Conspiracies & Paradigms

I love conspiracy theories. That’s not to say I don’t take them with Jimmy Buffet’s lost shaker of salt; but any good conspiracy theory is, at the very least, a fun bit of alternate history.

“Have a nice flight!”

My favorites are the ones surrounding Denver International Airport. I lived in Colorado for a number of years and flew out of DIA often. It has certain features that just cry out for a colorful explanation. The first thing you see when you approach is a giant anatomically-correct cobalt blue demon horse with glowing red eyes (exactly the kind of thing you want to see when you’re about to board an airplane.) Even better (well.. from the conspiracy angle) is the fact that Blucifer, as locals named him, managed to kill his creator (a piece of the statue fell off and severed the sculptor’s artery.) Once inside the terminal, you’ll find a series of giant murals depicting war, genocide, and rebirth (exactly the kind of thing you want to see when you’re about to board an airplane.) There are also a bunch of statues of gargoyles popping out of suitcases (exactly the kind of thing you— well, you get the picture: The artwork is almost uniformly creepy.)

But it’s not just the art. There are rumors of secret tunnels. The dedication ceremony apparently involved all sorts of Masonic rites. There’s also the mysterious dedication stone, which not only has a number of Masonic symbols, but also attributes the facility’s creation to the “New World Airport Commission,” an organization whose existence has no written record other than the dedication stone itself. We’ll cut the list short there, but DIA has plenty of appetizers for the imagination. This, of course, leads to some rather imaginative explanations for these facts—everything from alien landing pads to Illuminati bunkers.

And that’s the fun part of conspiracy theory: imagination. We all have various paradigms—ways we look at the world which we use to interpret our experiences. Naturally, some of these paradigms turn out to be false or deceptive. We realize this as we begin to notice things in the world that don’t really fit with a particular paradigm. That’s how we moved from geocentricity to heliocentricity—too many celestial observations didn’t really make sense if the sun revolved around the earth. But paradigms are a mental necessity. When one paradigm falls apart, we have to imagine another. And in the early days of paradigm shift, a lot of varied hypothesizing goes on. It’s not terribly strange that some of the hypotheses are going to be fanciful when the most mundane explanation is no longer on the table.

The problem with taking conspiracy theories too seriously, however, is that even in circumstances when we know the official story is untrustworthy, that doesn’t necessarily mean we can know what the real story is. The proliferation of different (often mutually exclusive) theories really underscores this. People who theorize about the JFK assasination all agree that the official lone gunman story doesn’t work, but the alternative stories are all over the place. The Onion’s book, Our Dumb Century has a great headline to this effect: “Kennedy Slain by CIA, Mafia, Castro, LBJ, Teamsters, Freemasons; President Shot 129 Different Times from 43 Angles.” There are a lot of theories and no good way of determining their veracity. In the absence of verifiable facts, speculation rushes in to fill the void. And just like using real money makes gambling more addictive, taking conspiracy theories too seriously makes the speculation more enticing.

When you find yourself in a situation in which you believe that society’s ordinary investagative institutions are untrustworthy, deep investigations become extremely difficult. There’s only so much that one person can do on his own, and crowd-sourcing on something like this has its own inherent limitations. When it comes to the veracity of most conspiracy theories, there are three basic answers. The virtue-signaling answer is “That’s absolutely ridiculous and I’m not the kind of person who would ever believe anything of the kind.” The ego-stroking answer is “I’m one of the few elite minds who has pierced the veil of secrecy and discovered the Truth.” The correct answer is “I don’t know.”

Oddly enough, that’s also an entirely pragmatic response—even when it comes to epic stories of secret societies ruling the world. If there is one, it’s amazing how little it actually matters in your day-to-day choices. Most people don’t have the wherewithal to fight a global conspiracy. And if its a matter of distrusting certain people or institutions, well, it’s almost certainly the case that one believes a conspiracy because he already distrusted the people and institutions involved.

I’ve been thinking about the subject lately because I’ve been reading bits and pieces about “Qanon” and “The Storm” at Vox Popoli. The short version, if you’re unaware, is that there’s been an anonymous poster on 4chan & 8chan referred to as Q (hence Q + anon) who is supposedly a Trump administration insider with (of course) the highest of security clearances. He’s been posting a bunch of breadcrumbs that have been leading people to develop a new conspiracy theory with two key features: First, that there is a globalist Cabal intent on imposing its vision on the world through nefarious means (and is also deeply involved in rather nasty occult practices.) And second, that Trump’s primary goal as president is to expose and prosecute this Cabal in a way that will undermine most of our social & political paradigms (a predicted event referred to as “The Storm.”) There are certainly many more fantastical details, but those are the basics.

Whether or not The Storm is anything more than a wish-fulfillment fantasy, it’s certainly the perfect storm when it comes to conspiracy fodder. For one thing, Q’s posts are generally in the form of open-ended questions that are supposed to lead people in the right direction—the perfect format for engaging the imagination. And they’re posted in a community which makes free speech an absolute that completely dissolves any boundary–whether legal or simply social–so there’s no limit on where the answers to those question might go.

At the same time, we’re living in an era of paradigm shift. Multiculturalism is in its last death throes, and civic nationalism is increasingly unable to function where there’s no clear majority. Western nations are unable to stop accumulating unsustainable debts that can never be payed off. Our society is being torn apart from within by SJW’s who zealously believe things which are more absurd than any conspiracy theory I’ve mentioned and yet can also be debunked by mere casual observation and common sense. As they say, what can’t continue won’t. We may not know what we’re changing into, but we know we’re fundamentally changing.

On top of that, our hyper-elitist ruling class makes it incredibly easy to believe the worst about them. We expect them to lie & cheat, and we are not disappointed. We all pretty much assume that the scandals which make the news are only the tip of the iceberg. Even if you restrict yourself to completely open and mundane information, who can possibly look at people like the Clintons and say, “that all seems perfectly legit”?

And where are our investigative institutions? Journalism is in an absolutely atrocious state. Their monolithic ideological bias and frequent incompetence has decimated their credibility over the past few decades. And ever since the election, Trump Derangement Syndrome has made them look like raving lunatics to boot. As for our legal investigators, the CIA & NSA have always appeared pretty shady; and the veil being torn off the FBI lately has damaged its credibility beyond repair. Our academic institutions are likewise falling deeper into self-parody seemingly every day. We call this the information age, but in some respects, tracking down the truth has never been more complicated.

But when it comes to The Storm, the usual answer suffices: I don’t know. My skepticism naturally rises along with the outlandishness of any given detail, but I’d be lying if I claimed to have any real insight into what powerful people do with themselves all day. The usual answer also remains the pragmatic one. As a Christian, I already believe that Satan, though ultimately defeated, is still in a certain sense “the prince of this world” until the eschaton. How much does it really matter whether or not he uses a Cabal of rich and powerful occultists as his middlemen? While I would love to see any such people brought into the light and made to answer for their crimes, making it happen is not exactly in my wheelhouse—aside from prayer, of course, but I already do that.

A dragonslayer needs to know all about dragons, but that’s not who most of us are. Regardless of whether any conspiracies of this kind are true, most of our jobs remain essentially the same. We strive to be good fathers, mothers, husbands, and wives. We raise our children in the faith and defend them from harm. We serve our neighbors whom God has put in our lives. We exercise the small authorities given to us wisely. We honor the honorable and shun the shameful. And the truth of the matter is, if even most of us did these ordinary things faithfully, there wouldn’t be much power leftover for any Cabal to wield.

Posted in Musings | Leave a comment

A Theory on Mind-Reading

Ever hear guys complain that their wives expect them to be mind-readers? Of course you have, it’s not exactly uncommon. By why would such an absurd complaint be so commonplace? It’s not as though any woman really thinks she’s married to Professor X. I believe a large part of the answer has to do with a conflict between God’s design and the expectations of a feminist society.

God created men and women to compliment one another in marriage, and part of that creation was to make the husband the head of the wife just as Christ is head of the Church. As controversial as that is in 21st century America, we can still observe the reality of it. The fact is, women really do expect men to lead–to the point that they generally find men who are unable or unwilling to take the initiative fundamentally unattractive. This isn’t any kind of conscious choice but an instinctive reaction rooted in her God-given design.

But our feminist culture says exactly the opposite–that a woman should never be in a position of submission to a man and that initiative is domineering. The different ways in which this is drilled into men and women alike are more numerous than the sands on the seashore. So even for godly women, it’s a struggle to really accept God’s teaching on the subject; and far more common in our churches are women who struggle to find ways to reject the teaching instead. The result is that most American women think that submission is not only unnecessary, but actually immoral–an utter rejection of how they’ve been taught to behave.  As a result, many wives are in a position where her instinct requires her husband to lead but her will & intellect simultaneously refuse to submit.

You might be asking how that could possibly work, and the answer is “not very well.” While people can believe contradictions, contradictions can’t actually exist. So wives in this situation are inexorably drawn into various attempts to distort both instinct and belief until they can be made to fit. One of the most common of these is to expect her husband to lead and take the initiative–but only in exactly the way she wants him to. That way, she can get what her instincts demand without actually having to submit to anything at all.

Naturally, that’s a pretty tenuous arrangement, and one has to be very careful not to break the illusion. On one hand, she can never actually tell her husband what she wants–even if he specifically asks her. Neither can she ask him for it. At the end of the day, most husbands actually want to make their wives happy. Being providers by nature, if our wives ask for something, we’ll usually go out of our way to try and provide it. But if she tells him what she wants before he does it for her, then her instinct is no longer satisfied–he’s following instead of leading.

On the other hand, she can never accept what her husband provides unless it either matches or exceeds her expectations. If he takes the initiative in a way she doesn’t immediately approve of, then acknowledging his leadership would require actual submission. When that happens, her offense is doubled. Not only did she not get what she wanted, but everything she’s been taught tells her that initiative of this kind is an assault on her very sense of self. It’s only natural that she would react according to her offense and get upset.

If she deeply commits to this endeavor, a vicious cycle of misery begins. The husband knows something is wrong and tries to figure out what because he cares about her. But the more he tries to coax an answer out of her, the angrier she gets. After all, the closer she gets to actually telling him, the more it feels like he’s failing to lead, and the more she’s tempted to double-down on her strategy. When she does answer, she does so with spite and contempt.  What’s more, Because her bent instincts are demanding that she ask for nothing, she begins to believe that she shouldn’t have to ask for anything in the first place. As this sense of entitlement grows, she grows more resentful at her husband’s failure to understand what she wants. This deepens the offense she feels when he leads “wrongly,” which tempts him to try harder to figure out the problem, and the cycle grows worse.

But what would this cycle look like from the husband’s point of view? Well, he’s not an idiot. He knows that his wife wants things that he isn’t giving her. He also knows that she knows what these things are and refuses to tell him, but expects them all the same. In other words, it seems like she’s expecting him to be a mind-reader. And it fits quite a few cliches–from the whole “What’s wrong? / NOTHING!” dialogue to cyclical arguments about where to go to dinner.

So what can be done about it? Well, a husband in this situation can stop feeding the cycle by constantly trying to figure out what his wife wants. That’s not going to erase her existing sense of entitlement, but it can at least inhibit the growth of resentment on both sides. The key, however, lies with the wife. If she can, as the Apostle Peter instructs, resist her fear and submit to her husband, then she can halt this cycle dead in its tracks. The more she does this, the more she can perceive his leadership & provision as a gift rather than an entitlement. What’s more, she also frees herself to be more open with him about her own feelings and desires without nagging and backbiting, so that he can welcome her input instead of learning to dread it.  Rather than a cycle of misery and entitlement, she can create a cycle of gift and gratitude–and that’s a far better way to live for both spouses.

Posted in Feminism | 1 Comment

Civility is a Social Contract, not a Moral Absolute

My latest piece at The Federalist considers the ethics of civility in uncivil times:

Because civility is not a moral absolute and its form is always adjusting along with culture, it’s requirements are determined primarily by social contract — the kind of behavior we all implicitly or explicitly agree to when interacting with one another. Historically, some of these contracts have been great blessings while others have been reprehensible, but all are, by nature, contracts.

The detail that conservatives tend to forget is that when one party violates a contract, the other party is no longer bound by all of its terms. If you sign a contract to buy a car, and the dealer refuses to turn it over you, you aren’t “sinking to their level” by refusing to hand over your money. If you contract an employee who never shows up for work, you aren’t “repaying evil for evil” by withholding his wages. The same is true when dealing with people who are deliberately uncivil to civil people — it fundamentally changes what the rest of society owes them.

While I’d rather we all be civil with each other, our God-given vocations and love for our neighbor sometimes demands that we be uncivil.  You can read the rest here.

Posted in Ethics, Politics, Tradition | Leave a comment

The Last Jedi & Postmodernism

Do I still have to give a spoiler warning for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ? If so, then consider it given.

I’ve written before about how much I detest this film and why. But while I noted the huge gulf between the critics rating and the user rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I didn’t really get into why the film is so divisive. A lot of people seem to love this movie while a whole lot of other people hate it. That split in opinion seems to correspond pretty well to political ideologies–liberals seem to be the ones that love it while right-leaning people tend to be the ones that hate it. What’s curious, though, is that the movie isn’t really that leftist, politically speaking. I mean, sure there’s the Planet of the One Percent that it gets sidetracked on where no one can be rich without being an arms dealer; and yes, the men of the film tend to get trashed for the sake of making the women look good in comparison; but as contemporary movies go, it’s not that politically stilted. Those conservatives who can’t look past that much in order to enjoy the movie probably aren’t watching contemporary movies at all (though I can’t really blame them). So why do opinions split the way they do?

The answer finally dawned on me while I was listening to one of Vox Day’s old Darkstreams the other day about postmodern literature.  In it, he explains his own epiphany that he tended to dislike the really acclaimed postmodern books because they took a very different approach to writing. Their prose is not meant to be read word for word in order to find meaning. Instead, it’s meant to be skimmed over so that the reader is left with an impression. In other words, they don’t write in order to say particular things but rather to evoke particular feelings. Textual coherence is set aside for the sake of evocative imagery in a kind of “word salad” as Vox put it.

There is something very similar going on in The Last Jedi. Anyone who is looking for a coherent story that comprises a new chapter of a saga that takes place in a fleshed-out universe with an established history is going to be terribly disappointed. From scene to scene, the whole movie is an incoherent mess. It’s incoherent with the original trilogy: For example Luke Skywalker, who had selflessly risked his life to redeem his Space-Hitler father from the Dark Side in the old movies, now straight-up attempts to murder his nephew because Kylo was merely conflicted about the Dark Side. It’s incoherent with the first part of the new trilogy: For example, Luke & Anakin’s old lightsaber is presented as a profoundly significant piece of history in The Force Awakens, but is tossed aside like trash in The Last Jedi. It’s even incoherent with itself: For example, people who (in a universe with auto-pilot) sacrificed their lives by staying behind to pilot ships that were just going to run out of gas and be destroyed anyway. Totally pointless, but they did it twice. (The more noticeable one was Vice Admiral Hair Dye, who explicitly says she has to stay on their last cruiser because someone has to pilot the ship, but does so from the hangar bay while she’s saying goodbye to the very last of the crew who were leaving. In other words, if the ship absolutely had to have a pilot–even for the short time it had left–then who was piloting it while she and literally everyone else was down in the hangar bay? And even when it cuts to her back on the bridge, she’s still just looking out a window and not piloting anything.) Oh, and if you want an exhaustive list of these kinds of problems, try the Anti-Trekker’s lengthy review on Youtube.

But while these scenes made absolutely no logical sense, they did create evocative images. Luke’s attempted murder presented the powerful image of a fallen hero who couldn’t live up to his own legend. The discarded lightsaber subverted audience expectations to create feelings of uncertainty. The captains going down with their ships were images of bravery, dedication, and self-sacrifice. Everything in the film had a purpose inasmuch as it was meant to manipulate the audience into feeling particular ways. So from the postmodern perspective where those kinds of subjective experiences are the only things that really exist, the film hit all the right notes.

And that takes us back to the split opinions along ideological lines.  That postmodern perspective is much more common on the left than on the right. Just look at the world of social justice, and you’ll find evidence of that in spades. It’s all narrative thinking in which the moment-to-moment impressions given by a fluid cultural story are the only things that matter. There’s nothing objectively wrong about asking where a person is from, but it gives an impression of alienation, and so it’s a microagression. There’s nothing racial about the word ‘niggardly’, but it reminds people of a specific slur, and so its racist. The whole “only an enthusiastic ‘yes’ means ‘yes'” standard for sexual assault has no objective meaning, but if a woman gets an impression of rape, then it was rape. Leftists are used to thinking within an incoherent mess of a framework when it comes to reality, so why would that bother them when it comes to fiction?

But the problem (both with the film and the postmodern perspective) is that subjective experiences cannot exist in a vacuum–they need to be tied to an objective reality to be truly meaningful. Sacrifice doesn’t work as a concept without giving up something of real value in exchange for something else of real value. Subverted expectations are just irritation unless the expectation and what actually happens are both organically rooted in reality. Even the image of a fallen hero needs to be under-girded with A) real heroism and B) a fall that proceeds from real flaws actually possessed by that hero.

Just as social justice is a parasite on civilization, The Last Jedi is a parasite on the Star Wars saga. It adds nothing new to it–it cannot, for the very idea of Creation is alien to postmodern philosophy. It merely consumes what came before it to evoke some ephemeral impressions–leaving everyone more impoverished than they were before.

Posted in Culture | 3 Comments

Rhetoric & Indoctrination – Issues Etc. Interview

Issues Etc was good enough to have me on the show again this past Friday.  You can check out the interview here.

Posted in Abortion, Chastity, Culture, Natural Law, Politics | Leave a comment

Keeping Jesus at Arm’s Length

Do you want to learn from Jesus? Or do you simply want to make sure Jesus isn’t stepping on your toes?

The former proceeds from faith. When you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for your sins, its only natural that you’d want to sit at his feet and learn from him.

The latter proceeds from unbelief. You really only care what you yourself believe and–for some reason or another–want the security of thinking that Jesus isn’t contradicting you.

I bring this up because of the all-to-common assertion that “Jesus never taught anything about gay marriage.”

Anyone who wants to learn from Jesus will find out very quickly that this assertion is false. They’ll read Matthew 19, for example, and observe that Jesus roots his teaching on marriage in the fact that God created humans as male and female and that marriage proceeds from this divinely ordained aspect of human nature. They’ll read about Jesus’ repeated & clear teaching that the Old Testament is the very word of God, and they’ll notice what the Old Testament says about homosexual liaisons. They’ll read about Jesus’ promises to the Apostles that the Holy Spirit will lead them into all truth and notice what the Apostles say about homosexual liaisons. In short, anyone who genuinely wants to learn from Jesus is not going to be unaware of his teaching on the issue. They may not like it; they may not really understand why Jesus taught what he taught; but they will rightly understand that Jesus taught that a marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.

In contrast, this reasoning will be entirely opaque to those who–in unbelief–only desire the comfort that Jesus is not disagreeing with them. They will find out that the phrase “gay marriage” does not exist in the Bible and leave it at that. It will never even occur to them that the concept that two men or two women can be married to each other would make many of Jesus’ teachings incoherent. It will never occur to them because they never tried to understand Jesus’ teachings in the first place and so they don’t really need the prerequisite of coherence. With that, Jesus can be safely dismissed and kept out of the way.

But there is no safety in keeping our Savior at arm’s length. And if you find yourself in that latter category because Jesus teachings on this or any other issue make you really uncomfortable, here’s what I suggest: Be honest. Go to Christ in prayer and tell him what you think. Yell at him, curse at him if you must, and demand to know why he’s so hateful or whatever your issue is. He’s God; he can take it. And then, when you’ve got that out of your system, say “Lord… you’re God and I’m not–but I don’t understand. Please help me believe you.” And then, when you have faith in Christ rather than faith in your own feelings of comfort, that faith can begin seeking understanding.

Posted in Chastity, Theology | Leave a comment

The Power of Deceit

Leftist educators indoctrinating our youth in progressive thought is unfortunately a “dog bites man” story these days.  Conservatives, however, still have a tendency to underestimate the power of this indoctrination.  My latest at The Federalist takes a look at the deceptive rhetoric used in the curriculum at a nearby public school district:

Consider what teachers are instructed by the curriculum to tell students regarding pregnancy:

Say to the students, ‘Once a person confirms they are pregnant, they need to decide whether they are going to have the baby and become a parent, have the baby and let someone adopt it, or end the pregnancy (at its earliest stage). The second two options are available for a number of reasons, including that the pregnant person may not feel they would be able to take care of a baby because of their age or life circumstances.’ 

The statement doesn’t explicitly argue in favor of abortion. The word itself doesn’t even show up anywhere in the lesson. One might even claim it’s neutral in that it offers both abortion and adoption as choices. Nevertheless, it frames the issue in a way that brings the entire pro-abortion mindset in through the backdoor—without argument, without evidence, and without even the acknowledgment that any controversy on the subject exists.

To say that a “pregnant person” (we’ll get to that in a moment) has to decide whether “to have the baby and become a parent” presumes that an expectant mother is not already a parent, and that she does not already have a baby. It’s a rhetorical sleight of hand meant to obscure the reality that abortion is a grisly decision mothers make regarding the baby they already have.

The second deception is that the curriculum frames the lifecycle of a pregnancy as though abortion were just one of the natural outcomes. Entirely missing are any of the factual details on exactly how abortion ends a pregnancy—by deliberately killing a helpless and innocent human being. It’s like teaching that death is just a natural part of life when you’re talking about assassination.

Sure, like pregnancy, human lives “end,” but glossing over the moral weight that comes with deliberately choosing to end lives is fundamentally dishonest. Presenting the existence of another human being as some kind of innocuous consumer choice—“You can click ‘okay’ to proceed or ‘cancel’ to end your pregnancy”—is reprehensible. But then, while the teacher might have excluded her own views, Advocates for Youth are happy to force their radical ideas on vulnerable students at taxpayer expense.

Read the rest here.

 

Posted in Abortion, Christian Youth, Culture | Leave a comment

Criticism or Corroboration?

Having once been a regular reader there, I was happy to find that Dr. Gene Edward Veith shared my recent piece on churches’ contempt for men over on his blog.

His last paragraph as he opened it up for discussion particularly caught my eye. The piece obviously attracted a fair amount of criticism, and Dr. Veith’s questions helpfully roll a number of the most common complaints into one place:

And might men deserve to be criticized in this age of absent fathers and callous husbands? After all, if women are initiating most of the divorces, why is that? Shouldn’t a man who is the spiritual head of his family, in whom by virtue of his vocation is hidden Christ in His relationship with the church, prevent that from happening?

But even so, does he still have a point?

Let’s take these questions one by one.

“Might men deserve to be criticized in this age of absent fathers and callous husbands?”

Are we in an age of callous husbands at all? Particularly in comparison to husbands in various cultures throughout recorded history (which, if we’re talking about “ages” is the only applicable standard)? I suspect the answer here is no, in which case men don’t deserve to be criticized for it. Accordingly, I will wait for someone to make a compelling case that contemporary American husbands are particularly callous before I consider adding to that criticism.

Absent fathers, of course, are a different issue; this very much is an age of absent fathers. But before we heap the blame for that on men, we do need to consider why they’re absent. If you look at single-mother households (and exclude widows) there are two main categories:  never married, and divorced/separated.  I can’t find the stats at the moment, but I believe it’s roughly a 50/50 split between these two groups.

Let’s start with fathers absent from a divorced/separated household.  Since a supermajority of divorces are a result of the the wife unilaterally throwing the father out of the house, it’s not as though he is typically choosing to leave.  The more common circumstance is that the father is being forced out by the mother using the power of the state.  Accordingly, it seems a stretch to say that men are broadly to blame for this half of fatherless households.

The other half of fatherless households fall into the “never married” category. Here there is certainly room for blame and criticism towards men. However, the question remains whether this blame should be disproportionate to the blame that is due to women for the same circumstances. At the most basic level, it takes two people to create this kind of situation–a man who sired a child without securing a way to stay in his/her life, and a woman who conceived a child without securing a father for him/her. Men are to blame, but they’re not especially to blame in comparison to women.  If churches are only holding men accountable for fornication, then they’re not doing their jobs properly, and it indeed reveals a problem of contempt for men.

But there are deeper levels as well. Are we to assume that every never married mother actually wants the father in the home? Again, given the divorce situation, that hardly seems like a foregone conclusion. Among the never married single mothers I’ve known (at least the ones for whom I actually know the answer to the question) all but one of them didn’t want the father around. And as for the exception, she only wanted one of the fathers around–the rest she didn’t want around. (And that wanted father was in the household, though he would not get married.)

There’s also the fact that the rampant growth of this category is a result of the sexual revolution, which is largely the fault of feminism.  That’s another odd movement to lay squarely at the feet of men.

So yes, obviously men who voluntarily abandon their children deserve criticism. However, that is not the primary reason we’re in an age of absent fathers. While such men certainly exist, statistics and experience suggest that paternal abandonment is not the norm for fatherless households. The fact that so many people try to present it as the norm actually underscores churches’ contempt for men rather than refuting it.

“After all, if women are initiating most of the divorces, why is that?”

In context with the previous line, the message I’m getting here is a contention that “women initiate most divorces because men are so callous and absent.” I’ll go ahead and answer Dr’ Veith’s question from an article he linked to in one of his earlier blog posts.

“The majority of divorces today occur in marriages not characterized by serious conflict. The most common reasons cited for divorce are problems that affect most marriages, such as ‘growing apart’ and ‘not being able to talk together.'”

This fact challenges the rhetorical question’s presumption in two ways.

First of all, it’s hard to say the man is typically at fault for “growing apart” when the wife is typically the one using the law to enforce a separation, nor for being “unable to talk together” when the wife is typically the one who requires that they speak through lawyers. (You can say that no one is wholly innocent in a divorce–which is accurate corum deo–but that is true of literally every victim of every sin.  Why is divorce the only sin where that fact excuses the perpetrator and dismisses the victim corum mundo in our churches?)

More importantly, however, these majority reasons are by no means Biblical warrants for divorce. Considering what is at stake, that makes these divorces a grievous sin–typically committed against husbands (and their children) by their wives. In what other circumstances is it acceptable to look at the victims of grievous sin and assume that they must have done something to deserve it? If, for example, someone regards a victim of violent rape and assumes she must have been asking for it, it is rightly regarded by most as gross prejudice. I likewise see no reason to categorize the assumption that men usually deserve their divorces as anything other than gross prejudice.

“Shouldn’t a man who is the spiritual head of his family, in whom by virtue of his vocation is hidden Christ in His relationship with the church, prevent that from happening?”

Shouldn’t Christ, who is head of the Church, prevent people from leaving him? And yet, it happens; people make shipwrecks of their faith.  If our omnipotent and omniscient Lord does not always prevent that from happening in the Church, it seems a tall order to uniformly expect it from fallen and sinful mortals in their marriages.

American no-fault divorce is unilateral divorce. It only takes one, and the targeted spouse has no legal recourse to prevent it. You might say he could prevent it by being a better husband, but again that’s a wholly prejudicial assumption. It’s not like Christ could prevent unbelief and heresy by being a better husband to his church, so why should we assume that husbands must always or even typically be able to prevent divorce in like manner?

So do churches harbor contempt for men? At the end of his post, Dr. Veith asks whether I “still” have a point despite the questions he brought up. I would contend that I have a point because of them.

Posted in Feminism, The Modern Church | 6 Comments

Cold Civil War – Exhibit G

If you’ve been on the internet lately, you’ve probably heard about Dan Piepenbring’s absurd piece about Chick-Fil-A in the New Yorker last week.  After all, it’s being very thoroughly lampooned by folks on the right.  And deservedly so.  More than anything else, the piece reminds of a classic episode of NewsRadio where New York radio personality Bill McNeal (Phil Hartman) is stuck in a midwestern airport.  But whereas Hartman expertly hams up the elitist bigotry for comedic effect, Piepenbring seems wholly serious.

But at amusing as it is, the important takeaway isn’t the fact that there’s yet another coastal leftist hipster jumping the shark on snobbery.  Piepenbring is entirely transparent about the reasons he doesn’t want Chick-Fil-A in his town:

The brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism. Its headquarters, in Atlanta, are adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet. Its stores close on Sundays. Its C.E.O., Dan Cathy, has been accused of bigotry for using the company’s charitable wing to fund anti-gay causes, including groups that oppose same-sex marriage.

He hates Chick-Fil-A because he hates Christians.  It really isn’t any more complicated than that.  And it’s not particularly new or rare, either.  Liberals have been consistently uncomfortable with the fast-food chain for a long time now.

But we already knew all that, so why bring it up?

Because any conservative who still thinks talk of a national divorce is overblown needs to ask themselves a simple question:  If leftist bigots are disgusted even with the idea of Christians selling chicken sandwiches, exactly what place do you think they’ll allow us to occupy in society when they’re in charge?

They do not disagree with us; they want to annihilate us.  That makes this an existential conflict.  We need to treat it like one while we still have the freedom to do something about it.

Posted in Culture, Politics | Leave a comment

Issues Etc. & The Federalist

If you haven’t read it yet, my latest piece at The Federalist is about the growing absence of men from Western churches in light of the contempt that they often find there.

When Christians ponder the ongoing departure of men from the church, we have an unfortunate tendency to sound like Hillary Clinton pondering her failed presidential campaign. It’s understandable that Americans would vote against a candidate who holds them in such thinly veiled contempt. It should be just as understandable that men would avoid organizations that are obliviously contemptuous of males.

You can read the rest here.

And if that’s leaving you wanting more, you are in luck.  I had the opportunity to talk about the article on Issues Etc. this afternoon.  You can listen to the interview here.

Posted in Culture, Feminism, The Modern Church, Theology | 2 Comments