The Double Standard – Development

I live on the coast.
If I protest the construction of a beachside hotel by Marriott on the basis that it will have proven negative effects on the coastline, I am lauded as an environmentalist.
If I protest the construction of an equally-sized low-income housing development for the same environmental reasons, I am scorned as a NIMBY.
The persistence of such a double standard points to one of the current failings in American politics: whether we realize it or not, we are more comfortable resorting to the ad hominem than addressing the argument.

American Incompatibility

“Alasdair Macintyre is right,” he said. “It’s like a nuclear bomb went off, but in slow motion.” What he meant by this is that our culture has lost the ability to reason together, because too many of us want and believe radically incompatible things.

via After Obergefell, Revisiting Prof. Kingsfield | The American Conservative.

I don’t consider myself to be on the far right of the American political spectrum. If anything, I’m one or two campsites to the right of the American center line.

But I spend my life worrying about exactly what MacIntyre and Rod Dreher are talking about. America is increasingly two countries, and we aren’t spending enough time weaving the connective fabric to hold the two together and draw them closer.

Compromise is a singularly American virtue. It is time we all rediscovered it before it is too late.

The Weird Politics of Jenner Gender: Six Truisms

“The photo is indeed iconic. And not just in the shallow celeb meaning of that word. It’s iconic in the traditional sense, too, in that it’s being venerated as an actual icon, a devotional image of an apparently holy human. It’s an image we’re all expected to bow down to, whose essential truth we must imbibe; an image you question or ridicule at your peril, with those who refuse to genuflect before it facing excommunication from polite society. Yesterday’s Jennermania confirms how weirdly authoritarian, even idolatrous, trans politics has become.”

via ‘Call me Caitlyn, or else': the rise of authoritarian transgender politics – Spectator Blogs.

I am late to the party commenting on the odyssey of Caitlyn Jenner, and that is by design. I wanted to wait until the media noise died down a bit to allow some quiet contemplation of what the fracas around Bruce Jenner’s gender reassignment means at a higher level. In that process I have kept coming back to Brendan O’Neil’s article at The Spectator (linked above) as the best encapsulation of my thoughts, but that his prose came across as rather more adrenal that I would have liked. To that end, I combine my thinking with O’Neil’s and offer the following set of propositions that I feel should guide our national discussion on the issue.

1. Transsexuality is nothing new. Look up Quentin Crisp, James Pritzker, Chaz Bono, and Renee Richards. Jenner’s experience is not a breakthrough, it is simply higher profile because he/she served as paterfamilias to a brood of unrepentant media sumps.

2.  Jenner’s choices are Jenner’s choices. What you think about them doesn’t matter. Jenner needs neither your approval nor mine to enjoy his/her rights as a human being and a citizen of our country.

3. At the same time, one’s reaction to Jenner’s choices does not determine one’s character. Supporting Jenner’s choices does not necessarily make you a good person. Questioning them does not necessarily make you a bad person.

4. Someone who questions Jenner’s choices is not necessarily being hateful. On the contrary, most of us have found our choices questioned most directly in our lives by those who care about us the most, and they question those choices out of concern for us or a desire to understand why we choose as we do.

5. By undertaking his/her lifestyle change in public, Jenner may offer solace to many transgendered people. But in doing so, Jenner fundamentally invites the nation to have a debate about the nature of gender reassignment, and where it belongs in the greater debate around identity politics.

6. Provided that debate remains civil, sincere, and does not seek to do gratuitous harm, the debate about gender reassignment is a healthy process. You do not create widespread acceptance of a new and controversial phenomenon by declaring the debate over and silencing those who disagree. All you do is undermine any arguments as to the “rightness” of that phenomenon, drive the discussion underground, and foment both division and mistrust.

I wish Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner much health and happiness, and hope that as we continue our debate that he/she will never find reason to take personal offense. From this quarter at least it is entirely unintended.


Do We Need More Carriers?

America’s Aircraft Carrier Challenge | The Diplomat.

Professor Robert Farley offers a balanced meditation on whether America really is suffering from a “carrier gap.” In so doing, he reminds os of the high cost in dollars and people that each carrier represents.

I am a navalist of long standing (“speak softly and deploy a big fleet”), and I have a soft spot for flat-tops, born perhaps of my long studies of the Second World War. Yet in the face of evolving military technology and doctrine, it is getting harder to see these incredible machines as anything other than large, very expensive targets.

The Navy needs to do some soul-searching about the carriers, and we as citizens need to get over our sentimental attachment to these beasts the same way we had to fall out of love with battleships 75 years ago. Only then do our political leaders have a hope of overcoming the politically powerful naval aviation community and the huge contractors who make a fortune building carriers, carrier systems, and carrier-based aricraft.