Saturday, October 1, 2016

Christina van Dyke owes Richard Swinburne her resignation


Christina van Dyke is the Executive Director of the Society of Christian Philosophers (SCP), whose President, Michael Rea, recently issued a statement on Facebook disavowing a talk defending traditional Christian sexual morality given by Richard Swinburne at an SCP conference.  Rea’s critics argue that his action has politicized the SCP insofar as it has, in effect, officially distanced the Society from the traditionalist side of the dispute over sexual morality and given an SCP endorsement to the liberal side.  I have argued that Rea owes Swinburne an apology, and a group of philosophers is now petitioning the SCP for an apology.

In a September 26 Facebook comment on Rea’s statement, Van Dyke tried to reassure the critics of the SCP’s neutrality:

Swinburne [gave] a talk titled, “Christian Moral Teaching on Sex, Family, and Life”, which -- as Michael Rea and I have both tried to make clear -- he was and remains entirely free to do.  The content of that talk was entirely of his choosing.  The reason for any sort of announcement following the talk was that Mike and I were being asked whether Swinburne's views were “the” views of the SCP.  They are not, because the SCP does not have an official view on this or any other matter…

To the best of my knowledge, no one in the SCP has the slightest intention of changing the current conference set-up.  Keynotes will be invited and submitted papers reviewed in exactly the same way they always have…  [O]rganizers will, I assume, continue to accept or reject submitted papers based entirely on their philosophical merits or flaws.

End quote.  There is, however, more to the story.  But first, some context.  The conservative philosophy blog Rightly Considered and Rod Dreher at The American Conservative (here and here) have been tracking the Facebook responses of some prominent philosophers to the Swinburne controversy.  What follows is a sample.  Readers highly sensitive to obscenity are warned that they might want to stop reading at this point.

My friends, I give you North America’s finest philosophical minds:

The considered response to Swinburne and his defenders put forward by Jason Stanley, the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University, went like this:

Fuck those assholes.  Seriously.

After this comment was publicized, Stanley posted a follow-up remark on Facebook:

I really wish now I hadn’t said that!! I PROFOUNDLY regret not using much harsher language and saying what I really think of anyone who uses their religion to promote homophobia, you know that sickness that has led people for thousands of years to kill my fellow human beings for their sexual preferences.  Like you know, pink triangles and the Holocaust.  I am really, truly, embarrassed by the fact that my mild comment “F*ck those assholes” is being spread. This wildly understates my actual sentiments towards homophobic religious proponents of evil like Richard Swinburne, who use their status as professional philosophers to oppress others with less power. I am SO SORRY for using such mild language.

Other philosophers soon joined in this Socratic discussion.  For example, Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia, averred:

Right on.  Also: Fuck those assholes.

Rebecca Kukla, Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, sagely added:

Those douche tankards can suck my giant queer cock

John Collins, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, offered the novel opinion:

Fuck those assholes.

And so on.  For further samples of the discussion going on in this elite salon, head on over to Rightly Considered or Dreher (or Facebook for that matter). 

The relevance to Van Dyke is this.  Rightly Considered now reports that, in a Facebook response to Stanley’s second comment:

Van Dyke reacted to Stanley’s post with a “Haha.” She laughed at the fact that he “profoundly regretted not using harsher language” toward conservative Christians. She said “haha” to the fact that he “apologized” for “wildly understating” his true contempt for conservative Christians.

Rightly Considered offers a screenshot in evidence.  The blog also notes, however, that Van Dyke has since removed this initial approving response, apparently realizing its politically damaging character in the context of the current controversy.

So, Van Dyke apparently agrees that “Fuck those assholes” is an appropriate response to Swinburne and his defenders, and agrees with Stanley that they are “proponents of evil” and abettors of mass murder.  Yet we are supposed to believe that she nevertheless wants the SCP to be neutral between the traditionalist and liberal sides in the debate over sexual morality.

If there were any remaining doubt that some are attempting to politicize the SCP, Van Dyke’s slip of the mask should eliminate it.  Van Dyke ought to resign.  And Rea now needs to apologize both for the disavowal of Swinburne, and for this appalling behavior on the part of the SCP’s Executive Director.  If he is willing to do neither, then he ought to resign himself

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would encourage SCP members to protest as loudly as possible, resign from the organization, and found a parallel organization, one that explicitly enshrines certain moral and doctrinal touchstones in its charter. The SCP is doomed, since the SJW mindset has infected the upper echelons and seems thoroughly baked in.

abevec1 said...

Thank God we have the internet so we can study philosophy without having to attend 'elite institutions of learning'.

Thursday said...

What is she doing teaching at Calvin, a supposedly conservative Reformed school? Has she broken the statement of faith/values that these schools usually have?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Interesting. From the calvin.edu policies page (http://calvin.edu/directory/policies/safer-spaces):

"No member of the Calvin College community shall engage in racial, ethnic, or cultural harassment. Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

"1. Harassing remarks or actions serving no scholarly, artistic, or educational purpose that are made directly or indirectly toward individuals or groups due to their race, ethnicity, or culture.

"2. Intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or demeaning remarks or actions based on race, ethnicity, or culture which, whether intentional or unintentional, interfere with or threaten an individual’s or group’s participation in the life of the College, including academic or co-curricular activities. This may include actions or public displays of material that serve no scholarly, artistic, or educational purpose."

Now, in light of these definitions, calling Prof. Swinburne "evil"--as Prof. Stanley did--on account of the former's Christian "culture," arguably constitutes harassment. Consequently, although it'd be a tough sell, someone could argue that Van Dyke's "haha" reply to Prof. Stanley's 'harassment' constitutes assent to and approval of said 'harassment.' If so, Van Dyke has cooperated in harassing behavior and thus has run afoul of Calvin's disciplinary policies.

Maybe someone should report her. Or is that suggestion uncharitable? Well, this is what happens when you go full SJW: one minute, you're on the side of the 'good guys'--hamming it up with famous Yale professors of philosophy over Facebook, laughing at old white male Christian philosophers for clinging to passe moral hang-ups--next thing you know, you're being formally accused of running afoul of some SJW policy guideline with a ridiculously broad definition of "harassment," and now your job's on the line.

It's the classic case of the SJW getting hoisted by her own petard.

Edward Feser said...

Anon at 3:39,

I removed the content of your post, since it seems unfair to toss out such unsubstantiated and anonymously made assertions.

Anon at 4:07,

No, since what the Calvin College policy is concerned with, presumably, is maintaining a civil climate on campus (among faculty, students, etc.). Public remarks about Swinburne don't count, and are certainly protected by academic freedom. The way to deal with the SJW petard is to get rid of the petard, not to use it yourself.

Joshua Blanchard said...

Surely pressuring someone to resign a position like this due to pressing a reaction button on social media would have a chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom?

Brandon said...

What would be the actual evidence that there is any such chilling effect when the call for resignation is due to the expectation that people occupying official positions should act in a way appropriate to that official position when the context explicitly involves a matter directly concerning their official position?

(And what is it with these unsupported and gratuitous 'surely's I keep seeing all of a sudden? I'm starting to feel like the comments boxes are being haunted by the ghost of Leslie Nielsen.)

Joshua Blanchard said...

Hi Brandon. I can call Ed Feser "surely" if I want to. Beyond that: the point is just that the culture of reacting to people's tweets, Facebook "reactions", etc., with calls for firings, dismissals, resignations, and the like, seems at odds with what is otherwise the spirit of the people making the demands in this case. From this perspective, I would have expected that having an official position in the SCP would not dictate how people use "Facebook reactions."

dover_beach said...

Van Duke's Facebook reactions are public and compromise her position as Executive Director of SCP completely.

Lydia McGrew said...

Out of curiosity, how many of the people who made despicable remarks, listed in the main post, claim to be ("self-identify as") Christians?

Jason Stanley

Jonathan Ichikawa

Rebecca Kukla

John Collins (Columbia)

I apologize if this is a lazy question. Mr. Google and I are not coming up with the answer quickly, and I figured the knowledgeable readers here would be able to answer immediately.

It would be particularly striking if any of them are. Obviously, if they are SCP members, they must so self-identify.

Christina van Dyke, of course, must self-identify as a Christian.

jmhenry said...

Feser: Van Dyke apparently agrees that “Fuck those assholes” is an appropriate response to Swinburne and his defenders, and agrees with Stanley that they are “proponents of evil” and abettors of mass murder.

Lydia McGrew, who has read Swinburne's paper, notes an interesting (and revealing) aspect of this controversy:

Swinburne's position on abortion is that fetuses prior to a particular stage of development at about 22 weeks are not persons and that killing them is wrong only because of a divine command. Yet notably, his presentation garnered outrage from some self-styled Christians only for an entirely different reason related to homosexuality.

Apparently, SCP leaders didn't feel the need to express "regret" for the "hurt" this argument might cause those pro-life advocates who argue that human beings have intrinsic value regardless of their stage of development; that an argument that renders unborn humans to be non-persons simply because they are at an earlier stage of development has caused "incalculable harm" to this "disadvantaged" group of human beings; and that having someone in power advocate that position "furthers that harm."

Swinburne's argument -- that the killing of unborn humans before 22 weeks is not intrinsically wrong, but is wrong only because of divine command -- is the only argument he gives that even comes close to threatening the lives of "our fellow human beings" (to use Jason Stanley's words). But because left-leaning academic philosophers haven't gone into an adolescent rage about it, I suppose SCP leaders feel no need to apologize for it.

Shane Scott said...

My hope against hope was that perhaps Prof. Van Dyke accidentally hit the "like" button - something I have done before. But she didn't just hit the "like" button - she deliberately chose the emoticon that means "haha." Surely Rea and the rest of the leadership will address this. What began as a clumsy effort to mollify a few has now evolved into a test of the credibility of the SCP leadership.

Anonymous said...

Well, we know they're all for ass**** f***ing. But when you don't have any arguments for your position nobody's surprised when you resort to name-calling.

David M said...

Shirley, nobody whose honest reaction to that comment is "ha-ha" has any business self-identifying as a Christian or a philosopher, or acting as a philosophy professor, let alone at a Christian institution. The combination of stupid, malicious, and childish is astonishing, even to someone who is already pretty jaded about the state of the philosophical 'profession.' Interesting related perspective from a worried psychologist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvPgjg201w0

Brandon said...

From this perspective, I would have expected that having an official position in the SCP would not dictate how people use "Facebook reactions."

Having an official position in a professional organization brings with it professional obligations. The context specifically concerned the SCP; Van Dyke in the broader context had already been communicating in such a way that it is clear that she was explaining things on the basis of her holding her official position in the SCP, so she was not stumbling into this unawares; she publicly encouraged an explicit attack on someone who was an invited speaker at an SCP event, on a matter concerning precisely his participation in the SCP event; and she was doing so on a matter which she already knew to be controversial among, not representative of, SCP members generally. This is unprofessional behavior on a matter concerning her official position, and unprofessional behavior related to official position in a professional organization is a legitimate ground for calling for the resignation of someone from that position.

I should say, incidentally, that I'm not sure I would call for her resignation myself, if I were an SCP member. (I let my SCP membership lapse some years ago, not considering it particularly useful for my actual professional concerns, so I am not directly involved.) But it's entirely within the norms of professional ethics for members of the SCP to assess whether they would, and it's a perfectly legitimate ground for considering it.

Natural Lawyer said...

I am the lead editor of Rightly Considered. Some might consider this an overreaction (“Really? They’re calling for a resignation over a Facebook like?”). But the point our writer made in the post was simply this: it is important to show what those in leadership positions in the SCP actually think about orthodox Christian beliefs, *especially* given the fact that Rea’s apologists have said that no one in the administration is sympathetic to the hateful comments. Our post didn't call for a resignation. We left that for our readers to decide.

The Facebook like, however subtle it was, is evidence of a mindset that is deeply hostile to certain Christian beliefs. And that is surely something that will impact one’s thinking when they’re in a position of leadership, whether they are speaking from that position or not.

Sometimes the only way to detect a significant problem is by looking at symptoms that might look trivial. van Dyke may be good at concealing what she thinks, but she slipped up.

Edward Feser said...

Hello Natural Lawyer,

To add to what you say re: the "overreaction" charge, context is of course everything. Suppose Swinburne had been speaking at a non-SCP event and that Rea had never made his statement, but Stanley had made the same remarks and Van Dyke had reacted to them in the same way. Probably no one would be saying she should step down as Executive Director of the SCP -- certainly I wouldn't be, nor, likely, would I be devoting any time at all to blogging about it.

The fact is, though, that she responded to Stanley's remarks in the way she did precisely at a time when the SCP leadership's capacity to be fair to the conservative side is in question. It's like a presidential debate moderator wearing either a Trump or Hillary button while appearing the Sunday talk shows the day before the debate, while insisting that he can be fair to both sides -- and then, when told that he should not be the moderator, saying "What, you're upset over a little button? Isn't that an overreaction?"

Robert Byers said...

its just what the bad people would say isn't it?
All the hATE expressed against those who see homosexuality as evil, in its practivce, as God says, as mankind always said mostly, and as many say now.
Those opposed to homosexuality do not hate or express hate towards them by a vast majority.
those who support homosexuality, a good minority, do express and feel hatred.
it shows this is a great moral conflict.
therefore christian etc defenders of the evil, error, repulsiveness of homosexuality must hit with a full mailed fist.
The other side has dropped any claims of tolerance and this meaning quiet gentle disagreement.
Homosexuality by the vast majority of men and women in America/Canada since these lands were settled always saw it, if they thought about it, as a ugly, sinful, medical problem.
They saw it as opposed to manhood and womanhood in all its glory.
They were right and they would tell you if they were here.
we can love, be friends, and help gays to change or at least not interfee in our nations by trying to make homosexuality a moral right and normal.
Yet we must powerfully say what it is.
Thanks to Ed Feser for these threads
somebody means to silence good guys everywhere and means to hurt us.
Its like they aree so full of hatred that one must wonder how far they would go in injustice to their victims.

NPJ said...

Jason Stanley's comment hardly needs a Freudian to interpret it. If taken very literally it would seem to be an incitement to sexual violence.

Unknown said...

Professor Feser,

I follow your blog with some regularity. I hardly ever post. But this episode with Richard Swinburne shakes me. The animus against him is deeply troubling. It makes me afraid. I am afraid for my country.

Rob said...

I draw a parallel conclusion from all this: apparently these members of the SCP have never read the works of the most famous Christian philosopher alive today. I suppose the silver lining is that this comical ignorance prevented them from protesting his talk in advance and pressuring SCP leadership to cancel his invitation. What a world! What a world!

John said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Edward Feser said...

John, comments like that are really not helpful. Please, people, keep the discussion civil and sober. Needlessly inflammatory statements, rumor-spreading, personal attacks, and other such stuff will be deleted. Be better than the people whose behavior you are rightly outraged by.

Stephan Burton said...

I'm just wrapping up my lectures on Socrates/Plato/Aristotle in this Fall's Intro Phil classes, and about to move on to Aquinas (sad to say, the only medieval philosopher I have time to fit in). In the past, I've included a brief &, so far as I'm able, even-handed discussion of how St. Thomas' views bear on sexual morality. But the way things are going, I'm not sure that I can risk doing that anymore. All it would take would be one disgruntled student telling tales of hurt feelings to some administrator and I'm out of a job.

Stephan Burton said...

btw -

sorry for the OT, but, Natural Lawyer - your very interesting "Rightly Considered" site rejects all my attempts to comment or to subscribe because I'm suspected of being a bot.

Any suggestions?

Mister Jorge said...

"homophobic religious proponents of evil".... that reads like an emotional burst-of-anger post that I used to come across on intelligent design discussion threads.

And the echo of agreement makes those other philosophers sound like members in the audience of Bill Maher's show.

It's just eye opening to see how even erudite members of society can quickly reduce themselves to non-thinking emotive insult machines. Trying to impress each other with how developed their name calling skills have been honed (Rebecca Kukla).

In any other circumstance Rebecca Kukla's insult would be interpreted as a threat of sexual violence (not that I feel that way... but, I'd wager she'd interpret it that way).

There are no principled positions for these people. There are simply emotions that are temporarily kept in check when things are going well for them. Hat tips and doffs to those who doff and tip back at you. But disagree with them on a topic that is of great importance to them (or at least of great importance to the sentimental masses that they are trying to impress with phony moral outrage) and those kept-in-check emotions will flood out with a rage.

T.Lambert

Lydia McGrew said...

Concerning Christina van Dyke, I want to go back to a comment she made, screen-capped by authors of the earlier Rightly Considered post, that calls her objectivity into question apart from the "haha" emoticon on Stanley's despicable rant. There isn't a date on the comment, but it was evidently prior to 9/26. Dr. van Dyke said,

"I think (at least) two things need to be kept in mind here. First, no one is trying to take free speech or the open expression of ideas away from anyone. Second, the idea that you can 'treat' or 'cure' homosexuality and the idea that you *should* cure disabilities have caused incalculable harm to vast numbers of already disadvantaged people. Having someone in a position of power advocate that position furthers that harm."

I doubt I'm the only one to notice a slight (!) tension between van Dyke's "two things that need to be kept in mind"! After all, if her second thing to keep in mind is true, why should the first thing to be kept in mind be true?

If Prof. Swinburne's views cause incalculable harm to vast numbers of people (!!), and if his _stating_ them furthers that incalculable harm, then why should his views _not_ be deemed as beyond the pale of philosophical discourse? I suppose there are people out there who are very deeply committed to a kind of freedom-of-discourse absolutism (some comments by Robert P. George apropos of Peter Singer seem to fit into this category) that they would say, "Yes, even if someone's views cause incalculable harm, and even if so-and-so's stating them furthers that harm, we should still give so-and-so a platform at a conference to go on furthering that harm."

But let's admit: There probably aren't many people who would take quite that literally a meta-position that there are no views beyond the pale. Indeed, I myself don't think that there are _literally_ no views that are beyond the pale, and I _certainly_ don't think that all views somehow deserve "equal time" in a conference.

So van Dyke's protestations to the effect that nobody is trying to shut anybody up really ring hollow. I'll go out on a wild limb and just conjecture, based upon that comment I just typed out _alone_, that if it were left up to Dr. van Dyke to approve a paper for a conference that advocated the views in question, she would reject the paper partly on the basis of that content. Indeed, it would be only consistent for her to do so.

So there really are multiple lines of evidence that Dr. van Dyke is not by any stretch of the imagination *neutral* as far as whether or not SCP conferences *should* include talks that advocate the views she finds so harmful.

Craig Payne said...

Dear Anonymous: I don't know if you wrote this deliberately or not, but the words "when you don't have any arguments for your position," in context, made me laugh out loud.

Craig Payne said...

Just read this today from Joseph Sobran:

"It's not that we don't pity the homosexual; we do, as we pity the pedophile, the drug addict, or anyone else who suffers from temptations most of us are mercifully spared. But the moral order is objective, after all, and it can't be denied just because our desires clash with it. Why is this so hard to understand? Not long ago we would have found it comical, in a grim way, for sexual perverts to assume the moral high ground vis-a-vis the Church. Today it's considered bigotry to speak of 'perversion' at all."

That was written in 2005, only eleven years ago.

Mister Jorge said...

Hi Lydia,
I remember reading that comment too.
That was from Dr. Vandyke? Not a lot of forethought put into those two points she provided.

Anonymous said...

Alas we increasingly live in an age where basic manners, temperance and civility are viewed as either an eccentricity or weakness. Surely the institutions who employ these people will take action...em sorry momentary lapse of reason.

David B Marshall said...

Ho ho. Must be that time of day. It appears that the (self)esteemed philosopher Richard Carrier is right again. The philosophical establishment does appear to be something of a farce.

LDW said...

Isn't that the sin the Sodomites wanted to commit against Lots visitors?

David Foster said...

Even if one happens to disagree with Swinburne, it is this juvenile level of response which is perpetually frustrating to me. For all the "your position is so terrible, I'm morally required to act like an internet troll about it" talk lately, I find myself skeptical.

I'm reminded of Chesterton's comment about a similar situation:
"It is not true that if a small hooligan puts his tongue out at the Lord Chief Justice, the Lord Chief Justice immediately realises that his only chance of maintaining his position is to put his tongue out at the little hooligan. The hooligan may or may not have any respect at all for the Lord Chief Justice: that is a matter which we may contentedly leave as a solemn psychological mystery. But if the hooligan has any respect at all for the Lord Chief Justice, that respect is certainly extended to the Lord Chief Justice entirely because he does not put his tongue out."

GoldRush Apple said...

If you google Jason Stanley you'll come across a few videos of him. In one he defends campus protestors in a clip entitled "Stop Calling Campus Protesters "Cry Bullies."' In other words he's the typical leftist. Once that is put into perspective his tone and feelings towards Swinburne's speech comes to no surprise.

Daniel von Wachter said...

On https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=170054593442202&id=100013129871729 I have expressed my surprise that 318 people liked the offensive post. Think about the mindset that these people, and the poster, must have! Although I know that that mindset exits, it never ceases to amaze me when I observe it in real human beings. If it were not so dangerous I would find it entertaining. I shall get the book /The Demon in Democracy/, mentioned on http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/swinburne-jason-stanley-homosexuality/, in order to get yet another account of the mindset.

DNW said...

"Swinburne's position on abortion is that fetuses prior to a particular stage of development at about 22 weeks are not persons and that killing them is wrong only because of a divine command. Yet notably, his presentation garnered outrage from some self-styled Christians only for an entirely different reason related to homosexuality."

Well then, it is clear that those "philosophers" who were raving at Swinburne on social media simply had too little information at their disposal.


First of course, we must make the reasonable assumption that those who wished to rage-rape Swinburne and those like minded to him, probably have little patience with anyone interfering in a "woman's right to choose" for any reason whatsoever.


Assuming only that then, had they fully appreciated the fact Swinburne's position would in principle - if the technology ever developed, and the etiological assumptions proved true - allow for therapeutic abortion in cases of likely homosexually inclined foeti, they would have understood that the entire dynamic could be made to painlessly evaporate away. Thus, they should have been praising Swinburne's open mindedness, not condemning him for the opposite.

And too, if it ever came to the point wherein such definite uterine diagnoses could be made, it is reasonable to imagine that advances in treating or modifying foeti in untero might advance along with it; and even render the need to abort unnecessary ... it being understood as totally up to the carrier of the tissue clump, in any event

And thus it is shown that the "problem" is a false problem; and that a little knowledge would have gone a long way toward alleviating the fears and calming the hostility of our more progressive minded brethren.

Homosexuality can undoubtedly be made to simply evaporate away painlessly if mothers make the choices (freely) often enough. And all that pain and wailing and (if it is not too extreme a figure of speech) demonic rage will evaporate along with it.

If you are a progressive, what's not to like?

DNW said...



By the way, having done some modest additional reading on The New Natural Law, I am not sure what in the way of "nature" it is supposed to be based upon.

But, as I had been wondering where the seeming gibber-jabber term "human thriving" (as an implicit if amorphous standard) I had been reading came from, a tentative conclusion that it's from there seems reasonable.

Thus far and only provisionally, Rawls come even more strongly than ever to mind.

DNW said...



Oops ... "flourishing" in the main, not the blogosphere version of "thriving"

Robert Mosby said...

Just sent an email to Georgetown's Prof. Kulka with the subject line, "Query".

It reads, "Upon returning from the war in Vietnam in which I was a combat infantry platoon leader, I returned also to Georgetown, switching my major from English to philosophy. Logic was, both there and later at the University of Virginia, an area of focus and yet for the life of me I do not recall the Argumentum as fuck'em. Would you perhaps relieve my ignorance."

Cordially, Bob Mosby

Gottfried said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gottfried said...

Thanks for deleting that comment, Ed.

Anonymous said...

According to his facebook apology, Rea did not mean to apologise for the harm caused by Swinburne's comments. Perhaps he meant merely to apologise for some ephemeral harm? I don't know...

At any rate, if you look at Rebecca Kukla's most recent status, she describes Rea and Van Dyke has having apologised for the harm caused by Swinburne's "homophobic remark".

One should then note how Michael Rea has "liked" this status. This again gives the lie to any claim that either he or van Dyke were neutral with regard to the content of Swinburne's claims.

Likewise, on Rea's facebook page, he endorses (by repeating) the comments of Professor Eleonore Stump. Therein Dr Stump claims that Swinburne's comments were "inflammatory". In this light, the apology was rather clearly an apology for harm ostensibly caused by Swinburne's comments.

jmhenry said...

Just a heads-up: First Things has published Richard Swinburne's paper, after asking his permission.

Jeremy Taylor said...

What seems most strange to me is that the Scripture and the Christian tradition are reasonably clear on the immorality of homosexual acts. You would expect that a group like SCP to at least be open to robust (but not abusive) defences of this position. Yes, I know that there are liberal Christians who are keen to turn the tradition and clear wording of Scripture upside down, but you'd expect them to always have an uphill struggle.

Lydia McGrew said...

Anon, did you screen-cap Mike Rea's "like," because I cd. just be missing it but am not seeing it now. That statement by Kukla is defending an _extremely_ despicable statement that she herself made. It explicitly and defiantly celebrates her own use of vicious profanity. It would be pretty striking if Rea was at all positive about it. Though I admit her whole spiel is quite long and no doubt he could say that he was "liking" it to express his sadness that she has been "attacked" or whatever-whatever.

Anonymous said...

What is the world’s religion now? It has taken the brighter side of the Gospel, its tidings of comfort, its precepts of love; all darker, deeper views of man’s condition and prospects being comparatively forgotten. This is the religion natural to a civilized age, and well has Satan dressed it and completed it into an idol of Truth. As the reason is cultivated, the taste formed, the affections and sentiments refined, a general decency and grace will of course spread over the face of society, quite independent of Revelation. That beauty and delicacy of thought, which is so attractive in books, then extends to the conduct of life, to all we have, all we do, all we are - John Henry Newman

A2 said...

Why not call out the wider partiality of the SCP in a formal complaint. I am sure that is an option for its members i.e. to ask/demand that people step aside or stand down.

Lazarus said...

Good debate, thanks.

Please bear in mind the wider strategy here also. "Apologies" like Rea's have also in mind the bigger, messier fallout -such as this debate here, the elevation front and centre of the topic, the "offence", the very perpetuation of these acrimonious disagreements. In this they succeed every time the bait is taken.

Paul Sacramento said...

Ah, Christianity, have far you have fallen...
Almost as bad as the Atheist preacher of the united Church.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/09/29/can-an-atheist-lead-a-protestant-church-a-battle-over-religion-in-canada/

Almost as bad as the FACT that no scientific research shows evidence that homosexuality is ok and that the major research done shows that it should be treated as a mental disorder:
http://dailysignal.com/2016/08/22/almost-everything-the-media-tells-you-about-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity-is-wrong/
https://askdrbrown.org/library/how-gay-activists-will-respond-major-scientific-report-refutes

The research:
http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/number-50-fall-2016

Crude said...

Lazarus,

the very perpetuation of these acrimonious disagreements. In this they succeed every time the bait is taken.

Rea and company did not merely make some mistake. They exposed themselves as being in league with people who are engaged in an assault on Christians, both overtly and covertly.

Rea's not fit to be president of the SCP. If his judgment can fail him this badly, on something so fundamental, it's time for him to step down. And if he won't, then it's time for an internal fight and a splitting away if necessary.

This is one place where a schism would be licit and appropriate.

Anon,

Why, just the other day I saw a particularly egregious example of this.

This may blow your mind, but the standard on whether or not something is moral or licit isn't 'Can anon beat off to it?' Nor does it hinge on the ability of someone to describe their acts - from watersports to anal fisting - in dramatic, teary-eyed fashion, as an expression of love.

That's obvious. The obviousness is precisely why discussion about it is something Rea and company are discouraging - because it's the best way to defend a stance that doesn't do well under scrutiny.

As most LGBT activists know.

Crude said...

DNW,

These worthless "progressive" clowns, can't even make shit up that's coherent.

A predisposition towards coherency inoculates one against the regressive mindset. Projection works in the opposite way, which is how you end up with Team Pride Parade wailing 'Why are you people so obsessed with sex???'

Phil K said...

The talk Swinburne gave is up at you tube now.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLpQsaU_CMbWtxiO2o20g0tA29RPr1Qq_
As someone who was there I have a hard time understanding why some people are making so much of a fuss. It probably says more about them then it does about Swinburne or his argument.

Anonymous said...

Lydia McGrew,

Indeed I do have a screen shot of Mikes' "like" of Kukla's attempt to defend herself. Will make sure you receive it.

It's quite a way down in the list of "likes".

Anonymous said...

Kukla's attempt to defend herself is a laugh riot.

But what's even more hilarious is the poor slobs on Facebook responding to her "defense," falling all over themselves to express their sympathy with her 'victimization' and mindlessly accepting her mind-bogglingly stupid 'defense.'

Unknown said...

The concern here, or at the now infamous philosophical solon, is not about an individual's predisposition towards homosexuality, and how he/she chooses to task it in or out of one's life. This binge of public square warring is over (the quite bold pitch) of Queer/Gender Theory to reorganize that square (the whole of civilized life, really) around its near religious *dogmas* (which at this stage of the battle, is more queer than gender). One almost hears the shout-out for Judith Butler to be promulgated as a Doctor of said church.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, recently, has issued a stern warning about the global ambitions of the Queer Theorists. The final grab of Queer Theory will certainly be totalitarian. It's boldness had even entrenched its program upon the Synod on the Family recently concluded in Rome - with near success.

No wonder nerves are raw. Not since the French Revolution and the Marxist/Fascist Thirties has the world faced such a dualism (this time with classical, orthodox, historic Islam pushing itself onto the much bloodied square) This time, one is for Totalitarian Queerism, or one is not.

Seems like the Good Dr. Professor knows which side he has now been mustered up for.

Edward Feser said...

Guys. Please. Ignore manifest trolls and don't bother responding to comments that are clearly going to get deleted.

Crude said...

Yessir, Ed. Apologies.

Unknown,

It's boldness had even entrenched its program upon the Synod on the Family recently concluded in Rome - with near success.

As critical a few as I have of the synod, I don't think they came close. They were trying to inch toward some namby-pamby vague acknowledgment that same-sex sexual relationships had positive aspects even if they were not ideal. The problem is, we're well past the point of that mollifying anyone. It's like coming out in favor of civil unions while opposing gay marriage - ten years ago that would fly. Now, it just gets lunatics screaming at you about LGBT people being treated like second-class citizens.

I suspect that for many clergy, the real issue is that they don't want a fight. They don't want conflict. They want to be celebrated or at least treated with benign indifference. They don't want a fight - from either direction. And if they get as much pushback as they have from AL (and I recall the Pope got cold-shouldered in Poland of all places due to that), they don't want to think of what they'd get for going further.

If these guys were willing to fight hard with risk for their agenda, they'd have done so years ago. Most of them are just cowards.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Nothing uncivilized SJW fanatics do surprises me anymore.

If I was an apologist for gayness I would welcome hearing the most coherent argument for it. Even if I was predisposed not to agree with it.

laubadetriste said...

@jmhenry: "Just a heads-up: First Things has published Richard Swinburne's paper, after asking his permission."

FYI, the paper is currently unavailable on that page, but still visible on Google cache.

Anonymous said...

'If I was an apologist for gayness I would welcome hearing the most coherent argument for it. Even if I was predisposed not to agree with it.'

Says the man who got called out for his big gay crush on dguller...

Scott W. said...

I suspect that for many clergy, the real issue is that they don't want a fight. They don't want conflict. They want to be celebrated or at least treated with benign indifference. They don't want a fight - from either direction.

It's the cycle of tough times making tough men, tough men making soft times, soft times making soft men, and then those soft men indulging excessive comfort and sentimentality until the tough times are back again. This is why most people look to China and Africa for the future of the Church.

What's really galling as the West fizzles out, is the kind of Stockholm Syndrome many putative Christians like Rea seems to be suffering from.

P.S. Looks like the combox could use another dip in the fleabath.

DNW said...



Ditto, what Crude said.

Greg said...

"By their fruit you will recognize them."

Did anyone think to spend a few minutes researching who this charming cat lady is? Along with her duties at the SCP, Christina Van Dyke is the director of "gender studies" at an allegedly Christian college who spends her time blogging about her experiences on OKCupid and writing feminist-centered papers including one titled "Eating as a Gendered Act: Christianity, Feminism, and Reclaiming the Body" that is as useless and post-modern as you could imagine.

If she could be made director of the SCP in spite of her un-Christian philosophy, what makes anyone think the SCP is serious enough about removing her over an irreverent four-character Facebook response?

And what good are Christian schools when they themselves have "gender studies" departments which are just as eager to destroy the historical Christian order of Western society as their secular peers?

The rot in academia is thorough. Let the dead bury their own.

George LeSauvage said...

@Robert Mosby:

If logic was an area of focus at UVa, that means you must have taken courses from Mr Cargile. Brutal grader, but one of the funniest professors every. (When were you there?)

Sorry if this is OT.

Paul Boire said...

Well..at least the response mirrored the sexual ethic (and confusion) he finds laud worthy despite human anatomy. Fitting that his language is rightly seen as describing something unnatural and bad. Unintended irony I'm sure. Whence sanity?

Scott W. said...

Did anyone think to spend a few minutes researching who this charming cat lady is? Along with her duties at the SCP, Christina Van Dyke is the director of "gender studies" at an allegedly Christian college who spends her time blogging about her experiences on OKCupid and writing feminist-centered papers including one titled "Eating as a Gendered Act: Christianity, Feminism, and Reclaiming the Body" that is as useless and post-modern as you could imagine.

Good catch Greg. Interestingly, she has a number of papers on Aquinas so perhaps at one point she was a real academic but seems to have become a parody of academia much like Melissa Click of Mizzou fame (that is, don't read her CV while drinking hot beverages.)

Timocrates said...

So people are beginning to lose their minds over the topic of sexuality? Why is this not terribly surprising?

What is it about the issue of homosexuality especially that seems to make it into a kind of necessarily almost teetotal issue? Philosophically, I think it is because it touches on the principle of identity and specifically that of our own human nature and identity, especially qua animal and qua male or female. Indeed, the Supreme Court did in fact link homosexuality explicitly to the notion of the individual's right to self-identity. I think it's exactly because sexuality is normally and naturally the "mother" of us all that makes it such a sensitive and vital issue. Religiously too, of course, it is linked to our identity especially as being made in the image and likeness of the Creator.

That being said, historically we don't have much (at least documented) precedence for what is going on today as concerns the LGBT phenomenon and movement, if it can be so described. What little we have as parallel, however, does not bode well: e.g., at the end of the Roman period where a distinct wave of effeminacy entered Roman society, and was celebrated publicly, at least according to Saint Augustine. At the same time there was also the parallel of mass migrations occurring. Now, I don't believe those two things were causally related either then or now, but coupled one might argue it had serious consequences for the end of Western Rome as a political state and hegemony. So, if anything, it is at best ominous.

But taking the Supreme Court's cue or lead, we can definitely possibly seize the issue of sexuality as a moment to engage in the topic of identity, which is of course not only philosophically interested but important as well.

Jeremy Taylor said...

I've always found gender studies and similar departments (cultural studies, etc.) very strange. Is it actually possible to be an academic, or even successful student, in one of these departments and not advocate some kind of radical position, whether Marxist, post-structuralist, or whatever? What would happen if you put forward a traditionalist or even liberal view on such issues?

Damntull said...

Ed. If you don't fought as hard as they do, YOU WILL LOSE. Don't confuse tactics for objectives. Use the SJW tactics against them - it doesn't make you an SJW, any more than using an AK-47 makes one a communist.

Damntull said...

Read SJWS Always Lie by Vox Day and start fighting. Blog posts won't get it done!

Unknown said...

"it doesn't make you an SJW, any more than using an AK-47 makes one a communist."

This is a very inapt analogy. The correct analogy would be to say, "Don't trouble yourself with whether show trials and political purges are Communist tactics--they don't make you a Communist." The point is such tactics calcify certain norms and practices in society and in particular in our public life.

The AK-47 is more comparable to, say, the internet. You'd be right to say that just because Communists use AK-47s or the internet, we shouldn't be afraid of using them also. But that's because what separates you from a Communist isn't your use of a particular technology, it's your view about the right ordering of society, the proper role of force in public life, etc. When you adopt a Communist's norms on these matters then, yes, in a vital way you have surrendered to Communism on the very grounds that matter most.

It is precisely the tactics of the SJW that make him an SJW, not whether he is a man of the Left. It is precisely his tactics, both rhetorical and procedural, that are so abhorrent and which have earned him the label of SJW in the first place. It's no good to ask Ed to accept precisely those tactics on the grounds that they don't change anything essential about the disagreement between him and them. It changes everything about that disagreement.

Anonymous said...

"It's no good to ask Ed to accept precisely those tactics on the grounds that they don't change anything essential about the disagreement between him and them. It changes everything about that disagreement."

I haven't read it myself, but the impression I get from readers of 'SJWs Always Lie', is that Vox does not advocate using the same tactics as the SJWs. He advocates a different set of tactics--a set that is specifically tailored for defeating SJWs.

Timocrates said...

@ Unknown above,

Correct. But it is incumbent upon us to know our foe. You can read Alinsky for the tactics and ideology of many of the "SJWs." It is further incumbent upon us to produce a practical and effective moral remedy and response to the problem.

We know, for instance, there is a shock factor in the modern tactics of extreme Leftists. We know they have a penchant for perverting and abusing Western ideals like freedom of speech, making out of them a kind of parody which only superficially resembles the meaning and reality of these ideals. Hence verbally assaulting and deliberately provoking people is defended as freedom of speech or expression. City ordinances would be enough to put a stop to that cheap tactic and nonsense, so police could detain or remove such people to prevent violence.

Another thing: in some cases no response really is the correct response. Thus, when "SJWs" imitate the tactics of children to get what they want, we should respond accordingly. When they throw a temper tantrum or a hissy-fit or otherwise engage in emotional blackmail (threatening to hurt themselves, for instance) we should not engage them in it or otherwise negotiate with terrorists. The best thing to do is to absolutely ignore them, not give them what they want (even if what they want might otherwise be legitimate) and strongly affirm people's right not to have to put up with such nonsense and their right to ignore it. Moreover, institutions should have a right to punish it, e.g., issue something like a time out until they calm down or, if they refuse, to be expelled from the institution or the property, perhaps with a restraining order on them to boot.

But I think we should reflect and point out when indeed Leftists really are just acting like children to more or less blackmail society into giving them what they want. That is one way we can shame them and stir up resistance to them and perhaps even recall a few of them back to their senses.

Crude said...

But I think we should reflect and point out when indeed Leftists really are just acting like children to more or less blackmail society into giving them what they want. That is one way we can shame them

With respect, that's been the option tried until very recently. It's being abandoned because A) they're shameless, and B) 'ignoring them' while they successfully blackmail society has let to whole organizations, corporations, and even churches being converged.

More dire action is needed, and SJWs Always Lie doesn't advocate mimicking them, but a more direct way of dealing with them. Interestingly enough, a bit of that shock value - deliberate provocation - has been working wonders. Milo Yiannapolous has been accomplishing more than a thousand supposedly noble souls refusing to even acknowledge the SJWs. (That that guy's writings are more authentically Catholic than many a bishop's is great. God's got a sense of humor.)

Can't shame the shameless. Mockery, contempt, rebellion and conflict has been working with stirring up resistance, though.

Chu said...

Hey Ed,

Not sure if you're aware, but Brian Leiter has a recent post up that is at least indirectly targeted at you. In it, he tries to justify his previous dismissal of natural law arguments. Was wondering if you were planning on responding?

It might serve as a 'teaching moment'--if not for Le!ter himself, then at least for some of his 'readers' who find their way here.

ccmnxc said...

Hey Ed,

Not sure if you're aware, but Brian Leiter has a recent post up that is at least indirectly targeted at you. In it, he tries to justify his previous dismissal of natural law arguments. Was wondering if you were planning on responding?

It might serve as a 'teaching moment'--if not for Le!ter himself, then at least for some of his 'readers' who find their way here.


Nah, I don't think it would be very meritorious. Ed's previous spates with the guy have proved to be largely unfruitful, and I don't think most of his readers are in a position to fairly evaluate anything Ed says, anyways.

There are other people and works that Ed could better spend his time with (like Peter Dillard's 2015 reply to Feser in the ACPQ *wink, wink*).




Jeremy Taylor said...

The problem with acting like SJWs, or one of them, is they have control of the opinion forming media. If any of them engage in dubious tactics, it is not taken as an indictment of the whole movement; their threats and bullying are never taken as a sign the whole movement is rotten by the media. In fact, they're usually ignored completely, if not excused (depending on which tactics are in question). This is not the case for the opponents of the SJWs. It only takes a few nutters to make death threats or even off-colour jokes and the whole opposition to a favourite identity politics cause is painted as evil by the media that sets the tone for mainstream political discourse. I say we should concentrate on arguments - we should be able to intellectually ripe apart the whole identity politics perspective.

Jeremy Taylor said...

- rip

And we need to do all we can to lessen the influence of left-liberal leaning media. That putatively conservative conservatives have done nothing about the BBC, (Australian) ABC, and SBS should be a scandal amongst conservatives in these countries.

Crude said...

Jeremy,

It only takes a few nutters to make death threats or even off-colour jokes and the whole opposition to a favourite identity politics cause is painted as evil by the media that sets the tone for mainstream political discourse.

I suggest that the only reason that ever worked in the past was because 'conservatives' are so easily cowed by that. If the plan is to flee whenever 'mainstream political discourse' tilts against us, then bad news - there's no victory to be had.

We've been concentrating on arguments for decades, and trying to avoid public confrontations for as long. The result is a whole lot of good intellectual arguments that only a certain few care about, and a whole lot of lost ground.

If people can't endure being considered evil by the media, I suggest they go into complete hiding, and leave the work for those willing to endure a bad reputation. As I survey recent events, it seems like the only ones making any progress at all are the ones saying 'I don't give a flyin' eff what the media says - in fact they're a bunch of thieves, cheats and traitors'.

Timocrates said...

@ Crude,

You make an excellent point.

Jeremy Taylor said...

Maybe, although there are conservatives, in America and in Britain and Australia (and elsewhere), who stick to the popular level. There is Fox News and talk radio, many tabloid journalists and UKIP in Britain, and the likes of Andrew Bolt in Australia. I don't think, on their own, they have achieved any great reversal of the fortunes of the SJWs.

I agree it is important not to stick to the purely academic level. The level of broad public opinion is important. I don't think conservatives have done well at transplanting their purely academic arguments in popular terms. There may well be a plebiscite on gay marriage in Australia next year, for example. And natural law and other intellectually respectable arguments against gay marriage will hardly be heard at the popular level.

I associate SJWs tactics with sophistry, screaming, and strong-arming.

Crude said...

Jeremy,

There is Fox News and talk radio, many tabloid journalists and UKIP in Britain, and the likes of Andrew Bolt in Australia. I don't think, on their own, they have achieved any great reversal of the fortunes of the SJWs.

Brexit alone was a major reversal of fortune, by those UKIP sorts who were despised. Breitbart and Milo Yiannapolous continue to make progress in their open defiance, with college after college. Rabid Puppies managed to kick over the tables in their own versions of the culture war. Gamergate as well.

The only ones getting anything done are the unapologetic bastards. They're the only ones having cultural successes. In fact, dare I say it - but our host here managed to change a lot of minds (with powerful arguments!) in part because he was one of the first to not bow, scrape and kowtow to the mainstream. (Gasp, can you believe he *insulted* Dennett and Dawkins..! Goodness.)

To hell with the mainstream sensibilities. It may not be everyone's cup of tea - some people who largely do purely intellectual work are valuable - but so are the people willing to be defiant and open in their confrontation.

Anonymous said...

Well since we have gone off topic enough to be talking about news providers I fear the political right has become so divided that it is almost incoherent. Some colleagues and myself were considering today that if Jeb Bush (or Guiliani etc...) had become the nominee we would at least have given ourselves some breathing room cause Clinton would be finished. Alas the factionalism on the right will likely lead to four years of left leaning court appointments. Off topic...maybe but say this for the left they are mor or less on the same page. Sorry rant over.

Anonymous said...

Excellent discussion. I would also say that we need to continue the fight by bringing Catholic culture to the masses, particularly great films. One I would especially recommend is Suor Emanuelle. It's a great, powerful film.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078344/

Anonymous said...

@Crude:

"The only ones getting anything done are the unapologetic bastards. They're the only ones having cultural successes. In fact, dare I say it - but our host here managed to change a lot of minds (with powerful arguments!) in part because he was one of the first to not bow, scrape and kowtow to the mainstream. (Gasp, can you believe he *insulted* Dennett and Dawkins..! Goodness.) To hell with the mainstream sensibilities. It may not be everyone's cup of tea - some people who largely do purely intellectual work are valuable - but so are the people willing to be defiant and open in their confrontation."

I think Lydia is starting to 'get it.' At WWWtW, in her last few posts and discussion, she's been noticeably dropping hints about what could possibly be motivating seemingly orthodox Christians like Mike Rea and Eleanor Stump to make such ludicrous concessions to the Left in the Swinburne dust-up.

Of course, she's not going to start spouting off f-bombs anytime soon--or ever, for that matter--but I think you're going to start seeing a more combative approach from her. Not necessarily toward the Left--she's already fully combative toward them as it stands--but now toward those elements of the Right that are of dubious allegiance in the culture wars.

Thing is, this Swinburne thing really upset her; in her mind it was nothing less than a betrayal. She's livid about it, if you haven't noticed.

Crude said...

Anon,

While Lydia and I don't get along - ha ha, that's an understatement - I think in general she's never been particularly delicate about these things. She's squishy on some subjects, which I'll leave aside for now, but rather blunt when it comes to this topic in particular.

Frankly, I used to be a lot more conciliatory towards the 'Christian left', and there are some who I have more sympathy for. Generally the set for whom economics was the primary motivating factor in the leftward bend (see Victor Reppert, a man who I hold in high esteem.) The SJW crop, though? Nasty stuff. If they'd prefer to burn down the SCP than to let those of actual Christian views on sex and sexuality so much as debate their views there, then get the gas and matches.

Timocrates said...

@ Anon,

Trump is actually wildly popular in large because he comes across as sticking it to the (major) media which even the media has confessed is now almost universally despised in America, with something like 27% of Americans trusting its content.

Exploding the shamelessly self-interested Democrat fallacy that illegal aliens must be made into full fledged members of the body politic to be treated humanely is another area we should focus on. Even if - as Democrats argue - these illegal aliens are legitimate refugees (a psychotic assumption to make), refugees are not entitled to become American citizens or otherwise acquire the right to vote. But because the Democrats assume those illegal aliens will sympathize overwhelmingly with left-wing policies, they jump immediately to granting illegal aliens full fledged membership in the body politic. And for what? Votes for themselves, of course. That is simply indefensible.

America already has a liberal immigration policy. Tacking on a surge of illegal aliens and even authentic refugees just overwhelms the system. Something has to give. You can't divorce immigration from economics, after all. Whose guaranteeing all these people employment? If no one is, then all you are doing is promising to increase unemployment and drain the social welfare system, which will either become wholly ineffective or necessitate a dramatic increase in taxes.

Jeremy Taylor said...

Crude,

Brexit (which hasn't happened yet) is complex. I agree that UKIP played a roll in it. They helped to connect it even more firmly with issues like immigration and multiculturalism, and they (along with the Eurosceptic wing of Tory party) were largely behind Mr. Slippery's gamble on having a referendum to begin - he wished to silence them forever. But I wouldn't say UKIP directly delivered the referendum nor won it. More importantly, I think it represents some of the issues facing the right in Britain, and maybe to some degree America. On issues of mass immigration and multiculturalism, social and cultural conservatism are very popular. But this isn't the case for all social conservative positions. On sexual issues and homosexuality, for example, in Britain at least, there is nothing like the popular support that is there for a tough line on immigration.

I agree that conservatives need to appeal to public and put their arguments in forms that can better shift public opinion. I will also agree that frankness is often good in these matters. I don't think we should have to put our case in half-apologetic terms.

Still, I'm not quite sure what you mean by SJWs tactics. I associate these with screaming, bullying (including of academics with the academy itself - just ask authors who have tried to publish statistics on things like domestic violence that don't support the feminist narrative, for example) and sophistry (fallacies and dubious statistics). I don't see how any of this would help conservatives.

Jack I said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Crude said...

Jeremy,

But I wouldn't say UKIP directly delivered the referendum nor won it.

Nigel Farage and the UKIP were the ones taking the victory lap for that one. What did just about every other party in power think of it? Naturally it wasn't just them, but that's a trophy that they won fair and square. And they did so while defying constant calls for them to be meek in the eyes of a media that hate them.

On sexual issues and homosexuality, for example, in Britain at least, there is nothing like the popular support that is there for a tough line on immigration.

It wasn't long ago where that was a losing issue for the other side. Things change, things will change. I can't help but notice in that case, things changed without them becoming meek and gentle. Their standard bearers are a freak pack. Surely some confidence won't kill us.

Good for the spirit anyway - and there's more at stake than laws.

Still, I'm not quite sure what you mean by SJWs tactics. I associate these with screaming, bullying (including of academics with the academy itself - just ask authors who have tried to publish statistics on things like domestic violence that don't support the feminist narrative, for example) and sophistry (fallacies and dubious statistics).

I'm not advocating the taking of SJW tactics - again, the book in question doesn't advise that. But step one is being direct, and not shying away from the media, or being forever fretful about 'how we'll look'.

Jeremy Taylor said...

Well, I will certainly agree that without UKIP (and the Eurosceptic wing of the Tories) Brexit would not have happened, even if simply because Cameron would have had the referendum to try to finish them off. UKIP have, though, been damaged by members saying stupid things. The media, and the Tories, look out for UKIP councillors and officials who say off colour things (some defensible, some not), and this has hurt UKIP quite a bit in the past.

I agree that we should be frank and put our arguments forward robustly. But I would say that frank doesn't mean we should just say anything and not think about how our message goes down, how it will be picked up in the media, and the general circumstances we face in prosecuting our case. I think, for example, in Australia or Britain we should talk about the sin of homosexual acts fearlessly. But I wouldn't go around using terms like perverts or deviants - that would backfire.

Crude said...

But I wouldn't go around using terms like perverts or deviants - that would backfire.

You're getting into an issue of how best to communicate, media aside, I think. The media's rather irrelevant to the issue you're describing, since even with an utterly neutral media / a circumvented media, your choice of words may not persuade. Rhetoric and all. That takes more work.

Timocrates said...

@ Jeremy Taylor,

"UKIP have, though, been damaged by members saying stupid things."

Every democratic political party is going to have plenty of people who will say stupid things. The difference is whether or not that party and its members are being targeted by press outlets for destruction. Then those "stupid things" will be reported and repeated and called horribly dangerous, a veritable existential threat to Democracy and Freedom; whereas, if the party or its program or policies is generally beloved by the press, those same stupid things wont be reported or, at least, written off as people being people, saying things at times without thinking.

When we watch or read the news, we should be actively aware and very conscious of how things are being spun by them.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

I have a foul mouth but aren't these people supposed to be professionals?

Jeremy Taylor said...

Timocrates,

I agree. The media, by and large, despises UKIP, and give them a much tougher time. I recall one instance where, in one week, a UKIP councillor in Essex was arrested for drink-driving and a Labour one in West London was arrested for running someone down deliberately. The BBC website had a story on the UKIP incident but not on the Labour one. But this goes to my point - by all means we should not be apologetic and should be frank in defending our moral and cultural views, but we do have to spend some time thinking about the best way to express them in particular circumstances.