Monday, June 30, 2008

Eric Raymond on The Demonization of Masculinity

Eric S. Raymond has an interesting post about the demonization of masculinity that is occurring in Western culture. Conservative Christians have been pointing at this trend for many years, but I find it especially interesting coming from Eric, who I believe is an agnostic.

The context of his thoughts are specifically related to a news article about how a bricklayer saw a toddler walking alone, but didn't stop to help the kid because of the way an adult males is generally suspected in everything he does with a young child. And that unassisted child ended up falling into a pond and died!

Just take a look at the latest movies and how men in general and husbands in specific are portrayed and you will see the way which feminism and other societal forces have distorted the perception of what it means to be a man. One of the most hurtful legacies of feminism is found in the essential defining propositions of radical feminism: "Men are bad...and women should be just like them."

Here are some quotes from Eric's post that I found to be very accurate in their assessment of what is generally going on:

"Men are designed to protect women and children, specialized for it; in a very basic biological sense it’s what we’re for. But the modern West bombards men with the message that their specialty isn’t needed, isn’t wanted, and that they’re assumed to want to prey on women and children."

"Is it any wonder, then, that young men are increasingly opting out of college, that the percentage of adult males never married is also rising, and that in the 21st century many men seem to want to opt out of responsibility altogether? When our instititions equate feminization with virtue and masculinity with evil, this is exactly the outcome we should expect."

Could it be that our culture's fear of the worst sort of men sometimes causes good, honest, and moral men to feel like they are useless, unneeded, inept, suspect, dangerous, etc.? And furthermore, to feel like we are unable to be of assistance to this world in ways that we were created to be helpful in? Does fear sometimes take our society to extremes (ie. the implicit distrust of masculinity in general) that are perhaps harmful?

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Neither Here Nor There

  • The majority of conservatives don't understand the nuances of their own heritage of liberty enough to understand why it is desirable to extend habeas corpus to suspected terrorists. Instead they support using tactics of the sort that are more in character with Islamic extremist governments than a free Western democracy/constitutional republic. This is to their own peril. Freedom means NOTHING if it only applies to unsuspected individuals. The test of whether we have freedom or not boils down to how we are treated when we are suspected (but not yet proven) to be in the wrong. The importance of treating these suspected terrorists carefully becomes important since these alleged combatants are not clearly marked out like they were in previous wars (ie. with enemy uniform). It is very hard to distinguish who's who in guerilla and other non-conventional wars. Giving the president, a general, or soliders, the power to arbitrarily arrest and detain someone in an undefined never-ending war and never having to present evidence is the essence of totalitarianism and dictorial powers. There is much misinformation being passed round that is painting sending suspected terrorists to courts as a concession to the terrorists. This couldn't be further from the truth. Here some links from a libertarian perspective on the Habeas Corpus issue: Habeas Corpus: The Lynchpin of Freedom, Libertarian Party asks McCain 'What's so wrong with habeas corpus?',
  • Douglas Wilson speaks of the U.S. election and the choice between Disaster A and Disaster B
  • Tim Challies has an interesting aspect of the Proverbs 31 women which we probably don't usually think about: her entrepreneurial skills.

Friday, June 20, 2008

School Stuff

I'm about halfway through my Reasoning Skills course, and I'm about to write the final for Economics I. I'm carrying a B- in Economics I and an A+ in Reasoning Skills.

Also, I've recently registered for Fall semester classes. The classes I chose are:

Introduction to Western Philosophy - An introduction to philosophy through the study of major figures and movements in the Western philosophical tradition.

Introduction to Psychology as a Behavioural Science - Introduction to selected areas in psychology including learning, perception, physiological psychology, emotion, and motivation.

Once I complete the Fall semester, I plan to be 1/5th of the way towards my B.A.! Timing will slow down once I get into the higher-level courses, mainly because it looks like most of those classes are never offered at night school or distance education.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Right of Property

What follows is a summarization of Francis Wayland's views on property rights. It is based on Book 2 of his "Elements of Moral Science". He was an American Baptist educator.

1. The right of property is the right to use something in the manner that one chooses, providing it does not deprive ones neighbor's rights. Hence, property rights are exclusive rights.

2. God owns all things and he has the right to confer property on others. The basis for the existence of property rights is the will of God, which is made known through natural conscience, general consequences, and revelation.

3. Made known through natural conscience: From youth, manifested in appropriation, control, guilt, etc. From possessive pronouns found in all languages. The sense of wrong doing with stealing, etc.

4. Made known through general consequences: It is necessary for productivity. It is necessary for provision. It is necessary for advance of civilization and survival of humans.

5. Made known through revelation: The Bible acknowledges property, directs its precepts against violation of property rights, etc.

6. Direct ways of acquiring property: A. Immediate gift of God or B. By working.

7. Indirect ways of acquiring property: A. By exchange, B. By gift, C. By will arrangements, D. By inheritance without a will arrangement, E. By possession, which is to say acquiring something without any direct moral right to it, yet being the only one able to posses it for practical reasons.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Maybe We Should Read Like This

"If we consider men and women apart from their professions or occupations, there is only one situation I can think of in which they almost pull themselves up by their bootstraps, making an effort to read better than they usually do. When they are in love and are reading a love letter, they read for all they are worth. They read every word three ways; they read between the lines and in the margins; they read the whole in terms of the parts, and each part in terms of the whole; they grow sensitive to context and ambiguity, to insinuation and implication; they perceive the color of words, the odor of phrases, and the weight of sentences. They may even take the punctuation into account. Then, if never before or after, they read." - Mortimer J. Adler


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Neither Here Nor There

  • Tim Challies has posted about 9 things he's learned from the DVD set "Planet Earth". I've watched it myself and would agree that both the films themselves and the lessons Tim has extracted from them are wonderful!
  • Linda Schrock Taylor's recent article, Dear Parents, About Reading Skills… has some helpful and specific advice for parents of young children regarding writing, spelling, and writing. One particular emphasis is the benefit of reading books aloud to children.
  • Apparently X-ray vision to see through clothes is no longer just the domain of comic book advertisements appealing to young teenage boys!
  • Huckabee, former presidential candidate, is starting to show his colors. In a recent interview, he's indicated that libertarianism is a great threat to his vision of Republicanism, even more of a threat than liberalism! He called libertarianism a "heartless, callous, soulless" form of economic conservatism. Thanks to Code Monkey Ramblings for pointing out the interview and also providing a helpful critique. My thoughts? Sorry Mr. Huckabee, I've seen enough of "compassionate conservatism" to know that I'd rather have "heartless, callous, soulless" libertarianism.
  • Kim Riddlebarger provides us with a fascinating glance at how deeply many Christians are enamored with Israel. He provides some questions that the "Jerusalem Prayer Team" poses to judge whether your church is sufficiently supportive enough of Israel and then provides some thoughtful (and I'd say humorous) responses. The list is absolutely insane. According to the Jerusalem Prayer Team, if your church doesn't have an Israeli flag, it just might mean that your church "refuses to believe the Bible, and rejects God’s Eternal promises to the House of Israel"!!!! We Reformed Christians laugh at these things, but some of these people are dead serious about this stuff! Kim's answers are great! I love his answer to the Israeli flag question: "Sorry, there are no flags in our sanctuary--no Israeli flag, no American flag, no Christian flag"