Sex is About Making Babies

Now that the left is trying to cope with the possibility that sex may result in a child–without the option of using murder as a do-over–it seems our culture needs a refresher on one of the basics: Sex is (and always has been) all about making babies.

It’s a strange time to live in when such a simple and obvious contention seems so ridiculous to so many. But then, I remember a time in my life when I thought the same. Like most of my generation, I was trained to think that knowing how to avoid pregnancy was the most important thing to know about sex. Having children didn’t exactly come to mind otherwise in pursuit of it in my younger years. And because I imbibed the mechanical thinking of modernism, I presumed that even by the standards of chastity, the exceptions (e.g. barren married couples) unequivocally disproved the rule.

But just as gravity still pulls you to the ground even if you don’t believe in it, so too does the procreative nature of sex exert its influence regardless of our errant thoughts.

It persists in how attraction works. Physically speaking, most of what men and women find attractive has to do with fertility in one way or another. Men, for example, generally appreciate youth and health in women because that’s where the fertility window lands. Women generally appreciate strength and fitness in men because they need support in the long time it takes to bring children to maturity.

The same holds true psychologically. Women tend to be sexually repulsed by weak & insecure men because their instincts are telling them that if they were to have a child with such a man, it would die. Likewise, men prefer debt-free virgins without tattoos because they want to be able to trust that their mate’s children are also their own.

Even when such impulses aren’t part of our conscious deliberations, they remain active. Women generally put on blush because they think it makes them look good, not because they think it makes them look aroused. And yet, simulated arousal is ultimately why blush makes them look “good.” Young men generally work out because they want to be strong & healthy and to look good, not because they think it will make them a better father. And yet, their strength and health are important to their household, which it why being fit looks “good.” And because so much of this takes place instinctively, it doesn’t go away if we decide not to have children. The successful career woman who wants wine & cats instead of children doesn’t suddenly find weak and insecure men attractive just because she doesn’t really need their provision anymore.

But what our psychology whispers subconsciously, our biology screams. Sex makes babies; that’s it’s biological purpose. It’s so obvious that a society like ours which hates children has to come up with an unprecedented variety of potions, pills, equipment, and techniques to try and subvert that purpose. And despite all of that effort, sex is so good at making babies that millions of them are murdered in the womb by those who falsely believed sex wasn’t about making babies.

Recognizing that the reproductive system is for reproducing shouldn’t be any more controversial than recognizing that the respiratory system is for breathing or that the circulatory system for circulating blood. And yet it is. Because behind that harmless and clinical word, “reproduction” lies the awesome power to create new human beings. And with that great power comes the great responsibilities of caring for them and remaining united to the one whose flesh and blood you now share in your children.

For those with no faith even in Providence, these responsibilities are too terrifying to behold. And so, they desperately try to make reality go away and leave them in peace. Accordingly, many people work hard to come up with objections that will give them the authority to have sex without the responsibility to care for their own children. Let’s look at just a few of them:

“Sex isn’t about making babies because 99% of sex acts don’t result in conception!”

This one is the “missing the forest for the trees” objection. They look at sex too granularly–as a collection of discrete “acts” rather than a living whole–because they’re too narrow-minded to appreciate that whole.

It’s akin to saying that gardening isn’t about growing plants because most acts of gardening don’t result in germination. So what? Planting and watering result in germination; tilling, weeding, fertilizing, and pruning don’t. But all of them are done for the sake of growing plants well. Plants have a life cycle that would not exist without germination but encompasses far more than that.

Humans also have a life cycle–and it’s a long one. It takes about 18 years for sex to finish coming to fruition. While only one specific sex act resulted in a child’s conception, the process doesn’t stop there. The child still needs to gestate for nine months. After that, he or she still needs to learn to walk, to speak, to work, and so forth. And throughout all that time, the mother and father need to maintain their relationship because children need both parents. Sure a child can survive with only one, just like they could survive with only one lung or a faulty heart or with brain damage. But there’s a reason the outcomes for single-parent households are so dismal.

Children need their parents’ marriage. A mother and father are bound forever by their flesh & blood even if they refuse to live as husband and wife. But a good parent will do absolutely everything in their power to fulfill that unity and make their marriage work. Marriage is a sexual relationship. And because humans take so long to mature, that relationship needs to persist throughout the various natural fertility changes in life: a woman’s monthly cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, and so forth. Accordingly, there will always be many sexual events that don’t result in conception. Nevertheless, sex is still about having babies because just like gardening revolves around growing plants, marriage revolves around creating a family.

And by the way, there have been many Christian theologians through the centuries who made this same mistake in the opposite direction. They’ve tried to forbid certain sexual activities between husbands and wives because they can’t result in conception. But even though they come to the opposite conclusion of a pagan looking for sexual license, they’re making that same error of missing the forest for the trees. Marriages should be fruitful, yes. But marriages in which the husband and wife actually enjoy one-another are going to be more fruitful in the long-run. Kissing your husband before work or playfully smacking your wife’s bottom don’t result in conception by themselves, but things like that build and maintain a loving relationship which will result in not only conception, but joyfully raising a family together. Same goes for sexual acts in the bedroom that don’t result in conception.

“Sex isn’t about having babies because the barren and the elderly get married and have sex even though they *can’t* have kids”

In engineering, one often goes by Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s famous saying, “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” By that rationale, this argument makes sense. Children can be taken away, therefore they are irrelevant to the design. The trouble is, humans aren’t machines, and we aren’t engineered like them. You don’t reach the essence of humanity by stripping away parts. Many people have lost arms and legs, for example, but we don’t therefore conclude that limbs are irrelevant to the human condition. Likewise, losing the ability to have children doesn’t mean they are irrelevant to sex and marriage.

One could ask why the barren get married in the first place, and the answers wouldn’t be too surprising: love, companionship, sex, partnership in life, and so forth. Those are all good reasons. But the next inquiry should be why marriage provides these things. And the answer is something we just covered: All of these things which develop a husband’s and wife’s relationship also serve to provide children with the parenting that they need.

Those who are involuntarily barren are already keenly aware of this fact.  They usually mourn that they cannot fill this place in their lives which nature has already prepared for them. Many such couples end up adopting children instead so that they may have a family related by love if not by blood. It is similar for those who marry later on in life–past the age of bearing children. They may not grow their families through new births, but they tend to become step-mothers, grandfathers and so forth to the families their spouse raised earlier in their lives. It still revolves around family.

When all is said and done, marriage isn’t only about creating a family, but it encompasses those other things because marriage is about creating a family. So even in these cases, sex is still all about having babies.

“Sex isn’t about having babies because gay sex isn’t about having babies!”

It does seem that way at first glance. Gay sex is certainly sterile by its nature, after all. But that’s only because in certain respects, gay sex has more in common with masturbation than with the real thing.

The word sex implies male & female. That’s why, when organisms reproduce solo, we call them asexual–without sex. Likewise with homosexuality, we’re talking about a couple that only possesses one sex between them. It’s incomplete; only half of the human reproductive system is present. Sure, that half is stimulated in ways that vaguely resemble what happens when both halves are present, but it’s ultimately a simulation.

Well, simulated sex is usually called masturbation. Maybe it’s a simulation with half the reproductive system plus a hand and an imagination. Maybe it’s a simulation with half the reproductive system plus pornography. Maybe it’s a simulation with half the reproductive system plus a sex toy. Maybe it’s a simulation with half the reproductive system plus another instance of that same half. But anyway you slice it, it’s incomplete. There’s still a void where the opposite sex should be.

But even so, it’s still a simulation of something that’s about having babies, and that’s abundantly clear even among homosexuals. The push to pretend two men or two women can be married should make that obvious enough–an enforced layer of pretense to make that void seem a little less empty. Or look at the photoshoot that Pete Buttigieg and his partner had for the babies they acquired. They’re laying there in hospital beds they had no need of and holding babies they purchased rather than delivered. It’s a deliberate simulation of motherhood minus the mother. So even in the extreme perversion of homosexuality, the echo of sex’s true nature is still very apparent.

Sex is all about having babies. That is a brute fact of human nature. What we do with that fact comes down to a simple question: Do you love your humanity or hate it?  Those who hate their humanity will try to dissect it and keep only what they like. But in doing so, they’re only cutting away swaths of who they are. Attacking one’s own nature is inevitably an act of self-hatred whose logical conclusion is suicide.

But those who love their humanity have an opportunity to live and to grow instead. They know it is a gift of God, so they will learn to love sex precisely because He designed it to offer life instead of death. They will also learn to respect it according to the awesome power of creation inherent in it. In other words, they will learn to be chaste. And in learning to love that part of human nature, they will learn to love themselves as well–not according to selfish and sinful desire, but according to what God has created and called us to be in the first place.

Posted in Abortion, Chastity, Ethics, Family, Natural Law | 5 Comments

Overturning Roe Will Breed Conflict; Embrace It and Win

“We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Inscribe these words on your heart, Christian. And understand that they are not an aphorism–a vague statement that things generally work out for the best for the good guys. As Luther recognized, these words are fate. They are destiny. Pain, suffering, an evil world, and even Satan himself cannot help but work on your behalf. No matter what you may suffer, it will work to your benefit. The forces arrayed against us are not only helpless to prevent it, they are your involuntary allies.

That will be important to keep in mind, because with this potential overturning of Roe v. Wade, the demons are going to rage. They will react to the prospect of losing their blood sacrifices the way we would react to being unable to breathe: thrashing about and desperately attempting to get air again. Some of it will make sense. Some of it won’t. All of it will be aimed at our destruction. None of it will truly harm us in the end.

So don’t lose your nerve.

Republicans are going to want to cuck on this because that’s what Republicans do. Some are terrified of being called extremists. Others think that if they actually deliver on abortion, no one will need them anymore. Others worship the same demons as the Democrats. Either way, they will attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by seeking some kind of compromise. They may even succeed. Our job is to make sure that it’s career suicide for every last one of them who does. Yes, even if it means that the Democrats win the seat for awhile. It’s better to fight the enemy in front of you than contend with an enemy stabbing you in the back. If elections matter at all, then refusing to vote for the traitors is an effective use of them. Even a loss would be an opportunity to clean house.

Democrats are going to throw a fit on this because that’s what Democrats do. Prepare for an even bigger round of mostly peaceful protests. Prepare for false flags to defame and vilify pro-lifers. Prepare for sob stories. And as they suddenly become biologists who know what a woman is and wax poetic about the sanctity of bodily autonomy, remember that they are neither idiots nor hypocrites. They are inveterate liars who operate with zero good faith. You cannot reason or compromise with them. Respect means treating someone as though they are what they are]. So in the case of SJW’s, respect means treating them with pure contempt. Respect means treating them as hostile enemies. Stand firm, concede nothing, let the ree-ing wash over you, and punch back twice as hard at every opportunity.

America’s divisions are going to deepen because of this because we obliterated any common ground sufficient to bridge the gap. If the ruling is delivered more-or-less as written and the Republicans fail to cuck effectively, the issue will go back to the States. Some will ban abortion. Some will try and extend the window past birth. Some will try to find some compromise with evil. An issue like this may actually be sufficient to trigger relocation to other states. Some Americans will flee to jurisdictions that allow them to put off facing the consequences of their debauchery. Other Americans will flee to jurisdictions that are less likely to suffer God’s wrath over the shedding of innocent blood. Others will just want to get away from the rioting.

The Balkanization of America is tragic, so it’s tempting to fight against it to maintain the Union. But the Union is finished–even if it’s not official yet. American civil government is beginning to fail across the board because those under its jurisdiction cannot agree on how to govern. But if relocation means the inevitable breakup can happen along cleaner geographic lines, it will be less bloody. That’s the best America can hope for at this point.

These and other consequences to this upcoming decision mean a whole lot of pain headed our way. There will be no easy victory handed down by the Court. So rejoice and celebrate this decision, but don’t be daunted by the imminent fallout or let it distract you from your vocation. Remember: Americans have been murdering tens of millions of innocent children for several generations. There are few prices that aren’t worth paying to end that. And if it only means an end to America as we know it rather than America as such, then God will have been unfathomably merciful to us.

Posted in Abortion, Christian Nationalism, Politics | 1 Comment

Reflecting On My Pro-Human Bias

So puberty is apparently pathological now:

I increasingly hear phrases like “the mask is slipping” and “saying the quiet part out loud” in response to statements like this, and I can’t help but wonder if Satan and his minions are getting careless lately. But I suppose that’s just my bias slipping out. So let’s set aside the presumption that medicine is magic that can indefinitely transmute the human body into any desired state and examine that bias of mine for a moment. Why do I see puberty blockers as more pathological than puberty?

Because unlike the devil, I do not hate human nature.

It’s been a privilege to raise my sons–to both watch them grow up and help them grow up. I often have to remind myself to slow down and cherish these times when they’re young because they’ll never be that age again. Growing up is permanent. I’m sure every parent has had moments when they look into an uncertain future and wish their child could stay this age forever. And although I’m not there yet, I occasionally hear parents of teenagers wish they could have their adorable little children back.

Desires like these are just musings, though. If someone actually offered me a potion that would indefinitely freeze my boys in childhood, I would be horrified. It’s not their nature to remain children forever; it’s their nature to mature. I want them to grow in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. I want them to build lives of their own. And if God so calls them, I want them to marry and have families of their own so that they themselves can know the joy I now have in them. I want them to grow more and more into who they are. Helping them do so is part of my responsibility as their father.

But as every parent knows, children don’t always want that help. Sometimes novelty is exciting; other times it’s scary. Trying new foods, using a real toilet, getting on a bike for the first time, reading a new book… parents encounter resistance to all these things and more. Sometimes we accept that resistance as a personal quirk, but other times we insist. Why? Because their nature is to grow and mature, which cannot be fulfilled without trying new things. Likewise, there can be resistance when leaving old things behind. Sometimes growing out of baby toys, clothes, diapers, behaviors and so forth is easy; something there is resistance. But oftentimes, it’s a father’s job to insist. It’s their nature to grow and mature, which cannot be fulfilled without leaving some things behind–even permanently.

Puberty is just one more step in that fulfillment of their nature. There is a lot that is new. There is a lot that is left behind. It is suffused with both excitement and trepidation. It can be difficult and confusing. All these things are the warp and the woof of maturity.

Of course, puberty is particularly difficult today for several reasons. Most obviously, our society is one of sexual anarchy. The novelties of sexual maturity often proceed without the normal rules, expectations, and rites of passage which are there to promote healthy growth. Americans basically toss their children to the wolves and expect them to swim. (Yes, I mixed those metaphors on purpose; our customs are flat-out insane.) We shouldn’t be surprised at resistance that goes far beyond the normal uncertainty about new things. We shouldn’t even be surprised when children start hating their bodies which are “forcing” them into this sexual free-for-all.

The other big problem is that adulthood is no longer treated as something to look forward to. What do we hear about adulthood today? Well, many people proclaim college as the best time of their lives. In other words, it’s all downhill after 4 years of that extended playtime with adult freedoms but no adult responsibility. Others tell the youth, “you can do whatever you want when you grow up” and think it’s inspiring. In reality, what most children want is to play–and adulthood inevitably provides fewer opportunities for that. And the greatest blessing of adulthood–marriage and family–is routinely trashed by our culture as something to be avoided. In short, too many Americans failed to grow up properly themselves, and so they cannot present a clear picture of why growing up is in any way desirable.

Well, given all those modern difficulties, wouldn’t it be better if we could control puberty? Wouldn’t it be better if it came at our chosen time and in our chosen way to help navigate?  Absolutely not. We don’t procrastinate to become more adept at a task, but to avoid it. Failing to confront our problems makes them worse, not better. Words like “temporary” and “reversible” give an illusion of control, but it’s nothing of the sort.  With or without puberty blockers, there is not a single moment of our lives that can be undone or rolled back.

Deliberately stunted growth and healthy maturity are fundamentally at odds with one-another. Peter-Panning someone into oblivion will not help them grow up. For humans, happiness comes from embracing human nature and making the most of it–not by desperately trying to avoid it.

It’s amazing how many of the most important things in our lives are completely outside of our control. Our parents are determined for us before we’re even conceived. Our genetics are determined as we’re conceived without any input from us. We’re born into family and nation alike without our consent. We cannot help but need food, water, oxygen, and sleep continually. From beginning to end, life passes one second at a time–a pace which is sometimes frighteningly quick and sometimes frustratingly slow. We start out young and become older no matter what choices we make. And sooner or later, every last one of us will die.

In short, each of us has been made irrevocably human without any option to have been made a dolphin or a flea instead. Likewise, we live in this universe rather than any other kind of universe which might have existed. We have a nature which we can neither choose nor change.

What we can choose is whether we see that nature as a gift or a curse. Did God give us these specifications to provide us with a life we can live and enjoy? Or did He instead give us a prison we must endure until we can break free? Gnosticism is back in fashion as droves of people choose the latter.

The problem is that your nature is not something distinct from you. If you hate your nature, you ipso facto hate yourself. Likewise, wishing to undo your nature is nothing other than wishing suicide. G. K. Chesterton pointed that out over a century ago: “Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end. Somebody wrote a work called ‘The Loves of the Triangles’; I never read it, but I am sure that if triangles ever were loved, they were loved for being triangular.”

Turban asks whether we consider trans people at all when forming our opinions. A better question is whether Turban considers trans people to be people at all when forming his. Escaping human nature is always suicide–whether quickly with a noose around the neck or slowly with drugs and vivisection (or both as so often happens with trans people.) Likewise, stealing another’s human nature is always murder.

Puberty blockers are fundamentally an attempt to make someone less than human. Those of us with a pro-human bias will always recognize how pathological that is. Self-loathing haters of humanity will not. It’s as simple as that.

Posted in Chastity, Culture, Ethics, Family, Politics | Leave a comment

OK Groomer – The Ethics of Inflammatory Rhetoric

Perverts and degenerates are getting more and more brazen in their attempts to groom our children. And it’s good to see the right-wing beginning to embrace calling a spade a spade on this matter. Nevertheless, there’s a certain kind of conservative–of whom David French is probably the most quintessential example–whose tender constitutions simply cannot stomach such harsh rhetoric. They shrink from battle with the LGBTP lobby and their sycophants just as they do every other relevant battle in the culture wars. If they attack anyone at all, it is only their own side from whom they expect gentler treatment.

Nevertheless, no man likes to think of himself as a coward, and these conservatives are no exception. Accordingly, they attempt to dress up their pusillanimity in more noble attire. And because they borrow the language of morality, strategy, and even theology to weave their costumes, they often sow confusion alongside fear. So let’s sow some clarity instead and learn how to see through some of the common objections these cravens offer up about groomer/pedophile language.

Objection 1: Groomer/pedophile rhetoric is too harsh/impolite/uncivil

First, just pause to appreciate the lack of proportionality here. There’s a movement seeking to not only pathologize healthy sexuality, but actively seeks to vivisect unstable children until they bear some vague resemblance to the opposite sex. So on one hand, you have a nightmare out of a hyper-sexualized version of the Island of Dr. Moreau, and on the other hand you have… manners. Straining a gnat while swallowing a camel doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Second, I’ve engaged with the meat of this kind of objection elsewhere, so I’ll just sum it up. Manners and civility are social contracts, not moral absolutes. While a person ought to do good though the heavens fall, there is no nobility in merely upholding your end of a clearly broken contract. If your employer refuses to pay your wages, you aren’t “sinking to their level” or “repaying evil for evil” by refusing to work.

I would love to return to a traditionally polite world with clear lines of propriety. But social norms are imposed by the winners of culture wars, not the losers. And I refuse the kind of “manners” the current winners are forcing on us that forbid testifying to the truth.

Objection 2: Groomer/pedophile rhetoric is impractical because this kind extremism just alienates the moderates.

I can’t help but wonder what planet those with this objection have been living on. By-and-large, those who self-identify as moderates are unprincipled sheep. They are repelled by extremism only insofar as extremism is used to drive them in one direction or another. Have you noticed how extreme the left has become in the past few decades? Have you noticed how they’ve gotten their way on virtually everything? Have you noticed how today’s moderates would have been considered radicals only a decade or two ago? Clearly, extremism isn’t the practical detriment you think it is.

The real desire behind this objection is to avoid being labeled as extremists by the left. They’re addicted to the approval of our cultural institutions and desperate to stay in their good graces, be invited to their parties, and be published in their magazines. But simping for the left isn’t different from any other kind of simping. Being super-duper nice will not return them to reason and make them like you. All you are doing is enabling the abuse they give you.

Objection 3: Groomer/pedophile rhetoric is a sin because it’s false. Most of its targets aren’t really pedophiles and groomers.

At least this objection finally touches on an aspect of morality: honesty. But while it is true that we shouldn’t slander even our enemies, those who make this objection mistake accuracy for precision.

Let’s consider the degenerates who are pushing LGBTP lies onto children at younger and younger ages. It is true that there’s a diversity of motivation at work. Some of them really are doing it because they’re evil and want to diddle kids. Some of them are doing it because creating a society that flatters their own preferred perversion requires corrupting subsequent generations. Some of them are doing it because they see people lionized for flattering perverts and want to create opportunities to receive that same worldly acclaim. Some of them have a sense of empathy that’s become so uncivilized that they think compassion requires it.

But no matter their motivation, the action is always the same: They’re deliberately inducting children into a highly sexualized ideology behind their parents backs and against their parents’ wishes. That is undeniably grooming. It doesn’t stop being grooming if they’re doing it for someone else rather than for themselves. It doesn’t stop being grooming if they don’t see it as grooming. “Groomer” is therefore an accurate label.

The same is true of “pedophile.” The motivation may or may not be personal sexual gratification. Nevertheless, they are absolutely trying to elicit sexual responses from children. That is unquestionably in service to pedophilia regardless of why they want those responses. On that score, the motive doesn’t matter anymore than the motive for murder changes the nature of what was done. These people love to call themselves “allies.” Very well; we ought to treat them as allies–ipso facto complicit.

Does “Ok, Groomer” truly capture all the nuance in the situation? No. But good rhetoric isn’t supposed to do that. If you read this blog, I can only assume you appreciate mountains of thoughtful text. But most people don’t, and you can’t make them. And yet, they still have their vocations. Parents and citizens alike still need to be aware of what is going on according to their ability and decide how to react according to their wisdom. They need accurate but imprecise rhetoric rather than precise dialectic to do their jobs effectively. Giving that to them is no sin, and calling LGBTP activists and their sycophants groomers and pedophiles is no slander.

Objection 4: Groomer/pedophile rhetoric is a sin because it is inflammatory and could result in violence.

This one is actually half-right. It is inflammatory and it could result in violence. The mistake here is in thinking that violence is always a sin.

This is another topic I’ve written about extensively, so I won’t labor the point. Sometimes violent self-defense is permissible because of Christian freedom. Sometimes violent self-defense is mandatory because of our God-given vocations. As a father, I have an obligation to protect my children from harm. If they come under violent attack and they need me to violently defend them, doing so is my job.

The same holds true with inflammatory rhetoric. I have been subject to a lot of that over the years. I’ve been called “Nazi” and “Hitler.” I’ve been called “bigot” and “white supremacist.” The list goes on & on, and it goes to some weird places–I’ve even been called a serial killer once. Sometimes these things were said generically by progressive politicians, talking heads, and the like talking about “my kind.” Sometimes they were said personally by strangers who read something I wrote. Sometimes they were said personally by people I’ve known my whole life–even family members.

All of it is slander, of course, but my present point is that all of it is clearly inflammatory. The whole point of calling people on the right “Nazis” is that violence against Nazis is socially acceptable. Antifa and all their murder and destruction is the natural conclusion of typical leftist rhetoric.

Just as it is often appropriate to defend yourself and your family against violence with violence, it is often appropriate to defend yourself and your family against inflammatory rhetoric with inflammatory rhetoric. Scripture says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” That provision includes protecting my children from groomers, pedophiles, and anyone who would sacrifice them for woke points.

And that final point is what all the pearl-clutching by craven conservatives is ultimately about. They just want to be left alone and enjoy what they have. They don’t want to lose it all in a culture war. That desire, at least, is quite appropriate. In Romans, Paul writes “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” and in 1 Thessalonians, he says “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.” What they forget is, “so far as it depends on you.” They would not risk culture war, but war is upon us whether we would risk it or not. They’re all-to-willing to lie to the themselves about the current state of America if it means they can hold onto their comforts.

This is the fundamental failure of American conservativism. They can bloviate all they want to try and turn “ok groomer” into a sin. But the real sin at play here is a refusal to protect those who have been entrusted to you. First and foremost, that means protecting your family, but it includes your community and your nation as well. If you will not even take up rhetorical arms according to your God-given vocation, then you have abandoned it. And if you will not accept those basic responsibilities that even pagans and unbelievers understand, don’t be surprised when God cuts you off from the land.

Posted in Chastity, Culture, Ethics, Politics | Leave a comment

Cultural Doggie Bag: The Mary Sue Done Right–Adol Christin (Ys)

Hollywood has been giving viewers a lot of reasons to use the term “Mary Sue” over the past few years. In case you’re unaware, it refers to a certain type of character in fiction–one which can be female or male (although the male is sometimes called a ‘Gary Stu’.) The Mary Sue is a hyper-idealized figure meant to be a kind of totem by which the author and/or viewer can insert themselves into a story and live vicariously. She has no real personality that might interfere with that of the viewer/reader, so she remains a blank slate. She has an abundance of superficial virtue, but it’s entirely unearned as she has no meaningful flaws to overcome. She is at the heart of every narrative conflict, but so perfect she need not struggle through any of them. Every good guy loves her while every bad guy respects, envies, or wants her.

The Mary Sue isn’t always a terrible thing in some kinds of stories, but it’s never really a good thing either. The best example I can think of is John Matrix from 80’s Schwarzenegger cheesefest, Commando. When his daughter gets kidnapped, it’s his job to curb stomp those bad guys one by one until his daughter is safe and his well of one-liners is bone dry. That’s the whole movie. He has no character arc, only a series of challenges to let the viewer revel in what an invincible badass he is. Commando is fine, but it’s a popcorn film that’s in no danger of being considered great cinema. It works on exactly one level: childish wish fulfilment that provides 90 minutes of escapism. It’s the fast food of movies: occasionally it hits the spot, but it’s not exactly nourishing.

So if they’re not uncommon in Hollywood, why is the myriad of contemporary Mary Sues even a topic of controversy? The short answer is feminism.

The most obvious difference between the John Matrices of yesteryear and the Mary Sues of today is that Commando is escapist fantasy for men, but today’s films are engineered to provide escapist fantasy for women. Now, that’s not actually a problem in itself. Different films have always had different target audiences, and nobody’s ever really cared. Men don’t expect women to like Commando, and women don’t expect men to like The Notebook. Each sex may roll its collective eyes at the details of the other’s fantasies, but for the most part, neither takes any offense.

Feminists, however, are experts at taking offense. It would be insufficiently vindictive for Hollywood to simply provide more content for women. Instead, it had to ‘fix’ the content for men, and that’s why it’s suddenly controversial. Many contemporary Mary Sues are a result of Hollywood taking established properties and reimagining them as female empowerment fantasies.

Rey from the Disney Star Wars trilogy has been the quintessential example of this. She hits literally every note from the first paragraph. But the problem isn’t that Disney made a series of female empowerment fantasies. The problem is that they consumed Star Wars, which had been our most popular modern mythology, in order to do it. It’s controversial because Mary Sues don’t belong in some properties.

A similar issue can be seen in what they did with Masters of the Universe: Revelation.  Unlike Star Wars, which for better or for worse had managed to elevate itself above mere escapist empowerment fantasy, He-Man had no such lofty aspirations. It was a kid’s show that was what it was. The “problem” is that it was what it was for boys. Instead of creating something new for girls, Kevin Smith had to turn He-Man into a show about Teela discovering how much better she is than everyone else. It’s controversial in this case because its stolen.

The other issue is that, as I already mentioned, Mary Sues appeal to a fairly narrow audience. What’s more, that audience is pretty sex-specific because men and women tend to have different fantasies. Captain Marvel, for example, is yet another female empowerment icon whose only character arc was rediscovering her own latent super-special-awesomeness. So most men did what was natural and disliked that particular Marvel property just like they did Disney Star Wars, Master of the Universe: Revelation, and the various other vehicles for female empowerment.

But because feminists are driven by vindictiveness towards men rather than a desire to provide something positive to women, they cannot tolerate such narrow appeal. They pulled out all the stops to pretend that these franchises were beloved by every normal person and that there was something morally wrong with anyone who deviated from that party-line. But that’s as ridiculous as condemning women for not liking Schwarzenegger movies enough. So contemporary Mary Sues are also controversial because feminists demand they be universally adored.

So those are some of the big issues with the Mary Sue. Some of them are fundamental. Some of them are rooted in contemporary politics. All of them make the trope something to be avoided by anyone interested in quality.

Or do they? The reason I’ve been giving this thought is because I recently finished playing through Ys IX: Monstrum Nox. This one’s a deep cut, but it’s the latest entry in a very long-running series of games from developer Nihon Falcon.

For almost 4 decades, the Ys games have centered on protagonist Adol Christin. Adol is a Mary Sue. He may even be the Mary Sueiest Mary Sue who ever Mary Sued. He’s a self-proclaimed “adventurer” who roams the world getting involved in various epic struggles of good vs evil. He shows up in the midst of a crisis, conquers the dungeons, slays the dragons, defeats the wizards, rescues the girls, and makes them swoon. He never enters into any kind of relationship with them, though, because he’s already married–to adventure.

He’s a classic silent protagonist with no real personality to speak of. He exists as a proxy for the player who wants to play through epic fantasy quests as a great hero. Narratively speaking, he’s essentially a perfect human being who always does the right thing and always wins.

Now, that’s all pretty typical for games from the era in which Ys originated. The technical limitations of the time severely restricted storytelling. But even as technology has advanced and the Ys games have become more sophisticated with respect to plot & character, Falcom has only doubled-down on Adol being Adol. In-game characters have now added “master cartographer” to his list of accolades because the new games have auto-mapping. There are also in-game logs/journals now, so he’s described as a highly skilled writer who records his own adventures with both modesty and precise analysis. Normal people love or respect him while quasi-divine beings routinely recognize him as the best humanity has to offer.

Although Adol remains silent, he has developed some small amount of personality through frequent character interaction–whether by the player choosing dialog or other characters reacting to what he “said.” But that personality is essentially that of someone who’s really having fun playing an Ys game. Adol is eager for every side quest even as the other characters more realistically see them as tedious or distracting from their mission. He’s excited at the prospect of delving into a deadly labyrinth while the rest of cast experiences the normal trepidation. From a narrative perspective, he’s patient, forgiving, and optimistic almost to the point of insanity because he has faith everything is going to work out for the best just like a player who expects to win.

So basically, everything I said negatively about Rey or John Matrix, I could say even more about Adol. But for Ys, it totally works. The games in the series are, for the most part, simple but excellent.

The difference is the medium–the shift from movies or literature to video games. The two biggest problems with the Mary Sue are the blatant self-insertion and the absence of meaningful struggle. Movies aren’t about the viewer, but the player always inserts themselves into a video game to some extent. Guiding the action in some way is what makes it a game, so it doesn’t feel hokey in the same way.

As for struggle, that’s something the player himself brings to the table. Sure, from a narrative perspective, Adol simply fights the huge monster, sheathes his sword and moves on–maybe panting a little if it was a particularly important boss, but otherwise without struggle or sacrifice. Nevertheless, the player knows he died 12 times before finally killing the thing after using his last health potion. The player spent 20 minutes grinding extra levels to be able to do it. The player did the extra work of tracking down the best equipment to improve his chances.

The end result is that unlike a literary Mary Sue, Adol’s legendary status, virtue, and success actually feel earned. Accordingly, rather than providing mere escapism, the Ys games actually manage to crystalize ideals like hope and (secular) faith developed through hard work and perseverance. In short, Adol routinely hits the same notes that an icon like Superman does on his best days: optimism and inspiration.

At the end of the day, Ys games are unquestionably simple and straightforward, but that doesn’t stop them from being great games. Likewise, their protagonist is undoubtedly a Mary Sue, but it doesn’t stop him from being a good protagonist after his own fashion. It seems that even the Mary Sue can be elevated if you get the medium and the details right.

Posted in Culture, Feminism | 4 Comments

The Face of Low-Trust Education

As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s great to see parents taking back their authority and responsibility for their children. Florida’s new anti child-grooming law is the most high-profile of these attempts at the moment. And though that step is miniscule, the rancor from the pedophile side of the political aisle is a testament to how important those first small steps really are.

But it’s hardly the only little step being proposed. And like many first steps, some of the proposals I’ve seen are somewhat awkward. For example, my own state has considered legislation to put classrooms on constant video/audio surveillance for parents to access and to make teachers post all curriculum and assignments 6 months in advance for parental review. These kinds of policing measures demonstrate a core problem in America’s public education–a complete breakdown of trust between parents and educators. The problem is that measures like these do nothing to resolve that problem–at least, not the way people expect.

Whether justified or not (and considering what goes on in public schools, I do think such policing is completely justified), are policies like these actually going to rebuild trust? From the parental perspective, if you have to be able to surveil people to this extent to know whether your children are safe with them, why on earth are you entrusting your offspring to them in the first place? The same can really be said of Florida’s law. Yes, K-3 educators are forbidden from teaching about anal sex and genital mutilation now, which is great. But your children are still being educated by people who want to teach them about  it whenever they have a chance. Constant surveillance doesn’t build trust; it only deepens the mistrust which birthed it.

And from the teachers’ perspective, this is an awful way to work. Parents become a gaggle of disorganized supervisors. All of them have different preferences and agendas–many of which are legitimately outside the teacher’s wheelhouse. There was a time when educators acted in loco parentis, but American diversity killed that possibility. There is no perceivable standard of what a generic parent would reasonably want. And if you doubt that, consider that there are parents who want to mutilate their children’s genitals for woke points. All these measures do is ratchet up the pressure in an already volatile relationship.

Now here’s why these awkward and unhelpful baby steps are still good and helpful: These measures don’t solve the distrust at the heart of the problem, but they do bring it out into the open. Parents have absolutely excellent reasons to distrust public educators. I daresay no group of people has ever had such good reasons for distrust as American parents today. And I daresay that no group of people are as oblivious to this fact as educators.

The only way trust can be restored is a long process that starts when teachers admit they have a problem. But I’ve generally found teachers to be extremely tribal with powerful in-group preferences. I know of no profession that engages in such a degree of constant self-praise and circling the wagons whenever someone in their tribe comes under fire. The closest I can think of are police officers, and I don’t think it’s coincidence that both groups are dominated by public-sector unions. The incestuous political relationship that develops when you vote for the people you negotiate with produces nothing but poison.

When parents raise concerns about things like CRT and LGBTP indoctrination/grooming, it seems that half the teachers just call us bigots and go about their filthy business. Meanwhile, the rest assure us that “Not all teachers are like that!” before going on and on about the good work they do, how hard their jobs are, how underappreciated they are, and so forth. And I’ll admit, these latter teachers aren’t exactly wrong. There are many good teachers out there. Teaching well is a very difficult job, and a good teacher is providing something absolutely priceless.

But here’s the problem: when the children are the ones under such a severe threat from educators, who exactly are these teachers defending? It seems like even the teachers that aren’t actively involved in corrupting children are only interested in protecting the reputation of educators. Are parents the only half of the relationship interested in protecting children from the predators?

So yes, these policies do nothing be ratchet up the pressure in the increasingly antagonistic relationship between parents and teachers. I even think it’s fair to say that they’re fundamentally destructive to public education. But there’s no other course of action when half of the relationship thinks nothing is wrong. Either teachers are going to admit they have a problem and repent of their relentless push of “the message,” of the public education system is going to completely collapse. Either of these would be preferable to the current state of affairs.

So parents, keep up the pressure. If you can, get out of this toxic relationship altogether by homeschooling or private schooling. That’s why school choice policies will do more to solve the real problem than cameras. But if you can’t, that only means you have to fight harder. You have been obligated by God to both educate and protect your children. And if teachers start striking and quitting en masse and the schools shut down… well, you already went through that during the pandemic. You know you can handle it.

Parents cannot back down without abandoning our God-given responsibilities, so teachers need to. If they do not, then burning the whole enterprise down so we can build something better is the appropriate course of action.

Posted in Culture, Family, Politics | Leave a comment

Not A Private Sin

The most liberal I’ve ever been on the issue of homosexuality was supporting civil unions back in my libertarian phase–an obnoxious part of growing up that many young men have to struggle through. I still knew sodomy was sinful, but by my reckoning at the time, it was an entirely private sin. It wasn’t my business. It wasn’t the government’s business. So “live and let live” seemed like the appropriate course of action.

Even then, I wasn’t willing to grant the marriage label because that’s not what marriage is. But being libertarian, I foolishly presumed that marriage fell into the same legal category as sodomy–a wholly private matter that wasn’t the business of myself or government. Legally equivalent civil unions therefore seemed like an appropriate stop-gap for the sake of fairness until government could be removed from the marriage business altogether.

Thankfully, it’s been about two decades since then, and I’ve come to realize how dreadfully wrong I was on several points. The most obvious is my stupid idea of marriage being a wholly private matter. Sex is literally where the public comes from, and marriage is unequivocally the most important earthly institution for cherishing those new lives. We can argue about how government could effectively recognize and support that institution, but a just and effective government simply cannot be marriage-neutral in any broad sense. The social atomization that renders libertarians so myopic on that subject is one of the philosophy’s greatest weaknesses.

But there’s another fatal error I made that has been slowly gnawing on me for the past few years. If marriage and chastity aren’t private matters, then neither are sins of unchastity.

It was LGBTXYZ nonsense that finally woke me up to this. Tolerance of a “private” sin seemed like a reasonable idea back in the day. But let’s check in on tolerance and see how that’s working out for us: drag queen story hours at public libraries, LGBT indoctrination at public schools, forcing individuals to publicly pretend two men can marry, criminalizing parents who try to protect their children from being vivisected to vaguely resemble the opposite gender. The list goes on, and there’s nothing private about any of it. Making it illegal and/or shameful to discriminate between right and wrong was not what I had in mind, but it’s what we got.

It shouldn’t have been surprising. One cannot expect sin to obediently remain in the abstract space we assign to it. That’s not it’s nature. We’re either actively struggling against it, or its growing. There is no middle ground. Unchastity is no exception.

But the reaction to Florida’s anti-grooming law should be a wake-up call to anyone who hasn’t already realized this. There are an insane number of influential people who actually think it’s controversial. Literally all the bill does is 1) forbid schools from teaching K-3 children about sexual orientation & gender identity and 2) ensure that parents have access to their own children’s records, curriculum, surveys, and so forth. That’s it; read it for yourself. You’d have to be either a pedophile or a deliberate enabler thereof to knowingly oppose measures like that.

But what is everyone calling it? The “don’t say gay” bill. They say it infringes on the rights of supposedly gay and trans children and puts them back in the closet! That’s not just fringe activists, that’s literally every news program, politicians at the highest levels, and millions of ordinary people willing to toss children to predators so that they can be seen as “affirming.”

Now, if I were a “good conservative,” I’d take this opportunity to say that the way progressives are associating gays with grooming children makes them the real homophobes.  But I’m not a good conservative. So instead of owning the libs, I’ll tell you the truth: Progressives are not “associating” gay with grooming. They are openly revealing an association that’s always been there and of which they are no longer ashamed: Advocating for sodomy largely depends on sexualizing, corrupting, and molesting children.

I remember a bunch of “crazy radical right-wing Christians” pointing that out decades ago, and I remember thinking they were, at best, overstating their case. After all, there was a logical progression–if valid, most rationalizations for sodomy would apply to pedophilia as well.  But that abstraction was as far as it went, right? Well, LGBTP advocates and their accomplishments have changed my mind. The crazy right-wingers were correct; I, the idiot libertarian, was wrong. Apparently, “Live and let live” was never really on the table.

But while the effects of sodomy affirmation programs on children should be a wake-up call, it’s a fruit of the problem rather than its root. It’s such an extreme form of unchastity that it can only become normalized after countless other lines have been crossed–not by 2% of the population, but by the rest of us.

Genuinely chaste societies have been pretty rare historically, but the normalization of chastity is not rare. For any society to remain functional in the long-term, it needs to honor marriage and child-rearing rather than deviancy and perversion.

While I’m not old enough to remember it, it wasn’t that long ago that divorce was weird in America and the term “pre-marital sex” actually implied marriage (as in, it meant you had sex before the wedding night with someone you intended to marry.) But I am old enough to remember when sex in marriage-less “long-term-relationships” was the norm, hookups & homosexuality were weird, and transgenderism was really weird. It seems that even a few short decades is sufficient to demonstrate that the Slippery Slope is by no means a fallacy. We are no longer slouching towards Gomorrah, but sprinting.

But the slippery slope does have its mechanisms–a thousand tiny rocks sliding out from under foot. And it’s not hard to come up with examples: 40 years ago children’s books were telling us that there’s no real difference between boys and girls. 60 years ago, my own denomination was already teaching that romance rather than marriage legitimizes sex. Novelties like these which we now take for granted laid the groundwork for our contemporary pedo-state. And you can go as far back as you like–to Romanticism, to Chivalry, to Rome, or to the Fall itself–for history always proceeds from what came before. But my point is that the reason so many Americans are so sanguine about sexualizing kids is because of how poorly we ourselves were sexualized.

As we stand teetering at the brink of this abyss, there are two imperatives before us. And I do mean us–people who know better and are willing to admit it. Nobody else is going to pull America back from the edge.

The first is to repent of our sins before God.  We need to struggle to disentangle ourselves from both our own vices and our foolish misconceptions about sex, marriage, men & women, etc. We aren’t in this mess because of “those people” but because of what “normal” people including ourselves have willingly done.

I don’t placard it, but I’ve admitted in the past that I have not lived chastely. There are many times in my life in which I’ve done what was normal rather than what was right. In service to those sins, I’ve both repeated the world’s lies and invented new ones as cover. So I myself have contributed to the very thing I now condemn. Accordingly, I can only condemn it at all insofar as I can admit that God is right and I am wrong. And I can only accept that shame because Christ has already borne my sins on the Cross. But condemn it I must because God is right, and He is quite clear about those who call evil good. Refusing to engage the issue now would only compound my sin.

The second imperative is to rebuild the groundwork of civilization with respect to chastity. The whole point of civilization is to curb outward expressions of sin so that we can make that slope less slippery. Some kinds of unchastity need to be included on that list of gross outward sin to be deliberately inhibited.  And the list can’t stop at consent.

We must be willing to apply both social and legal pressure where appropriate–two things modern conservatives are scared of imposing for these kinds of sins. We actually think we’re morally superior to our ancestors because we don’t prosecute things like adultery anymore. We even congratulate sodomites for renting wombs for children they intend to deprive of a mother. Conservatives should be ashamed rather than proud. Neither law nor society can be neutral on the issue of sexuality. Marriage and family need to be held up as true sexual maturity. When deviancy becomes a matter of public knowledge, it should earn contempt. Gross deviations need to be criminalized. When we fail to do this, we inevitably teach and promote perversion instead.

Talk of imposing this on a large scale is mostly just talk. Christians simply do not have that kind of hold on American culture. But doing so on smaller scales is not beyond our grasp. We should enforce these things wherever we have dominion. That includes our own households at a minimum, but everyone reaches outside of the home to some extent or another. For example, SJWs have already shown how powerful codes of conduct can be in radically altering private institutions. As for public ones, laws against many of these behaviors are still on the books. When the “large scale” in the West finally finishes collapsing, we’ll be grateful for any healthy local governments and institutions we’ve managed to build or maintain.

Christians have labored too long under the Enemy’s contention that sins of unchastity are private matters between consenting adults which are closed off from the rest of everyone’s lives. They’re not, and our children cannot afford for us to pretend otherwise. Chastity and degeneracy each have a powerful impact on the rest of society. We are fools for having forgotten this. It’s time for Christians to remember and act accordingly.

Posted in Chastity, Culture, Family, Law | 8 Comments

Regular Posts Will Resume Soon

I just realized that it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted anything on the blog, so I wanted to give my regular readers a vague idea of what’s going.  The last couple months have presented me with some serious challenges in my health, my personal life, and my work all at the same time.  Finding points where free-time and motivation-to-write intersect has been extremely difficult.  But I am working on a couple of pieces, and I’m hoping to have one of them up next week.  In the meantime, I would appreciate your prayers for recovery, for defense against the Devil, and for order in the midst of chaos.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Struggling With Modesty: To Women

It seems that whenever modesty is exhorted, self-control is used as an excuse; and whenever self-control is exhorted, modesty is used as an excuse. The result is that both modesty and self-control are disregarded by those who need to pay attention the most.

That’s why I decided to address the issue two different times–once for men, and once for women. Ladies, this one’s for you. To my male readers, read on if you want, but I addressed you specifically last time. I’ve nothing to offer you in this one, and it’s not written with your concerns in mind.

All that said, there’s one more audience issue to clear up: This is for Christian women–specifically, those who truly believe Jesus when he said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

To be clear, “keep” doesn’t mean “obey flawlessly.” If it did, we’d all be in trouble. Here, “to keep” means “to treasure” (as in, “The king kept his gold in the castle’s keep.”) Treasuring instructions encompasses obedience, but it neither begins nor ends with it. This article is for women who want to treasure Christ’s instructions but struggle with modesty being counted among them.

But to those who insist on your right to despise Christ’s commands, I have nothing for you on this subject. The way you dress or behave is irrelevant next to the fact that you aren’t Christian. To you, I can only proclaim that God has sent His only Son to die for your sins.  In Jesus Christ, you will find the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation freely offered to all who believe. Once you believe what Christ has done for you, then we can talk about His instructions.

Now, on to modesty.

All of us have parts of the Bible we don’t like. As sinners, it would be far stranger if we did agree with God on everything. The challenge is to let our faith seek understanding so that we can appreciate even what we’re inclined against.

Part of that journey is realizing why we feel that way about His Word. So why does talk of modesty raise many women’s hackles the way it does? Now, there are many answers to that. But given what the usual objections have in common, I suspect there are some common reasons as well. Here are a few of those to consider:

Modesty is framed as mere assistance to “weak” men

That is, after all, what usually triggers this debate. A man complains about women these days showing too much skin and causing their brothers in Christ to stumble in that ongoing battle against lust you hear so much about. A woman’s modesty is then proclaimed as the solution to a man’s problem. And to make matters worse, it’s an alien problem to boot. Sex is precisely where men and women are the most different, and men struggle with their lust differently than women do with their own. There’s no direct experience to make his struggle more tangible.

But while that may be what the modesty *debate* is about, it’s not what *modesty* is about. In other words, while immodesty really does hurt men, the meaning and purpose behind your modesty isn’t helping men be chaste–that’s just a good and righteous side-effect.

When the Bible teaches women about modesty, it’s always as a fundamental part of feminine beauty. In 1 Timothy, Paul says, “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness–with good works.” Peter says essentially the same thing:  “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

Did you catch the implication in these? Modesty isn’t just a way that you adorn yourselves. Modesty is something that you adorn yourselves with. It is itself a facet of your beauty–not a restriction on it or a restraint of it, but woven into its very nature.

The same can be seen when Scripture approaches it from the other direction and addresses immodesty. In Proverbs 7, Solomon describes a women dressed like a prostitute, and her immodest outward appearance hides death and decay just beneath the surface. He puts it more succinctly in Proverbs 11: “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” Your beauty is as precious gold, but putting it on the pig doesn’t make the pig better; it just makes the gold worse.

The point is that a woman’s beauty is precious in God’s sight. But that also means it’s too valuable to spread about indiscriminately. When beauty is treated that way, it ceases to be beautiful. When one is a child, she wishes every day were Christmas. When one raises a child, she teaches them that celebrating Christmas everyday would strip it of what makes the celebration special. Immodesty debases feminine beauty in a similar way.

And this, by the way, is not a result of the Fall, but part of God’s perfect design from before sin or clothes ever existed. Physically speaking, modesty is apparent in the differences between men and women of which neither were ashamed in the beginning. Likewise, when Paul talks about long hair on women, he calls it both their glory and a covering in the same breath. This he attributes to “nature itself,” not to sin or depravity.

At its core, modesty is respect for your own God-given beauty. Yes, it also helps men remain chaste, and that should concern you–read Luke 17 and consider whether you really want to be on the wrong end of Jesus’ words. Even so, modesty remains the beating heart of the imperishable beauty with which God designed you in the first place.

No woman likes men telling her how to dress

There’s an important distinction here that men and women alike overlook: the difference between telling a woman to be modest and teaching a woman how to be modest. Men assume they’re doing the former, but women often assume he’s doing the latter. That’s a problem because men can’t really do the latter.

There are men in your life who have every right to pass on God’s commands to be modest to you. Some men, like your father, your pastor, or your husband have a responsibility to do so. They would be negligent if they remained silent.

At the same time, men can’t really teach you how to do this. This isn’t because we’re not allowed, but because we’re not competent. We don’t understand women’s fashion and we don’t want to understand it. Practically speaking, men can only point out times when lines of modesty are crossed. But telling someone how not to do something, isn’t the same as telling them how. It’s profoundly frustrating when mere restrictions are delivered as though they were sufficient instruction.

But the primary failure here doesn’t actually belong to men. It belongs to older Christian women. In Titus 2:3-5, Paul writes:  “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

I think it’s safe to say that this hasn’t been happening a whole lot in the West over the past few generations. Sometimes older women refused to teach these skills because Satan deceived them into thinking they were oppressive. Sometimes young women refused to listen and grew up to be older women who couldn’t teach. The results are generations severed from one-another and precious experience and practical wisdom lying in a ditch along the way.

But if that’s the problem, what is the solution? Well, practical wisdom didn’t just drop from the sky–it was cultivated by women over time. That means women need to re-cultivate it over time and rediscover the practicalities of being modest. That said, women will need to work *with* men on this, because while “that’s too far” isn’t super helpful, it’s often still valid.

Which leads to another reason God’s call to modesty can be so grating…

How are women supposed to be both modest and feminine/attractive at the same time?

This is more fallout from that lack of know-how from the previous point. And while the issue doesn’t seem as common as the previous two, I’m mentioning it because I’ve heard it expressed by women from time to time. To be sure, women certainly don’t only (or maybe even often) dress with men in mind. But sometimes they do–particularly during stages of life when you’re trying to be attractive for a potential or current spouse. Sometimes this issue is going to matter.

Once again, men can’t really teach any know-how or practical wisdom on this one. Nevertheless, I’m addressing it because men have sometimes muddied the waters by expressing some unclear, conflicting, and confusing expectations. So I do want to try to offer a little clarity.

First off, Western men aren’t Muslim. We don’t want burqas, and that’s not what modesty brings to mind. It is not wrong to wear clothes that let people know you are shaped like a woman. But we live in a society which (falsely) teaches that men and women are identical except for biology. Accordingly, many women think–whether consciously or unconsciously–that they need to put as much biology on display as possible to make their femininity apparent. Popular style follows suit.

That’s not the case–from a male perspective, anyway. To be blunt, long hair and dresses demonstrate femininity to men more effectively than displaying deep cleavage of one kind or another. The latter might be more expedient for arousal, but since this is for Christian women, you know you should reserve being deliberately arousing for your husbands. You know the various terms for women who do otherwise, and so does any man worth marrying. Don’t be that.

As far as being attractive to a potential husband is concerned, the note you’re trying to hit is making him interested in finding out more. It shouldn’t be putting everything on display so he can decide if he wants to help himself.

Now, all this is very subjective. And its’ not like men even agree on things like knee-length vs ankle-length, how tight is too tight, etc. So while ignoring men’s complaints altogether isn’t the right path, neither can you follow them all.

That’s why, again, those details are the things women will need to relearn from collective experience. What results in godly attention/relationships? What doesn’t? That’s a messy process fraught with mistakes. But you are free to make those kinds of mistakes because God’s call to modesty remains, and there’s nothing for it but to do your best and lean on Christ’s forgiveness.

That’s really what the ethical matter comes down to. Yes, God has given us good rules to instruct and guide our lives. But he has not given us flowcharts which replace all the day-to-day decision-making that putting His Word into practice requires. Faithful Christians will use the wisdom God has given us to pursue righteousness in those actions and decisions. We do so even knowing we will often stumble because we have already received the true righteousness of Jesus Christ by faith rather than works.

But reacting to calls for modesty like Dracula reacting to garlic doesn’t suggest that kind of good-faith effort. Asserting that God’s word has no claim on how you dress doesn’t suggest a good-faith effort. Completely disregarding your effect on the struggles of your fellow Christians doesn’t suggest a good-faith effort. If your frustrations have led you away from Christ’s commandments, then it is time to repent.

God has not given you modesty as a burden, but as a crown. Stay away from false teachers  who would try to steal it from you. Question the culture which tells you its tarnished. And have patience with those who aren’t gentle in the way they handle it. There is nothing we have lost that God cannot restore as our faith seeks to understand what He has declared to us.

Posted in Chastity, Culture, Ethics, Feminism, Natural Law | 1 Comment

Fighting the Modesty Wars: To Men

If you’re still on twitter, you’ve probably seen either that tweet from Brian Sauve or the latest “discussion” about modesty it ignited. Naturally this modesty kerfuffle looks like every other recent one: Men point out that women should dress modestly because God commands it and it helps them deal with temptation. In response, women wonder how men could dare tell them how to dress–let alone attach God’s name to such presumption.

So I’ve decided to write a pair of blog posts on the subject–one for men, and one for women. This is the one for men. Ladies, read it if you want and think what you will, but it neither asks anything of you nor offers anything to you. Men are the audience, and I’m not even trying to appeal to you or persuade you with this one. Yours can be found here.

If I were to pick one Bible passage to summarize my take on the Modesty Wars, it would be Luke 17:1-2:

Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.

Yes, the many willfully immodest women you encounter every day stand under Christ’s curse here, for they are the very ones through whom your temptations come. Thankfully, you are not in their shoes. But that also means you only need to focus on the first part Christ’s statement: Temptations to sin are sure to come. Therefore, you need to learn to handle it–without women.

The brute fact of the matter is that most Western women–even ones calling themselves Christians–have less than zero interest in helping you. They would rather you fall into unchastity a thousand times over than lift their little finger in assistance. Men are on their own in this. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that we really can learn to handle it. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but will always provide a means of escape.

To be sure, part of that escape is cultivating internal self-control. As a fruit of the Spirit, self-control requires the Word and Sacrament by which the Holy Spirit acts in us. So make sure you regularly attend a church which faithfully and rightly offers these things each week. It also requires spiritual disciplines like prayer, mortification of the flesh, private confession, and so forth. Avail yourself of these.

Self-control is also an earthly virtue, and that means training and discipline. For example, if you find it difficult to control your libido, you need to do everything in your power to find a wife so that you may satisfy your God-given sex-drive as He intended. Or if you’re dealing with a pornography addiction, you need to connect with people who know how to handle addiction. There are a lot of practical ways to help develop the various skills involved in self-control, and we need to avail ourselves of them as well.

But that’s only part of the issue because self-control is not merely internal. The other part–the part we experience everyday–is that the temptations to lust in Western society are among the worst in history. But that historical disparity in temptation also means that it doesn’t have to be this way. And since women aren’t going to spontaneously become reasonable, fixing it means men doing what men do best: building civilization.

We need to work to create a less tempting society–and that means actual work. None of this will remove temptation, but socially corralling it is part of that earthly skill of self-control. Thankfully, there are many different approaches we can take on this–and they aren’t at all mutually exclusive. These are just a few examples to consider:

Create more male-only spaces in society.

One of the most difficult aspects of avoiding temptation is that there are few places to go to where you don’t run into exactly the same thing. Women demanded entrance into every institution in the West, and men foolishly said yes. So now, the fact that so many women are immodest means that you’ll find immodest women pretty much anywhere you go. Even many churches are replete with temptation, as this very battle over modesty demonstrates.

But if women will not suffer correction, then segregation remains an option. The various rules of propriety and sex-segregated institutions that we let feminism destroy didn’t spring fully-formed from Zeus’s forehead. They were built by men; and men can do so again. Anti-discrimination laws can make this difficult, but not insurmountably so–particularly for informal, private, or religious institutions. From Boy Scouts to church leadership, women gained access by social pressure far more often than by lawsuits.

And this goes for roles and products as well as institutions. Feminists clamor for things like leadership positions in organizations or concessions/representation in entertainment aimed at men for two reasons: 1) because these things help establish the norms in society (include appropriate dress) and 2) they need to co-opt them because women tend to be inferior at creating such things on their own.

Churches are a good place to start with establishing male-only roles because faithful ones already have the office of pastor as an example. What would happen if, instead of haggardly defending this last bastion of male-exclusive leadership, we actually started suggesting or creating other roles which would be served exclusively by men?

But it all depends on men being able to tell women “no” and put up with the pique that follows. They can’t help us with that.

Bring back slut-shaming.

And just as a caveat here, I don’t specifically mean name-calling or bullying. I mean the open expression of distaste and even contempt for female unchastity. Bullying is unnecessary as pretty much any reminder of the moral law written on our hearts will naturally result in feelings of shame (and the shrieking women use to cover up that feeling.)  The simple truth is enough to hurt.

I’ve written more extensively about the importance of cultivating an appropriate sense of shame elsewhere, so I won’t labor this point. But many women who would never willingly help you remain chaste would nevertheless dress modestly simply out of worry that normal people will think they’re dressed like a whore. But they’ll never worry about that unless normal men give voice to it from time-to-time.

Women react so vehemently against the prospect of slut-shaming precisely because of how powerfully it affects them. Hence all the efforts to either erase or defang those kinds of words in common language. But once again, those efforts amount to nothing more than social pressure which men do not need to cave to.

The trick, of course, is that “normal” qualifier. Nobody really cares if an outcast questions a woman’s virtue, which is why they try so hard to label men incels when they do. But the unavoidable reality is that men’s preferences on sexual integrity are  God-given and nearly universal. Simps and white knights will pretend otherwise, but since women literally cannot help but despise such men, their words can only go so far–even in an age of social media.

Men value virginity. Normalize expressing that value openly and unashamedly in both words and actions. The more we do so, the more women will avoid openly signaling their lack of integrity.

Ban Pornography.

Unrealistic? No, just long-term. Russia is moving in that direction, and so can we.

It really doesn’t matter if 95% of women learn to be modest if you’re going to be watching the other 5% online. There always have been and always will be women who sell themselves. Men will always need to resist them. But modern technological delivery mechanisms make that harder.

Can it ever be extinguished completely? No. There’s no law on earth that completely prevents what it forbids. But the harder we can make it to access, the better because the most insidious thing about pornography is how easy it is. Men have powerful sex drives to motivate us in the difficult task of finding a bride, attaining marriage, and having a family. Pornography defuses that drive and redirects it towards easy and meaningless facsimiles that consume real life.

Work hard to get it out of your life. Work hard to get it out of your home. But the more you can succeed in those, the more you will be prepared to find ways to start getting it out of your community–or at least drive it into hiding.

So by all means, proclaim God’s word about modesty because it’s God’s word and women need to hear it for either instruction or for judgment. But stop looking to women for help and get creative instead. God created us to be creators as well–and to take dominion. Women merely make that job easier or harder. It’s ok to try and fail, but don’t defeat yourself by waiting for a woman to save you. She can’t; she’s just a woman.

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