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Writing this on the eve of 9/11, like all of you, I feel like I am in a brave new world. We just came from a so-so Mexican restaurant.. My first choice was a fresh grouper basket with slaw, but the tourists are still here in droves, and we couldn’t inch our way into any place serving seafood. Our naturally pretty Hispanic waitress had multi-colored hair wrapped in braids – pink, blue, purple, and yellow. Her arms were heavily tattooed, going up her neck. The tattoos were not new, yet she looked too young to have aging tats. My new neighbor across the street has the same rainbow hair. I looked it up – a) rebellious b) fashion statement c) relating to the LGBTQ agenda d) signaling a multi-gender identity. Ok. We now have a brave new world where gender is being questioned on birth certificates, taught to kindergarteners who know nothing except innocence. Disney has even released a new Cinderella that features a fairy godmother that is essentially a gay man in high heels and a dress. Brave – cough – new world.
I wasn’t eavesdropping on the booth behind us, but it was a pile of kids and I couldn’t help hearing their woes about being stalked on social media by a loose character they all had to block. A world lived online – people behind a wall – lots of opinions – harassment. Anonymous. They were laughing about it, but the conversation was disturbing. Brave new world.
[2 minute read] I am constantly bringing to my mind the classic, “What if?” My query is not a matter of doubt but of certainty. What will happen if I leave my garage door open all night long? Will people who want what I have be tempted to enter or will the person be stopped […]
I didn’t sleep much last night, which isn’t very different from every other night, but last night I had something new on my mind. Images of my mother’s ravaged body after decades of experimental drugs administered by heinous injections intended to treat her RA, which they did, but they also slowly killed her off in so many other ways.
She was hospitalized in the late ‘90s, and while still in what would be a weeks-long coma, I stood alone at her bedside in the ICU shortly after she’d suffered a severe brainstem stroke. Being the self-righteous prig that I sometimes was back then (and still can be now), I said something like, “Well Mom, this is how things go when you make poor choices.”
Yes, I really said that … or something close to that.
Over a lifetime, the question of trust comes up almost from the moment we are born. Trust is implicit in honorable relationships, in our putting our lives in the hands of others, in taking risks in partnership with others, in simply trying out new things. Unless we came from highly dysfunctional families, our parents tended to us in ways that helped us feel safe in the world. They did their best to feed us and clothe us, to make sure we picked up our rooms and wiped off our muddy feet before we came into the house. We followed their direction because we trusted them to care for us, and they in turn learned to trust us.
In the larger world when we were small children, we were told to look both ways before we crossed the street; the drivers couldn’t be trusted to see our miniature bodies as we stepped into their paths. We were told to honor our teachers who were entrusted to educate us and socialize us with our peers; we learned to trust them when they helped us with our homework or relied on us to complete a classroom chore.
An internal FBI memo warns there could be armed protests in all 50 state capital cities, including Washington, DC and could happen before, during or after Inauguration Day. Given our cynicism about “unnamed sources” the lack of any back-up information to this leak, how are we, as citizens, supposed to respond? Preview Open
Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech. (Isaiah 32:9, ESV) My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. (Isaiah 32:18, ESV) Preview Open
Do you remember those times when you were willing to give certain people the benefit of the doubt? When you might have questions about what they’ve said or done, but a number of factors would contribute to your putting your doubt aside and taking them at their word? Although raised to be skeptical, even cynical, […]
“One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them.” — Thomas Sowell
This statement by Thomas Sowell is almost a truism to many of us; anyone who studies the political scene might roll his or her eyes in response. Can we trust anyone on the political Left?
But if we move beyond the obvious, we realize that our trust of some people that we thought we could trust must, at the very least, be viewed with skepticism. As sincere as Dr. Fauci, Dr. Brix, medical authorities, and model makers may be, we must now question the validity of their statements, challenge the way they interpret the data, and how they communicate their views to the public. Those of us who like to give education, authority, experience their due now must ask, “Are all those credentials enough for us to trust anyone?”
Van is a spitfire. She is a dedicated conservative and she loves this country. She left Vietnam with her family right after the war. She is an entrepreneur, having started several businesses, and now in her senior years runs a nail business (does fingers and toes, as my husband would say) from her home, and does my nails. I’ve known her for more than ten years, so we know each other pretty well. The other day she stunned me with a story of bravery and determination. And it wasn’t about leaving Vietnam.
Van has mostly senior customers from all walks of lives, an assortment of religions or no-religions, and many cultures, ethnicities, and races. I’m going to share her story as she told it to me the other day, in her inimitable style:
So I’m talking to my customer about many things, and I asked her why she calls herself an African-American. Why? She is an American! She isn’t from Africa and she doesn’t have family from Africa, so why doesn’t she just call herself an American? I don’t call myself a Vietnamese-American!
To all the dermatologists who may be reading this post, please don’t take offense. In fact, I hope you’ll weigh in. Here’s the thing. I know a lot about skin care and the dangers of melanoma. I’m a fair-haired, light-skinned woman, who had some sunburns in my day, but stopped sun-seeking a long time ago. […]
Do you know anyone who isn’t feeling cynical about politics, politicians and pundits? I was thinking about whom I actually trust in the political sphere, and the list is depressingly short. What does it mean to trust? For a place to start the Cambridge Dictionary defines trust: Preview Open
Jacob Falkovich, of PutANumOnIt fame, published a post-mortem on the Harris-Klein debate over IQ and race in Quillette. Not just the Quillette article, but the blog post inspiring it, The Context is the Conflict, are both worth a read. As Falkovich sees it, the Harris-Klein debate was merely one example of conflicting forms of political reasoning, pitting those who see political opponents as mistaken against those who see political opposition as conflict, and also pitting cognitive decoupling against contextualizing. To summarize the story the way Falkovich sees it, Sam Harris tells Ezra Klein, “Ezra, it’s dishonest of you to be so concerned with the social implications of the data that you discount what the data has to say,” and Klein shoots right back, “Sam, it’s dishonest of you to be so concerned with what the data allegedly says that you discount its social implications,” that is, whose interest is served by treating the data in question as reputable, and whose interests are harmed.
Both Klein and Harris have a point. We on the right are fairly open in our mistrust of “scientism,” after all. We know that, no matter how much data might seem to speak for itself, the scientific validity of data can’t be entirely separated from the nonscientific interests of the ones gathering, analyzing, publishing, and popularizing the data. Who funded a study, we wonder? Would funding have biased it? Was one study widely reported on while studies contradicting it were not; reflecting media bias? We aren’t fools for asking these questions, merely fools if we take them to their paranoid extreme: at some point, data must matter, even though it’s collected and interpreted by biased humans. Nonetheless, we suspect, probably rightly, that even good science can’t be wholly divorced from its social implications once it’s fodder for political dispute.
There are many things that form the mountains in our lives; grief, worry, fear, desolation, disease, pain and anger are just a few of these things. Sometimes we stand at the base of the mountain before us and feel the anguish of defeat, because the mountain stands in the way of our purpose. Some would […]
Way back when President Ronald Reagan was dealing with the Soviet Union, trying to get them to break down the barriers of communism, he made the statement, “Trust, but verify.” At the time, I was dubious not just about the collapse of the U.S.S.R., but also of the President’s statement. Trust isn’t something to be […]
Always love your country but never trust your government. Robert Novak Preview Open
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America groan as Aetna announces it will pull out of Virginia and Iowa’s last insurer is leaving most of the state for the individual marketplace. They’re stunned as more Republicans tell pollsters they trust the government to do the right thing more than Democrats do. And they react as an MSNBC contributor declares that anyone who doesn’t rely on government is elitist.
One of my Facebook interlocutors’ favourite talking points is that Trump is so bad that “we can’t give him the benefit of the doubt”. I was unclear on what that actually meant, in practice. I mean, what did this interlocutor suggest those disappointed by the election results should actually do about it? Preview Open
One of the striking features of this election has been the talk about the integrity of the process and the integrity of our institutions. Trump keeps making the case that system is “rigged,” that the forces of the political class have conspired and are continuing to conspire to stay in power and consolidate that power […]