Jan 22, 2014

What Feminists Really Want for Their Daughters: A Maid

Carolyn Jones, feminist, tells the story of shopping with her mother for her three-year-old daughter's birthday present here. Sure, there's all the requisite feminist angst about glass ceilings and Barbie's DD breasts and persistent gender inequality in housekeeping duties, but I find the whole read delightfully revealing.
I'll concede housekeeping isn't glamorous. And no one -- not even the girl with the most traditional "I only want to be a wife and mother" aspirations -- envisions herself cleaning the commode someday. But, to state the obvious, someone has to do it!
There are a million and one ways to make oneself unhappy in life and marriage. One of the most common we succumb to is having unrealistic expectations. As a favor, let me advise the ladies: it is in a man's nature to go out and make the kill and drag it back to the cave for you to cook. It is not in his nature to notice that your mother's cut glass cruet collection could use  a thorough cleaning.

Let's face it, women will continue to shoulder the lion's share of housekeeping, because it's more important to us. It is in our nature to keep the cave tidy and free of pests. If you marry a man expecting the even distribution of housework, you're in for some unpleasantness. Feminism, once again, has lied to you and set you up for serious disappointment.
I recommend spending some time considering what it means to have a full and meaningful life. I entered adulthood knowing I wanted a husband and family, but not realizing the full implications for how I would end up spending my time. Once I saw the struggles of my contemporaries to have it all, and experienced the "joys" of the working world, I knew the feminist myth wasn't for me.
I'm very privileged to have a husband able to sustain our family and provide for our retirement without my having to get a job. We're both blessed that he likes his work -- he's out there on the fruited plain with his hunting buddies every day.
Do I feel my life is less fulfilling because I don't use my engineering degree to pull in a paycheck? Not at all. The service I provide to my family in the way of homemaking is more than compensated by the time I'm able to spend practicing my faith and satisfying my intellectual curiosity (thank you Ricochet).
There are two ways to approach that which must be done. One may graciously accept the fact, and make the best of it. Or one may resent the fact, and make oneself (and usually everyone else) miserable.
We all want our daughters to have choices. I'm not opposed to women becoming high powered CEOs, stay-at-home moms, or anything in between. What I am opposed to is denigrating work that, most likely, somebody's daughter will be doing, even if it's not your own.
Keep the "pigeonholed pink" toy vacuum cleaner with the brightly colored bouncy balls. Lose the elitist feminist attitude about housework.
First published on Ricochet, May 13, 2013. Subsequently linked at James Taranto's Best of the Web, Wall Street Journal under, "Questions No One is Asking."

Jun 24, 2011

Was Jesus Anti-Eunuch?

Circumcision, Marriage and a God-Ordered Universe: Why the Right Should Never, EVER, Align With the Left on Social Issues

What I'm about to express may seem like a theological argument. It is really the background for the political positions I hold, which I believe are well-aligned with the live-and-let-live conservatives and libertarians on the right, even though we may not share anything in common theologically. I'm going to give an orthodox religious view, in my case Roman Catholic, on the timely and controversial issues of circumcision, which the Left in San Francisco is working to prohibit, and marriage, which the Left nationally would like to redefine to include same-sex partners.

These issues are two of the battlefronts of the cultural war the Left is waging on the orthodox religious, with only the life issues drawing more blood – literally. I contend that in a highly advanced Western society based upon Judeo-Christian values and exceedingly tolerant of homosexuals, the attempts by the Left to order the universe according to its image of perfection is not about tolerance and social equity. It's about coercion and thought control, which are the hallmarks of the totalitarian temptation to which the Left routinely succumbs.

Before I give the orthodox explanations for the practices of circumcision and opposite-sex marriage, let me say I'm very understanding of people's view, on the left and the right, that these traditions are antiquated, if not barbaric, given I spent the first two-thirds of my adult life as an atheist liberal. I only ask that we remember the cultures which formed these ideas are the progenitors of the society in which we are very fortunate to live. And I ask, if we think of ourselves as being on the right, to please remember our commitment to defend the right of orthodox believers to hold these beliefs, whether we ourselves share them or not.

Orthodox Jews and Christians believe the Torah and the Bible, respectively, are the authoritative word of God. They believe God made a covenant, an unbreakable promise, with His people. The Abrahamic Covenant is in three parts: The Land Promise (Mosaic Covenant); the Kingdom Promise (Davidic Covenant); the Promise of a Worldwide Blessing (Christians believe this was fulfilled in Jesus Christ).

These covenants are manifested in multiple signs:
  • The Sabbath observance commanded to the first holy couple, Adam and Eve (Gen. 1-3);
  • The rainbow as a sign to the first holy family, Noah's, of God's promise not to flood the Earth again (Gen. 9);
  • Circumcision as a sign of God's covenant with Abraham at the establishment of the one holy tribe of Israel (Gen. 15, 17, 22);
  • The Ten Commandments given as The Law to Moses at the establishment of the one holy nation of Israel (Ex. 24, Deut. 29);
  • The Temple at the establishment of the one holy kingdom at the time of David (2 Sam. 7);
  • Finally, for Christians, the one holy catholic and apostolic church established by Jesus (Mk. 14).
Without putting you through a nine month Bible study, I hope it is apparent how essential, foundational really, are the signs of God's promises. Marriage is the first relationship established by God. Circumcision is the price of entrance into God's family. Orthodox religious believe God ordered the universe in this way for His purposes.

You may be wondering, why circumcision? It was the practice of the Hebrews at the time of Abraham to seal an important contract, a marriage covenant, for example, with a blood sacrifice. The families joining in the covenant would split sacrificial animals from nose to tail and lay the pieces on either side of a pathway, which was then traversed by the patriarchs of each family to signify the seriousness of the promise being made. If either party broke the covenant, it would be as the sacrificial animals – bloody and dead.

Circumcision is a splitting of the flesh. God made a three-part covenant with Abraham and commanded that the sign of that covenant be forever carried by the men of Israel. To not circumcise one's son would be to break the covenant with God, or to not have the child enter the holy contract at all. It's asking too much of an orthodox Jew to forgo the practice. Prohibiting circumcision is a direct assault on religious freedom.

On the other hand, same sex marriage is an indirect assault on religious freedom, but an assault nevertheless, because rather than a prohibition of religious practice, it is an attempt to co-opt an institution the orthodox religious view as instituted by God. For this argument, I refer you to Matthew Chapter 19, which is Jesus' teaching on marriage.

By this point in the narrative, the Pharisees want Jesus dead. They set a trap by asking him if a man may divorce his wife for any cause whatever. Jesus responds,
“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mt 19:4-6)
There are several layers of importance in these verses. First, Jesus is quoting from Genesis at the establishment of the institution of marriage by God. Second, he is referring to the natural order and procreative nature established by God. And third, he is affirming the covenant nature of marriage and how divorce was not part of God's original intent.

The Pharisees then ask why Moses gave a command allowing for divorce. Jesus refers again to God's intent at the original establishment of the institution of marriage, he explains that the Hebrews were excepted because of the hardness of their hearts, and he presses the point home by saying anyone who divorces and remarries is guilty of adultery, a violation of one of the Ten Commandments. At this point, his own disciples are concerned about the seriousness of the covenant and suggest it is better not to marry at all. And this is where Jesus' teaching gets really interesting for our purposes. He says,
“Not all can accept [this] word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” (Mt 19:12)
The notes of my study-Bible say that Jesus is talking about eunuchs in this verse, but he was speaking before the idea that homosexuals might want to marry was even conceivable. His teaching could easily be universally applied to anyone who is incapable of entering a procreative sacramental marriage. But, what about infertile couples, you ask? I think intent counts in this case. Very few infertile couples enter marriage knowing they're infertile, and certainly none did during Jesus' time. The vast majority enter marriage having accepted “this word”.

Same-sex marriage is a social innovation promoted by the Left. This, alone, should make anyone on the right wary. In a Judeo-Christian society where homosexuals are not only not ostracized or abused, tortured and murdered like, say, in Arab Muslim societies, but are our neighbors, friends and family and have access to most of the same legal protections as heterosexuals, if pursued through powers of attorney and such, tolerance is not the issue. What gays want through same-sex marriage is approval. Tolerance is a behavior, but approval is a belief. Advocates of same-sex marriage don't want us to change our society's behavior toward gays. They want us to change our thinking. If you understand the orthodox explanations I gave above, you'll understand why orthodox religious people consider same-sex marriage coercive. Freedom of conscience is at stake.

I predict there will be dire consequences to tampering with the foundational cultural institutions of our society, even if these innovations “don't affect my marriage” – a specious and narcissistic argument, at best. Already Catholic adoption agencies are being driven out of business because they refuse to adopt to gay couples. Here's a question for the social equity crowd. If an adoption agency has two couples contending for the same child and, all else being equal, one couple is gay and the other is straight, should the agency be allowed to discriminate on the part of the mixed gender couple? Why or why not?

When same sex marriage is considered as equal in every way to male/female marriages, what happens in state-run education? Do the teachers read Johnny Has Two Daddies or One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dads, Blue Dads to the class as an exercise in “tolerance”? I'll take my children out of public school on that day, because this is a perversion of my religion. If, that is, the Left hasn't already outlawed home-schooling.

When same sex marriage is established on the well-intentioned vision of a universe ordered by man, will priests and ministers be free to teach from Matthew 19? Will they be allowed to teach a God-ordered universe? Don't scoff. Ministers in western European countries are facing prosecution for such things. Hate speech, as Mark Steyn well knows.

If conservatives agree that life is a series of trade-offs, what will we be trading for blowing apart the standards for marriage which Jesus taught? Do homosexual couples teach a standard to their children? Do they want their children to have heterosexual relationships or are all relationships equal? If even we on the right can't agree to fight to preserve the ideal of covenant marriage, I'm pretty sure we'll find out.

Dec 26, 2010

Imagining God and Christopher Hitchens

Somehow I can't bring myself to believe my dog imagines me on all fours running for the food bowl at 5:00 pm every day or tearing out the patio door to chase a squirrel. However, I am delighted by the thought of my Pembroke Welsh corgi reclining in a tufted leather chair dressed in a paisley smoking jacket, reading glasses poised jauntily at the end of his long nose, with a pipe in one paw and a copy of G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy in the other. Christopher Hitchens prefers to believe that this human-animal distinction – this ability to imagine – is an accident of mutation over eons of evolution. What, exactly, is adaptive about my Alistair Cooke corgi fantasy, I can't, well... imagine.

I believe this distinction is explained by our Creator God who imagined and spoke us into being. We, not other animals, are made in God's image and likeness and therefore, we have this ability to imagine and, as such, are often capable of reflecting God's creative enterprise. Thus, an Alistair Cooke corgi nearly out of nothing.

I love Christopher Hitchens and I'm not just saying that to establish my Christian bona fides. I really do. What I see in him is a righteous indignation about the suffering of innocents. I deeply admire his commitment and passion to his cause. He's willing to get his nose bloodied over it and even put his own life in danger. I find this very attractive and heroic. It doesn't hurt that Hitchens has one of the sharpest minds of our era and is a master of the English language too.

Where Hitchens fails, however, is pride (it's always the pride, isn't it?) in his ability to reason. He cannot imagine how a good God could allow such abject misery and suffering in the world. And therefore, he rejects the very notion of God.

The Christian response to the paradox of a God who desires mercy and yet allows evil into the world is often answered by “evil is allowed to enter to reveal the glory of God.” This isn't the most intellectually satisfying response, is it? The best I can do is the old Jewish saying, “if I understood God, I would be him.” Both are inadequate to a man who rests all his understanding of the world on evolution and reason.

I like to imagine an omnipotent corporeal God with a restraining hand on Christopher Hitchens' forehead while the lesser, still beloved and magnificent creation, Hitchens, flails away with all the indignation he feels at injustice in the world, trying to land one good blow to make his point. If I can feel this way about a man I've never met and with whom I have profound philosophical disagreements, imagine how much more the Father, who sent his only Son to die for us all, must love and cherish such a man.

And so, I pray, Lord, if it be your will, please save Hitchens from his pride and his sickness. After this lifelong struggle, let his hand come to rest on Yours so that he may know Your Presence and make him an example, like St. Paul, of the good that is possible when we imagine You.

Oct 22, 2010

The Well-Deserved Bad Reputation of Good Intentions

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

The original aphorism seems to have been, “Hell [itself] is paved with good intentions,” which is often attributed to St. Bernard of Clairveux, a doctor of the Church. Isn't it fascinating that in this formulation, good intentions aren't so much along the route one takes to Hell, but a sign that one is already there?

I once told a campus missionary she should avoid “God-talk” if she wants to be understood by the youth she aims to convert. Now I'm going to illustrate the point by explaining the problem with good intentions in a way only some in my audience will fully understand.

God, in the person of Jesus Christ, calls us to empty ourselves or die to oneself to make ourselves hospitable vessels for the Holy Spirit to indwell. We are to minimize the Ego, but being fallen humans, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for us to eliminate Ego altogether. However, when we succeed at hosting the Holy Spirit, good fruits are in abundance – with no regard whatever to our intentions.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life. “Period. End of issue.” - to borrow a phrase from my second-favorite Jew, Dennis Prager.

Practicing Christians are now dismissed. Lesson over. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Do dee do dee do... “oh, watch out there - you dropped your pencil!”

“See you same time next week. Don't forget your assignment!...”

“Test in two weeks.” Do dee dum dee do...

I now resume explaining, while limiting the “God-talk,” for the unbelievers. Please take your seats.

Let's analogize using the “virtue bank account” or “VBA.” The VBA is like the Hotel California (you can check out, but you can never leave) in that you really only want to make deposits. If you withdraw from your VBA, you are behaving in un-virtuous (in God-talk, “sinful”) ways. It is like the Hotel California in one other way... it is a death-trap.

See, tracking the balance of your VBA is all about YOU. It is about your virtue and your self-regard and your status among your peers. It has very little to do with actual goodness - for the love of God! Good intentions are its currency. And this particular currency is worth-less. Not worthless, but worth less than good results (fruitfulness in God-talk).

Example One. Let's say you worked for the government advising the president in a time of terrible economic hardship for the country. And let's say you had the idea to devise a system which would provide financial security for retirees. Let's call your plan Social Security. The plan would have workers pay into the system over their lifetime of work and then make withdrawals upon retirement. Theoretically, most people would end up withdrawing about as much as they deposited and any overages would be covered by revenue paid in by current workers. This seems to work when the ratio of workers to retirees is six or seven to one. Not so much when the ratio gets down to two to one or lower. Good intentions? In abundance! Unsustainable? You betcha! In God-talk, we'd call this plan a “false-promise.” For our purposes, let's call it a Ponzi scheme.

Example Two. Let's say you worked for the government advising the president in a time of terrible economic hardship for the country. And let's say you had the idea to devise a system which would provide health care for everyone... Oh, wait. We've already done this one... let's see, um – massive sovereign debt and unfunded liabilities... check, false promises... Ponzi scheme... check, check, increased suffering of innocents... check... net evil... check.

Example Two Redux. Let's say you want to do your part to care for the environment. In God-talk, this is called stewardship. Good intention? Check. You're convinced that recycling is a commonsense way to decrease the demand on limited resources. You decide to diligently recycle your newspapers to save the trees (Is recycling utter rubbish?)! What if the net effect of your recycling actually uses more non-renewable energy resources (oil) than the resources it saves (renewable trees)? What if transportation energy to haul your papers to the recycling plant and manufacturing energy to transform your waste paper into something usable is less efficient than the transportation and production of the newspaper in the first place? This is hypothetical, because frankly, I don't know the truth, but neither does anyone else. But, for the sake of argument, lets say the net effect of your good intention is increasing demand for and consumption of non-renewable fuel, the production of which has been limited locally in a heavily environmentally regulated and decent society (the U.S.) by the activities of well-intentioned environmentalists, effectively increasing demand and consumption of fuel from despotic environmentally disastrous societies such as in the Middle East, Sudan and Russia, for example. Good intentions... meet road to Hell.

Example Three. This is subtler yet. Let's say you are an elderly parent on a modest fixed income. You live relatively comfortably in your own home, but the financial stresses of paying your bills and shelling out every month for your expensive prescription drugs keep you on edge. You don't make long-distance calls to your kids despite your desperate loneliness because you're afraid you can't afford the expense. You worry about putting five bucks in the grandkids' birthday cards. So, your adult children agree among themselves to each make a modest deposit to your bank account every month to ease your anxieties. You make an unsolicited promise to them that you're spending as little of the money as possible so they'll all get something back when you die. You're making deposits in your VBA.

Unfortunately, your kids still aren't getting calls from you and you're still desperately lonely. You're still worried about the prescription drug costs and even refuse to fill some prescriptions because you can live without the medications although you'd be more comfortable with them. Your kids hesitate to call you because they hear the same complaints from you as before... and the repeated promise of “return” on their investment upon your death. Your deposits into your VBA have accrued exclusively to you and contributed exactly nothing to the good on their accounts. They would rather have their parent be serene, content and grateful for their show of concern than have their parent dead and receive a portion of the inheritance which came at the expense of their parent's happiness and well-being. You have stolen their virtue.

The previous case is the best example of good intentions gone awry. A priest once told me, “your life is not about you.” “Well,” an unbeliever might ask, “if it isn't about me, what is it about?” This is harder to answer without some serious God-talk. Perhaps, for the unbeliever, the best answer is, your life is about the truth. The truth is, as an elderly parent, you should receive your children's' charity with grace, and then pay the grace forward by delighting in the gifts. Let your children accrue something worthwhile to their own VBAs as well as contribute to your happiness.

The truth is, you'd contribute more to the well-being of the environment by picking up litter when you see it (a good moral test for any action is to ask, “what if everyone did this?”) and insisting on local oil drilling (Ethical Oil, by Ezra Levant) and nuclear energy production than recycling your newspaper.

The truth is, neither you nor anyone else in the electorate should put your faith in or vote for politicians making false promises. You will not be spared struggle and pain by the federal government, or if you are, like the early recipients of Social Security, your consolation will ultimately come at great cost to people utterly innocent of the decision to implement an unsustainable Ponzi scheme, who will have paid into the system the better part of their working lives, who will receive nothing when the scheme becomes insolvent. Your secure retirement came from stealing other people's future. Sometimes, the truth hurts.

The answer to “what is my life all about?” is more succinct for the believer. My life is about The Truth. The Way. And The Life. Sounds simplistic, but as we've seen, it isn't. The “my life is not about me” Ethos is big and expansive and life-affirming. It is actually the “my life is all about me” Ethos and the fixation with one's VBA which is narrow, niggling and soul-killing.

Am I suggesting, because of my disregard for the VBA, we shouldn't practice the virtues – prudence, justice, courage, restraint, faith, hope and charity? Not at all. I am saying the type of virtue which accrues by pride in our good intentions into our VBA is counterfeit. Satan has a counterfeit for every aspect of God's Kingdom and this is no exception. When your life is all about you, Satan has lured you into a death-trap. In contrast, when you make your life about reflecting the love and mercy of Jesus (or if you prefer, the small-t truth), you are truly poor in spirit (humble) and will be received into the Heavenly Banquet (produce truly good results). You'll probably even get a taste of happiness here on Earth.

I see our time is up. Class dismissed.

For extra credit, watch the following video of Andrew Klavan and his dog, Virtue, on illegal immigration, titled, Imagine There's No Border. If you were paying attention, you already know where this road is going...

Sep 17, 2010

The Audacity of Dopes

Here's a Tea Party proposal... how much money would we save, that is, the American taxpayers who fund this monstrosity, along with our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will be paying off the Chinese forever... if we eliminated whole departments, agencies, bureaus from our midst. This is going to be fun!

Start big - the Department of Health and Human Services. Has HHS improved your health or that of anyone you know? Have you received any "services" from it lately? Consider it cut.

Projected savings: $800,000,000,000

There! Doesn't that feel good? We've already shaved two-thirds off of this years projected deficit. I know this budget probably includes Medicare/Medicaid, but don't you believe if we addressed these expenses locally in a truly free market system, the costs would go down and we could serve our people more efficiently? Also, after Sebelius' little fascist stunt, I say kill HHS. Kill it dead.

Next is the Department of Defense. Notice DOD is already scheduled for reduction in 2010? I'm feeling generous here, since national defense is one of the main reasons government exists. And we know the rest of the West has pretty much opted out of the enforcement game, with a slight nod to Britain and Australia for their previous support. We should also acknowledge the Religion of Peace (ROP) is making it more obvious every day it's at war with western civilization. No cuts.

Next biggest are Social Security entitlements and the Treasury (including interest payments) which we can't even touch at the moment. No savings... yet.

For reasons mentioned previously (see function of government and ROP), we also can't mess too much with Veteran's Affairs or the Department of Homeland Security.

But now we can address those niggling annoyances which also happen to be antithetical to limited constitutional government:

Department of Agriculture: $150,000,000,000
Department of Education: $110,000,000,000
Office of Personnel Management: $70,000,000,000
Department of Labor (notice the huge increase this year and last!): $210,000,000,000
Housing and Urban Development: $60,000,000,000
Department of Energy: $40,000,000,000

Subtotal: $640,000,000,000

Add this to our HHS cut and now we're making some serious progress on our national debt:

800 billion + 640 billion = 1,440 billion
1,440 billion - 1,200 billion (projected deficit) = 240 billion we can put toward the debt.

I'm skipping over the Department of Justice and the Judicial Branch as, again, they're primary functions of government. Also, NASA. NASA is a pet I'd like to keep. Something like a goldfish in this zoo full of bloated government functions. Besides, every great country needs space toys.

International Assistance Programs: $35,000,000,000
Other Independent Agencies (major cuts by Obama here): $20,000,000,000
Department of Interior: $25,000,000,000
Environmental Protection Agency: $25,000,000,000
Department of Commerce: $25,000,000,000

Subtotal: $130,000,000,000

What about the Department of State, you say? Again, another primary function of government. I'm also keeping the Corps of Engineers. I have a soft spot for engineers. They actually make things and make things work. Same for the National Science Foundation, although if science continues to be used by the Left for political purposes, I'm whacking it too. That leaves the Executive Office of the President, which we'll take care of in 2012 and the Legislative Branch which we're working over this year.

GRAND TOTAL SAVINGS: $1,570,000,000,000

Can you believe how much money the feds take from you and borrow for this stuff?

There is nothing quite as satisfying as taking control of one's budget. I need a cigarette.

Sep 14, 2010

The Subspecies and Origin of the Leftist

It is clearer to me every day that my enemy and the enemy of western civilization is leftist ideology. It really is evil. Or, if you're uncomfortable with strong words like “evil,” let's say leftism is opposed to good. It is destructive to the happiness of the individual and tears at the roots of society, while promoting itself as having a virtuous concern for the common good.

Here's an example:

We live in such a morally confused and intellectually dimmed world, I feel compelled to explain up-front that I don't hate everyone on the Left, just leftist ideology. I mainly made friends with leftists in my youth because I was one. Some of them are still my friends even though I've moved on ideologically. And yet, as an example of how intellectually damaging the Left is, if you asked for my friends' private opinions of me, they probably would say I am “narrow” and “fixed” in my conservatism. Interesting – no?

There is a frustrating opacity one experiences in trying to relate to a leftist. I have devised categories – subspecies, if you will, which help explain the lack of transparency they exhibit: the “shallow” leftist, the “committed” leftist and the “vampire” leftist.

The Shallow Leftist

First, as Thomas Sowell has described, many leftists are subject to stage-one thinking. They tend to neglect the question, “and then what happens?” This makes their reasoning, if we care to call it that, very shallow. Perhaps “obtuse” or “his ideas are as intellectually interesting as a piece of dry white toast” would be more descriptive, but for ease of use, let's stay with “shallow.” You can't really penetrate the shallow leftists' thinking, because, well... they're not... thinking, that is.

The Committed Leftist

Second, sometimes the disconnectedness one experiences with the Left is because they are ideologically committed and know you would disapprove if they revealed their thinking. This is what we're seeing in the White House now. They have become as God and any doubts they ever have about the efficacy or morality of their plans is soon dispelled by Ego and Hubris. We don't have access to their reasoning because they know, if the public understands what they're all about, they will never be entrusted with the authority to accomplish it. Watching Obama's economic policy play out is like being at a seminar where the professor's theories are soon discovered to be horse puckey and the room is gradually emptying out while the professor “stays the course.” He's going to go to the bitter end whether the students like it or not, because, by god (he, himself), he knows what's good for them and they're going to take this medicine if it kills them!- I mean him... I think.

The Vampire Leftist

But the first two categories are not nearly as disturbing as this last one. This is the one which keeps me up at night... with a crucifix, a vial of holy water and a garlic necklace. There is a large portion of people on the Left comprised of good, intelligent and accomplished people who suffer what Gerard Vanderleun has dubbed the “Twilight effect.” I have called them vampires. I use the term reluctantly and with all the love of neighbor and desolation I feel at the mortal wound inflicted on them by leftist ideology. Perhaps immortal wound is more accurate, because, like the poor, the Left will always be with us it seems, no matter how many times the ideology proves to culminate in destruction and cruelty.

The vampire leftists are simply incapable of seeing themselves no matter how often or how compassionately you hold up the mirror to them. I know one or two “shallow” leftists; I know one or two “committed” leftists; but the vast majority of leftists I know personally, fall into the “vampire” category. And it is this spiritual blindness I find so horrifying. It isn't that they haven't reasoned through the issues... or that they have, but they don't want us to know what they've concluded... it is that they deny to you, and worse, to themselves, having come to the positions they hold as true.

I find having described these categories of leftists very helpful for clarity. But in addition, I think I've had an insight into the psychological/spiritual origins of such people... or, to rip-off Darwin:

The Origin of the Leftist

Leftist ideology teaches that the moral code is within (the heart, the “evolved” ability to reason) and explains moral failings without (the parents or society). This is the opposite of the conservative believer or, using the better term coined by Chesterton, the happy pessimist, who seeks his moral code externally (God and the Bible, traditional moral codes “evolved” over millennia) and explains his moral failings internally (Original Sin, his imperfections). The happy pessimist believes human nature contains dark aspects and is immutable, which makes him seek a power higher than himself for moral guidance and/or compels him to struggle against his own demons before seeking to impose his ideas of social justice externally. Admittedly, this worked better when our society held Judeo-Christian values more homogeneously.

Of course, there are as many jerks and buffoons on the Right as there are on the Left. And, there are wonderfully good people on the Left as well as the Right. But – and this is really the crux of the matter - leftist ideology tends to convince people of their own victimhood or the victimhood of the Lefts' favored minorities (what, Mormons aren't a minority?), which tends to make the recipients of victim status self-indulgent,self-pitying, narcissistic, dependent and unhappy. This is how individuals are ruined and whole segments of society are destroyed – the black family, for example. Individual leftists who have survived the onslaught have done so because they tend to personally live by conservative principles, while preaching, teaching and imposing leftist ideology on everyone else.

In case the problem with victimhood isn't glaringly obvious, let me suggest it destroys human dignity. The victim mentality makes one less attractive to a potential spouse or friends because there is nothing quite as unappealing as self-pity. Believing you're a victim also shackles you to your present circumstances and makes you less likely to struggle for self-improvement. Why bother when The Man (the Other, whatever group or structure is the oppressor) is responsible for all your woes? Nah – to improve your lot, you should agitate – or community organize – to make sure everyone else treats you better.

Leftism appeals to two of the baser human instincts as well. The first is the desire to remain childlike – to be coddled and made safe and not to have to buy your own health insurance until you're twenty-six. The second is an appeal to one's moral vanity: since I am a good person and I mean well, it shouldn't count against me that my ideology is so destructive to the good... and if you do count it against me, it just proves you are an evil greedy hateful conservative oppressor! Let's call this the “I'm ok... you're evil!” mentality.

How to deal with the Left? I'm tempted to advise, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it,” (Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals), even though it goes against my Christian ethic. I do believe we have done too little “targeting” of the Left when we're arguing with the shallow or vampire leftists. Obama's support for infanticide in his opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act would have disqualified him with almost every decent person I know – had they known it. Therefore, my first suggestion is, name it; identify it. Don't keep quiet about what you recognize. In the case of the shallow leftist, I would just love them and cajole them. Maybe open the door a peek occasionally on the view they're missing. The vampire leftist is a difficult case because of the self-delusion involved. I think we have to pray for these people. It is a psycho-spiritual problem best left to God to fix. And finally, the committed leftist... these we have to fight, because, given the chance, they'll murder us.

Readings for the Roman Catholic Liturgy
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Reading 1
Wisdom 9:13-18b

Who can know God's counsel,
or who can conceive what the LORD intends?
For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
and unsure are our plans.
For the corruptible body burdens the soul
and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.
And scarce do we guess the things on earth,
and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;

but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?
Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.

Reading 2
A reading from St. Paul's letter to Philemon
I, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus,
urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment;
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave
but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord.
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.

Gospel: Luke 14: 25-33
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
"If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.

Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.'
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple."

Aug 26, 2010

Gay Marriage? Yield * No * Quarter

Don't Support Gay Marriage? Fine...

... Bookworm's asking this:

My question for those opposed to gay conservatives who support conservatism on the most important political issue of the day is this: Can you afford to get into a divisive fight over what is, temporarily at least, a less significant issue than saving our entire country from frighteningly potential internal economic collapse and external terrorist and military attack? --Bookworm Room サ The blessings of gay conservatives
This is from the sidebar at the creative controversial conservative blog American Digest, by Gerard Vanderleun.

I have argued here and elsewhere that there are two fascist ideologies threatening western civilization and the American society which has been at its apex for at least a century: Leftism and Islamism. Sometimes I feel I'm part of a very small army trying to hold it all together with sealing wax and sticky tape. We're battling these two enemies who currently hold much of the "high" ground and who are armed with the power of the state, the media, the judiciary and box-cutters. And about half of my side is blinded in the battle by a handful of self-interest tossed in their faces. Right now, my side is losing badly. In war, there can always be an abrupt change of fortune (November 2?), but I'm very pessimistic over the long-haul. (Thomas Sowell talks about Dismantling America here)

I'm finished being bullied on “gay marriage.” I will not concede that we who fight to preserve traditional marriage are gay-haters and I won't cede “marriage” to the Left for it to manipulate out of all meaning and existence. If gay conservatives are threatening to quit the battle, to switch sides over this – then sayonara, Baby. Join the Left. See how that works out for us.

It would be easier on me, but I don't give-in to my children when they're being their narcissistic ungrateful little selves either, because I know it won't make them better people or better members of society. This battle IS NOT ABOUT gays! This is about the fascist Left and mind-control! If we conservatives don't get that the LIE that “gender distinctions are an artifact” and the LIE that “men and women play the same role in marriage” and the LIE that “Johnny is just as fortunate, all else being equal, to have two daddies or two mommies as he would be to have a daddy and a mommy” are the roots of our civilizational destruction - then the fight really is OVER! The greatest evil always begins with such LIES... or to quote Leviathan, "You will not die!" If gay conservatives don't understand that, they might as well vacate the battlefield.

And there's another whole ocean of hurt swirling up into this storm. This “gay marriage” movement is anti-religious and specifically anti-traditional orthodox religions – you know - the kinds conservatives tend to practice. The Bible, particularly the Five Books of Moses, has a sweeping theme of anti-paganism. God commands his people not to sacrifice their children to Moloch (abortion, anyone?), not to tattoo themselves, not to eat, dress or worship like the pagans and yes, not to practice homosexuality as it was practiced in an ancient world filled with pederasty and perversion. Well. There really is nothing new under the sun.

The Bible is also full of smiting by God of both the pagans and his own people who disobey. Huh, wonder what happens when a preacher, priest or rabbi even reads this history to his congregation, let alone refuses to marry a gay couple? Hate crime, anyone? Hello, McFly?! Are we prepared to see our religious leaders go to PRISON? Think it can't happen here? It is already happening in other western societies.

And yes, I'm so pissed off, I'm going to go there. This is another, less obvious form of the fascist Left's antisemitism. I'm not Jewish, but I have a deep regard for the ethical system of Judaism which lies at the foundation of Christianity and western civilization. And male/female marriage is arguably “the” social institution which makes western civilization possible. Any compelling state interest there???

What don't gay marriage advocates get about having standards and ideals, which maybe even 99.9% of the population are incapable of achieving? Would they not even wish to teach their own children to desire the complementarity of male/female unions? Will any of us be free to teach our children the male/female ideal?? If you aren't cut out for male/female marriage, then fine. Don't have one. I bear my own cross and won't think any less of you.

To gay conservatives who want to marry – GET OVER YOURSELVES! It isn't about you. Yes, it is “discriminatory” just the way we discriminate against a brother and sister who are "in love" and wish to marry or how we discriminate against Mormons and (gasp!) the Left's favored allies, Muslims, who wish to practice polygamy. Yes, it is somewhat tragic and unfair that you DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT to everything heterosexuals have. Wahahha! Quit your whining! Unlike elsewhere in the world, you live in a society so tolerant, so liberal, so generous, you not only don't have to worry about being executed or generally shunned by your fellow citizens, you can have almost all the legal protections of straight couples under civil unions. And I'll even fight with you to make sure you have them all. But you * can't * have * marriage *. As I tell my kids... take your Vitamin “N” (No!).

You can choose to be miserable under such a system or you can choose to be GRATEFUL and go on with your happy lives largely left alone by a vast majority of people who don't GIVE A RAT what you do in your bedroom.

Conservatives of every stripe should be about free conscience. Even if gays “win” by destroying the definition of marriage, a large majority of people will never be convinced that the relationship they have with each other is “marriage.” You can't control people's beliefs or thoughts, no matter how Orwellian the system. You can only destroy those whom you oppose. Welcome to 1984... or maybe even more apropos - welcome to Babylon.