul of each is wishing for something else that it cannot express. Suppose that Hephaestus should ask “Do you desire to be joined in the closest possible union, that so long as you live, the pair of you, being as one, may share a single life?” Each would unreservedly deem that he had been offered just what he was yearning for all the time.

The craving and pursuit of that entirety is called Love. If we make friends with the gods and are reconciled, we shall have the fortune that falls to few in our day of discovering our proper favorites. Love brings this about; it restores us to our ancient life, and heals and helps us into the happiness of the blessed.”