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On June 24, 2020, John MacArthur posted a sermon, ‘Act Like Men’, with the key phrase from the Bible, ‘be strong and courageous’:

It is one hour and six minutes long and, as you would expect, every minute is well spent watching and listening.

Without saying it explicitly, MacArthur disparages the welfare state which has caused millions of men to relinquish their family responsibilities.

Those of us who have had responsible fathers will greatly appreciate what the founder of Grace To You and Master’s Seminary has to say to men in the modern world.

In order to place this into context, you might wish to read my post from June 29, ‘John MacArthur videos about the protests’, which offers excellent advice about what to do in our journey as Christians.

Excerpts from the ‘Act Like Men’ transcript follow, emphases mine.

MacArthur begins by saying that, in the wake of the protests across the United States and the rest of Western world, he called a meeting of men from his congregation and Master’s Seminary — particularly men of colour — to enlighten him further. He asked them to give him five working points for a Christian agenda moving forward:

These are young Black men that gave up a chunk of their time to sit with me and talk through some of these issues. Thanks to Carl Hargrove for kind of leading that discussion which was powerfully fruitful for me

So I said to these men after about two hours plus of talking together, and it was a very gracious and loving communication. I said, “So give me five things that we need to do as believers in Jesus Christ to reach across racial lines and bring the gospel to these people and have it received.” So I said, “You get five shots, and I’ll have this as the introduction to my sermon.” So here we go. This is what they said to me.

Number One: “Tell people that racism is a sin.” Racism is a sin, isn’t it. Any kind of hate is a sin, and racism is an utterly irrational hate. Racism is what causes genocide, what caused the Holocaust, what causes ethnic battles all across the planet as long as there’s been human history. But then men in their natural state hate God, and the Bible says they hate each other. The first crime was a murder based upon anger, based upon hate, when Cain killed his brother.

Any kind of hate is a sin. Any kind of racial hate is an irrational expanded form of hate coming from any human heart; it is reflective of the fallenness of that heart. And we also know in our society that there are some people who have received more of that than others. We need to make it very clear that to hate anyone on any basis or any group of people is a sin against God of monumental proportions.

Secondly: “We need to show compassion, compassion to those who’ve experienced this.” And lots of people have. We need to open our hearts and weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. Jesus looked at the multitudes and had compassion. Even when He went to the grave of Lazarus, He wept; and He knew He was going to raise him from the dead, and He still wept. That’s the heart of Jesus.

Life is hard, and it has been especially hard for some groups of people; and that certainly speaks to the issue of the history of Black people in America. For those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, they don’t want to hear the statistics, but they would love to know you have compassion for them.

Thirdly, we talked about the fact that, “We need to listen.” And that’s pretty much a basic principle, isn’t it: slow to speak and quick to hear. We may have all the theological answers, we may have all the statistical answers, but can we keep our mouths closed long enough to hear the heart of someone else? Engaging someone with the gospel is so much more effective if that comes in the context of having heard their heart.

Number Four they said: “Use these days as an opportunity to show the love of Christ.” This was really rich advice for me. Say racism is a sin, and it is. Any kind of hate coming from anybody in any direction and you can see that it is tearing this culture to shreds.

Show compassion, listen, and use these opportunities as an occasion to show love. That’s four; got one more. And the final one was this: “The only thing that’s going to break the cycle of our problems in this country is godly fathers. Help us develop godly fathers.” Now you might say that was a providence of God that it happened the week of Father’s Day. Sure set me up for this morning because I want to talk about fathers.

Here are the current American statistics on fatherhood. These involve the main demographics, by the way. The statistics are probably similar, proportionally, throughout the Western world. Please read these and note them well:

Here’s the current reality. Twenty-five million children in our country live without a biological father – one out of three. Grades 1 to 12, forty percent of children live without a biological father in the home. Over fifty percent currently of children are born outside marriage. Eighty-five percent of prisoners grew up in a fatherless home. Eighty-five percent of children with behavioral disorders came from fatherless homes. Ninety percent of youth who run away and become homeless come from fatherless homes. Children from fatherless homes are three hundred percent more likely to deal drugs and carry weapons.

This is a holocaust. And it’s not limited to any group of ethnic people, it is a national holocaust. The statistics I gave you are across the board for our country. Just that one statistic, eighty-five percent of prisoners grew up in a fatherless home, is a terrifying reality.

I used to hear when I was a kid that if you had a good mother you could have any ol’ schtick for a dad. That’s not true. I used to hear when I was a kid preachers say, “You men, it’s important how you live, you Christian men, because your children will get their view of God from you.” That’s ridiculous. They don’t get their view of God from me, they get their view of God from the Bible. That’s an insult to God. What they do get from me is their view of a man. Children will get their view of a man and what a man is from the father.

There, I must disagree, at least in part. I have posted a few entries on fathers and clergy who have not fulfilled their respective responsibilities, either in the family or in the Church:

Here’s what happens when Dad doesn’t attend church

Consistent churchgoing habits important for children

The Methodist Church advocates man-centredness — survey (2010)

Which is more deplorable, the gun culture or the fatherless culture?

What kind of father doesn’t protect his family? (concerns bishops)

But I digress.

Back to John MacArthur:

Sexual immorality, relentless assault of feminism, overexposure to perversion, complete collapse of homes has just produced generations of bad fathers. And the reality is nothing is more devastating to a society than that, nothing. And on the other hand, the only hope for stability and the only hope for sanity, the only hope for peace in a society is masculine, virtuous men.

Some will find that hard to absorb. However, think of the rise of the welfare state over the past half-century. That might begin to put this into context. A virtuous life is not about absentee fathers or Big Government acting as a husband or father. If you sire a child, you need to be there as part of a family unit.

Even if one disagrees with that, it is hard to disagree that, during the past 50 years or so, the further we slip into moral laxity, the more we see evil. In fact, we’re seeing unimaginable evil. We thought we would be nice and allow people to do what they please. Now we see the results of that ill-advised experiment:

Evil abounds absolutely everywhere. How men respond to its presence determines the survival and well-being of a society. Let me say that again: “Evil abounds everywhere. How men respond to its presence determines the survival and well-being of that society.” One psychologist said, “Masculinity is taking responsibility to reduce evil and produce good.”

No culture will ever rise above the character of its men: fathers. The feminist lie has been that patriarchy is bad. It is tyrannical. It is toxic. It needs to be destroyed. And they’ve been doing it for decades. To destroy masculinity, to destroy strong male leadership and character leads to the current disaster: irresponsible men running loose in the streets terrorizing a society. Weak men have given us this legacy. Weak men produce the death of society. And men are in a crisis today, they are being continually told to try to get in touch with their feminine side, so they have become defensive about their masculinity.

Women rise higher and higher and higher and more frequently into positions of leadership, as men feel overwhelmed and overpowered and unable to fight against the trend. Oh, there are lots of men at the gym, pretty buff, have some muscles, but they’re doing virtually nothing to stop the tide of evil in the world. And by the way, in case women haven’t begun to realize it: weak, immoral men abuse women, and they produce more weak, immoral sons. No, children don’t get their view of God from their father, but they do get their view of what a man is. And we are in some serious trouble because the current crop of men are infecting the children.

There are two views in the Bible on generational sin. If one repents of a generational sin, one has wiped his slate clean. See Ezekiel 18:19-20:

19 “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.

Yet, where there is no repentance from generation to generation, the sin endures as a punishable act:

Listen to the Word of God, Exodus chapter 20 and verse 5: I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.” Listen to Exodus 34:7, “God will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.” God says it again in Deuteronomy 5:9 and 10, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

Repeatedly, God says corrupt fathers create in society a legacy of corruption that is generational. He’s not saying that a son would be punished for a father’s sin; clearly that is not the case. Deuteronomy 24:16 says, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone will be put to death for his own sin.” We’re not talking about an individual suffering punishment for another person’s sin. What we are saying is fathers – plural – who are corrupt leave a legacy that will not be overturned in three or four generations. And if the next generation is corrupt, it pushes that out another three or four, and the next generation another three or four, and it becomes an impossible cycle.

In the words of the prophet Zechariah as he begins his prophecy, “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying, ‘The Lord was very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Return to Me,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘that I may return to you,’ says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers.”’” Something has to break the cycle.

This is what happens without repentance:

Clearly, a generation dominated by sinful fathers will bear the crushing consequence of their sinful progenitors. Their children will suffer. Their grandchildren will suffer. Their great-grandchildren will suffer. No generation exists in isolation or as an island. A wicked society defined as wicked by the behavior of the men won’t be rooted out for multiple generations. So it isn’t that people get their view of God from a father, but they do get their view of what a father is, and if it’s the wrong view, it’s just purposely repeated again and again and again.

So, as Christians, what do we do? First, we need to acknowledge that we are all prone to sin. When we give in to sin, we give in to all sorts of carnality. On the other hand, when we are alive in Christ, God’s infinite grace enables us to resist temptation through faith and the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

The default position of every man is corruption, right? It’s the most natural thing they do is sin. The most accessible affect of that sin is on the women in their lives, and then on the children in their lives, and then it extends to everybody else.

The problem is, “There’s none righteous, no, not one. They’re all evil,” as we read in Romans 3. They don’t seek after God. They hate God, they hate others, and they’re influencing their children while they’re harming their wives. I understand why there’s a women’s movement. And even though it’s wrong and totally devastates a society, pushes women into places they were never intended to be and men out of the places they were intended to be, I understand it because of the corruption of men.

So where do we begin? We have to begin as believers who have new natures, right? We are new creations in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit, and we start by breaking the cycle. It’s not going to be broken, it’s still around, right? What you’re seeing today in the chaos of this culture, what you see in the weakness and foolishness of people in high places, what you see is just the reality that corrupt fathers destroy society.

MacArthur then begins discussing one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit: fortitude. As we are in the season of Pentecost — please do ignore the term ‘Ordinary Time’ — it is important that we take some lessons from the weeks from Pentecost until the end of the Church year, just before December.

Fortitude is no casual word. It is not restricted to men alone, however, it is in scarce supply these days among some of today’s men, enough to make a difference in Western society:

Fortitude. What is fortitude? It’s a great word. Firmness, strength of soul that faces danger with courage and bears loss and pain without complaint. Fortitude: “Firmness and strength of soul that faces danger with courage and bears loss and pain without complaint.” That’s not a theological definition, that’s just a definition of the word.

When you say a man has fortitude, you’re talking about someone who doesn’t compromise even when there’s danger, even when that danger escalates to fear and pain. Fortitude is a combination of conviction, courage, and endurance – conviction, courage, and endurance. It is the willingness – it is not just the willingness, I would say it’s even the desire to risk, to literally create challenges if they’re not already there, to attack difficulty, to challenge difficulty head on, to bear suffering with courage. This is what makes a man a man, and this is the kind of man in whom a woman finds her security, finds her protection; and in that kind of relationship, the woman’s femininity flourishes.

Men are those who should be the protectors, the purifiers, who secure their wives, who secure their children, who accomplish all that needs to be done to reduce evil in a society and produce good; and yet this society for years and decades has had men busy producing evil, and diminishing good. True manliness is bound up in the word “courage.” That is the virtue that marks a real man. Truth, conviction, courage.

Turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 16, 1 Corinthians chapter 16. At the end of this wonderful letter, near the end, is tucked a very important verse, actually two verses: verses 13 and 14. Listen to what the apostle Paul says: “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” “Be on the alert,” – danger is everywhere – “stand firm in the faith,” – don’t waiver in your belief and convictions – “act like men,” – What does that mean? Fortitude, uncompromising courage – “be strong.” The New King James actually says, “Be brave, be strong.” “Act like men” essentially means to conduct one’s self in a courageous way, to conduct one’s self in a courageous way.

Courage is the stock-in-trade of a man: courage in the face of danger, courage in the face of temptation, courage in the face of loss, courage in the face of suffering. This strength of verse 13, essentially four statements saying, one way or another, “Be strong.” Is then balanced in verse 14 by, “Let all that you do be done in love.” And how important is it to add that. There’s nothing more manly than a man with consummate conviction, courage, and endurance, who is marked by love. That’s a man – not weak, not vacillating, not fearful; and loving.

Real men face life with this kind of fortitude. They’re watchful of the dangers around them. They’re alert. They’re protectors of their wives and children, and of their friends and all the people over whom they have influence. They have convictions about what is true. They have courage to live out those convictions and the strength to be unwavering when those convictions will cost them everything. Your convictions, they’re only real convictions if they hold up under the most intense pressure.

MacArthur then goes into the many Bible verses with the words ‘be strong and courageous’:

In Deuteronomy 31, Moses is passing the mantle on to Joshua, and in verse 6, Deuteronomy 31, he says this: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them,” – meaning your enemies – “for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” “Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” That’s the greatest transitional leadership speech ever.

Look at … 2 Samuel chapter 10 and verse 12. This is Joab to the Israelites who were facing opposition, strong opposition, tremendously strong opposition. Back in verse 6, it lays out the forces that were coming against them. But in verse 12, Joab says to the Israelites, “Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what is good in His sight.”

First Kings chapter 2. In 1 Kings chapter 2, David addresses Solomon his son. “David’s time to die drew near. He charged Solomon his son, saying, ‘I’m going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke.’” Moses to Joshua, Joab to the Israelites, David to Solomon.

For another view of David’s speech to his son Solomon, look at 1 Chronicles chapter 22. I’m showing you these because I want you to see how common this is. First Chronicles 22, David calls for his son to build the house of God, and we can pick it up in verse 11: “Now, my son, the Lord be with you that you may be successful, and build the house of the Lord your God just as He has spoken concerning you. Only the Lord give you discretion and understanding, and give you charge over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper, if you’re careful to observe the statues and ordinances which the Lord commanded Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed.” All of these declarations assume that your devotion to God is going to be tested, and you’re going to have to be strong. It’s going to be tested, no way around it.

David says again, 1 Chronicles 28:20, to his son Solomon, he gives this speech another time: “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.” Just a couple more.

Toward the end of 2 Chronicles, Hezekiah is speaking to men in positions of leadership. Hezekiah, chapter 32 of 2 Chronicles, the first verse: “After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came, invaded Judah, besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself. Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come invading Judah and he intended to make war on Jerusalem; he decided with his officers and warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs” – this was a siege – “which were outside the city, and they helped him. So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs and streams which flowed through the region, saying, ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?’ And he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, built another outside wall, strengthened the Millo in the city of David, made weapons and shields in great number, appointed military officers over the people and gathered them in the square of the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, and this is what he said: ‘Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.’” That’s a great pep talk, isn’t it, for an army. Psalm 27:14 says, “Be strong and let your heart take courage.”

Men don’t give in to fear. Men don’t give in to pressure. Men don’t give in to intimidation, and they don’t give in to temptation. They don’t seek the easy way. They will take the pain, they will invite the risk, they will confront the challenge, and they will not bow to the pressure to compromise the commandments of God. Strength of a man is that he lives on principle, that he lives on conviction, that he has the courage of those convictions, stands strong against everything that comes at those convictions, bravely faces the challenges in a fortified way. Manly fortitude means contending with difficulty, facing every enemy, meeting the enemy head on, bearing the pain, maintaining self-discipline, upholding truth, pressing on to the goal. That’s what defines a man.

MacArthur cites more examples. God spoke the same words to Joshua in the presence of Moses:

I want to show you another passage back in Joshua, right at the beginning of Joshua. Moses gives this speech again as he passes the baton, as it were, to Joshua. He says to him in chapter 1 of Joshua, verse 5, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.” This is God now speaking, God is the one speaking. “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.”

So here it comes not from Moses to Joshua, but from God to Joshua in the presence of Moses. And here’s what God says to Joshua, verse 6: “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.”

And here comes the key to that. How do you live like that? How do you live with that strength and courage? How do you live without ever compromising? Verse 8: “This book of the law” – the Word of God – “shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” It’s an incredible speech from God.

“Be strong” – verse 5 – “because God will be with you,” – “because you’re fulfilling a divine cause, a promise from God.” Verses 7 and 8, “The only way you can do this is to submit to the Word of God so that it constantly is in your mind and you live out its truths.” You will be able to be obedient if you’re saturated by the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God.

Can you see why this speech is repeated so many, many times? This is the mark of a man. It takes a father like that to raise a son like that. Spiritual men are courageous, strong, principled, uncompromising, and bold. This is God’s role for men to play in a society, but it is also God’s role for the men to play who are the leaders of His people Israel. And this is God’s standard for the men who lead His church.

This is what we should expect from our clergy:

When we come into the New Testament and we are introduced to the kind of men that the Lord commands to lead His church. This is how He describes them in 1 Timothy 3: “This man must be above reproach, a one-woman man, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (if a man doesn’t know how to manage his own children, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” High standards for a pastor, an elder.

To Titus, Paul says similarly, “Appoint elders. If a man is above reproach, one-woman man, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion; for the overseer” – or the shepherd, pastor, bishop – “must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he’ll be able to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict.” This is the kind of men who lead the church.

Why is the standard so high for the leaders of the church? Because the leaders of the church have the responsibility to set the pattern for what manliness looks like in a godly environment. It’s not that they alone should be like this, it is that they should be like this so the others can see what a man should be. It isn’t that the Lord wants to pick up all the pastors and elders and take them to another level of spirituality which no one could attain, it is rather that this is what God expects from every man. But it’s got to be modeled. Men like that and men, as Ephesians 5 said, who love their wives like Christ loved the church, and who are protectors of their wives and who literally are the saviors of their wives, are the kind of men who become a haven for the wife, who make her feel secure and protected, nourished, cherished. And when children grow up in a home where the man secures the woman and the children, there’s peace.

So, how have we gone so far astray?

This culture has turned on God, eliminated His Word. The bible and the gospel is an enemy.

One wonders what John MacArthur thinks of President Trump. To my knowledge, he has not been invited to the White House. I wish that President Trump would invite him. That would make for an interesting transcript.

But I digress. MacArthur says:

The leaders of this nation have no interest in God or in His Word, and they are basically running this country right into hell as fast as they can. The only thing that’s going to stop this is not a group of feminized men who thinks God just wants to give them what they want so they can be happy. What this world needs is not sensitive men, it needs strong men. We live in a world of compromise, more than compromise. You could barely call it compromise because there’s nothing left of that which is good, so what are they compromising with.

That said, it is clear that MacArthur, a Californian, disapproves of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s views. Newsom is a self-proclaimed Catholic. Here’s a 2008 video of the two of them on the old Larry King Show on CNN when Newsom was the mayor of San Francisco and married to his second wife at the time:

Now on to the word ‘integrity’:

To add another word to your thoughts about this, I would say that people who have no price have integrity, integrity. So we talk about fortitude, let me talk about integrity. “People who have no price have integrity.”

What is integrity? It is essentially unbreakable fortitude. Integrity is defined as steadfast adherence to a moral code. It comes from “integer,” which means “whole” or “complete.” Its synonyms are “honesty,” “sincerity,” “simplicity,” “incorruptibility.” It’s antonym is “duplicity” or “hypocrisy.” A person who lacks integrity is a hypocrite. Integrity means that you live by your convictions: you say what you believe, you hold to what you believe, you’re immoveable. That’s wholeness. That’s integrity: you are one. It was said long ago of a preacher that he preached very well, but he lived better. The world is a seducer, and Satan is a seducing deceiver, pushing us into compromise, and therefore into hypocrisy.

When our Lord indicted the scribes and Pharisees who were the frequent objects of His blistering attacks. Inevitably it was on their integrity that He assaulted them. For example, in Matthew 23:3, He said, “They say things and do not do them.”

MacArthur, who is truly blessed, has a number of additional observations. As such, I would invite you to read or watch his sermon in full.

In short, manliness does not involve belonging to a street gang.

Each man, at some point, will have to rely upon his own wits, determination and fortitude to resolve his own trials, whether they be his own or those of his family.

We need to recover the biblical ideal of manliness, which has kept Western society protected for centuries. It hasn’t always succeeded, but we are fallen people, susceptible to temptation and sin.

Men have been beaten into the ground for decades. This must be remedied:

We need a generation of men who are alert to danger, who stand firm in the faith, who are courageous with the Word of God, uncompromising and strong.

And, listen, everything about this that I’ve said indicates they will be tested. Manliness will be tested. Conviction will be tested. Courage will be tested. Strength will be tested. The pressure will come, it’ll come in unexpected ways, but it’ll come. You may get away with your statement of conviction for years, but there will come a test, and many men will shock the people who knew them by selling out, compromising, abandoning their integrity, playing the hypocrite out of cowardice. This falls into a translation of Romans 12:2. Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.

Stay strong. Stand firm in the faith, as Saint Paul did.

The world needs real men now more than ever, especially to stand by principled women.

Happy New Year!

Happy new decade!

I enjoy, albeit with trepidation at times, looking back at the decades I’ve lived through and charting the change from beginning to end.

O tempora, o mores!

1960s

In 1960, growing up in the United States, I remember that things were still quite formal. Most people took care in the way they spoke and in their appearance. They were careful to conduct their households in a respectable manner. By the middle of the decade, that began to change but not too noticeably.

By 1968, a social revolution was underway, including sexually. What was once private became public. Attire reflected that. Women began wearing skirts above the knee. Men’s clothes became more form-fitting.

Sloppiness and drugs became fashionable with the advent of hippies. Even though they were a small minority, they received a lot of media coverage. A slogan connected with them — ‘If it feels good, do it’ — began to pervade society at large.

Cinema and television reflected this change.

At home, Americans moved from watching westerns to tuning into a zany comedy hour. In 1960, Gunsmoke was the most viewed programme. In 1969, it was Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Gunsmoke had moved to sixth place in the Nielsen ratings.

Film genres and themes also shifted. In 1960, the great epics were popular, with Spartacus the highest grossing film and Exodus coming third. Psycho was second. In 1969, while Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was in the top slot, Midnight Cowboy was at No. 3, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice was No. 6 and an X-rated movie, I Am Curious (Yellow) was No. 12. It would have been unthinkable in 1960 that an urban drama about homosexuality, a movie about swingers and one that was pornographic would have been so popular nine years later.

1970s

The cultural shift continued in the 1970s. American magazines and newspapers devoted many column inches to social drop-outs experimenting with communal living. Swingers were becoming popular in suburbia. Again, those were two small sub-groups of society, but everyone — even the most respectable — knew about these two phenomena.

Pop music got bolder, more sexualised. I remember in high school that we talked a lot about sex and could hardly wait to start dating so that we could experiment. Our parents wondered what was wrong with us. The idea of sin and the forbidden went out the window. ‘If it feels good, do it’ had spread to the middle classes. Previously forbidden carnal acts were encouraged as being completely ‘natural’. This furthered the evolution of a shame-free society. Today, I read that some teenagers don’t kiss on a first date; instead they engage in oral sex.

Interestingly, one of the most suggestive singers of the decade, Eric Carmen of the Raspberries, laments where this has led today:

I remember neighbours of ours getting divorced. The wife said that she could earn her own living now, thank you very much. The husband was heartbroken. We felt sorry for their two children. Until then, my family and I personally did not know any couples who got divorced. It just didn’t happen to everyday individuals. However, divorce rates continued to rise and, these days, no one bats an eyelid.

More women started working. What began as a liberating elective would turn out to be a mandatory means of survival in marriage in the years that followed. Few of us knew that then, though.

Returning to music, it was a great decade for youngsters. FM radio produced rather excellent stations devoted to little known genres that never reached Top 40 AM stations. Through them, we discovered prog rock from Britain: Yes, Rick Wakeman, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, to name but three musical greats. There were many more, too numerous to mention here.

Near the end of the decade we had disco. Saturday Night Fever was a huge box office hit and propelled John Travolta from television (Welcome Back Kotter) to cinema fame.

The most popular television sitcoms, such as Welcome Back Kotter, were all set in metropolitan areas. In terms of television in general, The Waltons was probably the only show with a rural setting.

Halfway through the decade, I spent a year in France, which was much quieter than the US socially and still quite formal, even though the more leftist state university students were generally unkempt and unwashed. In many respects, the country was a bridge between the 1960s and the 1970s in the nicest possible way.

1980s

Leaving university, I recall that many of my friends latched onto the Reagan zeitgeist and became conservatives.

They turned into their parents and lost the fun-loving verve they once had. I stayed single the longest, so was more acutely aware of a shift into respectability and suburban living.

I lived in a major US city then, earning my own way in life. For relaxation, I used to go to matinees at the weekend. The price of admission was cheaper and the cinemas were nearly empty, giving me the impression I had the big screen all to myself.

I saw a lot of world films in the first part of that decade, some from Brazil and Australia but mostly Britain and France. French film became a passion. Even one of the UHF television channels showed French films from the 1950s. Bliss.

As far as music was concerned, my favourite FM station played British and European singles apart from reggae on Sunday afternoons. More bliss.

Then, around 1986, something began to change. Although my favourite radio station stayed the same, the movie theatres weren’t showing as many foreign films. Within a couple of years, they stopped showing them altogether. One of my lifelines had vanished, sadly. The American films that replaced them were not very good, either, so I stopped going to the cinema.

Everything became very one-dimensional. America, somehow, had lost the link with the zeitgeist of European culture, which it never recovered. It used to be that people in the 1960s and early 1970s made a two- or three-week trip to western Europe to see the historic sites they learned about in school. It was what we today would call a bucket list item.

Fortunately, by the end of the decade, employment events intervened — and further improved — for me.

1990s

Living in England, I realised that I had an insatiable appetite for history and politics. I learned a lot about both thanks to a gift subscription to The Spectator, which I had read about in English lit class in high school. It’s been around since 1828.

In 1990s, my in-laws told me that Margaret Thatcher’s time was up. She had become too full of herself. We had high hopes for John Major.

I remember the 1992 election, which Major won handily. I could not understand the rage of my female colleagues who expected Neil Kinnock to win. They stayed up all night drinking, waiting for a Labour government that never came. The next day, at work, they were hungover, tearful — and, above all, angry. Why did they think he stood a chance? Perhaps I had been reading too much of The Spectator, but I had no doubt that Major would continue as Prime Minister.

By 1997, most of us felt change was needed. The Conservative MPs on the front bench seemed like tired, bloated bureaucrats. None of them had an original idea. Most seemed to be lining their own pockets. I was most consterned by Health Secretary Virginia Bottomley, who started closing A&E (Accident and Emergency) services at local hospitals. What was she thinking?

When Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997, nearly everyone I knew rejoiced. Change was coming.

And how …

2000s

The first few years of Labour were fine. I was enjoying my work too much to pay any attention.

By 2005, I longed for a Conservative government, especially when Gordon Brown became PM with no general election.

After that, Labour became unbearable, banging on about people’s personal lives and habits. The smoking ban came into force in the summer of 2007. Ministers assured us in television interviews that private members clubs and hotels would be exempt. No, not at all. It was a blanket ban everywhere.

It was during this decade that London elected its first mayor, Ken Livingstone. He served two terms and introduced the city-wide congestion charge for motor vehicles, which we called the Kengestion Charge. My colleagues at the time reminded me that, as head of the old GLA (Greater London Authority), he was known as Red Ken.

Boris Johnson succeeded him, also serving two terms. His administration made the streets tidy again and also lowered crime.

By 2006, I started looking more closely at the EU and the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who seemed to rule our lives. I agreed with those disgruntled Britons who wanted a referendum on our membership.

Most of all, however, I was sick and tired of Labour, to the point of despair.

I also asked my far better half to cancel my gift subscription to the The Spectator, as it had changed its editorial line considerably after Boris Johnson left as editor. Although more people now read it, it is a former shadow of itself. I would not call it neither conservative nor traditional at all any more.

2010s

Hope came in the May 2010 general election.

The Conservatives had to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. It was the David Cameron and Nick Clegg Show, but at least Labour were out of the picture after 13 years.

David Cameron referred to himself as the ‘heir to Blair’. It took me some time to see it, but he was not wrong.

He set out to reform the Conservative Party and alienated older, faithful members in their local associations. CCHQ suddenly did not need their help.

On a broader level, Cameron will probably be best remembered for opening up marriage to same-sex couples and for offering us the EU referendum, billed by all parties as a ‘once in a lifetime’ choice which they all pledged to implement.

A number of televised debates took place in 2016. I watched them all. Some of my friends were less than convinced by the Leave proposition. The one clincher was Brexit The Movie, which is an hour-long eye-opener about the Brussels gravy train and better than any of the debates, no matter how good:

I stayed up until the early hours of the morning of Friday, June 24, 2016 to watch the result. When it was clear that Leave had won, I went to bed. The next day, my far better half and I woke up to Cameron resigning because he did not like the result. We had a celebratory lunch in London and went to a party that evening that had been planned months earlier. I remember the apprehension we both felt about sounding out the other party guests as to their views on the EU. We later discovered that were not alone. Finally, someone there broke the ice upon his arrival by exclaiming:

Is everybody HAPPY? I certainly am!

At that point, we were free to talk about Brexit.

Theresa May became Prime Minister later that summer.

Across the pond, another sea change was happening: Donald Trump’s candidacy. It was even more of a shock when he won. A startled nation awoke to find that Hillary Clinton was not their president.

The conflicts about Brexit and Trump continue today. Opponents to both have grown ever more vehement.

On September 20, 2019, the British website Spiked issued a thought-provoking documentary on Trump and Brexit. It’s 26-minutes long and well worth watching. To cover Brexit, their reporters interviewed residents of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. To cover the Trump phenomenon, they interviewed Pennsylvania journalist Salena Zito and residents of Erie, which was once a major industrial powerhouse in that state. It has fallen on very hard times, indeed:

The major theme running through both is, as they put it, ‘change’, which I believe they should have called ‘self determination’ and ‘recovering the aspirational dream’.

One thing that struck me was the interview with the owner of a gym in Erie. He said that his father raised seven children on a janitor’s salary:

You couldn’t do that now.

Too right. Both parents now have to work — unlike in the 1960s — and few households can support more than two or three children.

People in Britain and the United States want to work and save more of their hard-earned cash. They also want good job opportunities for their children.

A fisherman in Southend said that, because of EU rules, he is restricted to an ever-smaller part of waters in which to fish. The number of fishing boats has continued to decline, he added, and the number of fisherman has also dropped dramatically. That is why he, and many others in Southend, voted Leave in 2016.

The decade closed with Boris Johnson’s landslide victory on December 12. Historian David Starkey explores what this means for the nation in this 57-minute documentary from The Sun, ably conducted by a young reporter:

Starkey explores the evolution of Parliament since Victorian times, when it became the institution we know today. As many Northern constituencies flipped from Labour to Conservative, Starkey says that Boris’s pledge to revitalise the North will mean little unless he espouses their values of patriotism, which, he says, has been a dirty word for many years.

He says that Boris could well become a figure like Charles II, who restored the monarchy beginning in 1660. Many of their personality traits are similar, he notes, particularly their penchant for bringing a nation together and reforming it at the same time. It is well worth watching when you have the opportunity.

There is much more to Starkey’s interview than summarised here. He talks about the people of the North, Labour, Jeremy Corbyn, David Cameron, Tony Blair and, significantly, Benjamin Disraeli. Starkey hopes that the PM will study his Victorian predecessor’s successes closely.

With that, I must close for now. There are many developments over the past 60 years that I have not mentioned. This is merely to give an idea about the direction that Western society took as the decades rolled on.

Welcome to 2020. Let’s hope it brings many good tidings. I wish all of us the very best.

British journalist and television presenter Piers Morgan effectively dismantles the snowflake generation and their parents in this two-minute video, which is subtitled:

It is amazing that some comments to that tweet ask how he would know about the snowflake generation. Uhh, the clue is in the first sentence:

Well, as a father of four kids …

Here they are, as seen on Christmas Day:

The person who tweeted the snowflake generation video received an interesting selection of comments. Half were critical and half were supportive.

I am glad to see that retired Australian cricketer Shane Warne agrees with what Piers said:

Morgan points out that there has never been a better time to be alive. We are living in peacetime, largely speaking. Our health advances are much greater than any time before. Our technological advances continue in leaps and bounds. What’s not to like?

Yet, he says, we are creating a generation of young adults who cannot accept the realities of life because we have sheltered them too much, whether at home, school or elsewhere.

Along with this comes the continued criticism of the world as it is: imperfect. Sure, we can always do a better job of things and, for the most part, we are. Yet, the criticism is vehement. Furthermore, most of it comes from the snowflake generation who expect a prize just for participating in an event.

As Morgan points out, kids are happy to place 25th in an event. He says that if one of his kids came home with 25th place, he would ask them why they didn’t do better. Absolutely! In my day — so last century — if we came second or third, our parents would ask why we didn’t come first!

This mollycoddling attitude of parents and teachers is not doing the current crop of twenty-somethings any favours. We have encouraged them to be too soft and to collapse at the drop of a hat.

I sometimes wonder whether much of this recent child psychology is a deliberate way of weakening, if not destroying, Western society. I very much doubt the Chinese or the Russians give out participation trophies to all. Nor do other non-Western countries. They make their respective younger generations toughen up from an early age. Consequently, their young adults move to Western countries for work, especially in technology. Their aptitude is better, because they had more structure in the classroom — no curved grades — and at home. Meanwhile, we have millions of children entering university who cannot do what used to be secondary school maths. Nor do they know the rules of grammar or spelling anymore. As a result, our universities offer remedial courses to bring first-year students up to speed.

It’s a parlous state of affairs. Heaven forfend if we are ever in a national crisis.

There is winning, which is easy to handle. Then there is losing, which requires a) knowing how to cope and b) learning from it when it is one’s own fault. That pertains not only to sporting events but to employment as well.

Life isn’t easy. Life has never been easy. There are lessons to be learnt at each stage of our journey, whether individually or together.

Let’s stop indulging young adults so much. And let’s watch how we raise the next generation.

We can take a lesson from nature here:

Snowflakes are for winter and the great outdoors. They should not be a personality type.

In perusing the Internet the other day, I ran across this tweet which has film footage from 1912 about a variety of Manhattan neighbourhoods:

It’s just under two-and-a-half minutes long and well worth watching.

The comments on the video are enlightening, too.

The vast majority discuss the lack of obesity:

There is that. Walking, as a few people stated, also helped. Furthermore, there was no central heating at the time, so houses and other buildings were much colder, adding to the calorie burn. There was no air conditioning during the summer, either.

They also weren’t eating much carbohydrate then, including breakfast cereal and cakes. Sugar was expensive back then, too:

My late grandmothers, both of whom were born at the end of the 19th century limited their carb consumption to morning toast and, if they had guests, a slice of pie or cake after dinner.

The next set of frequent comments concerned personal attire and comportment:

Unfortunately, we are where we are today:

Ugh!

One person mentioned the decline in Christian values since then.

I will add ‘Judeo-‘ to that, as a few of the neighbourhoods shown were predominantly Jewish. The point about the decline in faith and worship still stands, though.

Of course, it’s not only New York City where social standards have deteriorated. They have gone downhill everywhere in the Western world, which used to be a beacon of hope for those searching for a better life, when hard work often led to prosperity.

The generations alive today have some work to do if we want to recapture what once was with regard to dignity and integrity.

On Monday, March 6, 2017, Fox News host Tucker Carlson was one of the speakers who addressed the International Association of Fire Fighters at their annual legislative conference in Washington, DC.

Fox 10 Phoenix has the entire 34 minute video — recommended viewing:

For decades, average Americans have wondered why there is such a gulf between Washington and most of the United States.

Carlson explains the DC disconnect.

Starting with Trump’s surprise win in 2016, Carlson said that the middle class was simply fed up with the DC elite ignoring their cries for help regarding immigration and trade.

He said that the DC elite are oblivious to average Americans. Washington DC has full employment and more people working as housekeepers than ever before. Conversation revolves around the theoretical, e.g. economic theory, rather than reality.

He explained that two things that people in DC love are immigration and free trade. Immigration is great because DC residents can get servants very cheaply. In some cases, he said, they are paid a child’s allowance as a salary. DC residents then feel they are being virtuous towards the less fortunate.

However, what works for DC doesn’t work for the rest of the nation. The middle class tried time and time again to point that out to the elite, who dismissed them as being racist and stupid.

The same scenario occurred with trade. The middle class are losing their jobs. The elite in DC do not care.

This broad swathe of dissatisfied Americans took to the ballot box in November 2016. They mounted a peaceful revolution by electing Donald Trump to the White House.

Carlson talked about the rabid hate of Trump in Washington, where 90%+ of voters plumped for Hillary Clinton. Carlson said that, out of three million government employees, only 50 actually like Trump. Whether that is numerically accurate is beside the point. Trump faces an uphill climb.

Furthermore, as much as Democrats loathe Trump, it’s even more entrenched on the Republican side.

He said that Trump can come up with the most sensible policies — buying cheaper drugs from Canada — and politicians simply shut him out. They cannot hear what he is saying. I call that Trump Derangement Syndrome. The term was used about Bush and Obama’s opponents in their time.

Carlson said that nothing in this world is 100% good. Immigration and market-driven trade are two of these things. They work well for the top one per cent but are disastrous for everyone else. He pointed to other examples of where people have noticed and vote accordingly: the UK, with Brexit, and France, with Marine LePen (doing well in the polls).

Carlson spoke about the disaster coming from mass unemployment, particularly among men. Unemployment, he said, drives men crazy. Men need to work in order to feel that they have value and purpose in life.

He said that the current immigration model — and this is true for other Western countries — is predicated on a large manufacturing base. Unfortunately, that manufacturing base no longer exists. Therefore, immigration policy must change accordingly to fit reality.

This also holds true with regard to war and trade. Trump opposes needless American intervention in other nation’s affairs. Trump supports trade deals that will help, not hinder, America.

Carlson also warned about driverless vehicles. Once again, all of Washington waxes lyrical about how ‘cool’ these are. Yet, they will put 8 million people out of jobs overnight if they become reality on the nation’s roads. Carlson pointed out that the most popular occupation among recent high school graduates is driving a truck.

If truck drivers — and taxi drivers — become obsolete, what are they going to do for work? Carlson correctly surmised that they won’t be retraining to become computer programmers. He said that the Trump administration should ban them outright. I agree, in part. They should be banned for commercial use, at least.

He also talked about the Tea Party, which failed, in his estimation, because it lacked a leader. The Tea Party, he explained, was a way for conservative Republicans to express their dissatisfaction with the Republican Party, which clearly does not share their interests.

Then along came Donald Trump. Carlson found it interesting that Trump has never really issued a concise statement about what his movement or ideology stands for. Yet, he struck a chord with millions of Americans who felt he spoke for them.

I’ll conclude with something that Carlson opened with. He said that Republicans and Democrats must really take in and understand what upsets Americans and why they voted for Trump. He said that serious soul searching must take place in the two main political parties. Unfortunately, he noted, that has not yet begun.

As for what Trump’s ideology is with regard for America, I predict we will all be able to articulate it by 2020.

I nearly forgot to mention Carlson’s opinion of the media: ‘dumb’, except for his colleagues at Fox. He told the fire fighters that he has worked for every cable news network and knows whereof he speaks. He said that no one with an ounce of intelligence goes into media. (That should tell us something about students in Media Studies.)

Carlson’s speech was great. He spoke for 13 minutes then took three questions from the audience, for the next 20. He’s much livelier giving a speech than he is in interviews on Tucker Carlson Tonight. And rightly so. This address shows a different side to his personality.

The Obama administration is not bowing out quietly.

On May 8, the New York Post reported that Housing Secretary Julian Castro has plans for Section 8 which will see more affluent suburbs integrated with families from the inner cities.

The programme — Small-Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR) — comes into effect in October 2016:

The scheme involves super-sizing vouchers to help urban poor afford higher rents in pricey areas, such as Westchester County, while assigning them government real-estate agents called “mobility counselors” to secure housing in the exurbs.

The Post says that Castro paved the way for this in two ways.

Last year, he implemented Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing:

that pressures all suburban counties taking federal grant money to change local zoning laws to build more low-income housing (landlords of such properties are required to accept Section 8 vouchers).

In April 2016, he threatened to sue suburban landlords if they refused to rent to people with criminal records, on grounds of discrimination.

When SAFMR comes into effect, it will forcibly lower rent subsidies for areas like Brooklyn and raise them for wealthy suburbs such as those in Westchester County (emphases mine):

In expensive ZIP codes, Castro’s plan — which requires no congressional approvalwould more than double the standard subsidy, while also covering utilities. At the same time, he intends to reduce subsidies for those who choose to stay in housing in poor urban areas, such as Brooklyn. So Section 8 tenants won’t just be pulled to the suburbs, they’ll be pushed there.

This is not a new concept. Bill Clinton tried something similar in 1994, with disastrous results. In an effort to socially and economically improve the lives of the urban poor, his Moving to Opportunity Initiative took families out of urban public housing and transferred them to more middle-class neighbourhoods and communities.

Clinton’s initiative died a death in 2009. In 2011, HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) sponsored a study which found that:

adults using more generous Section 8 vouchers did not get better jobs or get off welfare. In fact, more went on food stamps. And their children did not do better in their new schools.

Worse, crime simply followed them to their safer neighborhoods, ruining the quality of life for existing residents.

“Males…were arrested more often than those in the control group, primarily for property crimes,” the study found.

That is really sad.

The Post pointed out that quiet, industrious Dubuque, Iowa, is still suffering from increased crime rates after an influx of Chicago inner-city residents moved there, subsidised by Section 8 vouchers.

The article went on to say that left-wing experts looked at Dubuque’s situation and concluded that it would have been less likely to happen if Section 8 families had been relocated to affluent suburbs instead.

As a result, in 2012, HUD decided to experiment with the Dallas area. They ‘sweetened’ Section 8 vouchers and encouraged inner-city residents to move to communities furthest away from the city.

What happened? The same thing as in Dubuque:

Now Dallas has one of the highest murder rates in the nation, and recently had to call in state troopers to help police control it. For the first time, violent crime has shifted to the tony bedroom communities north of the city. Three suburbs that have seen the most Section 8 transfers — Frisco, Plano and McKinney — have suffered unprecedented spikes in rapes, assaults and break-ins, including home invasions.

Although HUD’s “demonstration project” may have improved the lives of some who moved, it’s ended up harming the lives of many of their new neighbors.

Come October, the same results may well be replicated across the country.

Not only will residents feel and probably be less safe, but their property values will also plummet.

It’s interesting that Julian Castro’s name often comes up as a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton. Ironically, Chappaqua, the town where the Clintons live, is currently fighting Section 8 housing because of the crime wave it brings.

Back in 2008, reports circulated that ruining the peaceful life of suburbs and exurbs was one of Obama’s plans. It is not surprising that nothing happened until now. Americans should expect more social re-engineering between now and January 2017.

For the past 20 years, I have made a conscious effort to articulate views in conversation without saying ‘I feel’, instead using ‘I think’ or merely making a statement.

I knew a business professor at the time, now retired, who often introduced his conversational opinions with ‘I feel that …’ He said it so often that I began listening for those words from others, including friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There was a lot of ‘I feel’ among them as well as in television interviews with famous people.

SpouseMouse also noticed this.

Were we the only two who had?

We had a long wait, but, finally, it now emerges that other people have had enough of ‘I feel’. Before exploring their criticism of those words, let’s look at a bit of background from the late 20th century to today.

Thinking is being

Until recently, secondary school and university students took an introduction to philosophy course.

They read René Descartes, the French philosopher who wrote in his Discourse on the Method in 1637:

Je pense, donc je suis.

In 1644, he wrote the statement in Latin in Principles of Philosophy:

Cogito ergo sum.

Translated in English, it means:

I think, therefore, I am.

Wikipedia explains:

This proposition became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it purported to form a secure foundation for knowledge in the face of radical doubt. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception, or mistake, Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one’s own existence served—at minimum—as proof of the reality of one’s own mind; there must be a thinking entity—in this case the self—for there to be a thought.

St Augustine of Hippo wrote similarly in the 5th century in his works The City of God and the Enchiridion, in discussing the errors of sceptics. By being alive, we are prone to error:

… one cannot err who is not alive. That we live is therefore not only true, but it is altogether certain as well …

Other philosophers and great thinkers also addressed the certainty of our existence, which revolves around the ability to think and to reason.

My point here is not to engage in philosophical discussion but rather to point out that thinking was seen as the foundation for rational expression.

When I was growing up, my parents asked me to substantiate my opinions with facts. Facts require thought in order to process the information therein. Facts give us solid reasons to support certain perspectives.

Thinking is not emotion. As my parents used to say, ‘Any fool can feel. You’re supposed to use the God-given gifts of thought and reason.’ To some that will sound tough, but it will produce critical thinking.

The therapeutic era

Most people under the age of 35 or even 40 will have encountered a therapeutic approach to language rather than a rational one.

If this approach to linguistics does not begin at home, it will certainly be taught at school.

Everything must be couched in inoffensive terms. Prefacing an opinion or even a fact with ‘I feel’ is understood to be more acceptable than using the more definite ‘I think’ or making a direct statement.

Defenders of ‘I feel’ think they and others who use those words are demonstrating humility, gentleness and openness towards others. ‘I feel’, they say, signals a willingness to change one’s mind if a good case can be made to the contrary.

However, there is also a manipulative side to ‘I feel’ when it is used by people who self-identify as victims. It is a passive-aggressive way of saying, ‘I’m a delicate little flower. Therefore, please don’t contradict me, because that will invalidate my feelings. Truth be told, I am not interested in what you have to say, anyway, unless you agree with me.’

The case against ‘I feel’

On May 1, the SundayReview in The New York Times featured an article by Molly Worthen, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a contributing editorial writer to the NYT. Worthen’s most recent book is Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism.

Her article, ‘Stop Saying “I Feel Like”‘, is a must-read for both supporters and detractors of that perspective. The accompanying illustration of a woman opening her mouth with flowers falling out of it makes the point perfectly.

Worthen begins by saying she has been hearing people opine on the presidential candidates this year. Too many of them make statements similar to the following:

Personally, I feel like Bernie Sanders is too idealistic

or, as someone said of Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz, the ex-Canadian:

I feel like I can trust that he will keep his promises.

Worthen points out (emphases mine):

The imperfect data that linguists have collected indicates that “I feel like” became more common toward the end of the last century. In North American English, it seems to have become a synonym for “I think” or “I believe” only in the last decade or so. Languages constantly evolve, and curmudgeons like me are always taking umbrage at some new idiom. But make no mistake: “I feel like” is not a harmless tic. George Orwell put the point simply: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” The phrase says a great deal about our muddled ideas about reason, emotion and argument — a muddle that has political consequences.

Although women use the phrase more often than men, she says that among her own students:

male students begin almost every statement with “I feel like.” The gender gap is vanishing because the cultural roots of this linguistic shift were never primarily a consequence of gender.

Some students Worthen interviewed are making a conscious effort not to say the words:

Jing Chai, a senior at the University of Chicago, said: “I’ve tried to check myself when I say that. I think it probably demeans the substance of what I’m trying to say.”

As I said above, ‘I feel’ can be a passive-aggressive conversation stopper. Worthen agrees:

“I feel like” masquerades as a humble conversational offering, an invitation to share your feelings, too — but the phrase is an absolutist trump card. It halts argument in its tracks.

When people cite feelings or personal experience, “you can’t really refute them with logic, because that would imply they didn’t have that experience, or their experience is less valid,” Ms. Chai told me.

You know, we can’t have that these days. The atmosphere on campus is meant for victimhood rather than learning. Worthen says that Bradley Campbell, a sociologist at California State University, Los Angeles, has written about the shift:

from a “culture of dignity,” which celebrates free speech, to a “culture of victimhood” marked by the assumption that “people are so fragile that they can’t hear something offensive,” he told me.

People like that should not even be at university, regardless of their intelligence. University is for people who can think critically and encounter new ideas. It’s a place for well-reasoned, tempered debate and discussions which result in learning. Yet, for all their linguistic kindness, today’s university students, sometimes aided by lecturers or professors, violently shut down opposing viewpoints. Think of the Chicago ‘protests’ (assaults and vandalism) a few months ago by university students — encouraged by radical professors — which prevented a Trump rally from taking place. Elsewhere, earlier this year, one student purposely damaged a Trump supporter’s laptop because he couldn’t stand looking at the bumper sticker on it. Trump aside, many universities — including those in the UK — have had to cancel certain speakers’ appearances because they are not politically correct. This is in response to student protest and threatened violence. The wimpy ‘I feel’ is, in reality, manifesting itself as physical harm or damage. But I digress.

Worthen also interviewed Christopher Lasch’s daughter Dr Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, a historian at Syracuse University, who is carrying on her late father’s fine work in social commentary. If you have not read Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism, you are missing out on a treat. I read it in the early 1980s and it analyses our society to a T.

Of ‘I feel like’, Lasch-Quinn told Worthen:

It’s a way of deflecting, avoiding full engagement with another person or group because it puts a shield up immediately. You cannot disagree.

In 2001, Lasch-Quinn’s book Race Experts lamented that no real improvement is being achieved with equality or economics. Instead, the Left focusses on sensitivity training. ‘I feel like’ is part of this pattern:

a means of avoiding rigorous debate over structures of society that are hard to change

Cultivating the art of conversation goes a long way toward correcting these things,” Dr. Lasch-Quinn said. 

Her father wrote about what, today, Americans call ‘self care’. Worthen explains:

“self-care” — can lead to what the writer Christopher Lasch called “pseudo-self-awareness.” It can leave us too preoccupied with personal satisfaction to see the world clearly. “The new narcissist is haunted not by guilt but by anxiety,” Mr. Lasch wrote in his 1979 book “The Culture of Narcissism.” “He seeks not to inflict his own certainties on others but to find a meaning in life.”

Unfortunately, times have moved on. In the 2010s, it is all too apparent that those who are emotionally-driven actually do seek to inflict their own certainties on others, either by shutting down opposing viewpoints or threatening people. ‘I feel like’ is a contributing linguistic factor to this phenomenon.

Although philosophers have for centuries acknowledged emotion as essential to thinking, we can take our feelings too far. When Worthen spoke to the neuroscientist Dr Antonio Dimasio, who teaches at the University of Southern California, he agreed that ‘I feel like’ is:

“bad usage” and “a sign of laziness in thinking,” not because it acknowledges the presence of emotion, but because it is an imprecise hedge that conceals more than it reveals. “It doesn’t follow that because you have doubts, or because something is tempered by a gut feeling, that you cannot make those distinctions as clear as possible,” he said.

The best gift parents and teachers can give children is to get them to figure out why they like or dislike and agree or disagree with something or someone. Insist that they think about it and articulate it factually, without one-word answers or labels. Furthermore, when they see a soundbite from someone they disagree with, ask them to research further. Did they understand the full context in which a statement was given? Did they read or hear the full quote?

Saying ‘I feel like’ prevents our getting the full story. Using ‘I think’ or — even better — doing away with the first person preface altogether will produce sharper thought processes and a more reasoned point of view, easily articulated to our listeners and readers. Children should learn that as quickly as they can. It will serve them well in life.

The Air France flight I took back to the US for my father’s funeral — when I was on the cusp of my 19th birthday — showed Network, which had recently premiered at the cinema.

My father, also on the cusp of his late-50s birthday, would have loved Peter Finch’s Oscar-winning character.

Dad deeply admired Ronald Reagan, as far back as the early 1970s. He really wanted to vote for him, even though he had voted ‘D’ along with his family every election of his life. My dad typified the Reagan Democrat: well-read, modest and of the mind that the US was going to the dogs.

I’m so glad he did not live to see Carter’s dismal final years. But I do regret that he was unable to vote for his Californian, B-actor hero.

I didn’t get it at the time. I was too young. But now that I’m Dad’s age, I surely do understand it today.

Like many Americans whose mood Reagan tapped into, my dad was mad as hell. Not in a violent or destructive way, just frustrated. Not a day went by when we didn’t read or hear about street gangs, shootings, muggings, rapes, gas prices, food shortages, pollution, inflation and everyday disappointment — all made to sound as if they were normal occurrences.

Suddenly, every city was getting as bad as New York, which we used to laugh about in the 1960s, thanks to Johnny Carson (who didn’t move to ‘beautiful downtown Burbank’ until 1972). On that subject, New York revived, in important ways, thanks to a certain 2016 GOP presidential candidate. Detroit, on the other hand, seriously tanked (no pun intended with the auto industry).

I would love to have known what my father would have made of Peter Finch’s ‘I’m mad as hell’ plea to Americans on the nightly news. Here it is on YouTube. Even if you don’t turn the sound on — I’ve got his monologue below — do watch this scene, a little over four minutes long, to see how people watching the broadcast respond. You’ll see Faye Dunaway, too:

This is what Finch’s character says in his broadcast (caps in the original). Yes, he breaks the third Commandment, but, if you can, look for the broader points which have been dogging us since the 1970s. Consider all of the following highlighted:

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”

In 2016, these same issues continue along with a few new ones. You know what they are. Even people half a world away know what they are.

Donald Trump is the Ronald Reagan of 2016, the galvaniser of polite, hard-working, disaffected — though not disenfranchised — Americans: Republican, Democrat or independent.

On some level(s), Trump, too, is fed up and has been for years (see old YouTube videos of testimony he gave before the Senate in 1990) and this considered 14-minute (nearly) WNET New York interview from the same time period:

He might not be ‘mad as hell’ but he is motivated enough and wealthy enough to be able to turn around a decades-old situation, in the words of Finch’s character,

as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be,

and at least go halfway towards making America great again.

No one — not even he — knows if he actually could make the Republic great again. Even eight years of Reagan couldn’t do it — in the 1980s. But, by golly, it’s worth a try.

And to those who say Trump needs policies when, frankly, no one else has framed any outside of wimpy soundbites, here’s an honest and accurate response:

If Congress thinks America has time to wait out a clearly dangerous, dishonest president, America has time to wait for Trump to sharpen “candidate” details on issues which he, like millions of grown-ups, have been informed and outraged about for years.

Like Reagan, Trump represents a Spring clean for the United States. This is why he has huge — ‘yuge’, in his and Bernie Sanders’s lingo — support.

I’ll have to watch Network again this year. It was right for America’s time then and must still ring true today.

One post to come next week on Donald Trump.

Yesterday’s post examined the war-like robberies, grievous bodily harm and indecent or sexual assaults of hundreds of Germans who gathered in Cologne on New Year’s Eve 2015.

Other European countries embracing multiculturalism have also had similar episodes of shorter and longer duration. Because the perpetrators are of a certain world faith, a policy of omerta has descended on discussing the violation of young European women, which, in turn, extends to authorities ignoring it altogether.

Two of these countries are England and Sweden, where talking about a socio-sexual culture clash invites various responses. The mildest is one of verbal abuse, including being deemed ‘racist’. However, even fathers who try to rescue their daughters can be arrested, as will be explained below.

Why some embraced multiculturalism

In the days before conservative strains of Islam dominated the Middle East and parts of Asia, Westerners viewed those nations such as being exotic, hearkening back to ancient days of adventure and romanticism.

Europeans who were university students or well off sometimes travelled to these distant lands. They were favourably impressed by what they saw in an ancient world courtesy that did not exist anywhere else.

Theodore Dalrymple (a pseudonym) is a retired physician and psychiatrist who worked in England’s prison system for many years. His books and his columns in The Spectator and City Journal describing his experiences are must-reads.

In 2004, City Journal published his reminiscences of travelling to Iran and Afghanistan as a student (probably in the early to mid-1970s). Dalrymple concluded at the time:

On the whole I was favorably impressed. I thought that they were freer than we. I thought nothing of such matters as the clash of civilizations, and experienced no desire, and felt no duty, to redeem them from their way of life in the name of any of my own civilization’s ideals. Impressed by the aesthetics of Afghanistan and unaware of any fundamental opposition or tension between the modern and the pre-modern, I saw no reason why the West and Afghanistan should not rub along pretty well together, each in its own little world, provided only that each respected the other.

We all know how that turned out.

And, as we also know, fundamentalist Islam has spread throughout most Muslim nations. Any Westernised social influence on the 57 Muslim states has waned considerably since the late 1970s. This affects the type of Muslim emigrating to Europe.

Dalrymple has this observation:

The Muslim immigrants to these areas were not seeking a new way of life when they arrived; they expected to continue their old lives, but more prosperously.

He wrote that English prisons had a growing number of Muslims who were incarcerated. In this essay of 2004, he noted that they were relaxed about their faith. Although he acknowledges they had very conservative ideas about women, on the other hand:

Confounding expectations, these prisoners display no interest in Islam whatsoever; they are entirely secularized …

The young Muslim men in prison do not pray; they do not demand halal meat. They do not read the Qu’ran. They do not ask to see the visiting imam. They wear no visible signs of piety …

How things have changed.

Today, Muslim prisoners ask for — and receive — a number of faith-based concessions, including prayer meetings and halal meat. Interestingly, this New York Times article indicates they already existed in 2004:

prisons in England and Wales hold regular Friday Prayer and provide halal food in the daily diet.

By 2009, Muslims got their own cells so they did not have to be with non-Muslims in close surroundings.

Outside of prison walls, over the past several years, a number of larger companies in England have also installed special foot-washing facilities in washrooms, take care with what is served at corporate lunches and cater to prayer times, including allocating a special Muslim-only room.

Rotherham

In the city of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, a sex abuse scandal involving young mostly English girls and Muslim men from the Subcontinent, or desi, took place between 1997 and 2013.

At least 1,400 girls were victims of sexual exploitation.

The authorities — police and Labour Party member councillors, men and women alike — knew about it and did nothing.

It was thought that bringing it to light would encourage racism — a backlash from the town’s English population.

It is interesting — admittedly, perhaps coincidental — that the abuse, abductions and torture began in the year a Labour government was elected: 1997.

Labour were voted out of a parliamentary majority only in 2010. Oddly, again, perhaps coincidentally, that same year saw the first — perhaps only — convictions that carried prison sentences. Five men were jailed. Three of them are now back in society, having done their time.

In 2013, the Coalition government (Conservative-Liberal Democrat) appointed Professor Alexis Jay as the head of an independent enquiry into the Rotherham scandal. In 2014, Jay published a report on the enquiry’s findings. A handful of senior councillors and civil servants resigned as a result, including the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire.

After Jay’s report was published, the Home Secretary Theresa May (Conservative) denounced the omerta surrounding the scandal as “institutionalised political correctness“.[10]

Prior to this, victims or family members who spoke out or tried to bring the scandal to light ended up being threatened, harrassed or arrested:

  • A victim, Girl J, now 30, told Sheffield Crown Court in January 2016 that social workers threatened to take her children away if she gave any further press interviews regarding her experiences in the hands of one of the perpetrators;
  • Two fathers who attempted to rescue their daughters from their abusers were themselves arrested — with no arrests made of the abusers, according to the Jay report;
  • The Jay report also disclosed that abusers threatened violence against young girls who wanted to testify; at least two families suffered harassment outside their houses, including broken windows; and other young victims returned to their abusers in the hope that would keep their families safe.

Other grooming gangs have also operated in other cities and towns across England.

We need to be very careful how we treat crimes termed to be either traditional behaviour or hearsay from dysfunctional girls.

It is unfortunate that, up until the Jay report was published, no one could mention this appalling scandal online or offline. I know of no one of my acquaintance who talked about it. Online, the most people could reasonably do was to make an oblique reference simply to ‘Rotherham’.

Stockholm

The Swedes are like the English in not talking about multicultural indecent or sexual assaults. Whether these are rapes in cities or crimes committed at organised events, the national response seems to be, ‘Nothing to see here, move along’.

However, the events in Cologne at last opened the way.

This year, it emerged that, in 2014 and 2015, young women were indecently and sexually assaulted at the summer music festival for youth in Stockholm, We Are Sthlm.

BBC Newsnight recently interviewed a police spokesman, the organiser of the event and a member of the Swedish Democrats (SD), a political party opposed to mass immigration:

Katie Razzall, reporting, explains that a number of girls who attended the festival — 17 in 2014 and 19 in 2015 — reported crimes against their person at the time, but it has only been now, in the aftermath of Cologne, that their complaints are coming to light.

Police kept quiet about the complaints because the perpetrators were allegedly young Afghan refugees.

Varg Gyllander of the Stockholm Police told Razzall that there was no cover-up because the police do not reveal racial or cultural details of suspects. He added:

It’s a cultural thing, we don’t go there, we don’t go in those dark places.

Roger Ticalou, who organises the festival, said that there were small groups of young men whose ‘only goal’ was to harrass young women.

This is another example of taharrush gamea which I discussed yesterday. Concerts provide a perfect atmosphere for young errant Muslims to gang up and abuse young girls.

Razzall mentioned she’d spoken with the police officer in charge of patrolling the Stockholm festival. Whilst we did not see him on film, he told Razzall that he did not want to publicise the ethnicity of the alleged assailants for fear that would:

play into the hands of the Swedish Democrats.

Over the past few months, and especially during the past three weeks, the SD have been gaining popular support, at least to the extent that more Swedes are realising that perhaps the party’s pronouncements are not racist after all, only based in the reality they can see for themselves on television and in the media.

Razzall interviewed Paula Bieler from the SD. Bieler gave intelligent, balanced responses. She said she did not blame the men as much as she did the culture in which they grew up and expected to continue to live in as adults. She said that Sweden has never before had a gang rape culture or episodes of mass indecent/sexual assault until now.

Around the same time as Razzall’s report, an article appeared in Nyheter Idag (‘i-Daily News’ (?)) which exposes how Dagens Nyheter (‘Daily News’), one of Sweden’s biggest newspapers, refused to report on what happened at the festival.

Nyheter Idag was appalled that, until Cologne happened, the paper ignored the assaults at We Are Sthlm. Now Dagens Nyheter opines:

The mere suspicion that the abuse has been considered as difficult to describe involves a betrayal of the victims.

However, as Nyheter Idag explains in detail, a police psychologist who was an eyewitness at the 2015 concert said he contacted one of Dagens Nyheter‘s investigative journalists — a woman, Hanne Kjöller — who pussyfooted around in several exchanges with him, making excuses as to why she and the paper could not run the story.

The psychologist revealed the reason:

She was very interested and listened until I told her that all the boys and men that were apprehended were young asylants (unaccompanied is the terminology used by Swedish authorities) from Afghanistan and Syria. I sensed that she changed the tone (of her voice).

The journalist from Nyheter Idag notes with irony:

Time passes and a new year begins – it’s now 2016 and the brutal and massive sexual assaults against young girls that August evening in Kungsträdgården is completely unknown to the public.
But then something happens, a rumor that goes viral on blogs in Germany spreads to the so-called “alternative media” in Sweden. After a day, traditional media in both Germany and other European countries start to report on the same issue.

It is, of course, the Sex Attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve …

Now something happens at newspaper Dagens Nyheter …

January, Saturday 9th 2016 Dagens Nyheter runs an article with the headline “Women’s right to party safely cannot be sacrificed”. The article is written by freelance writer Lasse Wierup, Hanne Kjöller’s colleague at Dagens Nyheter. In the article the incident in Kungsträdgården is now mentioned for the very first time …

More to-ing and fro-ing went on between the psychologist and Hanne Kjöller after Wierup’s article appeared. The psychologist had also contacted:

two other media outlets through e-mail to tell his account of the incident in Kungsträdgården. He didn’t get any response, thus he gave up on noticing media about what took place last summer.

Why does that not come as a surprise?

It seems that Western women can be safely sacrificed on the altar of Multiculturalism.

After all, they are ‘only’ women. Even other women — those in privileged left-wing positions, such as media — think that way.

These two events in England and Sweden demonstrate one of the things leftist men and women and fundamentalist Muslims have in common: a blatant disregard for women and girls.

On January 18, 2016, the House of Commons debated a petition signed by 570,000 Britons asking that Donald Trump be barred from entering the UK for saying that Muslims should be temporarily excluded from entering the United States.

Actually, America’s no-fly list is alive and well under the Obama administration. A British Muslim family was forbidden from entering the US before Christmas by Homeland Security.

In the end, parliamentarians concluded:

There will be no direct action as a result of the debate and there was no vote on the issue, but MPs agreed they ‘duly considered’ the petition.

That same day, another Muslim-related controversy arose. Prime Minister David Cameron urged Muslim women born overseas to learn English. A £20m language fund is being established for this purpose in England in an effort not only to help these ladies but also to reduce the possibility of extremism. Not being able to speak the local language can result in social isolation and may lead to discrimination.

Elsewhere in the UK — Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland — the Daily Mail tells us:

Muslim women in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be liable to deportation if they fail to improve their language skills, but will not benefit from the new financial support for courses unless the devolved administrations decide to follow Mr Cameron’s lead.

With regard to the level of proficiency required, the Daily Mail article states:

Asked about the threat of deportation, Mr Cameron said: “What we’ve said is that if people come here on a spousal visa, to be a husband or a wife, we’ve now said they have to learn English in order to get that visa.

“But after two-and-a-half years, halfway through the programme of getting settlement, they should be improving their English, and if they don’t do that then they can’t be guaranteed to be able to go to the full stage and retain their visa.”

Women arriving in the UK under a spousal visa are currently expected to have English skills at the internationally-recognised A1 beginner level – roughly equivalent to a native-born child starting primary school.

Under the PM’s proposal, the women would be expected to have reached the A2 – elementary – level after two-and-a-half years, and B1 – intermediate – after five years.

However, many Muslim spokespeople and prominent Labour Party MPs accused the Prime Minister of ‘stigmatising’ and ‘demonising’ Muslim women.

Julia Hartley-Brewer wrote a good analysis of the situation for The Telegraph. Excerpts follow:

two guests on the BBC’s flagship Radio 4 show … helpfully informed the nation that the Prime Minister is not allowed to talk about issues concerning Muslim women …

It turns out that since Mr Cameron is white, Christian and – worst of all – in possession of a Y chromosome, he is simply not qualified or entitled to talk about people who aren’t any of those things …

Cue the Today’s programme and their two angry guests this morning.

First Zubeda Limbada, of the Connect Justice charity, which tackles extremism and radicalisation, insisted the Prime Minister was wrong to target Muslim women.

“I feel that this isn’t just a Muslim women issue. It affects all of us,” she told the nation. Well, not all of us, actually, Zubeda. Most of us already speak the native language and while there are of course Poles, Romanians and others who live and work here without speaking a word of English, their children are not heading off to joining jihadist death cults in their hundreds, so I’m afraid their lack of integration is not a top priority quite yet.

The other Anjum Anwar, of Women’s Voices, also objected:

calling Mr Cameron’s comments both “unacceptable” and “extremely unhelpful”. She felt “demonised” and, what’s worse, it was “being done so blatantly”.

Yet, here’s the irony:

It was wrong for Mr Cameron to call for more Muslim women to learn English despite the fact that, Ms Anwar informed us, her own immigrant mother had advised her that her education was vital[,] got her empowerment and … Ms Anwar herself had personally helped organise Muslim women’s language classes in mosques.

The Conservative government’s plan is to appoint:

Louise Casey, the Director General of the Government’s Troubled Families unit, to lead “a comprehensive review into boosting opportunity and integration to bring Britain together as one nation” …

Ms Casey is expected to set out the framework for a new ‘Cohesive Communities Programme’, which will “improve integration and extend opportunity” among Muslims.

Ultimately:

A Government source said: “David knows that the traditional submissiveness of Muslim women is a sensitive issue, but the problems of young people being attracted by extremism will not be tackled without an element of cultural change within the community.

“At the moment, too many Muslim women are treated like second-class citizens who may speak only basic English at best, and have no jobs or independent financial standing. It means they are in no position to speak out against the influence of the radical Imams, however strongly they feel about it”.

However, the Government is attempting to change intransigent social mores which have existed for over a millennia. It is unlikely, therefore, that a woman who must submit to her husband or, in his absence, another male seen to be the putative head of the household, will not soon be challenging him — or an imam.

It’s a bold move on Cameron’s part, but I do not see things changing in that area any time soon.

That said, one can only hope that women who need to improve their English language skills are given permission to do so from the men in their family.

In another crucial area of English-language gaps, doctors — and now nurses as well as midwives — who wish to practise in the UK must be able to speak the language well enough to ensure safety.

Since the requirement for doctors came into effect 18 months ago, four out of ten physicians applying to work in the UK have not met the necessary standard of English.

Those living overseas might wonder why Britain would need to import medical staff. However, a Daily Mail article from 2014 states that for the £70,000 it costs to train a British nurse, for example, the NHS can hire three foreign nurses, each of whom would earn a salary of £23,000 per annum.

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