The ancient Hebrews were loathe to apply a name to God - both as a matter of limitation of human intellect and as to their concept to the nature of God. They believed a name would suggest knowledge and understanding of which human beings were not capable. Even today, observant Jews refrain from using the word, instead writing G-d, or simply The Name. This notion is logically and philosophically congruent with the linguistic fact that to name something is to delimit it - to exclude other things. How could an omnipotent and omniscient Creator of the universe - indeed all that exists - be circumscribed by a name? In this view, use of a word - or for that matter a book - cannot begin to describe such an idea in the mind of an individual or even the collective consciousness of all humanity. Such majesty of the Creator, surely, cannot be discriminated or separated from all that is.

As a child, I recall seeing movie the The Ten Commandments. All I can now remember of the movie is a scene where God speaks, “I AM THAT I AM”. That stuck with me. Again logically, how could any god worthy of the inkling of the idea of the Creator of all that IS, be separate in any way from the entirety of His Creation? This was the second reason the ancient Hebrews eschewed naming. As to the nature of naming, I am merely observing here something that has long been known and has been an essential function of language for as long as language has existed: to name something is to distinguish it from everything else. Language discriminates one thing from another, even as much of everyday life can be described as a series of unending discriminations and choices.

Of course, the very word “discrimination” has been usurped - notwithstanding its time-honored and rational meaning - it now exists merely as an unholy accusation attached only to prejudice or “racism” or some ‘phobia’ or other. I mention this only in passing, as that is not primarily what this is about. Nonetheless, I know educated people who think ‘discrimination’ exists only as a pejorative, so effective has been the manipulation of language and, consequently, of thought. Actually, this particular linguistic abuse has extirpated thought and reason on the subject - as was intended in the first place.

To discriminate (from Latin ‘to divide or separate’) or to distinguish something is to make clear what it is and this may be done partly by way of describing what it is not; how it is different from something which shares some of its characteristics. In a Boolean sense, discrimination is the use of words to describe and clarify those elements outside the intersection of two sets. When it comes to all the possible sets of facts which may be at issue, in a lawsuit for example, this can be a daunting task. Nonetheless, that is what the English Common Law has always done. In the Common Law judges often rule by distinguishing one factual circumstance from a set of facts in a prior case, which had some degree of similarity. Judges at times eloquently describe their reasoning; they tell how sometimes small and subtle differences in facts make the case at hand different from a prior case to which one party wishes to apply the same rule of law in order to have the same outcome as the cited past case. Such differences often determine the outcome of a lawsuit. Examples of such discriminating thought in the Common Law are legion. Such cases are nourishing grist for the legal studies mill.

Pertinent also is the fact that the Common Law has always dealt with causation, an essential element of tort actions. Every tort action demands discriminating between ‘cause-in-fact’ and ‘proximate cause’. This rational mode of analysis seems rarely ever practiced nowadays, either in everyday life, or worse, in social commentary and political decision making. In modernity, we do understand that there exists a chain of causation preceding any event. These all constitute causes-in-fact. For instance, the fact that someone got out of bed, got into his car and drove his car to work on a particular street at a particular speed before being involved in a car accident, are all causes-in-fact of the accident; absent any of these acts, the accident would not have occurred. The legal question, however, is whether any of these acts were proximate - i.e. close enough to causing the accident and within the individual’s control - to be cognizable at law as sufficient for liability to attach. To determine this, reasoning and discrimination are applied.

We don’t find the driver liable for causing the accident because he has a job or because he got out of bed that morning or since was driving on the street where the accident occurred. He would be found to have proximately caused the accident only if he was speeding or distracted or careless; the other causes-in-fact are deemed legally insufficient. The law, then, discriminates among many causes-in-fact and may ascribe proximate causation to some cause, as it determined the degree of causation. It discriminates - rationally and logically - and draws a bright line separating causes-in-fact from proximate cause required for legal liability. To accomplish today’s political purposes, however, to extend further still the power of the state, the principle of causation is freed from limits. Ever more marginal “causation” is cited - however tenuous or even imagined - as proximate - in order to force or ban any act at the behest of the state. This may be accomplished either by legislation or regulation. A brief perusal of the Federal Register will make this painfully clear to any doubters.

Now, compare the limitations and discriminations at work in the Common Law with putative fact-finding or causation in writing legislation or even worse, in the administrative rule making process. Consider rules regarding of second- and third- hand cigarette smoke or environmental ‘impacts’. Suffice it to say that, for the purpose of this discussion, virtually anything goes when it comes to compiling ‘facts’, especially from ‘studies’ whose results were foregone conclusions when the grant for the ‘study’ was approved. Similarly, one finds virtually no studies providing evidence against, for example, global warming. Those in the government/science complex well know that publication of a result counter to the political narrative signals the end of grants as well as the scientist’s career. This is universally understood in the academic community and as unmentionable as opining that caucasians are not ‘oppressors’ or perhaps not morally inferior as a group (to suggest either is to be automatically guilty of promoting white supremacy). Such is the regimentation of thought and ‘research’ today in the academy - at the un$poken behest of their political masters. Things are even worse if one dares consider the role of the judiciary in such matters. Though the workings are quite arcane, suffice it to say that for political reasons (the deep state’s civil ‘servants’ also control much of the structure of the judicial system) the court system functions as a ratchet permitting only leftward movement of the gears of legislation and regulation. Let us here switch gears ourselves…

The death of God, it is now apparent, presaged the birth of Homo Deus. We know that because modern ‘media’ constantly remind us of our unlimited powers (simultaneously they remind us that half of us are bad racistxenophobhomophobeislamophobetransphobeevildoers), there’s even a book whose title says we are as gods. Absent such higher authority ’anything goes’ has become practice in most every facet of life. There are no more guard rails as to most anything one might consider doing. Our growing arrogance and hubris have taken center stage; as with limited meaning of words, we no longer recognize any limiting principles - either as individuals, as societies, as polities or as a human species. Yet, at the same time, officialdom in its unmatched wisdom, purports to no longer know the difference, for instance, between a man and a woman; those who do know the difference between such eternal words are deemed to be “haters” or subhuman, by our betters. This incoherent state of affairs is highly volatile, unstable. I’m sorry to assert that it clearly imperils the very future of human society - and I’m not talking about the time interval it will take for old Sol to go nova. Nemesis waits impatiently in the wings, stage left.

John Stuart Mill’s political philosophy, in On Liberty, describes the Harm Principle, which is at base, a call for humility in governance. It still holds sway with many today, generally those calling themselves libertarians. It suggests that an individual’s right to act extends up to the point that it causes harm to another. Now, to understand what has changed since the 19th century, we are forced to return to the concept of naming things - where we began. The thorough undoing of Mill’s concept of Liberty has been accomplished, in neo-Marxist fashion, in part by simply changing the meanings of the words ‘cause’ and ‘harm’. Our betters still say we live in a state of liberty, only amended by ‘progress’ in understanding both causes and harms. Both words have been stretched so beyond their original meanings as to have become unrecognizable, as indeed has the consequent notion of today’s “liberty”. Butterfly wing beats today are believed causes-in-fact of hurricanes. Ordinary words are now construed as physical violence, thus proximate causes of harm. The absence of meaning in words is reminiscent of the Biblical tale of Babel, no? The reading of most so-called ‘news’papers nowadays is journey back to those Biblical times of communicative chaos. As words no longer have boundaries, neither do the principles to which they once gave meaning. Let’s look a bit deeper.

Leaving aside for now the fact that the words ‘man’ and woman’ no longer have fixed definitions, the important notion of ‘harm’ has also today been expanded to virtually unlimited dimensions. “I identify as harmed” suffices. In small part, this may be ascribed to better scientific understanding of the physical world of causation. Much real, verifiable cause and effect - previously unknown - has been understood - like the ability of a neutron to fission uranium. However, those who would create an unrequested utopia for the rest of us, have taken such hard science and technology as has revolutionized our material lives and spuriously applied “their truth” to “sciences” of psychology, sociology and politics. They pontificate as though these fields were governed by laws as certain as Newton’s. Creating unlimited new ‘harms’ perforce results in new groups of ‘victims’ and ‘survivors’, which are promptly organized into shrill identity political blocs and grievance industries, seething with indignation and demanding not only acceptance, but adulation from the public, as well as positive rights from the state. At the same time, these groups spearhead demands for radical dependency on the state, with equality of outcomes, not equality of opportunity - a prescription for internecine eternal warfare among individuals. Anyone who has ever experienced a ‘free-rider’ at work, well understands why this is so.

The “scientific” literature of these aforementioned fields of ‘study’ are replete with irreproducible and patently false results, which all mystically converge so as to fortify the latest religious belief system as to the perfectibility of us untutored - given only sufficient state coercive power. Things like opinion polls of ‘experts’ subjected to some valid (or not) statistical analysis, can be read - reported in peer-reviewed ‘scientific’ literature - as a valid scientific ‘study’. In other words, we are back to “scientific socialism”, as though the obvious, repeated failures of socialism - rehashed now with many of these newly-minted, fake ‘scientific principles’- had never occurred. Thus, new systems of belief- not science - fortified by arrogance, are foisted on the rest of us through, not persuasion, but strong-arm politics, ubiquitous propaganda and threats of de-platforming and unemployment. The echo chamber repetition of false premises amounts to nothing more than faith in the ability of those self-appointed shamans, who are furiously about the business of perfecting humanity according to their received wisdom; and a zealous, aggressive faith it is! Thus we see how changing a word or two may destroy the very foundations of a what was once a decent, self-critical and ever-improving culture and polity.

The practitioners of the new faith in Homo Deus have indeed been clever in their evangelism and coercions (some of these are now called ‘nudges’ [which often extend to bludgeons]). Although the roots of the so-called progressive era go back at least as far as Woodrow Wilson, things have accelerated since the 1960’s. Then began the long march through the institutions - government and non-government - whose leaders today are those same flag-burning, obscenity-shouting, Marxists, now affluent, with tenure, secure in positions (with lots of leverage over the ‘bitter clingers’) from within the revolutionary apparatus. Capture is complete, comprising FedGov and all agencies thereof; universities with a handful of exceptions; the MSM; most every social media platform; most all big business, including banks and credit card companies; many churches and synagogues.

Shockingly, even the medical profession has abandoned the limiting principle to “First Do No Harm”. This, too was an expression of basic humility, recognizing the practical limitations to even the principled desire to help another. The harm principle in medicine was nowhere stronger than when it came to protecting children. Use of untried or experimental procedures or medications on children were, until very recently, completely anathema to the profession.

A very few years ago, for example, injecting children of any age (not to mention now infants!) with experimental m-RNA “vaccines” would have been grounds for dismissal from licensing and from every medical society. Instead, physicians who prescribed actual treatments to consenting adults, using repurposed, approved medications (for which there was some scientific evidence!), were the ones disciplined! The Federal Register contains pages upon pages of regulations protecting children from exactly such experiments. Similarly there are pages and pages of high-sounding ethical principles regarding the essential requirement that patient or guardian consent be given prior to any treatment (or even any examination) of children. Covid sent all that out the window for children as well as adults, without even a thought or hesitation. Just how ill-advised that was practically speaking, in terms of risks and benefits of disease vs.“vaccine” is only now becoming apparent - notwithstanding the ongoing efforts of the authorities to continue to hide the truth. In short, previously sacrosanct ethical limitations imposed by time-tested ethical principles were abandoned over a period of mere weeks without hesitation for an illness whose severity, it is now apparent, was no worse than a severe flu season. It appears obvious that this entire exercise was about power, not about public health.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the state has now asserted a superior claim on children’s wellbeing to that of the parents who bore and reared them. A child with “gender dysphoria” (a controversial diagnosis at best - one with no objective criteria whatever) of any age, may now with state assistance and against their parents’ wishes demand permanent chemical and physical transformation of their bodies. These changes do not result in functional individuals of the opposite sex. They merely exhibit the external appearance of the opposite sex. Are there any credible, long-term studies supporting these radical and unprecedented set of procedures on children? No. What of consent to such procedures. Surely, no one can seriously assert that children as young as pre-teens possess the capacity to consent to such irreversible mutilation of their bodies as is now being routinely and even proudly undertaken. Astoundingly, the same ‘child psychology experts’ who authoritatively state that minors should not be punished for criminal behavior because their brains are not yet full developed, are the same ‘experts’ who insist, incoherently, that gender dysphoria trumps an immature brain and magically confers upon children the capacity to consent to self-mutilation!

Not long ago, such practices would not have been even imaginable - yet now it is a veritable juggernaut, which will brook no hesitation or even questioning. The only answer to questions is “SHUT UP”! Transsexual surgery is now a veritable religious rite with excommunication and worse for apostates. It is important to state that for adults, the situation is different. But for children, this is beyond wrong. It is evil.

A word is in order as to how I see the entire matter of human sexuality. I could care less what adults do sexually in private. Not my business. That does not mean I must submit to questioning and say every imaginable act is OK with me or that I must publicly approve or celebrate it. As the sex acts are due privacy, so are my opinions of them in the abstract. As those acts are none of my business, neither are my unexpressed opinions. Public sex acts, I am fee to ignore or to criticize, as with any public act. My publicly expressed views, similarly, are subject being ignored or to criticism. They may not, however, be censored and no one may sanction me for them (if liberty were still extant here).

When it comes to changing sex, again adults are free to do as they please, as are medical professionals who wish to offer such services. Beyond the scope of this essay is the question of socializing the considerable cost of sex-change surgery via requiring coverage by health insurance companies (The US military already pays for it!). As no patient ought to be forced to undergo any unwanted medical procedure, including sex change, so no health care provider ought to be forced to perform any non-emergency procedure they do not wish to perform, for whatever reason or for no reason (In all likelihood, though, any hesitancy or refusal will be career-ending).

Not long ago, gender dysphoria was extremely rare. The sudden increase and clustering of cases suggest that a process is at work which is not at all understood. Longer-term studies from Sweden make clear that life for those who transition is not “and they lived happily ever after”. For many, it is far from normal, with high overall mortality, physical and psychiatric morbidity and increased rate of suicide. What seems apparent is that reassignment surgery is no cure-all for whatever pathology is at work in those who undergo sex change. It is, in the human sense, a sad state of affairs. Sex change surgery changes only physical appearance, not sexual function.

Here is my own, only slightly-informed, opinion. I feel sympathy for those with gender dysphoria. I can imagine that it is indeed very unsettling to feel that one’s biological sex does not match the gender role one wishes to live. Now, I do not know whether this is actually a valid psychiatric diagnosis with specific signs and symptoms (as with all other diseases) or not. There is surely no harm if an individual born with one set of sex organs wishes to dress and act as a member of the opposite sex, or even act with no outward sexuality at all. It isn’t my business and I am quite willing and able to accept such a person to the extent their circumstance is even apparent to me; I certainly don’t wish to pry. When it comes to the radical remedies of hormone treatments and surgery, however, I believe a great deal of caution is warranted by those wishing to help these patients. Even under the best of circumstances, substitution of external appearance is not the same as reversal of biological sexual functions. As of today, at least, that is not possible.

Even if an individual might one day be able to reproduce following - as yet unavailable - transplantation of functional gonads, with germ cells undamaged by anti-rejection drugs and internal sex organs - the offspring would be no more closely biologically related to that parent than adoptive children. This seems a very complex, morbid (in the sense of fraught with many medical complications) and resource-intensive undertaking to accomplish an outcome objectively equivalent to adoption. As well, adoption agencies carefully consider the ability of prospective parents to care for prospective children. Though there may be individual exceptions, the few epidemiological studies available of patients who have transitioned, sadly reveal that significant personal problems are frequent after transition. Statistically, compared to a random population sample, this group has significant problems which may well bear on parenting abilities.

Thus, while there are good reasons for empathy with these individuals, we can see there are also reasons for concern as to the likelihood of ‘normal’ lives or even normal life expectancy after transition. However one comes down in assessing this difficult circumstance, it is sure that the answers are not yet clear to anyone and neither is the best approach - either for the individuals or as a matter of public policy. I have seen no one willing answer the not-completely-unreasonable question: why are you insisting that I participate unquestioningly in a someone’s delusion that he or she was born in a body with the wrong sex organs? Please explain why this is not a mental illness. Answer: SHUT UP!

Similarly, no one has explained why such a novel, radical departure from the entire recorded human experience of sexuality must be vilified and changed instantly, without any discussion whatsoever. Why is it that anyone who questions any element of this unprecedented departure from what was uniformly considered as normal - literally forever - is dismissed as a “hater”? Why the clear religious fervor to proceed full speed ahead, without even discussion. Is there really no room for fellow human beings - even physicians and nurses - who hesitate, who have questions, given the stakes for all concerned? “SHUT UP” is not a satisfactory answer for any of these questions. Neither is name-calling. Both these responses and the contempt with which they are made, constitute peremptory evidence there is a powerful, unspoken agenda at work.

By far, the most troublesome aspect of this controversy is the unwillingness of so-called ‘advocates’ to brook even the slightest question as to the proper way to help these deeply troubled individuals. They proceed solely by bullying and coercion all of society, with the witting assistance of various institutions which - only a few years ago - knew better. My own sense is that this issue has been installed as the keystone in the structure of the neo-Marxist juggernaut. It goes like this: “If we, TPTB can remove the meaning from the words “male” and “female”, we can define any word as any thing. Then we will control no only all the institutions which govern you, the currency you buy with the coming CBDC, but also your mind”. In which case, the trans patients are mere pawns in the hands of their their ‘advocates’ - who are about the business of pursuing the most perfect tyranny yet devised… With control of the meaning of words, the state’s apparatus and minions will be far more efficient and need spend far less effort to enslave us. Thus, government proceeds apace from Mill’s Liberty to power unconstrained by any principle; power over even the minds of its former citizens, newly made over into subjects, bereft even of language.

There are other equally worthy topics suffering from the same lack of limiting principles. Science and technology, similarly, have come to recognize few, if any boundaries, notwithstanding aspirational statements like Asilomar standards as to their power to act… Genetic engineering may soon enable us to do similar nano-construction using biological machines borrowed from our cellular machinery. Though the fields are numerous, here I mention only nanotechnology, where machines may soon construct any molecular reality one atom at a time. We may even re-design ourselves with CRISPR and techniques which will likely follow on that. It is worth explicitly stating that as a species, we have not yet definitively survived splitting the atom. These other worthy possibilities are beyond my ability to speculate further.

These are examples, then, of the chaos resulting from abandonment of limiting principles from society at all levels: the state’s entire apparatus - now ubiquitously insinuated in our lives - and including the central bank, NGO’s, big business, big tech, ordinary banks and the academy. In this complex world of modernity, there is no possibility of predicting how this novel state of affairs will play out. What makes it novel is the abandonment of limiting principles with which our ancestors eternally wrestled and which evolved over many human generations. These self-imposed limiting principles played important roles in survival of both individuals and cultures. Given the high stakes, I suggest prudence- mere attention to survival of our species - means invoking, once again, cautionary, limiting principles which once reigned. The future of the human species may well hang in that balance.

No comment on the day’s many issues demonstrating the absence of limiting principles would be complete without mention of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Not long ago (here I go again), intelligence was an unmitigated good thing; you couldn’t have too much of it. But now, it just may be possible for such to become the case. Scientists and philosophers far more knowledgeable than I have forcefully asserted that a powerful AGI is unlikely to be containable or controllable once created. It need not even be malevolent to undo us. As has been observed many times by the true cognoscenti, we are made of atoms and those atoms have other possible uses, which alternate use(s) just may be preferable to the AGI. Ought we really rush into this, too, as though nothing is at stake but “progress”? What do you think Clippy?

Myself, I find myself paraphrasing Pyrrhus: much more “progress” (as defined by “progressives”) and we are undone.


A tour de force, CW!

Anything I write might seem trivial beside your monumental opus. So for now::face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:


Wow! Just Wow! Bravo. CW.

Perhaps that points to one of the huge changes in human societies – we no longer care about the future, only about the present. Sophisticated Euros used to mock US parents who named their children John Smith II and John Smith III. But that was part of recognizing that we all came from somewhere and each had a part to play in the future. Religion also caused people to think about both the past and the future. Our ancestors in many different societies built tombs for their parents – we burn the bodies and toss the ashes away.


Thomas Sowell discussed two fundamental perspectives on human nature and the mutability of objective truth in his 1987 book, A Conflict of Visions (revised in a second edition in 2007). He calls these the “constrained vision” and the “unconstrained vision”. The constrained vision sees human nature as fundamentally invariant and institutions developed over time by trial and error the best guide to building societies and accomplishing goals with humans as they are. This is associated with one of Sowell’s aphorisms, “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.”

The unconstrained vision believes that human nature and, for that matter, nature itself is mutable. If people do not behave in the ways they “should”, it is because the institutions that surround them are flawed and, if corrected, would modify human nature in the direction of ultimate perfection. Associated with this is a belief that certain people or beliefs are further advanced toward these goals and should guide (or coerce) the rest along this road to “progress”.

Sowell contrasted the visions as follows:

While believers in the unconstrained vision seek the special causes of war, poverty, and crime, believers in the constrained vision seek the special causes of peace, wealth, or a law-abiding society.

Marxism is deeply saturated with the unconstrained vision. Its belief in inexorable laws of historical “progress” means that history consists of changing the behaviour of humanity by progressing through ever-improving institutions. Lenin believed that the mass of humanity was unable to make this progress on its own and must be led by a “revolutionary vanguard” in order to reach the shining heights of the future.

This belief in the absence of constraints and the unlimited mutability of nature is at the heart of many of the intellectual pathologies of the past and present. An excellent illustration is the Lysenko episode in the Soviet Union. Trofim Lysenko, a plant breeder and ardent Marxist, rejected Mendelian genetics in large part because it was too slow to permit the mutability of nature proclaimed by Marx. He believed that acquired characteristics could be inherited and that, for example, by conditioning wheat with heat and cold, he could develop strains that could grow in climates where cultivation was previously impossible. His influence caused a generation of Soviet geneticists to be suppressed and, in some cases, imprisoned or murdered. Such is the power of the unconstrained vision and the commitment of true believers to it that some eminent scientists in the West, such as J.B.S. Haldane, population geneticist and Communist, publicly defended Lysenko while candidly admitting in private that his theories were complete nonsense. (An excellent account of Haldane’s fancy footwork during the Lysenko era is in Comrade Haldane Is Too Busy to Go on Holiday, which I just finished reading a few days ago.)

The same belief in unconstrained mutability can be seen today in follies such as believing that putting up giant bird-choppers all over the landscape will change the weather or that hormones, mutilating bodies, and changing pronouns will alter biologically-determined facts.


After about 15 years of academia (she’s about to complete her PhD) our middle daughter has gone from questioning everything to only questioning things that disagree with the current academic thinking


I was stunned by your clarity and perception in this piece. Progress, indeed! Thanks!!!


If “It Takes a Village” to raise a child and mutually consenting parents can’t control who is in their village because of government mandates for inclusion, the government has taken control of the children.