Paglia on Democrats, Journalism, Islamist Terror, and LGBT

Liberal progressive. Atheist. Member of LGBT community. Pro-choice, feminist icon.

Given the above attributes, you wouldn’t think there was much for a politically- and religiously-conservative individual like me to agree on with Camille Paglia (silent ‘g’), writer of Sexual Personae and Free Men, Free Women. For the most part, that’s true. But, Ms. Paglia is one of those rarities on the Left — intellectually honest, iconoclastic, and willing to call out her own “side” for its inconsistencies, hypocrisy, and bad behavior. As such, her commentary is often quite critical and unexpected. Think of her as a politically-liberal cross between Tammy Bruce and Christopher Hitchens.

To demonstrate, allow me to share a few quotes from recent interviews Paglia did with Sean Hannity (on air) and with Jonathan V. Last of The Weekly Standard (in print). First from Hannity’s show:

“I’m a Democrat, and I voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary and for Jill Stein in the general election…. I’m committed to the reform of my party. [But,] all this rage, this massive tantrum… all the Democrats are doing is demonstrating they should not lead. They’re demonstrating we are the party you should not elect. Are they crazy, this behavior?… Trump wasn’t elected because of racism, homophobia, and so on. Trump was elected because he defeated all those nudniks in the GOP primary, who were not nearly good enough.”

[Note: I find it very odd that Paglia supports far-Leftists like Sanders and Stein, while also proclaiming that capitalism emancipated the modern woman. (It’s in the Hannity interview.)]

Re the violent rhetoric in the media:

“It’s obscene. It’s outrageous. It shows that the Democrats are nothing now but words and fantasy and hallucination and Hollywood. There’s no journalism left. What’s happened to The New York Times? What’s happened to the major networks? It’s an outrage….

I think it’s absolutely grotesque the way my party has destroyed journalism, right now. It’s going to take decades to recover from this atrocity that’s going on, where the newsmedia have turned themselves over to the most childish, fraternity, buffoonish behavior.”

After bemoaning the academic ignorance of the general public, especially younger generations, re history, geography, economics, etc., and the likelihood of anarchy following a potential attack on the U.S. power grid, she said the following (though I didn’t quite follow the connection):

“I’ve been saying for 25 years that people need religion. Now, I’m an atheist, but I predicted 25 years ago that secular humanism was on the skids. And that’s what’s happened, because secular humanism has no spirituality left(?) to it.”

Switching now to the Weekly Standard interview

“[T]o have any hope of retaking the White House, Democrats must get off their high horse, lose the rabid rhetoric, and reorient themselves toward practical reality and the free country they are damned lucky to live in.”

“[T]oday’s liberalism has become grotesquely mechanistic and authoritarian: It’s all about reducing individuals to a group identity, defining that group in permanent victim terms, and denying others their democratic right to challenge that group and its ideology. Political correctness represents the fossilized institutionalization of once-vital revolutionary ideas, which have become mere rote formulas. It is repressively Stalinist, dependent on a labyrinthine, parasitic bureaucracy to enforce its empty dictates.”

Re religion and Islamist terror:

“The contortions to which so many liberals resort to avoid connecting bombings, massacres, persecutions, and cultural vandalism to Islamic jihadism is remarkable, given their usual animosity to religion, above all Christianity….

Everyone should have a general familiarity with the beliefs, texts, rituals, art, and shrines of all the major religions. Only via a direct encounter with the Qu’ran and Hadith, for example, can anyone know what they say about jihad and how those strikingly numerous passages have been interpreted in different ways over time.

Right now, too many secular Western liberals treat Islam with paternalistic condescension — waving at it vaguely from a benevolent distance but making no effort to engage with its intricate mixed messages, which can inspire toward good or spur acts of devastating impact on the international stage.”

And, perhaps the most surprising (to me, anyway), re transgenderism:

“Although I describe myself as transgender (I was donning flamboyant male costumes from early childhood on), I am highly skeptical about the current transgender wave, which I think has been produced by far more complicated psychological and sociological factors than current gender discourse allows. Furthermore, I condemn the escalating prescription of puberty blockers (whose long-term effects are unknown) for children. I regard this practice as a criminal violation of human rights.

It is certainly ironic how liberals who posture as defenders of science when it comes to global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence) flee all reference to biology when it comes to gender…. The cold biological truth is that sex changes are impossible. Every single cell of the human body remains coded with one’s birth gender for life. Intersex ambiguities can occur, but they are developmental anomalies that represent a tiny proportion of all human births.

In a democracy, everyone, no matter how nonconformist or eccentric, should be free from harassment and abuse. But at the same time, no one deserves special rights, protections, or privileges on the basis of their eccentricity. [Emphasis mine.] The categories “trans-man” and “trans-woman” are highly accurate and deserving of respect. But like Germaine Greer and Sheila Jeffreys, I reject state-sponsored coercion to call someone a “woman” or a “man” simply on the basis of his or her subjective feeling about it. We may well take the path of good will and defer to courtesy on such occasions, but it is our choice alone.”



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