Modern Christian culture’s deep antipathy for fathers.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

— Eph 6:1-4 (NKJV)

Sunshine Thiry was skeptical of my statement in a recent post that tearing down fathers is a modern Christian Father’s Day tradition.  Specifically, she was skeptical of my statement:

For Christian leaders [Father’s Day] brings out contempt for husbands and fathers, including the now traditional (if not obligatory) sermon tearing down men in front of their families.

She hadn’t noticed such a tradition, so when she went to church on Father’s Day she wanted to see how her pastor would handle it.  Her pastor confirmed the tradition, taking time to explain to the congregation why he was deviating from it.  Thiry quoted her pastor’s explanation in her post Do pastors tear down men on Father’s Day?

I have to tell you, it’s our goal on this Father’s Day weekend to lift you up and encourage you.  And I have to tell you from history I’ve learned that often Father’s Day is one of the worst days that dads can ever choose to go to church.  Because often it’s the only time churches feel like they’re going to have the ears of dads and so what they do is they plan to beat them up royally for all they’re not doing right.  Ever been to one of those Father’s Day services?  Oh man, I have.  In fact, here in the early days of my ministry here, you know what we’d do?  Oh man, we planned.  We planned for you guys.  And then what we did is we’d sing “Cats in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon”.  And we’d talk about how you have so royally blown it, the world has gone to hell in a hand basket, and then we’d try and help you recover.  And we wondered why dads didn’t like Fathers Day at our church. We don’t do that anymore.  What we want this to be is an encouragement to you, we want this to lift you up, and I can’t think of a better story than Abraham’s because he’s like us – far from perfect.  And yet he was used significantly from God.”

This tradition shouldn’t be surprising.  Father’s Day is a day set aside to honor fathers.  This doesn’t translate into modern Christian culture because honoring fathers is a truly alien idea.  What would that even look like?  Note that Thiry’s pastor doesn’t say that he will honor fathers, he says he will try to encourage them.

Keep in mind that this isn’t about one sermon, or just sermons on Father’s Day, or even about pastors.  This is about modern Christians feeling profound discomfort with the idea of honoring fathers.  This isn’t a biblical tradition, because the Bible is clear on the importance of honoring fathers.  This is about modern Christian culture.  Even when modern Christians set out to honor fathers, what they end up doing is tearing fathers down in front of their wives and children.  Even worse, this is so deeply ingrained that no one notices.  It doesn’t seem out of place because tearing down fathers in front of their families is what we always do. In the post Thiry is responding to I mentioned the movie Courageous.  Note how well her pastor’s description of his previous Father’s Day sermons summarizes the plot of the movie:

We planned for you guys.  And then what we did is we’d sing “Cats in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon”.  And we’d talk about how you have so royally blown it, the world has gone to hell in a hand basket, and then we’d try and help you recover.

If you haven’t seen the movie, or if it has been a while, take a moment to watch the trailer for Courageous to see what I mean*.  Despite the uncanny resemblance, Thiry’s pastor wasn’t ripping off the Kendrick brothers in his Father’s Day sermons, and they weren’t ripping him off either.  This is the formula for approaching the topic of Christian fathers;  tear the fathers down in front of their wives and children, and then try to inspire them to do better. As I noted above, this is the pattern even when modern Christians set out to buck the trend of tearing fathers down.  This may be hard to believe, but the Kendrick brothers intended for Courageous to be the antidote to the secular denigration of fathers.  They explained this during the production of the film in an interview with Past The Popcorn:

Interviewer:  As Stephen [Kendrick] was saying this morning, you can start holding up Courageous as the antidote to the popular culture, which now denigrates the role of the male—which rarely prevents viable, positive role models.  As a critic, I can point to that as a very unique and special thing that comes out of your work.  Do you feel that’s something that’s naturally come out of your work as something God-given, or is that something you’ve really focused on—honed and developed?

Alex Kendrick:  I would say that we’re driven to do that.  That’s the heartbeat behind what we’re doing, other than the general desire to please the Lord.  When I turn on the TV—and we don’t watch TV much any more at all—every other character, every other commercial, demeans and devalues the role of the man.  It’s terrible.  Just take note of the commercials that you see when you’re watching TV.  How many of them make the woman look like, “Well, I’m the smart one.  The man can’t figure this out, but I can.”  And while there’s plenty of demeaning behavior spread around to both sexes, it does seem heavily biased to be anti-father, anti-man.  And in movies, when parents are having problems with their children, things get resolved by the parents saying to the children, “Oh, I’m sorry. I was wrong all along.  You were right.”  I mean, even look at Finding Nemo.  I love the movie!  It’s very well done.  But at the end, the father says, “I’m sorry, Nemo.  You were right—I was too hard on you.”  That seems to be a running theme.

Watch the trailer again, and note that even the trailer has all of the elements the Kendrick brothers are complaining about in secular entertainment.  It has all of the elements they wanted Courageous to be the “antidote” for when they were making it.  The fathers are failures and the wives are alternating between telling them what they are doing wrong and telling them the right way to do what they decide to do.  The main character needs to learn to follow his son’s lead instead of the other way around (running vs building a shed), and in the end he apologizes to his teenage son for not being a good father and pledges to do better.

In a separate interview with CBN Alex leveled the same criticism against secular entertainment:

Alex: Look at how media is portraying fathers today. You look at almost any commercial, and the father figure is the idiot, the goober, the guy who doesn’t get it. The wife or mother is the one who really knows what’s going on, the smarter one.  And you can’t name one TV show right now that has a really good, honorable father.  This generation is growing up with anti-heroes rather than heroes. Rather than Superman, truth, justice, and the American way, it’s now Bart Simpson and his dad, Homer.

Yet after Courageous, Alex went on to help a friend by appearing in the Christian movie Mom’s Night Out. If you aren’t familiar with the movie, it is so full of exactly these themes that it even shocked the feminists at Dame**:

And that’s the biggest problem with Moms’ Night Out: The moral of the story isn’t that the women are supposed to stay home and not have fun, but that the men are totally hapless morons without them around—and that this lesson is still being drilled into our heads in 2014. We’re supposed to feel better about this “men are total idiots, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” philosophy (and that latter piece of wisdom was actually uttered in the movie in case you missed the point). But this story of the helpless manchild is a disservice to men—and families—everywhere.

The feminists have it right in this case.  Tearing down fathers is incredibly harmful to families.  Why is it that even feminists can see what Christians cannot?  Mom’s Night Out was a huge hit with Christian audiences, as was Courageous.  These anti father themes didn’t stand out to Christians because Christian culture is even more anti father than secular culture is!

A Problem With Authority

At the root of the antipathy for fathers is a revulsion for husbands and fathers having authority.  This is true for both secular and Christian culture.  For modern Christians the reaction to biblical headship ranges from outright hostility to vocal ambivalence.  This poses a serious challenge for those who want to tell Christian husbands and fathers to man up.  How can they implore men to follow their God given obligation to lead their families without crossing this bright line and reminding everyone that men have authority which comes with this responsibility?  In Fireproof the Kendrick brothers negotiated this by inverting the biblical roles of husband and wife, and teaching that a husband’s job is to win the heart of his wife.  If a wife rebels against her husband or takes up with another man, this means her husband didn’t love her well enough.  They followed this same non-threatening and non biblical pattern in Courageous with fathers and their children.  They avoided the question of authority and instead focused on fathers winning the hearts of their children.  Alex explains this in the CBN interview:

Alex: Here’s a principle that we say very clearly in the movie. If I have great conservative rules and regulations, and values in my home, but if I don’t have the heart of my children, they’re not going to listen to me. They will listen to the people that they think really care about them. And most of the time, if a dad is not engaged, it doesn’t matter what his views are. They’re going to listen to their friends. But if a dad captures the heart of his children, then he can speak into their lives, and they will listen, and value what he teaches them.

Harming the most vulnerable out of fear.

Thiry’s pastor mentioned that the tradition of tearing down men in front of their families caused fathers not to want to attend church.  However, the discomfort of fathers is insignificant compared to the harm this is doing to the families of these fathers.  We live in a culture where the family is under assault and wives and children are taught that rebellion is a virtue.  The children most harmed by this are the ones having the most trouble honoring their fathers.  This could be because the father has serious flaws, or it could be because the child is particularly rebellious.  It could even be both.  For good fathers with healthy families contempt for fathers from Christian culture merely introduces sand into the gears.  Everything is harder than it needs to be, but they are able to power through despite the harm Christian culture causes.  This isn’t the case for families who are struggling however.  Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, and large numbers of children aren’t even born to married parents to begin with.  For families that are on the edge, for families who are suffering greatly, heaping contempt on the father only makes all of their existing problems worse.

Ironically the common defense of tearing fathers down in front of their wives and children is that it is an act of courage to fix struggling families.  However, going with the flow and following the secular culture’s attack on fathers takes no courage, and injecting strife into fragile families doesn’t make them better.

*You can also see a review I wrote a review of the movie here.

**The still from Mom’s Night Out at the top of the Dame review captures this perfectly.

Posted in Armchair Husbands, Attacking headship, Christian Films, Courageous, Denial, Father's Day, Fatherhood, Feminists, Fireproof, Headship, Kendrick Brothers, Rebellion | 23 Comments

Beta GIGO

The Daily Mail has a story up about a new (in development) app called HeroBoyfriend.  The app is born from the developer’s experience of being blindsided by a breakup with a woman who clearly wasn’t into him from the very beginning:

We met on the beach in Philip Island, New Years Eve 2002. She told me she was from Zimbabwe and I believed her. She spoke with this funny accent which I later learned was an in-joke between girlfriends. It was a way to tease would-be suitors like myself. She was captivating. Tall, dark with amazing brown eyes. I could tell she was creative and probably complex. I fell for her straight away.

It took 6 weeks before she agreed to go on a date with me.

The most surprising part of the story is that she stayed with him for twelve years.

In early 2014 I quit my job as a successful lawyer and launched a startup. Within 3 months my 12 year relationship with the girl of my dreams was dead. The girl I thought I would grow old with was now “my ex”, and I was left trying to make sense of the broken pieces. This my story of how it happened, what I learned and why I started HeroBoyfriend.com

Not surprisingly the app is designed to build a better beta.  From the press section of the app’s website:

HeroBoyfriend, you don’t have to treat her mean to keep her keen.

Mobile application begins enlisting applicants for the private beta of its boyfriend improvement (girlfriend retention) service.

Ouch.

Not all of the advice is bad, as it does recommend exercising regularly and dressing well.  But most of it is as cringworthy as you would expect from an app born of beta confusion and desperation.

I suspect the app will do well as it is selling conventional wisdom.  They can also count on a good deal of free advertising both from papers like the Mail and via social media.

Related:  Romance 101:  How to stop frustrating your wife.

Posted in Foolishness, Game | 199 Comments

The cheating hearts of the patriarchal cartel.

Following up on yesterday’s post, it is entirely possible that the employers of the patriarchy:

  1. Were legally permitted to discriminate against women.
  2. Were socially encouraged to do so.
  3. Stated that they were paying men more than they paid women for the same work.
  4. Intended to discriminate against women (believing this to be good for society).
  5. Believed they were paying women less than men for the same work.
  6. Were not actually paying women less than men for the same work.

How can 1-5 be true, and #6 also be true?  To understand this, you need to consider the mechanism an aspiring woman-shackling patriarch has to use in order to create a society where men are systemically paid more than women for the same value of work.  This is very similar to a cartel of producers which agrees to collude to limit production to increase prices.  In this case however, the cartel is of consumers (of labor) who agree to collude to overpay for the labor of men for the good of society.

The problem every cartel faces is while the members collectively agree that the plans of the cartel are for the good of the group, individually there is always a temptation to cheat.  OPEC’s members may come to agreement on a quota to restrict supply, but individual countries have an incentive to produce more than their agreed quota in order to maximize their own revenue and profit.

In order to overcome the problem of cheating, cartels need to be able to easily spot cheating and they need an effective mechanism to punish it.  Without the ability to effectively detect and punish cheating, cartels tend to drift into irrelevancy as each member loudly extols the virtues of the pact while quietly acting in their own best interests.  This explains how 1-3, and  even #4 could be true while item 6 was also true.  Each employer has the incentive to claim they are following the agreement of the cartel, and when they came to the agreement they may have originally intended to honor it.

Bullet 5 (they believed they were paying women less) requires a bit of explanation about labor as an input into production.  It is very difficult to pin down exactly what any given person’s labor is worth.  Years of schooling or experience don’t always predict productivity and quality.  Additionally in order to determine the value of a person’s labor often it isn’t a simple matter of how much an employee will produce and the quality of their product in the next period.  Other factors come into play like how the employee influences the team, their hours of availability, and how long they stick around after the employer experiences the sunk cost of hiring and training them.  We would expect an individual employer to struggle quite a bit to get this exactly right with each individual employee.  However, in the absence of an effective cartel we would expect employers in general to get this at least fairly close to right with the available labor pool over the longer term.

Note that once discrimination was outlawed it became illegal for employers to publicly demonstrate to their fellow cartel members that they were holding the line.  Any proof that they were choosing to pay men more would be grounds for legal action.  Additionally, any previous forms of social pressure applied to cheating firms were now impossible.  The change in the law made it impossible to both detect cheating and to punish it.  Any traction the cartel had previously gained would now be impossible.

Based on the fact that in the 17 years following the change in labor laws women’s relative earnings remained flat, it appears that the labor market in general was already extremely close to what was in the best interest of the employers.  It wasn’t until feminists could make longer term changes to our culture (and therefore the choices of women) and implement muscular affirmative action that we started to see a real move in the relative earnings of women.  From the feminist perspective changing the law may have been a prerequisite for the other changes they eventually made, but by itself it did nothing to close the wage gap.

equal_pay_act_effectThis had to have been incredibly frustrating for feminists at the time, and as it turns out they had the cheating men of the patriarchy to blame.  The woman-shackling patriarchs may well have thought they were keeping the wages of men artificially high, but their actions after the legislature and the courts broke any possible cohesion of the cartel strongly suggests they were in fact failing to do so.

See also:  Sex Cartel!

Posted in Economics, Feminists, Pay Gap, Traditional Conservatives | 70 Comments

Better data/chart on the history of the wage gap.

As I noted in the discussion of the last post, the data I presented is from feminists.  Specifically, Infoplease states that the source of the data I used for the chart on the previous page is from The National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE):

Source: U.S. Current Population Survey and the National Committee on Pay Equity; also Bureau of Labor Statistics: Weekly and Hourly Earnings Data from the Current Population Survey.

What is the NCPE?  From their about page:

The National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), founded in 1979, is a coalition of women’s and civil rights organizations; labor unions; religious, professional, legal, and educational associations, commissions on women, state and local pay equity coalitions and individuals working to eliminate sex- and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity.

NCPE’s purpose is to close the wage gap that still exists between women, as well as people of color, and men.

Since the data I presented had the problem of comparing the “wage gap” for all women in 1963 with later figures for White women, I decided to see if the NCPE had a time-line for all races going back to the period prior to the passage of the Equal Pay Act.  They do.  Here is the full time series they present in chart form:

equal_pay_act_effectNote the 17 year period between the implementation of the Equal Pay Act outlawing wage discrimination by sex and the beginning of the increase in women’s earnings relative to the earnings of men.  Feminists are telling us that after this law went into effect nothing changed, and I’m inclined to believe them.  Here is a chart showing just 1960 to 1980 for more detail (the Equal Pay Act went into effect in 1964):

ncpe_wage_gap_1980

Posted in Data, Economics, Feminists, Pay Gap | 7 Comments

Shackled for less than a penny.

Slumlord argues that prior to modern feminism what we had was affirmative action for men:

The thing is when you take the shackles away from some women they actually outperform men (in certain areas) and many of you simply can’t accept this fact blaming it on Feminist mind control, whatever. The cognitive neuroscientist have a name for this type of error; Magical thinking.

The traditional way of dealing with this natural superiority was to put disabilities on women while privileging men. When my parents came to Australia, my mother worked in a Tannery for half the wages of the man working next to her. (Brad A. Natural justice? Wondering why the feminists get an ear amongst otherwise normal women.) Turning the clock back will simply reset things to the preconditions that allowed feminism to thrive. So it’s not gonna work.

I’ve addressed a similar argument of his about feminism “unshackling women” previously, but his specific claim around legal discrimination by sex in wages had me curious what I could find on this.  Slumlord is referring to Australia with regard to his mother’s experience, but since I’m in the US and we are discussing the West in general I looked for information on the US.  Infoplease explains that until 1963 it was legal in the US to discriminate based on sex when it came to job positions and wages:

Help wanted—Separate and Unequal

Until the early 1960s, newspapers published separate job listings for men and women. Jobs were categorized according to sex, with the higher level jobs listed almost exclusively under “Help Wanted—Male.” In some cases the ads ran identical jobs under male and female listings—but with separate pay scales. Separate, of course, meant unequal: between 1950 and 1960, women with full time jobs earned on average between 59–64 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned in the same job.

It wasn’t until the passage of the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963 (effective June 11, 1964) that it became illegal to pay women lower rates for the same job strictly on the basis of their sex. Demonstrable differences in seniority, merit, the quality or quantity of work, or other considerations might merit different pay, but gender could no longer be viewed as a drawback on one’s resumé.

This change in the law was then followed up by further actions by the legislature and the courts:

The Courts Nix the “Going Market Rate” for Women

The act was gradually expanded over the next decade to include a larger segment of the workforce, and between June 1964 and Jan. 1971 back wages totaling more than $26 million were paid to 71,000 women.

This explains the source of the belief that women were systematically paid less for the same value of work as men under the evil patriarchy, or as Slumlord likes to say, before we “unshackled women”.  But as we know, even today after decades of social engineering and ever expanding affirmative action programs for women (including it would seem in the near future the Army Rangers), women still earn less than men.  This raises the question;  how much of the previous difference was due to legal discrimination against women, and how much was due to women being paid less because of their different choices and productivity?

Infoplease tells us in The Wage Gap that in 1963 women earned 58 cents for every dollar earned by men.  What effect did the Equal Pay Act have on women’s wages after the law went into effect in 1964 and the and the courts took aggressive action through 1971?  Infoplease provides a timeline in The Wage Gap, by Gender and Race

whitewagegapNote that in 1975 after infoplease tells us that legal discrimination by sex was entirely abolished, the ratio of women’s earnings compared to men actually declined by half a penny to 57.5.  By 1980, a full 16 years after the law took effect and more than ten years after the courts had taken aggressive action, White women still earned only 58.9 cents for every dollar earned by men.  16 years after the law passed, White women’s relative wages were less than a penny greater than under the bad old days of legal wage discrimination.  Granted these aren’t apples to apples numbers, because the 1963 figure is for all women compared to all men.  However, there is no reason to believe that White women were more discriminated against because of their sex than women of other races were.  We can double check this as well by comparing the all races figure Infoplease gives for 2013 with the one for White women:

At the time of the EPA’s passage, women earned just 58 cents for every dollar earned by men. By 2013, that rate had increased to 78 cents.

Note that the 2013 ratio for all races (78) is the same ratio for White women in the chart above.

This early period after the change in the law matters because we know that aside from employers potentially helping men at the expense of women, women’s choices play a huge role in the differences in earnings.  Women choose easier lower paying majors in school, and they tend to choose lower paying lower stress and less dangerous jobs than men.  They also tend to take time off to have and raise children, lowering their peak earnings compared to men.  If women were truly “shackled” under the old system, we would expect an improvement to closely follow the change in the law and actions by the courts.  Likewise, changes due to affirmative action for women and changing priorities of women as feminists have radically reordered our culture would be expected to show up later.  As you can see, the big changes in women’s earnings relative to men came not immediately following the change in the law, and not even in the 16 years following the change.  The big changes we have seen have occurred after 1980.

Australians may well have shackled their women, and if so I would welcome Slumlord or anyone else to present data on this.  But for the US at least, the idea that prior to the law changing in 1964 men received affirmative action in wages is to borrow a phrase, magical thinking.

Edit:  Fixed the chart to reflect the uneven time intervals of the data set.

Posted in Data, Feminists, Weak men screwing feminism up | 249 Comments