Blogger Ferdinand Bardamu at In Mala Fide has a recent post titled My addition to the Catalog of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics where he talks about the attempt to shame game practitioners on moral grounds:
Charge of Moral Degeneracy (Code Scarlet)
Discussion: The target is accused of being morally or spiritually deficient. Examples:
- You’re a sexual degenerate.
- You’re an evil, destructive nihilist.
- Your immoral behavior makes you an enemy of Western civilization.
His counterargument is specific to the context of the attempted shaming; people are using the appeal to morality to win a debate:
In dismissing the target on moral grounds, the accuser is making an appeal to morality – a logical fallacy. The moral goodness of an individual or lack thereof has no bearing on the truthfulness of what they espouse.
His point here does have merit. Connecting the idea with the person doesn’t make logical sense. This is what Marxists have done for a very long time; they connect an idea with a person, and then discredit the person in order to discredit the idea. In the Soviet Union and Communist China often the state would take this to even greater extremes; the state would connect an idea to a person and then literally destroy the person.
But I’m more interested with the validity of the charge of immorality in the first place. What strikes me is that we have two very different sets of rules regarding sexual morality in place in our society following the sexual revolution. Feminists are attempting to hold men to the old standard and women to a new one. What makes this all the worse is that those we traditionally turn to for guidance on moral issues (the church) have bought into this idea entirely, capitulating and collaborating with such enthusiasm that even the Vichy French would be embarrassed. Spy an unmarried man in the church? He’ll be the recipient of subtle and not so subtle pressure to “man up” and get married. However, a few years down the road the church’s zeal for sexual morality will suddenly fail if the same man’s wife declares “I’m not happy” and decides to divorce him. As J put it in the comments to Flyer sent home with our kindergartner:
I think that the reasons religious institutions of various denominations don’t tackle the issue as directly as you would advocate is that they don’t want to be seen as mixing in inappropriately and alienating people. My own congregation has no stated policy on divorce, but efforts are made to support both parties and keep them involved in the congregation and guidance is given to those who seek it. Efforts NOT to take sides are made. I think divorce is a minefield for clergy.
I’m afraid she is entirely correct. While the church doesn’t hesitate to shame men into marriage on moral grounds, their moral legs go wobbly when the question is divorce. This isn’t the only case where the church starts off strong and then goes wobbly though. Haley describes how the church makes a huge deal out of virginity and chastity for teens and then looses interest in the question regarding adults in her post Tough luck, old virgins.
What makes this question more vexing is that even when the church goes wobbly it generally will still pretend it cares about an issue. Most pastors still pay lip service to the traditional rules of marriage. They may even give an impassioned sermon quoting all of the right scripture. What they won’t do is take any steps which would make the members of the congregation living under the new rules feel overly uncomfortable, especially women.
I’ve offered space on this blog to any congregation which wants to proclaim that they are living under the old rules and not the new. Since nearly every congregation will claim it is living under the old rules, I’ve asked the churches to provide their low divorce rates along with the name of the church. Bike Bubba referenced a great Demming quote on a post which I think applies perfectly:
In God we trust, all others must bring data.
Many of the commenters to this blog have described how they themselves live under the old rules. Fewer have described churches where it could be said the congregation still lived under the old rules. But none have been able to name a specific congregation eager to show the world that it still lives under the old rules. I believe that such congregations exist; I’ve even seen one. But they are on the fringe of Christianity.
Bringing this back to Ferdinand’s blog topic; while I wouldn’t say the lifestyle he is describing is moral, I question what institutional moral authority is in a position to proclaim it wrong. He himself has pointed out that it isn’t enough to say one way is wrong if you are party to the destruction of the right way.
In the end I don’t know the right answer to this until/unless we as a society decide which set of rules we will live by. I think from a practical perspective the best we can hope for from individuals for now is consistency. Pick one, old rules or new. I believe in and live by the old rules. I don’t condone but can somewhat understand those who choose to live by the new ones because they don’t see the old rules as a viable option, so long as they don’t bring children into the mix. I think the bigger problem we have today are those who choose one set of rules when it suits them and then switch to the other when it is to their benefit. Even worse are the churches which give those living under the new rules or blended rules false moral comfort. At any rate, none of this bodes well for our society. As Haley puts it in a recent comment on her blog:
No society can survive, much less thrive, when the family unit goes kaput.