Here’s what happened to that money I asked you to give

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A quick note to the readers of this blog who, a few months ago, donated around 17,000 dollars to help my brother and the others on his mission trip provide medicine and clean water to a poor town in Guatemala.

He returned a couple of weeks back, and asked if I would post a thank you note and update on my blog, so that you could see the fruits of your charity.

I told him I’d post it, but he’d have to pay a 200 dollar fee.

That was a joke.

The fee is 300.

In all seriousness, I get some satisfaction out of knowing that something tangible and real has come from this little blog of mine. Rather, it came from you, but I’m happy to be a facilitator of the exchange.

Here’s Joe’s letter:

Dear friends,

Thank you once again for your generous contributions to my mission trip. Everything went according to plan (for the most part). On March 8 we left for Guatemala and arrived back at Christendom the following Sunday, March 16. We were lead by our Pastor, Father Planty, and another Christendom staff member Josh Peterson. We worked with the Missionary Sisters of the Poor Jesus in the small Guatemalan town of El Progresso and a Canadian relief organization, the Doppenbergs.

The majority of our work consisted in working in a remote Guatemalan town digging a trench one mile long to connect this town with their water supply. Working alongside the Guatemalan men, women and even children we finished the ditch by Saturday. The days were long and exhausting but very rewarding. We dug on mountain sides with inclines of nearly 70 degrees and at time had to dig and pick ax through straight rock. In one 30 minute stretch three pick axes were broken due to the rock formations. In the meantime, Father Planty administered to the sick Guatemalans who, in the remote villages, rarely receive spiritual care. And with the money donated the Sisters were able to buy and administer medical supplies to hundreds of children through a series of day clinics set up in the villages. After digging the trench, laying the pipe, creating a ditch 10 feet deep for the 10,000 gallon tank and covering the pipe the project was completed on the last day.

This project, which includes a water filtration system, all made possible by your contributions, will have a direct and immediate impact on the lives of all the people in this village. Now a clean and reliable source of water exists for a entire town, due in large part to your charity.

It was truly one of the most amazing and fulfilling experiences of my life, and a week I will never forget. If not for your donations, we would not have been able to provide these essential services. Most importantly, above all else, we were able to share Christ’s love with our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. Again, thank you for your help, and God bless.

Sincerely,

Joe Walsh

I’m told they also had the funds to conduct an alpaca grooming seminar, which will hopefully aid in my quest to rid the Earth of the scourge of unkempt alpacas.

In any case, thank you all for your kindness. It’s easy to just sort of skim right by a blog post where some guy is trying to get you to give money to poor people. You don’t gain anything from clicking the Paypal link and sending a few dollars (or more than a few). But you gave, anyway.

Thank you.

And thanks for reading.

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I don’t respect the president or his office, and neither should you

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Of all the flaccid refrains constantly shrieked by the hordes of Statist sycophants, the worst is probably this:

“Even if you don’t respect Obama, you should still respect the office!”

Respect ‘the office,’ they say.

Definition of respect: to hold in esteem or honor.

Synonyms for respect: deference, awe, reverence.

As you might imagine, I was recently reacquainted with the rather sickening idea that I have a duty to show reverence for a political office, when I wrote a post last week where I merely called the president a liar. Indeed, anytime you criticize the president with an intent more serious than playfully teasing him for picking the wrong team in his March Madness bracket — anytime you attack authority, particularly presidential authority, particularly THIS president’s authority — the ‘respect the office’ propagators will come streaming in, fingers-a-wagging and heads-a-shaking.

‘Respect the office,’ they gush. Noticeably, the folks most concerned with respecting Obama’s office weren’t to be heard from during that certain eight year period where Bush was daily cut down as anything from Hitler Incarnate

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to a barely literate monkey

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to the subject for a slapstick Comedy Central sitcom.

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But the hypocrisy of Obama’s Minions should be put aside for the moment.

If I only engaged their points when they demonstrate a willingness to apply their position evenly and equally, I’d never be able to engage them at all (which would probably be best for all involved).  We know that the left wingers who ask that we respect the office have a tendency to define the phrase differently depending on its occupant. If the man in the office is Obama, ‘respect’ means ‘total and absolute acceptance of everything done and said by anyone in the Executive Branch.’ Whereas, when the man in the office is a Republican, ‘respect’ means ‘call him a Hitler monkey and burn him in effigy while chanting voodoo curses against him and his progeny.’

The contrast between the two might be nuanced, but you can detect it if you look closely.

In any case, Republican or Democrat, Hitler or Secular Messiah, is there anything to be said for this ‘respect the office’ notion?

I don’t think so, but then, the whole concept confuses me. Honestly, I don’t even know what ‘respecting the office’ means in the context of our constitutional republic, where our politicians are supposed to be public servants, and where they don’t do anything to earn the office other than spend a lot of money on political ads.

I know what it means to honor and respect your parents just because they’re your parents. I know what it means for a child to respect his teacher just because she’s his teacher. I know, and have written about, what it means for a woman to respect her husband because he is her husband, and a man to respect his wife because she is his wife. But, as far as I can tell, the responsibility to respect the ‘office’ of a politician falls squarely on the shoulders of the politician who holds it. And, even in that case, his job isn’t to respect the office, so much as to live up to the expectations of the voters who awarded him the position — and, far more important than the feelings of the voters, to uphold the law.

The ‘office’ is, after all, just an office. It isn’t some detached entity that exists on its own somewhere in the dimensions of time and space, and will live on even without being physically occupied.

The office is also not a divine birthright. This is not a monarchy. They are not royalty. Why should I respect the ‘office of the presidency’ anymore than I should respect the office of a plumber or a secretary? If a plumber or a secretary lied all the time, I’d call them a liar.

It’s true that we shouldn’t hurl racial slurs and dishonest ad hominem insults at the president — regardless of who he is — but that isn’t because of his office. That’s just because he’s a person, and we shouldn’t do that to any person. It’s not the dignity of any office that we have a responsibility to uphold, but the dignity of a human being.

Coincidentally, the dignity of the human being is the precise sort of dignity that this president desecrates when he promotes infanticide and wishes ‘God’s blessings’ on a room full of wealthy abortionists, or when he brutally murders hundreds of women and children via drone attacks and then brags that he’s “really good at killing people,” or when he arms terrorists and drug cartels without a thought as to the innocent lives that will be lost as a result.

It’s a sad state of affairs, indeed. We’ve reached a point where a wide swath of the country finds itself more concerned with respect for a political office than for life itself.

Of course, I’m sure there are some people who vehemently disagree with Obama, yet would sing in the ‘respect the office’ choir, and would consistently apply the principle to all presidents, regardless of affiliation. I respect that. I actually respect it. I  respect it because I honor it, and I honor it because it is a conviction born of integrity and pure intention. A politician’s job, on the other hand, is born of mere necessity, and I feel indifference towards it, until I’m given a reason to feel disgust or admiration (usually it’s the former, obviously).

These people aren’t necessarily in the Statist horde I mentioned above, but they’ve unwittingly aligned themselves with that mob, and so I’d urge them to reconsider.

The Bible tells us to submit to governing authority, and that such authority comes from God (Romans 13). But nobody in America thinks that this requires us to lie before the Powers that Be like dogs, and follow them blindly into our own slavery. If they did interpret that passage in that way, I imagine they’d already have returned to the British Motherland and said ‘sorry, my bad,’ over that whole unfortunate Revolution misunderstanding.

Besides, here in America, the governing authority is the Constitution. The Constitution — a set of laws, rooted in respect for life and liberty, planted in the soil of Natural Law and watered, as Jefferson said, with the blood of tyrants. The Constitution is our authority. The Constitution is the law. In this nation, the law does not rest with one man, or any collection of men.

In this nation, we prostrate ourselves to no one, other than the Lord.

Let our president bow to royalty if he so desires, but, as free people, that is not our warrant.

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Respecting the office, when considered by someone other than a progressive hypocrite, seems well and fine. But I’m afraid that, in application, it makes it difficult for us to hold for our politicians that one feeling that the preservation of Liberty surely requires: skepticism.

Here in the United States, where the power allegedly resides with the people, the one thing that a political office automatically earns from its constituents is a healthy apprehension. The one thing, above everything, that we MUST do with political authority is question it. On this point, you really can’t have your American Pie and eat it too. It’s one or the other. Either our duty as watchful citizens is to doubt our politicians and their offices, or it is to respect them. One protects liberty, the other destroys it.

For a man who respects his wife, or a woman who respects her husband, or a child who respects his mother, it is understood that their apprehensions should be tamed by their respect for the other — respect that isn’t earned, but owed. The loving husband and the dutiful child give their wives and their parents, respectively, the benefit of the doubt.

A citizen, on the other hand, unless he or she is a total fool, knows that politicians should be given the benefit of the doubt about as often as it’s given to sex offenders or kleptomaniacs (especially considering the fact that our presidents have sometimes fallen under all three categories, *cough* Bill Clinton).

There’s a logistical problem with respecting the office, too. Namely, the Office of the Presidency as prescribed in the constitution is one thing, while the Office of the Presidency as currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is quite another. If I was at all inclined to respect the office, I could only consider respecting the former, as the former has Constitutional authority, and the Constitution is the law, and a just and righteous law is the Providence of God. But I run into the technical difficult that the former no longer exists, and hasn’t, arguably, since the conclusion of the Civil War.

The Office of the Presidency now possesses powers that stretch far beyond anything ever lawfully granted it, and it wields an authority that has accumulated over the decades through the illegal conquests of power hungry politicians.

When you respect the Office of the Presidency, you are either respecting the president himself, or you’re respecting this bloated perversion of a political station, one that has been used to murder and oppress.

Respect? If anything, the office should be hated. Hated until some respectable person is elected by respectable voters to convert the monstrosity back to the limited, yet important, post that our Founders established.

For now, don’t worry about respecting any office.

If you have to worry about something, worry about the federal agents in Nevada surrounding a cattle ranch and arresting protestors because his cows supposedly inconvenienced a few endangered turtles.

Worry about the bureaucrats who kidnapped a child in Massachusetts because her parents disagreed with a psychiatric diagnosis.

Worry about the IRS official who targeted Obama’s political opponents, or the Attorney General who perjured himself in front of Congress.

Worry about our liberties. Respect that. Respect our liberty. The politicians don’t need your respect, and they haven’t earned it.

****

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Good news, fellas! Only women are required to be modest, apparently.

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I feel scandalized.

I was scrolling my Facebook newsfeed (there’s my first mistake) and suddenly my eyes were viciously assaulted by immodest and improper images that had been posted by someone clearly begging for attention; some shameless floozy selfishly attempting to enflame lust and covetousness in the heart of the unsuspecting viewer.

I should mention that the person in the images was a man, and he was, mercifully, fully clothed.

In fact, the focus of the photo wasn’t even a person at all. My Facebook ‘friend’ had posted a picture of his expensive new boat. I know that it was expensive, because he alluded to the steep price in the caption, saying that he has the ‘best wife in the world’ because she ‘actually let [him] buy this.’

You see what he did there (besides insinuating that the value of his spouse depends on her cooperation with his desire to purchase pricey recreational equipment)? Lest you accuse him of being uncouth, he cloaked his boast in a compliment of his ‘best wife,’ which means he actually disguised a brag by wrapping it in another brag. That’s kind of like hiding the shame of eating a Cinnabon by lathering it in a gallon of butter.

Impressive.

And immodest — intended to present a one dimensional image of success and luxury, thus, if all goes according to plan, send everyone else plunging into a salty stew of envy and resentment.

Immodest because it calls attention to him, while saying nothing of value about him as a person, a unique entity of spirit and flesh. It turns him into an object — an object of jealousy.

Immodest because it is arrogant and dishonest.

I bring this up because — and I’m not sure why this is the case, maybe it’s the warming temperatures — I’ve received several emails in the last few weeks on the subject of modesty. Most of them boil down to a request that I share my opinion on the topic.

Like this one from James:

I’ve been reading your blog now for a while and have greatly enjoyed all of it… I was wondering if you could say something about societies abolition of modesty, both in the church and in more secular environments. It seems that nearly all churches (even the Catholic Church) have neglected the topic of modesty for fear of losing touch with popular opinion and coming across as “judgmental”… Most churches and pastors don’t so much as mention the topic – even when an attractive 18 year old walks into church wearing yoga pants and a deep cut V-neck.

And this one from Beth:

Matt, can you write something about modesty? I get so tiret of these girls walking around showing everything off and then they act up SO surprised when they get treated like sh*t by men. Maybe if they had more respect for themselves… When I grew up, girls were taught to be modest and protect their purity. What’s your opinion? Modest is hottest I think.

And this from Laura:

Matt, help! I just started a huge war on my Facebook page about modesty, simply because I said that I was having trouble finding a modest bathing suit for my daughter. You wouldn’t want to chime in on this subject would you? I’ve always been taught that modest is hottest…

And this from Matt (a different Matt):

I just read your post from a while ago about porn. I agree with it but I think you’ve left something out. Women need to help men in their struggles with lust by attempting to dress modestly. Everyone is afraid to say that but it’s true. In our society it’s like we’ve completely given up on modesty…

I have to confess, though I am an opinionated blowhard in most respects, the whole idea of having an opinion about modesty seems a bit odd. Modesty is a virtue, like courage or integrity. Or rather, modesty is an integral dimension of Greek and Christian philosophy’s Cardinal Virtue of temperance, otherwise known as restraint. So what opinion can you really have of it, other than, ‘yes, I am in favor’?

OK, I’m being naïve, I realize. Nowadays, virtues have to be defended at a conceptual level. The world has always had unvirtuous men and women, but rarely has it been populated by so many people who deny the fundamental and intrinsic importance of virtue itself.

Modesty is good, and good things are always hard to do, so weaklings (like yours truly) have always struggled to do them. But now — thanks in large part to the tireless work of academia, pop culture, mass media, liberal feminists, the legions of Hell (excuse my redundancy) — the weak have taken control and flipped the universe upside down, claiming that they ought not do those good things, because the good things aren’t so good at all. There is no good, they say, or if there is a good, it’s the opposite of whatever our grandparents and every generation that’s existed anywhere on the planet before them would have identified as good.

This is all a long way of saying that, yes, maybe it’s necessary to expand on the reasons why, yes, I am in favor of modesty, and, yes, I think women should dress modestly, but, no, I don’t think the whole burden of modesty should be laid at the feet of womankind.

Modesty, I’m aware, is a hot topic in both Christian and feminist circles.

Side note: Here’s the part where I’m breathlessly told that it’s possible to be both a Christian and a feminist, and here’s the part where I insist that any Christian who thinks Christianity needs to be baptized in the waters of feminism doesn’t understand Christianity or feminism. Whatever redemptive qualities exist in some streams of feminism have already existed in perfect form in Christianity for the past two millennia, without all the arguably problematic teachings about the ethical importance of murdering babies and voting for Barbara Mikulski.

Unfortunately, when a topic is ‘hot’ we know that means lots of  points are made by lots of people, and most of the points miss the point.  Nearly everything I’ve read about modesty — for or against — concentrate solely and exclusively on a woman’s responsibility to be modest in how she dresses, or else her right to be free from the suffocating oppression of longer skirts and one-piece bathing suits.

Somehow, men are left out of the conversation, much to our delight. We speak as though modesty were a feminine virtue, when in fact, all virtues are universal. The discussion about a woman’s outfit only touches on one solitary aspect of modesty. It doesn’t define the issue. In fact, it doesn’t even help us in our quest to get to the definition, if all we do is argue about V-necks and bathing suits. If I were to attempt a definition of modesty based on the way in which we speak of it, I would have to assume that it means: “A particular dress code for women. The end.”

See, women aren’t the only ones called to be modest, for the same reason that firefighters aren’t the only ones called to be courageous. A certain sort of courage might be especially required of firefighters, and a certain sort of modesty might be especially required of women, but we’re all destined for a fire of a different kind if we think those two virtues are solely contained within those two contexts.

If you can bear it, I’m going to get all Catholic-y on you for a moment.

The Catechism has this to say about modesty:

Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden… It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements… Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

I’m not sure how to sufficiently summarize that, but I know how it shouldn’t be summarized:

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Modest is hottest might work as a bumper sticker, because it rhymes and it’s three words long, but it makes for a woefully abysmal defense of modesty. The point of modesty isn’t to better achieve the intended results of immodesty. Modesty isn’t virtuous because it’s ‘hot,’ it’s virtuous because it’s concerned with something far greater than being hot.

Modesty protects the “dignity and solidarity” of a person, and inspires a “way of life” which allows him or her to “resist the allurement of fashion” and the pressures of “prevailing ideologies.” Modesty “respects the human person.”

So why should a woman dress modestly? Because it’ll help her maintain a shallow image of “hotness” to every stranger she passes by on the street? No, if that is her goal than she is being immodest, whether she’s dressed in a burka or her birthday suit. The ‘modest is hottest’ mantra seems to encourage not modesty, but a more modest immodesty.

We are modest for the sake of our dignity, so as to avoid making of ourselves a shell, a construction, a label, a category; a phantom of someone else’s desires. We are modest because the motivation behind immodesty will leave us vulnerable to shifting trends and popular ideologies. Every one of these modern trends and ideologies are designed to help us project a falsehood, leaving our true essence buried under the noise and commotion of it all. The immodest person, you might say, turns themselves into a marketing strategy.

Skimpy clothes are just one way to project that falsehood and market the lie; just one way to undermine our dignity; just one way to subjugate ourselves to changing trends and hollow fashions. There are many other ways. My friend with the boat demonstrated one of them. When I drove by a big house in a nice neighborhood the other day, and thought about my smaller house, and felt a ping of envy for the family in the bigger one, and chose to bask in that envy for a few moments, I conveniently demonstrated still another way to be immodest.

If I were to go to the store and purchase a shirt with a giant brand name plastered across the front of it, I would be immodest — attempting to call attention in a way that undermines my human dignity, while objectifying myself; in this case, I’d have made myself into an object like a billboard or a catalogue for the company whose name I’ve paid to advertise.

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Really, skimpy or not skimpy, most of the clothing on the rack nowadays could be considered immodest. Much of it is ridiculous and flashy, cleverly marketed to consumers who wish to conform to whatever fabricated fabric trends the fashion industry has concocted this week.

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Meanwhile, men who stare at women are guilty of immodesty, regardless of what the woman is wearing. It’s true that she really should take into account the struggles and weaknesses of those around her, and try humbly to avoid being a stumbling block. But I think this “stumbling block” rationale sometimes falls flat because it seems as though men aren’t expected to take any initiative to avoid stumbling in the first place, block or no block. We are painted as helpless victims of our own passions; pathetic little boys who can’t be expected to avert our eyes and control our thoughts.

Besides, millions of American men have cluttered their minds with so much pornography, disordering their sexual passions so profoundly, that there’s no telling what will set them off. This is not the fault of women, nor can women be expected to conform their habits to combat whatever fetish the man in their midst might spend his downtime Googling. Part of the problem (and there are many problems) with pornography, is that it drives a wedge between intimacy and sex, reducing the man to a passive consumer, a John, and the woman to a collection of body parts. The will of sex, the love, the power of it — all flushed down the drain, leaving all parties concerned with only some flat and flimsy cartoonish imitation of what was once romantic and erotic, procreative and redemptive.

I’m not sure that women can combat this phenomenon by minding their necklines, but they should nonetheless concern themselves with elevating those around them, rather than encouraging their Brothers in Christ to sin.

What I’m trying to do is present a slightly more complex vision of modesty. One that puts the onus on all people — male and female alike — and extends beyond legalistic bickering about precisely how many centimeters of skin one should leave uncovered. Modesty is much bigger than a dress code, and as far as dress codes go, it is true that it changes depending on the culture and the occasion.

The hazard of an overly legalistic view of modesty is that it’s forced to ignore context entirely. Whatever your feelings on bathing suits (I can tell you for sure that we will not be buying bikinis for our daughter), we all agree that you’ll show more skin at the beach than at the grocery store or the DMV. Nudity is appropriate in an anatomy textbook, but would be out of place and inappropriate in a math textbook. We all wear less in the summer than in the winter. There’s a difference between the nudity you might see on the National Geographic channel and the kind of nudity you might see on Cinemax at 2AM.

Context, culture, occasion, motivation. All of these things, quite reasonably, govern our clothing choices. Modesty should also govern our clothing, but we don’t know how to submit our wardrobes to the demands of modesty until we understand how to submit our entire beings to the demands of modesty.

So, do I think women should dress modestly? Yes, but if we’re assigning virtues exclusively to one gender, why don’t we give the girls honesty, prudence, and fortitude, too? There, now that women have covered all the virtues, us guys can have some fun with the vices.

Party time, fellas.

Or else, if that plan seems problematic, we can all just share the virtuous burden, and work on being better people — modest people — no matter what we’re wearing.

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Thank God for the gender wage gap

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It’s Equal Pay Day, everyone!

As per tradition, progressives mark the occasion by using fabricated numbers to drive a destructive narrative of division and faux-victimhood.

In other words, Equal Pay Day is just like any other day, except with more hashtags.

During the State of the Union, Obama referred to the ‘wage gap’ as a ‘workplace policy that belongs in a Mad Men episode.’ Dutifully, his cattle constituents have latched onto the State-approved talking point and run with it:

This afternoon, Obama again addressed the phantom wage gap by signing another executive order, and delivering a few pandering remarks on a stage strategically decorated with mutli-cultural female props.

Despite the fact that the White House has admitted that the “women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns” rhetoric is misleading and false, Obama chose to regurgitate it anyway:

“Now, here’s the challenge:  Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns; for African American women, Latinas, it’s even less.  And in 2014, that’s an embarrassment.  It is wrong.”

As many have pointed out, the hypocrisy here is staggering. In Obama’s own staff, women make substantially less than men. Even in the Senate, the Democrat leaders have all selected men as their top aides.

Imagine the arrogance of a man who gallops in front of cameras, pledging to rescue all of womanhood from the oppressive grasp of the national wage gap, while electing to maintain those disparities for the females in his immediate employ.

Wow. Next thing you know, the dude will be sermonizing about the evils of guns while surrounded by armed men, or preaching about the dastardly One Percent while hoarding millions of dollars and refusing to donate his entire presidential salary to the poor.

Ah, but surely even this president couldn’t be that unwilling to live by the standards he wishes to impose upon the rest of us.

So I’d like to cut Obama some slack (he’s earned it!) and instead address the two primary suppositions behind the ‘wage gap’ rhetoric.

First, that anything useful can be gleaned from the vague statement that ‘women earn less than men,’ and second, that the actual existence of a wage gap automatically proves discrimination.

Let’s start with the first thing first:

Do women make ’77 cents for every dollar men earn’? Sure, according to some figures. But that statistic is about as meaningful as saying, ‘women give birth to one hundred percent of the babies’ or that they ‘spend a billion dollars more each year at the gynecologist.’ All of these things  are probably true, but if you cite them in an effort to prove discrimination, you are being ridiculous.

You’re also lying.

The ’77 cents’ figure lies by omission.

Purposefully left out of the equation are relevant details like: tenure, job title, hours worked, region, experience, skill level, industry, occupation, safety risks, education level and difficulty. The figure simply compares all women and all men who work over 35 hours in any job, in any part of the country, for any period of time, at any experience level, however poorly or however competently.

A receptionist working 38 hours a week at your local dentist’s office is evenly stacked up against a stock broker or a coal miner. The salary of a male neurosurgeon is compared to a female manicurist. A male electrician is contrasted against a Denny’s waitress.

In all cases, the disparity is shoved under the ‘wage gap’ blanket, and used to paint a picture of sexism and paternalistic oppression.

Men are more likely to work dangerous, physically demanding, high stress jobs. They’re more likely to work weekends and holidays. They’re more likely to be willing to relocate. They’re more likely to pursue jobs in higher paying fields.

Loggers and steel workers are paid well, but the job requires the sort of brute force that most women don’t possess. A job on an offshore oil rig will pay handsomely because of the risks, the physical nature of the work, and the demands it places on your time. You will find more men taking these positions than women, but are we ready to chalk that up to ‘discrimination’?

Women business owners earn 50 percent less than men business owners. Does this mean women business owners are discriminating against themselves? Does it mean that customers often refuse to patronize a certain establishment if they find out it’s owned by a woman?

Probably not.

So, 77 cents on the dollar? Ok, and…? What does that prove?

This is the kind of math only done by politicians and propagandists. If you need workable and realistic numbers — statistics that tell you something important or relevant or even slightly functional — you would, obviously, control for factors that threaten to wildly skew your data, disproportionately impact the equation, and fog your ultimate conclusion.

Imagine this hypothetical. A crazy guy puts a gun to your head:

Guy with gun: Do some research and come back with one solid figure that will give me the clearest insight into gender discrimination in the workplace, or I’ll kill you!

You: Ok, here! I’ve got it! Women earn 77 percent of what men earn!

Guy with gun: Hmmm, that is compelling. Did you control for hours worked?

You: No.

Guy with gun: Type of job?

You: No.

Guy with gun: Experience level?

You: No.

Guy with gun: Tenure?

You: No.

Guy with gun: Geographic region? Risk? Skill level? Overtime? Holidays?

You: Well, no. And no. And no. And no. And no.

Guy with gun: So this is a number that merely reflects the fact that, broadly speaking, women and men work different hours, in different fields, with different skills, with different educational backgrounds, for different periods of time, in different parts of the country, in different positions, assuming different degrees of risk?

You: Yes.

Guy with gun: [BLAM]

See how that hypothetical ended? You died.

But don’t worry, you wouldn’t die in real life, because in real life you wouldn’t use that 77 percent figure if you felt any incentive to be honest and forthright. This is a number that works only for stump speeches and Facebook debates. It clouds the issue, and that is its precise purpose.

Now, all of this said, what if you narrow the field down a bit and still find a gap?

You’ve probably seen this study bandied about. According to research published last year, female doctors make about 50 grand less annually than male doctors.

Ah, a smoking gun of sexism and misogyny. Discrimination, at last! What else could it be?

Well, it could be, for one thing, the fact that women gravitate towards pediatrics while men are more likely to be surgeons and radiologists. Men go for the higher paying specialties, and women tend to become family care doctors.

Surgeons make more than pediatricians. Women are more likely to be pediatricians. Hence, women are more likely to make less money in the medical field. Discrimination?

No, it’s called choice.

Indeed, no matter where you look, you probably won’t find demonstrable and provable sexism, but you will find women making choices that lead to more time at home, more time working with children, and lower wages.

And thank God for that.

The Department of Labor — hardly a conservative think tank — published its own report on the wage gap. They admit that “economic research has identified numerous factors that contribute to the observed difference between wages paid to women and wages paid to men, commonly called the gender wage gap. Many relate to differences in the choices and behavior of women and men in balancing their work, personal, and family lives. These factors include, most notably, the occupations and industries in which they work, and their human capital development, work experience, career interruptions, and motherhood.” Read the full report here.

No matter what the progressive radicals say, many women still put family above fortune. Their nurturing instincts still often drive them towards caring for kids — whether their own or someone else’s.

And thank God for that.

Despite the urgings of these consumerist drones who place ‘professional success’ and ‘workplace advancement’ above all things, many people still decide to strive for something deeper.

And thank God for that.

The gender wage gap exists, in large part, because women are still more likely to take time off when they have kids, and if they do return to the workforce, they’re more likely to make professional choices that prioritize their children over their careers.

And thank God for that.

When you lament the ‘wage gap’ you are lamenting the fact that women like to be with their families, and they frequently choose jobs that allow them to care for children. You might see this as a travesty of justice, but I see it as something absolutely healthy, empowering, and wonderful.

If you really want to come up with a statistic that gives insight into sexism, you’d need to look at people with the same tenure and job title, working the same hours, in the same region, with the same experience, with the same skill level, in the same industry, in the same occupation, with the safety risks, with the same education and competency level and doing a task with the same difficulty, but then you’d also need to ensure that they have the same professional ambitions, made the same choices, have the same priorities and proclivities and personal inclinations, and are a part of the same sort of family dynamic.

Then, once you’ve somehow numerically quantified all of that, you merely have to come up with the ability to peer into an employer’s soul and determine if discrimination and sexism are behind the pay differences between all of these individuals. But this would require you to first disprove other biases. You’d have to rule out a prejudice based on age, or personality, or body odor, or any multitude of other human characteristics that might cause another human to view them in a positive or negative light.

There. Simple enough.

Come back when you’ve done all the calculations.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to see the wage gap as an indication that men and women are different, make different choices, and have different goals and ambitions that manifest themselves in different ways, and are achieved through different means.

And thank God for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 403 Comments

Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant

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There is no shortage of heresies these days.

If you want to adopt some blasphemous, perverted, fun house mirror reflection of Christianity, you will find a veritable buffet of options. You can sift through all the variants and build your own little pet version of the Faith. It’s Ice Cream Social Christianity: make your own sundae! (Or Sunday, as it were.)

And, of all the heretical choices, probably the most common — and possibly the most damaging — is what I’ve come to call the Nice Doctrine.

The propagators of the Nice Doctrine can be seen and heard from anytime any Christian takes any bold stance on any cultural issue, or uses harsh language of any kind, or condemns any sinful act, or fights against evil with any force or conviction at all. As soon as he or she stands and says ‘This is wrong, and I will not compromise,’ the heretics swoop in with their trusty mantras.

They insist that Jesus was a nice man, and that He never would have done anything to upset people. They say that He came down from Heaven to preach tolerance and acceptance, and He wouldn’t have used words that might lead to hurt feelings. They confidently sermonize about a meek and mild Messiah who was born into this Earthly realm on a mission to spark a constructive dialogue.

The believers in Nice Jesus are usually ignorant of Scripture, but they do know that He was ‘friends with prostitutes,’ and once said something about how, like, we shouldn’t get too ticked off about stuff, or whatever. In their minds, he’s essentially a supernatural Cheech Marin.

Read the comments under my previous post about gay rights militants, and you’ll see this heresy illustrated.

That post prompted an especially noteworthy email from someone concerned that I’m not being ‘Christlike,’ because I ‘call people names.’ He said, in part:

“You aren’t spreading Christianity when you talk like that. The whole message of Jesus was that we should be nice to people because we want them to be nice to us. That’s how we can all be happy. Period. It’s that simple.”

Be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you, and we’ll all be happy. This is the ‘whole message’ of Christianity?

Really?

Jesus Christ preached a Truth no deeper or more complex than a slogan on a poster in a Kindergarten classroom?

Really?

A provocative claim, to say the least. I decided to investigate the matter, and sure enough, I found this excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount:

“We’re best friends like friends should be. With a great big hug, and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too?”

Actually, wait, sorry, that’s from the original Barney theme song.

God help us. We’ve turned the Son of God into a purple dinosaur puppet.

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There’s no way to be certain, but most theologians believe that, despite popular perception, Christ looked nothing like this.

I don’t recognize this Jesus.

This moderate. This pacifist. This nice guy.

He’s not the Jesus I read about in the Bible. I read of a strong, manly, stern, and bold Savior. Compassionate, yes. Forgiving, of course. Loving, always loving. But not particularly nice.

He condemned. He denounced. He caused trouble. He disrupted the established order.

On one occasion — or at least one recorded occasion — He used violence. This Jesus saw the money changers in the temple and how did He respond? He wasn’t polite about it. I’d even say He was downright intolerant. He fashioned a whip (this is what the lawyers would call ‘premeditation’) and physically drove the merchants away. He turned over tables and shouted. He caused a scene. [John 2:15]

Assault with a deadly weapon. Vandalism. Disturbing the peace. Worse still, intolerance.

In two words: not nice.

Not nice at all.

Can you imagine how some moderate, pious, ‘nice’ Christians of today would react to that spectacle in the Temple? Can you envision the proponents of the Nice Doctrine, with their wagging fingers and their passive aggressive sighs? I’m sure they’d send Jesus a patronizing email, perhaps leave a disapproving comment under the news article about the incident, reminding Jesus that Jesus would never do what Jesus just did.

Personally, I’ve studied the New Testament and found not a single instance of Christ calling for a ‘dialogue’ with evil or seeking the middle ground on an issue. I see an absolutist, unafraid of confrontation. I see a man who did not waver or give credence to the other side. I see someone who never once avoided a dispute by saying that He’ll just ‘agree to disagree.’

I see a Christ who calls the Scribes and Pharisees snakes and vipers. He labels them murderers and blind guides, and ridicules them publicly [Matthew 23:33]. He undermines their authority. He insults them. He castigates them. He’s not very nice to them.

Jesus rebukes and condemns. In Matthew 18, He utilizes morbid and violent imagery, saying that it would be better to drown in the sea with a stone around your neck than to harm a child. Had our modern politicians been around two thousand years ago, I’m sure they’d go on the cable news shows and shake their heads and insist that there’s ‘no place for that kind of language.’

No place for the language of God.

Jesus deliberately did and said things that He knew would upset people. He stirred up division and controversy. He provoked. He didn’t have to break from established customs, but He did. He didn’t have to heal that man’s hand on the Sabbath, knowing how it would disturb others and cause them immense irritation, but He did, and He did so with ‘anger’ [Mark 3:5]. He could have gone with the flow a little bit. He could have chilled out and let bygones be bygones, but He didn’t. He could have been diplomatic, but He wasn’t.

He could have told everyone to relax, but instead He made them uncomfortable. He could have put them at ease, but He chose to put them on edge.

He convinced the mob not to stone the adulterer [John 8], and you’ll notice that He then turned to her and told her to stop sinning. Indeed, never once did He encounter sin and corruption and say: “Hey, do your thang, homies. Just have fun. YOLO!”

The followers of Nice Jesus love to quote the ‘throw the first stone’ verse — and for good reason, it’s a beautiful and compelling story — but you rarely hear mention of the exchange that occurs just a few sentences later, in that very same chapter. In John 8:44, Jesus rebukes unbelieving Jews and calls them ‘sons of the Devil.’

Wow.

That wasn’t nice, Jesus.

Didn’t anyone ever tell you that you can catch more flies with honey, Jesus?

Of course, you’d catch even more flies with a mound of garbage, so maybe ‘catching flies’ isn’t the point.

While we’re often reminded that Jesus said, ‘live by the sword, die by the sword,’ we seem to ignore his other sword references. Like when he told his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy a sword [Luke 22], or when He said that He ‘didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword’ [Matthew 10].

Now, It’s true that He is God and we are not. Jesus can say whatever He wants to say. But we are called to be like Christ, which begs the question: what is Christ like?

Well, He is, among other things, uncompromising. He is intolerant of evil. He is disruptive. He is sometimes harsh. He is sometimes impolite. He is sometimes angry.

He is always loving.

Christ was not and is not a cosmic guidance counselor, and He is not mankind’s best friend, nor did He call us to be. He made dogs for that role — our destiny is more substantial, and our path to it is far more challenging and dangerous.

And nice?

Where does nice factor into this?

Nice: affable, peachy, swell.

Nice has nothing to do with Christianity. I’ve got nothing against nice — nice is nice — but even serial killers can be nice to people. They generally are exceptionally affable, except when they’re murdering. That means they’re nice to, like, 97 or 98 percent of everyone they meet.

I guess they’re following Christ almost all of the time, right?

And tolerance?

Tolerance is easy. Any coward can learn to tolerate something. Tolerance is inaction; intolerance is action. We are called to refuse to tolerate evil. We are called to get angry at it and actively work to destroy it.

Who’d have guess it — anger is far more godly than tolerance ever could be.

Obviously I’m not suggesting that anger is automatically, or even usually, justified. Christ exhibited righteous anger; righteous anger is the sort of anger that naturally fills our soul when we confront the depths of depravity and sin. It is wrong to seethe with rage because someone cut us off in traffic or gossips about us behind our back, but it is also wrong to feel no anger when babies are murdered and the institution of the family is undermined and attacked.

Anger is good when it is directed at things that offend not us, but God. Just as Christ’s intolerance, like the intolerance we’re commanded to have, stems from a desire to save souls and defend Truth.

Even when we have righteous anger, we do not have carte blanche to act on it in anyway we please. But, according to the Bible, there are times to use strong language, there are times to cause a scene, there are times to hurt people’s feelings, and there are times when we might need to use physical force.

Jesus told us to turn the other cheek when we are personally attacked; He never told us to turn our backs entirely and let lies spread and evil grow.

So, enough with the niceties.

Christians in this country sound too similar to the the Golden Girls song, and not enough like the Battle Hymn of the Republic. There’s too much ‘thank you for being a friend,’ and not enough ‘lightening from His terrible swift sword.’

We’re all hugging and singing Kumbaya, when we should be marching and shouting Hallelujah.

We’re nice Christians with our nice Jesus, and we are trampled on without protest.

Enough, already.

I think it’s time that Christianity regain its fighting spirit; the spirit of Christ.

I think it’s time we ask that question: ‘What would Jesus do?’

And I think it’s time we answer it truthfully: Jesus would flip tables and yell.

Maybe we ought to follow suit.

**********

Find me on Facebook.

And Twitter.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1,688 Comments

Hey gay rights militants: your fascism is showing

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Dear gay rights militants, dear progressive tyrants, dear liberal fascists, dear haters of free speech, dear crusaders for ideological conformity, dear left wing bullies:

You will lose.

I know you’ve got legions of sycophants kowtowing to you these days, and the rest you’ve set out to destroy — but you will lose.

So, you’ve tracked another dissident and skinned him alive. You’ve made an example of Brendan Eich, and now you dance joyously around his disemboweled carcass. You have his head on a spike, and you consider this a conquest in your eternal crusade to eradicate diversity and punish differing opinions. You launched your millionth campaign of intimidation, and now another good man has been dragged through the mud, to the sounds of taunting and jeering and death threats.

You found out that the CEO of Mozilla gave a few dollars to support a pro-traditional marriage ballot measure several years ago, and you proceeded to publicly tar and feather him until he was forced to ‘resign’ in disgrace.

You again chose to forgo debate, in favor of coercion and bullying.

You again attempted to end the ‘gay rights’ argument by defrocking your opponent.

Hey, good for you.

Enjoy the spoils of your cowardice.

It won’t last.

You will still lose.

Don’t you people read? Haven’t you learned anything from history? ‘Advancements’ earned through tyranny never endure. You can only win a debate by suffocating your opposition for so long. Your strategy is doomed for failure, because it has always failed.

In the name of ‘fighting for the freedom to love,’ you’ve utilized hate. For the sake of ‘tolerance,’ you’ve wielded bigotry. In order to push ‘diversity,’ you’ve been dogmatic.

You are everything you accuse your opponents of being, and you stand for all the evil things that you claim they champion.

You are exposed. We see you for what you are: a force of destruction and division.

You showed your hand, and now you’ll lose the game.

It’s inevitable.

Marriage has, had, and always will have, by definition, a certain character and purpose; a character and purpose centered around, above all things, the family. Marriage is the foundation through which a thriving and lasting civilization sees to the propagation of itself. Human beings can only reproduce by means of ‘heterosexuality,’ and this reality sets the ‘heterosexual’ union apart. Marriage is meant to be the context in which this reproduction occurs.

Marriage is many things, but it is also this. And ‘this’ can never be removed from it, no matter the direction of the political winds, or the motion of the shifting sands of public opinion.

Marriage and the family are dimensions of the same whole. They cannot be detached from one another. They, as a whole, as an institution, can only be weakened — not erased or redefined. And so the campaign to protect and strengthen the institution was and is designed to do just that. It was never about ‘legislating love’ or imposing intolerance or ‘discriminating against gay people,’ or any other silly bumper sticker platitude.

You want to be free to love? You are. You always have been.

Heterosexuals don’t claim to monopolize love; only reproduction. Me, I love in many ways and in many directions. I love my wife, yes, and I also love my parents, and my country, and football, and hamburgers. These are all different kinds and degrees of love, yet still love.

But, alas, only one of these loves can (or should) result in the creation of a biological family. Thus, this love carries with it a certain distinction and a certain responsibility.

Bigotry? There is nothing bigoted about it. This is mere science. You see, bigotry only enters into the conversation when you try to destroy a man’s life just for participating in the conversation.

You are the agents of bigotry, my friends. You. You are what you say we are.

I don’t know much about Brendan Eich, and neither do you. I know that he is a revolutionary mind in his field and he became the CEO of Mozilla because of his professional merits. That’s all the information I would have ever seen as relevant or important. But none of that matters to you. You decided to cast all of that aside because you took a peek at the names of Prop 8 donors — names that were only publicized in order to punish and shame those who supported the measure — and determined that everyone listed must be punished.

You fancy yourselves the ideological descendants of civil rights pioneers, but these tactics put you in the same vein as book burners and Puritan witch hunters. When your story is ultimately told, it’ll read more like The Crucible than the Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

And that’s why you’ll lose.

You might have fooled society forever if you’d just kept singing about love and kindness, and never started bombarding Christians with your bitter hate and hostility. You might have gained some lasting ground if you hoisted your banner of free love, and never used it to diminish free speech.

But the proverbial cat is out of the bag. You’ve been made.

Because of your own behavior, when people like myself tell the world about the vicious death wishes and vulgar hate mail we receive from your kind on a DAILY basis, everyone will believe us. It’s no secret anymore. Without question and without exaggeration, the ‘gay rights movement’ is the angriest, most ruthless, most controlling, most intolerant of all the ideological enterprises in the country. Now, everyone knows it.

So you’ll lose. People are starting to see that you are the pigs on this Animal Farm, and the equality of which you preach is a very unequal equality indeed.

Let other conservatives write the ‘woe is me’ posts. In truth, woe is you. One way or another.

You’ll lose. You’ll lose for these reasons, and this:

With each passing day, it gets harder and harder for you to control the conversation.

Eich’s greatest contribution to combating gay rights militants didn’t come in the form of a paltry donation to Prop 8 — it came through his work developing the medium that makes censorship nearly impossible. I’m not saying that was his motivation, but it’s the result. You can boycott Reality TV shows and fast food restaurants all you want, but you can’t shutdown the internet.

For all its downside, the internet still gives voice to people who would be otherwise silenced by oppressors like yourselves. Take yours truly, for example. I’m just one dude — insignificant and unimportant — but there are many like me. I’m not employed by any major corporation. I’m not employed at all, in fact. You can’t get me fired; I work for myself.

You can’t muzzle me, or anyone else out here in the wild wilderness of cyberspace. You can keep sending us mean emails and telling us to kill ourselves (thanks for the helpful suggestion!), but that only emboldens us.

In the meantime, in honor of Mozilla and the gay rights fascists, I’ve talked with my wife and we’ve decided to donate a portion of our monthly ad revenue to the fight to protect the sanctity of life and marriage. So thank you for reading this — you are directly contributing to the ‘anti-gay rights’ cause!

See, you can’t win.

Victimize one guy and you simply succeed in creating a thousand others who are sufficiently fed up with your garbage.

You still lose.

The truth prevails.

Always.

Regards,

Matt Walsh

Posted in Uncategorized | 1,474 Comments

‘Gun free’ military bases and dangerous psychiatric drugs: a lethal mixture

I’m sure you heard the news. Another mass shooting. Another at a military base, no less. Another at Fort Hood, specifically.

Ivan Lopez opened fire, killed three people and injured 16 before committing suicide.

Of course, the usual suspects don’t even wait for the bodies to be recovered before they start clamoring for gun control. The shooting spree ended when a woman with a gun stood up to the assailant, but that fact conveniently evades these exploitative clowns.

The rest of us continue to grapple with the age old problem of how best to confront the basic and unavoidable reality that evil people will do evil things, while these imbecilic loudmouths cowardly glaze over the complexities of the issue, in favor of infusing moral significance into an inanimate object — an inanimate object that is quite often the only thing that will stop those evil people once they’ve begun to carry out that evil thing.

Same old story. We’ve had this debate a thousand times. Tragically, we’ll have it a thousand more times.

And, because I often take it upon myself to argue with fools, I can’t help but jump into the fray here.

In light of this shooting, and every other, and even regardless of any particular incident, we all need to consider the following two points:

1) ‘Gun control’ could only hypothetically stop violence if we could figure out a way to eradicate all guns everywhere from everyone, and get rid of other forms of weaponry, and abolish the malice in the hearts of men, and effectively outlaw hate, anger, greed and mental disorders, and require all people to be peaceful, kind and trustworthy. We merely have to make all of humanity family friendly, non-violent, and G-rated.

Then again, some skeptics might raise a couple of objections to this proposal: namely, it sounds expensive. Also, it’s insane.

What we are then left contemplating is how to best equip and protect ourselves from the reality of evil, of which gun violence is only but a symptom. In fact, while we have that conversation, we should also discuss the possibility of at least, to begin with, equipping our military.

Fort Hood, in compliance with DoD regulations, does not allow most of its military personnel to carry weapons on base.

Now, I love this country, I really do. But we’ve got a brand of stupid in this nation that’s hard to find anywhere else on Earth, let alone the galaxy. Back in the Roman days, soldiers were required to be armed at all times, under penalty of death. Yet here we confiscate their personal firearms and tell them to keep their military issued weapons locked away, which leads directly to these sorts of situations.

We trust these people to fight wars, operate battleships, fly jets, drop bombs, use drones, go on Special Forces missions, but we don’t think they’re competent or psychologically stable enough to carry a weapon to work without accidentally shooting each other?

In my innocence, prior to the (first) Fort Hood rampage, I sort of assumed that the military members on a military base would be perpetually locked and loaded every day — because, you know, it’s a military base. It’s a target. It’s a place where everyone ought to be prepared for the worst, because that’s why it exists. It’s a military base. These are trained and disciplined men and women. These people are in the military. Their weapons are tools of their trade. It’s a military base, for God’s sake.

Back when I didn’t know any better, I had an adorably naive confidence that, say, a trained Marine Corps sniper, who assassinates high valued targets from a distance of 800 meters for a living, might be allowed to keep a holstered firearm on his person when he enters an American military installation. But I was wrong.

A military base in the United States should be the last place on the planet where anyone could hope to successfully carry out a mass killing. But here we are. Again.

The feds tell us we are in a permanent state of war, so why is our military in a permanent state of disarmament?

2) Guns are only part of this story — and not the most important part. At some point, as uncomfortable as it may be, we need to seriously talk about psychiatric drugs.

This guy was reportedly on a ‘cocktail’ of drugs, including antidepressants and Ambien.

Please understand, when I say we need to ‘talk about psychiatric drugs,’ I don’t mean it in the same way that many people mean it. They want to talk about strategies to best ensure that we are shoving these pills down as many throats as possible. I, on the other hand, want to guide the conversation in the opposite direction.

The FDA has attached words and phrases like hostility, impulsivity, panic attacks, agitation, homicidal ideation, mania, violent behavior, and psychotic episodes to the list of side effects for numerous psychiatric medications.

Indeed, a thorough review of FDA data confirmed that there is an association between psychotropic pills and these kinds of “adverse events.”

It’s particularly notable that the shooter was evidently taking Ambien, seeing as how Ambien has been especially linked to “violent outbursts.” It’s even been successfully used as a defense in murder trials.

I will admit: I am probably more concerned about side effects than I need to be. My wife will tell you that I’m reluctant to even take Tylenol because I’ve read the warning label on the bottle. But I have to believe that I’m not being paranoid when I question the wisdom of wantonly prescribing substances that could, and have been known to, cause homicidal thoughts and hostile behavior.

It’s one thing for a medication to manifest physical side effects. These, however, are “side effects” that invade your very mind and capture your thoughts. They warp your perceptions and cloud your soul. I don’t even understand how a drug could mess with your conscience in that way, and nobody does. No matter what anyone says, there isn’t a human being on the planet who really, fully understands how our minds can be twisted and controlled by an artificial substance. This is outside the bounds of psychiatry and neuroscience. We’ve ventured into something metaphysical and spiritual.

This is serious business, in other words. I’m not saying that nobody should ever take a psychiatric drug, but I am saying that we should tread in those waters with great caution and discipline. Yet, one in five American adults takes psychotropic meds. Is that caution and discipline? No, that’s a godforsaken smorgasbord.

I’m also saying that mass shooters are frequently on this stuff. How can we so quickly dismiss the potential role that a drug plays in a violent episode, when the drug is known to cause violent episodes?

It doesn’t make any sense.

Well, it does make sense, I guess.

I already solved the mystery of our silence: one in five of us are taking psychiatric drugs. Millions of us have our kids on these medications. Hence, we take the conversation as a personal affront against ourselves and our children, and so we change the subject and stick our heads back into the pill-bottle-littered sand.

Nothing gets better because we’re afraid to honestly inspect the problem.

It’s time to stop the madness.

Literally.

Posted in Uncategorized | 188 Comments

Mr. Obama, maybe folks are mad because you’re a liar

Dear Mr. Obama,

Congratulations on getting 7.1 million people enrolled in Obamacare before the March 31st deadline!

Not to muddy the festivities by harping on technicalities, but I thought I’d pass along just a few corrections, in case you plan on giving anymore speeches or anything:

Alright, by ‘March 31st’ you mean ‘sometime in April,’ and by ‘deadline’ you mean ‘suggestion which is subject to change.’

And, obviously, by ‘enrolled’ you mean ‘people who have filled some information out on a website.’

And by ‘7.1 million’ you mean ‘probably like 858 thousand or something.’ 

In your speech on Tuesday, when you said that Obamacare is ‘the law’ and ‘it’s here to stay,’ you really meant that Obamacare is ‘a fluid and constantly adjusted set of unconstitutional decrees, which can be imposed or withdrawn by the Executive Branch at any point, for any reason, up to 21 times and counting.’ And by ‘here to stay,’ you actually meant to say that ‘most of it is neither here nor staying, because you don’t want America to feel the full brunt of it until after the midterm elections.’

You claimed that ‘more than 3 million young adults have gained insurance’ by staying on their parents’ plan. Even if that were true, it seems to take for granted that there’s anything remotely positive about the government forcing insurance companies to treat 25-year-old men and women like children. But, more importantly, it isn’t.

Indeed, when you said ‘more than 3 million,’ you really meant ‘extrapolations based on faulty estimates conjured up by Health and Human Services almost two years ago have brought us to the dubious conclusion that we can claim 3 million, because nobody will understand how we arrived at that figure, and most everyone will be too lazy to even attempt to check our numbers.’

You appeared to venture into the vicinity of truth when you stated that Obamacare is ‘doing what it’s supposed to do,‘ but then you forgot to stipulate what, precisely, that happens to be.

It has not, nor was it meant to, make insurance cheaper and more accessible — but it has stripped away choice and freedom, and made more people dependent on the government.

It has forced single men and elderly couples and nuns to pay for maternity care and birth control. Likewise, it has compelled everyone to purchase coverage for psychiatric illness and drug addiction treatment, even if we aren’t necessarily psychiatrically ill or addicted to drugs (though, with your help, the pharmaceutical industry will soon get us all under one or both of those umbrellas).

And, while you spiked the football in the Rose Garden, you still failed to indicate how many people have purchased and paid for a plan, as opposed to just checking some boxes. And you forgot to tell us how many of the Obamacare ‘enrollees’ were only inclined to enroll in Obamacare because your law forced them off of their original plans.

You celebrated a ‘law’ that will supposedly ‘insure the uninsurable,’ even though most of the people now insured by Obamacare aren’t actually yet insured, but they were insured before Obamacare made them uninsured under their original insurance.

Of course, this is all after you famously told us we can ‘keep our plans’ if we ‘like them,’ while omitting that by ‘keep’ you meant ‘watch as it is demolished in front of our eyes,’ and when you said ‘like’ you didn’t include the disclaimer that we’d all be legally obligated to adjust our affections in the direction of the type of plan you think we should like.

Whew. My head is spinning.

You’re a slippery one, Mr. Obama.

I feel like I’m beginning to learn your language, although I haven’t deciphered the entire code. I do know that, essentially, when you say a certain thing, what you really mean is anything but the thing you just said.

Honestly, I’m starting to think that you’re doing this on purpose.

I’m starting to think that you’re… lying.

You’re a liar.

Yes, that explains it. You’re either enormously inaccurate and oblivious in ways that just so happen to suit your political goals, or you’re a scheming, conniving liar.

I’m going with the latter. You lie. That’s all you do. You’re a liar.

I know, in this day and age of ‘civil discourse,’ we aren’t allowed use words like ‘liar’ anymore. It’s such a harsh and startling term. It upsets people. It makes them sad. It makes them feel all icky inside. But, Lord forgive me, I’d rather call a spade a spade and a liar a liar — as opposed to your strategy, which is to call a spade a tortoise, or an apple, or a three toed sloth, or anything but a spade.

I would label you pathological — as deception seems to drip like putrid sewage from every single word and phrase that escapes your lips — but I know your lies are calculated, not compulsive. You can’t be a pathological liar for the same reason that an effective diamond thief can’t be a kleptomaniac. Your lie, like his heist, requires careful planning and plotting. You’re very aware of the truth, which is what makes you so adept at avoiding it.

Still, I’d like to, for your sake, take you seriously on one count.

In your speech, you said this:

“I’ve got to admit, I don’t get it.  Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance?  Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?” 

Why are folks mad at you? Well, as you’ve pointed out in the past, it’s probably because you’re black.

Yeah, that’s gotta be part of it. I’m sure cancer patients would be excited about having their plans abolished and their out-of-pocket expenses skyrocket, if only it had come at the hands of a white dude.

But, beneath the racism, maybe there’s something deeper going on.

Maybe, Mr. Obama, we’re all just tired of the lies.

Maybe we’re mad because you used the IRS against your political opponents, and lied about it. And you spied on everyone’s phone records (after specifically condemning that sort of practice), and lied about it. And you sent your Justice Department after journalists and whistleblowers, and lied about it. And you funneled weapons to drug cartels and terrorists, and lied about it. And you assassinated American citizens and drone bombed hundreds of innocent civilians, and lied about it. And you filled your administration with lobbyists, and lied about it. And you armed a terrorist insurrection in Libya, then orchestrated a cover-up once the terrorists murdered our ambassador, and lied about it. And, in general — whether it’s wiretapping, or Guantanamo, or deficit spending, or Obamacare, or whatever else — we’ve seen you do everything you said you wouldn’t, and little of what you said you would.

We’ve heard you lie. Over. And over. And over. And over again.

Maybe that’s why folks are so mad.

Maybe you’re a liar, and we know it.

And so do you.

I hope this helps clear up your confusion.

Sincerely,

Matt Walsh

******

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I’m a Christian and I think ‘Noah’ deserves a four star review

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On Friday, my wife and I had a very rare date night.

Naturally, we decided to spend it being pummeled by the blaring condescension of the most insipid, absurd, unimaginative, clumsily contrived piece of anti-Christian filmmaking to come along since, well, probably just last week.

In fact, if I learned anything from Noah, it’s this: despite popular perception, you can often judge a book by its cover. Also, giant deformed rock monsters make for awkward supporting characters.

We’ll meditate on that second item in a moment, but it’s the first point that should be especially emphasized.

Christians: you’ll hear people insist that you can’t criticize the movie until you’ve seen it. Noticeably, the loudest voices in this camp are the ones who will (rather coincidentally, I’m sure) profit immensely if you meet their challenge.

Don’t.

Don’t bother.

You can hate this film without watching it, for the same reason that you can assume Citizen Kane is slightly superior to Need For Speed, without having seen either of them.

Just use context clues. Use your judgment. Use your money on something else.

Noah is a major Hollywood blockbuster, made by an atheist director best known for his previous flick where a mentally disturbed lesbian ballerina goes insane and bleeds to death on stage. Already, a critical person might be slightly concerned about his handling of the Bible, considering what he just did to the ballet.

These concerns grew from suspicion to reality before it was even released, when the man himself came out publicly and professed Noah to be both an environmentalist propaganda piece, and the “least Biblical” Bible film ever made.

He wasn’t lying.

But he forgot to mention that it’s also a terrible film.

The way I figure it, I must now convince at least two people to skip this movie in order to cancel out the twenty dollars I just contributed to Darren Aronofosky’s and Russel Crowe’s coffers.

What better way to do that than by spoiling the entire thing?

So here goes a thorough synopsis and spoiler, which will hopefully quell your curiosity and alleviate any urge you might feel to go and experience this ridiculous train wreck for yourself:

We are first introduced to the Noah of Noah on a hill in the barren wasteland of the Fallen. In a captivating and subtle initial sequence, our protagonist castigates his son for pulling a flower out of the ground, right before rushing to the aid of an injured dog.

A scraggly band of Bad Guys soon show up with the wicked intentions of devouring the animal’s flesh, because, in this story, the Height of Evil is to stave off your imminent starvation by hunting wild game. (If only they’d developed Noah’s ability to be a strict vegetarian in an environment almost entirely devoid of vegetation.)

The Bad Guys attack Noah, not realizing that he’s a vegan Martial Arts master. Noah proceeds to kick some serious butt, leaving all of the Bad Guys bleeding on the ground.

One of them looks up at him in awe and terror. “What do you want?”

“Justice,” Noah growls with a determined gaze.

I was expecting him to then whisper, “I’m Batman,” and disappear, but I realized that superhero movies wouldn’t have dialogue nearly so clichéd as this embarrassing farce.

At any rate, Noah wants justice. Of course, this is coming from the same dude who will spend the rest of the movie contemplating murder-suicide and threatening to stab babies in the face.

But, hey, nobody’s perfect.

After a troubling nightmare, Noah, for unclear reasons, sets off to find his grandfather Methuselah, who, for unclear reasons, hangs out in a cave and drinks hallucinogenic tea all day.

On the way, our heroes encounter a group of the aforementioned Rock Monsters.

The Rock Monsters — a cross between the Ents from The Lord of the Rings, Transformers, and Muppets — are fallen angels who came down to Earth to help the humans after mean ol’ God cast Adam and Eve out of Eden. The ‘Creator’ was ticked at the angels for being big softies, so he cursed them and turned them into Giant Stone Gumbies.

Christian apologists for this movie have claimed that the Rock Monsters are, in fact, “Biblical” because Genesis does make vague mention of “giants.”

That’s like turning Jesus into an Olympic figure skater and calling it “theologically accurate” because the New Testament says he walked on water.

Still, the Rock Monsters are great unintentional comic relief, so I certainly wasn’t upset to have them along for the ride.

Skimming over a few parts: Methuselah gives a roofie to Noah, prompting a hallucination about the ark. Noah and the gang and the Rock Monsters then start building the ark. More Bad Guys arrive, intending to takeover, but they’re scared off by the Rock Monsters.

In this “version” of the story, only one of Noah’s sons, Shem, boards the ark with a wife. Ham, completely wife-less, is a tad displeased at the notion of default celibacy for the rest of his life.

Understandable, I suppose.

Eventually, he runs pouting into the woods, falls into a hole filled with corpses, and finds a girl sitting among all the dead people. They fall instantly in love — the classic “how we met” story — and the two of them head back to the ark. Unfortunately, Ham’s girlfriend gets caught in a bear trap and trampled by a human stampede along the way. Classic breakup story. Noah forces Ham to abandon her and leave her to die.

Ham is mad. He pouts some more.

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Here’s Ham, searching ditches and mass graves for a bride. The movie apparently takes place sometime before Match.com came into existence.

Noah also pouts. Everybody is pouting. And then it starts pouring.

As the rains begin, the Bad Guys make their climactic charge on the boat. We are then treated to an extended sequence of Rock Monsters swatting swarms of drowning people.

Interestingly, only the Main Bad Guy comes up with the clever idea to, you know, go around the Rock Monsters.

The Main Bad Guy’s genius maneuver pays off, and he successfully manages to sneak onto the ark.

Luckily, Noah and crew aren’t forced to make room on the ship for the Rock Monsters, because they’re all ascended into heaven as a reward for kicking a bunch of humans in the head for twenty minutes.

Sadly, all of the (unintended) levity and humor goes up right along with them.

The rest of the film will now be dedicated to a brooding Noah glumly obsessing over his belief that the Creator wants all human beings to perish — himself and his family included.

This forces him to have that difficult family meeting where he explains to his kids that humanity is wicked and they all must die.

But, as usual, it’s right when you plan the obliteration of mankind that your adopted daughter announces she’s pregnant. We’ve all been there. Am I right, parents?

Noah is less than happy about the news, and tells Shem and Ila that, if they have a girl, he will murder it the moment it is born.

Needless to say, Noah doesn’t attend the baby shower and things are generally pretty awkward for the next nine months.

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Meanwhile, as Noah plots to murder his grandkids, and Shem plots to kill Noah if he tries, the Bad Guy stowaway is also plotting with Ham to kill Noah. Ham is willing to cooperate with the homicidal plan because he’s still upset that his girlfriend of four minutes was trampled to death. Essentially, this has become a floating soap opera. Think Days of Our Lives meets Waterworld.

Side note: If you doubt the Bad Guy Credentials of the Bad Guy, the writers made sure to include a scene where he bites the head off an endangered lizard while sermonizing about the glories of being a carnivore (this is how vegetarians see the rest of us). His Bad Guy Monologue consists entirely of simply and accurately quoting Scripture (this is how you identify the bad guy in a Hollywood movie).

The next several minutes of emotional-manipulation-disguised-as-plot-development center around the drama inevitably created when a dad wants to kill his grandchildren, and all of his children want to kill him in return.

Finally, in the predictable climax, the Bad Guy tries to stab Noah, but Ham — getting cold feet over the whole patricide thing, I guess — ultimately decides to kill the Bad Guy instead. In the midst of the chaos — wouldn’t ya know it? — Ila goes into labor.

Shem makes a halfhearted attempt to stop Noah from becoming humanity’s first abortionist, but is easily tossed to the side.

Ila gives birth to twins — both girls. GASP. Noah charges at the infants with knife in hand, but has a sudden change of heart. Even though the Creator wants him to wipe out all of humanity, he refuses.

That’s when they hit land.

Next thing you know, Noah is drunk in a cave, depressed that he didn’t have the guts to murder his twin granddaughters. Ah, regrets. We all have ’em.

Following a pep talk from Ila, Noah decides that maybe it’s OK if people repopulate the Earth. The Creator decides to go along with this new plan.

The end.

I’ve heard the movie compared to Titanic and Gladiator. Personally, I’d say it’s more of a cross between Mutiny on the Bounty and The Shining. Only far less coherent than any of them.

I’ve also heard some “Christian leaders” endorse this steaming pile of heretical horse manure. I’m tempted to accuse them of being cowardly, dumb, or dishonest, but I’ll just give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they slept through the most troubling parts — like the part at the beginning, and the end, and all of the parts in between.

It’s true that it might be a bit difficult to discern the “message” in a film so filled with explosions (the Bad Guys have bazookas, naturally), monsters, and infanticide, but any supposed Christian “leader” ought to try a little harder. Pay a little closer attention. If you do, you’ll see a tale that entirely perverts the nature of God, while flipping sin and immorality on its head.

Aside from a brief glimpse of something that appeared to be either rape or cannibalism, wickedness is portrayed as mostly a matter of eating meat and mining the earth for resources. Noah — a righteous man in the Bible — is stripped of his righteousness in favor of obsessiveness. God is stripped of any characteristics at all, apart from vindictiveness.

It’s not that ‘Noah’ strays from the text — of course it does, the actual text is only a few pages long — it’s that the movie completely and utterly distorts the message and meaning of the original story.

This movie is not an adaptation of anything at all. As far as I can tell, both Noah the Movie and Noah the Bible story have in common: a guy named Noah, a boat, some animals.

That’s it.

If you’re looking for a movie more obviously inspired by Biblical precepts, go see anything else. Go see The Lego Movie. I’m sure even that will bear a closer resemblance to Scripture than emo Noah and his gang of Boulder Creatures.

But what if you don’t care about the Bible and you just want to see a good movie? The critics seem to love this film, don’t they?

Yes, they do. They love it because they’re a herd of politically correct cattle and this is a movie that they’re ‘supposed’ to like. It’s made by an ‘important’ director. It’s ‘controversial.’ It’s upsetting a bunch of Tea Party types.

Plot and script be damned; it’s already got all the necessary ingredients for critical acclaim.

Remember, these are many of the same critics who panned The Passion of the Christ — a beautiful, bold, and mesmerizing retelling of the greatest story ever told.

Politics and theology aside, The Passion is art. Noah is a marketing strategy.

And, in fairness, maybe it ought to be reviewed on those terms.

You can’t condemn it for being a poor Biblical adaptation, because it isn’t a Biblical adaptation.

You can’t condemn it for being a bad movie, because it isn’t a movie.

It must be considered as it is: a gimmick. A brilliant gimmick, for sure.

If the movie studio wanted to spin a yarn about mythical beasts, epic battles, homicidal sea captains, and a pagan Earth god, they could have done so. They could have called it anything. They could have told their own story. But they called it Noah because they knew that the supposed connection to the Bible would garner immediate fascination. They knew there would be controversy, and controversy sells.

They padded it with enough action movie clichés to draw interest from secular crowds, they hid the outright blasphemy well enough to please gullible Christian crowds, and they mocked Biblical theology blatantly enough to delight the critics.

They came up with a way to make millions while exploiting the various sensibilities of different audience demographics.

That was their first and primary intention, and in it they succeeded wildly.

As an adaptation or retelling of Judeo-Christian theology, it’s a blatant mockery.

As a film, it’s like the script for a Syfy Network miniseries got shoved into a blender with the treatment for a Lifetime channel made-for-TV movie and then mixed with enough moping nihilism and environmentalist sermonizing to fool pretentious elitists into using words like ‘daring’ and ‘relevant’ when describing it. In other words, it’s aggressively abysmal.

But, as a money-making ploy, it’s a downright masterpiece.

Final assessment:

Four Stars for marketing

No Stars for quality, substance, coherence, meaning, or theological accuracy.

 

*******

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To the quiet, boring girl in class

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I got this message from “quiet” Kate a few days ago:


Dear Matt,

So sorry for bugging you when I know you get SO many emails everyday! My mom loves your blog, she told me and my dad about it. She reads your new entries out loud almost every day at the dinner table! I bet you’re super creeped out now lol but don’t be. She’s not a crazy stalker. Well… she’s not crazy anyway lol. Anyway, after she told me about you I went and looked up your blogs. I love so many of them! I especially loved what you wrote about introverts. I don’t know if you remember it (this was a few months ago) but you stood up for introverts and said you are one yourself…. which was a surprise!

I’m writing to you because I’m very introverted also. I’m in tenth grade and I’ve been this way for as long as I remember. Everyone calls me “the quiet girl.” Even the few friends that I have will introduce me to other people by saying “Oh here’s Kate, she’s quiet.” I usually end up sitting in the back of the class and alone at lunch. People will come up to me pretending like they want to be friends but I think they really are just picking on me. They’ll say “why are you so quiet….. you’re so quiet all the time…. are you always this quiet…. blah blah…” I get called boring a lot but it’s not like I don’t have any interests. I like to read and I like to think I’m pretty artistic. I just don’t like to talk all the time.

Sorry for complaining but I get so sick of it sometimes! I don’t know why people can’t let me be however I am, you know? Like you said in your post, everyone is always telling me that I need to come out of my shell and “open up.” Some of my teachers tell me that I’m not going to get a job or anything when I graduate if I don’t stop being so shy and quiet. It’s gotten to the point where I hate going to school (it was at that point a long time ago lol). People look at me like a freak. And then when I do open up and say something or answer a question in class, everyone stares at me like “oh the quiet girl is talking.” It gives me a lot of anxiety. Sorry for ranting so much. I guess I should get to the point. So, you’re successful even though you’re an introvert. How did you overcome your introversion? How did you learn to be normal? I’m sorry for wasting your time but I really need someone to help me with this. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Kate (I don’t want to give my last name or anything because I thought you might want to respond on your blog for other people struggling with being introverted)

 

A tragic letter in many ways. Here’s my response:

 

Dear Kate,

You aren’t wasting my time.

My time is mine, your time is yours. The only person who can waste mine is me, and the only person who can waste yours is you. For instance, this morning I spent four minutes watching this video of a moose playing in a sprinkler.

The moose didn’t waste my time — I wasted it. And now you’ve watched it and wasted yours. You’re welcome.

Kate, you apologized more times in four paragraphs than I have in four years. The difference is that I’ve done many things wrong in four years, yet I’m just too stubborn and prideful to admit it. You, on the other hand, did NOTHING wrong in those four paragraphs. Nothing. Kate, never apologize for having an opinion. Never apologize for expressing your feelings. You aren’t bugging me or annoying me. Besides, even if I was bugged or annoyed, that would be my problem. Not yours.

You’re “ranting” because you have something to say. I bet that’s a shock to those presumptuous kids in your class. Imagine that: you have something to say. The truth is, most of them just want you to speak because your silence intimidates them. They don’t want to hear your ideas and your perspectives (or anyone else’s, besides their own), they just want noise. They want noise because we live in a culture that’s afraid of what will happen if everyone shuts up for long enough to formulate an original thought or two.

Quiet? You aren’t quiet.

When you need or want to communicate something, you communicate it — and effectively, I might add. Someone calling you “quiet” for only speaking when you have something to say is like them calling you “anorexic” for only eating when you’re hungry. This country is full of enough blathering loudmouths who drone on and on with pointless banalities nobody cares to hear. Just because you’re purposeful with your speech doesn’t mean you’re “weird.” Let them wrestle each other in puddles of their own verbal vomit. You don’t want any part of that, and why would you?

Quick story:

A little while ago I found myself in a group of “talkative” people. I think the “conversation” started with one person complaining about their health problems. Then another person offered a competing complaint. Then another person submitted their own. Then another. Then another. Each participant offered no substantive response to the last person’s remarks. They simply grabbed the rhetorical spotlight with an unconvincing attempt at a transition, like, “Huh, yeah, well here’s what happened to ME…”

Next the “discussion” awkwardly jumped to a fascinating topic about how expensive it is to get your oil changed at Jiffy Lube.

I think they then gossiped about a mutual friend for a while, before leaping into a gab-session about a network TV show I’d never seen.

After 45 minutes, one of them turned to me with that infamous question you and I have both heard more times than we can count: “Why are you so QUIET?”

Uh, maybe because I’d rather be stabbed in the ear with a rusty butter knife than be subjected to one more minute of this tedious talkfest.

There are a thousand things wrong with the “why are you so quiet” question, but let’s concentrate on the fact that it’s rude and pushy. If the quiet person is quiet because of some kind of social anxiety (which wasn’t the case in my situation, I just have Stupid Babbling Anxiety) then how in God’s name could anyone find it appropriate to purposefully embarrass them by highlighting their self consciousness in front of everyone? How is the “quiet” person supposed to respond? Are they supposed to bark on command like a dog? Are they supposed to just suddenly dive into a conversation in which they are clearly either uncomfortable or uninterested? And whatever the reason for their “quietness,” are they actually supposed to share it with this person just because he or she was intrusive enough to ask?

“Oh, thanks for giving me the chance to justify myself to you! I was HOPING someone would shove me onto the stage and demand that I reveal the inner workings of my mind to all assembled!”

The only thing worse than the quiet question is the quiet observation; the “you’re so quiet” comments that you mentioned.

Kate, neither of us will ever understand the oblivious tastelessness of someone who’d walk up to a stranger and simply point out some face about their personal or physical composition. This happens so often, particularly in a school setting, that you’ll soon be tempted to respond to their observation with one of your own:

“You’re quiet!”

“Yes, and your face is oddly shaped!”

These people — the ones who label you, or demand that you justify your personality to them, or your “friends” who put you in a box and then introduce you to other people that way — don’t have pure intentions, for the most part. Many times, they are simply trying to “win.” Win what, you ask? I don’t really know. As you’ve no doubt noticed, the “social scene” at school isn’t really “social” at all.

It’s a competition. A game.

It’s a psychologically oppressive and emotionally violent Battle of Witlessness. You are unfairly seen as weak and submissive because you don’t run your mouth at warp-speed, so your peers step on you, hoping to elevate themselves in the process.

They call you quiet and boring just because you aren’t always making sounds with your mouth. But that doesn’t make you quiet. And boring? Hardly.

Your whole being stirs with concepts and notions that could change the world. The only people who are “boring” are the ones who think a person is boring just because she isn’t loud. I think you’re fascinating. I think you’ll get out there and do big things — HUGE things — with this life you’ve been given. Your mind is a vibrant and awesome place, brimming with thoughts, and ideas, and truth, and beauty.

You’re artistic? You like to read? I would have known that about you even if you hadn’t told me. You’re an introvert, after all. By definition, you love to learn, create, and think.

None of this makes you weird, and it doesn’t even have to make you “shy.” Shyness and introversion aren’t a packaged deal. Being shy means you have social anxiety. Being introverted means you are energized by being alone, or in small groups, where you can hear those wonderful thoughts spinning around in your head. You prefer intimate and meaningful communication over small talk. You’re more likely to have a limited collection of loyal friends than a large gaggle of friendly acquaintances. Sound familiar? That’s all it means to be an introvert, Kate.

Many times, the school system turns introverts into “shy people” by constructing a social environment where introverts are made to feel like freaks and outcasts. In other words, if you’re shy, that’s probably because everybody keeps calling you shy.

You see how this works? They erect the box around you, and before long that last wall is built and you’re trapped.

Or you feel trapped, anyway.

People don’t understand that introverts have minds that are constantly engaged. Maybe even a little too engaged, sometimes. For this reason, social interaction can be exhausting. We aren’t afraid of it, we just prefer to regulate it.

But here I am rambling on, and I haven’t even answered your questions. (Funny thing about us introverts: we can go on for hours if the subject is interesting to us.)

So, how do you overcome your introversion? How do you learn to be normal?

You don’t. And there is your first marvel, that you don’t (to paraphrase John Proctor, played in the film by an introverted Daniel Day Lewis).

Introversion is not to be overcome. Please don’t try. I beg you. Don’t try. I mean, where would we be if societies in the past had employed our modern strategy of treating introversion as a character defect? I can tell you we might not have been blessed with the historical contributions of noted introverts like Einstein, Newton, Yeats, Proust, Shakespeare, Orwell, Edison, Plato, Mother Teresa, and Ghandi. In fact, many (if not most) of humanity’s greatest inventors, engineers, creators, thinkers, writers, artists and revolutionaries were and are introverts — like you.

Ah, but they’re a boring bunch, aren’t they?

Look, you are a human being, you are flawed, there are surely things about you that do need to change. We all have habits and temptations that we must overcome.

But introversion isn’t one of them.

It isn’t a disease or a weakness. It’s a strength. Seriously, Kate, a strength. Your mind works differently, you see the world differently, you interact differently, and that is a magnificent thing. Your differences make you indispensable.

Soon, you’ll leave school and you’ll find yourself standing in the wilderness of the “real world.” You’ll discover, unfortunately, that a lot of the bad things about school are still present in this wilderness — we’ve still got bullies out here, and jerks, and cliques, and fads, and social ladder climbers, and all the rest of it.

But we also have freedom. We have the liberty to fully become ourselves, and to use our minds and our personalities, rather than suppress them.

Don’t destroy yourself just to be more acceptable to the Peer Collective.

And don’t worry about being normal.

You aren’t boring, but normal is.

Let them call you quiet. Pretty soon, you’ll be climbing mountains and they’ll still be down at the base, talking about the weather.

Go on with your introverted self, Kate.

Thanks for writing.

Sincerely,

Matt

*****

Note to the people accusing me of “attacking” or “labeling” extroverts: I’m not, I didn’t, and I don’t. In fact, you’ll notice that I never even used to word “extrovert” in this post. Not once. When I go after people who blabber or gossip or bully introverts, I’m simply an solely talking about people who blabber or gossip or bully introverts. If you don’t, then I’m not talking about you. I never said all extroverts do this. I never even insinuated it.

Extroverts are wonderful people also. I’m married to an extrovert.

Finally, I’m not encouraging Kate to embrace her social anxiety. I’m encouraging her to embrace her introversion, and in so doing, overcome her social anxiety. I’ve been able to strike this balance, but it took time. I’m an introvert, yet I enjoy public speaking and do it regularly. I spoke on the air for a living for eight years. I like being on stage in front of large crowds talking about something. I just despise small talk and I’m not very good at it.

*****

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