Jim DeMint’s Phony Federalism

Sen. Jim DeMint on federalism (May 2, 2009):

We can argue about how to rein in the federal Leviathan; but we should agree that centralized government infringes on individual liberty and that problems are best solved by the people or the government closest to them.

Freedom Republicanism is about choice — in education, health care, energy and more. It’s OK if those choices look different in South Carolina, Maine and California.

Sen. Jim DeMint on federalism (December 14, 2009):

“Marriage is a religious institution. The federal government has no business redefining what it is,” DeMint says. This is one issue where he doesn’t support states’ rights; state government shouldn’t have the right to permit gay marriage: “Governments should not be in the business of promoting a behavior that’s proven to be destructive to our society.”

DeMint’s ideas about federalism are schizophrenic at best.

In the first quote, DeMint takes a principled stance on limiting the role of the federal government.  In the second, he advocates a values-dependent brand of state sovereignty, a system of government in which powers not delegated to the United States are reserved to red states. At least if gay marriage is involved.

Note to Jim DeMint:  The road to hypocrisy is paved with fair weather federalism.

GLSEN & the Normalization of Sexual Abuse

I’m generally skeptical regarding accounts of Big Gay nefariously imposing a radical homosexual agenda on Americans.  You don’t have to be Freud to analyze the hyperventilations of some conservatives about gay sex being “shoved down our throats.” It was with that in mind that I read Scott Baker’s shocking rundown of graphic and unhealthy sexual depictions in the youth reading materials recommended by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

GLSEN’s bibliography of “pre-screened” titles for kids was compiled to further the organization’s “mission to ensure safe schools for all students.”  Books selected for inclusion were ostensibly “reviewed by GLSEN staff for quality and appropriateness of content.” The list was developed under the leadership of Kevin Jennings, the founder and longtime executive director of GLSEN who now serves as President Obama’s safe schools czar.

The recommendations for schoolchildren are divided into two categories, one for grades K-6 and another for 7-12.  Breitbart.tv’s Scott Baker and his team looked at a random sample of books in the latter category and found passages that went far beyond the promotion of LGBT tolerance:

What we discovered shocked us. We were flabbergasted. Rendered speechless.

We were unprepared for what we encountered. Book after book after book contained stories and anecdotes that weren’t merely X-rated and pornographic, but which featured explicit descriptions of sex acts between pre-schoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation, anal sex in restrooms, affairs between students and teachers, five-year-olds playing sex games, semen flying through the air.

Many conservative bloggers following this story have likened books on the GLSEN list to child pornography.  While I think that’s a stretch, there’s no question that the excerpts and scans available at Gateway Pundit are stunningly explicit and inappropriate for many teens. Some passages glamorize promiscuity, unprotected sex, and sex between teens and adults as part of normal and expected gay behavior.  The excerpts are available here and here.

After reading through dozens of passages, I’m left with the impression that exploitation, abuse, promiscuity, and risk are being promoted as normal, acceptable, and even expected experiences for gay youth.  Too many of these vignettes read like validations of the stereotypical hypersexual gay lifestyle.  Instead of reading about the challenges of coming out, gay teens (and their heterosexual peers) are being handed a degenerate’s blueprint for how to live a “gay life,” starting with being initiated by a pedophile and working up to unhealthy hate sex and anonymous restroom encounters.

I realize many gay people (and many straight people) have had formative sexual experiences with much older people. But regardless of any fond memories, sex between adults and adolescents is exploitation, not love, and I fail to see how graphic portrayals of sexual abuse contribute to tolerance and school safety.

The passages from the GLSEN-recommended books give unfortunate credence to the sexually obsessed, debaucherous caricatures that often dominate mainstream depictions of gays.  Incidentally, these are the very same caricatures that prevent broader support for gay marriage and adoption.  But being gay doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to a lifetime of loveless rest stop sex with strangers.  It doesn’t mean you can’t have a lifelong partner, intimacy, a family, and even a white picket fence. In my experience, too many gay kids don’t realize that, and these books certainly aren’t helping.

Dan Blatt observes that gay fiction frequently leaves the same impression as the titles on the GLSEN list:

They all seemed to define their sexuality by its sexual expression.  Only a handful (notably the eloquent Jim Grimsley) wrote convincingly about non-sexual longing and emotional intimacy.  Most included gratuitous and graphic descriptions of sexual activity.

The notion that homosexuality doesn’t put intimacy and true partnership out of reach is exactly what gay kids need to see.  Instead they’re getting the glamorization of pedophilia.  Healthy, mature same-sex relationships don’t begin with memoirs about sleep away camp circle jerks and wistful reminiscing about experiences with child predators.  They just don’t.

I’m left wondering if GLSEN staffers recommended these titles to somehow rationalize unhealthy experiences in their own lives.

The excerpts from these books attempt to mainstream experiences that have little to do with being gay. People may be born gay, but they’re not born with an inclination to sniff semen-drenched tissues left behind at gas station bathrooms.

How can any parent, any decent person, defend this stuff as instructive?

Predictably, conservatives criticizing the GLSEN recommendations are being attacked as homophobes by Media Matters.  Apparently social cons fail to get suitably worked up about explicit sexual situations in books like The Lord of the Flies. Newsflash: a flip book overview of the Western canon’s raunchiest high school hits wouldn’t come close to some of the violent and abusive sexual experiences depicted in the GLSEN books.

And comparing the GLSEN recommendations to the ALA’s list of banned books is contextually disingenuous.  The Lord of the Flies isn’t assigned because educators are trying to promote tolerance of the behavior described in William Golding’s novel.  The same can’t be said for the titles on the GSLEN list.  It’s all about context, and GLSEN is way off the mark.

Note to Media Matters: some things are indefensible, regardless of political ideology.

via Michelle Malkin

Keep Government Out of Health Care, Say … Liberals?

Want a clear indication that the federal government has no business getting into the health insurance industry? Look no further than the Stupak amendment, the measure that attached tight abortion funding restrictions to the House health care bill.

Democratic consultant Karen Finney called the Stupak amendment “an attack on our personal freedom and liberty as guaranteed by the constitution.” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said the amendment “attempts to dictate to women how to spend their own money.” And liberal columnist Michelle Goldberg lamented, “Health-insurance reform was supposed to end the sort of hideous cruelties our system inflicts on patients, not create them.”

To call Finney, Lee, and Goldberg tone deaf would be a grand understatement.

The only reason the abortion restrictions in the Stupak amendment are so intrusive is because health care reform is so intrusive. When we increase the role of government in health care, our freedoms and choices become more vulnerable to politics. Period.

Funding for every aspect of the doctor-patient relationship, every medical test and procedure, and every health care guideline becomes susceptible to pressure from special interest groups and moral scrutiny by taxpayers.  If guys who can’t get it up have enough money to throw around, erectile dysfunction drugs make the cut.  If taxpayers think acupuncturists are predatory quacks, no reimbursement for them. And after the reconciled bill is signed by the president, an unelected body will make these decisions for all of us.

Liberals cheered when President Obama appointed an executive pay czar, reasoning that companies like AIG have no right to determine pay packages if taxpayers are footing the bill.  But somehow they missed the obvious lesson.  There are always strings attached to government handouts.

Welcome, liberals, to the hazards of government subsidy.  Either private insurance is restricted by health care reform, as with the Stupak provisions, or abortion receives some form of federal funding, thus changing the status quo.  There’s no in between.

Objectionable restrictions abound when we seek increased state participation in our lives through regulation or subsidy.  Just ask members of a United Methodist Church group that refused to make a beachfront pavilion available to a lesbian couple for a civil union ceremony.  The group lost its state property tax exemption for failing to make the venue available to everyone on an equal basis.  But that’s how it works: if you want state subsidies, you have to play by the state’s rules.

We’ve seen the impact on coverage in states that are experimenting with models of universal health care.  In Massachusetts, legal immigrants no longer have state-subsidized coverage for dental, hospice, and skilled nursing care. And if you’re a Medicaid patient, prisoner, or public employee in Washington state, don’t expect your government to cough up the cash for knee arthroscopy for osteoarthritis – it’s one of several treatments no longer covered.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that “the power of Congress to regulate health care is essentially unlimited.”  Do liberals really believe that those regulations will exist to make their wildest dreams come true, now and forever?

When you invite the government to become more deeply involved in health care, you’re also inviting greater government interference in personal choice. Medical decisions become political decisions. That’s how it works, and it’s why philosophical opposition to the growth of government isn’t the crazy-eyed wingnuttery progressives make it out to be.

Proponents of liberal health care reform deliberately lured a bloodthirsty vampire over their thresholds, and now they’re shocked – SHOCKED – to find they have fangs buried deep in their necks.  I’m not one to blame the victim, but it sounds like they might be getting exactly what they were asking for.