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Jane Speaks. The World Listens.

October 2, 2009

 

As I’ve said before, many Western women are functionally schizophrenic. If you are a man who has married a sweet, even-tempered woman only to find yourself  living with a feral, foaming creature who needs medication or a strait-jacket, you are familiar with what I say. If you are a woman who in the aftermath of her wedding day feels as if she has undergone a form of demonic possession, you too know what I mean.

Here’s the reason for this prevalent psychiatric phenomenon. Everywhere she goes, a woman is told to pursue her native talents until she has converted them by hard work and sheer wizardry into some impressive professional feat, perhaps chief of brain surgery at a metropolitan hospital or, at the very least, third grade teacher. But she must not be just any third grade teacher. She must be a teacher who so dazzles a community with her energy that she is appointed Educational Curator of the World.

At the same time, in daily news reports, a woman is told the truth. And the truth is that her children will be unhealthy, stupid and unruly if she, or some very attentive and highly-paid servant, does not pay abundant attention to them. The truth is her home will be a mess and her marriage will be a war zone if she does not have a personal staff or devote a great deal of time to these things.

The media have no problem with feeding women this pack of contradictions. In fact, they love contradictions. These inconsistencies create anxiety and psychological dependence. People keep returning to the same sources of news to try to sort it all out and to ease the very anxieties the media have fostered.

Here’s a perfect example of what I mean. In this recent story  in The New York Times, Jane Brody, a woman who spent years bragging about her ability to effortlessly juggle career and family, reports that is essential for mothers to talk to their babies from birth. I agree. It is important for mothers to talk to babies. Babies are not baggage. Babies are not toys. They are human beings, often filled with curiosity and the frustrated desire to communicate.

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Abortion News

October 2, 2009

 

In a single year, support for abortion appears to have declined significantly despite the election of a pro-abortion president.

According to the New York Times, a Pew Research Center poll taken last year showed 54 percent of respondents for legalized abortion and 40 percent against. The same poll this year shows 47 percent for and 45 percent against. The Times speculates that abortion supporters “may have grown complacent.”

Perhaps people have begun to see the logical fallacy behind the position of someone like President Obama. Obama says abortion is not wrong and yet he says the numbers of abortions should be reduced. If something is not wrong, why does it make any difference how many instances of it there are?

 

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Auster on Darwin

October 2, 2009

 

If God created the world and directed evolutionary change, then why didn’t He provide a textbook? This book could be distributed to high schools everywhere. Since He didn’t provide a biology textbook, God does not exist. The Darwinian scheme of evolution, despite all its maddening gaps, must be true.

Lawrence Auster responds to a similar argument here. Below is most of his exchange with a reader:

Auster:

I’ve never presented a theory of human evolution. I’ve presented my own speculations and intuitions, always making clear that that is what they are. I’ve also said that I believe that the universe, life, and consciousness come from God. I”ve said that since Darwinism and theism are mutually contradictory, and since Darwinism is inherently impossible, theism must be true. However, saying that life comes from God does not explain how the evolution of life occurred. It is no more a scientific theory than the general statement that life shows ample evidence of intelligent design is a scientific theory. At the same time, scientists claim to have knowledge of how evolution happened which in reality they do not have. I’ve said over and over that the scientific truth is that we do not know how evolution in general happened, and how human evolution happened, and that the only way science can regain its integrity is for the scientists to admit that they do not know.

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An Uproar over a Kiss

October 2, 2009

 

Last spring, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a magazine article about the best places in town to kiss. The article caused a small uproar and not because of the topic itself. On the cover of the magazine, the paper ran a photo of a black man and white woman kissing. 

The paper’s online forum was besieged with angry comments such as “Haven’t read the story but don’t  like to see blacks and whites kissing.” It was a rare occasion when the visceral opposition many people still feel toward interracial relationships came into view.

By the way, more comments have been added to the ongoing discussion on interracial  marriage.

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An Enlightening Legume

October 1, 2009

 

Subliminally affected by the advice of one of our foremost religious and philosophical leaders, I turned to my kitchen cabinets today in search of the homeliest of legumes. I found it there, unassuming in its knobby chickpea-liness and suggestive as always of humble desert feasts.

Martha didn’t say chickpeas will make you healthier. She said they will make you happier. The Romans roasted chickpeas and ate them as a snack. Their civilization didn’t last, but there is substantial and undeniable evidence that they were happy. I have soaked, cooked and served chickpeas a fair amount, taking part in the ancient tradition of converting this bullet-tough pea into something edible,They are filling and delicious when freshly-cooked and mixed with garlic, lemon, olive oil and parsley. They seem to have enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years, possibly because people are drawn to their irresistible ugliness and definitely because there are more vegetarians.

But I have never noticed whether they make for greater happiness. I hereby undertake an experiment. Over the next month, I will be serving chickpeas in noticeably increased portions to my family. Many housewives have this spirit of scientific inquiry.

I will not be spritzing myself with essential oils as recommended by Martha. This goes against every particle of my temperament. To spritz with essential or even inessential oils strikes me as shameless idolatry, no different from constructing an altar and beckoning others to light incense and tapers at my feet. Chickpeas, yes. Essential oils, no.

 

The Victorian Parent

October 1, 2009

 

When the British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins was studying at Oxford University in 1866, he decided after much intellectual grinding of teeth to convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism. He spoke with John Henry Newman, Oxford’s most famous convert, after he made his decision.  Hopkins, who came from a large and loving family, dreaded telling his parents.  He was right to fear their reaction. Manley and Kate Hopkins, a distinguished and cultivated couple, were devastated by the news. It was almost as if their son had been killed.

Leaving aside the doctrinal differences that led to Hopkins’ decision, I am fascinated by his family’s reaction and by what it says about the vast gulf between that time and ours. Today, parents generally consider their adult children (Hopkins was twenty-two) to be intellectually independent, in no need of philosophical guidance whatsoever. Or, do they? Perhaps the  reaction of the Hopkins family is similar to the way atheist parents might react today if they were told by their son he was going to become an evangelical Christian.

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Is Intermarriage a Form of Rebellion?

October 1, 2009

 

Continuing the discussion on marriage and race, Hannon writes:

While it is difficult to resist the broad front opened by Ellen and Karen, I would like to offer a few thoughts on miscegenation. I think it is just as you say– the germane question is not so much to do with the principle of the thing, but rather with the long view taken by society toward this issue. In principle the marriage between any man and woman should not attract scorn or derision simply because their races are different.

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Guru Martha

September 30, 2009

 

Martha Stewart, the Polish girl from Nutley, New Jersey, is no different from many of America’s female celebrities in embracing a heady mix of Eastern spirituality and New World materialism. To Martha, a woman on the path to eternal enlightenment must practice yoga, worship healthy food and commune with her karmic bliss while painting her crown mouldings and furthering her career. At her website, Martha offers “9 Ways to be Happier.” Number Eight is “Practice Mindfulness:”

“The practice of mindfulness (referred to as smrti in Buddhism) leads to concentration (samadhi), which in turn leads to insight (prajna). The insight you gain from meditation can liberate you from fear, anxiety, and anger — allowing you to be truly happy.”

What else should one do? Martha suggests:

  1. Learn to give.
  2. Eat more avocados.
  3. Fix your career.
  4. Do more yoga.
  5. Spritz with essential oils.
  6. Stock up on strawberries.
  7. Learn to rejuvenate.
  8. Add chickpeas to your diet.  

This is a creative list.  It’s not big on self-denial, but then it doesn’t call for outright hedonism either. She doesn’t say, Stock up on strawberry ice cream, does she? I admit I was thrown by the avocados, strawberries and chickpeas, but then I am not as healthy or wise as Martha, who is pictured below with her daughter Alexis. Here is a description of Martha’s fitness routine, which is both aggressive and meditative:

For Martha, exercise is nonnegotiable — and it starts bright and early. While others are hitting the snooze button, Martha’s meeting her trainer, Mary Tedesco, at 6 or 6:30 a.m. each morning for a session in her home gym. She also fits in a daily session of yoga with an instructor at the Martha television studios. “That hour is so important to me,” she says. “Yoga is incredibly relaxing, but strenuous, too.” And while Martha says she does suffer occasional aches and pains (“probably from riding in the car — but also from stress and the economy,” she notes), exercise and yoga have helped tremendously.

 Martha Gets Real

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The Hatred of Motherhood

September 30, 2009

 

Kim, a 23-year-old mother of two children, writes:

Just after I saved your blog to my favorites, I received the meanest letter you could imagine from an old high school friend on Facebook. She is now a kindergarden teacher who plans to be a principal. She is living with her “soul mate” boyfriend and doesn’t plan to marry or have kids until after age 30. I gently questioned her constant  “I’m-so-perfectly-happy” posts by asking when she planned to get married.

Her guilty conscience got sick of me quickly! In her reply, she said things like “even a crack addict can pop a baby out” and “my uterus isn’t going anywhere.” She called me ignorant and said that I had just “chosen the lesser path in life.” She thinks I hide behind my kids because I have not had my own successes to be proud of. And she said, “By the way, I love that you are a stay-at-home mom at 23. It’s just the cutest thing.” She was not the least bit lady-like and her writing was poor, even next to mine! And she had all these statistics. It hit me: This is what they teach in college! This is how the world really views me! But I had you to turn to, and it turned my hurt pride into sorrow for the pain she and many other girls are facing.

Laura writes:

There have always been, and always will be, people who despise motherhood. This is not hard to understand if you think about it. No job or profession is as holistic as motherhood. No job calls upon all facets of human nature, utilizing the mind, the heart, the will, the body, as does motherhood. There is no more fulfilling vocation on earth.

So it is understandable that mothers, especially mothers with young children who are utterly dependent and loving, inspire envy. But what Kim is describing is not ordinary. We live in extraordinary times and the hatred of motherhood and domesticity is allowed a rare freedom of expression and given open encouragement.

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America’s Strengths

September 30, 2009

 

Ella Montgomery objects to what she calls sweeping anti-Americanism by a British commenter in the ongoing discussion on interracial marriage. Ella argues that America’s color-blindness combined with Judeo-Christian values make it resilient and able to inspire the loyalty and devotion of its citizens. She says Karen’s forecast of pending American collapse is alarmist and insulting. See discussion in Marriage and Race.

If anyone cares to comment further on this issue, I ask that remarks remain confined to the psychological and cultural aspects of interracial marriage.  I recognize the sensitivity of this issue. I thank readers for their open-mindedness in discussing it.

 

The Arab Woman

September 29, 2009

Here is a photograph of an elegant Saudi woman, Dr. Salwa Al Hazza, in the familiar Muslim headscarf, or hijab. The burka is rarely worn outside Afghanistan, but the hijab is common.

  

Karen Wilson, who sent the above photo, writes:

The burka is a highly symbolic outfit in the West, the emblem of female oppression in Muslim societies. In fact, outside of Afghanistan it is rarely worn. I have visited most Muslim countries, except Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq and I have seen fewer burkas there than I have seen in London. Most Muslim women wear no headscarf, a simple headscarf or in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states they wear the hijab. This garment covers the face but the eyes are seen. It’s not nearly as bad as it is made out to be in the West. The Arab women have beautiful eyes and they make them up in brilliant colours. The French cosmetic companies make special colours for them. Under the black cloak they dress beautifully, wear large amounts of jewellery and perfume and have super make up. Their faces are more vivid than Westerners, their large brown eyes more expressive. They communicate with their eyes. 

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Darwinism and Our Future

September 28, 2009

 

Kristor, at View from the Right, explains with characteristic style why the West cannot be saved by a pragmatic Darwinism, also known as the Human Biodiversity (HBD) movement:

The HBD’ers, bless their straightforward earnest hearts, miss the fact that under a Darwinist view of life, it is not a problem that the West, or humanity, should die. Under a Darwinian world view, nothing is a problem. Oh, surely, yes, we have inherited preferences that we should survive, and that our families should prosper down into the future; but, really, these preferences are artifacts of the random adventures of our antecedents, and have no basis in physical reality. Quarks don’t care whether they are part of an American, or a Muslim, or a carburetor. And this is why Darwinian Human Biodiversity is totally inadequate as the ground of an effort–a moral effort–to renew the West.

The Darwinian HBD’er says, “We really ought to run our society along traditional Western Christian lines, because such societies have been found to work, and to prevail against their competitors. Of course, it doesn’t matter whether our society works, prevails, or even survives, it just happens to be my preference.”

“Ok,” says the liberal, “Now that you put it that way, I think I’ll spend my life in gaming and Game and stuff, instead of trying to be all stoical and virtuous and Western, like Horatio or Beowulf. I mean, if nothing really matters, then I’d rather work on getting laid, drunk, and entertained than anything else.”

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The Face Veiled

September 28, 2009

 

Women’s faces are naturally more expressive than men’s. That’s because women lead a richer affective life. 

Hannon previously commented on the sullen expression of Western women today. In the discussion that follows Makow’s article, “Bikini vs. Burka,” I wonder whether this isn’t  depriving the world in the same way the Muslim head-to-foot cloak does of the refreshing, ever-changing animation of the feminine face in its natural state. Hannon sent the below picture of the sort of sullen expression he has in mind.

 

 

Prayer and Breath

September 28, 2009

 

Prayer dilates the airways of the soul. To pray is to breathe. Adoration, blessing, petition, and thanksgiving – all are the inhalations and exhalations of the spirit. We become blue in the lips, congested and asthmatic. Without these respirations, a tubercular lassitude takes hold.  

Prayer is air. The windows are thrown open. We are released from a smothering asphyxia and our breaths ascend. They rise like incense smoke. They surround the foundations of heaven with the vapor of creaturely love.

 

Marriage and Race, Cont.

September 28, 2009

 

New comments have been added to the recent discussion about interracial marriage, with one commenter rejoining the debate to say there were aspects of the phenomenon she was considering for the first time. 

Interracial marriage has increased dramatically since the last anti-miscegenation laws were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967. These unions represented two percent of all marriages in 1970, as compared to seven percent in 2005, according to a Stanford University study quoted here. The divorce rate among interracial couples is 30 percent higher than average.

Whites tend to see interracial marriage as a benign development. Some members of minority ethnic groups do not view it that way. Marriages between Asians and whites typically involve white men and Asian women, leaving Asian men with fewer potential brides. The disparity is similar among black-white couples, with the majority of these unions formed between black men and white women. This leaves fewer marrying men for black women, who already experience very low marriage rates. Steve Sailer explored the issue ten years ago here. He wrote:

Interracial marriage is growing steadily. From the 1960 to the 1990 Census, white – East Asian married couples increased almost tenfold, while black – white couples quadrupled. The reasons are obvious: greater integration and the decline of white racism. More subtly, interracial marriages are increasingly recognized as epitomizing what our society values most in a marriage: the triumph of true love over convenience and prudence. Nor is it surprising that white – Asian marriages outnumber black – white marriages: the social distance between whites and Asians is now far smaller than the distance between blacks and whites. What’s fascinating, however, is that in recent years a startling number of nonwhites — especially Asian men and black women — have become bitterly opposed to intermarriage.

This is a painful topic to explore honestly, so nobody does. Still, it’s important because interracial marriages are a leading indicator of what life will be like in the even more diverse and integrated twenty-first century. Intermarriages show that integration can churn up unexpected racial conflicts by spotlighting enduring differences between the races.

 

Makow on Bikinis and the Burka

September 26, 2009

 

Jack Burhenne writes:

I recently discovered your website, and I think you might appreciate the article below by Henry Makow. [Laura writes: I am familiar with Makow and agree with much of what he says. See discussion below about the difficulty in comparing the West with Muslim traditions.]

I think the Muslim fear of American feminism and what it would mean for their culture and religion is a key factor in our war with them. I think they understand the dangers in feminism and its effects better than American Christians do.

These “housewife” issues play out on a global stage.

      
Bikini vs. Burka – the debauchery of women

[By Henry Makow]

 

On my wall, I have a picture of a Muslim woman shrouded in a burka.

Beside it is a picture of an American beauty contestant, wearing nothing but a bikini.

One woman is totally hidden from the public; the other is totally exposed. These two extremes say a great deal about the clash of so-called “civilizations.”

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One Model for the Family

September 26, 2009

 

Luke Lea writes:

I’ve just discovered your site and am enjoying it immensely.  You limn a world view — I guess that’s what you’d call it — that I find highly attractive.  Still there is a certain “you can’t get there from here” feeling about it all which, if I were in your shoes, would cause me despair. Not that my shoes are so much better. But I do want to show you something that might appeal to a person of your sensibilities, if only as a “second best” solution to the dilemmas you pose.

 

Lea, a retired lanscape contractor from Chattanooga, sends this recent article about his vision for restoring the American family to a more sane way of life. It involves a shorter workweek and small towns built around local industry.

  Read More »

 

A Brilliant Hostess

September 25, 2009

 

Our 16-year-old son, who is homeschooled, is taking an online course called Big Books, Big Papers . He is currently reading one of the most famous big books, Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I was looking over his shoulder this morning and found this brief description which he had written of one of Tolstoy’s immortal characters:

It is through Tolstoy’s minor characters, such as Anna Pavlovna, that he shows his true mastery at capturing the pace of life. Without her presence, the party is simply a collection of aristocrats chatting about “high-society” and the weather. She adds an incredible dynamic to the scene by the way she brings out the true nature of the characters around her. She is a simple and single-minded character, bustling about constantly to please her guests and maintain balance among them. The hostess adjusts dials and knobs to produce a formula for the most proper and refined of social situations. With the arrival of each guest, Anna Palvona closely follows her social equation, factoring in the variables (her guests) and then positioning them in a way that produces a solution that is both entertaining and intellectual, but never too much of either. The others, under her casual ministrations, slowly develop at a pace that reflects all real social gatherings. In the words of Tolstoy, Anna Pavlovna is like “the owner of a spinning mill who, having put his workers in their places,  strolls about the establishment, watching out for the idle spindle or the odd one squealing much too loudly, and hastens to go and slow it down or start it up at the proper speed.”

 
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