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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Manning Up

Manning Up
I rarely reprint articles by others in their entirety, but I am going to make an exception in the case of Lil Tuttle, Education Director of the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute (  There’s more wisdom and wit in this short piece on the attitudes and mores of post college age men and women by Lil Tuttle than I have read in many years.  And, if you are not already aware of it, I suggest you check out the Luce Institute which was founded by Michelle Easton following her stint as Undersecretary of Education in the Reagan Administration.  Through the Luce Institute, Michelle is providing a great service to young conservative women who still believe in traditional values. 

Here is Lil’s great article…

        The Rocky Dating & Mating Road for Twentysomethings
by Lil Tuttle, Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute
They met as freshmen in college—he in pre-law, she in history and government—and never seriously dated anyone else.  After graduation, she chose a job in Washington DC for its close proximity to his law school. 

When she told her parents that they were thinking of sharing an apartment to save money, her mother offered a little time-honored advice: men crave sex, domestic comforts and long-term respect, while women crave relationship, domestic stability and long-term security.  Don’t meet his needs until he meets yours (which, incidentally, is called marriage).  She got her own apartment, rose rapidly in her career, continued dating him and said “I do” on the same day he learned he’d passed the bar exam. Now 30, her biological alarm has gone off, and they are planning their first child.

This couple falls generally into Kay Hymowitz’s “Neo-Traditional” category of modern college graduates who, after a decade or so of intense personal and career development, eventually marry and settle into a satisfying family life.  Neo-Traditionals’ life story has a better chance at a happy ending, suggests Hymowitz in her book, Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys, than many of their college peers, who are crashing over the guard rails of the rocky, unmapped dating-and-mating road paved by the pill, feminism, and the Knowledge Economy.

As market capitalism empowered women in the last half century to participate in the work force with safe birth control and technologies that eased their domestic burdens, feminism encouraged them to trade in family aspirations for the chance to outdo men in the casual sex, education and career game of life.
You Go, Girl became the mantra in the New Girl Order, and go they did.  Women aged 25 to 34 with a bachelor (or better) degree began outnumbering men in the 1980s, and today they earn 58% of all degrees awarded.  (This is not an American phenomenon, Hymowitz notes; “women earn more college degrees than men in 67 of 120 nations.”)

In 1960 a mere 3% of law school graduates—and 6% of medical school graduates—were women; today they are at near parity with men at 47% and 49%, respectively.  Women in this age group also beat men in earnings:  A recent study found that the unmarried, childless female college grad earns, on average, more than her male peers in 147 of the 150 largest U.S. cities.

“Failing to recognize the signs that young women were already on academic and psychological steroids, legislators and policymakers took their cue from backward-looking experts,” writes Hymowitz.  “Girls needed more attention, more encouragement, and more ambition, they agreed.”  And they got it with even more government programs and scholarships. 

Yet “the success of feminism’s siren call to the workplace,” says the author, required “an economy that could provide a wealth of fulfilling jobs.”  As if on cue, the new Knowledge Economy emerged.  While the old Industrial Economy valued men’s innate skills of strength, endurance and individual competitiveness, the new Knowledge Economy values women’s innate skills:  organization, focus, creativity, diligence, and networking.   “It may not be pleasant to say so,” writes Hymowitz, “but manufacturing’s loss has been women’s gain.” 

Preadulthood—a New Adolescence
The computer and Internet revolution of the 1990s brought “a mega-kiloton explosion of career possibilities” for educated, upwardly mobile, unmarried, childless twenty-somethings of both sexes. 

Career choice became less about landing a good job and more about ‘finding one’s passion’.  With no life script for such a quest, young college grads may wander from job to job for years and, on occasion, find themselves back in their childhood bedrooms for unexpected, extended stays. 

One phenomenon of the Knowledge Economy is a new demographic of young people who postpone adulthood for a decade or more.  It is a state of life the author calls preadulthood—a 21st century extension of the 20th century’s adolescence—that she defines as “without stable employment, quasi-permanent independent residence, wives, husbands, or child.”  With the shift in the median age of marriage from 23.2 in 1970 to 28 today, scores of preadults are populating metropolitan areas in particular.

If the New Girl Order alpha-girl in this demographic group is ambitious, hyper-organized, mature and sophisticated, her “fun-house mirror image” is the child-man:  a passive, vague, crude, happily immature and unsophisticated slacker. 

Feminists theorize he is a deliberate backlash against women’s progress, but the evidence suggests that the child-man is a product of nearly a century of increasing societal male-bashing combined with diminishing respect for the traditional role of men as providers, protectors, husbands and fathers.

The child-man, then, is the lost son of a host of economic and cultural changes:  the demographic shift I call preadulthood, the Playboy philosophy, feminism, the wild west of our new media, and a shrugging iffiness on the subject of husbands and fathers.  He has no life script, no special reason to grow up.  Of course, you shouldn’t feel too bad for him; he’s having a good enough time. 

But preening with a sense of entitlement he is not.  In fact, after passing through boyhood and adolescence, he arrives at preadulthood with the distinct sense that he is dispensable, that being a guy is a little embarrassing and that given his social ambiguity, he might as well just play with the many toys (and babes—he hopes) his culture has generously provided him.  After all, he is free as men have never been free before.

Acknowledging that it may be “impossible to prove for certain,” the author points to longitudinal studies which suggest that “the loss of the almost universal male life script—manhood defined by marriage and fatherhood—is key to the mystery of the child-man.” 

Men tend to work harder, strive for success in their career, and earn more if it improves their chances of marrying a quality woman.  If no such marriage returns to career choices exist, “men would tend to work less, study less, and choose blue-collar jobs over white-collar jobs.“  In short, “men succeed to prove themselves to potential partners.”

What Price Adulthood?
“If preadulthood is an enlightened philosopher when it comes to work and self-fulfillment,” writes Hymowitz, “it is a lazy mute when it comes to love, sex, and marriage.”  

The old conventions have been discarded, but new ones haven’t been written.  Neither guys nor gals can clearly read today’s mating signals:  is the interest in hooking up, or settling down?  Personal dating rules (read: expectations) still exist, but they vary from person to person and are rarely telegraphed in advance.  Consequently, dating becomes a baffling guessing game that too often breeds cynicism, hostility and bitterness in both sexes.  And both share the blame.

What it adds up to is that neither sex can be trusted.  Men cheat because they are always hunting for variety, while women double-deal because they are always prowling for higher-status males. “Attractive single girls not only dropped their ‘dates’ at the slightest whiff of a bigger, better deal, they routinely betrayed their girlfriends, too,” Toby Young, a British author who lived in New York for five years, wrote about his sojourn there in his dismissive review of the movie Sex and the City.
Time favors the male of the species, not the female. “For women [there] is a gap between the cultural ideals behind preadulthood—equality, freedom, personal achievement, sexual self-expression—and biology’s pitiless clock,” says Hymowitz.  His mating season extends well into the 30s; hers begins diminishing by that age in terms of both starting a family and the size of the mating pool. 
In sadly funny ways, Hymowitz describes the future of those who swim too long in the mating pool:

Darwinian Playboy—wounded and cynical, focused on having a lot of sex with a lot of women, by mid-40s doing a comb-over for his balding head and wearing leather jackets to cover up his gut when he goes to bars to pick up women (few of whom are interested)

Single-and-Loving-It Woman—chose the Darwinian Playgirl lifestyle, maybe married once but divorced, travels a lot, dotes on her nieces and nephews, occasionally dates (rare serious or sexual encounters, dropping to zero as years progress)

Choice Mother—hoped she’d find Mr. Big for a husband, lived for a while with a guy in her 20s, fell in love with her career instead, finally settled for a fertility clinic and a baby to raise on her own at 35

Starter Marriage—Alpha Girl dated a Child-Man for 3 years, had a “cool” wedding avoiding words like “love” and “forever,” out of there by age 30, now engaged and planning her next big wedding (ignoring statistical chances of second-time-around’s success)

Then there’s the Neo-Traditional, the scenario similar to the young couple discussed earlier.  They may meet in college, date briefly, go their separate ways, meet again, get serious, get married, and have a family. 

This group still represents the overwhelming majority of college grads, but trends are not in their favor:  84% of college men marry today, but it was 93% in 1980; 86% of college women marry, down from 92% in 1980.

“Nonattachment and self interest: these don’t seem like the right groundwork for the marriages that most young people say they want, but that’s what they often find themselves practicing,” concludes Hymowitz. 

“Both sexes still say they want to have satisfying family lives.  If that’s going to happen, young women will have to get a better understanding of the limitations imposed by their bodies.  And young men?  They’ll need to man up.”

It might help if we girls ‘woman up’ as well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Profits, Subsidies and Demagoguery

Profits, Subsidies and Demagoguery
Are you invested in a 401(k) program or an IRA?  Or have you invested in some other investment instrument that allows tax free saving?  If so, you’re just like big oil.  In fact, you are probably invested in big oil stocks, more than 40 million Americans own oil company stocks.  So you are big oil.  You must be evil, or so those in the media and the White House imply.

There are two things wrong with the current attacks on big oil. 

    1. Profits.  There is nothing wrong with profits.  Profits are essential to
        keeping the engine for free markets running and providing Americans
        with the highest standard of living in the world.  Bigger profits not only
        mean a better return for investors like you and me, but also more money
        for the research and development needed to satisfy our energy needs. 
        Profits are good.  Excess taxes are bad.

    2. Subsidies.  Big oil is not subsidized in any way.  There are no payments
        by the government to big oil.  What the left refers to as subsidies are
        simply tax breaks.  If a tax break is a subsidy then all money and all
        wealth belongs to the federal government.  Calling a tax break a subsidy
        is not merely semantics, it is a big, dangerous lie.

Assuming some part of your wealth includes oil company stock, let me ask you a couple of questions.  Why did you invest in oil stock, or any other stock for that matter?  Were you hoping the company would not only continue in business, but in fact make big profits so that your stock would appreciate and maybe you would receive fatter dividends?  So, you’re in favor of profits?  The bigger the better you say. 

Isn’t that the primary reason every company goes into business—to make a profit and stay in business?  The oil companies, like all other businesses, have found a way to make money while serving the public—that would be you and me.  About seven out of ten start-up companies go under within a couple of years.  Most of the folks that started those companies lose everything.  Going into business is a very high risk business.  You would have better odds in Las Vegas.

Nevertheless, risk takers like John D. Rockefeller put everything on the line to start producing and refining oil.  They took big chances and received big profits in return.  The Mellon family risked their money to open up the oil fields in Texas.  Out of this risk-taking venture grew the Texas Oil Company (now called Texaco) and Gulf Oil, among others.  It was Lucas Gusher at the Spindle Top oil field near Beaumont, Texas that broke the near monopoly on oil production and distribution by John D. Rockefeller, not the federal government.

But all this history is really unimportant.  What is important is that attacks on profits are attacks on your freedom and mine.  Profits made through the free market system are critical to keeping America a world leader.  Profits made through free enterprise are absolutely essential to your personal freedom and mine.

Demagogic attacks on big oil are thinly disguised attacks on the bedrock of the most successful and free economic system in the world.  And make no mistake about it, the choice you and I have is between us deciding what, when and where we will purchase goods and services or a few elite bureaucrats deciding what, when and where we will purchase goods and services.  Socialism is incompatible with individual freedom.  How can anyone seriously argue that a small coterie of individuals deciding for a vast number of citizens what they shall eat, where they shall live, what kind of car they will drive, where they are allowed to travel, how they can worship, or what they can say is freedom?

The current assault by the Obama Administration on so-called “big oil” is hypocrisy at its worst.  The idea that a few speculators are causing the price of oil to go up is ludicrous.  It’s simply a diversionary tactic.  The Administration itself and the left in general is the sole and only reason that gasoline prices are above or nearly at $4.00 a gallon at the pump.  Here are the two reasons…

    1. Gasoline Taxes.  Gasoline taxes are nearly $.50 per gallon.  And frankly,
        most of those taxes are frittered away.  Until the 1970s all state and
        federal gasoline taxes were by law dedicated solely to highway
        maintenance and construction.  If that were the case today the United
        States would have the best highways and the safest bridges in the world. 
        We would also have less congestion and less air pollution.  However,
        when greedy politicians (both Republicans and Democrats) raided the
        highway trust funds at the state and national level the best user fee in
        history was destroyed and along with it, our great highway system.  In
        addition, politicians then began to raise gasoline taxes as a means to fund
        every wild eyed spending program to come down the pike.  So count at
        least $.40 of every gallon of gas you buy as a government slush fund to
        support irresponsible government spending.

    2. Blocked Exploration.  As bad as gasoline taxes are, their impact on the
        cost of gasoline is negligible compared to the systematic blocking of
        exploration for oil in the United States by liberals who disdain your
        individual freedom.  Nancy Pelosi may not believe in the law of supply
        and demand, but her disbelief does not repeal the reality that government
        constricted supply will always drive up prices, no matter the item. 
        Today, the United States has the largest known oil reserves in the world. 
        Yes, that’s right, more than Saudi Arabia or any other Middle East
        nation.  And, it should be pointed out that these are only the known
        reserves.  Many other millions of acres have been put off limits where there
        are likely many millions of barrels of additional oil reserves.  The US has
        sufficient known oil reserves to run automobiles and heat homes for more
        than 50 years!  But enviro-nincompoops and their ignorant allies in
        Congress and in the White House have blocked drilling for many years. 
        Liberal politicians are solely responsible for the high prices at the pump
        today.  If the free market were allowed to function, the price for a gallon
        of gas would probably be under $2.00. 

So the next time you hear or read about exorbitant profits, don’t believe it.  The high price of gasoline is completely unnecessary and the CAFE (Corporate Automobile Fuel Economy) standards for gasoline mileage are totally unjustified. 

Liberals just don’t like freedom.  They really don’t like the fact that the United States of America has a reputation for being the world’s most prosperous and at the same time most generous nation.  They don’t see it that way and they think the time has come for America to have its comeuppance.  In their twisted and distorted view of history, Americans have gotten rich off the labors of others.  Or their other answer is that America has just been lucky.  They believe life is a zero sum game, that if someone benefits, he does it at the cost of another.  Such a sad, contorted view of reality they have. 

It’s time to vote them out of office—all of them—no matter whether they call themselves Republicans or Democrats, if they refuse to return this nation to the limited government principles established by our founders.  Our nation has been brought to the brink of insolvency by an inexperienced and profligate young President who is out of touch with the foundational principles of freedom.  We have one more chance to save the nation that has been the beacon of freedom to the world for more than 200 years. 

It’s 1776 again.  Those who came before us did not fail us.  We must not fail those who come after us.

Friday, May 13, 2011

If God Is Good

If God Is Good
The book, If God is Good, by Randy Alcorn (Multnomah 2009), is one of the most interesting, challenging, and informative books I have read in a number of years.  In shorthand terms it could be categorized as an apologetic, i.e. a book that argues the accuracy of the Bible on the basis of reason.  But, that would be a very unfair and limited description of If God is Good.  It is far more than that.

It certainly starts as an apologetic, dealing with the argument of nonbelievers or skeptics that, “If God is good how could he let such awful things happen in this world?”  Alcorn identifies that argument as the number one argument of atheists and others who reject God, as to why there simply cannot be a God.  Alcorn validates this concern with this reference to a Barna [George Barna] survey…

                “A Barna poll asked, ‘If you could ask God only one question
                and you knew he would give you an answer, what would you
                ask?’  The most common response was, ‘Why is there pain and
                suffering in the world?’”

He adds this later in the same chapter…

                “German playwright Georg Büchner (1813-37) called the problem
                of evil ‘the rock of atheism.’”
Alcorn also quotes from the book by George Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God…

                “If God knows there is evil but cannot prevent it, he is not
                omnipotent.  If God knows there is evil and can prevent it,
                but desires not to, he is not omnibenevolent.”

    Alcorn thoroughly and Biblically responds in great detail to all the arguments against God because there is evil in the world, but these are some of my favorite passages:

                “As frequently expressed, the problem of evil assumes that
                an all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing God cannot have
                good reasons for creating a universe in which evil and suffering
                exist.  But shouldn’t this assumption require some proof?”

                “We may not understand why a good God would allow terrible
                suffering.  But this merely establishes that if there is a God, we
                do not know everything he knows.  Why should this surprise us?”

                “Suppose that we add only one premise to the argument that God
                is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving, and yet evil exists: 
                God has a morally sufficient reason for permitting evil.  You may
                disagree with this premise, but it does not contradict the others.”

                “We’ve all seen people say or do things that we considered
                unjustifiable.  When we later learn why they did them, everything
                may change.  The man who passed us on the freeway, honking his
                horn, was driving his injured daughter to the hospital.  Realizing he
                had compelling reasons, we say, ‘I get it now; I misjudged him.’”

                “To disprove the God of the Bible exists, someone must demonstrate
                there can be no moral justification for an all-good, all-powerful,
                and all-knowing God to allow evil.  Has this been proven?  No. 
                This doesn’t mean the question isn’t valid, only that a question is
                not the same as a proof.”

Alcorn would never argue that through human reason we can prove that there is a God.  He would acknowledge that belief in God is a matter of faith, not reason.  However, he pokes big holes in the atheists’ claims that they can prove there is no God, and in fact, makes a strong case that it takes much more faith to believe there is no God, than it does to believe there is a God.

This passage on the nature of man and the impact of this knowledge on society in general provides great understanding of the divide between those who have a Christian worldview and those who do not:

                “Some think believing in inherited sin is an invitation to view
                others and ourselves as worthless, thus justifying evil.  The
                theory holds that the more we speak of human virtue, the more
                we will respect and love one another and ourselves.”

                “In reality, since no aspect of their lives is untouched by their
                nature, evil people lack the capacity to gauge accurately the
                extent of their good or evil.  We normally commend ourselves
                and ignore our flaws.  But believing in the doctrine of inherited
                sin provides the ultimate equalizer.  Embracing it leads to humility
                and grace, prompting us to care for the needy—individuals we
                might otherwise despise.”

                “Ironically, wherever societies recognize the human capacity
                for evil, evil is restrained and goodness is exalted.  Yet whenever
                people view themselves as basically good, the greatest evils take
                place.  Denying the doctrine of inherited sin leads to elitism and
                oppression.  Why?  Partly because people who view themselves
                as good place no restrictions upon those in power.  But apart from
                checks and balances as well as moral accountability (implemented
                only when human sin is recognized), leaders inevitably become
                corrupt.  Communism under Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot provide
                classic examples.”

                “We all share a strange kinship as desperately needy sinners. 
                We fell together in Adam.  And we all benefit from the redemptive
                work of the second Adam, Christ.  While our sins may differ, we
                all need the same Redeemer.”

Alcorn continues later in the same chapter…

                “Highly educated people who disbelieve in human evil often
                believe that human government is the root of, and solution to,
                the world’s problems. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, at Harvard’s
                1978 commencement, spoke of the downward moral direction
                of American freedom:

                        “‘This tilt of freedom toward evil has come about
                        gradually, but it evidently stems from a humanistic and
                        benevolent concept according to which man—the master
                        of the world—does not bear any evil within himself, and
                        all the defects of life are caused by misguided social systems,
                        which must therefore be corrected.’”

                “Bad things do not happen to good people.  Why not?  Because
                in this world truly good people do not exist.  Although God
                created us in his image and we have great worth to him, the fact
                remains that we are fallen and corrupt, are under the Curse and
                deserve Hell.”

I won’t make that my last quotation from the book because that is the wrong place to end.  This is the right quote to end with…

                “God’s grace is greater than my sin.  But my ability to measure
                the greatness of his grace depends upon my willingness, in
                brokenness before him, to recognize the greatness of my sin.”

If God is Good is a truly amazing book.  Each one of the following chapters is worth reading and absorbing:

    I. Understanding the Problem of Evil and Suffering
    II. Understanding Evil:  Its Origins, Nature, and Consequences
    III. Problems for Non-Theists:  Moral Standards, Goodness, and Extreme Evil
    IV. Proposed Solutions to the Problem of Evil and Suffering:  Limiting
         God’s Attributes
    V.  Evil and Suffering in the Great Drama of Christ’s Redemptive Work
    VI. Divine Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice:  Accounting for
          Evil and Suffering
    VII. The Two Eternal Solutions to the Problem of Evil:  Heaven and Hell
    VIII. God’s Allowance and Restraint of Evil and Suffering
    IX. Evil and Suffering Used for God’s Glory
    X. Why Does God Allow Suffering?
    XI. Living Meaningfully in Suffering

I strongly urge you to read this book.  You will find it revealing and convincing.  My one and really only complaint with the book is that it’s too far ranging in its topics and could and should have been divided into at least two if not three smaller books.  As you can see from the chapter titles, Alcorn deals with one meaty topic after another and does an admirable job on each of them.  I just feel that it could have been more easily digested in several books instead in one nearly 500 page book.

Nevertheless, this book is a must read.

Monday, May 2, 2011

“You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide!”

“You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide!”
On September 15, 2001, President George W. Bush, standing on the rubble of the World Trade Center, rallied the American people after the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United States.  As a Presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised to go after Osama bin Laden, even in Pakistan.  Both Bush and Obama deserve some credit for finding and killing Osama bin Laden, but this wasn’t a political victory, it was a victory for America over evil.  Only cowards intentionally kill civilian men, women, and children as the Islamic terrorists do.

Ironically, it was the information obtained via the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as the waterboarding of Bin Laden’s courier, that provided the information needed to track down the terrorist and on May 1, 2011 send him to the depths of Hell.  President Obama deserves credit for having the fortitude to give the go-ahead for an operation independent of Pakistan leaders just 40 miles from Islamabad.  Had we consulted Pakistan leaders, Bin Laden most surely would have been alerted and he would have escaped.  Instead, his body now lies on the floor of the ocean.

While I’m thankful to both President Bush who executed the war on terrorism against strong political headwinds, and to President Obama for staying the course, this was an American victory.  Those who really deserve credit are those who captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the courier of Bin Laden, those who successfully interrogated him, and the Navy Seals who courageously and successfully carried out the mission.  God bless our men and women in uniform.

And let us not forget those thousands of brave young Americans who have given their lives in the war on terrorism, or those who died on 9/11 at the hands of despicable cowards.  The wives, children, mothers and fathers of those who have died on 9/11 or in battle have a loss that can never be satisfied, but their loved ones have now been avenged by death of Bin Laden. 

Let us also pause to salute the tens of thousands who volunteered after 9/11 to carry forward the war on terrorism.  They are the noblest and most courageous of our American citizens and deserve our thanks and appreciation for putting their lives on the line so that you and I can live in freedom.  They, not the politicians or bureaucrats, carry the burden of keeping America safe. 

The war on terrorism goes on and more will die because there will always be fanatics who for any number of reasons wish to rule the world and gain power over others.  Americans must remain ever vigilant and on guard so that our nation does not suffer another 9/11 attack.  And the only way to do that is to hunt down terrorists wherever they are and kill them.  There is no other solution.

America now needs statesmen, not politicians, who will fulfill their Constitutional oath to protect and defend the United States of America.  It is the first and most important Constitutional responsibility of every federal officer, especially the President of the United States.  May he or she never fail us.