The way of one Primitive Baptist preacher

Mentioned in a recent video that my ex-in-laws were Primitive Baptists, so let me elaborate a bit so people have a better idea of what I’m getting at here. My ex-father-in-law was a preacher (as well as owning his own bricklaying company and before that being a chicken farmer when his kids were young) and he came up in a Primitive Baptist family who all lived near one another in the same county, not too far off from where my own lived (my ex-in-laws lived for many years right directly next door to one of my Grandma’s sisters, coincidentally, years before I met my ex). I mentioned that my ex-father-in-law was a harsh man who took his position as the male leader of the family too far and wound up being very abusive to all of his kids and his wife, finally resulting in his wife divorcing him after approximately 24 years of marriage (when my ex was about 14, which is what freed him up to attend public school beginning in the 9th grade, the kids having all been home-schooled while the parents were together, with only one exception who paid for his own attendance at a local private school for his last couple of years).

My ex-father-in-law for many years now has been running a column in their local newspaper where he preaches his brand of fire and brimstone. I’ve noticed a little while back that he now also has a website with his sermons uploaded. I recall reading more than a few columns of his that were outright vitriolic against homosexuals (he completely and utterly detests and condemns them and states it loud and proud any chance he gets), but he’s a very judgmental man who takes issue with damn-near everything. When it comes to females, he and his family firmly believe women should never wear pants or shorts and must always wear skirts of long length. The mother is expected to only be a caretaker of the home and kids and vegetable garden, forbidden to work outside of it. Children must be home-schooled (as mentioned above) since they consider the rest of society to be filled with dangerous sinners, and religious education occurred every single day and ALL DAY on Sundays.

[And for the record, I’m not even opposed to home-schooling. Just didn’t care for how all they did it, though all 5 kids received educations superior to the rest of us attending the public or private local schools. Even though their mother only had a high school diploma, she did a good job there — I give her that. My ex-husband came up with familiarity with classic literature and understood human anatomy well enough that he was granted admittance into a rural medical scholarship program as a teen. Out of 5 kids, 4 attended college and I believe 3 completed their bachelor’s degrees. Though they obviously did grow up in a very insular environment, surrounded by relatives and cousins, except where they participated in local sports.]

When I speak of this man being abusive to his family, I am referring to excessive control and psychological mistreatment and bouts of violence. For example, choking out one of his sons out as a teenager. Another example that was mentioned in the divorce papers (which I read while dating my ex) was continuing to whip his adult daughters with belts when they’d return home for visits while attending college. My ex was particularly traumatized by events that he witnessed, he being the youngest of the kids, such as his father mistreating his mother and almost running her over with a vehicle on one occasion. We’re not talking mild or vague abuse here, and all of his kids (last I knew) and his ex-wife turned their backs on him and moved away (and all were seriously impacted as adults when I met them, having since abandoned the denomination they grew up with). By the time I met my ex-husband (when I was 17 and he was a senior in high school), he had converted to atheism/agnosticism and never again returned to Christianity (though he remained extremely knowledgeable of the bible and could quote scripture and explain verses in a way I found fascinating and illuminating).

To give a small taste of who my ex-father-in-law was, I’ll transcribe a portion of one of his columns that was printed in the local newspaper in 2013:

Some of you are so ignorant as to suppose that because you have not bowed to a statue of a heathen “deity” that you are not an idolater. But go read Colossians 3:5 and you will see that covetousness is idolatry. If you have something or someone that you love more than God, you are an idolater. Some of you have made money your god. Some of you have made pleasure your god. Some of you have made your base lusts your god. Some of you have made your children your god. Some of you have your religion your god. Ultimately, a lost man worships himself. You are not saved, because you have never turned from your idols to serve the living and true God.

Now God’s word is clear. “Idolaters… shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8). Dear reader, unless you turn this moment from your idols, and turn to God, you will spend eternity where the fire is not quenched, and the worm never dies. Sinner, turn or burn!

The man pretty much considers damn-near anything and everything a sin too. VERY hard for anyone (outside of his parents and certain relatives perhaps) to escape his condemnation. Very insular thinking. And he preaches to a congregation mostly made up of his own extended family these days (or at least last I knew).

In his view, divorce is completely unacceptable, even when exposed to cruel and unrelenting abuse. I noticed when I checked Wikipedia’s page on Primitive Baptists it didn’t go into much detail, and I assume that the extremes can and do differ depending on particular groups’ and individuals’ interpretations of scripture and whatever else, as is the case all across all denominations of Christianity. So this man represents only one small clan in rural Mississippi that I came to be exposed to.

But I offer this information just to help flesh out the points I’m aiming to make, one of which is that there are patriarchal setups still alive and well. They do exist and have for a long, long time. If you asked my ex-father-in-law if he considers himself a patriarch, he will unequivocally say “yes.” To him and his people, it is the proper order, because they deem men as closest to God, then women, then children. That is how they structure their own community and lives, and it’s what they preach as right and proper for all others as well. So this is not simply a myth fabricated by feminists, even as feminists have tended to blow it all out of proportion. For the record.

And I may have actually written about this man on here before, but ah well. Felt like adding a bit more. He appears to have mellowed out a good bit in recent years, so that’s positive at least.

“HYPERGAMY VS MGTOW”

An interesting take on the MGTOW “movement,” claims of “hypergamy,” and a breakdown of the positions of men in our modern society:

That video was created by Sarge willie Pete.

“American Psychosis (written by Chris Hedges)”

Devchelle2 read a portion of Chris Hedges’ book Empire of Illusions: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle that I just have to store here and share elsewhere with others:

I’ve been a big fan of Chris Hedges’ work for several years now and own (and have completely read) the book mentioned above, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (can’t recommend that one highly enough), I Don’t Believe in Atheists, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (very important read), and Losing Moses on the Freeway. I also have his book Collateral Damage in my collection but haven’t completed it thus far. VERY good author whose experience as a war correspondent provides such amazing insight, not to mention the clarity he brings to making sense of America’s social and political predicament.

And the man who made that video above deserves recognition for his awesomeness in helping get the word out. Very inspiring.

“Four Horsemen” film

Today’s documentary offering, “Four Horsemen”:

I do have several quibbles with the content of this film, but I listened to it and offer it up as food for thought for others. Plenty of parts I appreciated, but we each have to approach this kind of information critically. Often I find myself in agreement with the portrayal of problems but take issue with the proposed solutions (same held true with the last “Zeitgeist” film).

Wisdom and ideas passed along by Professor Anton

“Stoic Virtues (Ancient & Modern)”:

Rewatching this one today: “Spiritual (Existential) Suffering”:

“The Future of Freedom (the past that will-have-been)”:

“Perception, Conception, Interpretation (Royce)”:

“Books & Thinking for Oneself”:

“The Convenience of Thinking for Oneself”:

“Is THIS Freedom?”

Today’s video by Eric Orwoll:

Right on. I dig where he’s coming from with this one.

Spartan Life Coach: Women have a “sexuality”, men have a “sex drive”

A very good explanation from Spartan Life Coach on women’s “sexuality” and men’s “sex drive”:

He explains this difference between the sexes very well and his words jibe with my own experiences and assessment. Though I too possess a fairly high sex drive and assertive “hunting” inclinations that have allowed me to generally relate to males to an extent on that level, distinct differences exist in the psychologies we bring to the table, and unavoidably so.

** Update years onward: Richie (a.k.a. Spartan Life Coach) made some good points at times on his channel. But by mid-2014 I came to realize his channel was going off the rails in its quest to label damn-near everything narcissism. So I eventually quit watching and subscribing. Back when I was a subscriber to his channel I did try out one of his package offerings that you pay for so as to gain more in-depth information, and I found it severely lacking of content that wasn’t already publicly (and freely) addressed on his YT channel. So, with all that said, my leaving this post up on here is in no way intended to advertise nor endorse the Spartan Life Coach channel. Buyer beware.

What is patriarchy?

It refers to a period of time ranging approximately 4,000 years so far as we’re aware, stemming back shortly before the advent of the first Abrahamic religion (Judaism). As discussed in a video clip I created several months back and will link below, once humans gained a better understanding of the process of procreation and came to track patrilines along with matrilines (matrilines are obvious due to women birthing babies, but this notion of a man’s seed factoring in came along much later, approximately 7,000 years ago), it was only a matter of time before that pendulum swung to the opposite extreme and patrilineality rose in prominence.

(Skip about 6 minutes into the video and you’ll find where that talk begins):

So what’s the significance of the focus being placed on the patriline? Well, it wound up diminishing the matriline for reasons I’m not entirely clear on since the cognatic approach had been embraced by countless cultures over thousands of years. Yet some cultures took it to this new extreme, and it just so happens those same cultures also were agrarian (agrarianism is said to have began approximately 10,000-12,000 years ago, that being the most radical change to have initially kicked this all off). Agrarianism is important here because it changed everything for humans — it gave rise to the first civilizations (and the slavery that accompanied them once greater specialization became possible), and humans learned about crop cultivation and animal husbandry and thereby became first acquainted with this idea of domestication. And all of that had a PROFOUND impact on humans’ worldviews. PROFOUND. Unprecedented.

Egyptian_Domesticated_Animals

Some of these cultures came to embrace the idea that womankind was too wild and undeserving of being leaders going forward into civilized times. Why is that? Well, because women had very different standing in all past cultures up to that point in time, and those cultures were coming to beInanna_sumerian_goddess thought of as barbaric and savage and comparably less civilized than the new orders being established. Part of the blame was cast onto womankind for what humans came to see as their predecessors being locked into basically animal existence. Some humans came to wish to strive to become above that, and the rise of civilizations promised this possibility, so they aimed to separate themselves from that past through demonization of it (as is all-too-common in the rise of the Abrahamic religions). All we need to do is read the Bible to see that those “Pagan” rituals of old were shunned, along with free sexual expression for both women and men. Because otherwise these new societies would fall apart if men and women weren’t locked into marriages prior to the conception of children so that the patriline could be known. This was an important part of this new cultural framework.

ancient_roman_father_sonWhy? It appears to come down to maintaining this new social order people were wanting to support. They saw it as “progress” to become “civilized” by following these new civilizing religions and creating more complex societies where specialization became possible and a wider array of knowledge could be attained. But these cultures specifically granted men as suitable for the intellectual endeavors that held such potential for advancements, whereas women were relegated to sticking with the “domestic roles.” Think about that. What were domestic roles before the advent of agrarianism? Very different from what they became, that much we know. But through these new religions there arose this idea that women are either wicked or stupid, but either way needed to be controlled by men and by wider society. Because otherwise they could undermine this new way of life.

Snake_Goddess_Crete_Minoans_1600BCNow, a big problem people have with this is that it also entailed that since men were viewed as the intellectuals of the species (or at least some among them possessed that potential), it was only fitting that they held all the high positions in the religious and cultural hierarchy being created. We have to keep in mind that none of this occurred overnight and that during the transition that could have lasted thousands of years, women maintained varied levels of power throughout that time until around when Judaism arose. Then women’s power became severely restricted, and that continued on until very recent times, at least in those cultures and societies that embraced (or continue to embrace) one of the three Abrahamic religions.

What this meant was a woman could not be a Rabbi or a Pope or a Cardinal or a priest (though there had been priestesses of old from past religions and continued to be within cultures outside of the Abrahamic paradigm). The father was considered the ruler of the home and had the final say over his wife and his children (not that wives didn’t have influence, that’s granted, but this is a serious limitation to be imposed). This meant a woman’s chastity became ultimately prized to such a degree that her loss of it, Herakles_and_Telephos_greek_godseven if through being raped, led to her value being completely diminished and her family was shamed for this “bad fortune.” Did the same double-standard hold for boys or men? No. Boys don’t possess hymens to prove their virginity either way, but this comes down to women’s sexuality needing to be more strictly regulated than men’s because the whole system was hinged on this notion of what amounts to a man’s world where his offspring were known to him. A woman who’s engaged in sexual activity with others proves to be a liability in this sort of scheme, whereas not so much for a man, hence why he could have multiple wives. The major punishment that came down on men who were sexual outside of marriage pertained to them having sex with another man’s women (whether that be his wife/wives or his daughters) because that again messed up this whole system by making it impossible to keep up with which woman is carrying which man’s offspring. It was more or less seen as a property crime—the diminishing of value of another man’s property or domain.

This is essentially a “man’s world” setup—that’s just what it came to be. That doesn’t mean women were completely powerless within it, however there were major power differentials between the sexes. A woman who chose to do as she wished sexually would be severely punished, if not killed. That was not allowed. Let one do it and they’ll all think they can do it. Hence why you hear of stonings of women under Islam just based on the accusation that she was sexual with another man, no concrete evidence required. Though I’m sure other societies handled it in other ways, like through ostracizing the “offending” woman, exiling her, which could very well lead to death without the protection and provisions of one’s tribe. That’s a big deal.

zondares_sinner_before_jesus

When we look at the Bible we see the talk of “whores” and “Jezebel” and others of ill-repute, most of the focus was on women. In fact, I can’t recall a single story in the Bible that chastised a man specifically for behaving like a man-ho. There’s the admonishments for spilling one’s seed (anti-masturbation decree, likely arising from the desire to grow these communities and thereby grow their religions, making it all the more important that people produce large families) and for not coveting thy neighbor’s wife (again, going back to that property rights issue mentioned already). What else? Men are encouraged to engage in sex only with their wife/wives, yes, but where is the story of a man being stoned for having sex with a prostitute? There is the story of the men about to stone the prostitute, however.

Lilith_(John_Collier_painting)Prostitution uniquely became reviled by the Abrahamic religions and is mentioned again and again and again throughout their scriptures. In the Bible’s book of Revelations, the great downfall to come will be ushered in by the Whore of Babylon who rides upon the seven-headed beast. That’s not a coincidence — whores were seen as a real problem, destructors of the new order, tempters of men away from the “enlightened” path, a scourge needing to be annihilated, lest she unleash abominations into the world once more. Ha (Or at least that’s how some folks literally interpret these scriptures…)

It’s goofy how people think, but there it is — it’s no secret. And of course these worldviews have undergone changes over time, especially as Christianity came on the scene and then later Islam, and these Abrahamic religions grew and spread out and were introduced to all corners of the earth thanks to the imperialist ambitions of some of their followers. The Catholic Church rose in power, abused the shit out of the power, which then spawned the rise of Protestantism in response (which also coincided with the advent of the printing press, allowing people to have their own personal Bibles so that they no longer had a need to rely on Catholic Priests or other officials to speak scripture to the masses — that’s power taken into the hands of individuals and families — a major game-changer). Interesting shit.

But then what happened next? Well, scientific exploration came around and over time undermined the religious order, particularly in the Era of the Enlightenment (around the 17th century C.E.). And ever since then humans have been heading toward a new order, socially, politically, paradigmatically, technologically, economically, scientifically, spiritually—you name it. And included within the social change has been a major scrutinizing of these old gender norms. (What’s funny is Plato way back in Ancient Greece also advocated educating women with the same curricula as men, and notice how long it’s taken for that idea to come around to being taken seriously.)

It’s a whole new world in a way, though it’s built on the old world and the older world before that one, and on and on it goes. But when people today refer to patriarchy, they’re usually pointing to the customs associated with Abrahamic religions, though I do believe the term tends to be overused and misapplied and that many who use it aren’t very familiar with human history so as to realize male domination of societies hasn’t always been the norm, nor was it ever to such an extent in those societies that managed to stay free from Western influence (various aborigine and indigenous cultures demonstrated this). People tend to use the term so casually as to render it meaningless, and hence others don’t find it very accurately descriptive in many instances. But we do continue to wrestle with these ideas of old and this fixation on female sexuality and the desire to somehow regulate and control it.

ancient_orgy_sculpture

This is demonstrated by prostitution remaining criminalized, and it’s obvious in the attitudes and opinions many people express about sexually “promiscuous” women. People might not approve of a man behaving like a gigolo, but the female “whore” sparks indignation in people on a level that’s irrational. We’re talking hatred in some cases, and all you have to do is wander around the internet or pick up a book written by a Christian or listen to one of my ex-father-in-law’s sermons to figure out how much a woman’s free expression of her powers and sexuality is still despised. Not by all, and attitudes are changing, but change takes time. And in the meantime we’re still wrestling with this shit, some more than others.

That’s what patriarchy means to me at least. As always, I am a ponderer, not a teacher, so look into shit for yourselves. Feel free to chime in if you see things differently, but do try to remain civil since this blog is my personal corner of the internet.

A dialogue between Professor Corey Anton and Stefan Molyneux from 2011

A dialogue between Professor Corey Anton and Stefan Molyneux from back in 2011:

Watched it once a while back, but tonight watching it again, paying closer attention now that I’m more familiar with Stefan’s positions after having watched several of his videos over the last many months.

Pausing at 16:34, yes, Prof. Anton was getting at there what I’m wondering about too. “Why do people become so slavish to institutions?” A top-down approach will never prove sufficient, not unless the plan is to someday turn us into droids, maybe require us all to be on prescribed drugs or find ways to genetically alter future generations (good luck with such a scheme and all that can and will go wrong with it). If we’re to exist as free individual agents with autonomy and power to live productive, meaningful lives, then it really does boil down to each of us individually, because an authority can not live our lives for us, and why would we want it to? Authorities and economies cannot provide all moral guidance, and again, why would we even want them to?

Yes of course each individual is molded by the culture(s) they are raised in and who they’re raised by and all the institutions and other external factors that shape reality as we experience it. And that’s where we run into the problem of the paradox: people are not strictly individuals nor strictly members of a collective. We are both, inescapably. It cannot be helped.

The libertarian argument has been augmented to suit modern economics and all talk of rugged individualists successfully striving for the top is a rarity-turned-myth promoted by this new narrative. It’s a fantasy that will remain very far from reality for most. This idea of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is overplayed but useful in shifting all responsibility onto individuals, furthering this trendy belief that all the power lies within our own selves and there’s no one to blame but oneself. It’s an oversimplification, to say the least.

Stefan does not argue along that line and clearly does acknowledge educational and social influences, but he steps in another hole that plenty of “anarcho-capitalist” atheists step in, which is placing so much emphasis on the ‘science’ end of things without paying much attention to the history of how humans have behaved socially. We are not merely bags of bones, flesh and DNA — we are hugely defined by our relationships with one another, but we also have these inner lives and drives created through who we are (as is always evolving, but beginning with our core personality traits) meeting with our environment and all entities and people in it, both directly and indirectly. In short, we’re complex creatures with complex needs and a complex history. For some to assume that human nature can be rather easily molded to fit the latest ideology is a scary proposition, and I don’t see how this might be grandly accomplished except through some method of compulsion. This logic is premised on the notion that humans are significantly malleable while maintaining sane states of mind. I do not agree with that assumption. Look around and ponder it.

What Stefan is proposing is a theory that we have no way of knowing if it’ll prove successful, and the odds look to be against it on several levels, particularly when it comes to thinking people only behave violently because we are taught by authority figures to do so. That’s simply not true, and in the absence of any form of government providing some level of protection and redress for aggrieved persons, it’s going to be a painful lesson to contend with. Think corporations are going to come to our rescue? Would we even want that?

But what I think Professor Anton is getting at is us striving against some of our base-level motivations and drives and transcending them so as to become the moral beings we wish to be is the only way one truly becomes moral, because morality isn’t a top-down affair, at least not beyond superficial appearances. As much as culture and environment influences each individual, it ultimately winds up coming down to each individual’s striving.

Stefan differs from this in that he seems to believe a societal overhaul along with the creation of a new culture (somehow — that part’s never clearly explained, leaving us to wonder how the chicken will manage to come before the egg?) will impel people to do what is in the best interest of this new setup. His reasoning for this seems to be that it would be the rational thing for people to support — but how often are people all that rational is what I want to know? We have an entire history of acting irrationally on plenty of levels. In fact, it can be said that humans have never acted all that rational. But now, apparently, we’re ready to become rational. Why? Because we’re capable of reasoning and therefore should be able to assess what’s within our collective long-term best interest. This notion is predicated on the idea that we humans just keep evolving to become better and better, or at least we possess the potential to be so. And to an extent I agree — the potential does exist, potentially. Stefan’s argument seems to be hinged on this, plus the idea that people will opt for a 100% non-violent society. But on that latter point I couldn’t disagree more.

One reason being that if all others choose non-violence as their response, it leaves those with the willingness to act aggressively or violently with an advantage. They will do what the rest refuse to do — they will go on the physical offense. And believe you me, that will occur. It will always occur. We can adopt defensive strategies for dealing with it, but a non-violent strategy will render folks sitting ducks. And that’s fine if one wishes to abide by a pacifist code of ethics — go for it, but don’t expect everybody to go for it.

And I’m not sure we’d want a completely non-violent society anyway. We’re aggressive beings at times, and it’s so far proven the only effective way of handling certain disputes and violations. Stefan’s concept of non-violence extends so far as to include all coercion and force. Can there be a way to hold a person against their will without the use of force? Because they will resist with force. We’re active, physical creatures — this must be accepted. It is who and what we are at the core, and I can’t think of any way to transcend this if we are to continue to care about protecting ourselves and others (which we very much do care about).

In another video by Stefan he talks about all money being basically on debit cards where a bank or whoever, in response to a violation, has the ability to simply cut off one’s access. Now, I have trouble seeing this as much better than the use of force. We’re talking about a State-less society here so I’m unsure who decides and enforces the laws in this sort of setup (well, obviously it’s major corporations and banks, as he eludes to), but whoever or whatever does wields an awful lot of power, more than any entity really does today. Because there he’s envisioning all money going digital and all purchases requiring some sort of card or chip, all of this taking place within a corporate wonderland. Those with the power to control access to money control everything. They control all of society and nothing really stops them from coercing us, especially not if we’re all set on remaining non-violent.

Ya’ll tell me, how does the logic go here? How might people maintain power to keep mammoth corporations in check in the absence of any form of government? Some major corporations today are already proving more powerful than nation-states, and we’re seeing what they’re driven to do.

I must agree with Prof. Anton that it seems that logic is predicated on some sort of Social Darwinist theory, which is potentially dangerous. This is where all talk of evolution winds up troubling me a bit, because the reality is, counter to what some folks like to believe, that how we best adapt to a given environment doesn’t always turn out to be in humanity’s long-term survival interests. We’re not just ascending ever higher and higher, even though it appears right now our technology indeed is.

To be returned to at a later date…

Shifts Happen

A recording from June 2013 that explains a bit more on my current outlook: