Friday, November 30, 2012

"The Thinking Housewife's" 21st Century Inquisition

Preparation for stoning

Dear Fred,

Thanks for shallow.

I do not understand Laura's fixation with patriarchy. 

I cannot conceive a patriarch who would approve a woman's dedication to the consuming work of a blog. 

Even more perplexing is Laura's insistence on the need for "rational analysis" and "objective principles."

Rationally, it is evident that the world's remaining patriarchies (across Greater Arabee and within orthodox Jewry) are neither "healthy cultures" nor "great cultures."  

Bafflingly, Laura links patriarchy with "greatness" whereas my own studied view links patriarchy with an abiding urge to "kill for honor" and the kind of testy absolutism that constantly "spoils for a fight" - crusade and jihad being mirror images of each other. (And how's that Palestinian thing going?) 

It is not accidental that the Abrahamic religions -- all three of them -- have engendered chaos in the Middle East, chaos that threatens global conflagration.  

At the back of Laura's thought lie age-old pieties, noble in themselves perhaps, but which also disguise the ruthless politics of dominance-submission based on unredeemed zoological impulse.  

American Christians have never seen a war they didn't like. 

Indeed, most devotees revere wehrmacht because they've prostated themselves before the pieties of Authority

Eisenhower, who described himself as "the most religious man I ever met," issued dire warning over The Military-Industrial Complex, but "not a Christian in a cartload" heeds the wisest words ever to emerge from The White House.

The "religious right" -- Pharisaic from Yeshua onward -- is certain of its own righteousness, relegating "the unrighteous" to subservient status where every attempt is made to further their disenfranchisement. 

To quote Laura: "If the Constitution had permanently restricted the franchise to white, male, married property holders, the flaws of the people would be less decisive. But even then, those who could vote could change the limited franchise through amendments. And there is always an incentive for politicians to expand the franchise... Yes, it is obscene that those who are employed by the government and those who live on government entitlements, including Social Security, can vote. If that isn’t a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is..."

When one lives "in theory" rather than the nitty-gritty of political practice and salvific compromise, it is easy to categorize others as "obscene." 

You. Me. "Everyone" we know. 

One day, on the way home from Mass, my Mom – the most traditionally devout Catholic I have ever known – commented: “I do not believe God would tell Abraham - or anyone - to kill his child.”

Today, Abraham would be forcibly detained were he to reveal God's command that he kill his son.

Detention is an appropriate outcome for lunatic raving.

Abraham -- imbued with Molochian willingness to kill his son -- subsequently set the cornerstone of all three Abrahamic religions, thus introducing durable justification for self-righteous bloodletting.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam have yet to acknowledge the damage done - and the damage they still do. (I do not dispute the many virtues of these three religions.)

True, Christians have (arguably) outpaced their co-religionists in "shop-cleaning," but Yeshua paved the way by breaking radically with orthodox Judaism - notwithstanding the frequent allegation that he upheld every "jot and tittle of the Law."

He did not.

The Son of Man's constant refrain was this: "You have heard it said... But I say to you..." 

Thesis. Antithesis.

Does Laura not marvel that so many of Yeshua's followers were women - women from a patriarchal world where "knowing one's place" -- and "keeping it" -- was de rigueur?

Notably, prostitutes gathered at the carpenter's table, oiling and caressing his feet, while self-righteous patriarchs pined to stone them to death. (Imagine hurling a palm-sized rock as forcefully as possible at someone's head. Then consider Deuteronomy -

"Every" man in any ancient Jewish community would have stoned these women and delighted in the slaughter.

Of course everything is a mixed bag.

Aquinas noted that virtue requires perspective-and-proportion, qualities that Christian conservatives "sense" as existential threats to their survival. 

I find that Laura is increasingly prone to propagate imprudent allegations concerning the collapse of civilization. Unwilling to study "the larger frame," she focuses disproportionately on prejudice and bafflegab, asserting, for example, that nearly all Norwegian rapists are Islamic. 

Lacking sufficient perspective-and-proportion to contextualize properly, Laura has become an alarmist who focuses "the shadow" to the exclusion "the light" - the single most common heresy in "Christendom." (Speaking of proportion... Not only has violent crime plummeted in America, we are also living in the least violent time in human history.

Here's how perspective and proportion apply.

New Zealand has a per capita rape rate 50% higher than Norway's.

The fact that New Zealand - without a "single" Islamic resident - occupies the ignominious forefront of rape statistics, does not reveal a sex-crazed nation but rather the admirable fact that Kiwis have less tolerance for rape and so define it more broadly. 

Similarly, lily-white Iceland has 40% more rape (per capita) than Norway and again for reasons that are noble rather than ignoble. 

Laura now parrots the bilge repeated in the first bizillion Google hits when searching "Norway, Islam, Rape." 

Rational analysis? 


Intellectual rigor?

What we are witnessing - and what Laura fervently propagates  - is 21st century Inquisition against "infidels."


On the other hand, the patriarchal Amish are notably good people but do not comprise -- in any traditional sense of the word -- a "great" culture.

In addition to patriarchy, the Amish embrace radical pacifism, a comprehensive pscyho-spiritual disposition as removed from conservative Christian bellicosity as "Heaven" is removed from "Hell."

Logically, Amish pacifism - and knee-jerk "Christian" belligerence - cannot both be true.

If, by some miracle, both are "true," then latitudinarianism is latitudinous indeed!

In the meantime, does it seem more likely that the Amish are "right"... or that "The Bible Belt" is "right?"



Since receipt of "Bonaldo's" post-election lament, I have been composing an intra-linear commentary to his text.

That work is nearly done and I will send it soon.

Pax on both houses


PS As for Laura's allegation that "The Greatest Generation" lacked "objective principles," I see our parents' generation as profoundly devoted to objective principles, albeit not the "absolutist" principles that Bible Belters have normalized across wide swathes of Christian "orthodoxy." You, I -- and almost everyone we grew up with -- was educated in Catholic schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. Many of us attended Catholic universities. We were weekly communicants (at least) and routinely participated in the liturgical celebration of Lent, Advent and other high holy days. We were altar boys and choir boys. Many of us "considered the seminary" while an even greater percentage of our female fellows joined the convent. The allegation that the "Greatest Generation" lacked "objective principles" is beyond bizarre. It is much too easy -- and far too glib -- to isolate oneself from The World and then judge the past through conjured patinas. I will also note that our parents -- mostly "New Deal" Catholics -- assumed that labor and capital were working together to build The Common Good. When finally built, it was understood that labor and capital would share equally in the benefits of leisure and prosperity. Enter Laura Wood believing that equality IS The Problem and that The Ungodly Rich deserve every penny they sequester.  At bottom, the conflict between liberals and conservatives is over the role of "the individual" and the role of "community." The liberal view is complex, dynamic and bi-polar whereas the conservative view is dogmatic, simple and mono-polar. Liberals understand individual shortcoming but also focus collective, systemic shortcoming. Conservatives understand the former but are "unmoved" by the latter. Nevertheless, contemporary moral corruption is disproportionately engendered by Capitalism's promotion of The Seven Deadly Sins. The Military-Industrial Complex is existentially reliant on the propagation of Wrath and "The Power of Pride," while Capitalism's other tentacles depend --  also existentially -- on Envy, Avarice, Gluttony and Lust. The inability of conservative Christians to comprehend this matrix of inter-related socio-economic truths derives from their refusal to grapple with systemic immorality, insisting instead that all morality is personal and, by extension, that salvation plays out only within an individual's soul. See "Algorithms and The Anti-Christ" - I also recommend Vatican Raps “Idolatry of the Market” - 

PPS  Perhaps it is my limited sample, but it seems to me that Laura does not publish reasonable views that deeply challenge her own. Alternatively, you and I are eager to "test everything" - as St. Paul recommended.

The enduring face of Patriarchy

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