Warning! Political/Social Rant Ahead (as inspired by works of journal-ism I’ve been reading)

In many ways, I’ve sheltered myself from the world at large and all its absurdities. Because of this, some people have mistaken my neutrality on others’ lifestyles as naivety. For example, well-meaning Christian people used to mock me, under the guise of protecting me, for befriending a single welfare mom from our church. I would babysit her children, or give her family rides to medical appointments in my enormous Oldsmobile, or hang out and chat. The government had cut back her food stamps, which forced her to be more particular about how she shopped for groceries. Often, she would call me and ask for instructions on how to cook staple foods. My mother had taught me necessary life skills; her mom hadn’t taught her anything except how to become a single mom.

Who would think Christians would mock somebody for helping a mom with a brood of fatherless children? But that’s what happened. I was declared ignorant, blind, naive. Didn’t I know the woman was a no-good, druggie leech? I didn’t, to be honest. She never left paraphernalia such as crack pipes sitting out, nor did she exhibit the appearance or behavior of somebody who took hard drugs. No doubt, she was a pot smoker, but still I didn’t have the evidence to condemn her for smoking an herb that ought to be legal, anyway. So my stance was one of neutrality. If the woman needed somebody to write a list of her sins, or otherwise to cry at her, “Repent thou heathen slut!” then God would have had to find somebody else to do the dirty work.

Occasionally, the truth I suppress in my soul rises to my brain: my neutrality springs from my desire for others to leave me the hell alone. I want to be in charge of my own destiny and, therefore, I want the same for others. You could say that my libertarian politics are also an extension of my controlling nature. I don’t see any reason why adult individuals can’t make decisions for themselves so long as their decisions don’t involve harming others. This is my ideal. I understand that it’s a simplistic ideal, but I’m not much of an idealist, nor do I enjoy writing complex political arguments. [Liar. Of course I do. I don’t enjoy losing friends or listening to the vacuous silence that follows my political arguments.]

My continued residence in the land of neutrality is frustrating my soul, however. I’m not ignorant. I keep up with sociological forces such as dating lifestyles, as well as population stats. I’m distressed by the libertinism of young people in the dating world today. I’m distressed by the materialism, the seeking after self that leaves no room for bearing the next generation, or that puts off childbearing until it’s too late. Being a libertine is not the same as being a libertarian, although the two may overlap. Libertarians may allow for amoral behavior in their desire to preserve individual freedom, yet if they’re honest, they’ll admit that hedonism is harmful to everyone, especially when there’s no longer a foundation where the chaos can settle after inertia’s set in. For clarification, I already know that hedonistic cycles are normal in the history of civilizations. Don’t remind me, or I’ll send you, through my screen, what my daughter calls my “INTJ death stare”. Our modern nature is no different from that of people in the past, but our society has a glaring problem that societies lacking ready access to birth control didn’t have. We’re quickly losing the stable foundation of people who work together to support their children. Even the most famous historical libertines, such as the Lord Rochester of the 17th C, did their duty to secure a future for the nation by marrying and producing offspring.

Here is a basic truth: If we, as a society, don’t settle down to procreating, we won’t have anybody to care for us when we’re old. We won’t have enough people to keep the economy going or to prop up the welfare state. I may have gone out of my way to shelter myself from the world–I’ve never, for example, lived the dating lifestyle. I’ve been with one man, who happens to be the father of my children. I’m not naive, though. In fact, I’m beginning to think the naivety belongs to everybody else, primarily to those who demand we support the welfare state by providing free birth control to everyone. Isn’t this cognitive dissonance at its finest? Am I wrong in claiming we’ll need a new generation of worker slaves to feed the system?

And what about those who have mocked me? Christians who believe it’s not worthwhile to support a single mom, whose children are now entering the dating pool, have got to possess a level of naivety I’ve never touched, even while sheltering myself from the world and all its absurdities.

p.s. As an afterthought, it’s important to understand that the native U.S. population is not reproducing itself at the replacement level. We’re barely at the replacement level if you add in births by immigrant women. Immigrants, then, are saving us from ourselves, except….their birthrates typically fall below the replacement level after one generation here.

p.p.s As another clarification–due to conversations I’m having on facebook–I’m not against birth control. I, personally, don’t want to have ten children. But can’t we strike a healthy balance? Sigh. Humans don’t tend to. And if they do, it never lasts very long. 🙁

Share

14 comments

  1. In earlier ages, the whole society communicated in various ways, “Repent, heathen slut.” It was effective but seemed unkind to women, and as they gained influence, that changed. Now we have an enormous propaganda apparatus to drive that attitude underground and everybody’s free. We can all just enjoy our liberation in our own way. I’m a responsible vagrant, earning enough to support myself and pay taxes.
    I’m undecided about marriage and children. I’ve met some women who do seem to have some desirable things on offer such as home-cooked food everyday and house keeping. But after observing marriages and live-in relationships of friends and family, I’m very skeptical that women are actually offering anything. It may be a huge bait and switch scam. I haven’t considered the retirement plan angle. I’ll have to think about that.

    1. You seem to have a very materialistic worldview on marital relationships. I don’t know what to say about that.

      What do you think is better–to shame a woman for living the way she was taught to live, or to teach her a better way to live when she shows up at a Christian church asking for guidance?

  2. It’s the only reasonable way. Marriage has always dealt with material things. At least until recently. I used to be more idealistic about it, but then, like I said, I observed some modern marriages.

    I think shame’s probably more important than trying to teach a better way. Or at the very least equally important.

    1. You’re wrong. Marriage hasn’t always been materialistic, unless those marrying were of the wealthy ruling class. If they were, they would marry for power or wealth or, if they were lucky, for beauty.

      Your average person didn’t have the same luxuries and, therefore, had more luxury to marry for pragmatic rather than materialistic reasons. As somebody who comes from a long line of never-divorced people, and who also doesn’t believe in divorce, I’m able to make a few observations on what makes a good marriage. I observe young people today, and they’re highly materialistic in their marriage decisions, which is at odds with the facility of divorce. Because there is no deeper thought than “what can this person offer me,” they ditch when they find something better or when they have the idea that something better is out there.

      No, it is far better to follow pragmatic reasoning: Is this person honest? Is this person hardworking? Will I be able to work together with this person to raise a family? Whether you are companionable with a person should be your primary determination. If the wealthy and ruling class throughout history could have guaranteed this, they might not have continuously resorted to relationships on the side. Those in the middle have the luxury to make better personal choices.

      Why, then, would your primary criteria be what somebody has to offer you? I’ve been married for 20 years, and I thank God I used pragmatism in choosing my husband. My husband and I enjoy each other. We can work side by side to raise our four children. He doesn’t care if I have dinner on the table when he arrives home from work. Sometimes, he makes dinner because he likes to cook. We have amicably divided the necessary chores because we actually love each other as much as we love our children: he works full-time and occasionally helps out around home; I homeschool and run the home and work occasionally for pay (once a week, on Saturdays). Is our life perfect? No, but it’s good and it’s right. I thank my parents and grandparents for modelling this kind of relationship for me.

    2. I should have responded to the shame part, too. I suspect this is why a lot of people don’t care for Christians. But what you are saying about shaming is not actually Christlike. Jesus didn’t shame people, except for the religious leaders who were busy shaming others according to their interpretations of and/or additions to the law. Jesus was especially kind to women in this regard. He certainly didn’t shame them.

  3. That was basically just because the religious leaders felt no shame and the poor sinners he forgave had already experienced heaps of shame and felt ashamed. He wasn’t shy about shaming people who needed shaming. He shamed Peter and Paul. I’m not a Bible scholar, but I would bet there are examples of women being shamed by Jesus.

    I come from a long line of never-divorced people too if you don’t count my aunts. I don’t know if they would be in my “line.” Pragmatic reasoning is basically the same as materialistic reasoning, I think. I’m guessing I would use similar criteria plus cooking abilities, but I don’t really know. I’m skeptical of women.

    I haven’t met a lot of people who really don’t care for Christians. I think it’s just a trendy thing to say. Christians are pretty nice. Liberals and atheists can be fairly unkind, especially if you offer open resistence to their ideas. Christians you could mock and belittle and they usually won’t do anything. I suspect this claim is like when people talk about how Americans are jerks but when you’re out traveling Americans are some of the nicest people you meet.

    1. There are plenty of unkind Christians. I’ve found many in the Reformed, Baptist Reformed, and SBC circles. For a long time, I was skeptical of all Reformed Christians just as you are skeptical of all women. Life has taught me to be skeptical, or at least to put up my defenses when I’m around certain people. However, God went out of his way to show me some kind Reformed folks, and for that I’m grateful. As a woman, I hope you discover a decent one. I find your attitude to be a little dismissive in light of knowing–personally–how my Christian sisters struggle to meet expectations. And I wonder if your eyes are blind to the good qualities of half the human race. But, as I said, I’ve learned to be dismissive as a defense mechanism, so I generally understand.

  4. To me it seems they struggle to undermine men in various ways while working to keep an appearance of normalcy.

    What would you say are women’s distictive good qualities?

    1. What is normal, anyway? If you’ve read much history at all, you will know that “normal” in history is for men to denigrate women on all levels. Women have also been lauded in poetry, but the historical consensus is that they simply aren’t as good or as human as men. And, yes, I’ve read a lot of history. I’m not pulling that out of thin air. So your claim is that women are attempting to undermine men and to keep this hidden, pretending as if it isn’t happening. I’d have to say that, for most women, there isn’t any kind of concerted effort, although I do think there is a concerted effort to undermine men on a national/political level. For ordinary people, mostly what you’re seeing is the battle of the sexes in play, which is really nothing new and doesn’t favor either sex for its rightness or wrongness. It just is what it is. Are there a plethora of evil women? Yes, and there are a lot of evil men, too. Neither sex holds the majority on evil.

      You won’t find qualities that are 100% distinctive in women. All personality qualities are on a spectrum. Women cluster with certain types of qualities, such as in natural ability to nurture, but men also possess this quality to a smaller degree (see Meyers-Briggs for the biggest compilation of data on the sexes: here). What do you want me to tell you? Most women I know are hardworking. Most middle class to upper middle class women I know have given up their careers for their husbands’ careers (I live in a small town, though, with few opportunities if you aren’t a science/tech geek. When I lived in the big city, I’d say roughly half of the women I knew followed after careers and/or worked out of necessity). You’d be surprised at what you find when you look around you. I know a community of women who are leftist liberal feminists, married to professors at my local university, who ALL stay home and raise their children. Most have PhD’s, and, yet, they decided their children would be their intellectual projects. Some went back to work as their children grew older, and others do contract work from home. I know these women from play groups and such when I used to go with my eldest daughters.

      Honestly, what I’m trying to tell you is that women are human beings. They are more similar to men than they are dissimilar. They share with men in the realms of dreams, life aspirations, and in a search for meaning in their lives. And I know for sure that most people, male or female, don’t want to have their decisions second-guessed and scrutinized. I would be a basket case if my husband went around looking for ways I was undermining him, even though the excessive criticism of female character is nothing new. So, really, you’re just being historical.

  5. “What would you say are women’s distinctive good qualities?”

    Dan, I have to ask you how old you are if you haven’t figured this one out…

  6. maybe undermine and normal were both wrong words. I definitely wasn’t thinking in big historical terms. I’m just thinking out loud and trying to figure out if marriage is worth it and if my eyes actually are blind to the good qualities. Obviously I have my own ideas but if I’m blind I’m blind. I just turned 31 which seems strange to me I have to rub my eyes. I’m one of the stunted ones you’ve read about. How it happened I have no idea–all my siblings married at 20 or 21.

    1. Not everybody’s meant to marry. I place the burden of necessary child bearing on those who are supposed to marry and bear children. However, if God wants you to marry, then he’ll provide the appropriate woman. I doubt you’re stunted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Me