Break

Going to take a blogging break, probably for the summer.

Have a lot of really exciting things going on this summer and won’t really be able to engage.

Ljubomir Farms blog will stay active though, so me and Mychael won’t totally disappear.

 

The conspicuous absence of “love.”

Love and marriage, love and marriage. They go together like a horse and carriage.

Yesterday, the conversation over at Dalrocks latest post heated up when discussing whether or not wives are commanded to love their husbands.

Part of the instruction to older women to teach the younger women… and then only “encourage” the young women to love their husbands. This is not a command, it’s a suggestion. It’s a good one (duh!) and wives ought to love their husbands, but some husbands aren’t real loveable. Wives are not commanded to love their husbands.

In general, I find discussions that rely on the near-infinite parsing of ancient Greek words to be tedious, and the discussion goes that route for a while. I admit, the reason I have this reaction is partly because of my own experience at seminary.

For my part, I chimed in thusly:

The matter of how the within-marriage commandments to “love” their wives for husbands and “obey” their husbands for wives has always intrigued me. This is an interesting conversation.

I always contemplated it as being written that way because these two things would be particularly difficult for each sex, based on their natural proclivities.

For example, as Dalrock points out often, “loving” your wife often means saying “no” to her under tremendous pressure to just go along with her wishes. If you have been married for more than a second, you understand. This is because it takes courage and a strong stomach to love like that, which is a tall order for most of us men.

On the other hand, rebellion, suspicion, and usurping is the default setting for women, (see the curse) and therefore, respect and obedience will occasionally take a huge effort for most women.

Under that rubric, “love” may or may not be present (from wife to husband) at any given time but it does not mean she is sinning. Since we know “love” takes many forms, it would be hard to imagine a metric one could use there, so the scripture appears to dispense with it as an overt command within marriage.

Likewise, although “obey” doesn’t work, a basic “respect” for the humanity of your wife can be present or not–and ideally I figure it would be better, but not the kind you would have for an authority figure. Its just not part of the sacrament. Obedience is not particularly difficult for me, and I figure, most men. In my line of work, taking orders from higher echelons even when I think it is stupid is as easy as putting on my shoes.

I would like to expand a bit here. For while there are other places in scripture where wives are indeed instructed to “love” their husbands (besides the usual go-to verses) the basic commands that have actually made it into the sacrament and stood the test of tradition-time are “love” for husbands toward their wives, and “respect and/or obey” for wives toward their husbands.

Why is this?

As I tried to explain in my comment, it is important to understand that the Christian faith is a constant battle with the self. It is rarely a battle with nebulous forces of injustice and evil. Those forces exist, and have always existed. God calls us to do battle elsewhere. When we look to the scripture for all its various definitions and permutations of “love” I figure there is some reason men are held to a particularly strict standard here, being admonished specifically to remember to do this with their wives. Is there something that men find difficult about this?

My take on it is exactly as I stated. I am working on the proposition that the opposite of love, (in the marital context especially) is not “hate” or “not being affectionate.” But if we conceptualize the kind of love a husband is supposed to have for his wife, it seems to contain a courageous component–the courage to make decisions that are unpopular with her and to stick by them. The courage to engage in that kind of relationship while keeping all of your other faculties intact (kindness, forgiveness, mercy, patience, etc) is very difficult, at least for me. I think the default setting for men is “get small. Go along to get along. Don’t rock the boat.” Therefore, the opposite of love here would be something like “indifference/introversion/cowardice.” If Christ is to the church as man is to the wife, did Jesus falter when He needed to admonish and stick to his guns? What say you?

Next, what further complicates all this is the entire idea of battling the self is foreign in our modern “be yourself–no regrets” culture. And it is particularly difficult for post- feminism women.

Several recent studies and survey data demonstrate this, subtly. If you ask the average man what he struggles with because he is a man that makes it difficult for him to be a good,  moral person, he will offer a long list of things like “prone to violence,” “stubborn,” “won’t listen,” etc.

But women tend to come up with responses like “I love too much,” “I am too forgiving,” and “I always think of others first.”

In other words, “I’m too Christ-like.”

This shift has occurred because feminism has created a modern woman that literally cannot conceive of there being intrinsic moral challenges simply because she is a woman. To her, the challenges are actually related to denying herself too much. But they sense that they have to say something in response to this question, and are short-circuited by the entire dilemma. Imagine a woman who would respond “well, being a woman makes me naturally suspicious and jealous of authority, so I have to tell myself to just trust God and take instructions from my husband even when I disagree with him. I realize this helps our family function better.”

Men, if you find a woman with that level of insight, holy crap! You have a winner. (And you are obligated to love her with every bit of energy you have).

The Catholics teach that one of the purposes of marriage is to help each other get to heaven. I have always found this to be a lovely sentiment, even though I have never heard the Orthodox preach it. (This doesn’t mean they don’t believe it. I have only been Orthodox for 2 years). If its true, then the two requirements that the sacrament contains must be subservient to that purpose, in some way.

Battle with the self! It is what we are called to do each and every day until we die.

Legitimacy and Freedom

In a recent discussion thread about where our “proposition nation” went off the rails, commenter PeterW retorts:

Pull up. I was not proposing a dichotomy. I was trying to find out what you actually wanted.

I’d tend to agree with you that universal suffrage is not a good thing. Where I disagree, is with at least one of your criteria. An intelligent man without morals will simply use his intelligence to be more effective at evil…. and that includes voting in his own interest.

My own preference would be for limited suffrage based on contribution.
Investment in the country.
Willingness to serve it at your own risk and/or expense.
Contributing to it.

Pretty much returns to the old system of land-owning and military classes – the theory behind giving landowners and other people with investment , the vote, is that they are less likely to abuse their vote by seeking to overturn the nation or fall prey to jealousy.

It has problems, but so does everything. I England, it produced a relatively free society (American mythology to the contrary) In Europe, it didn’t.

And although he actually missed my entire criteria set (which includes morals/religious affiliation), I am inclined to agree with his basic argument. However, what he is writing about is not the US Constitution as it is presently configured and contemplated. Therefore, it is no less radical an idea from what I would like to see and live under one day.

Luckily, “dissenting sociologist” Doug Smythe is writing and thinking about exactly the same kinds of things I have been lately, with much better articulation and style. In his latest article, Liberty after Liberalism, he goes to great lengths to describe a situation where the reactionary man is now in a position to describe his end state in a rationally coherent way that both preserves the greatest parts of the Anglo-Saxon tradition while doing away with the parts that make it impossible for the nation as a whole to resist its most destructive vices (which are now called “rights.”)

A few select quotes:

In any case, new ideological systems of whatever type never just irrupt fully-formed as though conjured out of nowhere by thaumaturgy; in thought, no more than physical matter can one make something out of nothing. New ideologies do not, in the course of emerging, introduce absolutediscontinuity with what immediately preceded them. Rather, the predecessor ideology is dismantled and made to serve as a source of parts, some of which are discarded, some retained as- is, and some reworked, modified, and re-purposed. Additionally, since truly radical innovation is sociologically very difficult to legitimate (it is only in exceptional cases that legitimation can altogether avoid referring to the past; even Liberalism, with its cult of Progress, doesn’t do this), the new ideology will self-consciously emphasize its continuity with the predecessor even as it avowedly breaks with the latter decisively (e.g. the veneration of Magna Carta in Liberalism, Jesus in Islam, etc.)…

…The new ideology, then, by positioning itself as embodying both continuity and discontinuity with respect to what came before it, will claim less to altogether abolish its predecessor than to have superceded it, to comprise its fulfillment, completion, and perfection…

…The new Reaction is probably already mature enough to be able to independently define, on its own irreducibly self-sufficient grounds, exactly what is and isn’t worth salvaging in the old Constitutionalist tradition, and to incorporate the salvageable parts into its synthesis- that is, to identify and assimilate the best of Liberalism into its structure without being assimilated by Liberalism. Again, safeguarding the autonomy of Reactionary thought cannot and need not be a matter of ensuring that it never overlaps with the Liberal tradition at all- which would amount to condemning itself to holy impotence out of fear of becoming ritually defiled by coming into direct contact with the enemy, when the whole idea of intellectual sovereignty (as with any other kind) is to conquer the enemy and annex its territory…

Its very long, and worth every word. I would encourage readers to take it all in and maybe read it over again.

A few points I would consider as being consistent with what Smythe is proposing:

First, monarchs of old had to be coronated by the archbishop of that nation. And just as Smythe points out, this practice was brought into the new world in some form or another. Swearing on the Bible was where they landed. This lent an aura of legitimacy to the elected officials’ inauguration. Unfortunately, since the entire premise of the United States was built upon rebellion to a duly constituted authority, under the long-cast shadows of the renaissance, the enlightenment and protestantism, eventually this watered down “coronation” gave way to the likes of Congressman Ellison swearing on the Qu’ran. There is no way to avoid this part–although I support an elite, oligarchy of vetted individuals running the country (and voting) in order for this kind of legitimacy to be achieved, it requires a national church. America, and Americans are hostile to such a thing, because they have been conditioned from the very start to question the very idea of “legitimacy.”

Hell, the idea of an illegitimate child being an embarrassment to family is laughed at today. But this is what we are talking about.

(Cue plug for “American” Orthodoxy.)

Smythes proposition of “liberty=freedom-as-power” is 100% compatible with the top-down hierarchical order that is built into the cake of the Orthodox church and its place in the life of the home. In Orthodoxy, the father is the priest and patriarch of his family. He is the absolute monarch of his home and affairs. And this has far-reaching implications for what this new ordered blend of brilliant western ideals and eastern faith might achieve. In such a system, all authority figures would be charged with the duties of their office, including the preservation of the “freedoms” of those under them–with the accountability all up and down the food chain. This includes the blue collar dad.

Next, another obvious holdover from the old world was a need for an analog to nobility. Land ownership filled this void nicely. This is why, the two pieces of property I own (one in Texas and one in Montana) gave me a “title.” This title is an echo of nobility from centuries ago and it was supposed to endow upon me the “right” to participate in the system of governance. 

In America, it is supposed to be possible to be born outside of this nobility and through hard work enter into it from that position as outsider. But the founding fathers had a natural appreciation for the inequality of distributions (long before descriptive stats were discovered) while trying to articulate mans infinite “equality” in  God’s eyes. Unfortunately, they mistakenly assumed everyone else could see this as well. I have long been arguing for a system that opens this pathway to even more people–military service and business ownership would be the logical ways to get there in my mind. But even with such a system, natural hierarchies of ability will manifest.

These are just my first two observations about the implications of such thinking. And my status as a consummate dreamer makes it possible for me to imagine such a place. But keep in mind, in such a system, the purpose of the more “democratic” apparatus (representation vs monarchy) is not for “the people” to govern themselves, but really to widen the pool from which natural leaders will be drawn.

I have no delusions about what would be required for all this to come to fruition. I must live in this time, and this place with all its insanity and irrationality. But discussing these things now provides a glimmer of what, maybe, my grandchildren might live.

And finally, for those interested. If ever a true American Orthodox church could somehow be stood up and become a thing, this is exactly what it would sound like (because its in our native tongue, English:

Further reading:

Legitimacy in the post legitimate world

Voting is cathartic narcissism

Why I didn’t vote

 

 

Where did the proposition nation go wrong?

Some years back–it must have been the early 90s–my brothers and I went wine tasting in the central California wine region. We wanted to stop at a place we had heard of–Kirigin Cellars.

Kirigin Cellars. Even though the guy hates Serbs, I still recommend his wine.

We had heard that the owner, Nikola was “Yugoslavian” and wanted to say “hello” to a fellow Slav. My oldest brother, Alex tried to make small talk.  “We heard you were from Yugoslavia…” when he was interrupted. Mr. Kirigin, waving his finger at us exclaimed, “I am from Croatia, which is now, unfortunately a part of Yugoslavia.”

For those who may not know the history, at the end of WWI, Woodrow Wilson and his pals decided they could just create, out of thin air a nation by encircling a bunch of dirty Slavic ethnic groups who hate each other within an arbitrary line on a map and call it “Yugoslavia.” My brothers and I didn’t really understand this–or weren’t exposed to all the complications behind it. I have concluded that this was because my dad’s very unpleasant experiences in that country caused him a great deal of un-articulated ambivalence. Later in my own life, this has been a source of pain as I struggle to understand what it must have meant for him to be Serbian, in a nation under a despotic ruler who insisted upon allegiance to Yugoslavia over all.

Another story–

Today, I called a used car dealership to express interest in a vehicle I liked on the website and the guy I spoke to had a very thick accent. It was nearly indistinguishable from my dad. So, I asked–“if you don’t mind, where is that accent from?”

“Turkey,” he replied.

Now, so many of the traditionally Christian ethnicities of eastern Europe are supposed to hate Turks. Especially Serbs and Armenians. But I don’t hate the guy at all. I don’t know him.

I figure, he is here is trying to get paid like everybody else in America. We actually talked about the similarities– the food, the culture, etc. I felt we hit it off pretty well.

I figure, this is what America was, at one point supposed to be trying to accomplish. But its based on an economic model that presupposes things about all of human nature. These are assumptions that supposedly cut across all lines of race, ethnicity and culture. Namely, people just want to come here, make an honest living and be left alone.

But if that’s true, why do planes crash into buildings, heads get cut off, and people get blown up? People cannot be reduced to atomized units of economic utility.

When Mr. Kirigin waved his finger at us in consternation–me and my brothers–100% culturally American (and only one generation away from our immigrant dad) weren’t fazed by it at all. We thought is was funny.

But doesn’t it seem like a certain subset of people, drawn from populations all over the earth are more likely to come to a place like America and not give a crap about race? Doesn’t this argue for some kind of entrance exam–some “extreme vetting” if you will.

In the meantime, here is a photo of some obviously-not-German refugees trying to make of a go of it in their new host country:

I mean, you gotta hand it to them–they’re trying.

So, where did we go wrong?

Christian MGTOW as Pauline celibacy

Dalrock  commenter Emperor Constantine writes:

What is so odd to me as a Roman Catholic is that these feminized, “man up” Churchians completely ignore Christianity’s long, hallowed tradition of single men building a patriarchal Church. This required extraordinary works of mercy, proselytizing, developing doctrine and theology, implementing the sacraments, and on and on. The process began with Jesus Christ himself, who was single. St. Paul emphasized in the New Testament that it is better to be single and celibate, but take a bride if you have to. Being single so that you can focus on your faith is how the faith was built. Combine this with Dalrock’s insights on “Christian” marriage 2.0 (must make her feel loved, denial of sex, and divorce threatpoint, all to enforce female headship), and Christian MGTOW becomes a proper, reasonable response to the current situation.

And I get the feeling he is probably on to something. Here’s why.

And of course, the relevant text:

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

The part of this passage that has always struck me as providing the most context is:

 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

And qualified in this manner:

But this I say, brethren, the time is short

Under the circumstances, as distressful as they were, Paul was under the impression that the end times were imminently upon them.

As “game” supposedly has a Christian application, (within the context of honorable courtship leading to marriage) does also MGTOW?

I don’t know. I’m just asking. I just know that I have obligations as a husband and father that make a certain level of risk for the Kingdom unacceptable. I try, I really do. This very site is risky in light of what it could cost me if taken the wrong way. But are the MGTOWs the true warriors of the faith?

 

Ideals are never fully attainable

Earlier today, my wife posted a retort to this meme she found from “the Homeschool Snark Shark:”

Her response was, “So are we to not strive for this? Gotta love the snark.”

This demonstrates an underlying approach to macro issues that I have observed is lost on most women, so her comment actually made me proud. Namely, that if an ideal is presented (in this case by God Himself) and something about the current context makes it difficult to conceptualize, apply or achieve, this does not mean we give into the natural human tendency toward complacency and laziness. Instead we strive to achieve it anyway. If we fail, we get up and keep trying. This is a heuristic that I can endorse 100 percent. Like I said, I was impressed with how Mychael internalized the message and responded to it.

At around the same time, I was engaged in this conversation over at Dalrock.

The conversation turned to a critique of the 90’s mens movement known as Promise Keepers, and I made these statements:

I never attended a Promise Keepers rally but a lot of guys I knew did. It was a big deal in the 90s. I was a young married guy very involved in evangelical circles and a leader in my church.

Promise keepers held the basic premise that men were not keeping their promises. (Basically marriage vows of fidelity, sacrifice etc.)

This was the conventional wisdom and as we see by dalrocks op still the same.

I couldn’t articulate it then, but they always seemed like giant, stadium sized group therapy sessions which are deeply grotesque to me.

30,000 men raising their hands to the air, sobbing over the guilt of not trying hard enough and resolving to do “better” while never occurring to them that sacraments require both parties to keep promises.

A few years later, I was being frivorced, just like them.

And…

Not to put too fine a point on it, but yes–this is precisely why it didn’t work. They all came home, got on their knees in front of their wives, (some of them even crying) prayed with them, promised to take the kids to more ball games, do more chores, and their wives lost all respect for them.

They thought they had found the key–the holy grail of getting their wives to respect them (which is what men actually want). Work harder! (Like Boxer) and it failed.

And also…

This is why you see so much writing and commenting in the manosphere about women’s solipsism. I would probably argue just a little that this is the exact right word, but it speaks to one of the great myths of the current age. That is–supposedly women are so much more emotionally sophisticated than men.

But the evidence shows something much more different. It was men (in huge numbers) who assessed their own marriages and concluded that whatever was wrong with them was their own fault. Therefore, I will band together with other men, openly discuss where I have failed and my brothers will keep me accountable.

This is the highest level of introspection one can achieve, really. It is the macro version of Christs commandment to first look to remove the mote from your own eye. Men internalize this message and make changes. (Listening to their pastors and wives telling them the supposed secrets to success involve being “exhausted” at the end of the day.)

Where was the commensurate women’s movement of the day?

Hopefully not too much context is lost by pulling those quotes out like that.

Now, it would be perfectly reasonable to conclude then, as commenter Oscar did:

So, what you’re saying is that the husbands led, and their wives didn’t follow.

And there is a sense in which this is true. It follows in a linear fashion. In my profession, we would call this linear, logical and goal directed. Not everything that the western collective mind produced is bad. And, as I have hammered on many times before, I am culturally western and theologically eastern.

But imagine for a moment if we could transcend this type of transactional thinking, just as a thought experiment. Under what conditions might a commensurate women’s movement spring up and what would it look like? And further allow yourself the thought that it arose organically somewhat coincidental to the Promise Keepers. Such a movement would then be independent of the need for women en masse to respond to mens attempt to win their wives over without a word. (Dalrock calls this marital “cross dressing because it is exactly the opposite model proposed in scripture).  They would have been convicted of their own failings and disobedience to clear Christian teachings on submission, sweetness, modesty, etc. The common denominator here would be the Holy Spirit Himself, as both groups decided to be better husbands and wives according to the scripture.

When I go to confession, my priest in his totally awesome Serbian accent always comes to this part of the sacrament:

Scott. As you know, God is not willing to forgive those who do not also have forgiveness in their hearts for the ones they have something against. So, do you have anything against any brothers or sisters you need to let go of and confess? 

I always know its coming. And every time, I’m  not prepared for it. I stutter through it, squirm, etc. But on my knees with that stole on my head in front of the altar, kind of makes it imperative to search yourself. I think God will strike me dead if I don’t assess that part accurately.

All of spiritual discipline is like that. I figure, if its something that you personally find hard to do–but God asks you to do it anyway, you should probably do more of it. Struggle with overeating? Restrict your calories  more. Struggle with loving your wife even when she is acting unlovable? Love her more. Struggle with obeying your husband because you think you know better? Submit and get over yourself.

Getting back to Promise Keepers–it is true that the guys in that movement did not recognize (or were afraid to confront) much of the rebellion that goes unchecked and even encouraged by their pastors. This cannot be excused.

If may also be true that women do not naturally respond with graciousness at the sight of their husbands trying harder, this is also something that must be addressed. I don’t actually believe that women struggle with empathy. I do, however believe they tend to lack the courage and/or motivation to turn the data provided by empathic responses into actionable items. In other words, the kind of empathy that changes your life and the lives around you. This is what happens when you see something that is not right and then you make a series of decisions about what can be done, and then do them. But no one escapes the Lords wrath in the end when He will ask “why did you stubbornly wait to do the right thing?” and we respond:

“I was waiting for the other person to go first.”

Very well thought through

I’ll probably add more to this later, but I wanted to get my initial reaction down on “paper” while I just read this.

Elspeth is one a tiny handful of women who blog around the outskirts of the manosphere that have the stomach for the kind of raw, unvarnished anger that men around here let fly in their comments. Yes, she loses her temper once in a while when she perceives she is being ganged up on, but I sense no bullshit or “hamsterbations” with her. Since we have conversed offline quite a bit (we’ve never met in person) I think I have an idea why. Regardless, its also why she is one of the few [women] who is an unmoderated commenter on my site and also co-authored the highest traffic, longest comment thread blog post that has appeared here to date.

So when she writes about submission, I read.

This ones not bad. And it incorporates (with the help of Hearthie) two very rational approaches:

  1. Christians do not all manifest their faith in exactly the same way, and
  2. Personality compatibility matters.

I think she’s on vacation right now, so this may explain why the article drops off suddenly right when I am thinking “wait! There’s more!”

I do this all the time. I am usually writing, and then my life interrupts and I have to put the computer down before I really finish. Maybe this is God’s way of telling me to get out of my head and engage with the people around me more. I could sit around thinking about life all day, which is probably not good.

I should like to write more about this because the article made me think; “in what way does my blogging about how Mychael and I have interacted with the red-pill help? In what way does it hurt?”