Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Masculinity under siege in schools, politics, online

Is there a crisis in masculinity? Based on an article by the American Jordan Black, “Masculinity in Menopause: The Emasculating Effects of Fatherlessness and Feminism”, the answer is yes.

Black highlights how, across the Western world, falling levels of testosterone and low sperm counts are contributing to significant changes in how masculinity is defined. Add the impact of so many boys raised without fathers and the global #MeToo movement that gives the impression that all men are inherently violent and misogynist, and it should not surprise that Black concludes: “We are not making men like we used to; in fact, we are not making them at all.”

The same is happening here, where similar forces are at work undermining masculinity and radically redefining what constitutes manhood. As Bettina Arndt says in her book #MenToo, men are unfairly demonised and attacked by radical feminists more intent on winning gender wars than peacefully coexisting.

Even to suggest men’s rights are being undermined is to incur the wrath of the sisterhood. Victorian Women’s Trust executive director Mary Crooks wrote this week in Nine’s The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald newspapers: “Men’s ‘rights’ are about treating women as inferior; objectifying them by denying them any personhood. Men’s ‘rights’ are about being able to stalk, harass or abuse women online, on the streets, in the home or at work.”

Another example of this fatwa against men is how every time a woman is attacked or murdered the response is to blame all men and to suggest that violence occurs only because society is patriarchal and misogynist.

After last month’s horrendous murder of Courtney Herron in a Melbourne park late at night, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said women travelling alone should be safe regardless of where they were or what the hour, and that crimes such as this were “most likely about the behaviour of men”.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius mirrored the Premier’s views. He said: “This is about men’s behaviour. It’s not about women’s behaviour” — implying that, instead of the act being perpetrated by one demented evil soul, all men were implicated.

When detailing the death of masculinity, Black also says the US education system is guilty of “encouraging feminine behaviour for both genders”.

Feminist Camille Paglia makes the same point when she bemoans “the plight of physically active boys in a public school system dominated by female teachers”.

The Australian school system also disadvantages boys as a result of the feminisation of the curriculum. Research suggests boys, compared with girls, need greater structure and discipline to learn, especially in relation to learning to read, where the ­absence of a phonics and phonemic awareness approach puts them at risk.

Today’s approach to education is more about “care, share and grow”, where teachers facilitate and students self-direct, manage their own learning and where competition is shunned. It’s an approach that favours girls.

Not surprisingly, girls out­perform boys in reading as measured by the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy, and achieve stronger Year 12 results as measured by the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. It’s also true that material such as the gender-fluidity Safe Schools program and the Respectful Relationships program being implemented in Australia disadvantage boys, as both present a negative and biased view of masculinity and manhood.

The view of boys and men presented is one that implies masculinity is inherently violent against women and that Western societies such as ours are patriarchal ones in which women are ­oppressed and treated as second-class citizens.

Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence reported that 25 per cent of family violence victims were men but the Respectful Relationships program implies it is only women who are at risk.

Students also are never told that such is the way the law now operates that men often are assumed to be the guilty party.

Another example of how the curriculum has been feminised is the way school programs present traditional male characteristics such as fortitude, courage, physical strength and mateship as negatives instead of being worthwhile.

Even worse, many schools ban physically active and risky playground activities and behaviour, and it’s not unusual for primary schools to ban boys wearing ­superhero costumes on the basis that play-acting reinforces ­negative and potentially violent behaviour.

More radical feminists go as far as saying traditional male qualities lead to what The Age journalist Anna Prytz describes as a “man box”, a situation where men are constrained because they mistakenly believe they should be “unemotional, hyper-sexual, physically tough, stoic and in ­control”.

Instead of accepting the feminist argument that the characteristics that typically define men are toxic, Black argues in favour of what he describes as “virtuous masculinity”. Paglia makes a similar point, arguing that feminists guilty of misandry should learn to respect and admire positive masculine qualities.


Suburbs send a signal to corporate elites

The quiet Australians’ rejection of Labor’s “progressive” agenda has exposed the cultural divide between inner-city elites and ordinary people in the outer suburbs and regions who hold more traditional views.

What the election result also should do is burst the insider bubble surrounding so-called corporate social responsibility, which is leading companies to support progressive social causes publicly.

Many corporate elites — like many members of the political class — tend to live, work and socialise with like-minded elites and do not question self-reinforcing progressive agendas. However, issues that may be uncontroversial in Sydney’s Point Piper are not uncritically accepted in places such as Penrith and Picton.

This is why the increasing amount of virtue signalling being undertaken by companies is not only bad for business; as the Israel Folau case shows, it is also bad for the future of Australia as a civil society in which people with different views can work and play together. Unfortunately, there are few post-election signs Australian business is reconsidering the political meddling by major companies in social issues that have little, if any, connection to shareholders’ interests.

Instead, in recent weeks a slew of major companies has declared support for constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians. This renewed bout of corporate politicking was evidently pre-planned in anticipation of a Labor Party victory, which had pledged to fast-track a constitutional referendum on an indigenous voice to parliament.

The election result has not only exposed the political tin ear of the corporate sector. It also has exposed the contradiction at the heart of the CSR push being enthusiastically embraced at the highest levels of business.

The standard argument for CSR is that showing companies care about more than profit, and that they support the interests of broader groups of stakeholders in the community, is good for brands and reputations.

However — as last month’s federal election result should clearly indicate — in reality, corporate involvement in divisive social issues on which there is no community consensus can have negative brand consequences.

Companies — Qantas being the obvious example — risk acquiring reputations for “being political” and alienating the millions of Australians who don’t share so-called progressive views and values. The problem is that CSR has become an “industry” inside Australian business, with a vested interest in pushing companies to do more and more CSR.

The army of CSR managers and consultants employed in HR, “people and culture” and corporate affairs divisions has an activist mindset and is intent on transforming companies into political players campaigning for “systemic change” such as constitutional recognition.

The “industry” wants to make CSR a way for corporate elites to fundamentally politicise the role of companies by playing politics with shareholders’ money.

The way CSR politicking can damage company brands and be bad for business should encourage corporate leaders to take a more hard-headed approach.

The difficulty, however, is that those inside the corporate world who are not on board with progressive agendas can face professional repercussions that jeopardise career advancement.

This suggests that effectively countering the influence of the CSR industry that is institutionalised and gaining momentum across business may require changes to ground rules and frameworks used to govern how CSR decisions are made.

So now, in the wake of the election, might be an opportune time to push back against the CSR push by introducing a new principle — called the community pluralism principle — into the management of companies.

This would overtly counter the current approach to “social responsibility” by holding directors and chief executives accountable for making sure CSR activities don’t stray into meddling in contentious political issues and instead ensure that companies properly respect the pluralism — the different views and values — of the Australian community.

If this pluralism principle were inserted into company constitutions at the initiative of a new kind of anti-activism by a silent majority of shareholders fed up with the diversion of company resources into political activism, this would allow the quiet Australians to send a powerful, bubble-busting message about ending corporate political meddling.

Alerting corporate elites about the need to keep companies out of political issues also would be a positive development given the bigger issue at stake: the hyper-politicisation of society. This is the belief that all individuals and organisations — including companies — need to take a political stand by supporting progressive causes.

The implications for Australia’s future as a civil society have been spotlighted by Rugby Australia’s sacking of Folau for expressing his Christian faith in a way deemed to have violated a “diversity and inclusion” CSR agenda.

In a democratic country that respects the fundamental freedoms of all, companies — like sporting codes — should be places where citizens can overcome our political and other differences, and join together for good and truly inclusive purposes, be it playing games or producing wealth-generating goods and services.

The choice facing business is whether it divisively contributes to further fostering the hyper-politicisation of society in the name of CSR, and establishing (as Folau’s sacking demonstrates) de facto political tests of employment dressed up as a commitment to so-called diversity.

The alternative path — which is where the community pluralism principle leads — is for companies to remain part of a genuinely civil society. This means they must be sincerely inclusive by respecting the only kind of diversity that ultimately matters in a democracy: the diversity of political and religious opinion that is the foundation of a free society.


Major student loan change comes into force TODAY as government tries to claw back $62BILLION in student debts by slugging low-paying workers

A new law change going into effect today will force more than 130,000 Australians to start paying off their student debts earlier.

Graduates earning $45,881 will have to start making payments towards their loans after the Higher Education Loan Program's repayment threshold was lowered from $51,957. 

This means those with the minimum salary will be paying one per cent of their taxable income on tuition fee repayments, which works out at a minimum of $459 a year.

Meanwhile, grads earning over $134,573 will have to pay ten per cent.  

The move has been supported by economists who deemed the law change necessary in order to tackle the nation's outstanding student debt which as of last year has risen to $62billion.

'It's become quite a serious budget problem,' University of Canberra economist Lewis told the Canberra Times.

'The system is already quite generous compared to say the US. That being said, a single person renting on their own or with kids will find it tough.'

ANU graduate Zoe Tulip said she is now concerned over whether or not she can secure a good job and pay off her debts.

'I took on this debt because I thought it was going to get me a better job but now it better be a great job,' she told the publication.

'There's less time to make myself secure.' 

When the deferred student loan program was introduced in 1989, under Labor prime minister Bob Hawke, graduates didn't start paying back their debt until they earned an average salary.

In today's money, graduates weren't paying off their loans until they earned more than $83,500.

Now those earning less than Australia's median salary - effectively putting them in the bottom half of workers - are repaying student loans.

The threshold was dramatically reduced in 1997, when John Howard was in his first term as Liberal prime minister.

Almost 2.7million Australians now have a student debt, which stands at an average of $20,000.

But Professor Bruce Chapman, who in 1988 designed Labor's original Higher Education Contribution Scheme, said asking graduates earning $46,000 a year to start paying off their student debt was fairer than demanding more subsidies from taxpayers.

'The only way you can keep the subsidies low is to have a relatively low threshold,' the economist and Australian National University academic told Daily Mail Australia earlier this month.

The former HECS program, now known as HELP, replaced a costly system known as free education, which Gough Whitlam's Labor government had introduced in 1974.

Professor Chapman had a message for left-wing student activists campaigning for the return of free education.

'I think the word ignorant comes to mind,' he said.

'The taxes being paid for it were coming from a percentage of people who didn't know where a university was.

'Basically, you're giving lifetime advantages at some taxpayer expense.'

Professor Chapman said those activist left-wing students also misunderstood Karl Marx, the German philosopher and revolutionary who founded the ideal of communism.

'If they were good socialists, they would read Karl Marx on this who basically said it is so unfair that the proletariat is, through their taxes, supporting the bourgeoisie,' he said. 'Karl's got it right.'

In an 1875 letter to a left-wing German political party, Marx argued free tertiary education for the rich was unequitable.

'If … higher education institutions are also "free", that only means in fact defraying the cost of education of the bourgeoisie from the general tax receipts,' he said in the Critique of the Gotha Program


'I knew you'd win': Donald Trump praises Scott Morrison for 'tremendous' election win during talks between Australia and the US at the G20

Donald Trump introduced his daughter Ivanka to Prime Minister Scott Morrison at an exclusive dinner between US and Australian delegates ahead of the G20 summit in Japan. 

The President of the United States met with the Australian Prime Minister at Osaka's Imperial Hotel on Thursday, where Mr Trump congratulated him on the May 18 election win.

'He didn't surprise me but he surprised a lot of other people,' Mr Trump said at the opening of a working dinner with the prime minister.

'See, I knew him. See, I said you're going to do very well, and he did, he did that.

'They called it an upset but I don't call it an upset ... I want to congratulate you very much, it was a fantastic thing.'

The meeting with Mr Morrison was the first Mr Trump held upon his arrival in Osaka.

Delegates from Mr Trump's side included his daughter, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, National Security Advisor John Bolton and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Australians included Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, Australian ambassador to the US Joe Hockey, and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Martin Parkinson.

Senior Australian G20 official David Gruen and Mr Morrison's press chief Andrew Carswell were also in attendance.

Mr Morrison reiterated Australia's military friendship with the US.

'There's no better or stronger or deeper relationship than the United States and Australia. We've been together for a very long time – 100 years. Fighting together, working together, and [something] speak for themselves,' Mr Morrison said.

Mr Trump is also seeking other allies with his approach to Iran as he threatens military action against the Middle Eastern country.

The prime minister said he saw the working dinner as a chance to urge Mr Trump to stay engaged with Chinese president Xi Jinping to resolve the trade dispute casting a shadow over the global economy.

'It's going to be an important few days but there's no better or stronger or deeper relationship than the United States to Australia,' he told Mr Trump on Thursday night, foreshadowing their conversation.

Asked whether his 'America first' policies hurt allies like Australia in areas including trade, Mr Trump said the US had been very good to its allies.

'We work with our allies, we take care of our allies,' he told Mr Morrison and reporters.

'So we do work with ourselves and we look at ourselves I think more positively than ever before but we also look at our allies.

'And I think Australia's a good example. We worked together very closely just recently on a big trade situation, we had a little bit of a trade deal going and it worked out very well for both of us.'

Mr Morrison said earlier in the week Australia would not be a passive bystander as damage from the US-China trade tensions spread.

Mr Trump will also meet with Mr Xi in Osaka to discuss trade.

The White House has signalled it is in no hurry to solve the trade dispute with China and the president would use his meeting with Mr Xi 'to see where the Chinese side is since the talks last left off'.

While Mr Morrison was optimistic they could move things along, he cautioned it may take longer than the world watching on would like.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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