The Emperor's New Clothes

Sunday, May 26, 2019
The title of this blog is the title of a story by Hans Christian Andersen. I know my mother read it to me as a child, and I’m fairly certain it was one of those stories Captain Kangaroo either read or had an animated version of on his children’s television show. If no one read it to you as a child, I recommend you click on this link and read it now.
In brief, it’s a story about vanity and an obsession with what others think of you. In the end, the only one willing to speak the truth is a little child who, rather than going along with what everyone else is saying, tells the truth as he sees it.

I think we have a serious case of The Emperor’s New Clothes going on in America. A few years back, the buzzword was “politically correct.” Now, it’s disguised behind words like inclusiveness, gender dysphoria, and triggers. Suddenly, society at large is responsible for the wellbeing of everyone. If you don’t believe in open borders, guaranteed income, and sexual reassignment for any who want it, all at government expense, the name-calling begins.

If someone has a different opinion than these progressives, they’re immediately labeled as Nazis by people too young to have grown up in the shadow of World War II. Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party were very much on the minds of everyone when I was growing up. Almost all of our fathers had served in the military and fought in the war. The Holocaust, with its slaughter of six million Jews and more millions of non-Jewish people, was a living nightmare in our all-too-recent past. Using this epithet against people who are nothing like Hitler gives me chills… and enrages me. A difference of opinion does not a Nazi make.
The desire to be accepted, to not be thought unfit for his office and unusually stupid, has led to a nation that willingly espouses the latest demands for equality and sensitivity without thinking for themselves whether or not the emperor has no clothes. Very few want to take the time to investigate if the clickbait headlines are true or not.
This state of affairs has led to removing Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from what’s now called the Children’s Literature Legacy Award because she used a racial slur in one of her books. In fact, it was a common term in those times and, when she heard the objections to it, she changed it in her lifetime. But she’s still guilty, according to a group of very vocal people.
Confederate statues have been removed from public places because they, in the eyes of the left, supported racism. Similarly, roads, buildings, and landmarks have been renamed for the same reason.
And just this week, it was suggested that Thomas Jefferson’s name be removed from the name of an annual Democratic dinner because he owned slaves even though he knew it was wrong.
There’s also the ever-popular idea of “reparations” that tends to get trotted out in election years. There’s a group of people who think that all Native Americans (they call themselves Indians in Arizona) and black people should be paid a sum of money for the wrongs committed against them by white people in the past. So, people living today who have never been fired upon by the U.S. Military or been a slave should collect money from people who weren’t alive when these things happened. How does that make any sense?

The people who do not take these judgments at face value are largely silent, afraid of what the response will be. We’ve all heard about what happened to the bakers who didn’t want to make a custom wedding cake for a gay couple, the demands for boycotts of Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby because their owners are Christian and patriotic. The people wearing MAGA hats or tee shirts who are attacked in public.

But there are two people who are not afraid to voice unpopular opinions. One of them is Donald Trump. I’m not going to get into whether the President is right or wrong on specific issues. That would be too long a blog post and I don’t have the time to research all the points before voicing my opinions. The fact is, he was duly elected by the American people under the rules of the U.S. Constitution. Since then, the Democrats have spent an amazing amount of time and money trying to prove Donald Trump is unfit for office.
The people of the United States of America have spent two years and somewhere between twenty-five and forty million dollars on the Mueller Investigation. The conclusion was that there was no collusion with the Russians and no obstruction of justice. But the Democrats aren’t satisfied with that. They want to conduct more investigations, many of them calling for impeachment (for what high crime or misdemeanor?), waste more time and more of our money, and basically not do their jobs until the next election, when they believe they’ll finally be able to get rid of him.
Meanwhile, what meaningful legislation has Congress passed in the last two years?

The other is Jordan B. Peterson, who became famous in America for his book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos”. He’s been famous in Canada for a lot longer for objecting to a Canadian law for adding "gender identity and expression" as a prohibited ground of discrimination. He claimed that it was “compelled speech,” and that just because a person with XX chromosomes identifies as male, he shouldn’t be forced to call her “him.”
Peterson is an incredibly intelligent man. Although his training is in psychology, he has also extensively studied philosophy, biology, history, and religion. He espouses such unpopular ideas as all people are not equal and that a hierarchy is inherent in nature. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in equality, but it does mean that he objects to men identifying as women being able to compete in women’s sports. Looking at the facts of that, it’s obviously true. Men are stronger, more muscular than women. I think the fact that transgender women (whether taking hormones or having had surgery or not) have been allowed to compete and win in track events and wrestling is a travesty. The fact that they want to is not enough. It’s the equivalent of letting me replace Tom Brady as quarterback of the NE Patriots.
I’m not going to go into more detail about Peterson. This blog is already too long. He has a YouTube channel where you can watch dozens of videos of interviews and lectures. Let me warn you, though, that these are not cat videos. Many of them go on for two-three hours and are very dense. He brings up references from all of the various fields he’s studied and it helps to know something about them in order to understand the references.
But to get back to my original point, Cambridge University rescinded Peterson’s visiting fellowship because “(h)is work and views are not representative of the student body.” In other words, some students didn’t like what he was saying, so he wasn’t allowed to say it.
This is a very frightening trend in the land of free speech. What happened to I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?

Finally, I’m going to tie this back to Hans Christian Andersen’s original story which, if you have gotten this far, I’m going to assume you’ve read, so what I’m about to say won’t be a spoiler. At the end, when faced with incontrovertible proof that the clothes don’t exist, the emperor decides to continue his parade down the streets of the town naked rather than giving up his belief in them. I’ll leave the modern analogy to you.

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