Over the weekend, I went to the theater to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’m no fanboy, but it’s nonetheless an essential classic for any cultured American. While I enjoy the franchise a lot, there’s something about the films that’s always brought me vague disappointment — something that reflects the decline of Western Civilization.
For those readers born in a galaxy far, far away, and hence clueless, in the words of Obi-Wan-Kanobi: “the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” There is a light side and a dark side of the Force. Wielders of the light are selfless, merciful defenders of the galaxy, while the dark side is stronger, cooler, and prone to light-saber-thrashing temper-tantrums.
The Force poses what philosophers call a false dichotomy, an informal fallacy involving a situation in which only two limited alternatives are considered. The options are typically positioned between two extremes — in the case of Star Wars, the Light and the Dark Sides — when in reality there are infinite shades of gray.
Since I am neither a parent nor plan to be one, it is merely my amateur opinion — based on personal observation — that teaching children to believe in Santa Claus is as close to child abuse without spanking them.
First and obvious, it is a lie. It ruins your trustworthiness as a parent. It promotes credulity. It is utterly devoid of imagination. What a strange and corrupt world this is, where lying to children is deemed beautiful and magical, encouraged by our cultural institutions and endorsed by a host of stop-motion animation films.
Teaching children the myth of Santa Claus is bribery. If the child is well-behaved, she will be rewarded. If the child is naughty — which could easily translate as nonconformist behavior — the she will not receive gifts on Christmas. Rarely do we teach universally preferable behavior simply for its own sake.
Yet another mass shooting, this time in San Bernardino, California. It triggered the predictable outcries for gun control, while others accuse these voices of “politicizing tragedy.” Meanwhile, an op-ed from the Los Angeles Times cynically observes that “Perhaps this is the gruesome price of freedom.”
I have never fired a weapon beyond a BB gun. My knowledge of firearms is minimal. However, there was a time when I briefly brandished my friend’s empty, military-grade shotgun. Black and cruel, the metal was cold in my palms, and I was aware that I held death itself in my hands. I wanted to smash it across the pavement, grind the fractured pieces under my heel like poisonous bugs, yell at my friend for ever purchasing the accursed thing.
As a hunter and gun-owner, my father recognizes the complexities of the gun debate. “A twenty gauge shot gun is all you need to shoot a deer. Anything stronger, and all you’re asking for is an accident,” he said.
Students of San Diego University hold a “Shit In” to raise awareness of the evil powers of the patriarchy oppressing the campus restrooms.
Oh boy. The feminists are at it again. So far, they’ve won a woman’s right to vote, equal pay, same-sex marriage — an impressive trophy case. Now they’re taking on the patriarchy’s next stronghold.
You guessed it. Public restrooms.
Feminists are pushing for college campuses (their intellectual strongholds and breeding-factories) to tear down all gender-binary restrooms and install mixed-gender restrooms. This, they ambitiously dream, will liberate all transgender people, and finally put those dastardly, trans-phobic patriarchs in their place!
Please know, I respect the issues with which a transgender must face. I can’t imagine the torturous games of door number one or door number two you must play if you don’t fit in either sexual binary, and the resulting embarrassment if you choose wrongly. But attempting to satisfy a sliver minority through imposing totalitarian policies on everyone? That will generate many more problems than the comparatively minor one it will solve. The number of transgender people is unknown, but we can be certain without doubt that us privileged, arrogant, ignorant cisgenders vastly exceed them.
Racism is alive in America. The hacker group Anonymous recently published the names of over 1,000 KKK members, many who turned out to be politicians. A white man murders nine blacks in a Charleston church. Racial tensions envelope Missouri University in chaos. It’s positively retrogressive.
Consider that there are fringe factions who believe, in the 21st century, that the Earth is flat. There are even more people who believe the United States never landed on the moon, despite the wealth of physical evidence left behind. And it is downright appalling and confounding that human beings, after centuries of a bloody civil war and progressive reform, still divide themselves based on skin pigmentation.
Or do they?