- Perfection of the life, or of the work?
- Coptic Christians formally disclaim movie trailer.
- Our first therapeutic President.
Soraya Chemaly, a writer heretofore entirely unfamiliar to me, has written a Huffington Post opinion piece that virtually brands me a misogynist if I criticize her. If you and I get together and agree, the Southern Poverty Law Center will probably label us a “hate group.” But here goes anyway. Once more into the breach.
Ms. Chemaly popped up on my radar because I’ve been following @JeremiahGoulka on Twitter. His 15 minutes of fame thus far arise from his leaving the GOP for the “reality-based community,” as he puts it. It’s an interesting story, well enough told.
But when he tweets Chemaly’s story, I question his grasp on reality – or at least his having comprehended the vast sweep of reality. Chemaly begins with a bunch of straw man, starting with this:
Can we please stop this destructive pretense that effective birth control and safe and legal abortion did not transform society and help families by enabling women to plan their parenthoods, get jobs, make jobs, do well at jobs and keep jobs?
Nobody thinks contraception and abortion aren’t big deals, including big economic deals, over the past 45 years or so.
The straw men continue. If I have to name them one by one, you’re really not bright enough to go out on the net. There are liars out here.
The core idea, it seems to me, is not a straw man but a blindered view encapsulated thus: “Motherhood impoverishes women, fatherhood enriches men.”
That’s true enough, if you’re talking about motherhood of single women. I’m not endorsing unmarried people making babies, and I can’t deny that the parent with the womb is likely to bear the economic brunt if they do, while the inseminator struts off giving his buddies high fives.
But I’ll share a secret with you if you promise not to tell: for the individual, sex is optional. And there is no significant move to deny contraception to those who don’t choose to abstain. The hot issue du jour is Who pays for that choice?
Moreover, is it not delusional to think that more contraception plus more abortion plus a higher proportion of career women in the workplace equals long-term economic prosperity (the implication of her title “Why ‘Social Issues’ = Important Economic Issues”)?
Social Security and Medicare, after all, are in big trouble because of the baby bust. The lavish promises we’ve made to one another through government, “the things we do together,” are lies unless we make babies or take in immigrants to do our “grunt work” (scare quotes because I don’t like the term, which nevertheless makes the point quickly enough) or both. We don’t pay enough into Social Security to fund our own benefits. They’re probably lies even if we do make babies (though I still am influenced by Julian Simon’s trope, in The Ultimate Resource, that we need to think of babies as brains to solve our vexatious problems, not mouths to feed).
Industry, which famously focuses on the next couple of quarters on the theory that in the long run, we’re all dead, loves women in the workforce because it suppresses wages; they don’t need to pay a single breadwinner a “family wage.”
But I flatly deny that having all adults running the gerbil wheel 8 hours per day (or more) is the formula for a good national life.
Wes Jackson said that our schools now have only one major, upward mobility, and that we need to offer a major in homecoming. I agree, and would only add that part of the sense of “homecoming” must be homemaking , for we now must begin sometimes with remnants, sometimes with ruins.
and William Blake …
The intellect of man is forced to choose
Perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if you take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
When all that story’s finished, what’s the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse,
Or the day’s vanity, the night’s remorse.
(From Collected Poems)
and drunkard jokes, like the very American story of an alcoholic, who awakened in a cemetery to the roar of a a crane lowering a gold-plated Cadillac convertible into an oversized grave, the dearly departed embalmed and seated at the wheel in a custom-tailored suit.
“Man, that’s living!,” he exclaimed.
I’ve even taken a dip in pop schlock from the walls of the Chauncey Village Jimmy Johns:
The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor.”
The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.” “Millions, señor? Then what?”The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
(Found at Life Principles)
I hope Goulka and Chemaly will factor such things into their thinking sooner rather than later. As Icarus learned, if you push the envelope too a hair too far, you stall, and crash, and die.
I’ve seen enough cads walk out on their families to know that there’s a powerful incentive for women to get a degree, keep a foot in the workplace, and keep their options open for when Peter Pan’s midlife crisis takes him away in a two-seater with trophy second wife beside him.
I think I’ve always been a heckuva nice guy, but apparently some opinions have varied. My father in law was convinced, 40 years ago, that I was no damned good and that my wife must finish her last year of school after we married so that she could survive when I left for the commune. A sweet 60-something lady at Church told me as I was preparing to go back to law school 33 years ago that “if you ‘outgrow’ your wife, I’ll come to Indiana and kill you.”
But I also know that down that path of guardedness – of living life with one eye on the exit sign, the other on the Antenuptial Agreement’s divorce provisions – lies deep alienation.
And I refuse to think that sustainable solutions will be built on the premise that conjugal marriage is dead, or irrelevant to the social good, and that we need more government empowerment of rootless atomistic individuals to the neglect of kinship families and strong communities.
A Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, says he was the manager for the company that produced the film. In 2010, Nakoula pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud charges. AP points to evidence that suggests Nakoula could be the person posing as Bacile.
The Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
The Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America offers its deepest condolences to the families of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the three other Americans senselessly murdered in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. We pray that the Lord may repose their souls and comfort their families during this time of mourning. The Archdiocese likewise condemns the film that has offended our Muslim brothers and sisters, and affirms that such efforts to insult and offend a neighbor with which the Copts have coexisted for nearly fourteen centuries violate the fundamental teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and contradict the virtues of love and tolerance by which Christians are governed. As conscientious and benevolent neighbors, we reject any allegation that the Coptic Orthodox community has contributed to the production of this film. Indeed, the producers of this film have taken these unwise and offensive actions independently and should be held responsible for their own actions. We urge our Muslim brothers and sisters to exercise the same patience and wisdom that the Coptic Community has likewise demonstrated when faced with persecution, and join us in condemning violence and aggression. We pray to our Almighty and Merciful God for the safety of the world and the security of the United States, our beloved homeland Egypt, and the entire Middle East region.
The more I learn (more or less by osmosis; I’m not really working at it), the more I think the pseudonymous Sam Bacile may be some kind of demented dispensational premillennialist, out to hasten the Second Coming by fomenting war in the middle east.
R.R. Reno, taking issue with Dinesh D’Souza over his new movie, 2016: Obama’s America,, calls Barack Obama “our first therapeutic President.”
Far from having sources in the Third World, I’m willing to bet that the therapeutic liberalism that Obama represents gives most anti-colonial African nationalists the creeps.
We need to be careful in assessing our liberal adversaries. They represent an American progressive tradition that has strong, deep roots in our society. As a conservative, I want to work against the predominance of this tradition to prevent it from controlling the future of our country. But my fight, our fight, is with our brothers, not with aliens from a different planet (or Africa, or Europe, as the case may be).
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