Tuesday, January 31, 2012

He Who Shouts the Loudest...

It is one of the perversely sad truths of society that the voice which shouts the loudest is the most influential in that society. The true story rarely becomes the prevailing narrative, and the most logical argument rarely wins debates. Instead, it is the story that is spread by the most vocal sources, and the argument articulated with the most passion, that wins - the truth notwithstanding.
Quite naturally, men and women expect to be told the truth when spoken to. So people have a natural tendency to believe what they are told. When they are told the same story by a variety of sources, this effect is compounded.
And if a man or woman feels strongly about something, then it would stand to reason that they care more about what they are talking about than a less passionate person - and by that logic, that they have devoted more time to studying the arguments involved. Passionate people seem to be more knowledgable than dispassionate people.
The fact is, however, that the world does not work that way. People often passionately care about things they know very little about, and journalists slavishly repeat “facts” they are too lazy to check. Ideology and emotion blind many people from making accurate analyses and arguments. And unscrupulous people lie and manipulate the truth to suit their own ends.
Lies can easily flourish - if their tellers are more vocal and more passionate than the guardians of the truth.
I wrote in a previous post that the Church was unjustly attacked on many matters, based on lies and misinformation. The comparative silence of the Church’s defenders, contrasted with the vigor of Her opponents, is the reason why the lies against the Church have been so pervasive. The lies about the Church have been spread with such vigor that many well-minded people honestly believe that the Church  is evil, and spread that falsehood to their friends in good faith.
The antidote to misinformation is clear – loud, bold declarations of the truth, lived and proclaimed with joy and vigor. Only by boldness and loving, truthful zeal can we hope to counteract the lies that have been spread long before us.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Breaking the Electronic Chains

I vividly remember going to Confession a couple years ago. I was complaining to the priest about being constantly bored and tired, and how boredom caused me to more easily fall into certain temptations. I also complained about how I was watching too much TV and spending too much time in front of the computer.
His response was blunt: “Get off the computer, get off the television set! Go out and do something! Become an interesting person!”
I have since tried to take that priest’s sage advice to heart. The best way to avoid temptation is to avoid the nearer occasion of sin. And the best way to avoid the nearer occasion of sin is to occupy the mind and body in worthwhile pursuits. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is an eminently true aphorism. 
But far too often, many people today destroy themselves by spending excessive time in front of electronic devices. By staring at electronic devices their whole lives, they neglect the world - the real world - around them.
This is not to say that electronic devices are evil. Television, computers, iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and other electronic marvels are wonderful tools, if used correctly. They connect people who live thousands of miles away from each other.
But electronics are merely tools of communication, and should not be the sole source of communication we have. For a person who can only communicate through electronics is lonely indeed.
For the electronic world is in reality a shadow world. Televisions reduce their viewers to inert objects, viewing a world they cannot change. Computers create a world where one appears to be master of an alternate reality. Telephones connect people to far-off voices and sunder connections with neighbors.  
Electronic devices merely give the illusion of connection. Facebook posts, Twitter hits, e-mails, and other electronic methods of communication give people the illusion of being connected to others - and can and do distract from real connection.
So please, if you are reading this post after a marathon session of staring at a screen, get off the computer, call a friend, say a prayer, do something productive. The shadow world of electronics is alluring – but toxic to those who live in it forever.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Economic Freedom and Moral Freedom

Most American voters who cast their ballots base their decision solely on economic issues. The famous 1992 campaign slogan “It’s the economy, stupid!” still accurately describes the voting preferences of most Americans. Social issues take a back seat to economic issues in elections.
What people who vote solely on economic issues do not realize is that economic freedom is directly linked to moral freedom. Indeed, economic freedom is impossible without moral freedom, because every economic system is predicated on a moral system.
But what most people consider to be moral freedom is in reality moral slavery. The modern conception of moral freedom is license – the ability to do what one wants. And license is fundamentally connected with an inability to control oneself – in any matter, economic or otherwise.
On an individual level, if someone considers vice or frivolous goods more important than saving or providing for a family’s basic needs, then he or she will be in economic peril. A person who can deny himself nothing on a moral level finds it impossible to deny himself anything on an economic level. If a person is unable to control his own spending habits and act morally, he will not make - indeed, not be able to make – correct decisions about his own economic situation.
The same holds true for a country. A country whose citizens and politicians cannot conduct themselves morally will ultimately destroy itself economically. The values governing a culture affect the economic development of that culture. If a culture is strong, promoting virtue in its citizens, then that country’s economy will prosper. A culture that is steeped in vice will see its economy suffer accordingly.
America now faces trillions of dollars in debt because it refuses to deny itself anything. Even small budget cuts are fought tooth and nail by legislators seeking to pander to their constituents – and the thought of real budget cuts is greeted with horror by politicians.
Our culture is one that cannot save anything, where people consume all their wealth on frivolous items. Our culture is enslaved to its own lack of virtue – endangering our economy as well as reflecting our lack of morals.
If America ever wishes to get itself back on a sound economic footing, it must adopt a sound moral code. Only a country grounded in sound moral principles can economically survive in the long run.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Feminized Society (Part 1)

This will be the first post in a four-part series examining a growing trend in America and the rest of the world - the feminization of society. 

Men and women have radically different ways of looking at and approaching the world. Similarly, individual societies tend to reflect either a masculine or feminine view of the world. Increasingly, modern society is becoming more and more feminized.
A feminized society is a society where the dominant political and social institutions are characterized by predominately female modes of expression.
In practice, this means that a feminized society is softer, gentler, more emotional, and more civilized than a masculine society – with all good and ill that entails.
The specific forms which this feminizing of society takes include:
1) Conflict is resolved increasingly through the means of dialogue and diplomacy, and less by means of violence and war.
2) Political argument increasingly relies on emotional appeal, and less on logic and rhetoric.
3) The functions of government focus less on enforcing order and more on ensuring equality and care for underprivileged classes.
4) Feminine virtues such as self-esteem, caring, and love are emphasized, while masculine virtues such as honor, dignity, and courage are deemphasized.
5) Women increasingly hold the balance of power in society and are treated as the superior gender.
6) Men lose their place in society and are treated as the inferior gender.
Modern societies increasingly reflect these characteristics. This marks a change from previous societies, most of which tended towards patriarchy.
Why did this shift towards a feminized society take place? There are several reasons. Here are the most important of the several confluences which led to this type of society.
1) The sexual revolution, sparked by the widespread adoption of birth control, provided women a way to avoid forming families, allowing women to delay childbearing and enter the workforce without
2) The widespread prosperity wrought by the aftermath of the World War II created a climate of privilege and entitlement. Men tend to become soft in such societies; women tend to thrive in such societies.
3) A generation raised in hardship and pain (during the Great Depression) wanted to give their children opportunities they never had.
4) The teachings of a new group of thinkers during the postwar “baby boom,” including Dr. Benjamin Spock, involved a gentler version of childcare, more suited to the needs of women than men.
5) Advances in technology, so to speak, “civilized society” – again, creating an advantage for women.
6) The workplace adopted jobs requiring social skills and less on brute muscle power – increasingly favoring women in the workplace.
The feminization of society has drastic consequences for society, which will be explored in future posts.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Debunking the Freakonomics Argument for Abortion

In Steven Levitt's 2005 book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, a rather callous argument was made for abortion – namely, that abortion reduced crime rates. Author Steven Levitt explained the logic behind this shocking statement on his blog: “Unwanted children have an increased risk of growing up to be criminals, and legalized abortion reduces the number of unwanted children. Consequently, legalized abortion lowers crime in the future.”
Levitt went on to explore the political implications of this theory. He argued that if one was pro-life and viewed abortion as the killing of a child, that abortion killed more lives than it saved and should be outlawed. If one believed that fetuses were not human, then abortion could be seen as a public service, protecting the lives of people in the future. (And if a person was uneasy about whether abortion meant the killing of a child or not, the book recommended weighing the decrease in crime wrought by abortion against the proportion one thought an unborn fetus was a human life, multiplied by the number of abortions in America.)
So, by this argument, if unborn children are not people, then abortion actually saves lives in the long run.
The main argument of the book – that abortion actually reduced crime rates in the first place – has since been debunked by multiple researchers. This is not surprising, for the argument that abortion reduces crime faces two major philosophical flaws.
The first philosophical flaw in Levitt's argument is that abortion contributes to an increasingly violent, less stable culture. Abortion provides a disincentive for women to engage in stable relationship behavior by having families. It provides an opportunity for men to avoid the responsibility of helping to raise the children they sire. Abortion provides a disincentive for marriage and the formation of families, leaving men unstable and women vulnerable. Thus abortion, by contributing to promiscuous behavior and an unstable society, increases crime.   
The second flaw is a problem common among many activists in modern society – that Levitt told only one side of the story. When looking at the impact abortion had on society, Levitt failed to consider the positive impact those killed by abortion would have provided to society had they lived.   
The authors only looked at the potential impact of abortion on crime rates. They did not examine the impact of people who would overcome their handicaps and become doctors, teachers, scientists, and other useful professions. Whatever good unborn children might have done in society was overlooked by the authors, because the authors only looked at unborn children as potential future criminals.  
Yes, abortion kills many who might have grown up to be criminals. It also kills people who might have risen from unforuntate circumstances to become the next Beethovens, Wilma Rudolphs, and Steve Jobses. The abortionist wielding his knife does not and indeed cannot know whether the child he or she is killing will become the next Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchhill, common criminal or ordinary citizen.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Cult of Politics

A new religion is rapidly gaining followers in America. As the majority of Americans become increasingly indifferent to religion in general and traditional Christianity in particular, a new form of religion is taking its place. (And no, the new religion is not football, although that is fast becoming a religion in its own right.)
The new religion is politics.
Politics has possessed a mystical aspect since the dawn of civilization. Pharaohs and emperors declared themselves to be demigods in ancient times, and were worshipped as such. The rise of Christianity tempered this phenomenon slightly: medieval kings and absolutist rulers merely declared that they derived their authority from God. Even supposedly atheistic Communist rulers imbued their state ceremonies with quasi-religious elements.
But during the era of the Enlightenment (in the eighteenth century), a conscious effort was made to decouple politics from religion. Political philosophers of the Enlightenment sought to create a system of government where human reason reigned supreme. In doing so, they sought to eliminate religion from politics entirely.
The result of their efforts was a system that consciously tried to separate church and state. In America, the Founding Fathers declared that there would be no state religion. In France, laughable attempts were made to declare "reason" a goddess and to destroy religion altogether. 
In practice, these efforts largely removed the element of religion inherent in politics since its inception. Politics and religion retreated into separate spheres. 
Now, politics and religion are becoming intertwined once again – but not in the same form as in ancient and medieval times. In modern times, politics has become a religion in its own right. Many people are turning to politics for their spiritual fulfillment.
In our increasingly secular society, politics has now become a fight between good and evil, between the correct, orthodox doctrine posed by one political party and the false, heretical doctrine propounded by the other, “enemy” political party. Or it takes the form of a mystery religion, suspicious of both traditional political ideologies, and demanding the creation of a new political creed.
The great sacrament of politics is the election cycle, in which men and women sacrifice time, money, and effort to elect their favored politicians, often in the hope of receiving a share in that power.
The hierarchs of that religion, namely journalists, staffers, lobbyists and pundits, are its priests, preaching the virtues of their favored party and the vices of their opponents with missionary fervor. Its bishops are representatives and senators, blessing the common people with their presence and favors. And its pope is the president, whom people are trained to see as a messiah, capable of transforming the economy and public policy at will.
The mystic belief of politics, that all the world’s problems would be solved if a particular political ideology were adopted by all, pervades modern culture.
Human beings need some form of religion in their lives. When traditional religion is discarded, another form of religion will take its place. Politics is rapidly fulfilling that role in America. 

This post also appeared on New Agora. Check us out!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Timeless Church

Nations rise and fall, empires wax and wane, dynasties form and collapse. All earthly institutions rapidly appear and disappear. Those institutions which do survive for extended periods of time change substantially, until they become unrecognizable. Time is the great destroyer of all human endeavors.
But not the Church. The Church endures – and will continue to do so until the end of time. 
To be sure, the Church is not unaware of the passage of time. For example, theological questions originally left open for debate by theologians, such as the Immaculate Conception, She has now clearly defined. 
But the Church endures in substance, keeping the same basic teachings, performing the same sacrifice, and holding to the same moral principles as She did at Her founding. Numerous Popes have been killed, imprisoned, tortured, and enslaved, but Her Papacy has endured since Saint Peter. Her doctrines, although attacked by every form of heresy imaginable, remain intact, whereas the popular creeds of bygone eras have fallen by the wayside.
No other organization or religion holds that record. The constancy of the Church is a far cry from the mutability of every other human organization and every other faith. 
The Church has been beset from within and without by every form of pressure imaginable. Persecutors, heretics, and schismatics demanded that She conform Her teachings to what was powerful or what was fashionable. Nations and principalities have demanded that She submit to them. When She refused to do so, they unleashed every form of pressure imaginable to coerce or destroy Her.
But they fell, and She remained. And still She endures.
This constancy shown by the Church in the face of unimaginable pressure is nothing short of miraculous. It is one of the clearest proofs that the Catholic Church is truly the Church of God.
For a religion to be true, it MUST teach unchanging truth that lasts until the end of days. Moral law must be unchanging if it is to have any meaning. A changing conception of a God is no conception of God at all.
Only the Church has held to Her sacred, enduring mission and Her holy teaching, granted to Her by Jesus Christ. The constancy of the Church is a living witness to Her enduring truth.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Leaders and Lemmings

Men can be divided into two classes: leaders and lemmings. In the modern world, there are few of the former, and many of the latter.
A leader, simply defined, is one able to inspire people to do things they would not otherwise do. All men and women have the capacity to be leaders. All have the ability to lead by good example. Many, if not most, have the ability to lead by directing others. Leadership should be a common trait.
However, most people today do not possess the quality of leadership. Most people render themselves incapable of inspiring others to do good and avoid evil. And those few that do utilize the ability to direct people often do so to satisfy their own selfish ends, and not for the betterment of those around them.
Instead, they allow charismatic demagogues to lead them where they will. They are either blind followers of a particular person or ideology, or are slaves to their own disordered wills. Instead of being leaders, they act like lemmings, following wherever they are led.
Now, of course it is necessary for some men to follow others at times. Simple numerical truth dictates that only some can lead, while others must follow. But when men are called to follow, they are called to follow worthy causes and for good reasons; they are not called to blindly follow whoever tickles their ears or whatever strikes their fancy.
But blind, unreasoning following of unjustified authority is the order of the day. Men follow celebrities, pundits, “experts,” and demagogue politicians that tickle their ears, rejecting the dictates of their consciences and scorning traditional authority. They follow their own (badly formed) “consciences,” which tell them to do whatever they want with themselves. And they make themselves lemmings as a result.
This behavior is classic lemming behavior. And widespread lemming behavior is the sign of a self-destructing society. For a society where men and women are incapable of leadership cannot survive for long. If men are incapable of leading others – or even themselves – to live good and useful lives, then society is in peril.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Zero-Sum Games

A zero-sum game is a situation where only person or group can benefit from a relationship. In a zero-sum game, if I lose, you win, and vice versa.
Some situations, like a soccer game or a chess match, are naturally zero-sum games. If one team wins, the other team must lose. The success of one person group neccessitates the failure of the other.
But some situations are mutually beneficial to both parties. Trade is the prime example of a mutually beneficial agreement. Both parties give away something that they do not want to get something they do want, benefiting both parties. Marriage is (or at least should be) another example of two parties helping each other and accordingly benefiting one another.
However, many people tend to see all situations – and all human relationships – solely in terms of zero-sum games. In this view, one group’s success MUST come off the backs of other people. One man’s happiness MUST come at the expense of another.
Common examples of zero-sum games can be found in both the economic realm and the social realm.
Economic movements using zero-sum game thinking often involve forms of class warfare. The Occupy Movements are based upon the principle that the top earners in society are earning their wages off the backs of the common people. Marxist theory is the great historical example of zero-sum economic thinking – the bourgeoisie earned their money at the expense of the proletariat, and in order to improve their lot, they must destroy their tormenting class.
Social theories regarding zero sum games involve setting different groups of people against one another. Feminism is a zero-sum game – women’s gain is set at the expense of men. With this mentality, if women improve, men must decrease, if men increase, women decrease. Affirmative action, with its attempt to raise minorities up in order to atone for earlier racial injustices, attacks the status of certain races at creates a zero-sum game on that score.
But economic and social theories that see all transactions as zero-sum games reflect a foolish and unchristian mentality. For zero-sum games set men against one another. But rich and poor, men and women were not created by God to tear one another down. Instead, all people were created to help each other attain happiness, and should act accordingly.
The world is not composed of zero-sum games, and should not be ideologically twisted to make it seem like it is. People are social creatures, and are meant to help each other. Reducing the world to zero-sum games is a destructive philosophy, that in the end destroys the bonds that unite people and helps no one.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Intellect and Spiritual Difficulties

Intelligence is a wonderful gift, designed by God to allow man to understand the truths of salvation and to appreciate the gifts God has given him. But mere intelligence means nothing to a man’s salvation. Indeed, intelligence can be and often is a hindrance to the salvation of those who pervert it to suit their own ends.
Knowledge without the love of God, is worthless. St. Paul eloquently explains the emptiness of those who possess knowledge and do not love God: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:2)
For intelligence was created by God to help man to better know and love Him. Intelligence divorced from that purpose is useless – and can even become a snare to salvation. The man who relies solely on his intelligence is tempted to be unduly arrogant, and to be scornful of the spiritual realm which cannot be fathomed by the limited intellects of humans.
Despite this fact, many men and women rely on their own intelligence, seeking to fathom the mysteries of the cosmos with their limited understandings. Others use their intellects in an amoral search to gain power, fame, and influence. In a search for the goods of the material realm, smart people often ignore greater spiritual goods. 
The list of intelligent people who caused chaos by misusing their brilliance is long. Genghis Khan, Lenin, Hitler, Mao, and Napoleon were all brilliant men who used their intelligence to attempt to make themselves rulers on earth. Brilliant heretics such as Arius and Calvin misused their intelligence to deceive others into leaving the One True Faith.
People unskilled in intellect can still lead others to Christ. Saints such as John Vianney and Joseph of Cupertino were considered dunces – yet they managed to bring God’s light to many people, through their holy way of life.
This is not to say that Christians should cultivate ignorance and embrace stupidity. God gave men the gift of intellect to be used. But intellect is a gift, not the sum of existence. We are not to misuse intellect for our own ends. Instead, we must use our intellects to suit God’s purposes.
St. Paul tells us: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.” (1 Cor 1:27) To be truly wise, we must look to our Creator, who understands all things and fathoms all mysteries.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

An "Catholic" Piece So Ridiculous, It Inspired a Drinking Game

(Before I begin this piece, I wish to make clear: pray for the man I am about to write about. Mock the argument, not the man.)
Apparent Catholic Jeff DeGraff, in a piece on the Huffington Post titled “The New Mass as New Coke,” blasted the new translation of the Mass and lambasted the Church hierarchy, comparing the New Translation of the Mass to New Coke (a failed 1980's product). His piece is so riddled with errors and prodigious leaps of logic that it becomes painfully funny to read.
I could list all the errors in his argument, but the list would take me all night, and faithful Catholics could spot them easily. One example from his piece will serve to show the ridiculousness of his argument: “The Church doesn’t belong to the Vatican, Cardinals, or Bishops. It belongs to the people who are capable of interpreting the tenants [sic] of the faith for themselves.”
(The Church has spent 2000 years fighting against people seeking to interpret the Faith for themselves, and She has declared them to be heretics.)
And DeGraff’s piece gets worse.
Instead of listing his obvious errors, I propose something much better. In the spirit of Catholic levity and fellowship, I propose a drinking game based on DeGraff’s post.
Gather a group of friends together who follow the teachings of the Faith and a supply of your favorite alcoholic beverage. Then read the piece, out loud. Every time someone laughs out loud, that person has to take a drink.
And make sure that there are enough designated drivers around.
The famous anti-Catholic Enlightenment polemicist Voltaire once quipped that his only prayer was “Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.” Those inside the Church who make these arguments make themselves the answers to Voltaire's prayer.

The War for Humanity: Dueling Visions

There are two competing visions of the human person fighting for dominance in this world, which are quite literally fighting to define modern man’s conception of what the human person is. And the war between these two visions is the defining struggle of this generation, and its result with have enormous consequences for humanity.
The first, and newer, vision of humanity is based on a narrow view of equality. It holds that all men and women are essentially the same, and should be treated as such. Gender, race, and ability are all social constructs, and are therefore mutable. Since all people are the same, any two people can have a sexual relationship if they “love” (i.e., are physically attracted to) each other.
Equality, to one who holds this vision, is synonymous with sameness. Essentially, this vision of humanity is a form of social egalitarianism. It came into power with the rise of totalitarianism in other countries, and gained prominence in America with the rise of the sexual revolution. It has grown in power and influence ever since, and now, it is seeking to supplant the traditional vision.
The other, and traditional, vision of humanity recognizes that people are unique individuals with different abilities. According to this worldview, people are born with different strengths and different weaknesses, and must rely on each other to fully maximize their potential. Regarding marriage and relationships, this view holds that men and women are equal in dignity but complimentary, having different strengths and weaknesses inherent in their biology – and that both men and women are not interchangeable.
This is the traditional, Judeo-Christian understanding of the human person. It has been dominant since the rise of Christianity. But as the Judeo-Christian moral vision fades and moral relativism spreads, the new vision of humanity is mounting a challenge to the old, seeking to replace it. And what was initially a challenge has escalated into open war.    
These two visions of society are irreconcilable. And the war between them will last until one or the other is triumphant, and the other is destroyed.
(This post also appeared on New Agora. Check us out!)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A God without Limits: A Short Reflection on Time, Space, and the Maker

One of the common gibes of atheists against the efficacy of prayer is that God could not possibly hear the cries of millions of people calling to Him at the same time with their needs. They argue that God could not possibly listen to every single prayer of every single Christian – rendering prayer useless.
This belief reflects a fundamental misunderstanding common among many atheists – namely, the idea that any form of god must be limited by time and space, as humans are.
But God, unlike man, is not limited by time. He is outside of time – meaning that He does not have to listen to millions of prayers “all at once,” so to speak. Indeed, Christians believe that God created time itself, and is the master of time.
Even if He were limited by time (which He is not), that would not necessarily mean that He would be limited in His ability to hear the cries of millions. Christians also believe that God is omnipresent – he is everywhere at once. Such a God, present everywhere, could easily process the prayers of millions.  
Only a conception of God limited by time – namely, that he is constrained by time and space – could make the mistake that God would not hear millions of prayers “at once.” 
But Christians are not so credulous to believe in a humanized God made in man’s own image: we believe in a God without limits, maker of and master of time and space. Such a God could easily hear the prayers of millions, and listen to each one in their turn, as a loving father listens to his children.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Ten Commandments of Football

The sport of football is fast becoming a new religion in America. People sacrifice enormous amounts of time and money to watch, cheer for, and represent their favorite teams, and Sunday has taken on quasi-religious overtones for the devoted football fan.
But every religion needs a set of rules for its followers to live by. Football does not yet possess these rules.
Out of the goodness of my heart, I have decided to compose a list of these commandments. Football fans everywhere, rejoice and take heed!
Here is a new list of football commandments, which shall henceforth be known as the Ten Commandments of Football:
1)      Thy team is the best team in creation. Thou shalt have no other teams before it.
2)      Remember not to cheer for any team other than thine own, except if the game has playoff implications for thine team.
3)      Thou shalt keep thine eyes fixed on watching football on the seventh day. Six days thou mayest focus on other matters, but devote thy full attention to football on the seventh day.
4)      Honor the star players on thine team, and curse with vituperation those who perform badly.
5)      Thou shouldst defend the honor of thy team with thine body, yea, even with thine life, if it is required of thee.
6)      Thou shalt not marry the forbidden fruit of a fan of a rival team.
7)      Thou shalt not steal thy neighbors’ flat screen TV for the watching of games; thou shalt instead buy thyself a bigger one.
8)      Thou shalt not attack a coach or player from thy team without just cause.
9)      Thou shalt not covet the forbidden fruit of a fan of a rival team of the opposite gender.
10)  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors’ flat screen TV for the watching of games; thou shalt instead buy thine own.
(A special thank you to Benjamin Block, who inspired the idea! Check out his new blog, A Catholic Cowboy in Academia!)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gender and the Blame Game

Defenders of traditional gender roles sometimes fall under the misconception that one gender alone is completely responsible for the current confusion in gender roles.  Bashing men for unmanliness and women for lacking femininity is commonplace, even among faithful Catholics.
This concept is based upon the modern misunderstanding that male and female can be understood apart from one another. But the truth is that the relationship between the genders is complimentary. When men change for better or worse, women are affected similarly. When women change for better or worse, the same is true. Men are rendered less manly if there is a dearth of good women. Similarly, women are made less feminine if there are few good men. Any attempt to examine difficulties in the relationship between men and women is rendered utterly useless if one gender is considered apart from the other.
Modern men have metamorphosed into half-men, focused only on gratifying their own desires. The spirit of self-sacrifice which defines manhood is in danger of extinction among secular men, discarded by men who instead selfishly pursue their own desires. They seek power without limit, companionship without love, and sexual pleasure without responsibility.
Modern women, goaded by feminists, have launched a vicious assault on womanhood, rejecting their own femininity in favor of power-lust. Modern women have become amazons, concerned only with hustling off to make their careers and indulge their dreams (or, more accurately, fantasies) of power and influence. They have rejected children and love as hindrances to their career.  
Whether men or women are initially to blame for this state of affairs is immaterial. Indeed, dwelling on this question leads to an unprofitable and destructive fixation on the faults of one gender.
The real question is not how the current confusion started, but what can be done to fix it. And the answer to that question is surprisingly simple. Both men and women need to take responsibility for their own part in perpetuating these flaws, and do their best to atone for them.
The complaints about there being a dearth of “real men” among women or “good women” among men reflect a lack of understanding of the salutary relationship between the two genders. Men will be inspired to embrace their masculinity, if women embrace their holy feminine virtue. Similarly, women will be inspired to embrace their femininity, if men act in a spirit of manly virtue.