October 26, 2013

30+ examples of justified middle-class privilege

Following is a list of characteristics of the middle and upper-middle classes which are attacked as "privilege," but which are justified for the most part by the merits of the upper class, together with the justifications for each.

  1. Politicians pay attention to our class, and fight for our vote in election seasons, BECAUSE our class is likely to show up to the polls, and because our class is big enough to be worth paying attention to. The same is true of the working class. Haven't you heard of labor politics?

  2. You can advocate for your class to politicians and not have to worry about being seen as looking for a handout BECAUSE our class does not often seek handouts, and certainly does not depend on them. When we advocate for our class, we seek regulations needed to preserve public health, safety and morals and the people's rights, and sometimes measures of investment that allow our class to contribute more to society.

  3. You can readily find accurate (or non-caricatured) examples of members your class depicted in films, television, and other media BECAUSE our class either make media or communicate with those who do. So can the working class.

  4. New products are designed and marketed with your social class in mind BECAUSE our class buys new products. The working class generally buys what is tried and true.

  5. If we see something advertised that we really want, we will buy it BECAUSE we have earned the money wherewith to buy it.
  6. We can swear (or commit a crime) without people attributing it to the low morals of your class BECAUSE our class generally has high morals. In fact, part of how we got to be above the ordinary working class is by way of our high morals.

  7. If we find ourselves in a legally perilous situation, you can hire an attorney to ensure your case is heard justly BECAUSE we have earned the money wherewith to do so. Furthermore, we are usually educated enough to not need a lawyer in smaller cases.

  8. You can talk with your mouth full and not have people attribute this to the uncivilized nature of your social class BECAUSE the nature of our class is civilized. When we talk with our mouths full, people attribute that to the uncouthness of us personally, which is much less forgivable than low origins.

  9. We can attend a “fancy” dinner without apprehension of doing something wrong or embarrassing the hosts BECAUSE we are intelligent enough to learn the manners needed to abide a "fancy" dinner. So are some members of the working class, whose positions in the union or community demand they attend "fancy" dinners.

  10. We understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy food BECAUSE we paid attention in 9th grade health class. We can choose to eat healthy food if we wish BECAUSE we make informed choices. So can the working class, as long as they live responsibly, don't have illegitimate children, and spend enough of their income, in addition to their Food Stamps if any, on food.
  11. We can walk around our neighborhoods at night without legitimate concern for our safety BECAUSE we maintain the types of communities and the types of properties that discourage legitimate threats to our safety.

  12. In the case of medical emergency, you won’t have to decide against visiting a doctor or the hospital due to economic reasons BECAUSE we earn enough money to visit the doctor. Poor children get Medicaid, so they can go to a clinic which provides a basic floor of emergency, urgent and ongoing health care. The law requires

  13. We have visited a doctor for a “check-up” BECAUSE we make our health a priority.

  14. Our eyesight, smile, and general health aren’t inhibited by our income BECAUSE we earn enough income that this is so. Children of the poor get Medicaid and therefore have the same thing until they are old enough to work.

  15. If we become sick, we can seek medical care immediately and not just “hope it goes away” BECAUSE we have earned those resources. Children of the poor get Medicaid.

  16. If you choose to wear hand-me-down or second-hand clothing, this won’t be attributed to your social class, and may actually be considered stylish, BECAUSE our social class does not normally need to wear second-hand clothing, and because when we do, it is usually part of a fashion statement.

  17. You can update your wardrobe with new clothes to match current styles and trends BECAUSE we earn enough money to buy an updated wardrobe.

  18. 18.As a kid, you were able to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities (field trips, clubs, etc.) with school friends BECAUSE we tax ourselves to fund Departments of Parks and REcreation, including fee waivers for low income children.
  19. As a kid, our friends’ parents allowed our friends to play and sleep over at our houses BECAUSE we lived in a community where neighbors and friends know each other. Poor families don't work as hard at raising their kids, as shown by sociologist Annette Lareau.

  20. We don’t have to worry that teachers or employers will treat us poorly or have negative expectations of us because of our class BECAUSE the characteristics of our class do not give rise to negative expectations or earn poor treatment.

  21. The schools we went to as kids had updated textbooks, computers, and a solid faculty, BECAUSE our mothers held bake sales and attended PTA meetings to make that happen. My father donated a computer discarded by his work to the schools.

  22. Growing up, college was an expectation of us, whether we chose to go or not, BECAUSE our intellects were such that anything less than college would be a waste, even if we chose to go into trades.

  23. Our decision to go or not to go to college wasn’t based entirely on financial determinants BECAUSE we didn't give birth to any financial determinants before we started college. Financial aid was and is available for those who qualify.

  24. People aren’t surprised if they realize you are intelligent, hard-working, or honest BECAUSE our class is generally intelligent, hard-working and honest.

  25. An annual raise in pay at our job is measured in dollars, not cents BECAUSE:
    1. We are paid by the year, not the hour; and
    2. Our pay rates are high enough that a 2-3% cost-of-living adjustment and 2-4% step increase amounts to more than a dollar.
  26. We’ve likely never looked into a paycheck advance business (e.g., “Check Into Cash”), and have definitely never used one, because we are self-disciplined enough to live within our means and make our money last the month. Furthermore, we are creditworthy enough to get less expensive credit.
  27. You are never asked to speak for all members of your class BECAUSE our class has enough articulate people to make that unnecessary.
  28. Whenever we moved out of your home it has been voluntary BECAUSE we met our duties in full and on time. We had other homes to move into BECAUSE we planned ahead and found other homes to move into.
  29. It’s your choice to own a reliable car or to choose other means of transportation BECAUSE we earn enough money to buy them.
  30. Regardless of the season, we can count on being able to fall asleep in a room with a comfortable temperature BECAUSE we earn enough money to buy climate control technology.
  31. When we flip a light switch in your house, we don’t have to wonder if the light will come on or if our utilities have been terminated BECAUSE we meet our financial responsibilites in full and on time.
  32. The “dream” of a house, a healthy family, and a solid career isn’t a dream at all, but simply a plan, BECAUSE our natural exertions tend to produce the same. The American Dream is only a "dream" for the working class, which is the "dream" of joining our class.
  33. People do not assume based on the dialect you grew up speaking that you are unintelligent or lazy BECAUSE speakers of that dialect are not often unintelligent or lazy.
  34. If we choose to use variants of language (e.g., slang terms) people chalk them up to plasticity in the language rather than assuming our particular dialectical variants deserve ridicule and punishment BECAUSE we are well enough educated to know the correct language, and that fact is well enough recognized that we can engage in "reverse snobbery" or linguistic improvisation.

September 7, 2013

Why I am overturning gay marriage

My opposition to gay marriage has been long established, not the least by my statements at the time of the original trial court decision. Given what I have learned since then, I am about to move the Federal District Court to overturn its decision to grant marriage to homosexuals. The reason for this is to vindicate both the actual specialness of marriage and the right of the people to regulate the sacrament.

The first half of my motion for relief from the judgment is that no reasonable defense attorney would have conceded the broad points of fact which were conceded at trial. The defense team at trial did not obtain testimony that homosexual coupling does not have the same social effects as marriage. Rather, they allowed the prosecution's assumption that homosexual partnerships and marriages have equal social effects. This assumption allowed Judge Vaughn Walker to conclude that there was no reason for the withholding of the name of "marriage" from homosexuals. Upon retrial, in my capacity as the next friend of the Attorney-General, I will raise the obvious differences between marriage and homosexual coupling. One such difference is that a gay "family" depends for its very existence upon the disunion, malunion or nonunion of the child's family. Another such difference is that the extension of marriage to homosexual couples destroys the tendency of marriage to shape the sexualities of the next generation by normativizing, not merely normalizing, monogamous heterosexuality. These differences will suffice to relieve the people of California of the Federal court's injunction.

The second half of my motion is that the people of California have the right to regulate marriage on any rational basis, including that of ensuring sexual norms for the next generation. The generosity of the people of California in granting quasi-marital rights to celibate partners does not destroy that basis. Rather, the regime of domestic partnership guarantees to homosexuals the same social and moral support as married couples or religious orders have to one another, during the limited duration of the partnership. The object of this, far from establishing a second-class marriage, is to give celibate couples and married couples equal rights to each other. This equality between celibacy and marriage indicates, if anything, that natural marriage does NOT threaten the "respect or dignity" of gay couples, and thus does NOT compel gay marriage as a matter of law.

Therefore, with a spirit of Christian love toward gay couples, I will move the court on an early day to set aside its judgment and injunction prohibiting the enforcement of California's law against gay marriage. My basis for doing so relates to the interest of children and the power of the people. I will post the motion here when it becomes available.

August 18, 2013

How far gone we are!

This article in The Nation shows how far our norms have gone from the family model, in which women and men each had their place. This poverty system depends on single mothering. Single mothering harms women by making them be both fathers and mothers to their children. A woman is only one person and can do only one person's job. The pro-divorce system is sexist against both men and women.

If a parent is going to work eight hours a day, then the other parent can come by when the arrends and mending are done to pick up their children. My mom did this just fine, as did many other mothers in the time and system that made her healthy, wealthy and happy. We had healthy, home cooked meals because my parents stayed together for our sake.

A mother of young children could make good money caring for a widow's children, or the children of an unemployed man whose wife must temp while he looks for work because their savings have run out. $400 a week is as much as a woman would net from hiring a nanny and working outside the home for a second income. That's a lot more than just pin money. In many cases, that second income provides half the disposable income of the family. How much of that gets eaten up in processed food and higher health costs owing to the same is yet to be seen.


Fathers have been abolished by left feminism. Biased stories like this, which ignore half the adult population and their place in the family, are used to push for more subsidies to pay substitute mothers for mothers who want to be fathers. This doesn't benefit anyone. If women want to be wage earners, then they should either marry a stay-at-home dad or pay a nanny to do their mothering for them.


If one parent

July 19, 2013

Loving your neighbor

Loving your neighbor does not mean giving to him. To the contrary, whoever gives his neighbor something undeserved commits an injustice. If he gives his neighbor an undeserved harm, then he has wronged his neighbor. If he gives his neighbor an undeserved benefit, then he has wronged whoever more properly deserves it. Whoever wants to do right by God should give everyone exactly what they deserve. On the one hand, they should pay the full value of everything they receive, either to him from whom they receive it, or else to someone else. On the other hand, they should only take the value they give; if forced to take more or else nothing, he should disgorge the excess by giving it away. In this way, the fundamental principle of justice is observed: equal shares to equals, proportional shares to unequals.

June 1, 2013

Polyphasic sleep

As part of my first 30-day supertrial, I will transition to the polyphasic sleep cycle commonly known as "Everyman." This schedule consists of 3 hours of core sleep and 3 20-minute naps during the day, for a total of 4 hours of sleep. My reasoning is as follows:
  1. I am only getting 3 hours at a stretch right now anyway.
  2. As shown in a diagram of sleep cycles, all the deep sleep (read: physical recovery) occurs in the first 3 hours, and all the REM sleep (read: mental recovery) occurs in 20-minute chunks thereafter. All the rest of the time is wasted in transitional phases that could be better spent reading good books, writing stories for screenplays, or meditating on world affairs.
  3. The additional waking time will burn more calories, which burn more fat, which make me look good for fall rush.
This is an informed decision, not an aspect of a "mental illness." The "hours of sleep per night" metric in this case is misleading because I'm getting the same amount of both deep sleep and dream sleep as someone who sleeps 8 hours a night. I am getting a full night's sleep in a more compact form. I am making a conscious choice to try this, together with four other habits, for 30 days beginning Monday morning.


December 31, 2012

New Year's resolutions

I hereby resolve that, during the year 2013:

  1. I will abstain from the use of alcohol, caffeine, and psychotropic medications.
  2. For the first six weeks of the year, I will do the StrongLifts 3x10 workout plan on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, substituting however assisted pull-ups and assisted dips for the overhead press. Thereafter, I will evaluate my progress and determine what workout plan is proper from that point.
  3. For the first nine weeks of the year, I will do the Couch to 5K workout plan on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Thereafter, I will run 5K per Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
  4. I will defend my life, my property and my honor with all manly force against aggressors with or without badges.
  5. I will resist all attacks on my rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, and pride. I will neutralize every threat to each of these virtues as I see them coming, by the means available to me.

December 17, 2012

Statement on criminal allegations

All of the criminal allegations which are likely to have been brought against me in the days immediately following this post are absolutely false. I am neither guilty of any crime, nor insane nor incapacitated in any way whatsoever by any mental disorder. I have no mental disorder except PTSD with cyclothymic features. All other alleged mental disorders are mis-diagnoses, which I will refute when and if I get the chance to do so.
The idea that I have autism spectrum disorder is also false, and vainly invented by my mother in her attempt to pass off the sequelae of my suppressed genius as an organic disorder. In fact, when the criteria for ASD or for Asperger's are considered in context of my high intellectual achievement, that is, when "normal" means normal to the smartest 0.1% of society, I do not meet any of the criteria except the social criteria. My conformity to even the social criteria is due to sheltering and deprivation as a child. I didn't even know what pop music was, vs. rock and country, until I was in a mental ward just prior to my 12th birthday. My TV was also limited to my brother's baby shows, because my mother considered the usual tween fare "inappropriate."
Any behavior I may do, which is ususally criminal, such as taking property or using violent force, will have been justifiable and justified. I will make my own defense for that conduct, waiving counsel, unless the Court imposes a law school clone on me in order to railroad me. In that case I will instruct him as well as I can and hope that he does me justice. For now, I hope this statement serves to preserve my good name against the wild allegations that are likely to be made after I will have been arrested, and while I thus cannot respond.

November 13, 2012

Displays of wealth in first impressions

In his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell showed that we form most of our impressions about people in the first four seconds that we see them. In practice, this means that by the time a man is done shaking a woman's hand, she has already subconsciously decided whether she will sleep with him, sign him to her label or otherwise stake her existence on him. This is why clothing, hairstyle, shoes, grooming and cosmetics are so vitally important to a man's social future. If we go out even once sloppily dressed, and then/there meet our "big break" or future spouse, we have ruined our opportunity. Therefore, both singles and aspiring professionals must present themselves impeccably when going out.

The clothing needed to impress someone depends mainly on the refinement, and secondarily on the station, of the person you want to impress. A more refined person, even if poor, will not be impressed by just any suit or sportcoat, but will notice the details of fit and fabric. Likewise, a rich tradesman is not likely to notice the details of JoS A. Bank, but will "sir" any suit in the room. A prosperous and powerful gentleman, being himself refined, will demand even more detail, if not at the time of hiring then certainly on the job.

In dating, the same principle applies. Educated poor women and hipsters (although I repeat myself) require the right details, which cost money. Unrefined rich or pretty women do not demand or appreciate, and sometimes even disapprove of, fine clothing, but will date any man whose clothes meet the letter of the dress code. A scholar and a lady, who is herself refined, may look natural, but she really needs (although she won't say it) the look of a refined man who puts both time and money into his appearance. Whoever "dates up" must spend disproportionately on presentation, even at the expense of personal comfort.

Hunger that you can keep quiet is no object. Thinness in a petit gentilhomme, though not to the pt of emaciation, is desirable. Likewise, sleeping in a tent city in a public parking lot is no object, as long as your tent goes in a locker during the day so you are not found out. What matters is the ability to make the socially deisred outlays at an appropriate cost, and look good while doing so.

The choice of what station to climb for is a matter of cost-benefit analysis. Specifically, we must determine whether a costly display is likely to pay off for us. Following a budget, couponing or carrying a calculator to the store are all displays of poverty, which provide a very low monetary benefit at a high social cost. Wearing a silk pocket square in a good sportcoat are displays of wealth, which provides a social benefit at a moderate monetary cost.

This is not a complete statement of my views on this subject.



October 14, 2012

Natural health vs. the naturalistic fallacy

The allopathic community ridicules the natural health movement by accusing it of a "naturalistic fallacy." The allopaths claim that our belief that what is natural is good for us is unwarranted and unwarrantable. This ignores the inherent goodness of God and sinfulness of man. The proof of the appeal to nature is as follows.

GIVEN, that good entities are more likely to produce good things, in proportion to their goodness (Luke 6:43-45); and GIVEN, furthermore, that God is more fully good than human beings, as a consequence of humanity's sinful nature, which has been amply proved elsewhere; IT FOLLOWS that God produces more good things and things of greater goodness than man can ever create. Therefore, what God has created, viz. nature, is more likely to be good, and likely to be more good, than what human beings have created, viz. artificial drugs.

GIVEN, therefore, that we should prefer more of the good, and the greater good, over less of the good and the lesser good, we should prefer God's creation over human artifice. In the case of medicine, we should prefer natural remedies given by God over artificial drugs created by human beings. In the case of diet, we should prefer what we ate in the state of nature, viz. green leaves and animals that eat them, over what we invented to eat, viz. bread.

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October 2, 2012

Why say "retarded"?

I am well aware of the campaign to eliminate the use of the word "retarded." I disagree with their contention that "retarded" is a prejudicial term. Mental retardation is a legitimate, medical term that refers to the intellectual state of people with low intelligence. The non-medical definition of retard means "to slow up especially by preventing or hindering advance or accomplishment." This pretty much sums up what happens to people with low intelligence.

I object to the alternative term, "intellectual disabilities," because that sounds like intelligence is extrinsic to virtue. I consider intelligence intrinsic to who and what a person is, even more so than their body. Intelligence is one of the virtues that our society seeks to draw out of children through education. We should not devalue that or render it extrinsic or unnecessary by passing off its absence as an extrinsic condition. Therefore, we should call mental retardation by its proper name, with good will to retarded people.

Retarded people's achievements in spite of their condition demonstrate their other virtues, such as courage and determination. I admire these virtues that demonstrate the humanity and goodness of retarded people in themselves and society. I don't needlessly discuss the handicap - if you can work, you can work here. I denounce anyone who does ridicule a retarded person or call undue attention to their condition. At the same time, I denounce the R Word Campaign and call on all writers and citizens, where utterly necessary, to use the proper term for retarded people.

March 2, 2011

Why are you against circumcision?

I am not against circumcision. I am against involuntary circumcision. I believe that it's a young man's personal choice as to whether or not to cut off half of the surface of his penis, and that California law protects that choice. I am also opposed to the proposed supremacy of halakha and shariah over American law in this regard.

What do you want me to tell you that you're ashamed to ask me openly?

January 24, 2011

Statement re circumcision lawsuit

This statement will grow into the fitful night.

1. Circumcision leaves intact some residual genital functioning, in many cases enough for a very active sex life. So what? The prepuce is a body part. Cutting off the body part is mayhem. Capisce?
1.1. The punishment for cutting off a fingertip is the same as for cutting off the whole arm. A body part is a body part. Mayhem is mayhem.
2. Circumcision means "cutting around." Female circumcision means cutting around the vagina, viz. the clit and labia. Male circumcision means cutting around the penis, removing the prepuce. Both remove the most sensitive part of the genitals. Both destroy the vast majority of fine touch sensation. Both induce a need for deep, violent sex for full satisfaction (and yes circumcised women do in fact have orgasms). Both operations are widely justified by cosmetic and medical justifications where they are practiced. The comparisons go on. So don't shout me down for comparing male and female circumcision.
3. Re the youth sex part: It's not like teens aren't having sex anyways. And it's not like we really want all those who do to be convicted of "unlawful sexual intercourse." What we want is responsible decisions. And it's not really an invitation to responsibility to say "just say no and if you say yes then it's invalid anyway and your beloved will go to jail." Young people are the owners of their own sexualities, and they have the right to consent to sex if they are actually able to do so.
4. There is no 'adults-only' clause in the State or Federal Constitution. All people are created equal. This means that young people have the same right to self-determination vis-a-vis their parents as adults who are under guardianship or conservatorship do against their guardians or conservators." 
5. This is the tip of the iceberg. I have cases in work on educational acceleration, the L.P.S. Act, voter registration and the State Bar Act. God willing, the educational acceleration case will be filed by the weekend.

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Svend sues for prosecution of circumcision.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2011

In San Francisco, some people are agitating for a ban on circumcision. In Oakland, the Rev. Svend la Rose says circumcision is already banned. In a petition filed today with the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda,  la Rose seeks a writ of mandate requiring the Attorney General of California, Hon.
Kamala Harris, to prosecute circumcision under California’s mayhem law, which prohibits “Disfigur[ing]… and part of the body” of a human being. The case argues, under California's equal protection clause, that young men have the same right to keep their prepuces as do men over 18. The petition also calls for a ban on prosecution of sex with and among young people.

The petition for the writ rests on Article 1, section 7 of the State Constitution, which provides for due  process of law and equal protection of the laws. The primary equal protection interest implicated is the
equality between young citizens and older citizens, since it is already recognized that circumcising an adult may without his permission is certainly a crime. This set, la Rose does implicate gender when he calls for excuses and defenses to the crime of circumcision to be judged by the same standard used to judge the excusibility or defensibility of female circumcision. Since cutting off parts of girls’ genitals is a
crime, la Rose reasons the removal of parts of boys genitals must be equally criminal. He insists this is true irrespective of the difference in functional importance between the male prepuce (don’t call it a “foreskin” because it’s so much more than skin) and the female vulva, Nevertheless, he insists a comparison can be made, in terms of the erotic effects of circumcision and its cultural and cosmetic justifications.

In addition to the prosecution of circumcision, la Rose's petition also calls for a ban on the prosecution of sex with and among people under the age of 18. This, too, is under the equal protection clause, and calls for young people's sexual self-determination rights to be respected on the same terms as the rights of senior citizens and developmentally disabled people the logic of this is clear to la Rose: “If developmentally disabled people and retarded people are defined by their incapacity any yet they still have at least a chance to consent or to prove their ability to consent, then how can you deny the same right to young people, who are not defined by their incapacity but by some arbitrary characteristic?"
La Rose is president of ASFAR Youth Liberation (www.youthliberation.org), which is the oldest comprehensive organization in the United States advocating for the liberty and self-determination of young people. He is also an ordained minister and accomplished musician. He is suing in another case to get back into UC Berkeley. Finally, and purely coincidentally, he is homeless.
La Rose insists this will not be his only action to protect the equal protection rights of young people. In a statement, he indicated he is working on two other actions to defend young people's rights to educational advancement and to freedom from arbitrary mental health procedures. He hopes to complete and file at least one of these actions by the end of the week. To achieve this end, he seeks the support of the general public in order to pay his expenses for filing and for staying alive long enough to file.

La Rose seeks the immediate support of the public to meet his immediate needs while he works on
this case and other matters of public interest. All funds donated to ASFAR go directly to ASFAR’s
activities, so la Rose has set up a donation button on his own blog, svendlarose.blogspot.com, which points to this link: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=QST5REYR8HCUG All funds donated will be used in a frugal and just manner o keep Svend alive while he works tirelessly for justice. Anyone who agrees with Svend or merely wishes to reward his courage can and should give money.

Press desiring to meet Svend should meet him at the Alameda County Admin. Bldg, 12th and Oak streets, Oakland, CA, at 5:00 or 9:00 pm tonight, January 24, or tomorrow morning the 25th at 8:00 at the same place. Statements will be made at that time or else via this blog.

--
Svend D. la Rose
President
ASFAR Youth Liberation
svendlarose@asfar.org
AIM: svend grafofonix

January 13, 2011

Taking a stand against male genital mutilation

On Monday, January 17, 2011, I will petition the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, for a mandatory injunction requiring the Attorney General of California, Edmund "Jerry" Brown, to prosecute physicians who perform medically unnecessary circumcisions of infant boys' prepuces for mayhem (maiming) under state law. This will hopefully put to rest this socially accepted campaign of violence against male sexuality. A fuller statement will appear here in due course.

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January 3, 2010

formspring.me

Ask me anything, anonymously! It's fun... http://formspring.me/svendlarose

April 3, 2009

Iowa marriage decision a travesty

I am deeply disappointed in the decision of the Iowa Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage in that state pursuant to the Equal Protection Clause of its state Constitution. Iowa's decision threatens the uniqueness of marriage as an institution set up to support the procreation and rearing of children, impose order on the sexual lives of individuals, and gain the best advantages for the next generation of Americans out of the unique physical and psychological characteristics of males and females.

Gay couples by nature are incapable of procreating, and therefore incapable of rearing their own children. This has not stopped them from adopting the children of broken families, from breaking up their own families and taking their children to live with their lovers, or from conceiving children through adultery (including donor insemination).

The defense of marriage law in Iowa does not interfere with gays' right to marry; rather, it requires them to order their sexual lives in a fashion they may find less desirable in order to exercise that right.

March 15, 2009

Personal update

I realize this update is long overdue, and that it would have been proper of me to update all of you (friends, family and Facebook stalkers) as to my travails before they piled up in such a dramatic fashion. The timing of these travails has prevented me from so doing, so here's the biggest update on my personal life to date.

Summer Session 2008 was a disaster. I was bedbound with one thing or another for the bulk of the summer -- first bronchitis, then laryngitis, then another respiratory infection that went everywhere. I took two incompletes and froze them both at the end of the fall, putting me out of contention for the major in rhetoric. I dropped the other two classes while I had the chance.

Fall was little better. I had to search the whole Bay Area to find a place to move out of the dorms to, ultimately moving to Concord a few days before classes began. The first three weeks did not go well -- I was dropped from two classes by the instructors for being too sick to attend. I was ultimately forced to withdraw from the semester after bombing my first midterm in accounting and being advised that it would be nearly impossible for me to pass rhetorical interpretation after all my absences. This was the point at which I first considered and then decided to freeze my incompletes from Summer Session and start over in a new major.

I was rusticated back to Chabot for spring semester in order to get my feet back under me. I enrolled in a fairly ambitious full slate of classes only to drop all but one in favor of a bunch of secretarial skills (typing, computing and proofreading) classes. I hope the easy schedule gives me a chance to recover my strength for the summer and fall. (If it doesn't, I'm in trouble.)

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August 23, 2008

Statement on Sen. Obama's VP selection

Joe Biden is not, and has never been, presidential material. His chronic foot-in-mouth disease prevents him from any hope of being a competent president - President Biden would sound like President Bush with a better haircut. His longevity in Washington prevents him from being as aggressive an agent of change as our Party needs. And his age - 65, old enough to retire on Social Security - is a slap in the face to the young people who delivered Barack Obama the nomination by voting their demographic.

Sen. Biden does, however, have two redeeming qualities. One, he is not Evan Bayh. Two, Joe Biden has never sponsored the "Deleting Online Youth Act" or any other alarmist measure to curtail young people's First Amendment freedoms in the name of public safety. So I will hold my nose and vote for him, trusting that Sen. Obama is young enough to not croak, and that Sen. Biden will not have his partner whacked in order to curtail our movement for change. "A bucket of warm piss", which is what the vice presidency is worth, for the fossil from Delaware is a small price to pay to elect the dynamo from Illinois.

July 30, 2008

YES on Proposition 2: Treatment of Farm Animals, Statute

While I object to much of the harsh rhetoric of Humane California, the group sponsoring Proposition 2, I can't bring myself to vote against it. The bill would require that laying hens, breeding sows and veal calves be given enough room to turn around in their laying crates, breeding crates and calving pens respectively. I support this bill because it would improve the conditions in which California meat is produced, including the sanitary improvements that come from the increased space.

May 21, 2008

One down, four more to go

After six respiratory infections, ten weeks of bed rest, 40-plus pages of writing and over 2,000 pages of reading, my first semester in UC Berkeley's College of Letters and Science has come to an end. I will end the semester with grades of Incomplete in Rhetoric 150 and 162AC and a grade of Pass in German C109, capping a stressful academic roller-coaster that left me worrying whether my decision to persevere was the right one. It was.

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May 15, 2008

California's gay "respect and dignity" decision

Having taken the time to read the opinion, I wish to explain my objections in enough detail to allow my fellow activists to understand my objections as being consistent with a pro-rights worldview. Let me begin by summarizing what I feel are the key problems with the opinion.

First and foremost, the state Supreme Court (with the assistance of the state defense, who conceded this point) ignores the difference between a domestic partnership and a marriage. A domestic partnership is a union of two people, of whatever gender, joined together for mutual prosperity and affection with the intention that the partnership should be lifelong or else last for a considerable amount of time. It need not differ in its legal dimensions from any other kind of non-limited partnership, such as an advertising firm or newsstand syndicate, in that both are governed by the mutual consent of the members thereof, and the proceeds thereof are distributed in some fashion to the members thereof, although State law might make a special domestic partnership that does so differ, and indeed did so in this matter. A domestic partnership can be dissolved by filing a form with the Secretary of State and fulfilling certain separation requirements. An individual in a domestic partnership may be as qualified as a single individual with a long-term partner of some other kind to adopt a child, but the relationship is not necessarily open to, and constructed for the purpose of, procreation and the family bond; it is constructed for prosperity and affection.

A marriage has more attributes and social purposes than a domestic partnership. A marriage is the union of one man and one woman joined together for mutual prosperity, affection, and posterity, with the intention that the partnership should be lifelong and (at least in theory, if not in practice since the 60s) that it should lead to the rearing of children in a stable family unit governed by a mother and a father. (I will touch on the gender question in a later article.) It differs in its legal and juridical dimensions from every other institution; it has even given rise to an entire field of law (family law) that is separate from other fields of law. It fulfills a very unique purpose: that of procreating, raising and socializing children in a stable, prosperous, socially perpetuated institution as far from State control as possible. So the state defense (which was ironically not given by the Attorney General, like it usually would be) erred in conceding this point and setting forth the very real difference between a marriage and a domestic partnership.

Secondly, the Court's characterization of the interest in question -- "the opportunity of an individual to establish ... an officially recognized and protected family ... entitled to the same respect and dignity accorded a union traditionally designated as marriage" is an inappropriate question for the court to decide. The government has no place making value judgments as to what is and is not "entitled to" certain degrees of "respect and dignity". That is a judgment for the community and the members thereof, applying private and personal standards, to make. The government does have a place in providing equal protection under its own law, and it did so in every substantive sense; the question in this matter, as the opinion states on page 4, is "whether, under these circumstances [of complete equal protection under State law of marriage and domestic partnership], the failure to designate the official relationship of same-sex couples as marriage violates the California Constitution." In short, the Court was dealing in appearances and demanding that the people of California, many of whom are conservative and some of whom have religious, moral and ethical objections to homosexual behavior, receive same-sex couples into what many of them (myself not included) consider to be the only licit sexual union: that of marriage. So the Court overstepped its bounds by taking the law into the domain of public opinion - of politics. The question should have been rejected as a political question.

Third and finally, the claim on which the right to same-sex marriage rests -- namely, that gay couples raise children the same way regular married couples do -- is flawed. Where do they get the children, since a sperm cannot fertilize a wad of faeces and a dildo cannot fertilize an ovum? Are they products of adultery? Sometimes they are, as in opposite-sex couples; yet this is recognized as deviant, and could not form the basis for a moral judgment. Were they created by technical means, such as the extraction of one man's DNA into an ovum (with his X rather than his Y chromosome), the in vitro fertilization by the other man's sperm, and the artificial implantation of the resulting zygote into a surrogate? Possibly, although I don't believe fertility technology is quite advanced enough to allow that to be the basis for such a judgment.

These children were gotten by adoption, and adoption requires the disembabyment of young women -- for whose rights I strive on a daily basis -- and working women. Neither youth nor working status is a disqualification from the virtue of motherhood. I cannot countenance an institution that relies on taking otherwise happy, healthy children away from (in many cases) willing and able young women as being consistent with a claim of right or a pro-rights worldview.

I will add to this, especially to the last point, very substantially after Finals in order to amplify my views and add the intellectual nuance that is characteristic of my evolving moderate views. For now, you can see my main objections to this decision, and I hope to establish a principled, moderate position by going on record early with my reasons for supporting the inevitable State Constitutional amendment to define marriage in California as a relationship between a man and a woman.

March 28, 2008

New ASFAR Website

Over Spring Break, I created a new beta version of the ASFAR Youth Liberation website all by myself! Suffice it to say that I am very proud of my limited CSS knowledge. I would appreciate a response to any bugs, as well as functional suggestions, sent to president at asfar dot org.

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December 25, 2007

Ten theses on adolescence

I will spend the remainder of my winter break defending these theses and preparing a paper on them, portions of which will be posted here.

1. Adolescence is an entirely socially constructed phase of life. If society ceased to believe in the concept of adolescence, it would cease to exist.
2. The transition from childhood to adulthood does not require the extended period of adolescence.
3. Adolescence, as it exists in America today, is anathema to the natural pattern of human development, to the principle that rights exist in proportion to the corresponding responsibilities, and to the development of young people as it exists in other countries.
4. Age does not correlate with ability to a significant enough extent to justly deny rights based on age.
5. The elimination of adolescence in favor of the assumption of adult responsibilities by those who are ready for them would benefit society.
6. Young people should not, by virtue of their age, be barred from explicit images of sex or violence, or from discussion of any religious tradition.
7. Young people cannot, by virtue of their age, be denied the right to dispatch and receive freely the spoken and written word, to exercise their own religious conscience, to assemble peacefully, or to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
8. It is an offense against the freedom of conscience to require any person, and especially a young person, to undergo mandatory indoctrination or social engineering through any establishment set up for that purpose. It is doubly offensive to that freedom that those establishments often represent their activities as presenting facts or mending defects of body or mind.
9. It is an offense against the humanity of young people to deny their capacity to give or withhold consent to medical or psychological treatment or sexual activity, each of which has a profound effect on the mind and body of that young person, by reason of that young person’s age. It is doubly offensive to that humanity to assign the liberty of consent to a person whose values and interests may not be aligned with those of the young person receiving treatment or being restrained from sexual fulfillment.
10. It is an offense against justice to consider a young person both a perpetrator and a victim of an act of consensual sex, as is the fashion of current age-of-consent laws.

December 14, 2007

A nightmare

Last night, I had a nightmare in which I encountered a little girl who lost her father to the Iraq occupation. As a good Christian, I offered her a shoulder to cry on. Within days (since dreams move really fast), I was sitting in court insisting to an unsympathetic jury that the only sexual anything going on in that situation was in the prosecutor's mind. And apparently in the jurors' minds and the judge's mind as well.

I woke up hoping it was just a dream. Apparently, I was wrong. Four-year-olds as sexual deviants? That's a nightmare for the record books.

December 13, 2007

Five reasons why Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is better qualified for the Presidency than Sen. Hillary Clinton (DINO-NY)

1. Legal Intellect. Clinton failed the D.C. Bar Exam. Obama was a lecturer of Constitutional law at the University of Chicago, one of America's top law schools, for almost a decade.
2. Working People. Clinton was a director of Wal-Mart and a partner of the most notorious anti-union law firm in America, Rose Law. Obama fought for the working poor as an organizer on Chicago's South Side before going to Harvard Law.
3. Authenticity. Clinton is a past president of the Wellesley Young Republicans who continues to struggle with the divide between her ideas and those of the American people. Obama is an authentic, forthright progressive with no need to dissemble or triangulate.
4. Experience. Clinton has a track record of catastrophic failure on the one issue -- health care -- that her husband entrusted to her as First Lady. Obama has a track record of measured success on the issues he handled in the Illinois State Senate, and on the issues -- including ethics and lobbying reform -- that have fallen to him in the U.S. Senate.
5. First Partners. Bill Clinton is a career politician. Michelle Obama is a dignified professional. Need I say more?

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