I’ve been listening to more of Bill Kristol’s Conversations; especially those with Harvey Mansfield. The first effect of which has been to expand my list of classics; Tocqueville, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, J.S.Mills, Strauss, Mansfield himself…
Since those books yet remain for me in that classical state, I can only comment on what he briefly explains. There are over 12 hours of Mansfield speaking though, and he returns to the same topics over and again. So I have probably learned a few things which I will test as I remove titles from my personal list of classics.
- Zippy is right: I have been a right-liberal. I previously admitted to be a right-liberal before, but limited it to an accordance with his interpretation of things, i.e., “on his blog”. That was wrong. Modernity (a whole ‘nother thing which I’m only now seeing from outside) is what we live in, and it taught me that its (modernity’s) notions of right and left were true. They’re not. It turns out that there is a very long conversation about politics and the dichotomy was established a long time ago. The character, or spirit, of each side is probably beyond dispute: Democracy (Liberalism/Left) or Aristocracy (Authoritarianism/Right). There are several/many forms of each, but there are only two real philosophies (or principles). Every mixture of the two requires some kind of mental investment in a paradox. That’s in the best case. In the worst mixtures one requires doublethink. I like the former and hate the latter. My problem, and not just mine, is that the unstoppable force of democracy is crashing full-speed into the immovable object of reality. Unfortunately I’m between them, and quite squishable. Paradoxes are a kind of crash-cage protection, but fear causes one to grasp at doublethinks as a kind of insulation…but at some point enough pillows will smother you.
- All these old guys (Kristol, Mansfield, Larry Summers, Charles Murray, etc.) are hesitant to say that men do good things too, and often at times and in ways that women can’t, and they take pains to say that women might do it, too. They really put men down. Mansfield at least makes the case that this is a problem (even as he does it) and makes snide comments that the powers-that-be are who muzzle us.
- There’s this argument called the fact value distinction of which I did not know that I had picked a side (value). In modernity–because of modernity–democracy has elected fact. I am at odds again with the majority; though I confess that my preference was instinctual, subconscious, or in some other way less-than-consciously-reasoned. Irrational, but correct. A great deal of Right thought is irrational. It (knowledge or wisdom) can’t always be logically deduced, or logically consistent. I’m good with that, but then we get into accepting paradoxes, and also threatened by doublethinks.
- One thing that I extracted from the spaces between Mansfield’s words is that No-Fault Divorce was probably an inevitable “innovation” of democracy. Democracy’s spirit is not just consent, but retractable consent, or arguable consent; a consent that is always up for debate. Here we get to one of those doublethinks because consent that is debatable is not really consent. If it is debatable, then it’s not real. So when some feminist (who is a kind of democrat/liberal/leftist) argues that she didn’t really consent to marriage, or sex, or whathaveyou: She is correct in the sense that she is more in-line with the spirit of liberalism. Her correctness matters and resonates because our society just is ruled by Liberalism. According to that spirit, No-Fault Divorce corrects an oversight of our forebears: The right of a wife (theoretically any spouse but effectually a wife) to hold a new election for Husband. A democracy with only one binding election does not keep with the spirit of democracy/liberalism. Binding isn’t what liberty does. No-Fault Divorce is a call to stand for election to office.
So, as I was saying, I was a right-liberal…I do not think I will stand for election again.
In my previous post I limited myself to the narrow and easily observable fact that Pro-Lifers view every woman as living fertility goddesses over their own little clans. But this worship has gone on for awhile now, and, like all, religions these idols have accreted spheres of influence under the ministrations of their devotees, as each one seeks to please the goddesses better than other rival worshippers. Zippy pointed out the obviously related sphere of sex itself fell under the shadow of women’s authority even though the centrality of sex belongs to men.
And not just babies, but children too. Before now there was the invention of the “Tender Years Doctrine” which provoked judges to deny the fruits of marriage from the farmer and leave them to the fields. (One eyes might perceive such a phenomenon as letting the fruit rot and the field go fallow.) Then there’s modern alimony and child support. The sacrament of No-Fault Divorce was key. It’s a ceremony of “pastoral exception” with two applications:
- Allow a goddess to discard her husband without refusal or compunction
- A husband can discard his goddess without publicly shaming her, and therefore avoid the offense of shaming a goddess
both of which pastorally except women from pondering consequences, repentance, or any other act that might anger her.
Now the cult’s shadow advances rapidly and we have passed quickly through the penumbral age of No-Means-No into the silent dark of Yes-Means-Yes and Marital Rape; when every man must first pray to his woman for sex, and then wait for an audible acceptance lest he trespass.
All that is just a broad (rimshot!) sketch to give you the lay of the land of where we are now so that I can talk about one little prayer to the goddesses that tires me.
I closed the previous post by saying that the implications of Pro-Lifers pigheadedness to hold abortive mothers as not guilty by reason of: Life is Hard are even worse. Let’s consider marriage.
Lydia McGrew, PhD wrote:
A legal situation with harsh penalties for abortionists and zero penalties for the procuring woman would be just another such rough-cut distinction made by law, based on considerations like the difficulty of proving the woman’s state of knowledge or intent, information about the prevalence of mitigating pressure and even coercion on the woman, the widespread deception practiced upon pregnant women, the fact that the woman is not confronted with the humanity of the victim in the same way that the abortionist is, and so forth.(Abortion is unique in that the victim is physically hidden, and can remain hidden, from one of the people who is complicit in the victim’s destruction.)
Until thinking about this topic of abortion and women’s ability to choose, I have considered myself a strong supporter of marriage. That will continue, but I confess that it will do so under the powers of habit and will; yoked by conviction from the Word of God. If those (my efforts) fail, then only by the power of the Holy Spirit shall they be maintained. And only if He is so inclined.
She said that abortion is unique in that the victim is “physically” hidden, but this is a perversion of the truth. Pregnancy is visually hidden–not physically–and it is far from unique. Who has seen God? Who has seen Jesus? Who has seen the Holy Spirit? Who has seen a merely human spirit? Who has see the human heart as it is spoken of in the Bible? Who has seen Heaven? Who has seen Hell?
Who has seen marriage? Marriage, like pregnancy, is a good thing. Also like marriage it is surrounded by fears and anxieties and real sacrifice. We can see the evidence of it, but no one has put eyes on the mystery of two flesh become one. It must be accepted on faith. Under the Pro-Lifers’ terrible rule of eyeballs: If no woman has the moral agency to refrain from commitment to abortion, then no woman has the moral agency to commit to the good of marriage. There is not even a matri-gram to prevent women from becoming the puppets of divorce lawyers.
“You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house two kinds of measures, a large and a small. A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the Lord your God.
In response to my post on men’s refusal to divorce women over their porn habits, George Henty wrote:
“That’s a great point, Cane. It reminds me a bit of the old saying that women can forgive an affair that’s “just physical”, while men can forgive an emotional affair as long as “nothing happened”.”
Donal Graeme echoed that point (I believe) with his comment:
Yes, and that says a lot about men and how they think. Just as how women seeing it as adultery says a lot about women and how they think.
I think that it says something about almost everyone…or rather: About no one. Men’s tolerance of women’s porn use is strong evidence that no one actually believes porn use is adultery; as does the dearth of porn-use intervention programs directed specifically at women. Yet on these grounds men are punished with divorce by their wives, pastors, churches, and courts.
Committing adultery in one’s heart is a serious thing, but it’s not grounds for real divorce performed and recognized by human authority any more than thinking someone’s a fool is worthy of a real murder sentence from a court. The consequence of not making the distinction is to become an abomination.