No Country for Fatherless Men

Mary Eberstadt did a stellar job last week writing for First Things on fatherlessness. She lays out her reasons for believing that the absence of a father in so many homes is the cause behind the instability seen in our cities. While folks on the left will dismiss this as a conservative beat-up, Eberstadt sees a clear throughline from dads who are MIA and societal dysfunction, be it Antifa or White nationalists. 

Eberstadt writes that “six decades of social science have established that the most efficient way to increase dysfunction is to increase fatherlessness. And this the United States has done, for two generations now. Almost one in four children today grows up without a father in the home. For African Americans, it is some 65 percent of children.”

Eberstadt goes on to list famous writers and activists who are victims of fatherlessness, particularly those currently agitating for “anti-racism” movements . Identity politics has been “shot through” with the disappearance of paternal authority from the beginning, as Eberstadt observes. Unsurprisingly, the now infamous statement from the Black Lives Matter website, declaring their intention to “disrupt the Western-­prescribed nuclear family structure” never mentions fathers, as if it were a given that fatherhood is a non-essential part of family formation. 

Apart from the unrest created by fatherlessness, Eberstadt argues that this is the cause of the growth of the “nones” – those that claim no religious affiliation. Churches have been a place in America that connected different generations. But with the decline in church attendance, younger ones lose the benefit of the influence of people who’ve lived longer than they have. In addition, how do you relate to a good heavenly Father when you never knew an earthly one? Eberstadt points to the theory of sociologist Paul Vitz, – anger at “defective fatherhood” translates to anger at God. 

Eberstadt’s third argument is that fatherlessness leads to detachment from your country. Growing up with an intact family is first-hand experience with a source of authority. For a child, family members are “people from whom he could learn, with whom he could connect and network, and through whom he could learn commitments and make common cause.” A child growing up without a dad automatically has less family members to influence him, not only his father but also his father’s side of the family.

To Eberstadt this volatility manifests as hatred of America. It is why protestors “tear down statues not only of Confederates, but of Founding Fathers and town fathers and city fathers and anything else that looks like a father, period… It is why bands of what might be called “chosen protest families” disrupt actual family meals. It is why BLM disrupts bedroom communities late at night, where real, non-chosen families are otherwise at peace.”

Being without a dad seems to affect boys and girls differently but the longing for a father does not diminish, just because the white noise says the “kids are okay.” 

So, we need to ask our Heavenly Father for wisdom, and then look around. There may be things you can do right where you are to disrupt the cycle, to advocate for fathers, encourage moms raising kids on their own and find the lost boys who need to find “father, Father and patria”.

Dude Looks Like a Lady

Matt Walsh wrote recently to warn how the Left wants to feminize men. He points out how Progressive media will mock anyone for making a big deal out the the very thing they just made a big deal out of.

Exhibit A: Harry Styles wearing a dress. Styles’ recent photo shoot drew breathless admiration from fellow celebrities, describing him as the epitome of confidence, a man “devoid of any traces of toxic masculinity.” Yet when Ben Shapiro and other conservatives point to the absurdity of the whole situation, they are painted as making a big deal out of nothing.

Walsh says that the identity politics crowd will never succeed in a the genderless utopia they dream of, but creating an environment where “boys are made to be more feminine, and girls more masculine” leads to confusion as neither has any idea who they really are. Confusion, says Walsh, is the ultimate objective. “People who have good arguments don’t bother with mind games like these.” Well said.

Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

🌡️ Average body temperature of humans has dropped over the last two centuries
💨Cerebra’s wafer chip is 10,000 times faster than GPU
🔍 Can A.I. detect sarcasm? Suuuurrre..
🇬🇧 A group of British pubs decided to ban the MP who backed a 10 pm curfew
🔊A speaker that beams music straight into your head
🐊 Yes, that’s a huge ‘gator strolling around a Florida golf course
🙊 FBI hires robots to do sensitive file retrieval
 💊 As if world-domination is not enough, Amazon is getting in on pharmaceuticals

He’s just not that into your politics

New York Times piece from recent weeks suggest that the real divide in the US is between those who are “hard partisans” and those who really don’t care about politics. “For partisans, politics is a morality play, a struggle of good versus evil. But most Americans just see two angry groups of people bickering over issues that may not always seem pressing or important.” To get some perspective, “a Pew study finds that 10 percent of Twitter users are responsible for 97 percent of all tweets about politics.”

While some voters’ “single issue” may be whether TikTok is banned or not (you can ask Dr. Koontz about that one), there is often no overlap between what political junkies think is important and what less-attentive citizens do. The researchers for this article found that drug use and the political influence of wealthy donors were high on the list of concerns for hard partisans (Republicans and Democrats respectively), but these issues hardly registered with those less engaged.

In contrast, the things that bothered the rest of the country were the deficit and moral decline. So “unity” between Left and Right may not be as useful as getting the chattering classes and the rest of America to listen to each other. Now, where’s my megaphone?

Ground News is a site that collects and collates reporting, according to a right-left spectrum. These projects are always interesting experiments, but often pleases no one, as most people assume their views are the centered and reasonable. At the very least, it is interesting to compare the language used by different news outlets. 

Inez Stepman argues that the way to help reduce the partisan divide in America is to gut the Academy. She argues that anti-American sentiment and revisionist history curriculum are perpetuating the domination of identity politics in elite institutions and business. 

Some considerate Britsplaining: Paul Collier, an Oxford professor, suggests that states should split their Electoral College vote according to their votes and reduce postal voting.

And about those pesky voting machines

The eagle has landed

Pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, announced last week they have a COVID vaccine ready to go. While the timing of the press release looked strangely advantageous to a particular presidential candidateThe Hustle detailed the winners and losers. Airlines, fashion and fuel companies are on the up and home fitness and takeout pizza are down.Rev. Fisk is not the only one who is concerned about this vaccine. While questions remain about who gets it and how safe it is, many have noted the potential for COVID vaccines to use abortion-derived cell lines. The Lozier Institute is keeping tabs of which ones do and don’t. The CEO of Pfizer says he’ll take the vaccine first to ease public concern. Thanks, we feel so much better now…
Everyone’s favorite eccentric billionaire, Elon Musk says he tested positive and negative for COVID in one day. Rev Fisk found an informative Twitter thread from Mr Musk, asking about what getting a “positive” test even means.

Freedom is a Long Game

This week, a great Issues etc. conversation with Dr. Stephen Baskerville from 2017 came to mind. There and in a related article, Dr. Baskerville describes how there are some striking similarities between the French Revolution and one that we are still fighting, the Sexual Revolution. The desire of the early “liberationists” was the destruction of all barriers to sexual indulgence “as the means to advance their careers, accumulate wealth, eliminate rivals, punish opponents, extort money, and generally acquire political power.” 

While the sexual libertines promised freedom, the mess that was the #metoo era suggests that the promise rings hollow. Yet, rather than a humble return to the God’s model for marriage and sex, the revolutionaries have ramped up their assault. Baskerville argues that this revolution has entered its “Reign of Terror phase.” He says, “Having ridiculed not only the Christians themselves into silence but also their annoying, old-fashioned vocabulary of ‘sin,’ ‘immorality,’ ‘fornication,’ and ‘adultery,’ the radicals have substituted jargon that instead condemns ideological unorthodoxy.” 

Instead of “traditional sins [which] were clear and precise [and] applied equally to all”, Baskerville argues we now have vague categories such as “abuse” or “harassment”, which he maintains as having no fixed legal definition. By controlling the approved language, elites can maintain their power, not just over celebrity transgressors, but also over ordinary people. There are many casualties in this war, especially fathers and husbands who have way to prove their innocence of such non-descript crimes.

Baskerville also notes the way this new morality is enforced. Previously, immoral behavior was overseen by apolitical authorities like parents, churches, and local communities. The punishment was social disapproval and ostracism – no self-respecting father was going to let his daughter marry a cad! But that has changed, with the new morality enforced by “professional disapprovers with political muscle—journalists and media pundits, lawyers, judges, police, and jailers.” 

The tyranny of the Sexual Revolution is revealed very clearly in today’s Progressive agenda. A Democratic presidency promises the reinstating of Title IX and the Equality Act, both dangerous for the family and religious freedom. Kicking against reality by denying the distinctions between male and female, destroying the family structure, marriage and the goodness of the patriarchy will have a similar end to the French Revolution; it is good to take heed. 

So what are we to do? In many ways, Mad Christians are called to the same things we ever were. We build and plant and seek the welfare of the place God has put us. We tell the truth about life, and God’s purpose for marriage and family. We promote the things that enable this purpose. We meet faithfully and partake of God’s good gifts. It doesn’t look very revolutionary, but we shine brightly in the decaying age, as each stand for truth lights the way for another.

As you will hear Rev. Fisk and Dr. Koontz repeat on BHoP, the most subversive thing you can do is raise a family, in the fear and admonition of the Lord. This may be milk toast to the Progressives, but the realest place in the world is the home and the first line of defense against the lies of tyranny is the family. 

Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want, as Os Guinness says, but the power to do what you ought. Fed by the Word and sacraments, the saints are empowered by the Spirit for just such a task. So don’t lose heart!  Teach your children, love the Truth and seek Wisdom. And maybe plant a garden.

Twenty-Third Sunday After Trinity

Micah 6:6-8

With what shall I come before the Lord,
And bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
[a]The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love [b]mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Psalm 116:12-19

12 What shall I render to the Lord
For all His benefits toward me?
13 I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord.
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.

16 O Lord, truly I am Your servant;
am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant;
You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call upon the name of the Lord.

18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people,
19 In the courts of the Lord’s house,
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

[a]Praise the Lord!

Philippians 1:3-11

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Matthew 18:21-35

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down [a]at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you [b]all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother [c]his trespasses.”

Baby Steps for Taking Out a Giant

Monster companies like Amazon have been devastating to bookstores globally. While it may just represent the inevitable march to the Googlazon industrial complex, one shop owner isn’t going down without a fight. Andy Hunter, who feels that book shops are “essential to a healthy culture,” started a site called bookshop.org which gives independent booksellers a way to compete against the Big Guys. Nice work!
“If you wish to move mountains, begin by carrying away small stones.”