Keeping up with the FITs, 6/28
Andrew Sullivan on drag queens; R.R. Reno on gay marriage; Matt Shapiro on a classic CDC blooper; Hanania's book reviewed; Dalibor Rohac on Ukraine and Israel
encouraging children to read by having glitter-bombed men in dresses read to them in libraries seemed like pretty harmless fun to me.
. . .But the idea that a drag queen — rather than, say, a firefighter or a pilot or a tennis player — is somehow an ideal role model for young gay children is, in its misguided progressivism, actually regressive. A hefty majority of gay kids have absolutely no interest in being a drag queen. Presenting it as a model for gayness is part of a misguided bid to impose the postmodern concept of “queerness” on all gay people.
Of course the men and women who enter into same-sex marriage wish nobody harm. They are seeking something of the happiness that comes from entering into the discipline of traditional forms of life, the mental peace that comes from being normal. But the “cake and dancing” after a same-sex wedding that Michael Gerson finds so heart-warming is not innocent. It comes at a high price. To deprive a young person of clear and firm guidance toward responsible manhood and womanhood that is based on evident physical reality, namely the sexual complementarity of men and women, is careless.
As I recall, the gay marriage movement was marketed in a way to appeal to conservatives, by putting the emphasis on marriage. They made it sound like legal gay marriage was an end point.
Instead, it turned out to be a launching pad. We now must deal with a movement that glorifies any sexual relationships with the exception of monogamous heterosexual ones. And we’re all supposed to give expressions of support and refrain from criticism.
I’m in favor of glorifying the lifestyle that gets you grandchildren. I am willing to bet that if you take a grandparent at random and one of the varieties of queer people at random, the grandparent is happier. Young people should be aware of that.
Matt Shapiro writes about a slide presented by the CDC at a meeting about whether to recommend COVID vaccination for young children,
This slide above is no small error. Not only did it count the wrong number for pediatric COVID deaths, it compared all pediatric COVID deaths in a 26-month period to annualized deaths from other causes. This is a massive data error, and yet it persisted through a supposedly rigorous data check from 11 authors and was selected by top-tier scientists for their landmark presentation to the most knowledgeable experts in the field.
No one in any of these meetings recognized this error. This slide was presented uncritically to the nation’s top doctors and epidemiologists who are in charge of setting the national policy on COVID vaccines for children and no one even noticed it. It was spread uncritically by dozens more experts, including a former Surgeon General of the United States.
And this error was caught by a woman who tweets using just her first name only and runs fact-checker on the world’s most eminent scientists in her free time.
Another Martin Gurri moment.
On Scott Alexander’s substack, a contestant reviews Richard Hanania’s book on foreign policy. The review does a nice job of summarizing the book, convincing me I don’t have to buy it.
Hanania argues that Ikenberry and other’s advocacy of America’s role in maintaining the “rules based international order” cannot account for the American exceptionalism in blatantly violating international law — 237 American military interventions between 1950 and 2017 (3.5 per year), and 64 covert regime changes in the Cold War alone.
I think that Peter Zeihan would say that the U.S. deserves credit for maintaining order, even if you don’t think that it’s rules-based. Under what Zeihan calls The Order, the U.S. wants your government to side with us when it counts, and it wants free trade so that our consumers are happy and our firms are profitable. It’s something like the old joke about the Golden Rule: those who have the gold make the rules.
Zeihan sees Americans losing interest in The Order, because we don’t have a feared enemy that we want you to side with us against, and we don’t have any significant needs that require us to trade outside of the Western hemisphere. But if Hanania is right about the bias toward interventionism among defense contractors and their political allies, then what Robert Wright calls “the Blob” will still try to convince us that we have a feared enemy and we still need free trade. Zeihan takes great pains to say that we need not fear China, which is the Blob’s favorite bogeyman these days. On the benefits of free trade, I am in agreement with the elites, especially after reading Zeihan’s book.
Much like Israel, facing threats from much larger Arab nations for much of its existence, Ukrainians are aware of the stakes of the current conflict. If the Russians stop fighting, the war ends; if the Ukrainians stop, it is the end of Ukraine.
The analogy is that if the Palestinians stop fighting, the parties in Israel that want to concede territory and autonomy to the Palestinians will regain power. If Israel stops fighting, it is the end of Israel.
‘As I recall, the gay marriage movement was marketed in a way to appeal to conservatives, by putting the emphasis on marriage. They made it sound like legal gay marriage was an end point.
Instead, it turned out to be a launching pad. ’
The UK situation is instructive. Conservatives did not like the association with marriage for same sex couples. Homosexuals argued that marriage would give them equivalent legal and social status as opposite sex couples - such as pension rights, inheritance, funeral arrangements, etc.
In 2004 UK Parliament did its job and found the middle way to take into account the interests and views of all parties, and passed the Civil Partnership Act for same sex couples which was marriage in all but name.
“The Civil Partnership Act brings more than just the opportunity to register relationships. The British legislation is among the most comprehensive in the world in giving equality to same-sex relationships. Civil partners are treated equivalently to married couples in almost every respect.”
So issue resolved, matter closed? Of course not! After a few years, copying what was happening in the USA, Gay marriage once again became an issue in the UK. It had to be ‘marriage’. It had nothing to do with equal Rights, it was about spite and triumphing over conservatives and religious views and deciding what normal was.
In reality, only a tiny percentage of same sex couples used the Civil Partnership Act or Marriage Act because enduring partnerships between same sex couples are a rarity. So a tiny minority of a small minority overturned the majority will and defined the new normal.
A launchpad? Yes - for a gobby group of activists and political opportunists for ever more and more demands to overturn normality and accept any freakish fashion in its place.
And of course there is no ‘Right’ to marriage for anyone and never has been.
Rohac is spinning a narrative when he writes: "The Balts, the Poles, and the Czechs understand well that Putin’s ambitions do not stop in Ukraine and their countries are next on the list."
Putin is doing what he said he would do if Ukraine allied with the West. It is the same thing Russia did when Georgia (the country) got friendly with NATO. Western pundits and politicians are indignant that Putin supports the Russian form of "The Monroe Doctrine".
Putin did not become aggressive until certain triggers were pulled by Western, in particular US, leaders. Those triggers are very precise. Putin said what they were.
The proper narrative is Russia has made public it's basis for aggression against its neighbors. It has acted true to what it said. You think Russia is wrong? Well, how do you think the USA would respond if China started building a naval base in South America?
Furthermore, the USA ventures to the other side of the world to have mitary conflict to defend what it says are its interests. Russia is fighting with a neighboring country. And yet the narrative is Russia is an imperialist aggressor. Fine then. Let's use that standard from now on to label all military intervention!
Bottom line is the longer the Ukraine war goes on the worse it will be for the Ukrainians. That the West is pushing eternal war shows the immorality of Western culture. Please let us follow the wisdom of Vizzini and not get involved in a land war in Asia. Unfortunately, that error has already been made and the West seems determined to double down on it, at an American cost of over $50 billion a month