Old rules or new?

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.

This entry was posted in Choice Addiction, Church Apathy About Divorce, Marriage. Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Old rules or new?

  1. No society can survive, much less thrive, when the family unit goes kaput.

    Yes, this is true. And yet, people will still claim the traditional family is obsolete. I was watching a clip from a debate between Ann Coulter and an up and coming young black, liberal talking head. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0fyWcSbuSY

    When Coulter asserted that the problems in the black community were a direct result if liberal policies subsidizing illegitimacy, undermining marriage, and helping run the fathers out of the homes (a documented fact), this guy replies with some nonsense about that being true if you only accept the heterosexual, patriacrchal model of family as the standard.

    I was dumbfounded.

    And sadly, everything you have said here about the American church is largely correct.

  2. Dex says:

    Churches going wobbly on the topic of divorce wouldn’t have anything to do with levels of participation among women in the congregation, would it? In a lot of churches that I’ve been to, if you lose Mama you lose that whole family from your congregation.

  3. Tarl says:

    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.

    If they’re not willing to provide moral guidance, what the hell good are they? Why should we waste a couple of hours sitting there on a Sunday morning?

    Also we may note that they apparently don’t mind potentially alienating the men when it comes to the “man up and get married” lecture; it’s only the women they don’t want to alienate.

    The more church is an exercise in morally flabby feelgood nonsense and self-esteem building, the more men will be driven away from it, and the more church will be a “women’s thing”.

  4. Justin says:

    F.B. is just trying to replicate his virus payload. It is not a shaming tactic to point out that someone is amoral and nihilistic. An “appeal to morality” is not a logical fallacy. Except to someone who has no moral compass, ie, to someone who is amoral.

    It’s like saying “You should stop killing people, it is wrong” to a serial killer, and having him reply, “That’s a logical fallacy, there is nothing wrong with the way I am killing them, stop trying to shame me.”

  5. Eumaios says:

    Absolutely spot on, Tarl.

  6. Eumaios says:

    Justin: “An ‘appeal to morality’ is not a logical fallacy.”

    Yes, but that’s patently not what Ferdinand is responding to. The fallacious behavior is when some idea is dismissed not on the grounds of that idea’s morality, but on the grounds that the proponent of the idea is morally degenerate. That is clearly a genetic fallacy.

    E.g. I might say “It should be legal for any woman who has begun menstruating to marry (if not outright encouraged).”

    And the Code Scarlet shaming response would be, “Your [sic] just a pedophile who wants to finger little girls.”

  7. Eumaios says:

    John Quincy Public is an excellent example of this kind of anti-rational behavior, from someone who I would generally consider to be on our side.

  8. “The more church is an exercise in morally flabby feel good nonsense and self-esteem building, the more men will be driven away from it, and the more church will be a “women’s thing”.”

    Exactly! You all might be interested in my latest post:

    http://fullofgraceseasonedwithsalt.blogspot.com/2010/09/women-are-more-spiritual-lie.html

    Women are using shaming language left and right in order to make themselves appear to be more spiritual. They love to think that they are closer to God than men.

  9. Justin says:

    It is very true that we cannot dismiss everything FB says simply because he is an amoral degenerate. You are definitely correct, that would be a logical fallacy. However, he is just being slippery. He takes stances that are prescriptive, not just descriptive.

    In other words, he is not just “pointing out the truth”, as he styles himself. He is an active and aggressive apostle of degeneracy. He is rightfully condemned for advocating immorality, dispensing advice that is positively harmful to men and women. His philosophy is false on its own grounds, unrelated to his own personal failings.

    However, it is patently obvious that flawed characters always choose to advocate flawed philosophies, the better to justify themselves. Both the philosophy and the man deserve shame and scorn.

  10. Justin says:

    Laura, there never seems to be a shortage of people willing to make good money, catering to women’s narcissism.

  11. …there never seems to be a shortage of people willing to make good money, catering to women’s narcissism.

    That was a well-expressed truism.

  12. J says:

    HI D,

    Thanks for the finding me quotable, but I’m not sure my personal experience supports the idea that “the church doesn’t hesitate to shame men into marriage on moral grounds.” Frankly, I don’t see a lot of that going on in my congregation either. I’d say again the tactic is one of support and not shaming. And that tactic actually does include a stated performance from the pulpit for early marriage for birth sexes and attempts to bring suitable young people together.

    I’ve been asked in the past why I don’t worry more about my boys in the current SMP. On reasons is that I am part of a social structure in which, if need be, people will informally network to find my boys good girls from good families. Within that network, my sons are already regarded as boys who will grow into great catches, so I’m not worried about their finding quality girls at a relatively early age compared to the American average.

    Frankly, Dalrock, while I understand your frustrations with your own church not taking a stronger stand against divorce, I don’t think that railing against it from the pulpit helps much. I wouldn’t favor that in my own congregation. What’s been effective for us has been a congregation and faith-based grade school that mutually reinforced good values in an upbeat and positive way, eg. a good marriage is a great joy that you should pursue, not divorcees burn in hell.

    Of course, establishing that sort of environment a bit more labor intensive than just giving a sermon.

  13. J says:

    A large segment of our economy is based on catering to the narcissism of both sexes.

  14. J says:

    E.g. I might say “It should be legal for any woman who has begun menstruating to marry (if not outright encouraged).”

    Under those circumstances I’d have been married at 11 and a half, and the groom would have been a pedophile-a dead pedophile if my dad got ahold of him.

    Poor example, Eumaios. At least I hope it’s only an example. If not, I join those who would go Code Scarlet on you.

  15. dalrock says:

    I’m confused J. You seem to be saying quality women don’t divorce frivolously, as well as you shouldn’t judge women who divorce frivolously.

  16. J says:

    Bravo That needs to said more loudly and more often.

  17. J says:

    Not at all. I don’t think anyone, male or female, should be shamed from the pulpit for any behavior.
    I’m saying that, while we need to judge behavior and adjust our own behavior to fit our moral judgements, you don’t get anywhere with people by shaming them. Additionally, I’m saying that you can rail against bad behavior from the pulpit all you freaking please, but if you really want to change things you need to act. It’s one thing to condemn bad behavior; it’s another to proactively foster good behavior.

    Wanna cut the divorce rate in your church? Have your minister and his wife role model what a good marriage is. Have them invite quality 20-somethings over for dinner and allow them to meet in a wholesome and enviable family atmosphere. Let the young men see a man enjoying kids and family life. Let the young women see a healthy relationship where the man respects his wife and does treat her like a jizz rag. Show people that goodness is its own reward, not just some BS preached by some out of touch goody-goody on the pulpit, and their behavior often changes.

    If you want people to change you have to share the goodness of your life with them, not just preach about it.

    In reviewing my original post, I said ” performance” where I meant “preference,” but maybe “performance” is the better term. People learn more by example than from sermons.

  18. dalrock says:

    I don’t know. It sounds a lot like you are judging him. Wouldn’t it be better to model the right behavior? So if he is a murderer, model not killing people for example.

  19. Eumaios says:

    It was an excellent example, and you’re exactly the kind of fool I expected to object. A female who menstruates is a woman who is physiologically ready to conceive. This statement is motivated by logos, not by eros. It is reasonable whether you revere Darwin or Yahweh as creator.

  20. Eumaios says:

    And what if I tell you that the phronesis I gained from In Mala Fide and its brethren in Game has been crucial to happiness and stability of my marriage?

    Practical wisdom is precious, no matter the source.

    it is patently obvious that flawed characters always choose to advocate flawed philosophies, the better to justify themselves.

    This is an inversion of the genetic fallacy.

  21. Eumaios says:

    A large segment of our economy is based on catering to the narcissism of both sexes.

    Oh shit! Somebody said something bad about females. I better rush in and accuse both sexes of the bad thing. This, J, is why men don’t respect the intellect of women.

  22. Eumaios says:

    Wanna cut the divorce rate in your church? Have your minister and his wife role model what a good marriage is. Have them invite quality 20-somethings over for dinner and allow them to meet in a wholesome and enviable family atmosphere. Let the young men see a man enjoying kids and family life. Let the young women see a healthy relationship where the man respects his wife and does treat her like a jizz rag. Show people that goodness is its own reward, not just some BS preached by some out of touch goody-goody on the pulpit, and their behavior often changes.

    Done. You just described the best congregation I know. Doesn’t matter, because the pulpit minister is still a white knight who can’t see what the females of the flock are about, and the strong old men who are elders have no idea what the young men suffer.

    The kind of reward that comes to men who act as you would wish is celibacy. Because you also are a feral female, and one of the worst sort: the churchly kind.

  23. Eumaios says:

    not divorcees burn in hell

    Note the gender of the noun.

  24. Eumaios says:

    F.B. is just trying to replicate his virus payload.

    Oh, I didn’t realize you were a determinist.

  25. Eumaios says:

    Which is sick, because the true head of the household would be saying, “No. You will not be attending that megachurch. Are you new here?”

  26. Eumaios says:

    People learn more by example than from sermons.

    And people learn even more from hardship. Like being shamed for divorcing your husband.

  27. JD says:

    Eumaios:

    What strange planet do you come from? More to the point, what drugs do you currently ingest?

  28. J says:

    @Dalrock

    I don’t know. It sounds a lot like you are judging him. Wouldn’t it be better to model the right behavior? So if he is a murderer, model not killing people for example.

    Hey D, it’s all a matter of context. I strongly agree with this statement: An “appeal to morality” is not a logical fallacy. Except to someone who has no moral compass, ie, to someone who is amoral. IMHO, it is absolutely wrong to discount an argument because it is based on morality. However, in interacting with people IRL, as opposed to merely engaging in intellectual argument, yes, I agree you have to take action. You lock up murders, for example.

    But, as to judging people as a means to changing their behavior, I still stand by this: while we need to judge behavior and adjust our own behavior to fit our moral judgements, you don’t get anywhere with people by shaming them.

    I’ve worked professionally in jobs that involved changing people: teaching (both secular and religious) and mental health. I can tell you based on perfessional expereince that people don’t change just because you’ve rendered judgement. That just pisses them off and makes them walk away. The congregation I described is IRL very successful in helping people tgo live good and happy lives, which I think is the primary good of religion.

  29. J says:

    It was an excellent example, and you’re exactly the kind of fool I expected to object.

    Ah, ad hominem argument, the last refuge of scoundrels! Bravo!

    A female who menstruates is a woman who is physiologically ready to conceive.

    Yep, also ready to die in childbirth, or give birth to sickly, or non-viable offspring or abuse a baby at several times the rate of a mature woman. It’s as risky for a girl in her early teens to be pregnant as it is for a woman in her forties. Both high risk OB offices and the court system are full of teen mothers.

    At my menarche at eleven and half, I hadn’t even reached my full adult height or final adult hip measurement. Had I gotten pregnant, pregnancy hormones would have caused the epiphyses (growth points) at the end of my bones to fuse. I’d have never reached my current height. My hips would have remained so narrow that delivering baby would have been unhealthily difficult if not life threatening. No eleven and half is physiologically ready to carry a child without great damage to herself and the baby.

    My cultural origins are in a culture that favored early maariage. My grandmother married at 14; she made 4 miscarriages or stillborn babies befor turning 18. When she died in her early 60s, she looked like a woman of 90. Her sister was also married off at 14. Because her husband was able to learn from a bad example, they did not consummate the marriage until my great aunt turned 18. She lived, like all the other sisters who had kids later, into her late 80s and looked great. I knew her, but not my grandmother who died when my dad was still young and single. Maybe I’d have known my gradmother had she not worn out so soon from early and frequent childbearing.
    So, at best, your statement is motivated by a rather dangerous ignorance of the facts. Or just don’t you give a damn about the welfare of girls?

  30. J says:

    @Eumaios

    Because you also are a feral female, and one of the worst sort: the churchly kind.

    More ad hominem? Do you know me? Or you just projecting your own poor relationship happy crap on me? Grow up. You’ll do better with women and won’t have to worry about having sex with 7th graders.

  31. J says:

    divorcees burn in hell Note the gender of the noun.

    Divorcees pronounced like employees, as in divorced people. Not the pronounced di-vor-say as in divorced female in French. I wasn’t able to insert the accent mark to make it mean the latter.

  32. J says:

    @Eumaios

    And people learn even more from hardship. Like being shamed for divorcing your husband.

    Wife divorced you? Are you on your second marriage? Third?

    I’ve only been married once. We’ve been married for 20+ years, a couple for a few years more. Pretty happily too.

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  34. Eumaios says:

    I come from a land of patriarchy. I come in peace. All I want is your daughters.

    (For my sons, natch)

  35. Eumaios says:

    Alternate answer: Ithaca.

  36. Eumaios says:

    You heap funny squaw. This brave marry young, father heap sons. Tell squaw, “No be fat.” Squaw obey.

  37. Eumaios says:

    I’m so rich with shaming language! You charge me with immaturity, projection, invirility, and desire to furgle 7th graders. You do this in the absence of any rational argument. You have no rational arguments in your arsenal, only resentment and rage.

    Tell me, what would Paul (let alone Jesus) have to say to a woman who attempted to publicly shame a man, any man?

  38. Eumaios says:

    So: whatever pertains to you must necessarily pertain to all women? There’s a word for that kind of reasoning.

  39. Eumaios says:

    Irenically, I would like to add that some Creationist types have proposed that humans have devolved to the point that we age too fast. Teeth growing faster than jaws, girls reaching menarch earlier than ever before. See Cuozzo’s studies in radiometry of modern and Neanderthal crania.

  40. Eumaios says:

    s/menarch/menarche/

  41. J says:

    Wow! It’s 12 days later and you’re still hanging on to this? Talk about “rage and resentment”! Amazing.

  42. Eumaios says:

    Eumaios called J a “feral female” on October 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm.

    J responded on October 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm. Nothing out of the ordinary, so far. It often takes females that long to think of a response to my devastating expressions of masculinity.

    Eumaios responded on October 14, 2010 at 9:42 pm. Eumaios was not, be it noted, waiting by the phone for J to call. Eumaios was, as it happens, getting trashed and wildly swinging at piñatas in the interim. As well as arguing for a Stuart Restoration, but that’s his opening line, and hardly bears mentioning.

    J responded on October 14, 2010 at 11:26 pm.

    Who is inside whose OODA loop? Who is “hanging on to this”?

    J: Be it ever so incredible, it is likely that you and I are both loyal to the same sovereign. Your raging resentment is not wholesome. My amused chauvinism is strong medicine. It burns going down, but you’ll feel better after. What power does your indignation serve?

  43. Blah_Blah says:

    It was an excellent example, and you’re exactly the kind of fool I expected to object. A female who menstruates is a woman who is physiologically ready to conceive. This statement is motivated by logos, not by eros. It is reasonable whether you revere Darwin or Yahweh as creator.

    Assuming their body isn’t being flooded with artificial hormones, like BSG, and all manner of artificial chemicals.

    But I take a practical point of view to those chemicals. Let’s say we gots a chemical that makes people happy or feel good. That chemical will clearly have horrible physical, mental, and spiritual effects. We know this because it makes people feel good.

    Now, let’s take a chemical that makes people feel hungry, or think bad food is good, like MSG. That’s good. No negative effects there. Why? Cause. Cause is why. Can you feel the smugness, the absolute evil smugness radiating outward?

    Same thing goes for Bovine Growth Hormone. How could it have a negative effect? SCIENTISTS paid for by it’s makers say it is harmless! Therefore it is!

    Indeed, the only kind of drug that is Dangerous, are those that make you feel good!

    Ritalin, for example…. okay, some kids do abuse it as an addictive drug, but who cares? Cause there are addictive drugs and addictive drugs, ya know what I mean?

    Ya know?

  44. Blah_Blah says:

    Meant BGH not BSG.

  45. J says:

    Eumaios called J a “feral female” on October 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm.

    J responded on October 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm. Nothing out of the ordinary, so far. It often takes females that long to think of a response to my devastating expressions of masculinity.

    Oh, now I see what this is about. I’m sorry for ignoring you for 20 hours, but I’m afraid my heart belongs to another. During that 20 hour period, I was busy sleeping with my husband, getting kids off to school, keeping the house and working at my flex-time job. I have a very busy schedule that day, and I just didn’t have time to think about you, sweetie. You should save your “devastating expressions of masculinity” for someone more interested and available.

    Ferally yours,

    J

  46. Lily says:

    “Irenically, I would like to add that some Creationist types have proposed that humans have devolved to the point that we age too fast. Teeth growing faster than jaws, girls reaching menarch earlier than ever before. ”
    Are you saying that in that case girls who have reached menarche are not ready to conceive? Getting confused.

    Have you ever looked into conception and delivery at the ages you’re talking about? You might find it interesting.

  47. Eumaios says:

    Lily,

    If we assume that the lark’s on the wing, and the snail’s on the thorn, then neither creationists nor accidentalists have any standing to suggest that female humans who are able to become pregnant should not, at least for physiological reasons.

    Yet if an Aristotle is the rubbish of an Adam, Lolita the remnant of a Ruth, if the signs of the body mislead us, how shall we guide our children?

    Food for thought: why is it that girls become so restless, so vicious in junior high?

  48. Eumaios says:

    Assuming their body isn’t being flooded with artificial hormones

    Excellent point. If we induce menarche in toddlers, then what?

    The answer is to trust men. Healthy men are not attracted to children. Men who are attracted to children betray their bentness in myriad other ways; detecting them is not a problem. Judge books by their covers, for Christ’s sake, if not for your own!

    A mature man desiring a 15 year old girl for a wife is not perverse. The campaign to deem it so is damnable, itself a perversion. Look to tradition, to history; look to your ancestors. Look to all the high school coaches hooking up with nubile students.

    These young women should be married, should be bearing and caring for children, not cloistered, not “educated”, not empowered.

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  50. Steve says:

    Such a great post, followed up by a mostly unfruitful slapfight in the comments section. I’m charging all of you with moral degeneracy. Squirm beneath my stern internet gaze.

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  53. I’m reminded of a comment John C Wright left on his own post:

    If the young lady were sane, or sincere, or in other words not a Leftist, she would be agitating for the return of Victorian standards of modesty, such that men and women would have a set of unwritten rules, known to both beforehand, as guidelines for when a young lady can be courted, and by what means, and when not.

    You see, the idea of leaving the rules up to the individuals to agree upon each man for himself contains an absurdity: you cannot court a woman, or even ask her to dance, if you are already in a relationship with her and know her well enough to negotiate your own rules. The rules of courtship are rules on how to approach a woman who is a partial or a total stranger. Strangers can only be bound by unwritten rules that bind the whole society, with few or no exceptions.

    And, of course, the hypocrisy of a woman who has been out drinking until 4.00, without an escort, suddenly wanting the protect of Victorian rules of modesty, but without being willing to pay the price demanded, i.e. to act modestly, is rank. If you are in a bar without an escort, and you are young and female, expect to be hit on. You and yours helped make this society exactly what it is: you cannot expect men to act like gentlemen when every single damn word out of your collective mouth for the past three generations has been a denunciation, a mockery, an insult, and a discouragement to gentlemanly behaviors.

    In morals as in economics, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Do you regard modesty and chastity to be mere patriarchal restrictions and oppression, O ye ladies of the Left? Then utter no complaint when immodesty and unchastity of yourself and your sisters is answered by immodesty and unchastity by your menfolk.

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