The second is
If you wouldn’t tolerate other people saying it about the Jews, don’t say it about your fellow Christians.
Call it “Bonald’s maxim on family health”. We don’t sugar-coat things around here. Quite the opposite: my guess is that you’re all so sick of a public discourse where everything is wrapped in a haze of euphemistic niceness that you’ll appreciate some deliberately brutal language.
Fathers are supposed to be protectors and providers. The state has already more or less taken over the protector role via police and prisons. There are no doubt still a few killers, kidnappers, rapists, and wild animals on the loose, and it is mostly from the rare chance of ever coming across one of those that a wife or child is able to see any sort of protective function for the father. This is a good thing; we don’t want there to be a large chance that our wives or children will come across violent criminals or wild animals.
What about the provider role? Let’s restrict ourselves to those lucky men, such as myself, who aren’t on welfare and who don’t have working wives. (What’s more, my wife really would be incapable of working for medical/psychiatric reasons.) We are the sole breadwinner–surely we are providing for our families? Yes and no. What would happen to my family if I were to disappear? Would they go homeless? Would they starve? Would their style of life even worsen significantly? Probably not. In my own case, I have a large life insurance package with the Knights of Columbus, but let’s pretend that I didn’t. There are several homes in my extended family that I’m sure would take them in. If all the breadwinners in my family disappeared, then there would still be the “social safety net” to kick in. It is the goal, and it has come a long way toward realization, that government assistance should prevent widows, orphans, and bastards from lacking the necessities. So, assuming welfare kicks in as designed, my wife and daughter would be poor rather than middle class, but they’d be okay. As Dr. Charlton has said, what we call poverty in the developed world isn’t really poverty.
So, my family doesn’t really depend on me. I bring home the bacon, but if I didn’t, it would just mean that someone else (or some other organization) would. I am superfluous. Again, this is a good thing. We don’t want orphans freezing and starving to death. We realize that the community has a duty to make some effort to help out. The problem comes when we get too good at it. If we do a very good job of taking care of orphans, then orphans won’t be deprived or suffering compared to children with fathers. But if that’s the case, then we have just made fatherhood pointless.
We can’t blame the liberals here; we are victims of our own success. If it were the Church or voluntary organizations taking care of widows, orphans, and bastards, the problem would be the same. Is it any wonder that men in general and fatherhood in particular are held in such contempt in today’s world? Our wives and children know that the only thing we provide that the government wouldn’t is company. (Of course, we fathers also do feedings, changings, dressings, cleanings, etc–but these are traditionally maternal activities and can’t provide us with our own distinctive role.) The moment we become disagreeable, having a father around begins to look less attractive than a monthly government check.
There is an inverse relationship between the welfare of orphans/bastards and the esteem of fatherhood. I expect that the cultures with the strongest family ethics, where men are most earnestly prepared for the duties of fatherhood, and the role of father is held in the highest esteem, are the ones where orphans starve to death. In those cultures, what we do really matters. Of course, we don’t want to live in a culture like that, where one traffic accident on my way home from work means my daughter will starve. On the other hand, we don’t want a meaningless existence for ourselves and our sons.
Dependency is the life essence of the family, but dependency must mean that when one family member fails in his role, the others must suffer for it. Society at large has a duty to mitigate suffering, and it has a duty to promote healthy families, but these duties conflict with each other. I’m not sure what the solution is.
The Christian Science Monitor reports
Two decades after the collapse of the USSR, history’s most atheistic state, the vast majority of Russians attest to a belief in God – more than in any other European country – according to a new opinion poll.
The survey, carried out in April by the independent Public Opinion Fund (FOM), found that 82 percent of Russians say they are religious believers, while just 13 percent say they do not believe in any deity.
According to the Ipsos poll, 56 percent of Russians are firm believers in a “divine entity,” while a further 18 percent believe “sometimes.”
But that still puts Russia at the top of the list in Europe, where 51 percent of Poles, 50 percent of Italians, 27 percent of Germans, and just 18 percent of Swedes declared themselves definite believers in a divine entity.
I don’t know about you, but the Polish number really jumped out at me. From stories about the fall of communism, I remember that Poland was a strongly Catholic country twenty years ago, with a huge majority of the population actually attending mass. And that was under a communist government. Now, after twenty years of democracy, half of the country has gone atheist (or at least undecided–which always means atheist but not willing to admit it yet).
What better proof could one ask for that democracy itself destroys the Christian faith? Of course, we’ve already seen this in every other European country, so it shouldn’t be surprising, but people always seem to be eager to find ways of denying it. So, for example, it’s often said that Europeans abandoned the Church because they thought it was tied to “oppression” or that it was an enemy of political freedom or national self-determination. But in the case of Poland, not only do these accusations not apply, but in each case the exact opposite is manifestly true. Poland was suffering under a foreign tyranny tied to atheism (and still is, if you count the EU), while the Catholic Church has been the most effective agent promoting classical liberalism and national independence. After a heroic but bloodless revolution, the Poles got these things and have kept them since (again, excepting the EU–for which atheism rather than Catholicism is to blame). Of course, Poland is no paradise, but there haven’t been any really big national disappointments since. And yet, half the country has left the Church to embrace atheism, the creed of their enemies and oppressors.
Why is this? Could it be that when the people are worshiped as a god–as in a democracy–they will have no other? So they follow Bonald’s iron rule of historical progression:
Democracy –> Atheism –> Cultural pigsty
The only question is why it took us Americans slightly longer to get to this point.
“slippery slope fallacy”
The act of pointing out what the Liberals’ next move is going to be before they have chosen to officially unveil it.
The “slippery slope” is an error because it violates the first cardinal rule of public discourse: It is illigitimate to discuss any issue other than those chosen for discussion by Liberals or to discuss an issue in any terms other than those chosen by Liberals. Public debates properly have two phases. In the first phase, liberal intellectuals and social activists agitate for some new law or social experiment, softening up the public to the idea. During this time, the new measure is not yet popular, and Liberal politicians officially do not favor it. Therefore, conservatives are not allowed to counter the agitators, and they most certainly are not allowed to point out that the unpopular measure is a logically inescapable consequence of Liberalism. That would be “scare tactics” and “divisiveness”. In the second phase, the upper classes are won over to the new idea, and Liberal politicians officially embrace it. At this point, opposition to the measure is “extremism”, “hate”, “racism”, “sexism”, “homophobia”, “fascism”, etc, and conservatives most certainly must not be allowed to voice such opposition. Needless to say, after the new law is passed, it is never permitted for one to question it–that would be “extremism” and “turning back the clock”. Instead, the previous absence of the Liberal law is cited as proof of society’s past guilt, for which it must atone by embracing yet more Liberal legislation. Thus it is that, following the laws of proper public discourse, conservatives are never allowed to make their case. The populace itself is never allowed to consider whether it wants to be reconstructed in a radically Liberal way, because they are only allowed to discuss the next step of the process, and that step they are only allowed to approve.
Note: in preliberal times, this fallacy was known as the “reducio ad absurdum” and was actually regarded as a valid way to argue. Those were benighted times.
At the hospital I was at recently, some of the curtains had “inspirational” sayings written on them. I was struck by this one:
Speak your truth.
to which I must reply
There is a word for people who take a propietory attitude toward truth. They’re called “liars”.
What a world of difference there is between “my truth” and “the truth”.
The main weakness of leftist commentators is that, because they interact only with their fellow partisans, they have no idea what conservatives actually believe.
The main weakness of rightist commentators is that, because they interact only with their fellow partisans, they have no idea what conservatives actually believe.