Tag Archives: Self-Centered

Three lectures in three days from Jennifer Roback Morse

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

First, before the three lectures, there is a quick segment on Issues, Etc.

The MP3 file is here. (12 minutes, 5.4 Mb)

This one is about Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, a university professor who has decided to abandon her children out of selfishness, and become a deadbeat mom. Here summary of her view is “I didn’t want to do give up my life for someone else.”.

Franciscan University of Steubenville

The MP3 file is here. (26 minutes, 11.8 Mb)

This one is about artificial reproductive technologies, and was delivered to a class of nursing students in their medical ethics class. Timely – because the Democrats just rescinded conscience protections for medical workers.

Nashville Republican Women

The MP3 file is here. (56 minutes, 25.9 Mb)

In this shorter talk she discusses the Ruth Institute, the views of the next generation on marriage, and the consequences of abandoning or redefining the institution of marriage. She delivered a longer version of this talk the next day at Aquinas College.

Duqesne University

The MP3 file is here. (53 minutes, 24.4 Mb)

This talk is based on her book “Smart Sex”. The topic of that book is on how irresponsible sex can actually drive people away from each other, and how we are rejecting the obligations we have to other people out of selfishness and preventing ourselves from enjoying life-long married love.

About Jennifer Roback Morse

Here’s her bio:

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. is the founder and President of the Ruth Institute, president of the Ruth Institute a project of the National Organization for Marriage to promote life-long married love to college students by creating an intellectual and social climate favorable to marriage.

She is also the Senior Research Fellow in Economics at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.

She is the author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up World, (2005) and Love and Economics: Why the Laissez-Faire Family Doesn’t Work (2001), recently reissued in paperback, as Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village.

Dr. Morse served as a Research Fellow for Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1997-2005. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Rochester in 1980 and spent a postdoctoral year at the University of Chicago during 1979-80. She taught economics at Yale University and George Mason University for 15 years. She was John M. Olin visiting scholar at the Cornell Law School in fall 1993. She is a regular contributor to the National Review Online, National Catholic Register, Town Hall, MercatorNet and To the Source.

These lectures are particularly timely for me, as I am working my way through Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s “Stupid Things Parents Do To Mess Up Their Kids”, and getting some ideas for public policies and laws that would really be pro-child and pro-marriage. That book is my light reading book, and I recommend it. Dr. Laura Schlessinger is hit or miss, but this one is definitely a direct hit. My heavy reading books are “Signature in the Cell” by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer and “Economic Facts and Fallacies” by Dr. Thomas Sowell.

Why are so many British feminists converting to Islam?

Mary sent me this article a while back about a trend of conversions to Islam by women in the UK.

Here’s an example story:

Women like Kristiane Backer, 43, a London-based former MTV presenter who had led the kind of liberal Western-style life that I yearned for as a teenager, yet who turned her back on it and embraced Islam instead. Her reason? The ‘anything goes’ permissive society that I coveted had proved to be a superficial void.

The turning point for Kristiane came when she met and briefly dated the former Pakistani cricketer and Muslim Imran Khan in 1992 during the height of her career. He took her to Pakistan where she says she was immediately touched by spirituality and the warmth of the people.

Kristiane says: ‘Though our relationship didn’t last, I began to study the Muslim faith and eventually converted. Because of the nature of my job, I’d been out interviewing rock stars, travelling all over the world and following every trend, yet I’d felt empty inside. Now, at last, I had contentment because Islam had given me a purpose in life.’

‘In the West, we are stressed for super­ficial reasons, like what clothes to wear. In Islam, everyone looks to a higher goal. Everything is done to please God. It was a completely different value system.

‘Despite my lifestyle, I felt empty inside and realised how liberating it was to be a Muslim. To follow only one god makes life purer. You are not chasing every fad.

‘I grew up in Germany in a not very religious Protestant family. I drank and I partied, but I realised that we need to behave well now so we have a good after-life. We are responsible for our own actions.’

For a significant amount of women, their first contact with Islam comes from ­dating a Muslim boyfriend. Lynne Ali, 31, from Dagenham in Essex, freely admits to having been ‘a typical white hard-partying teenager’.

She says: ‘I would go out and get drunk with friends, wear tight and revealing clothing and date boys.

‘I also worked part-time as a DJ, so I was really into the club scene. I used to pray a bit as a Christian, but I used God as a sort of doctor, to fix things in my life. If anyone asked, I would’ve said that, generally, I was happy living life in the fast lane.’

But when she met her boyfriend, Zahid, at university, something dramatic happened.

She says: ‘His sister started talking to me about Islam, and it was as if ­everything in my life fitted into place. I think, underneath it all, I must have been searching for something, and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled by my hard-drinking party lifestyle.’

Why is this happening? Why are women in the West choosing Islam? Is it because Islam is tested and found to be true?

I have a hypothesis, but I am open to hearing other ideas. I think that what these women are looking for is not really truth, but community and a system of rules that they can follow in order to feel accepted by the community and to feel less guilty about the mistakes they made in the past. It’s not like they are undertaking some survey of religions and evaluating each one based on logical and evidential criteria. It’s not like they watched debates and listened to multiple sides in conflict. No. It’s that they partied a lot, then felt guilty, then picked a religion with rules about prayer and dress, (easy things they can show off and talk about), that would make their guilt go away. They turned over a new leaf and their new community-approved behavior is giving them acceptance and self-esteem. Truth has nothing to do with their search, and they don’t think that anyone else’s view is “false” either. They have no intention of arguing for their new convictions with other faith communities to see whose view is true. The point of their conversion is NOT to be RIGHT, it’s to FEEL GOOD about themselves after all the bad things they did. Religion is really on the same level as yoga, vegetarianism, recycling or pilades – it’s about subjective experience and feelings not about objective truth.

I identify this phenomenon primarily with women, but many men do it too. I would say something like 70% of women and 30% of men have this subjective approach to religion. This is why I complain about the “feminization” of Christianity. But Biblical Christianity is not feminized – it’s not postmodern, it’s not relativistic and it’s not universalist. We Christians should not want to appeal to the felt needs of people looking for community and self-esteem. We are a community based on truth, not a community based on feelings and needs and emotions. If religion is nothing but community and emotions, then there is nothing special about Jesus. He’s just one flavor – you can choose him if you like him, but if you don’t like him then you aren’t rationally obligated (by arguments and evidence) to choose him. I am appalled some people think of religion this way. It annoys me intensely. They are treating religion as the search for handbag or a new pair of shoes – shopping therapy to assuage guilty feelings.

When I see people choosing their religion like these women, it really causes me to wonder what is really going on in our churches. Is that all we are – a country club where people sing and feel a sense of belonging to a community and that some untested spirit in the sky is taking care of them? I know that the Bible doesn’t sanction a subjective approach to religion, but what if the church gets feminized and just dumps the Bible and focuses on creating tolerant welcoming communities and self-esteem building? Do we really believe that these moral rules are authoritative, and that they reflect God’s character and his design for us – our moral obligations? What if we minimize truth and sin and Hell and just give people a country club where people can discuss the weather, vacations and their kids’ extracurricular activities, and sing songs together, and assuage their guilt over their mispent youths. I am not saying that Christians have to be morally perfect – but maybe we would project seriousness about these matters if we were a little more informed and a little more self-sacrificial.

The question I have is – why don’t Christians make a bigger deal about the importance of truth so they can distinguish Christianity from other religions, and why don’t we do a better job of explaining our moral rules, (e.g. – chastity, pro-life, pro-marriage), with real logic and real evidence? Maybe if we made our Biblical criteria (truth) known, then people who choose Islam would realize that they were just jumping at religions based on their personal preferences, and neglecting to ask which one is true. Maybe then we would have something to offer other than nice buildings, “non-judgmental” (moral relativist) people, and good worship songs that make people have happy feelings. I know that people actually choose churches based on superficial things like whether they like the building or the songs. It makes me sick. It makes me sick to think that atheists are looking at us and thinking that we are all just irrational weaklings mouthing words that we have no reason to believe, and adopting rules in order to feel good about ourselves. Do people in the church have any idea how this looks to outsiders? They’re not stupid. They can tell authentic Christians from fakes.

Is it wrong for women to complain about their husbands in public?

DISCLAIMER: Women are allowed to complain about abuse, addiction, adultery and abandonment to their friends, and they are are justified in doing so. This post is about complaining about picking up socks and not fixing the sink.

According to Ginny at Ruth Blog, it is wrong. And I agree.

Excerpt:

Does this sound familiar?  “My husband drives me crazy!  How hard can it be to pick up a sock and put it in the laundry?  I mean, it’s not like he’s actually busy–he hasn’t fixed the leaky sink that I mentioned two months ago, or mowed the lawn, or cleaned up that mess in the garage.  And now that football has started, I never see him…”

I used to join in with this sort of talk. I considered it “casual complaining”–nothing serious, certainly. Sometimes I would even trot out my husband’s faults in an effort to sympathetically let a girlfriend know that her husband isn’t all that bad–all husbands “do stuff like that”. I hoped it would make her see that it really wasn’t worth complaining about. But that probably wasn’t the effect; my “complaining” ended up justifying her complaining.

Then something I heard (on the radio? at a seminar?) made me think about what I was doing to my husband.  It was terrible–taking private faults and making them public; taking small lapses and making them seem big; taking a man whom I love and respect, and denigrating him, belittling him. And worst of all, I was doing it where he couldn’t even defend himself. Just terrible.

So I stopped. It wasn’t too hard, if I caught myself starting to talk that way. The problem was that often times I wouldn’t even notice what I was doing until I was already well into it. Now it has been many years, and I believe it has really made a difference.  I found that changing my words changed my attitude; changing my attitude changed my actions; changing my actions changed his attitude; changing his attitude changed his actions. Win, win, win!!!

Wow, now that woman will have a husband who will love her to the ends of the Earth. And for good reason!

Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Laura’s book about the care and feeding of husbands:

“A good man is hard to find, not to keep.” That sentence should really make you stop and think. As a radio talk-show host/psychotherapist, I’ve got to tell you how remarkably true and sad it is that so many women struggle to hold on to some jerk, keep giving an abusive or philandering man yet another chance, have unprotected sex with some guy while barely knowing his last name, agree to shack up and risk making babies with some opportunist or loser, all in a pathetic version of a pursuit for love, but will resent the hell out of treating a decent, hardworking, caring husband with the thoughtfulness, attention, respect, and affection he needs to be content.

It boggles my mind.

What further puts me in boggle overdrive is how seemingly oblivious and insensitive many women are to how destructive they are being to their men and consequently to their marriages. Women will call me asking me if it’s alright to go off on extended vacations “without him” when they want some freedom or R&R, or if it’s okay to cut him off from sex because they’re annoyed about something or just too tired from their busy day, or if they really have to make him a dinner when he gets home from work because it’s just too tedious to plan meals, or if it’s okay to keep stuff from him (like family or financial issues) because his input is unnecessary, or if they’re really obligated to spend time with his family (in-laws or stepkids), or if they really have to show interest in his hobbies when they’re bored silly by them, or — well, you get the idea.

I spent the weekend listening to Dr. Laura’s “The Proper Caring and Feeding of Husbands” as well, so I am really positive about women in general right now. This book is the best book for women to read to know how to handle themselves around men. The fact that so many women bought it says a lot about women.

What are my thoughts? I really don’t think that women should say hurtful things about men who love them in public or even in private to other women. Yet so many (all?) of them seem to think that it is normal. But it really hurts men emotionally. Needing approval and encouragement from the woman he loves is the man’s biggest emotional need. I think men do a lot of things to protect, provide and lead that women just don’t appreciate – probably because they don’t understand how a man’s role really is.

I think that there are times when some women have a double-standard that allows them to complain and complain about men, but if they do anything wrong, they just shift the blame to someone else, (i.e. – men), usually by dredging up things that happened sometime around the Hadean era, when the Earth was still cooling. That is really unattractive and something men need to test for during courtship. Men should always ask women for help, always hold them accountable, and always give them responsibilities. See how seriously the woman takes her obligations to other people.

MCSpinster, you are not allowed to comment on this post.

Arlemagne’s post on the dangers of sentimentality in relationships

Oh, this is really, really good. And you can’t say he’s pessimistic and cynical about marriage like me – because he is married.

Here’s the post at RuthBlog.

Excerpt:

In response to my earlier post about romantic love being more like addiction and quite a lot less like some deep spiritual connection, the comments section noted that my worldview is “sterile.”

Maybe.

But this view of romance is also most likely true.  Having a clear eyed view of the world has many advantages.

But that worldview is liberating.  Think about it.  In the realm of love and marriage, knowing the truth about the nature of romantic love can save a person from the disappointments consequent of unrealistic expectations.  This leads to happiness.  The fantasy realm of romanticism can lead to some very bad consequences.  Heck, don’t take it from me.  Just read Madam Bovary.

Then he cites this article from well-known social critic Theodore Dalrymple.

Excerpt:

WE should try hard to think clearly, said the great French scientist, mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal, for such is the foundation of morality.

Sentimentality is one of the worst enemies of clear thought and therefore of morality.  It is the preference of what we would like to be true over what actually is true, it persuades us that we are more compassionate than we really are. It is a form of make-believe. British public policy in many fields has been riddled with sentimentality for many years with disastrous effects on our society and on our economy. We are now paying a heavy price.

By the way, you can read an entire book by Theodore Dalrymple – it’s all free online.

I try hard to get the people that I care about to rethink their liberal political views – to begin to apply reason and evidence to their entire worldview. When a person relies on emotions to guide their decisions, it can cause tremendous damage, and especially to others – the spouse, the children, etc. Learning about the evils of postmodernism, moral relativism, etc. is also important.

Madame Bovary

On Arlemagne’s advice I’m watching Madame Bovary (1949) right now. It’s about a woman who reads crazy romance novels until she is bored with normal life and has to engage in affairs to find “romance” and “excitement”. It’s even BETTER than Anna Karenina and Great Expectations! I never learned so much about the dangers of selfishness in my entire life! You can read the entire book for free online, if you like. I never really had involved parents or any kind of religious and moral teaching at all, really. But when I read classics of literature like this, I learn a lot. It reminds me why I loved to read the classics so much as a child.

Cyrano de Bergerac

Here’s the greatest scene ever filmed from Cyrano de Bergerac: (this scene is just after Cyrano’s poetry-reciting duel with the impudent Comte de Guiche, and his subsequent fight with 100 armed men at the Porte de Nesle – the object of Cyrano’s affection has agreed to meet with him and he has high hopes that she has finally realized how much he loves her)

That clip is the greatest thing ever written. “It’s instinct that tells the biggest lies”. Indeed. Indeed. Truer words were never spoken.

“Oh, I have done better than that since then”

Melanie Phillips asks why incompetent teachers can’t be fired

Melanie Phillips

Story here in the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Wes Widner)

Excerpt:

For years, head teachers have complained that one of their main problems was that the terms of teachers’ contracts with local education authorities meant they were unable to sack those who were not up to scratch.

Now Panorama is apparently reporting the shocking fact that, instead of being removed from the profession, dud teachers are merely being recycled by being given good references in exchange for agreeing to look for work in alternative schools.

According to Mick Brookes, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, this is a common practice which he says causes heads serious problems.

The classroom teacher unions, however, think it is perfectly justified.

Well, there’s a surprise. In fact, it is an absolute betrayal of the children for whom school represents their one chance in life.

And a bit later:

The most successful teachers have always understood that children need to be inducted into a body of knowledge, to be taught in a structured and disciplined manner, to be corrected when they make mistakes.

But for decades, the predominant educational ideology has ordained that children effectively teach themselves, with teachers taking a back seat as mere ‘facilitators’.

What children feel about themselves has been deemed to be more important than what they know.

Achievement was bad —because it made others who didn’t achieve feel bad about themselves.

This led to the collapse of the teaching of reading and the dumbing down of virtually every subject on the curriculum. Indeed, it eroded the very basis of teaching as the transmission of knowledge.

The first thing we need to do is pass a law that allows teachers to work without having to join a union. The best teachers will be able to command much higher salaries when they don’t get dragged down by the union. That should cut into the union’s political power, and then we may finally get some decent school choice laws passed – like vouchers – so that parents can choose where their children go to school. That will create pressure on schools to perform – and that means that bad teachers will be fired.