Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jill Filipovic’s steady boil

Here’s a bit of frothing nonsense from Cosmopolitan former “senior political writer,” Jill Filipovic. See if you can spot the lifestyle insecurity as she tries really hard to convince you how terrible it is to be a Bible thumper, to know God’s grace is infinitely greater than what the flesh yearns for (James 4:5-6).

With sound and fury, Filipovic unloads everything she’s got against the conservative Christian sexual ethos, a smorgasbord of ignorance, simplifications, and hearsay that obfuscates the reality that the restrained life is pretty good, because it harmonizes with how God made man. What she doesn’t get is the less you make your life about you, the better off you are.

I’ll comment in brackets so as not to interrupt Filipovic’s free-styling hysterics:

Duggar family values are as follows: While they don’t necessarily use the term themselves, they are loosely part of the Quiverfull and Christian patriarchy movements, where the man is the head of the household and has ultimate authority over his wife and children. Women are helpmeets, finding their ultimate calling in submitting to their husbands [see Ephesians 5:22] as wives and mothers. Girls are treated differently than boys [that’s bad because they’re the same?]. Women’s bodies don’t belong to them [see 1 Corinthians 7:4], and are also inherently sinful and tempting and must be covered up lest they cause an otherwise good man to slip up. Women shouldn’t ever say no to sex with their husbands. Birth control is tantamount to abortion and is a sin against God. Women should not work outside the home or get much in the way of higher education. Because a woman’s fundamental purpose is not to live her own life but to have children, she should have as many children as God gives, even if it means she dies in the process.

“There’s an emphasis on sex as a woman’s obligation to her husband and also to God,” Kathryn Joyce, author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement told Cosmopolitan.com. “Any sort of previous experience or even fantasizing or masturbation is infidelity [see Matthew 5:28] against either your current husband or your future husband. Anything that would make a woman feel more independent in that realm and would separate sexuality from her marriage, even in ways that a lot of people would consider very healthy and very normal, are seen as things that would make her too independent, and that wouldn’t be good.” [despite declining marriage rates and rising out-of-wedlock birth rates, the opposite of healthy and normal]

In other words, they’re extreme misogynists. But treating women like second-class citizens and breeding machines [she’s masking a lot of pain, I think] wasn’t just A-OK for TLC and just about every Republican presidential contender, but part and parcel to the family’s “morality.” In a civilized society where women are considered equal players, families like the Duggars would be marginalized. In our actual society, the Duggers were applauded, invited to political events, handed checks to star in a reality television show, and covered extensively and often glowingly by celebrity media. What is wrong with us? [we’re uncivilized, get it?]

“Extreme misogynists”? “Second-class citizens”? “Breeding machines”? Are these serious feminist ideas or stealth anti-feminist straw men? The former, unfortunately. This prejudice is mainstream. Filipovic takes it to the next level because she has to to maintain the illusion of righteousness. Her god has failed, but, unlike Arthur Koestler, she hasn’t faced the consequences yet. The calumnies keep the rage at a steady boil, lest soothing truth calm the waters. Soothing truth, such as that written by Solomon:

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” (Proverbs 31:25-29)

It’s not all roses all the time, of course. But compare it to what Filipovic is selling: a freedom limited to oneself, the myth of fulfillment in utilitarian satisfaction.

She’s not done. The contradictions start to pile on:

We are a society so schizophrenic about sex that we use images of half-naked girls barely out of their teens to sell everything from Internet service to hamburgers [prudes are not to blame for this] while we also spend millions on abstinence-only sex education. We have one of the highest unintended pregnancy rates in the developed world [sex has consequences] but fight legal battles over whether bosses should be able to decide what forms of birth control their employees can access. We live in a country where 1 in 5 women will be raped [debunked] and where we also have politicians who see fit to publicly philosophize over what makes a rape “legitimate.” [i.e., it’s not rape unless she says it is]

The Duggars, who are simultaneously obsessed with sex [who’s obsessed?] and also trying to spread a message of shame around female sexuality in particular, are a reality TV family perfectly befitting us. The outcome of their worldview — the sexual trauma, the humiliation, the misogyny [trauma comes from experience, not chastity] — we knew it was all part of the equation. We tuned in anyway. We bought the magazines with them on the cover. We allowed them platforms as spokespeople for morality and family values. We knew about their deep, entrenched misogyny, and we rewarded it.

For someone who celebrates the benefits of free and open sexuality, she’s oddly opposed to its commoditization. You can’t have it both ways. Either sex is reserved for marriage, or it’s exchanged on the open market, whether people’s ends be pleasure, profit, or empowerment. The Carl’s Jr. girls, for example, aren’t victims of exploitation, they’re consenting partners. They lend Carl’s Jr. their images, and Carl’s Jr. compensates them. If that’s not consent, then I don’t what is. If Filipovic condemns it, she should be consistent and condemn consent as the center of sexual morality, and honestly consider alternatives.

It’s people like the Duggars who have the answer to a society that is “schizophrenic about sex.” The Duggars recognize sex’s power and nip it in the bud. They know more often sex masters people than people master it. This is hardly backwards thinking. Our mastery of nature does not directly correlate with our mastery of human nature, although pride and hubris delude us into thinking so. Edward R. Dougherty writes at Public Discourse:

With a never-ending expansion of technology seemingly lying before him, it is not surprising that a person can envision changing both his environment and himself to suit his every whim and find any limitation to be an unjust constraint of his freedom.

No matter how technologically advanced we are, we are not above sin. Only God is above sin, and in Him we trust. The Duggars are the least “obsessed with sex” as possible, far less obsessed than Filipovic.

Related: “Here’s What ‘Submissive Wives’ Gets Right.” And more on Filipovic here, here, here, and here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

History robbers

This is sad and disturbing, but predictable if you understand the racial Left.

A group of anti-Confederate protesters aren’t happy enough with the declaration by the city of Memphis that it wants to dig up and move the remains of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest.

They want it done now.

A group surrounded a shovel Wednesday and ceremoniously removed a chunk of grass and soil.

“We are going to bring the back hoe, the tractors and the men with the equipment to raise Bedford Forrest from the soil of Memphis,” Isaac Richmond with the “Commission on Religion and Racism” declared to awaiting TV cameras, CBS 3 reported.

Richmond ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year.

He believes if the general who died 137 years ago can just be eliminated, that will really help things.

“If he’s gone, some of this racism and race-hate might be gone,” he said, shovel in hand. “We got a fresh shovel full, and we hope that everybody else will follow suit and dig him up.”

The grave desecrator is not doing anything that the city of Memphis would have done in due time. They want to erase the iconography of the past, to impose their bitter, envious, reality-challenged interpretation as the only applicable interpretation when thinking of things past (and, by extension, things present). This has been the reason for relativism all along: Things have no meaning in themselves that the Left does not assign and then approve or disapprove. In this case, Nathan Bedford Forrest is a racist because he fought for the Confederacy. Racism is his sole, irredeemable legacy. There’s no other way of thinking about him that justifies his memory.

Even if Bedford was a vicious racist, does he not deserve peace in death? Does his gravesite open a gate to the past through which slavery and Jim Crow enter to destroy racial progress, such as it is in 2015? The idea is ridiculous. Nevertheless, that’s their rationalization for the recent spate of iconoclasm.

It doesn’t have to be coherent to have force, it just has to have muscle behind it. This is the will to power on a collective scale, a nihilist takeover of what America was and is.

Refreshing: “Man drives across state to fix grass next to Nathan Bedford Forrest’s statue and grave.”

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dictatorship of relativism

“Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.” –O’Brien, 1984

That objects have no inherent value, only subjective ones that people assign them, is a modern idea C. S. Lewis rigorously refutes in The Abolition of Man. If the truth stands like a hill above the plain of falsehood, then you have to flatten the hill to give falsehood, any falsehood, a chance at supremacy. When that’s done, you can start building up the lie. And it’s an open competition. Whoever is the most ruthless building up his lie wins. It’s the dictatorship of relativism Pope Benedict warned about.

For example, when does life begin? David Cole writes at Taki’s:

One of the most blatant legal fictions in the U.S. today is that life begins when a woman says it does. In most states, a woman can be on her way to an abortion clinic to get her “tumor” legally sucked out, but if she stops at a mini-mart to buy some smokes and rethinks her decision, and if she gets caught in the middle of a robbery and takes a bullet to the gut and loses the baby, the robber can be charged with murder for doing exactly what the abortionist was about to do legally. If a woman wants to get an abortion, the baby is a tumor and the act is legal. If a woman wants to keep the baby, it’s a baby and anyone else can be prosecuted for harming it. To deal with the obvious contradiction between prosecuting people who destroy fetuses in some situations and protecting those who do it in others, a legal fiction was created, namely that life begins when it’s wanted. A wanted fetus is a life. An unwanted fetus is a tumor.

In other words, there’s no inherent value of the womb-dwelling baby that necessitates special care or even consideration. What value it has is imparted by the mother—or creator, I should say. “Mother” implies carrying the baby to term, a risky assumption of pregnant women in the age of autonomy. The more apt “creator” title implies the divine aspect as well as the power to destroy.

If everything is meaningless, the only meaning is subjective. And the only subjective meaning that holds sway, if we are to avoid total anarchy, is that meaning which those with indiscriminate power inflict by sheer will (i.e., womb bearers against their children/clump of cells).

You see this leveling in art, too. How could Life magazine insinuate Jackson Pollock was the greatest living American painter in 1949? Did the war kill off every talented artist in America? Contrast Pollock’s sloppy “expressionist” drip paintings with a Monet or a Rembrandt. One is the work of inspiration, talent, and industry. The other you can’t discern from garbage.

Even mediocre art is preferable to Pollock’s “best.” The key difference is in the attempt at content. Pollock gave his paintings nondescript names, like “No. 5,” because names with words, which have objective meaning, might prejudice the viewer against what the viewer wants to see. Pollock painted nothing so people could see whatever they want. They are contentless. Oh, you see a tree orchard? I see old men playing chess. Timmy sees a shipwreck.

Steve Turley writes:

As the twentieth-century Christian scholar Hans Rookmaaker recognized, modern art comes from the loss of our sense of a created order. The world prior to the modern age was filled with divine meaning and purpose. And the mission of the artist was to serve humanity by awakening us to that divine meaning and purpose by representing such in new and beautiful complexions.

But the rise of modern science in effect de-sanctified the world by supposedly exposing all cultural meaning systems as fabrications. The world is not governed by the gods or divine meaning or purpose, but rather by physical, chemical, and biological causal laws. The mission of the artist is now redefined; the modern secular artist all too often seeks to celebrate the new, the hip, by tearing down cultural fences and mores and exposing them as artificial constructions. Art increasingly exists to shock, to turn our heads and grab our attentions with blasphemous and pornographic content.

So much of modern secular art is a window into a world devoid of any objective meaning, any sense of care and purpose. It is no wonder that our books and movies are infatuated with dystopias and Armageddon scenarios. (Emphasis added)

Since modern art is insignificant as far as values are concerns, we’re not at each other’s throats over its meaning. Not so when the way of governing ourselves in accord with truth is at stake. Then we get passionate and violent, as we should in defending truth from lies.

Related: “The whole lie and nothing but the lie.”

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Je ne suis pas Charlie

Mark Steyn’s reflections on Charlie Hebdo’s defeat are apt:

The slippery, weaselly nature of the post-bloodbath support told Charlie Hebdo it was only going to get lonelier. It’s hard standing on your feet when everyone else with the #JeSuisCharlie buttons is on their knees, bottoms in the air, prostrate before the fanatics. And so Charb’s successor has opted to live on his knees.

#JeSuisCharlie? Even Charlie isn’t Charlie now.

I have no particular urge to die standing, but I really don't want to live in the world this malign alliance of Islamic imperialists and hollow western appeasers is building for us. So we must resist it on all fronts.

I would add this: In the end, what Charlie Hebdo was standing up for, free speech, is a means to an end. It’s value comes from what you do with it. Charlie Hebdo used speech to lambast things that are worth defending. So when the time comes to defend their right to ridicule things that are worth defending, what then?

Secularist Europe exemplifies the modern contradiction. The momentum of the past dissipated long ago. Nothing sustains it now. They are culturally rudderless, neutered, “men without chests” as C. S. Lewis put it. Many people locked arms and Twitter accounts and “stood with Charlie.” But why did they stand with Charlie? It surely was not out of some bold, fiery allegiance to truth or to the one true God. It was to free speech itself, which is worth dying for because... uh... I’ll get back to you when I figure it out.

Islam is based on no less of a contradiction, but it has the advantage of vigor. They think they have a divine imprimatur. In a duel against an unmotivated opponent, you should favor Islam.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Atticus Finch monument under fire

Monroeville, AL – A group of protestors carrying signs and crosses is demanding the removal of a monument to Atticus Finch in this sleepy, southern Alabama town.

Chanting, praying, and handing leaflets to pedestrians and motorists, the protestors descended on the Monroeville town square at dawn Thursday. Numbering roughly 50 to 100, they occupied the space around the monument all day.

“Atticus Finch was a racist segregationist, and we believe people like that should not be honored in public space,” said Byzantium Moore, the group’s ostensible leader.

The epigraph on the monument reads “Atticus Finch: Lawyer - Hero.” The monument was placed in the Monroeville town square by the Alabama State Bar Association in 2010.

Atticus Finch is the beloved character from Harper Lee’s classic 1960 novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. In the book he unsuccessfully defends a black man from false accusations of rape.

Concerns have arisen recently about Atticus Finch’s racial magnanimity, however. In Lee’s controversial sequel, Go Set a Watchman, published this month, Finch attends citizens’ councils, widely held to be synonymous with the Ku Klux Klan. He also espouses segregationist views to his grown-up daughter, Scout.

Still, the Finch monument has its defenders. Winston Trudell, a white retired judge and professor at Auburn University, said the racist Finch character inspired him as a teenager.

“He’s the reason I went into law in the first place,” Trudell said. “Every lawyer and judge in Alabama read that book when they were kids. He’s an American hero, in my opinion.”

When asked whether he was open to changing his mind in light of revelations about Finch’s racist views, Trudell said no. “That’s not the real Atticus,” he said emphatically.

That position will become hard to defend as more people read Go Set a Watchman and discover the inconvenient truth about Atticus Finch. Meanwhile, the protestors vow they will not rest until the monument is removed. They were back at the town square in greater numbers Friday morning.

“This is like the Confederate symbols all across the South,” Moore said yesterday. “People say, ‘Look past the war, past secession, past slavery, and you see there was good in people.’ I say, ‘Excuse me? How can a racist be a good person in any way, shape or form?’ And what does it say about us that we honor these folk?”

Monroeville’s city manager, Rosco Ward, issued a press release stating the city was “looking into the allegations of racism and potential next steps should they prove valid.” The Alabama State Bar Association was unavailable for comment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Truest self

A self-making man I long to be
Who I am, short of what I want
I chase after an image of me
Of my truest self I’m in the hunt

So much to earn, to take from the world
This or that, depends on when you ask
My life around my heart’s desires curled
Spending present and future on the task

Falling down again and again
Sends me back to where I started
A shell of ambition
Sinking feeling, dismal failure
Am I not good enough?

“Opiates, please,” and I give in
Fine for a minute, but a dull ache
Unfree, I freely choose my sin
Habits, they have me, I cannot shake

Vile surrogates’ phony embrace
Sorrow in my shortfall sedated
The ghost in the glass I loathe to face
Clothed in filth but with pain abated

Betraying myself again and again
Chains me up to where I started
Failed and flawed volition
Tired of this trial and error
I am not good enough!

Power beyond, above me I seek
To me, blind judge of my footsteps, kill
For I alone am much too weak
Elusive, the key to errant will

Who—what am I besides my own
A maker’s made one in the inmost crease
God the maker, in whom truth is shown
Glorious maker, in whom I find peace

The key’s without, not within
Frees me from where I started
To my sire, submission
By two faiths I’m measured
In Christ I am enough!

A new vision for a new life
Untangled from my heart’s desires
Against creation, no more strife
The righteous in God’s armor Christ attires

Blessed by Him, giving is reflex
The communion path my feet trod
Love, through the Holy Spirit, connects
I’ve found my truest self, thank God

Monday, July 20, 2015

Aborting the circle of life

Urban Dictionary has a good, but flawed, definition of the Junior Anti-Sex League:

In George Orwell’s novel 1984, an organization for young people that advocated complete celibacy for both sexes. The Party intends to abolish the institution of the family, so all children will be the products of artificial insemination and grow up in public institutions. Members wear red sashes around their waists. Julia, Winston Smith’s lover, is a member of the Junior Anti-Sex League, though she does not share their ideals.

By extension, the conservative & repressive forces in society that support ideals of celibacy, virginity, purity, etc.

This definition is confused. Conservatives don’t want to abolish the family. That describes progressives with their fetish for abortion, contraception, divorce, asexual reproduction, and child commoditization. In a procreative context, chastity ensures children issued from sexual congress of man and woman are raised in marriage by a mother and father committed to each other, not outside marriage where they are vulnerable.

Orwell had his anti-creative, totalitarian society appropriate chastity for two practical reasons:

  1. To prevent conjugal love coming between state and subject
  2. To prevent marriage and family formation, giving the state justification to breed the next generation, to assume paternity, and to indoctrinate them

Chastity takes discipline. In 1984 it’s tied up in fanatical devotion to the state. Now, recreational sex is tied up in fanatical devotion of personal autonomy. Liberal society appropriates sexual liberation to bewilder the people with licentiousness, prevent marriage and family formation, and indoctrinate the next generation; to create such marital chaos that the people will beg for the nanny state to unburden them of these damn kids.

Orwell’s dystopia was technologically backward. Oceania hadn’t figured out how to disassemble man and separate sex from procreation, so they enforced chastity as part of the civic doctrine. Today’s progressives have the benefit of technology to reorder biological nature (or so they pride themselves). LifeNews.com reports:

Earlier this month, LifeNews.com reported on a high school in Seattle, Washington that is now implanting intrauterine devices (IUD), as well as other forms of birth control and doing so without parental knowledge or permission.

The IUD is known as a long acting reversible contraception, and may even act as an abortifacient. So, a young teen in Seattle can’t get a coke at her high school, but she can have a device implanted into her uterus, which can unknowingly kill her unborn child immediately after conception.

All the better to acclimatize girls to the dream of sex without children.

A society of girls who are uninterested, nay, incapable of having children—and incapable of taking care of them if they accidentally do have children—presents a humanitarian and demographic challenge that the totalitarian state eagerly positions itself to solve. If orchestrating the breakdown of the family and transferring children’s dependence from their parents to the state had been liberals’ stated goal from the beginning, how would they have gone about it differently?