Fifty shades of bleak: Looking for love everywhere it isn’t.

His name? Ineradicable Regret.Photo by: David Shankbone

Here are two complementary facts about the ontology of adult genetic Homo sapiens:

Men are seed-sprayers.

Women are egg-layers.

Men and women are functionally equivalent, in the sense that, away from our sex differences, we can all do pretty much the same stuff. We are intellectually equivalent, even if the vestigial effects of poverty, religion and tradition have cost humanity the full benefits of female mental prowess over the centuries. We are politically equivalent, obviously. There are biological differences that result from our sex differences — men tend to have better upper-body strength, women have better blood circulation at the core but poorer circulation in the extremities — but apart from those sex differences, we are an awful lot alike.

That much is not surprising. We are the same species after all, and the XY model is just the one-off variation on the XX prototype. Even men’s sex hardware, of which they can be very proud, is just women’s junk turned inside out. This is true of male mammals in general — except for the pride part.

But because males — male mammals, not just male Homo sapiens — are seed-sprayers, their reproduction strategy will be Continue reading

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Contra Stefan Molyneux on the family: I pity defoo on nihil.

Yesterday’s Church of Splendor homily: We start with a discussion of the essential role of self-responsible fatherhood in the creation of Western Civilization. Then we relate that back to the anti-family praxis of ‘defoo’-ing – disassociating from your family-of-origin – advocated by talk-radio/social media impresario Stefan Molyneux.

I’m less interested in him than in his victims, but I could not possibly be more concerned about allegedly pro-liberty, pro-humanity doctrines that advocate the wholesale destruction of the family – the only respite in the storm, the only redoubt from the wars, the only fortress stout enough to stand against the void.

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Parenting is coercion, so how can a consistent libertarian get the diapers changed?

Given a rational choice, which he cannot have and will not have for many years, no baby would choose to writhe in his own waste. But this does not make changing his diaper any less an act of physical force – expressed with a forearm gently pressed to the baby’s chest if necessary.Photo by: Sellers Patton

This is me responding publicly to email in April of 2004. The topic: How can a philosophical libertarian reconcile himself to the coercion that is baked in the cake of parenthood? I’m posting this now because of discussions I’m having on Facebook. As a matter of disclosure, while the game ain’t over ’til it’s over, my take is that I sucked as a father. I like the ideas I’m talking about here, but only Mister Married can make this work, and I wasn’t him when I should have been.

I clicked through your link and read your post “We will not rid the world of cannibals by eating them…” and I found your thoughts very interesting. I found absolutely nothing to object to among these assertions:

You do not have the right to hurt people.

You do not have the right to effect retribution.

You Continue reading

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The Return of the Hoplite: In the enduring family comedy, fathers cultivate the future.

Even at its scrupulous best, a delegated self-defense is an illusion, as any father who has killed a burglar can tell you – and as the father who was not there to defend his family can never bear to tell you.

Even at its scrupulous best, a delegated self-defense is an illusion, as any father who has killed a burglar can tell you – and as the father who was not there to defend his family can never bear to tell you.

I am not apocalyptic. I see no efficacy in despair, in any case, but I am too much aware, too, of how much better things get, even as they seem always to be getting worse. We are preyed upon from every direction, but I can argue that we are outrunning our predators. And the simple fact that someone as radical as I am is able to communicate freely, with no restrictions, argues at least that our despoilers are too lazy to be consistently tyrannical.

And yet the nature of nature is that tragedy results not just from malice but from simple negligence. I hope I am wrong about the border crisis. I hope I am wrong that this is an intended genocide-by-epidemic, and I hope I am wrong about the epidemic regardless of the intentions of our lazy tyrants.

But if I am wrong in the instant matter, I am not wrong in the large: The essence of leadership, Continue reading

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If the border immigration crisis were a thriller, who would be the ultra-villain?

Pawns, meet the pawns.

Pawns, meet the pawns.

I have three stories in my head today.

One is an inverse romantic comedy, call it a reconciliation-com. All I have so far are the establishing shots, him moving his too-much-stuff into a too-small apartment, her trying to spread her too-little-remaining-stuff around in the now-too-big space he has just left. The story is obvious, but it’s the details that make a rom-com fun, and getting back together is a fun story we should tell more often.

That’s a piece from yesterday’s homily at The Church of Splendor, inverting a cautionary tale, like The Breakup, as a comedy:

Story number two is another glimpse of the same idea, this time expressed as historical fiction about the early Hoplites, the freeholders who were all the order there was in the Hellas for hundreds of years. I don’t even like historical fiction, but I like this story – how fathers make the world safe for their wives and children, and thus for everyone. It tells us everything about who we are as people to this very day.

But the story that is straining my brain and drowning out the other two is this one:

A pandemic is the perfect death panel, if Continue reading

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Xavier’s destiny: Fatherhood and the manly art of manliness.

But the main job of being a father is simply being around. I’m not congratulating myself for what I did with Xavier, because I knew it was temporary. He didn’t have a father all of a sudden, he just had a weak little prosthetic, and that only for a while. But I taught him what little I could of the manly art of manliness, what little I know. A little bit of swagger, not too much. A little bit of strut, just a touch. A little bit of courtliness, rough around the edges. A little bit of mischief, creeping through the hedges. A man rolls up his sleeves and gets to work, and you can say it with a smile if you can’t say it with a smirk.Photo by: Kenneth Lu

A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie story

“Madre de dios…!”

Mrs. Marquez said that, and it seemed a fair estimate to me. Everywhere we looked in the overlit room we saw things of wonder and beauty and uncontested menace. Despite the din, I heard myself groan, and I wasn’t utterly sure I’d done the right thing. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death in a grade school cafeteria is Continue reading

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To whomever is shopping me on conservative art: Here’s a shopping list.

What art will change minds and lives and votes?Photo by: Dmitry Kichenko

I’ve been trying for a year now to engage a debate on ‘conservative’ art – where to me ‘conservative’ means pro-egoistic and therefore anti-authoritarian. One of the troubles with having this conversation is that the word ‘conservative’ means almost anything and, hence, almost nothing. By framing the matter in my terms, we can approach the topic as a matter of attainable objectives.

What would be the polemical objective of a pro-egoistic/anti-authoritarian art? Greater individual autonomy and less governmental compulsion, yes?

This would be achieved how? By people voting differently – and making different choices in every part of their lives.

Why would they do this?

That’s important. The Bellow/Bernstein/ ‘conservative’ esthetic consists of preaching to the choir with more of the same – blood, guts ’n’ magic in space – a strategy that may someday make them money but which will convert no one to a pro-egoistic/anti-authoritarian point of view.

What art will change minds and lives and votes?

Comedy. Not farce, not satire, but the story arc in which the hero fixes a problem in his life by learning, mastering and consistently applying better ideas.

Expressed that way, it sounds too simple Continue reading

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