Quaker Chewy Granola Bar commercial and egg donation

I’ve been saying that we now define freedom like this:

“The state must annul my familial obligations without cause whenever I choose.”

With that in mind, check out this Quaker Chewy Granola Bar commercial that I saw on Youtube:

Here’s another one:

It’s sort of funny… but eerily close to being real. Imagine if the mother was somebody who used an egg donor to conceive the boy. So the boy isn’t from her egg, but somebody else’s. These commercials are an extreme example of what legal relationship that looks like to me.

Can you see better why the libertarian cry for contracts to replace marriage (and by extension, all family ties) doesn’t actually decrease the state’s role in people’s lives? Kinship ties that are established by marriage and nature, then recognized by the state, require less of the state than business-style contracts.

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Trump the eugenicist?

I doubt Trump is a eugenicist. If it turns out that he is, you can count on me to advocate against him on that point.

But here is what interests me about this HuffPost video: the low-ish view count. It’s been out since the end of September and has not even 350K views. They’re using Trump’s own quotes to compare him to Hitler who definitely was a eugenicist. Given Trump’s visibility, the time frame, and the subject, 350K views is sluggish.

Why the low number of views? Maybe people aren’t responding to it because it’s just wrong and people see through it. But here’s something else that occurred to me. The foundation for eugenics is pretty well established already in our country and most of the west. Many, but not all, of the parts to a eugenic machine are in place. In the “already completed” column, we have sperm donation, egg donation, surrogacy, abortion, commercialized human reproduction, egg freezing for future use. In the “to do” column: sold harder to the general public, the legal side has to be strengthened, and avenues for enforcing contraceptive use and abortion have to be established. That last “to do” item will be tough to do for the foreseeable future, I think. I voted against Prop 60 since I will never vote to enforce any form of contraception for any reason. On the other hand, commercial surrogacy may create the impetus for forced abortions. The conceptual foundation has been laid and the social and legal apparatus is being built on top of it.

People typically understand the term “eugenics” as a state-enforced ideology, but that’s not what I’m talking about really. What we have so far is a consumer version of eugenics. I have zero doubt that in many individual cases of people relying on third-party reproduction, they design babies to their personal specifications: blonde hair, athletic, high IQ, etc. So in practice, consumer-based eugenics is here, and we’re pretty much OK with it because of our skewed idea of “freedom,” because money talks, and because we aren’t supposed to judge. But as I argued elsewhere, there is a link between freedom and fertility. Controlled, mechanized fertility is creating a net decrease of freedom, not a net increase.

What I’m trying to say is, perhaps the video didn’t go viral because most viewers intuited that they agreed with those quotes, even if it turns out they were taken out of context.

Social progress, as if it was a straight line, is a myth. Instead we go around in a circle, or maybe it’s a spiral. Either way, there’s nothing new under the sun.

Lack of college degree does not equal “uneducated”

As somebody who only recently finished her bachelor’s degree, it is like salt in a wound when I hear news commentary about “uneducated” voters, those who don’t have a bachelor’s degree.

I wasn’t uneducated before I had my bachelor’s. I wrote books about bookkeeping; created a website; was self employed; marketed, brokered and sold my small bookkeeping business; got a good paying job; had a column at the Christian Post; forged an argument for the defense of marriage by seeing Christian sexual morality as a conduit for justice for children; read a lot; and in general tried to be a good citizen. A college degree is great and I’m grateful I was finally able to finish it, but the lack of one didn’t mean I was “uneducated.” So insulting, elitist, and classist for the news media to use that term.

In addition to the insult about being “uneducated,” this article by Garrison Keillor at the Chicago Tribune makes a stunning, yet buried, admission:

“…it helps a lot if the waitress and her husband encourage good habits and the ambition to use your God-given talents and the kids aren’t plugged into electronics day and night.”

Wait a minute: the waitress AND HER HUSBAND? I thought gender specific words were a no-no now? And what about the single mom like Murphy Brown? What about the gay couple using a surrogate to create and raise a child like David Sawyer and Bryan Collins? What about the gender-neutral trans family raising children? Nope, no mention of them or people like them. How odd, coming from a liberal. Is this a quiet admission that sex differences matter, that the natural family founded on natural marriage actually DO matter to the outcomes of children, just like the social science has been telling us for decades, just like the ancient Christian teaching on sexual morality upheld?

What about those of us who didn’t live with our own married mother and father? Where is the open admission that **championing** “sexual freedom” for adults contributed to kids not finishing their college degrees (or even their high school diplomas)… aka being “uneducated”? Not to mention a lot of other negative, painful outcomes such as shorter life spans, addictions, their own divorces, anger issues, thoughts of suicide, losing contact with grandparents, and on and on? So they’ll destroy our families and champion them never forming, then gloat over us being “uneducated.” They’ll just plug their ears to the social science, since it gets in the way of their “open mindedness” and “sexual liberation.” They cannot admit that kids being with our own married mothers and fathers contributes to them being “educated.” Got it? This is their shtick: “Family for me but not for thee.”

I am so angry right now. The most charitable thing I can say about Mr. Keillor is that he is tone deaf.

Numb by Linkin Park: where’s the dad?

I love this music video by Linkin Park. It was filmed in Prague, which is in the Czech Republic. There is a lot of Christian imagery from the city that the video incorporates. For example, the video opens with a young woman standing on a very famous bridge, called the Charles Bridge. This bridge is lined with 30 statues of Christian saints. Later in the video, she is sketching the statue of St. Anne, who is Mary’s mother.

Other observations: the young woman is angry and sad, she’s struggling in school, she’s an artist, she cuts herself, the mom is frustrated at her, the dad is absent. Maybe the young woman feels “caught in the undertow” of her mother’s choice to live without her dad. Kids forced to live without their dads, forced to ignore that half of themselves, might relate to this diagram:

mothers life after divorce

Living like that makes you feel kinda numb after a while.

The video opens with the young woman looking down while on the bridge, and it closes with her looking down after running inside the Church. Not sure what that means, but one explanation may be that the Church is not doing enough to help her get connected to her roots, not doing enough to defend her emotional needs to be embedded in her own intact family.

=========================================

So after writing all that, I decided to look up the individual band members for some insight into their personal lives. Turns out that one of the co-authors of the song, Chester Bennington, is a child of divorce and a victim of sexual abuse. He’s the blonde singer in the video:

Bennington’s parents divorced when he was 11 years old and his father gained custody of him. After the divorce, Bennington started abusing marijuana, alcohol, opium, cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD. He eventually overcame his drug addiction, and would go on to denounce drug use in future interviews. During a Linkin Park tour, he started heavily drinking but claimed to have quit in 2011, noting, “I just don’t want to be that person anymore.”

In an interview, Bennington revealed that he suffered sexual abuse from an older male friend when he was seven years old. He was afraid to ask for help because he did not want people to think he was gay or lying, and the abuse continued until age 13. The abuse and situation at home affected him so much that he felt the urge to kill and run away. To comfort himself, he drew pictures and wrote poetry and songs. Later, he revealed the abuser’s identity to his father, but chose not to continue the case after he realized the abuser was a victim himself.

At the age of 17, Bennington moved in with his mother and was banned from leaving the house when his mother discovered his drug activity. He worked at a Burger King and used his money for cocaine and crystal meth before starting his career as a professional musician. He was physically bullied in high school. In an interview, he said, “I was knocked around like a rag doll at school for being skinny and looking different.”

Considering that the sexual abuse continued after the divorce, and that Chester was living with his dad, I wonder if the abuser was a friend of the dad. I wonder what the circumstances were surrounding Chester’s dad getting custody. I am comfortable saying that Numb addresses fractured family structures. It appears that Linkin Park addresses sexual abuse in another video, Crawling. Check it out and see if you agree.

Lyrics for Numb are available here.

Same-sex marriage is a luxury good being paid for by the poor

ricochet logoI used to be a member of a website known as Ricochet. I was a member for a couple years and let my membership lapse once. Another member whom I had gotten to know talked me into renewing. So I did for a year, but let it lapse again in March. I was very busy on another project and Ricochet can be very distracting. I’m finished with that project now but I don’t think I’ll renew my membership. I’m not really a good fit with the sort of site it is. Somebody actually pointed this out to me once but I didn’t believe him. In retrospect I think he was right.

Ricochet is a blogging site where people can join and write posts for other members to read and comment on. These posts are behind a paywall so that only paying members can read them. If the post is very good, it will get “promoted” to the front page where they are available for anybody to see and members to comment on.

Even though I’m not a member, once in a while I will go back and read some posts there on the front page. I did so just the other day. It was actually a podcast, not a written post. I’m not normally a podcast person but it was an interview of R.R. Reno, editor of First Things. I’ve read a number of his articles over the last few years and I respect his opinion. He was being interviewed about his new book, called Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society. Before listening, I scrolled down to the comments. I saw some familiar faces there and one of them remarked that he didn’t understand what Reno said when he made this statement in the interview:

“[Gay marriage is] a luxury good for the rich that is being paid for by the poor…”

Another member wondered the same thing. I listened to the podcast and discovered that Reno partially answered their question. Previous to the quote he made this statement:

Our moral transformations of the 60s has actually created a moral culture that benefits the rich and harms the poor.

And after it he said this:

…as marriage declines among the poor but remains relatively strong among the well-to-do.

I feel confident to state that Reno is saying that that same-sex marriage will accelerate the declining marriage rate among the poor. They (and their children) will not receive the benefits of marriage, and this is how they will pay for same-sex marriage.

We all agree that marriage has benefits for couples and their children. Social liberals and social conservatives disagree as to what same-sex marriage will do to the understanding of marriage and therefore the distribution of those benefits. Social liberals believe that same-sex marriage extends those benefits to more people; therefore, the declining marriage rate among the poor should decrease if they are correct–more of them will marry over time. But social conservatives believe the opposite: that same-sex marriage will slowly accelerate the declining marriage rate among the poor–fewer of them will marry over time. On the surface that might seem counter-intuitive. After all, allowing more couples to marry seems like more people would marry, not fewer. Let me break it down.

Social conservatives argue that same-sex marriage radically changes how people view what marriage is. It changes this view so much that fewer people will see the need to participate in marriage. Fewer married people means fewer people (and children) will receive the benefits of marriage. Let me quote from Robert George’s book, What is Marriage:

[The new view of marriage is] the union of two people (whether of the same sex or of opposite sexes) who commit to romantically loving and caring for each other and to sharing the burdens and benefits of domestic life.

People don’t need to get married in order to have those benefits–they can just live together instead. Plus, living together has an advantage over marriage: no risk of divorce.

If social conservatives are right, this new view of marriage will accelerate the declining marriage rate among the poor. Fewer poor people, including poor children, will receive the benefits of marriage. This is how the poor will pay for same-sex marriage. Here’s a chart I made that shows each sub-issue and each side’s view.

Same-sex marriage will: Social liberals say: Social conservatives say:
Decrease the marriage rate among opposite-sex couples over time No Yes
Harm the poor due to the declining marriage rate among them over time No Yes
Increase the abortion rate due to fewer women getting married over time No Yes

The jury is still out as to which side is correct on these sub-issues, and it may take a full generation for the effect to be measured accurately. Given that social liberals have a terrible track record when it comes to understanding sex and marriage at the marco level, meaning, that same-sex marriage is just one more “sexual freedom” along a path that is already well-known to be harmful to children and society, my money is on the socially conservative position.

Finally, I hope you noticed something important: I did not argue that marriage, in an objective sense, has changed. This was deliberate because it has not.

Why did my parents reject me?

In almost all of the divorce literature, you will come across something that goes like this:

“Children of divorce often think that the divorce was their fault.”

This was not my experience. I never consciously thought that my parents divorce was my fault. So I have doubted that idea. I think, instead, that this idea doesn’t go far enough. It is an attempt to describe something, but it is inadequate.

It is not so much that the child blames himself, it is that he feels a deep sense of rejection, cannot understand the rejection, and cannot articulate it. Each parent has embraced the half of the child that represents himself or herself. But simultaneously, they have rejected the half of the child that represents the other parent. It is profoundly confusing to be simultaneously accepted and rejected. It is like living in a hall of mirrors without being told it is a hall of mirrors.

Here is a diagram I created in Word to try and explain what I see and feel.

divorce diagram of the child 20160811
The stretched life of a child, post-divorce.

I’m trying to show how the child’s life is being stretched in two directions. In a normal situation, the parents’ lives and interests are more closely bound up with the life of the child. After a divorce, the child becomes pulled in two distinct directions, and these directions become more and more distinct as time goes on. On the mother’s side, she accepts the side of the oval (the life of the child) that corresponds to her life and interests, but rejects the side of the oval (the life of the child) the corresponds to the father’s life and interests. The same is true for the father but reversed.

When parents divorce, the child spends time with each parent without the other there. The parents are saying, in effect, “I want my freedom so badly that I am willing to be apart from you for half your life.” That is rejection. Related to this is the rejection of the child’s other side of the family: in-laws become personae non gratae practically overnight. This means that the child has family that his flesh-and-blood parent no longer has. The hall of mirrors gets bigger.

I think this explains why some parents engage in “parental alienation.” They don’t want to be with the other parent, and they don’t want to be apart from their kids at all. In order to achieve this goalthey believe that they can emotionally separate the child from the other parent and that parent’s family without harming the child. Given that it is now viewed as child abuse, this is probably the strategy of somebody who is mentally or emotionally impaired.

I do not think kids of divorce are wondering, “Is the divorce my fault?” I think they are feeling a deeper question: “Why did my parents reject me and my family?” If what I’m saying is true then this means that important aspects of our culture and family law system are based on lies and need to change. For example, our notion of “freedom” currently supports kids being stretched into two halves as I’ve described here. Also, the divorce industry (and other industries that thrive on separating kids from their family trees) is founded on the idea that “kids are resilient.” This is another way of saying that it is perfectly fine to tear somebody’s life into two pieces, since:

  • They’ll just somehow “get over it”
  • They won’t care
  • They will be so thrilled with their parents’ happiness that they’ll sublimate their own
  • They are automatons who don’t have their own happiness; they only have their parents’ happiness

How is that wound healed? I still do not know, but it cannot be healed by pretending it is not there.

Family building and slavery

chesterton photo“Family building” is a pleasant sounding phrase that hides unethical practices based on similar arguments used to justify slavery. For one thing, it deliberately separates a child from his family tree in order to satisfy a market demand for children, thereby turning children into commodities. People are beginning to connect the dots between “family building” and slavery. See, for example:

Mothers urge ban on surrogacy as a form of slavery

The similarity I see to Fredrick Douglass

Sperm and egg donation foster technology-induced child slavery

Here’s another interesting thing to think about. Modern-day “family building” advocates justify the practice by arguing that there is no a priori family to destroy. They arrive at that conclusion through the twin beliefs of “love makes a family,” and “biology does not matter.” According to G.K. Chesterton, the same lack-of-family argument was made by advocates of slavery in the United States back in the 1800s (emphasis added):

“The Servile State… has always been embarrassed by the institution of marriage. It is an old story that the negro slavery of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ did its worst work in the breaking-up of families. But curiously enough, the same story is told from both sides. For the apologists of the Slave States, or, at least, of the Southern States, make the same admission even in their own defence. If they denied breaking up the slave family, it was because they denied there was any slave family to break up.

Free love is the direct enemy of freedom. It is the most obvious of all the bribes that can be offered by slavery.  In servile societies, a vast amount of sexual laxity can go on in practice… One of the conveniences of that pagan world is that, below a certain level of society, nobody really need bother about pedigree or paternity at all… of all the bribes that the old pagan slavery can offer, this luxury and laxity is the strongest…” From Fancies versus Fads, pp. 128-129

Summary: it’s OK for the strong to take advantage of the weak, since the weak aren’t part of a family anyway.

As I have argued before, sexual and reproductive liberty is a might-makes-right ideology. Imight makes right 2 fully expect it to end up in the ash heap of history, repudiated and reviled. Chesterton’s book was published in 1923, decades before “sexual liberation” and the corresponding and widespread breakdown of the family. The man was a prophet.

Thanks to Stephen R.L. Clark who directed me to the Chesterton quote through his book Biology and Christian Ethics.

Same-sex marriage and the fascinating “empty set problem”

… well, I find it fascinating! Not sure if anybody else will. lol

People who argue for same-sex marriage often, if not always, rely on what I call “the infertility argument.” This argument posits that because some opposite sex married couples do not bear children, this means that marriage is not procreative. This becomes the door, so to speak, that people use to justify same-sex marriage.

empty setThe argument has a really fascinating problem, one that is little-known. In fact, I’ve never seen it addressed so I think I am the first person to identify it. I call it, “the empty set problem.” The argument depends on a definite set of infertile opposite sex couples, but I will show how it is not possible to identify the actual members of the set. That is why I say it is an empty set. Let me be clear: the set of permanently infertile opposite sex couples exists. See the brackets on the left? The set is real. The problem is that its members cannot be identified with certainty.

Since all of the members of the set of same-sex couples have a literal 0% fertility, all of the members of the comparison set must also have a literal 0% fertility. To be fair and just, we must apply an equal standard to both sets. Unfortunately, proponents of the infertility argument are not careful in their thinking. They are content with theoretical members in their set of infertile opposite sex couples, members that they don’t have to actually identify. I also suspect that they would be content to have an unequal standard between the two sets, that they would be content to let the comparison set have something slightly above a literal 0% fertility, although I can’t prove this. I do know that they toss this set into the discussion, assuming it is full of members. But arguments depending on a set of real couples must have real, identifiable couples in the set and the standard for comparison must be equally applied.

Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine a football stadium, filled with married opposite sex couples. Now, go through this set couple by couple and identify two characteristics about them:

  1. Which of them are, and will forever be until they die, 100% infertile.
  2. Which will have one spouse die at some point in the future, and the other spouse goes on to remarry and does not bear children in subsequent marriages.

A medical doctor trained in fertility could do the first task but not with 100% certainty across the entire population, and the second task can’t be predicted by anybody.

Quite naturally, these tasks apply to elderly couples. For example, we must predict, with 100% certainty, which actual elderly couples will have the wife die, and then the husband goes on to remarry a younger woman and not bear children. I can’t predict that. Can you?

Now, let’s remove the football stadium and apply this to the entire population. Plus, in real life across the world, new couples are entering the actual set of married, opposite sex couples all the time. Now do those tasks again.

We can’t cheat by using statistics or speaking in generalities, and we must apply the same standard to both sets. We are talking about real couples, so real couples must occupy the set. I don’t think we can identify the specific couples with 100% certainty, but I might be wrong. Perhaps somebody can. Even if it can be done by somebody, the number of members in the set will be dramatically less than people realize.

If the set of opposite sex couples who have a literal 0% fertility rate is empty, this discredits the argument. But even if the set has a tiny number of couples in it, this does not validate the argument. Why? Because we can step back and demand that the burden of proof–that same-sex marriage does not change the character of marriage–rests with those making the argument. Few realize that its more honest proponents have already admitted that same-sex marriage does change the character of marriage:

“Same-sex marriage is far more radical than interracial marriage. It challenges our basic understanding of the institution.” William Saletan of Slate.com.

“Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there . . . The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change.” Masha Gessen, biographer of Vladimir Putin, as quoted in National Review.red herring

Right on cue, once same-sex marriage became law we saw headlines like this: “California deletes ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ from marriage law.” No more husbands and wives in marriage is part of “gender ideology,” and it changes the character of marriage dramatically. I am so grateful that the Church categorically rejects this change.

The infertility argument was always a red herring based on a specious premise.

Study: kids of same-sex parenting are depressed

This study really upsets me. It’s not rocket science. When you deprive somebody of half of who they are, when you force them to pretend that half of who they are does not exist, and supplant half of who they are with falsehoods… they get depressed. This was predictable, and predicted. Same-sex parenting is, by definition, codified step-parenting. And we already know that there are significant elevated risk factors for children in step-parenting households. Here’s an infographic from the linked article:

paul sullins study 2016-06

This is outrageous. I am so upset! And people are fighting for the right to do this to children! It is profoundly wrong.

About those “no differences” studies involving same-sex parenting: pretty much any study you see that reports “no difference” between kids in same-sex households and kids raised with their married bio parents uses convenience samples of same-sex couples. This means that the results cannot be generalized to the entire population… yet they always are in the popular media. But what might be worse, to my way of thinking at least, is that the respondents often know the studies goals! They know what the researcher is hoping to find. And the political Left takes these studies as absolute truth. This is madness.

I hope it’s clear that I am not singling out homosexuals. I’m as critical of other so-called “diverse” family forms as I am of same-sex parenting. What some people say is “family structure diversity,” I say is “family structure inequality.” And the science is on my side. Children who are not raised with their married mother and father have greatly elevated risk factors for negative outcomes. That’s a fact.

 

#ErasingFamily: how did we get here?

erasing familyI love the work being done by #ErasingFamily. They are calling attention to how the judicial system perpetuates injustice by alienating parents from their children during divorce proceedings. This is truly a great mission. I hate our divorce system in the United States. It is a unilateral, involuntary system that drags legally innocent people into an often years-long emotional morass that costs them their children and their assets. It is a monster that needs to be destroyed. There can be no justice in unilateral, involuntary divorce.

So I love #ErasingFamily for calling attention to our corrupt divorce system.

But I also want to step back and consider how we got here. How did we get to the place where an phenomenon like #ErasingFamily even needs to exist?

I believe there are three cultural shifts that contributed to the #ErasingFamily movement.

First, it began in an unlikely place: when we reframed adoption. Adoption used to be a child welfare measure of final resort. And that is how most people still view it. But it has morphed into something more than that. Not always, but often enough, it is a system that finds children for people who want to be parents. The focus shifts from what the child needs to what the adults want.

By reframing adoption, we legitimized chopping down a child’s family tree for the sake of the desires of the new custodial parents. We told adoptees that they shouldn’t care about where they came from. We suppressed their birth records. We failed to address their root issues during therapy sessions. We ignored the social science that tells us their elevated risk for suicide. We failed to try and keep the family together.

So you can see how erasing family began.

Once it was socially acceptable, even lauded, to erase a child’s entire family to fulfill the wishes of adoptive parents, the logic follows like this:

  • it is then acceptable to split the child’s family in half (divorce, two homes) due to the parent’s wishes.
  • it is then acceptable to erase 1/2 of the child’s family (#ErasingFamily, anonymous sperm/egg donation) due to the parents’ wishes.

Second, we changed divorce laws. It used to be that courts sided with the innocent spouse. Now they side with the spouse who wants the marriage the least. Legal innocence or or legal guilt does not play a role in how divorce courts operate. This system favors the person who is most ruthless.

Third, we started to believe that adults are entitled to do pretty much whatever they want sexually. This frees them from any responsibility towards their child’s opposite sex parent, which means that they are entitled to ignore half of who the child is. Look at the photo above and compare it to this video. The logic plays out perfectly even though the sexual preference of the parents is different.

It used to be that sex and family went together as a package deal, but not anymore.

So this is the recipe for the #ErasingFamily brew in which we find ourselves today.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about how people can avoid being erased from their child’s life.