CoE V: I Am Not Called to “Lead” in the Bible

Our age’s focus on a husband’s leadership is a clever redirect away from the Biblical command for wives to submit and obey. Every instance of Biblical instruction to husbands and wives say the same thing: Wives submit to and obey your husbands. Husbands love and care for your wives. That’s the instruction in 1 Peter 3, Titus 2, Ephesians 5, and Colossians 3; in every instance where the Christian home life is addressed.

The wisdom here is simple, but deep and powerful. If she follows then she is able to fulfill her God-given design. Through Christ she is empowered to be godly even if her husband is a fool; even if he tries to lose her. Likewise, a husband cannot be thwarted from loving his wife. Even if she does not obey him that is no bar to his God-given ability to love and care her despite her wickedness. If he loves and cares for her, and she refuses to obey he is clean. He did not fail to lead.

I’ve written many posts and comments about a husband leading his wife, and I was fundamentally wrong. Over the years it has come to be that the liberal progressives proclaim the right thing for the wrong reasons and the traditionalists fight back with nonsense, and I fell into it also. Christian Feminists (both overt and those undeclared and unwitting) are quick to point out that it is a wife’s duty to obey and not a husbands right to force her to submit. Traditionalists have tried to fight this by demanding husbands lead better, and by stealing the glory of obedient women for themselves; such as when a man says his wife follows him because of his good leadership.

And all of it–the progressive tactics and the traditionalist response–is meant to tangle us up so that a wife’s temptation to rebel and abandon is never the topic of discussion; so that no one says, “Wives, obey your husbands.”


Of course there are times where a spouse’s behavior is so wicked and odious that individuals should take prudential action under the guidance of secular and religious authorities. That’s not the topic today.

Advertisements

They Know How to Follow

In a comment on Dalrock’s post “Feminine Wiles” I wrote:

A woman who is strongly attracted to a man will look for ways to please him; without any prompting on his part, and no matter what the consequences.

What I should have wrote was: A woman who has set her mind on a man will look for ways to please him; without any prompting on his part, and no matter what the consequences.

It is often the case that a woman chooses a man to whom she is not “strongly” attracted, but for unattractive reasons: wealth, security, etc.; in other words for the Beta Bucks. Either way to get what she wants she will follow him around…often literally.

This is what a man wants from a wife. It is what a wife is. That is why a woman is tempted to stop following and rebel after she marries.

The Cuckoo’s Egg of Courtly Love

In English, the only word for “marriage sorting and arranging ritual” we have is courtship; even though the act is as old as people. That’s because the cuckoo’s egg of Courtly Love has hatched, and the nest of Christianity is overtaken with its progeny; the assumption of women’s moral superiority, Feminism, egalitarianism, and complementarianism.

For Larry, Nathan, and Nebraska

One of the slogans that, until recently, would trip me up and sprawl me back down into false liberal modes thought was “equality before the law”. This is because it had been explained to me by well-meaning people who loved me that the Bible teaches us “God is no respecter of persons” , and that as Christians–imitators of Christ–we ought to do the same, and therefore such verses were support for the ideal of equality before the law. I’ve wrongly repeated the same myself.

It is true that there are at least nineteen warnings and condemnations of partiality throughout the Bible. Here is one in the middle:

These also are sayings of the wise.

Partiality in judging is not good.
Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,”
    will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,
but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
    and a good blessing will come upon them.
Whoever gives an honest answer
    kisses the lips.

What is not true is that words “You shall not show partiality” mean the same thing as “equality before the law”. The former is a command to a judge (including each of us, as circumstances demand) on how to judge. The latter is a statement about those under judgment. “Equality before the law” is literally a prejudiced statement. It’s also false because at least one of the people before a judge has been wronged! In truth it is the job of a good and proper judge to discover as best he can the inequalities of those under his judgment–especially as they concern the law–and then judge them impartially; as if he had no part–no gain or loss–in the matter.

A Fact About Women

In the post before last I wrote that Harvey Mansfield introduced me to this idea, or argument, called the Fact-Value Distinction. I haven’t yet read about it because reading about it is going to take some time. There are several old authors to have read on the subject before I can claim to say anything informed about the Fact-Value Distinction; David Hume for example. (Right now I’m reading Antifragile…finally.) Regardless of my ignorance, I keep thinking about the fact-value distinction because there are some deep implications. I mean: There are fundamental pre-thought assumptions that influence my thoughts before I consciously think about anything!

Basically, if I understand it from Mansfield’s brief explanation, whenever we observe (see, hear, touch, etc.) something, we either accept it as a brute, naked fact (This is the Fact side of the F-VD) or we make a judgement what we observe (This is the value side.). The Fact side is the realm of mathematics and science. The best example I can think of at the moment is “2+2=4”. No judgement can or should be made about that. (Mostly. More in a bit.) The Value side is the realm of religion and philosophy: What ought to be, and what ought to be observed.

Our worldview, modernity, is possessed with an obsession of the Fact view of life, and deeply discounts Values–judgements. When Science! (the collective institutions of politically influential scientists) declares on a subject it is declared in a way that we are to accept it like we should accept 2+2=4. Any divergence or dispute from what Science! has decreed is taken as an expression of insanity as looney as disputing that 2+2≠4.

But if you think about it for a moment, Science! is hiding the ball. Even if they do not mean to deceive they have because before they present an observation as Fact, they’ve already made a judgement that the observation has Value as a Fact, and that the Fact is good for them (and us) to know, and to make decisions based upon them. In other words: The way of Science! and of the whole modern world is to make one Value distinction to say that every thing and every observation is a Fact. Since every Fact is True like 2+2=4, and since every observation becomes a thought, then every thought is True. But we observe different things; even contradictory things. Collectively, then, we moderns observe that 2+2=∞, and go about making Fact of it.

Anyone who recognizes this then has a choice:

  1. Degrade all observations, thoughts, and knowledge as insane and random. Then wonder what you, an insane person, means by insane.
  2. Commit an incoherent doublethink by accepting the idea of moral relativism while ignoring the fact that moral relativism is destroyed by the basic value assumption that facts exists.
  3. Recognize that you make Value judgements about every single observation you have, and then wonder in terror what you are to do next.

Let me give a more concrete example of what I believe is an improper Fact-Value Distinction. It is from the very same video of Mansfield where he taught me of the F-VD, and who is in favor of Value distinctions. It’s said clumsily as often happens in conversation, but if you watch the section of the video on Manliness you understand that Mansfield disagrees with the idea that men and women are the same, or even think the same. But then he goes on to make an assertion of Fact when a judgement of Value is more correct. He says:

[W]e reason differently. It just isn’t the case. This is the most important thing that men and women think the same. We have different outlooks. So, to have a different body somehow goes with having a different soul.

And, so for example, women are more pacifistic. Well, they have children, that’s a big investment, nine months – nine months of your life for each one of them. You’re not going to go throwing away human life recklessly.

Well, maybe that’s comical, but I think that’s – that kind of thinking is very common and even wise. There is a kind of wisdom in that correspondence of roles and ways of thinking.

That’s slightly, but importantly, wrong. It would have been right to say because women have to make a huge investment of nine months, they ought to recognize that investment and not throw away human life recklessly. It’s not a fact that women aren’t reckless with human life, or that they are pacifistic because of the term of pregnancy. Women abort their babies. Women kill their children. Women go to war. Women fight and start fights. Women do all kinds of things which are anathema to human life and pacifism.

The importance of this particular error is this: Once we make a Value judgement that women ought not throw away human life recklessly, then we have to make another Value judgement about whether we ought, or ought not, impose that expectation of on them. Modern men don’t want to do that. We’d rather pretend women are Facts, and we’d rather pretend that if we imagine them to be pacifists of factual reason, that too is a Fact.

The Vista’s End

It’s quite possible that the time is coming when we’ll all get subsistence checks from the gov’t.

The radical notion that governments should hand out free money to everyone – rich and poor, those who work and those who don’t – is slowly but surely gaining ground in Europe. Yes, you read that right: a guaranteed monthly living allowance, no strings attached.

[…]

Called “universal income” by some, “universal basic income” or just “basic income” by others, the idea has been floated in various guises since at least the mid-19th century. After decades on the fringes of intellectual debate, it became more mainstream in 2016, with Switzerland holding a referendum – and overwhelmingly rejecting – a proposed basic income of around $2,500 per month.

[…]

WHY THE MOUNTING INTEREST?

In a word, robots. With automated systems and machines increasingly replacing human workers…

Charles Murray is going around saying the same thing. If you follow the link it will take you to the 33 minute mark of a video featuring Charles Murray on Conversations with Bill Kristol.[1] If you’re interested, he has a whole book (which I have not read) on the subject called In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State. Call me be a rubic Flyover American, but Universal Basic Income (UBI) sounds like welfare to me. Automation (robots) is a red herring, though. UBI is just an incarnation of a sluggard’s fantasy to eat but not work.

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

UBI is a social science disaster in the making, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming at us. Then the question will be how to respond to it. Fighting it won’t be in our hands, and will be a waste of time due to its popularity. So perhaps we fathers and husbands ought to start thinking now about how to reform such chaos into a benefit.

My theory is that a UBI would, fundamentally, individuate us further; wives from husbands, children from parents, etc. If we understand that, then we can understand why conservatives/libertarians who oppose welfare on a segregated basis (age, income, handicap, etc.) could be won-over by a comprehensive form of welfare. That means that the way for the average man to fight this is to live and teach cooperation of family members (and perhaps friends) under his leadership. The family which can pool each constituent’s UBI will win.

Until recent human history this was common practice: The family produced together and therefore prospered together, or didn’t. The wealthy still practice it even though children living at home and sharing their profits with the whole family  is anathema to the “American Way of Life”. The “go west young man” attitude of Americans in a land of seemingly endless vistas taught us to ignore this wisdom. Well, we found the vista’s end. We can either return to the ancient wisdom, or spiral into further hellishness of poverty, OoW childbirth, abortion, and disease.

Perhaps such a return seems improbable because of social pressures for kids to move out, and the selfish motivations of the human hearts within those kids. You ought to prepare yourself for that, but I don’t believe it’s hopeless. For one thing we can point to those wealthy families who practice this. We can also point to stories in the entertainment media which, although often the enemies of capable parents, are ultimately servants of eternal story arcs and when they forget themselves, portray family cooperation under a head in a positive light. If only there was a name for such an arrangement…

[1] It’s possible that the name Bill Kristol might send some of my readers right over the edge of reason. (The chances I take!) Those of you who manage to keep yourself righted could do worse than to watch or listen to BK’s Conversations. I often don’t agree with the pundits, but it is an excellent chance to figure out what I think on matters. For example: If you watch the whole video you can hear Murray lament American men’s performance, but never suggest that women have a role to play. For the reading inclined there is a transcript.

Stronger Together (for now), or: Make Weddings Great Again

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.

Where was I…Ah, yes: Why Graft?

Here I wrote about how marriage is very like grafting when it is done right (or done at all, really) and here I wrote about some considerations surrounding that. What I didn’t write about was why one has a woman grafted onto him; why one marries in the first place. What does the cut branch bring to the rootstock?

Fruit and beauty, but mostly fruit. What a gardner wants in a fruit garden is lots of good tasty fruit. There’s something to be said for beautiful foliage, too and the shade thrown[1] by lush foliage is full bloom is wonderful for its own sake.

Fruit in marriage is children, of course. And because marriage is also a fundamentally spiritual affair, then fruits are also love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All these things are must-haves for consideration in marriage. Any branches who do not bear these fruits are a waste to the gardener so close inspection of the woman before marriage for these traits is essential.

Beauty is important, but not always in the way we think. We think we know what beauty when we see it, but usually we’re just telling ourselves stories about what we like rather than recognizing objective beauty. Objective beauty has a physical and spiritual fullness which is absent in things we merely like in our various and subjective attractions.

[1] Not to be confused with throwing shade; which is unpleasant, but sadly more common.

The Dog Who Didn’t Divorce

Why hasn’t there been–in the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey books and movie, the Magic Mike movies, etc.–an explosion of husbands filing for divorce? If porn is adultery, why aren’t men incensed? Does anyone know a man who has divorced his wife for reading romance novels? Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?

[CC: Answers to last post’s comments and questions soon.]

Music as Moral Solvent: Hypocriticisms in the Cacophonic Phenomenon

One of the things I impress upon my family is how cynical the entertainment industry is towards women. They pump out nonsensical media for women at such speed and volume that one experiences it as a single Cacophonic Phenomenon. As a man, you want to just ignore it and get about your business, or your play, or whathaveyou… I advise against that.

One assault that is common in women’s pop music is the “stream of contradictions”. It’s those songs where the earnest woman sings a bunch of antonyms, seemingly-opposing ideas, or hypocriticisms–boom, boom, boom–one right after the other. Here’s a famous example. (I apologize for what I’m about to do to you.)

I’m a bitch, I’m a lover
I’m a child, I’m a mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way

You can read all the lyrics here.

The first thing I want to point out is that last line; which I bolded. Meredith Brooks isn’t just speaking to the man in her life. She’s setting an expectation for all men towards all women, and discouraging all women from seeking sanity. This is accepted because men do often find women confusing, and because women are easily confused. Men underestimate how bewildered and blundering women are as the go through the world. Part of the way they fake understanding is by this pretense of mystery-in-contradictions; such as Brooks describes. The truth is just confusion and lack of boundaries.

The second thing I want to point out is that the song was super popular. In its heyday it seemed like it was on everywhere, all the time. From Wikipedia:

The song steadily rose on the Billboard charts, eventually peaking at number two for four weeks, only behind “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112. It debuted and peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart on 27 July 1997 and stayed in the top ten for four weeks. The song was also a big hit in Oceania, where it reached number two in Australia and four in New Zealand. It ranked at number 79 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the ’90s.

And, just to underline my point about the widespread acceptance of confusion masked as mystery-in-contradiction, here’s the next paragraph from Wikipedia:

“Bitch” was also used in the 2000 Nancy Myers film What Woman Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. The scene is arguably the most memorable part of the film, as Mel Gibson is seen dressing in womans’ tights and wearing make-up singing to the chorus of the song. From this point in the film the character is able to “hear” what woman want.

There you have it: Only when a man deliberately confuses himself as much as possible can he “hear” what women want, i.e., be pleasing to women. Right. Did any woman suspend that disbelief? Mel Gibson…the guy for whom People magazine invented the “Sexiest Man Alive” award.

This came up today when I was cleaning the music library on my laptop. Over the summer I had backed up all the phones in the house to my iTunes account; including importing everyone’s songs into my library. My wife and daughters, like everyone, get music here and there; free downloads from Starbucks, or copying a coworker’s CD, etc. And they’re girls, so they like girly music and they get music from other girls. While during a long lull of waiting at work, I listened to the songs to see if I wanted to keep any of them. That’s when I came upon this song.

If you save yourself for marriage
You’re a bore
If you don’t save yourself for marriage
You’re a whore-able person
If you won’t have a drink
Then you’re a prude
But they’ll call you a drunk
As soon as you down the first one

If you can’t lose the weight
Then you’re just fat
But if you lose too much
Then you’re on crack
You’re damned if you do
And you’re damned if you don’t
So you might as well just do
Whatever you want

For her oeuvre to foolish peers[1] Kacey Musgraves was awarded performances at both the CMAs and the Grammys in 2013, and CMAs’ Song of the Year in 2014.

“Now, Caldo,” you say, “these songs are nearly two decades apart. This does not a trend make.” My friends, the mystery-in-contradiction is everywhere in the top playlists of every English station, and have been; particularly since the 1990s. There are many previous instances, but it really took off with the rise of Tori Amos, Meredith Brooks, Liz Fair, Something Apple-whatsherface, and all the rest of the Lilith Faire crowd. And it goes on through The Dixie Chicks, KT Tunstall, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Kacey Musgraves…

What does the music industry get from women’s confusion? Money. It turns out that confused, vain, and nigh-amoral consumption ‘bots are addicts repeat customers.

Be forewarned: There’s a common bit of advice “Once you see it, you’ll see it everywhere.” It’s the same with the Cacophonic Phenomenon and the mystery-in-contradiction, but it’s more like “Once you make out the words, you can’t ignore them.” Listening to the radio stops being background noise and becomes reports of a horrifying, nearby, war. This knowledge can feel like a curse, but the alternative is more tragic because the Cacophonic Phenomenon is a kind of hypnotism, or snake-charming.