Tag Archives: Wisdom

Ten sensible self-control laws that will reduce the risk of gun violence

Air Force TACPs confirm target locations with their map
Air Force TACPs confirm target locations with their map

I really liked this article from Intellectual Takeout, which had a list of recommendations to reduce gun violence. Although most people today are looking at gun regulations to reduce gun violence, we actually had a lot of guns in previous generations, but a lot less gun violence. Maybe it’s because more people made wiser choices.

The article says:

  1. Don’t commit suicide. This is the most common gun-related death, being about 63% of all firearm deaths in the US.

  2. Adopt a policy of not escalating any road rage situations. If someone does something offensive on the highways have it pre-settled in your mind to react by de-escalating the situation (refrain from responding in kind) and back off to allow the heat of the moment to cool.

  3. Do not join a gang. Violence is the accepted norm among gang members, resulting in many becoming victims of gun violence.

  4. Do not buy or sell illegal drugs. Yes, I do know that it’s the drug laws more than the drugs themselves that leads to gun violence among drug buyers and sellers. But, people already on the wrong side of the law are more likely to commit gun violence than the law-abiding population.

  5. Do not get involved with abusive people. Someone who previously has physically abused a partner is more likely to do so than are those who have never engaged in such abuse.

  6. Implement a personal curfew. The safest place anyone can be at 2am is at home in bed. Roaming the streets in the middle of the night exposes one to gangs, drug sellers, and other dangerous people.

  7. Stay away from Gun Free Zones. One study showed that 98% of all mass shootings happen in these places. Gun Free Zone signs tell violent people this is a spot where the picking will be easy. As for everywhere else, these predators may be deterred since they have to wonder if there’s already a good guy with a gun on the property.

  8. Do not associate with convicted criminals. Like the abuser, violent criminals out of prison are likely to continue their habits.

  9. Be aware of your surroundings. Make it a habit to look around and assess any situation you are in. Most victims of gun violence have no warning of the impending danger, the old saying “to be forewarned is to be forearmed” is pertinent here. So, no staring at your cell phone!

  10. Avoid people who handle guns in an irresponsible manner. Anyone who casually or even unknowingly points a gun at someone or who does not exercise good gun safety such as carefully checking to see that a gun is unloaded is someone to be avoided.

  11. Bonus Suggestion: Do not be a predator. A significant number (about 700 each year) of gun deaths are justifiable homicide wherein a victim successfully defends themselves from criminal assault.

This list of self-control laws is so different than what you see politicians proposing. This list is targeted to individuals, and it is telling them to understand how danger works, and then make adjustments in their choices and priorities in order to minimize the risk. The politicians instead want to blame inanimate objects and take away the rights of law-abiding people to defend themselves from criminals.

Is expecting self-control reasonable?

I have talked to anti-gun people about changing their behavior to minimize their risk of being a victim. Their response was that they shouldn’t have to act any particular way in order to avoid bad consequences. They should just be able to make the government big enough to somehow magically stop bad things from happening to them, no matter what choices they made. Their right to pursue happiness in the moment could not be challenged in any way.

It made me think of women who want to go out wearing skimpy clothes, get drunk in bars surrounded by strange men, and then cry victim when they wake-up somewhere strange the next morning. There is a wisdom to life, and wise people don’t mind that they have to show a little self-control in order to avoid bad outcomes. A woman cannot shack up with a hunky guy who has tattoos, piercings and a criminal record, and then complain when he gets violent. If you choose poorly, then you will face consequences. There is a cost to making choices based on feelings alone.

The same thing happens with people who want to study English, Journalism, and other easy subjects, then can’t find jobs when they graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in loans. “It’s not fair” they say “I need a bailout”. “The government should raise the minimum wage, so I can be paid the same as people who studied hard STEM subjects and got more productive jobs”. Again, the solution is not to blame others and punt to government, the solution is to respect the way the world works and make decisions that are likely to succeed. Don’t let your feelings decide. Don’t do what is free, easy and fun. Don’t chase thrills and travel.

Black economist Walter Williams has a famous list of four choices that he tells young people to make in order to avoid being poor.

Here are his four choices:

  1. Graduate from high school
  2. Get married before you have children
  3. Take any job (to start out)
  4. Don’t commit any crimes

I have one more to add: when you marry, marry someone who takes commitment seriously, so there is no divorce. Divorce is a wealth-killer. Pick a spouse who is able to make and keep commitments that survive their changing feelings and desires. And maybe one more: study for a STEM degree if you go to college.

Again, if you try to tell young people to make good decisions like those, they don’t want to listen. But making those decisions correctly actually gets them the result they want.

Previous generations tended to emphasize the importance of understanding how the world works, and then making good decisions in order to reach a goal. Those people don’t look to government to solve their problems. This generation seems to be more focused on doing what feels good, then acting surprised when it doesn’t “work out”. They aren’t curious to find out how the world really works so they can do the right thing. They just want to do and say what makes them feel good and look good to others.

Study: early sexual activity has negative impact on relationship quality and stability

 Do young women understand how to get to a stable marriage?
Do young women understand how to execute a plan to reach a stable marriage?

I’ve posted before about how premarital sex affects the stability of marriages by making divorce more likely. But there has been more research published since. Let’s take a look.

Here a good study on relationship tempo and relationship quality.

Abstract:

Rapid sexual involvement may have adverse long-term implications for relationship quality. This study examined the tempo of sexual intimacy and subsequent relationship quality in a sample of married and cohabiting men and women. Data come from the Marital and Relationship Survey, which provides information on nearly 600 low- to moderate-income couples living with minor children. Over one third of respondents became sexually involved within the first month of the relationship. Bivariate results suggested that delaying sexual involvement was associated with higher relationship quality across several dimensions. The multivariate results indicated that the speed of entry into sexual relationships was negatively associated with marital quality, but only among women. The association between relationship tempo and relationship quality was largely driven by cohabitation. Cohabiting may result in poorer quality relationship because rapid sexual involvement early in the romantic relationship is associated with entrance into shared living.

The authors are from Cornell University and University of Wisconsin – Madison. Prestigious schools, and very far to the left.

Here’s another recent study that shows that if a woman has more partners than just her husband as a premarital sex partner, the risk of divorce increases.

Conclusion:

Using nationally representative data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth, I estimate the association between intimate premarital relationships (premarital sex and premarital cohabitation) and subsequent marital dissolution. I extend previous research by considering relationship histories pertaining to both premarital sex and premarital cohabitation. I find that premarital sex or premarital cohabitation that is limited to a woman’s husband is not associated with an elevated risk of marital disruption. However, women who have more than one intimate premarital relationship have an increased risk of marital dissolution.

Here’s another study that makes it even more clear.

Findings:

Data from the 1988 US National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) were utilized to assess the impact of premarital sexual activity on subsequent marital stability. Among white NSFG subjects first married in 1965-85, virgin brides were significantly less to have become separated or divorced (25%) than women who had not been virgins at marriage (35%).

[…]The lower risk of divorce on the part of white women with no premarital sexual experience persisted even after numerous intervening and background variables were controlled.

And I am going to save the best study for last. This marvelous PDF is from August 2014, and is put out by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. It is comprehensive, and links to many papers from decades ago to the state of the art today. It seems like people are really rushing into sex these days, without much thought. They want to have fun, feel accepted, be like their friends, conform to the culture. But sometimes, it’s better to be practical than to be governed by the desire for fun and thrills. If you want to do something, look at the research and find out what the consequences are before you do it. That’s what a sensible person does.

When it comes to discussing the Bible’s rules on sex, evidence is very important. Evidence is what convinces even non-Christian people to take the Bible seriously when it comes to putting sex in its proper place. That’s why we need to know what the Bible says, and we need to augment that with real-world evidence so that it is applied to our own decision-making, and so that we can be persuasive when discussing it with others.

Can recreational sex turn a selfish, irresponsible man into a marriage-minded provider?

Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship
Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship

An article from the American Thinker answers the question that vexes many men. As you read this excerpt below, ask yourself if it is a man or a woman writing this.

First of all, liberal women seem to be having an awful lot of sex these days. They are losing their virginity early, and working their way through as many “alpha males” as possible, but all the while they insist that a stream of recreational-sex relationships is somehow a path to lifelong married love. Can you turn a man who wants nothing more than recreational sex into the perfect husband, simply by invoking the magical power of vagina?

Liberal women think that you can:

On the one hand, liberal women believe wholeheartedly in the idiotic social construct they call, “sexual liberation.”  They pride themselves on losing their virginity, as though that “accomplishment” had ever been above the challenge-scale of an alley cat in heat.

These liberal women I’ve known, having given away their female V-card over and over and over again, all the while scour their host of intimate “trial runs” searching for that mythical, Hollywood-construct, Mr. Right.  This Mr. Right guy, for whom they are searching, is known to them up front as even more sexually-liberated than they, but this little factoid seems not to register in their liberated little heads as they frantically search for the equally mythical family home with the white picket fence, which somehow never gets hit by any of life’s roving tornadoes.  One can almost hear them say in unison, “And they all lived happily ever after.”

I think it’s one of the deepest mysteries of the world why women think that a man who has lots and lots of recreational sex is somehow marriage material. When I think of men who are qualified for marriage, I think of men who have studied hard subjects, gotten marketable skills, worked and worked, saved and saved, and shown that they can be faithful in marriage by exhibiting self-control in the courtship. But liberal women think that all of this reasoning is junk, and you must just jump right into sex to see if the relationship will “work out” or to find out what you “like”. Recreational sex, they insist, is a superior way of finding a husband. Discussing who will do what in an actual marriage and what the actual marriage is for is apparently ineffective.

More:

Evidently, the liberal woman is capable of the most severe form of psychological denial known to humankind.  Certain that one of the men with whom she has copulated without strings will suddenly morph into a faithfully monogamous creature the minute she can convince one of them to say “I do” in front of a few witnesses, the liberal woman marches blindly down the aisle towards near-certain, adulterous doom.  Yet, no amount of honest reason can dissuade liberal women from this self-destructive, moral myopia.

What other term but “morally schizoid” could possibly describe this blatantly contradictory tendency among liberal women?

Having spent their youth casually throwing their own sexual morality to the winds of fairytale “liberation,” these liberal women still steadfastly cling to the faithfully monogamous ideal for that sometime-later moment when they actually do desire all the traditional things — the husband, the kids, the white picket fence — those pesky female-nature embedded longings, which coincidentally ensure the continuation of the human race.

But these liberal women somehow — in perfect schizoid manner — convince themselves that once married, they will be the gratuitous beneficiaries of the monogamous respect they still desire, but have never once demanded or deserved.  Intuitively, women know that strict monogamy provides the only real security for themselves and their own offspring.  Yet, they continue themselves to spurn the demands of monogamy until the very last minute, believing that fidelity springs forth naturally in miraculous profusion among all “married” humans.  Such pure poppycock can only be explained as a mental disorder.

I think women need to ask themselves questions honestly and rationally:

  • can recreational sex make an unemployed man get a job?
  • can recreational sex make a violent man be courteous and respectful?
  • can recreational sex make an atheist turn into a Christian?
  • can recreational sex make a male slut stay faithful?
  • can recreational sex make wastefulness turn into frugality?
  • can recreational sex make laziness turn into diligence?
  • can recreational sex make irresponsibility turn into commitment?

Marriages last because both partners have prepared themselves for self-sacrifice, rational discussions, problem solving and cooperation.

Previously, I provided the male perspective on liberal women’s poor decision-making about men and marriage. Read the article from the American Thinker (written by a woman), then read mine.

Alistair Begg preaches on practicality and initiative in the story of Ruth

Bible study that hits the spot
Bible study that hits the spot

I finished listening to Alistair Begg’s series on Esther, and I’m now on to his series on Ruth. Sermon #3 stood out to me, because it touches on the important issues of free will vs determinism as well as the two methods of seeking God’s will: mysticism vs wisdom.

The discussion centers around Ruth’s decision to go to the barley fields to work, in order to get something to eat.

The MP3 file is here.

Here is the description:

When we’re facing a future devoid of prospects or possibilities, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged. Ruth could relate. She was a penniless widow in a foreign land seeking a way to provide for herself and her widowed mother-in-law. Her future was totally dependent upon someone showing her unmerited grace and favor. Instead of giving up, she gives us an example of humility, initiative and faith as she seeks work and sustenance.

As things in the world spin out of control, it’s important to remember that you must always have a plan and be working on that plan. Even when things look very bleak, you have to do something reasonable and practical, and then pray to God for “favor”. That God will do something unexpected that will make your reasonable action bear unexpected fruit.

If you want to listen to sermons #1 and sermon #2 in the series on Ruth, you can find the whole series here. So far, I have listened to 5. The first two were also very good, so if you listen to the first 3, you will definitely benefit. Each one is 35 to 40 minutes.

If you’re going to be a Christian, you need to be as smart as you can be

C.S. Lewis has some words to live by for you
C.S. Lewis has some words to live by for you

I guess I will start this post by linking to something a friend of mine named Joel Furches wrote about an atheist engineer. (link is dead)

He writes:

As an Aerospace Engineer for the U.S. Navy, Jason Pratt is not inaccurate when he describes himself as a rocket scientist for the government. He has flown F-14 Tomcats and the F/A-18F Super Hornet. He was a test pilot of the FA-18B and D Hornet, the FA-18F Super Hornet, and the T-45 Goshawk. His pedigree with all things aeronautical is well established. As was his atheism.

Pratt grew up in a single parent home. He and his sister were raised by their mother, who felt it was her duty to introduce them to church in their teenage years. The church Pratt attended was a religious shell: a ritualistic facade with little reference to actual scriptural teachings. He went through the ceremonial steps as a matter of form, and the moment he was confirmed by the church, he confirmed himself an atheist, and left the church in his dust. His family took this with barely a nod, and as soon as she was confirmed, his sister followed his example.

After High School, Pratt entered college to study engineering. Academically, he proved himself quite brilliant, and flaunted that brilliance at every opportunity. He describes himself as very much a “self-righteous atheist” in college.

He found his atheism very freeing, morally, living by the code of “do whatever you want as long as nobody gets hurt.”

Says Pratt:

“I started to meet other students, and some of them were claiming to be Christians. I even had some of them as roommates. Having had some church background, I knew the type. They were hypocrites, deluded by the silly book that they claimed they believed in. And so I frequently took pleasure in ridiculing them. I would mock them. I would look for any reason to bring out things that they would claim they believe and I would just make fun of them, and mock their God and the Bible that supposedly guided them.

“I generally enjoyed playing the intellectual superior, and I enjoyed challenging what they believed.”

Not much surprise to Pratt, most of the Christians he met had no ability to defend their faith against his ridicule.

[…]One day, however, Pratt met a fellow engineering student named John Thatcher. Thatcher had a perfect GPA, which was somewhat intimidating to someone like Pratt, who took such pride in his own intellect. Thatcher was a very likable guy. He was also a Christian. This made things difficult for Pratt.

At the same time, Pratt discovered that his Academic Adviser – a leading authority in the field of Thermodynamics – was a Christian. This discovery was made when Pratt went to his adviser’s office one day in order to request some help from the brilliant man. As Pratt approached his office, he was shocked to find a scientific article, arguing Thermodynamics from a Christian perspective, hanging from his office door. Pratt was so infuriated, he stormed away and never spoke to his adviser again.

Confused and upset that these two very intelligent men would believe in superstitious nonsense, Pratt made it his goal to truly examine the claims of Christianity for the first time.

This reminded me of a quote from atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel.

He says this:

“In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

(”The Last Word” by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)

I think in general, it’s a good thing when Christians strive to be different from the culture around them. Obviously, that means having different moral values and different goals than what’s popular and acceptable for non-Christians. It means not openly engaging in activities that are forbidden to Christians, like not getting drunk, not having premarital/extra-marital sex, etc. And I think it also means being as smart as you can possibly be about about areas that touch on your Christian worldview. Why? Because like the story above says, being informed and having the answers is attractive to people who are searching.

It doesn’t help God for you to be wild and stupid

In my life, I have sometimes tried to lead other Christians to study harder things and to get better jobs. Most of the time, this works. I can get young Christians to not study English or Drama or Art History, and instead get them to study Engineering or Computer Science or Nursing. And if they already are studying hard things, then I encourage them, I buy them books, I play games with them and ask them how things are going. Once they have the degrees, I encourage them to get jobs, to work in the summers, to open investment accounts, and pay off their loans.

The point is this – what you study and what you do for work and how good you are at your job plays a massive role in whether you will get into conversations with non-Christians at all. It is not good service to God to bungle your education and career because you were more interested in feeling good, having fun and seeking thrills. You will lose opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others that way.

Managing your money – paying off debts and investing early and often – is part of that signal of maturity that you send to others. And don’t underestimate the importance of marriage and children – something I don’t have. If I had a successful marriage, and lots of well-behaved children, that would help a lot as well. Especially if people could come over to a warm and happy home. It sends a message. However, if you’re going to stay single, then keep your self-control and be content with it. That sends a message, too.

Life is short. Don’t do what feels good. Do what works.