Things have been drifting my way that make me raise eyebrows and say with Inigo Montoya: I don’t think that word means what you think it means.
Apparently believing abortion is wrong is out of the mainstream; believing gay marriage is wrong is out of the mainstream; believing transexuality isn’t the load of hogswallow that our society is being fed is out of the mainstream; being a Christian is out of the mainstream; and being convinced that you have rights as an individual which were granted to you by G-d and the government can’t take away is out of the mainstream.
What they aren’t actually telling us is: Out of the mainstream WHERE?
I mean, of course all of those are out of the mainstream in our better universities, where no one would go so far as to espouse one of those opinions, where they might be overheard and mocked — mocked! — as being gauche by their fellow socialist pudding heads.
And some of them are out of the mainstream in various places around the world. I wouldn’t advise you to go to a non-European Catholic country where faith is taken seriously and start babbling about how men can be women, women can be men, and it’s all about just saying so.
For that matter, I wouldn’t advise you to go and be flamboyantly gay or trans in an European country, out of the hangouts of the bien pensant, and where the authorities can’t hear you. Take it from someone who has crossed Europe, inconspicuously speaking the local language, and too poor to stay in even medium-expensive places: the urbane European is a myth. The woke European is a myth. There might be a few, again, in the academic hangouts, but if you get them to let their hair down and speak frankly, after hours, you’re going to find yourself blinking and being rather puzzled. Because the imaginary “hatey” rednecks of leftism’s fevered imagination have absolutely nothing on a “Sophisticated” European when it comes to hating anyone who sticks out and is not “normal for local populations. A lot of naive Americans have found that to their shock.
As for most of Africa and the Middle East? Well, you know, local tribal customs might vary on what is homosexuality and transexuality throughout Africa (and trust me, okay? EVEN what looks like transexuality to western eyes often isn’t and is in fact a rather horrible situation that works — maybe — as well as anything works where you live close to the bone and life is a constant struggle. It ain’t because they’re “enlightened” or “more tolerant.”)
In the middle East…. I have absolutely no idea what Islam’s view on abortion is, though judging from some of its other dictates, I presume it’s a child if the father wants it, and not if the father doesn’t. But pretty much all the other things, other than individual rights — and individual rights aren’t believed in anywhere out of the West, and even there…. mostly in the US — are not just “disapproved of” in Islam. They’re crimes. Punishable by death.
So, yeah, I do realize the US is out of the mainstream with most of the world. At least in believing in individual rights.
Because we believe in individual rights, we’re also way more tolerant of individual quirks. Mostly gay marriage didn’t raise a lot of eyebrows. I mean, a lot of us would get pissed off at forcing churches to officiate at gay weddings, and don’t get me started on the idiotic lawfare against Christian Bakers (Look, it’s idiotic on both sides, okay? You’re allowed to think a “gay marriage” isn’t a real marriage, but realize it’s real to the people celebrating and do the cake on that principle. Like, I have a friend who is Hindu, but he’s okay with buying fake leather sofas, okay? I have no idea if he’d design one for them, but I imagine if his avocation ran to couture he’d be quite happy to make a fake leather jacket. Now, when it comes to stupid cakes with the devil and dildos? The chick engaging in that lawfare should be taken out and beaten in the public square for having the worst taste since Hillary Clinton wore a yellow pant suit. And OF COURSE if someone doesn’t want to bake a cake for sale — for any reason or none — the client should go elsewhere. THAT frankly is the biggest stupidity ever. The courts should throw all those cases out for the plaintiffs being too stupid to not drown when it rains. “Waitaminute…. you know this person disapproves of your choice, but what will make your day complete is having him bake your cake. You’re either dumber than your common garden rock or you are trying to get someone to engage in bondage and domination play with you without their consent. I do suggest you withdraw the suit, before I throw you in jail for rape.” ….. yeah, I know, I have beautiful dreams.)
Sure. A lot of people think is a sin, but they also know they, themselves are sinners. Among my inner circle are gay couples and committed Christians, and believe it or not no bonfires have been lit when we all get together; no one has dragged anyone to the roof, or dropped walls on them. Actually, I don’t remember any harsh words. Mind you, the subjects under discussion are usually science fiction, fantasy, politics (and our POLITICS) tend to be in tune or house decorating, not what anyone does in bed. Because seriously, who discusses that at a barbecue? The essence of it being that most Christians would think their engaging in it is wrong (though some still do, because they’re human and broken) but they’re not going to judge, lest they should be judged. And we’re wealthy and well mannered enough to live and let live.
In the same way if you come into our group, claiming to be a sex you obviously aren’t, most people will shrug and go along, because why not? I mean this was true in the eighties when a six foot seven Marine who looked like his face was ripped with an ax off a mountain crag lived under the charming delusion that when he dressed in a dress or skirt, with a wig EVERYONE thought he was a beautiful woman. Even though he wore size 14 wide seven inch heels.
Our group of rather introverted geeks would shrug and go “sure, why not. At least he doesn’t think he’s Napoleon. Addressing him as Emperor with a French accent would get old.” I objected to his hitting on me in the kitchen, but not because at the moment he was wearing a dress and thought he was female. I objected to it because he was coming on to a married woman and being obtuse about getting it through his head I really meant “no.” (No touching, otherwise I’d have done something interesting with a knife — even though he was a marine — but really stupidly persistent.)
Was he really trans? Don’t know. Don’t care. I’m not paid to evaluate the minds of others.
I do sternly object to having children on puberty blockers, because I know someone whose children have to be on these due to a rare genetic condition. When they were first prescribed he acquainted us with all the side effects. And you know what? NO ONE SHOULD SUBJECT A MINOR TO THAT UNLESS IT REALLY IS NEEDED FOR A PHYSICAL, NOT A PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITION. Adults? Well…. if one of my kids were considering it, I’d argue like hell against it, not just because they’d make the world’s ugliest women, bar none, but because — seriously — even in cases of “real” gender dysphoria, in the present state of science it’s a very high price to pay to be a pretend version of what your mind tells you that you are.
ONLY if you absolutely have no other choice, should you consider it. And if you really want kids, have kids before. I’m not going to say there aren’t cases in which transitioning isn’t actually warranted. I’m not other people. I don’t know. But I’m going to say the process is horrific, and most people end up stuck somewhere neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat. That means for a lot of the rest of their lives, they’re going to be given very weird looks. And feel out of place. Still, as someone who immigrated and also inhabits a limbo region, at least as soon as she opens her mouth, I’m not going to say some people won’t prefer that to the natural self. I’m not them.
And I think most Americans are kind of in the same place.
Abortion? I am out of the mainstream here, for various reasons. And have changed my mind on it over my life time. I don’t think anyone should have an abortion, unless it’s medically required. There’s a ton of reasons, including the fact that I knew within five minutes I’d conceived older son and that he was a boy. Never wavered. And never had that before, despite trying for six years. Younger son, OTOH? Well, I still can’t “sense” him. Possibly because he’s too much like me. Who knows? Anyway, between that, the fact that I’ve seen women in abusive relationships get bullied into abortions, and the fact that there is quite safe contraception generally available, I think the bar for “I want an abortion” should be much higher.
BUT note, please, that I’m out of the American (and possibly the west) mainstream here. Most of America believes an abortion is okay up to ten weeks, and after that it should be restricted/forbidden. Or at least that’s what polls keep coming up with. That is in fact the law in most countries that allow abortion.
The crazy “abortion at any point for any reason” is not majority opinion here or anywhere in the world. So Governor Northam and his post birth abortion can go right to extremist hell.
As for being a Christian, it is, if not a majority belief certainly a widespread one worldwide. It is still a majority in America. How can something most people believe make you an extremist? I don’t know. Ask them.
Then there’s believing in individual rights. And they’ve got us dead to rights, there, boys: in a world filled with absolute monarchs, satraps, petty despots, totalitarian horrors (and Methodists! — reference joke) we are indeed unique and “Extreme.”
Should we suppress our extremist beliefs that we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness unhindered by an abusive and intrusive government?
The first question, of course, is who benefits. Certainly not individual Americans. So, why should we do it? In which way is it good for us?
Looking around at other countries where the belief doesn’t exist, what is in it for us?
I say often that the future comes from America. You might not get what I mean by that, but trust me. Almost all the innovations that make our life fat and comfortable started out in America. Sometimes Israel pitches in and more rarely another anglophone country.
However, most of what the rest of the world does is take what we invent and develop, or write, or put on screen, and try to give it some kind of a personal spin. But without us? none of it would exist.
Now, because America is a multi-racial nation, picking up the best from all over the world (and keeping it) this can’t be due to our vaunted blood lines.
So what is it due to?
Unless you’ve visited Europe, and, say, been sealed into a rapidly heating train in summer, despite the railway company knowing that the air conditioning is out in that carriage, you don’t appreciate how much that belief that individuals get to make their own choices matters in America.
The rest of the world, and those who are no longer our countrymen rail against central heating and air conditioning. Now, part of it is that none of these winnies know the climates most of us deal with. Sure, Portugal can go without central heating. Comeovertomytown and try it, in the dead of winter. Go to North Carolina in the heat of a very humid Summer without air conditioning. Then come and talk to us.
But the other part is “because we can.” And because individuals can choose to be comfortable. And most do.
Could we survive without those creature comforts? Sure. The pioneers did. And I once lived through a summer in Columbia South Carolina without air conditioning. You don’t want to know. Weirdly, too, I did no work all that summer.
And I remember being in Portugal — which is temperate if anything is — without air conditioning and/or heat, and let’s say most of my year was a lot less productive than it could be, because you’re not functioning very well when you’re dealing with extremes in weather.
So the American “extremism” of believing in individual rights is both more comfortable and more productive.
Therefore why call it “extreme” or try to suppress it. Unless you want to take those rights away so you can have absolute power, of course.
In which case you need to be aware you’re not G-d. Either real or imaginary. Your wants are not the law to me (no, not even if you’re a fat bastard who said that you believe in the rule of law and what you say is law. It ain’t. And I’m forever surprised you are smart enough to remember to exhale after each breath.) Nor should they be.
I’m not extreme. You are. You are an extreme, out of control loon who thinks that if everyone did what he/she said the world would be perfect.
I recommend you amend your extremism. Because in the path you’re taking us careening down, tolerance vanishes, and things get very very bad.
Places where there’s no bread, everyone argues, no one is right. Or if you prefer, societies that live close to the bone don’t believe in individual freedom. They also don’t believe in much of individual anything.
And the table is always set at the cannibal banquet.
Before you declare the US is “extreme” consider, in your heart of hearts what might happen to you if we weren’t.
And then, unless you’re as stupid as paste-eating Polis, you might consider giving thanks on your knees and fasting, that the rest of us are not in fact “extremist.”