Alas, All Societies Have Closets

  • I think it is also obviously true that at least some of these people would have married and lived conventional heterosexual lives, and been satisfied in them. Why? Because the same-sex desire within them wasn’t as strong as it was in others, and they could manage it, or grow past it.
  • On the other hand, the kind of society that gave them the psychological support for embracing exclusively heterosexual expression of their sexuality would also cause more suffering for those whose sexual desire is more strongly same-sex oriented.
  • Can we have a society in which heterosexuality is considered normative, but homosexuality is tolerated, and gays and lesbians treated with respect, dignity, and love? I think it is possible in theory, but it seems to be utopian.

He is opposed to same-sex marriage but in favor of civil unions. In principle, he is against gay adoption, but in practice, he told me, “there are so many gay couples who are wonderful parents that I find it hard to maintain any ardor for stopping it.”

.. Hanby argues that, where we used to see human beings as possessing intrinsic properties—masculinity, femininity, the ability to glorify God through procreation—we now take a nominalist view of ourselves, seeing our bodies as subservient to our minds. We use technology, such as the birth-control pill, to subvert the natural way of things. Gay marriage, in this account, is a stepping-stone to a profoundly technologized society in which “the rejection of nature” is complete. Today, it’s sex-reassignment surgery and surrogacy; tomorrow, we’ll be genetically engineering our way into a post-human future.

.. as Christians, we cannot accept that homosexual desire is morally neutral. (Nor, I hasten to add, can we accept that heterosexual expression outside of marriage is morally neutral.)

.. how you answer this question: What is sex for? 

.. Not, “what is gay sex for?” or “what is straight sex for?” but “what is sex for?” The Bible, and the teaching of the Church, has a clear answer to that. It is not the modern answer.

.. 15. The reason we cannot agree on what sex is for is that we don’t agree on the answer to the question, “What is a human being for?” Meaning, “What is our purpose in life?” Is it to live in harmony with God’s will? Is it to fulfill our desires? Is it something else? Again: traditional Christianity has clear and consistent answers to these questions — and they are not the modern answers.

.. 16. I have said it many times before, and I’ll say it again: I am glad the closet is gone, and would not want to see it return. I would like to live in a society that leaves gay people alone to live as they like. It is fair, though, for people like Andrew to ask how, exactly, I propose to privilege heterosexuality without in some form re-instituting the closet. I don’t have a satisfying answer to that question.

.. Is it possible to tolerate the expression of belief and behavior that gays and their allies believe is immoral, and doing damage to others? Or should orthodox Christian (and Jewish, and Muslim) belief regarding homosexuality be stigmatized socially for the sake of increasing social virtue, and bringing about a better society? If so, well, aren’t you saying that Christians (Muslims, Jews) should go into the closet with their beliefs?

.. 18. All of which is to arrive at the depressing conclusion that one way or the other, there’s going to be a closet. It’s already there for many orthodox Christians who work in academia and other professional circles, and it will expand. A lot of Christian kids will grow up feeling immense pressure to leave the faith or in some sense to be unfaithful to orthodox Christianity because of all the stigma heaped upon it over sexuality.

Canada Wants Silicon Valley’s Tech Employees

But Canadian tech remains far less visible than Silicon Valley, in part because most of Canada’s big tech companies are less focused on consumer-facing products, such as apps, which can generate buzz and name recognition. Shopify, the Canadian e-commerce success story, remains an outlier. Past giants of Canadian tech are companies like Nortel and Research in Motion, one of which has gone bankrupt while the other is still bogged down trying to stage a  Blackberry comeback. Treurnicht concedes that the nature of the tech business in Canada—from tech infrastructure, to fintech or digital solutions for the energy sectors—make it less visible abroad.

.. What seems more pragmatic and realistic, at least at the moment, is bringing Canadians working in Silicon Valley back home.

Owning Your Own Future

Political analysts will long debate over where Brexit, Trump and Le Pen came from. Many say income gaps. I’d say … not quite. I’d say income anxiety and the stress over what it now takes to secure and hold a good job.

I believe the accelerations set loose by Silicon Valley in technology and digital globalization have created a world where every decent job demands more skill and, now, lifelong learning. More people can’t keep up, and clearly some have reached for leaders who promise to stop the wind.

These Guys Really Like Trump

an unshakable faith in Donald Trump .. the outsider too rich to bribe and too strong to intimidate.

.. “When Joe first told me about Trump, I said no, that guy’s a bragger,” Mr. Paslow said. “Then I started listening to him, and I noticed, he’s a billionaire. If somebody comes along and says, ‘President Trump, I want to keep my plant in China and I want to close my plant here, here’s $50 million,’ he says, ‘I don’t need your money, mister.’ ”

.. They had both been out of work for more than a year, laid off from their jobs in oil and gas exploration with two weeks’ notice, no severance, no pension and no unemployment insurance — like many American workers, they were independent contractors, without the protections of full employment

.. offered them hope. He pledged to the crowd that he would bring back the oil and gas industry

.. They are quick to suspect conspiracy and corruption, in their state and in Washington. They thought even Mr. Trump might have his price — but luckily, it would be too high for most to afford.

.. They dismiss protesters as sore losers, and pundits who attack policy swings as establishment voices bent on sabotage. Where critics point to promises unfulfilled, they see obstacles that are not their president’s fault.

.. When fact checkers pounce, the two men see an insistence on petty detail when they know what their president really meant.

.. Even though Mr. Paslow welcomed the cleanup of a Pittsburgh once so polluted that streetlights went on by noon, he and his friend criticized Obama-era rules they saw as helping scuttle the shale gas boom and putting them out of work.

“There were thousands of rules; you had to wait six, eight months just for paperwork,” Mr. Peterson said. “It cost millions of dollars.”

“You couldn’t drill because the owls were mating,” Mr. Paslow said. Or the bats, Mr. Peterson added.

.. “The things that made this country great are disappearing — factories, jobs, education,” Mr. Paslow said. “Someone could get a job at the mill and live happily ever after. Now it’s Walmart and Best Buy. Come on — a job at Walmart when you could have had a nice life working at a factory?”

.. Mr. Paslow is grateful to have work, but he chafes at all the software he has to use, and misses the secretaries who used to help him input data. “It’s giving me headaches,” he said. “Now we’re typists.”