Vox: Pedantic and Unproductive Microaggressor

Furthermore, any behavior or language which is unwelcoming—whether or not it rises to the level of harassment—is also strongly discouraged. Much exclusionary behavior takes the form of microaggressions—subtle put-downs which may be unconsciously delivered. Regardless of intent, microaggressions can have a significant negative impact on victims and have no place on our team.

There are a host of behaviors and language common on tech teams which are worth noting as specifically unwelcome: Avoid “well, actuallys”—pedantic corrections that are often insulting and unproductive

—Vox Product Team Code of Conduct, published 10 November 2015

“Philosopy majors actually earn a lot more than welders.”
—headline, Vox, 10 November 2015

“There is a better way to run presidential debates.  Actually, there are several.”
—headline, Vox, 5 November 2015

“Democrats are in denial.  Their party is actually in deep trouble.”
—headline, Vox, 19 October 2015

“Why the reasonable-sounding ’40-hour workweek for Congress’ idea would actually backfire”
—headline, Vox, 5 October 2015

“Russia says it’s bombing ISIS in Syria. It’s actually bombing their enemies.”
—headline, Vox, 30 September 2015

“Researchers said a popular antidepressant was safe for teens. It was actually deadly.”
—headline, Vox, 19 September 2015

“Kudzu hasn’t actually taken over millions of acres. These other invasive species have.”
—headline, Vox, 25 August 2015

“E-cigarettes and health — here’s what the evidence actually says”
—headline, Vox, 24 August 2015

“How Obama’s Clean Power Plan actually works — a step-by-step guide”
—headline, Vox, 5 August 2015

“USA’s Mr. Robot actually does everything True Detective pretends to do”
—headline, Vox, 29 July 2015

“Which Republicans actually debated one another, in one chart”
—headline, Vox, 7 August 2015

My personal favorite, because it is simultaneously so completely disconnected from reality and so darn smug about it:

“The truth about ‘political correctness’ is that it doesn’t actually exist”
—headline, Vox, 28 January 2015

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Posted in Pith | 2 Comments

EXCLUSIVE: Synod Reaches Compromise! Remarried Catholics May Receive Communion, But Only At Extraordinary Form Masses

Actually Pope Pius X or XII saying Mass in St. Peter's
EXCLUSIVE photos of the Synod on the Family, courtesy Fr. Rynne

The 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family has today reached an “Extraordinary” compromise between “liberal” and “conservative” factions, De Civitate has learned. Speaking under condition of anonymity, Fr. Xavier Rynne of Boston confirmed that Catholics who have divorced, remarried, and remain sexually involved – thereby committing themselves, according to the constant teaching of the Church, to a life of unrepentant adultery – will be allowed to receive the Eucharist, a major victory for a faction led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, which has emphasized the importance of “mercy” over “legalism” and “the Gospel of Jesus Christ”.

However, in order to win support from reactionary bishops whose obsession with obeying Jesus borders on the Pharisaical, the enlightened Franco-Kasper faction was forced to make major concessions to conservatives. Although not all agree: “I prefer to see this not as a concession,” said Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, “but as a wonderful opportunity for irregular couples to learn a new language!”

Under the apostolic constitution ratified Tuesday morning, remarried Catholics may present themselves for communion at Holy Mass only if the Mass is said entirely in the Latin language, with the priest facing away from the people, using the medieval Tridentine Rite. They must receive the Body and Blood of Christ on the tongue, while kneeling, at an altar rail, may only receive if they have also received the Sacrament of Reconciliation within the past forty-eight hours, and will be strongly discouraged (like most followers of the “extraordinary form”) from receiving every week, or even every month.

Immediate reactions are mixed. “Two steps forward, one step back is better than no steps forward,” wrote Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter. “It’s past time progressive-minded Catholics started paying attention to the burgeoning Traditional Latin Mass movement, and this gives us a great opportunity to start looking at ways to support that movement. After all, if the TLM is exploding in membership and interest despite the huge demands it places on its supporters, then how much more would it grow if we got some Marty Haugen tunes into the TLM hymnals?”

Reached for comment at his confessional, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, resplendent in camel-hair vestments, remarked, “Repent! For the day is at hand!” ate a locust, and then asked this reporter, “Seriously, are you here for confession or what? And how can you even tell what I’m wearing from behind the screen?”

The Society of St. Pius X has issued a vigorous condemnation, but, Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay noted in his statement, “To be fair, we were going to issue a vigorous condemnation no matter what.”

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, cancelled plans to release a statement of her own, saying, “Bishop Fellay pretty much covered it.”

Posted in Faith & Morals | 1 Comment

Bill Nye’s Big Lie and Science’s Bigger Problem

DID YOU KNOW THAT…?Embryology has clearly established that, scientifically speaking, human life begins at conception.


As a child, I was a religious fan of Bill Nye The Science Guy’s PBS show.  I watched every episode, and, as a result, I didn’t actually need to pay attention in science class until about the middle of 6th grade.  On a few occasions, I even corrected my teachers with information gleaned from his program!  I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up, and that was largely thanks to The Science Guy.  (I did end up a computer scientist, technically, but, with a mere B.A., I’m really a tradesman.)  Nor are Bill Nye’s talents limited to explaining science to children: his episode of Stargate: Atlantis was one of the best things that ever happened to that franchise.  My faith in Bill Nye was not extinguished by growing up.  When I saw that Nye had come out in favor of anthropogenic climate change, that was (more or less) when I stopped seriously arguing the point.  As the old saying goes, “Nye locuta est; causa clausa est.

I’m reconsidering that decision.

Bill Nye put out a video last week arguing for abortion rights.  I’ll let you watch it.

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Posted in Abolitionism, Mere Opinion | 2 Comments

Return of the Blogroll

I shut down my blogroll a while ago, because I discovered that all the blogs on it had either shut down or gone inactive.  Blogrolls are wonderful tools for sharing and building up blogs that would otherwise remain obscure, but it wasn’t working well for De Civitate.

But now a blog I enjoy — full disclosure, run by a friend of mine — has survived and stayed active for a year (yay), so I have an excuse to bring back the blogroll.  It’s in the right sidebar.  I’m even adding pictures this time.

That’s a very lonely little blogroll.  Just one item.  It needs more.  So: if you have a blog, and it’s a reasonably interesting blog, and it’s not about to roll over and die, and you’re willing to link back to De Civitate from your blog, then get in touch with me (james.j.heaney@gmail.com) and we’ll talk about getting you onto my blogroll.

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Fetal Legal Eagle: Answering Common Objections to #DefundPlannedParenthood

The Fetal Legal Eagle Mascot: Umbert the Unborn (© Gary Cangemi)

It is no surprise, of course, that Planned Parenthood brutally dismembers living human children.  And the casual inhumanity with which their doctors commit and profit from murder can only be mildly surprising.  After all, we have all read (or, perhaps, pretended to read) Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jeruslaem.  Yet the citizen journalist videos recently released by the Center for Medical Progress (watch them if you don’t know what I’m talking about) have thrown the sheer shocking evil of the abortion industry into sharp relief.  I didn’t live in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s time, but I have always imagined the moral awakening that followed Uncle Tom’s Cabin felt something like what we’re feeling now.

The first, immediate, obvious, necessary, and urgent step to be taken, in light of the videos, is to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s federal funding.  The need for this is obvious to any remotely ethical human being, but, sadly, we live in a world where people generally think of themselves as much more ethical than they are.  So there are objections.  And objections to the replies to the objections.

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Posted in Abolitionism, Fetal Legal Eagle | 1 Comment

The Cynic’s Guide to 2016: Unflattering Assessments of Presidential Candidates

Every time I see a presidential candidate, there’s a little voice in my head that asks, “Sure, that’s what they’re saying.  But what are they really thinking?”  This is a cynical voice, and it’s often quite wrong, but, in politics, it’s still healthy to consult the cynic from time to time.  

There’s another voice in my head that believes everything everyone says about themselves, all the time.  This trusting voice is no less important in politics than the cynical, and should also be consulted from time to time… but, if you want to read “Flattering Assessments of Presidential Candidates,” go read their campaign websites.  Here are the unflattering ones.  Some are certainly accurate, others may not be, but consider them my worst fears for each candidate:

Mike Huckabee
Used to have the desire, skill, and ambition to be a leader, but, as the America he envisions recedes into the past, is content to vent his spleen and be warmly applauded for it by crowds that miss his America as much as he does.

Jeb Bush
A “compassionate conservative” who still kinda knows how to talk to Republicans, but is secretly seething that they have abandoned so much of what “his” party stood for. Sort of the Mike Huckabee of establishment Republicans.

Ben Carson
A once-rising star who let the plaudits go to his head and will now burn like Icarus.

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Posted in Pith, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Confederate Damnatio Memoriae Continues

PICTURED: Actually, tell me in the comments what you see in this picture. It’s a Rorschach blot. (HINT: There’s more in the picture than the flag.)

I have long maintained that the Confederate flag should not fly over state capitols.  It is the symbol of an enemy power, opposed to the United States.  It has no business there.  It is starting to come down in the few states that still honor it in that way.  Good.

But it is wrong — simply, morally wrong — for the Democrats to try to strip the Confederate flag from the graves of Confederate soldiers. They are dead. They made the ultimate sacrifice for their cause, and their cause still failed.

They were wrong. They were rebels. They fought for an evil cause — indeed, for an evil empire, no less cruel at its heart than the Soviet Union or the Third Reich — whose destruction we rightly celebrate, and whose symbols we rightly abhor.

Yet they were also our brothers. They died in horrifying conditions by the hundreds of thousands, of bullets, untreated wounds, exposure, amputation, starvation, disease, moaning in wheat fields for their mamas as their lifeblood seeped out of them into the morning fog. To deny their very gravestones the right to say what they fought for is no less serious — in some ways, far more serious — than censoring a newspaper or banning a book. The living can still fight on against the censors to speak their piece; the dead are powerless. I don’t agree with what Confederate soldiers died for, but I’ll defend to the utmost their right to be remembered for it.

That Democrats are not only trying this, but actually trying to claim the moral high ground for it, tells you everything you need to know about the modern, national Democratic party.  They despise free expression, framing anything they disagree with as “hate,” and work to erode it by targeting the politically weak and unpopular.  You don’t get more “weak and unpopular” than a dead Confederate soldier.  One more reminder that the road from Romme to Robespierre is short, direct, and inevitable.

Posted in Polemics | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

I Supported Affirmative Consent Before It Was Cool (and Then I Gave Up On It)

A couple years ago, I was trying to figure out how best to deal with rape cases.  Rape is simultaneously one of the worst crimes that can be perpetrated against an individual and one of the hardest to punish or prevent.  As I wrote at the time:

Our legal system, like every legal system, struggles with the problem of proving non-consent in rape cases.  A rapist will often admit that sexual activity occurred, but will insist that it was consensual.  The burden of proof falls on the victim.  That is as it must be, since the defendant is innocent until proven guilty, but, under current law, it is very, very difficult to obtain that level of proof.  If it turns into a case of “he-said/she-said”, the rapist gets away with it.  Few rape cases that lead to an arrest end in conviction and prison time.  Partly because of how difficult they are to prosecute, few rape reports lead to an arrest in the first place.  And, given the high costs and low chance of success offered by the justice system, relatively few rapes are reported at all.  RAINN estimates that only 3% of bona fide rapists are sent to prison for their crime.  This is a tragic injustice.

At the same time, I was thinking about premarital and non-marital sex, which are bigger social problems than most people realize.  While fornication used to against the law in all 50 states, those laws are now considered unconstitutional (because — one of this blog’s main themes — Anthony Kennedy is both a moron and a tyrant), and fornication has become socially acceptable:

The results have been predictable: premarital sex is more prevalent than it has been in millennia — perhaps in all history — while solitary motherhood has become both the curse of the poor and the luxury of the very rich.  41% of American children are born out of wedlock, and the number rises to an astounding 73% for black American children.  Social pathology follows, as night follows day.  I will not bother enumerating the harms inflicted on children by mass unmarried parenthood, because I no longer believe this is novel or controversial information, but here are a couple links to recent op-eds and research discussing the threat non-marital parenting poses to the next generation, from larger disciplinary issues to less successful careers.  As it stands, there’s not much we can do about this.  Even if there isn’t a constitutional right to sleep around, do we really have the desire or police resources to do anything about it?

At the time, I failed to note that fornication is also a key driver of the abortion rate (more than half of American reproductive-aged women are married, yet 85% of abortions are performed on the unmarried).  I really want to discourage fornication.

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Posted in Culture, Law, Mere Opinion | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The President Should Be Impeached For Suspending the Employer Mandate

I wrote a version of this post on reddit about nearly two years ago.  I finally got sick of digging out the link, so I am finally getting it up on De Civ.


On July 2, 2013, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Mark Mazur announced that the Treasury Department is suspending two related provisions of the Affordable Care Act (popularly known as “Obamacare”) for a period of one year. (Chief-of-Staff Valerie Jarrett elaborated slightly in a post that same day.)

The first suspended provision, Section 6055 /6056, requires employers and insurance providers to periodically report health insurance coverage information to the Treasury Department. It is being suspended in order to allow more time to “consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements” and for employers to “adapt health coverage and reporting systems.” This is reportedly legalese for “we’re not ready with the regulations, and you’re not ready with the reporting technology, so let’s try again next year.”

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Civil Marriage Is Dead (& It Deserved To Die)

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob.  This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.

—G.K. Chesterton

A couple of years ago, I published a long piece for De Civitate in support of civil marriage.  The “purpose of civil marriage,” I wrote, “is to promote positive procreation, which includes bearing and raising children, insofar as possible, within their intact families, so that they become productive, responsible, adult members of society… [I]t is a wise and prudent public policy.”  I also argued against redefining civil marriage to include other loving, consensual, adult sexual relationships, on the grounds that doing so would undermine its public policy objectives while (paradoxically) opening the institution to charges of indefensible discrimination.  I concluded, “A vote to redefine civil marriage is, in the final analysis, a vote to end civil marriage.”

Having said all that, I added in a postscript: “It is not unreasonable to want to abolish civil marriage entirely, on the basis that government interference in marriage does far more harm for children and the culture than it does good.  I don’t think that’s true, but I’ve heard some good arguments (or at least starts-of-arguments) that make me suspect I could be wrong.”

In the years since I wrote that, those “starts-of-arguments” have blossomed, and I’ve come around to their position: civil marriage should cease to exist.

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Posted in Declarations, Marriage | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments