#BelieveSomeWomen

This past weekend, an old friend of mine (to whom I have not spoken for awhile) revealed on Facebook that she had been the victim of an attempted sexual assault when she was a teenager. She did so as a show of support for Christine Blasey Ford in her accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. This was news to me and to most people—she indicated that only one other person had been even somewhat aware of her experience.

I don’t believe Ford. I do believe my friend.

Naturally, I began to reflect on that difference. They’re both unprovable accusations of something that happened decades ago. Neither one gave sufficient detail for meaningful corroboration. Both remained basically silent about it for most of their lives until a moment of political significance. So why did I find myself believing one and not the other?

To be sure, there are relevant factual differences at play. For one thing, strictly speaking, my friend’s revelation wasn’t an accusation—she named no one, and her purpose was moral support for someone she sees as a kindred spirit. For another, Ford’s accusation comes with an obvious and powerful political motivation (even *if* she were telling the truth, her goal is entirely political—the removal of a Supreme Court nominee from consideration; otherwise she’d be going to the police instead of Congress.) In contrast, my friend’s revelation is much less so (again, merely moral support for a political figure.) It’s also relevant that Ford’s accusation fits the Democrats’ pattern of 11th-hour allegations of sexual misconduct for the sake of political manipulation that are forgotten the second the moment of election or appointment has passed. Remember the accusations against Donald Trump in October 2016 that we were supposed to think were so monumental? Have you ever heard a peep from any of those people since? And of course, even the small amount of specifics Ford offered have proven faulty upon investigation (e.g. every other eyewitness she named, including her friend, deny her story.)

I won’t labor this point anymore; if you read this blog, you’ve probably read all about this angle elsewhere already.

Besides, the entire reason I’m writing this is because if I’m honest, the factual differences aren’t the most important reason I believe one story and not the other. I can tell because my initial reaction was completely different. When I first heard about Ford’s allegations, my immediate response was to look at the facts and see whether or not they hold up to scrutiny. When I read my friend’s Facebook post, that thought never occurred to me. I just immediately believed her. In other words, I very naturally did exactly what feminists are always commanding men to do—a troubling thought for me, to say the least. So why did I do it? Why the completely different reaction?

It’s because one woman is my friend and the other is not.

Most lies rely on some element of truth in order to be convincing, and the false moral principle of “You must believe all women!” is no exception. While there is no such universal obligation, there are certain relationships and vocations that do bear a similar obligation. When you are, for example, someone’s counselor, confidante, or friend, you have a certain responsibility to be credulous. After all, you can’t really help someone to heal or provide emotional support or be trustworthy without first trusting. This isn’t an inviolable responsibility. You may disbelieve even a friend if enough contrary evidence starts stacking up in front of you, and that disbelief will affect they way you try to help them. But you don’t deliberately go double-checking or corroborating before you decide to believe someone you have those kinds of relationships with.

What the left is doing with the way they’re treating Kavanaugh’s accusers is preying on Americans’ inclinations to be friendly in order to avoid the consequences of the election they lost. They are trying to lay on senators, journalists, investigators, and voters the kinds of responsibilities toward Ford that belong to friends—to uncritically believe for the sake of helping them. That mix-up is perhaps the biggest problem with the circus currently going on in DC.

Like most Americans, I am not Christine Ford’s counselor, confidante, or friend. Neither do I have any desire to be. I have no responsibility to be someone for her to lean on or to help her feel better or deal with whatever trauma she’s experienced. Rather, I’m a citizen and a voter. My responsibility is to exercise my voice and my vote for the sake of selecting good government for this republic. In order to exercise that responsibility well, I must make my decisions on what to believe based on reason, evidence, and sound principles. The same is true for the senators who are weighing Kavanaugh as a candidate for Supreme Court Justice. When subjected to that kind of analysis, Ford’s accusations absolutely do not hold up.

Inasmuch as a person performs these other kinds of vocations they cannot really be a good friend to Christine Blasey Ford. That is one of the reasons responsible people in positions of authority recuse themselves from a decision that deeply involves someone with whom they have a personal relationship. They have two sets of responsibilities that are actually at odds with one another. After a generation of being incessantly told to follow our hearts, too many Americans have become unable to make these distinctions. They rely on what feels right and feels plausible to them instead of on the reason, evidence, and principles that provide our only real hope for responsible government.

The fact that a random American was able to derail a Supreme Court nomination with nothing but her feelings is a testament to just how poorly skilled Americans have become at self-government. And the most significant outcome of this situation may not be whether Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, but whether Americans and our representatives will take this opportunity to regain some political sanity—or decide to double-down on our plunge into the abyss.

So by all means, be a friend to your friends. Believe them. But don’t mistake being a good friend with making good policies. Doing so is a betrayal of those for whom you are responsible.

Posted in Ethics, Musings, Politics | 1 Comment

A Culture of Consent Is Not a Culture of Caring

It’s always frustrating reading something that comes really close to hitting it’s target but still manages to completely miss it altogether. That’s how I felt when reading Courtney Sender’s recent NYT piece, He Asked Permission to Touch, but Not to Ghost.

She describes a recent hookup with a kind of man I never thought could actually exist—one trying to rigorously adhere to an only-yes-means-yes standard of consent who a woman actually wanted to sleep with. From what she describes, he was literally asking her if it was ok to remove each and every article of clothing. (Of course, she doesn’t say that he continually asked whether she had revoked consent during intercourse, so he could still be found guilty of violating an affirmative consent standard.) I’m not going to congratulate fornication, but… I can’t help but be impressed that he pulled it off without seeming like a frightened child.

Naturally, fulfilling even the most outlandish demands of feminists wasn’t enough to avoid her finding fault.

Yet something else about his asking also made me uneasy. It seemed legalistic and self-protective, imported more from the courtroom than from a true sense of caretaking. And each time he asked, it was as if he assumed I lacked the agency to say no on my own — as if he expected me to say no, not believing that a woman would have the desire to keep saying yes.

So in other words, the guy actually managed to make fried ice for her, but she’s still complaining that it’s too tepid.

Irony aside, though, she’s not exactly wrong in her assessment. Affirmative consent certainly is legalistic rather than caring—it has more in common with how computers swap data than it does with how humans relate. In the end, while he may have treated her yes’s as divine oracles, he nevertheless stopped returning her texts and started pretending she didn’t exist after only two hookups. In her conclusion, Ms. Sender comes really close to expressing a fundamental truth about building a “culture of consent.”

In the days and weeks after, I was left thinking that our culture’s current approach to consent is too narrow. A culture of consent should be a culture of care for the other person, of seeing and honoring another’s humanity and finding ways to engage in sex while keeping our humanity intact. It should be a culture of making each other feel good, not bad.

And if that’s the goal, then consent doesn’t work if we relegate it exclusively to the sexual realm. Our bodies are only one part of the complex constellation of who we are. To base our culture of consent on the body alone is to expect that caretaking involves only the physical.

I wish we could view consent as something that’s less about caution and more about care for the other person, the entire person, both during an encounter and after, when we’re often at our most vulnerable.

Because I don’t think many of us would say yes to the question “Is it O.K. if I act like I care about you and then disappear?”

So close, and yet so far. Yes, our expressions of sexuality should promote caring about one another. But caring has nothing to do with consent, and that’s precisely the problem.

Consent Cannot Be Enough

During the sexual revolution, large swaths of our culture decided that sexual morality was irredeemably oppressive and archaic. Accordingly, they worked hard to undermine it and replace it with a simple statement of “everything is ok as long as its consensual.” It was our way of legitimizing all the illicit sex we wanted to enjoy while still forbidding rape. In doing so, we also made our thinking about sex entirely one-dimensional. This kind of reductionistic thinking is entirely inadequate for dealing with something as multi-faceted as human sexuality.

A few years back, I wrote a piece called Ending the Real Rape Culture in which I argued that the way feminists have treated consent as the only relevant facet of sexuality has served to completely dehumanize it. This dehumanization is most easily seen in the extreme examples—that Christmas is “rapey” because of the Annunciation or that parents need to seek consent before changing their baby’s diaper. However, it is just as present in the push for affirmative consent. As Ms. Sender attests, nobody actually wants a sexual encounter that requires explicitly seeking and granting permission at every conceivable escalation. Isolating consent from things like relationships, social expectations, and common sense actually facilitates “rape culture” rather than inhibiting it.

But rape and sexual assault are not the only rotten fruits of this dehumanization of consent. It produces all kinds of misery in our relationships as well. Ms. Sender’s experience that, “Sex makes me feel unsafe, not because of the act itself but because my partners so often disappear afterward” is a pretty typical example of this. It’s amazing how often women who are adamant that they’re empowered hookup-loving feminists are simultaneously disappointed that their no-strings-attached affairs never lead to relationships—to strings.

The problem is not, as Ms. Sender argues, that we think about consent too narrowly and that it should extend to emotions as well. The problem is that we think of nothing but consent—and that itself is too narrow. Feminists myopically focus on consent because they see it as empowering. After all, consent is nothing more or less than permission, and the person who is granting permission is the person who is in charge.

For feminists, power differentials are the key to understanding the world. Specifically, they believe that women are oppressed by men because men have held power over women through much of history and have perpetuated that imbalance by entrenching their power in various social structures. Their solutions, therefore, are always to “correct” this imbalance by giving power to women at the expense of men. That empowerment is the ultimate goal of their every policy, social engineering endeavor, and program. Everything else is secondary–at best, caring for what they would consider the symptoms of male power and at worst, empty rhetoric to gain support for their policies.

The focus on consent is no different. This is most easily seen in the new affirmative consent policies that are being pushed. Critics have pointed out that there is literally no way for the accused to prove innocence under such policies. But proponents remain undeterred because this is ultimately a feature, not a bug. Affirmative consent is specifically designed to empower women by allowing them to penalize any sexual partner who sufficiently displeases them. That’s not part of feminists’ rhetoric—after all, most people recognize this power as rather arbitrary and unjust—but it is an inherent part of their purpose.

But as long as one’s sexual ethics rest solely on a matter of empowerment, sex cannot really be a matter of care. Ms. Sender recognizes this dynamic at play in her hookup. She says of his strict adherence to affirmative consent policies, “It seemed legalistic and self-protective, imported more from the courtroom than from a true sense of caretaking.” This is only natural. She held power from which he needed to protect himself, so he toed the party line he was probably fed in college. Nothing more can come from it because you cannot use power to create a relationship—you cannot force people to care about you.

But when Ms. Sender complains that her hookup didn’t have her permission to ghost her, that’s precisely what she’s trying to do—She’s trying to be in charge of whether or not he cares. No culture of consent is ever going to create caring because empowerment is insufficient to that task. Care proceeds primarily from self-giving rather than from demands.

Sex Is Not All About You

One of the most fundamental aspects to sex is that it takes two. Anything less than that is rightly seen as kind of pathetic. This means that giving is just as important as receiving, which inevitably requires partnership. Despite what feminists are trying to accomplish through slavish devotion to a dehumanized consent, women cannot have sex with men entirely on their own terms. Expecting to get absolutely everything you consent to and absolutely nothing else is radically selfish. There is no real partnership there; and when you treat men as disposable, they are going to treat you the same way. In this way, caring is fundamentally incompatible with hookups. The entire point of hooking up is no-strings-attached sex—an attempt to remove any and all responsibility to another person from the equation.

And yet, this piece and many others inadvertently reveal just how badly many women actually want the strings from which feminists “liberated” them. Despite her insistence on hookups, Sender doesn’t actually want to be abandoned after sex, and I see the same thing in virtually every high-profile piece about hooking up that I read. The example par excellence is “Kristina” from a Rolling Stone profile in 2014. Kristina has two faces. The first, presented by herself and the author is one of an empowered and liberated young woman who is quite satisfied with hookup culture. The other, unintended face is one of despair. Kristina once hoped for a boyfriend before she got used by “frat bros” and is obsessed with weddings and marriage; but she plies herself with alcohol to enable her to hookup with random guys “just looking for someone to bang” who she admits she doesn’t want, all while desperately trying to convince herself that servicing 29 guys and counting is going to lead to marriage somehow. Behold sexual “liberation.”

In examples like these, we see two mindsets at war with one another. On one hand, there’s the natural human impulse towards marriage and family. On the other hand, there’s the feminist indoctrination that marriage and family are snares that keep women from being all that they can be. Our culture imposes on women a moral obligation to radical selfishness that drives hookup culture and staves off marriage and family as long as possible.

Our culture’s prejudice is that it is men who are either too scared or too selfish to make a commitment. After all, it is more often the women who complain about men not manning up and a putting a ring on it. But contrary to our prejudices, the truth is that both sexes are too selfish to commit. We might want commitments, but wanting a commitment is not the same thing as offering one. And offering one is precisely what many young women assiduously avoid. Consider some of the things young women said about themselves in this 2013 NYT piece which celebrates women’s participation in hookup culture.

  • “We are very aware of cost-benefit issues and trading up and trading down, so no one wants to be too tied to someone that, you know, may not be the person they want to be with in a couple of months.”
  • Instead, she enjoyed casual sex on her terms — often late at night, after a few drinks, and never at her place, she noted, because then she would have to wash the sheets
  • Many privileged young people see college as a unique life stage in which they don’t — and shouldn’t — have obligations other than their own self-development.
  • Women at elite universities were choosing hookups because they saw relationships as too demanding and potentially too distracting from their goals.
  • Women say, “ ‘I need to take this time for myself — I’m going to have plenty of time to focus on my husband and kids later,’ ” Dr. Armstrong said. “ ‘I need to invest in my career, I need to learn how to be independent, I need to travel.’ People use this reference to this life stage to claim a lot of space for a lot of different kinds of things.”
  • “‘I’ve always heard this phrase, ‘Oh, marriage is great, or relationships are great — you get to go on this journey of change together,’ ” she said. “That sounds terrible. I don’t want to go through those changes with you. I want you to have changed and become enough of your own person so that when you meet me, we can have a stable life and be very happy.”
  • In Catherine’s view, her classmates tried very hard to separate sex from emotion, because they believed that getting too attached to someone would interfere with their work. They saw a woman’s marrying young as either proof of a lack of ambition or a tragic mistake that would stunt her career.

As before, most of these women are looking for strings—just not yet, and only on their own terms. They want entitlements without responsibilities.

The overwhelmingly common point of view of these women is that their youth, energy, and dreams are far too valuable to waste on a husband and a family. Marriage is only for later on when these treasures have been too used up and abused to be worth anything better. They desire a commitment from men—eventually. However, they don’t offer one. Instead, they work hard to avoid having any skin in the game themselves. They achieve this by squandering what they hold most valuable so that they aren’t tempted to share it with anyone. If men aren’t putting a ring on that, it’s hard to blame them.

And of course, one must once again point out the fact that women’s commitments after marriage leave something be desired as well. The prevalence of unilateral divorce and the lopsided reality that women commit a super-majority of them does much to erode caring and commitment on the other side of marriage.

If You Want Care, Try Chastity

Even when they’re just looking for anonymous sex, people are still looking for love—something apparent in Ms. Sender’s article. Unfortunately, too many women have been taught that genuine, self-giving love is something to abhor. This is certainly part of sinful human nature in men and women alike, but the present reality is that men don’t have to contend with a powerful and entrenched social movement trying to present our selfishness as virtue.

To get past hookup culture and find a culture of caring, we have to move past a culture of consent and empowerment and towards of culture of love. Once you let love in the door, sexual morality necessarily goes far deeper than mere consent. It has to entail self-giving, and therefore the institution of marriage which makes this kind of self-giving reasonably safe. It has to entail commitment and exclusivity—two sides of the same coin—because you cannot truly give a person something that’s been held in common among dozens of people in your youth. It has to entail a mutual respect because you’re so deeply invested in each other.

If you want to be cared for, you must remember that in most circumstances, you cannot be genuinely cared about without actually caring in return. On the contrary, people actively try to distance themselves from those who couldn’t care less. So if, like Ms. Sender, sex is so steeped in loneliness for you that you already dread his departure even as you lie with him, then perhaps you should reflect on the price of your freedom from strings. For the past few generations, we have been slowly trading away caring in exchange for sexual license. And like most forms of hedonism, it’s made us feel great for about 5 minutes and terrible in the long run. Anyone who is interested in a loving marriage would do well to consider actually saving themselves for it.

Posted in Chastity, Ethics, Feminism | 9 Comments

There Is No World in Which Parenthood Requires No Sacrifice

Is ending poverty the best way to end abortion? If people were really serious about being pro-life, would they support new social welfare programs?

It’s a common piece of rhetoric from the pro-abortion left–usually intended to cast shade on the character and motivations of the pro-life movement. But occasionally, it comes in the form of friendly fire from the few remaining pro-life Democrats. It’s the latter that you can find in a recent blog post at the Jagged Word in which Graham Glover questions the integrity of pro-lifers who don’t support his social programs:

But if you really hate abortion, if you really want the hundreds of thousands of abortions that occur every year in America to end, then you should support policies and laws that end, or at least seek to radically reduce, poverty.

If America is truly is a Pro-Life nation, then our policies and laws should focus not only on making most abortions illegal. Rather, they should focus first and foremost on ensuring that women are not forced to make such a life-altering decision.

To that end, I want you to imagine a different America. An America whose policies and laws support life well beyond the act of making abortion illegal.

Imagine if every American woman who was pregnant didn’t have to worry about how she was going to pay for her and her child’s medical care during and after the pregnancy. If you can imagine this, then you can imagine a nation that insures every one of its citizens from conception to death.

Imagine if every American woman who was pregnant didn’t have to go to bed at night wondering how she was going to feed herself and her child during and after the pregnancy. If you can imagine this, then you can imagine a nation that guarantees a living wage to every one of its citizens.

Imagine if every American woman who was pregnant didn’t have to be anxious about how her pregnancy will affect her career. If you can imagine this, then you can imagine a nation that has more generous maternal leave policies and begins to have a serious conversation about paternal leave.

Imagine if every American woman who was pregnant didn’t have to rely solely on the income of her unborn child’s father to provide for them. If you can imagine this, then you can imagine a nation that finally addresses the gross income disparity between men and women.

And finally, imagine if every American woman who was pregnant but wasn’t sure if she was ready to be a mother had the assurance that her child would be placed into a loving foster or adoptive home. If you can imagine this, then you can imagine a nation that puts is money and its rhetoric where its mouth is by radically expanding foster and adoptive services and supporting them in ways far beyond what our budgets currently allot.

If the millions of Americans that hate abortion can imagine these things, if we can support policies and laws that make these things a reality, then maybe, just maybe, more women will choose not to have an abortion. And that’s what the Pro-Life Movement is truly about. A culture that supports life. A culture that encourages life. A culture that enriches life.

Hate abortion? Me too. Hate abortion? Then support policies and laws that end poverty.

Given that it’s a Christian blog, I suppose thinking you’ll end poverty also means imagining that Jesus never told us the poor would always be with us.  But let’s ignore that for a moment and focus on the heart of the question:  Is the pressure created by poverty the primary reason people abort?

If you look at the world primarily through the lens of sob stories, then this argument will be compelling because you’ll see abortion the same way:  Women in horrible situations forced to make a kind of Sophie’s choice between murdering their children or ruining their lives.  But if you could provide enough support that having a baby  wouldn’t strain her resources, then you could relieve some of that pressure and remove or at least reduce the temptation to abort.

There is one glaring problem with this point of view, however:  We cannot imagine children who don’t require tremendous self-sacrifice from their parents.  Abortion, on the other hand, is fundamentally selfish.  It is simply killing your own child so that you may continue to live as you wish.

Having children is always both extremely rewarding and extremely difficult.  They interrupt our lives in a radical way and completely reorient our priorities away from ourselves and towards them.  There are many ways to raise children, but none of them entail living the same way you lived before they were born.  In a very real sense, parents have to give up everything for our kids–our time, our talents, our treasure–and we only ever recover a portion of that.  And that’s true whether we’re poor, middle class, or wealthy.  If we could avoid that sacrifice at all, it would be at the expense of being disengaged from their children’s lives and therefore missing out on this great blessing which dwarfs what we possessed before they were born.  Parents will always need to be selfless because children are a treasure that we can only acquire at great price.  Moving someone up the economic ladder changes very little about this reality.

Nowhere is this made clearer than in Glover’s suggestion that we “Imagine if every American woman who was pregnant didn’t have to be anxious about how her pregnancy will affect her career. If you can imagine this, then you can imagine a nation that has more generous maternal leave policies and begins to have a serious conversation about paternal leave.”  Our children will always affect our careers no matter how long our leave periods are.  Does working overtime stop being problem if we only returned to work when our children were 4 years old?  Do we no longer need flexibility in our schedule once they turn 7?  Do we stop considering how our career decisions affect our family when they’re 12?  If you are willing to murder your own child for the sake of an unaffected career, then there is no amount of social assistance that will make this temptation bearable for you.

In the face of the enduring sacrificial commitment that loving your children entails, all these policies are a matter of plucking a few proverbial straws off of camels’ backs.  None of them change the fundamentally sacrificial nature of parenthood or the fundamentally selfish nature of abortion.

Now, one might object that even removing a few straws will prevent a few backs from being broken.  I do think it’s plausible to believe that there would be the occasional circumstance when the rendered assistance is just enough to tip the scales away from choosing death.  Should we then pursue these policies because saving even a few lives is worth any price?

The problem is that those straws aren’t just disappearing.  These policies do nothing but take the straws off of some backs so that they can be lain on others.  For every occasional abortion prevented because of a generous leave policy, another abortion will happen because the mother is working too much overtime to handle a child. For every occasional abortion prevented because of welfare, another abortion will happen because the people tasked with paying for other people’s children feel as though they can’t afford one of their own.  If, as Glover supposes, a lack of resources is the primary motivation for abortion, then the cost of policies that take resources from people and give them to others will be measured in lives as well as dollars.

But the problem doesn’t end there.  This isn’t our first rodeo, and we’ve seen exactly what leftists do when their policies fail to bring about the desired results.  When the Glovers of the world get their policies enacted and see that the poor remain with us and abortions continue to be committed, they nearly always respond by doubling-down on those policies.  Make the leave policies more generous!  Spend more on health care!  Redistribute more straws!  In the end, the various costs of these programs will become so high that poverty will increase rather than decrease and–by Glover’s logic–increase abortions rather than decrease them.

But as we’ve already noted, Glover’s logic is flawed.  It is not poverty, but rather selfishness that causes abortions because parenthood is never cheap.  And what’s the most effective way of making people more selfish?  Giving them a strong sense of entitlement.  And that is what lies at the heart of Glover’s policies–reinforcing the belief that people are entitled to generous leave policies; reinforcing the belief that women are entitled to equal pay for unequal work; reinforcing the belief that we’re entitled to never be economically uncomfortable.  Being the sinner I am, I know very well how painful entitlement and self-centeredness make parenthood.  Whetting our appetites for self by trumpeting that we aren’t handed enough free stuff to be parents makes the temptation to abortion incalculably greater.

So the aspersions that Glover and others cast on pro-life conservatives fall flat.  Not only can you really truly oppose abortion without embracing leftist social policies, you can do so a lot more effectively.

Posted in Abortion | Leave a comment

Holding Themselves Hostage

Awhile back, I saw a video of Jordan Peterson being confronted by some LGBT activists over the issue of “misgendering.” If you’re blissfully unaware, misgendering happens when a person claims a gender (whether real or invented) that is not rooted in biological reality & demands that he be addressed according to his claim, but someone around him doesn’t play along and addresses him according to biological reality rather than gender. In other words, it happens when someone uses the word “he” instead of “she” to refer to a man who thinks he’s a woman. Dr. Peterson’s rise to popularity was in large part due to him speaking out against the kind of authoritarian speech codes that demand such submission, so he naturally attracted a lot of controversy.

One of the arguments that’s leveled against him in the video is that there are trans people who are killing themselves because of misgendering, and so if people don’t start using he, she, xe, zir, thon, and so forth on demand, then they’re effectively responsible for these deaths. Peterson correctly points out that this kind of rhetoric makes dialogue impossible, but he doesn’t really unpack the “why” of it. Nevertheless, because this is a line I hear come up over and over, it got me thinking: what exactly is wrong with this kind of discourse?

Ultimately, this is one of the arguments that Social Justice Warriors use because it excuses their own fanaticism and lack of perspective. It’s a matter of life and death! People are dying in the streets every day! SJW’s sincerely believe that every time they call someone afflicted with gender sanity a bigot, they are saving lives. Every time they punch a “Nazi” (i.e. anyone who fundamentally disagrees with them), they think they are doing the work of angels.

And the rhetoric of it all catches the rest of us off-guard. Like the old loaded question about when you stopped beating your wife, the frame of the argument prevents rational discourse on the subject. Its assumptions bear the accusation of murder (or at least accessory to murder), and so every reason for not adopting the meaningless babble surrounding the innumerable proposed genders sounds like some kind of excuse for killing an innocent. But if the rhetoric is deceitful, then there’s no reason to abide by it. So let’s step back out of that frame and see whether their reasoning makes sense in analogous situations that aren’t so politically charged.

There are, for example, plenty of teenagers who have threatened to kill themselves if their girlfriend or boyfriends broke up with them–and there are too many who actually followed through. But that threat absolutely does not create any responsibility on the part of those significant others to maintain a romantic relationship with such an unstable person. No one has a right to abuse compassion and strong-arm another person in such a fashion. Likewise, if a mugger were to come up to you and demand your wallet but points his gun at himself instead of you, there is still no legal, ethical, or moral obligation for you to simply hand it over. Neither is there a social expectation that anyone would hand it over, which is probably why this strategy is confined to classic comedies.

So if a transgender person holds himself hostage in the same way and demands neologistic pronouns, phony affirmations, and other forms of patronization from the people around him who keep inadvertently reminding him of reality, it is not they who are a danger to him, but rather he who is a danger to himself. If there is no obligation to surrender your ongoing affection or your money in this kind of auto-hostage situation, how much less of an obligation is there to surrender something even more valuable like your integrity or the truth?

And really, I suspect there are no few transgenders who aren’t terribly happy when their self-appointed spokespeople put them in this category. Nobody thinks very highly of the crying teenage boy desperately trying to hang onto a girl who no longer likes him. Why would people who already have plenty of issues with public perception want to be portrayed in the same way?

Nobody wants trans people to die, and whether or not you play another person’s pronoun game is for each individual to decide in the context of their relationship with that person–its not a matter to be resolved by petty tyrants flexing their muscles. But when somebody is holding a gun to their own head, don’t let their rhetoric trick you into thinking your finger is the one on the trigger.

Posted in Ethics | Leave a comment

More on Theological Liberalism @ Issues Etc.

Issues Etc. was good enough to invite me back to talk about my last blog post.  You can listen to the interview here:

2182. The Theological Direction of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – Matthew Cochran, 8/6/18

Posted in Theological Liberalism | Leave a comment

Just Stay Ahead of the Wind

A gaggle of geese. A parliament of owls. A coven of ELCA Bishops?

That’s certainly the impression I get from a recent interview for Religion News Service. In it, the ELCA’s newest batch of six female “bishops” discuss their goddess, whom they apparently keep locked up in the basement:

Bishop Susan Briner of Southwestern Texas Synod declared: “Because I’m telling you what, the Spirit is up to something …”

And the other bishops responded: “Amen. Yes, she is.”

And Briner said: “… if we would just let her out.”

The bishops then responded: “Let her out. Get out of her way.”

Then Briner said: “Open the doors and let her out.”

And her fellow bishops concluded: “She’s out! She is loose!”

Oh no! She’s loose!  Call the authorities!  Well, if their goddess is so weak that a handful of usurpers in vestments can restrain her from action, color me unimpressed.

Mark Tooley, in his solid commentary on the interview at Juicy Ecumenism, makes the following “personal prophecy:”

“In about 15-20 years, when these bishops and other current Mainline elites are retired, and their denominations have further shrunk to a fraction of their current size, a new generation of leadership will recognize the disaster and embrace orthodoxy as the only hope for rejuvenation. They will seek to resurrect great ecclesial traditions by which time evangelical nondenominationalism may have run its course.

I hope and pray so.”

Certainly, we should always hope and pray for repentance. Nevertheless, the prospect that closer proximity to the ELCA’s imminent death will cause them to change direction makes a questionable assumption: that death isn’t exactly what they’re looking for. Satan has always sought the destruction of God’s Church, and that’s what his minions pursue whether they realize it or not. Theological Liberalism is a parasite, but the fact that it kills its host is a feature, not a bug.

Neither can I think too much of the prospects for these women’s successors turning the tide. After all, what kind of leaders are going to willingly submit themselves to these heretics for the next 15-20 years while there exist “great ecclesial traditions” in denominations that don’t worship pagan goddesses? Orthodox Christians would never submit to that in the first place, and its unlikely that a steady diet of heresy will somehow convert their future leaders to orthodoxy. (And if you’re among those who believe that the importance of submission to your bishops exceeds the gravity of ubiquitous false teaching and heresy, then why haven’t you already crossed the Tiber or the Bosporus? Rome and the East both have far weightier ecclesial traditions than any mainline denomination.)

Here’s my own personal prophecy: In about 15-20 years when the bulk of these organizations shut down, the leftovers will disperse like spores to join other denominations with similar ceremonies and ecclesial trappings. And when they root themselves in their new hosts, they will start whispering the same poison that ravaged their dead congregations.

So yes: hope and pray for them. But also be vigilant when they move on to us–prepared to shut them down the moment they start trying to gain influence in our congregations. Be wary when those small innocuous changes first start being proposed–when they really love your congregation but wish it was just a little bit more like their old one that euthanized itself.  God has blessed us with the opportunity to learn from history. Let’s not squander it.

(Classical reference in headline, as they say on Instapundit)

Posted in Theological Liberalism | Leave a comment

Stop Shaming Men for Valuing Virginity

Look out: People are outraged on the internet!

Sorry; I should probably be more specific. A week or two ago, Lori Alexander wrote a blog post entitled “Men Prefer Debt Free Virgins Without Tattoos.” And predictably, a lot of Christian feminists got very very upset.

Now, as generalizations go, that title is about as accurate as you can get. The debt-free part is a no-brainer. (If you’d seriously rather be in debt than out of debt, I’d be happy to help you out; I look forward to receiving your monthly installments.) Tattoos are more complicated than I’d like to get into at the moment, but for now let this suffice: Like most art, a tattoo always makes a statement; and like much art, a tattoo always says a whole lot more than was intended–and it does so loudly.

But it’s really the virgin part that’s getting under people’s skin despite being another no-brainer. When considering a prospective wife, men absolutely prefer virgins. It’s a generalization, which means there are exceptions; but men who genuinely wish their wives had slept with a few more guys before they wed have got issues. The fact that Christians are getting outraged over this is a sad testament to the state of chastity in the Church.

If you’d like the rhetorically effective response to this outrage, this anonymous piece at The Federalist does the trick perfectly. (And since there have already been several speculations on the subject, no, I didn’t write it.) But if you’d like a dialectically effective response (i.e. a logical explanation for why is this outrage is woefully inappropriate) then read on.

So the big objection seems to be this: Because we’re forgiven by Christ, how can a Christian man possibly hold fornication against a prospective wife? The fact that so many Christians answer “he can’t!” reveals how badly we confuse righteousness coram deo (before God) and righteousness coram mundo (before the world.)

These two kinds of righteousness are according to the same moral Law, but because they involve different judges, they have different standards and consequences. Coram deo, one needs to keep the law absolutely perfectly in even the smallest detail because God is holy. Coram mundo, one need only be “a basically good person” because we’re all sinners and can therefore only be so strict without being both hypocritical and tyrannical. Consequently, our only hope of righteousness coram deo is the perfect imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, blotting out all of our sins before God and forgiving us of every penalty. But does this forgiveness also remove all penalties for sin coram mundo?

Let’s parse out that question using another sin: murder. Now, coram deo, even hating your brother is murder while coram mundo, only literal murder is murder; so to be clear, we’re going with literal murder here. What shall we do with a repentant murderer who is forgiven by Christ? Coram deo, he is completely forgiven and escapes eternal punishment because Christ was punished in his stead. The victim receives retribution but the murderer is nevertheless shown mercy.

Coram mundo, however, even repentant murderers still face temporal penalties. Open contrition and repentance might mitigate sentencing or qualify someone for earlier parole, but it’s not like receiving absolution from a prison chaplain gets you immediately released—nor should it. Temporal punishment and consequences carry the burden of civilization along with them. As sinners, we need to be disciplined by the law so that we aren’t constantly going about raping, murdering, and robbing one another. Even when we forgive one another our sins, many of the consequences of those sins remain—both by circumstance and by deliberate choice.

So coram mundo, even Christ’s forgiveness does not immediately annihilate every temporal penalty and consequence for sin—not for murder, and not for fornication. Forgiveness coram mundo doesn’t mean everyone should overlook your character flaws any more than it means the miraculous healing of your STD’s.

But that’s all pretty obvious—even if the specific theological terms are unfamiliar. So why are so many Christian women missing the boat on this? The source of the confusion lies in the fact that righteousness coram mundo requires us to overlook peccadilloes all the time. Calling out people for every little white lie, every inappropriate look, or every slightly rude gesture would require a perpetual state of outrage. Just look at any SJW to see how destructive (and exhausting) that is. So many women take the opinion that unlike our example of murder, a history of fornication is just another peccadillo. If repentance can mitigate penalties for murder, surely it means mere fornication can be overlooked altogether—especially in our culture where its so normalized that normal people don’t even use words like ‘fornication’ anymore.

But here’s the problem: while a spouse’s virginity is a small matter to women, it really isn’t a small matter to men. Men value a woman’s virginity in a way that women do not. To be sure, women can learn to value a man’s sexual purity—and women with traditional upbringings have a tendency to do so—but men instinctively value a woman’s sexual purity. We don’t have to be taught on the matter.

This shouldn’t come as a terribly big surprise. Parents are, by design, bound to our offspring. When you go into a modern maternity ward, they have all sorts of redundant measures in place to make sure that the baby you go home with is the same baby you brought in because babies are irreplaceable. A parent doesn’t just want a baby, he wants his baby. Losing your child in this way would be horrifying. Well, in a very real sense, this is precisely what happens when a wife cuckolds her husband.

Outside of science fiction scenarios, when a woman gives birth, there’s no real doubt as to whether or not its her baby. The same is not true for fathers. You can look for family resemblance or maybe do genetic testing, but at the end of the day, the way most of us know our children are ours is through trusting the mother. The primary basis for trusting anyone is through their character as demonstrated by past behavior and reputation. Because of this, fornication and promiscuity invariably degrade that incredibly important trust. It makes perfect sense that men would be far more inherently sensitive to these matters.

Fornication has severe implications for the durability of marriage as well. Marriage is far-and-away the biggest risk most men will ever take in their lives. The risk of divorce is as high as 50%. Between 60% and 80% of divorces are initiated by wives. The consequences of divorce as determined by our family court system are heavily weighted against men. They stand to lose not only their wives, but access to their children, their homes, and a huge chunk of their future income. When the overall risk of divorce is so high and the consequences so severe, it makes perfect sense for men to want to mitigate that risk.

As it turns out, study after study shows that a woman’s sexual history makes a huge impact on that risk. According to IFS’ recent analysis of CDC data, when marrying a virgin bride, the risk of divorce within 5 years is only about 5%. That quadruples to around 20% when the bride has had a single premarital partner, and increases to between 25-30% as the partner count remains in the single digits (it goes further up from there). Now, with their data also showing the proportion of virgin brides since 2000 at about 11% (and falling), that’s not exactly an easy option. Nevertheless, the legitimacy of men’s preference is clear, and the rarity of virginity only makes it that much more valuable to marriage-minded men.

Not only are men’s instincts on the matter pragmatic, they are far more in line with the Bible than women’s. Scripture consistently treats sexual sin as a big deal. Paul marks it out as being especially heinous in 1 Corinthians 6. What’s more, when it comes to the more significant spiritual matters of idolatry and unbelief, sexual sin is the go-to imagery used throughout the Bible. It’s always described as whoring after other gods or committing adultery with them. The consequence of marriage being an image of Christ and His Church written into fundamental human nature is that violations of marriage through sexual sin are especially bad.

Now there is a class of men that isn’t terribly bothered by a woman’s promiscuity: men whose own partner counts dwarf those of most women they encounter. They usually don’t even wonder about sexual history. Naturally, there’s a catch. These men are, ipso facto, the ones who A) find women inherently replaceable and B) have plenty of options to choose from. Their trust isn’t based so much on a woman’s character, but rather on an unspoken threat point: If she betrays him in any substantial way, he will kick her to the curb without a second thought and trip over several better women as soon as he turns around. Because of this, they’re not particularly inclined to faithfully marry in the first place. On top of that, their myriad of options means very high competition. Unless women bring something exceptional to the table like super-model good looks, these men aren’t really a practical option for most women.

Given the state of sexual mores in America, I don’t doubt that confronting the obvious truth that men prefer virgin wives hurts a lot of feelings. It’s natural to feel disappointment and even shame upon learning that you flushed a winning lottery ticket. But most of our lives have too many squandered opportunities, and we mustn’t take these realizations in unhealthy ways. First, it’s no reason to despair—the happiest course of action is always to make the best of what you have, no matter what injuries you’ve sustained. Second, it’s certainly no reason to hide this reality from other women who haven’t yet made these same mistakes and thereby injure them as well. And finally, it’s no reason to shame men for instinctively recognizing this reality. We are most certainly better served by listening to those instincts.

Posted in Chastity, Feminism, The Modern Church | 3 Comments

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. But 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 | 3 Comments

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