Country Living Series

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A rebuttal to the rebuttal

In response to the avalanche sparked by the rebuttal to my homeschool socialization column, my husband wrote the following.
___________________________

Well. Patrice's last WND column certainly created a (small) firestorm. Personally, I saw nothing wrong with any of it, up to and including the "weekly afternoon freak show" comment. I suppose this puts me deeply in the offensive column.

Now putting aside that the main points of the article were completely ignored so that the respondent could immediately get to the ubiquitously liberal "I'm offended" stage, the whole of the respondent’s arguments were either illogical, superficial or ultimately un-provable. It's always easy to make debate points based on anecdotal examples. I'm certain there are prize-winning physicists out there with the AC-DC logos tattooed on their foreheads and fine upstanding churchgoers who attend service in spandex leotards and crotchless panties. But I'm guessing they are a serious minority.

The majority of the respondent’s comments, however, were concerned with the horrible "sin" (although I suspect that wouldn't be a term he would use, just a judgment call on my part.) of making judgments.

Well so be it.

I am heartily sick and tired of the moral relativism that has been the mental marinade we've been soaked in here in the U.S. for about fifty years. It seems that if you are of a progressive or liberal bent, you are totally free to judge those who aren't. Does anyone remember who it was that said?

"And it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Well here's a news flash. Human beings make (and must make) judgments constantly. If I'm walking down a city street and I see a group of young men on a street corner dressed as gang-bangers, I'd better make a snap decision quickly. Could my decision be wrong? Might they simply be a Christian a cappella quartet waiting for the church bus to take them to their next gig?

Sure. But probably not.

Or maybe I pass that same corner the next night and see several young women under the street lamp wearing stiletto pumps, hot pants, and tube tops. Might they be attending a Brittany Spears look-alike contest in the dilapidated building behind them? I suppose so, but the odds don't favor it.

Look. Humanity is married to symbolism. If someone's outside appearance, i.e. flag tee-shirt, death-metal headband, pants down to their uhh... firmament, or sporting facial tattoos reminiscent of Darth Maul… then it is usually meant to tell us something. Most folks who wear such clothing or body art are (proudly) showing us their affiliations, namely the things they admire and therefore wish to emulate. The baggy coat, low-rider pants, and India ink tattoos now worn by millionaire rappers got their start in prisons. Now those "artistes," many of whom are currently on parole, also wear them while singing (well maybe not exactly singing per se) about "capping" a few cops, or uh... having intimate procreative associations with underage females.

The point is that if you sleep with dogs you wake up with fleas. If you dress like a prostitute or a gang-banger or even a cowboy, you are advertising to the world that you share something in common with those sociology-types. You are asking people to judge you because you've already judged yourself.

I don't blame the high school kids my family sees in their weekly freak show. I do blame their parents. What kind of adult would want their daughters to look like they're for sale? What kind of mature human being would want their sons to appear to be small-time entrepreneurs with dime bags for easy purchase?

The Bible tells us, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Note: that is actually two statements. If it stopped with the first statement, then it would fit in well with the usually hypocritical liberal whine of "You can't judge people! Even the (meaning your) Bible says so."

Well here's another news flash. You can, you must, and you are required by God to make judgments. You do already. As living, breathing humans, we all do. And you must often make those judgments on pretty skimpy info. (See Brittany Spears or Lady Gaga.) But you must also be prepared to be judged in return because you will be. It is said that a person may be judged on the associations they keep. That is unerringly true. It is also true for the associations you advertise.

I once knew a young man (remember, my wood-working business takes we to a lot of "counter-cultural" events) with so much metal hanging from his face you'd assume he had a head-on with a scrap metal truck. He was a nice enough fellow and I enjoyed talking with him – providing I could face him in such a way as to minimize the glare. He was a student and was very upset that he was having a hard time finding summer employment. Even when he was responding to help wanted ads at service industries like restaurants and convenience stores, he couldn't seem to land a job. He was indignantly sure it was due to discrimination.

And you know what? I completely agree. It was.

I also completely agree that the owners of those businesses have every right to NOT hire 'Iron Man' if they don't chose to. Discrimination is not a bad word. It can be used that way, but we all of us discriminate – or we should. Do I put my child into the "Reformed Sex-Offenders Day School"? Don't think so. I use my discrimination to make that decision. Do I hire Bernie Madoff to do my book keeping? Nope.

Now to be sure, there are certain discrimination taboos that I do agree with. I'm not at all certain they should have been enshrined by law, but that's neither here nor there. These types of discrimination are those against God's gifts. They are not a human choice. These include the color of one's skin, a person's gender (originally only two choices), one's religious beliefs or lack there of, and so on. (And even here there is wiggle room. Should I be forced to hire an atheist for my church’s Pastor?) But what's important here is that your decision to turn yourself into an ambulatory Christmas tree or a walking pen and ink billboard is not on that list.

It is often said that stereotyping and generalizing people is wrong. What nonsense. Stereotypes and generalization can be wrong when based on ignorance and fear. But those that have their basis on empirical data are often true. It's why the words exist. And like it or not, those with solid foundations usually stand the test of time. This doesn't mean you judge someone entirely on the niche they seem eager to fill, but if they are wearing a Nazi uniform and are not at a costume party, you have my permission to assign them initially to the “dangerous nut job” category until new evidence come into play to modify that generalization.

The true problem with words like 'generalization' or 'stereotyping' is how often they are used incorrectly to justify aberrant behavior or attack those making a reasonable judgment.

“If I want to have intimate relations with kitchen appliances, who are you to judge me? Don't stereotype me, you ignorant country bumpkin!”

So practice discrimination. Make judgments based on moral and ethical values. Guard and guide your children in Godly ways. But try not to get 'offended' so often over inconsequential things. It really waters down the truly important fight we must all share against the destruction of morality, decency... and judgment.

20 comments:

  1. Obviously a lot of public school parents are going to be defensive.

    I have two quibbles.

    First is use of the Montreal case. It is hard to pin down the actual details, but it appears to be a custody case between a father who wanted the socializing , and the mother who did not. The Judge actually said that parents have every right to home school, but in this case presumably the father would have custody half the time, and did not want to home school. It is not a home school case, but your typical custody mess.

    The second quibble is the assertions of Saintliness on the part of the home schoolers. What was said may be true, but unless you can point to some actual evidence (rather than personal assertions) to this effect, I would not be so strong in my claims. I believe there are some studies that show home schoolers do well. But as a self selecting group, it makes cross comparison difficult. That is a very common problem with group studies within the social sciences.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Stuck in CaliforniaMay 15, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    Awesome rebuttal from husband of the boss!!!!I have not posted before this, but have been reading Patrice's column for a couple of months. I love the un-PCness of this blog. Both of you say the truth from your hearts. May God bless your family.

    Stuck in California

    ReplyDelete
  3. Patrice said that she welcomed input. Apparently you, her husband, do not. I believe Patrice capable of intelligent debate. I regret not being able to engage her in it.

    I read your epistle three times before deciding to respond. And truth be told, I don't particularly want to deconstruct your writings. You have every right to your opinion. As do we. Hopefully I will be able to state my case without becoming defensive; it dilutes the effectiveness of the discussion, don't you agree?

    I stand strongly against stereotypical evaluations of others based on superficial observations. I believe Jesus does, too. He touched and healed the lepers, He approached prostitutes that they should change their hearts. He loved me.

    We are to use common sense, of course, when making behavioral decisions. We ought not put ourselves or our families in harm's way, but that is a far cry from driving by a group of people and teaching our children to call them names. And while you may not actually call other people "freaks" in front of your children, it is certain that they know your heart, and thus can anticipate your attitudes. How much better to spontaneously pray for those for whom you feel disapproval? Out loud. In front of the kids. Pray for their pain, their hearts, their healing. Love them, even though they may never know that you do.

    Our charge as followers of Christ, redeemed by His shed blood, is clear. Our hearts are to be filled with compassion and mercy toward all mankind. We are to be filled with love for all His creations, no matter our prejudices and judgments.

    To be sure, a fellow cleaning his fingernails with a switchblade ought not be antagonized. But, because he is a child of God, and because Christ died for him, he deserves to be loved.

    You can certainly keep your distance out of an extra measure of caution, but it is an absolutely requirement that you love that man. Your God expects it of you. You don't have to ask him to babysit the grandchildren, but because of Jesus, you are obliged to, at the very least, give him grace. Even if it is only in your thoughts.

    And that, not some namby pamby, bleeding heart liberal philosophy, is why I stand against judging and stereotypes. Not because I feel superior, because I am not. Certainly not because I am offended in any way. As a sinner saved by grace, I have no right to be offended, save for when the Love of God, through the sacrifice of Christ, is pushed to second place, behind taking great pride in judging others. That, dear brother, is an offense of the most serious sort.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Don and Patrice,
    Much evaluation and thought has come of your response and rebuttal.

    I am sincerely and humbly apologizing for the previous posting of my chosen words of
    "Stereotyping" being a "sin", without additionally qualifying the statement I made.

    Otherwise,if I do not speak up to explain my meaning, I would fall into the hypocrite, or worse yet, a fool, if I did not also admit that I use my previous judgements all the time to guide my decisions, I make on a daily basis.

    It comes from spending most of my working life as a patient advocate and healthcare educator. I represented and assisted in the healing of persons, who were severely disfigured due to burns or traumatic wounds for many years. They not only suffer figuratively and physically, but face negative consequences of stereotypical responses when interacting with strangers or associating with unknown others.

    That is what I described in short form, when I referred to not judge a book just by it's cover. There is so much more to a person than his outer shell.

    Advocate stance is now off.
    Compare Apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
    Blogging Lesson learned.
    Either be more specific, or qualify my meaning when I post.

    notutopia

    ReplyDelete
  5. Not agreeing is ok, it's the basis of freedom....and each side has it's fine points as much as the opposite views.....I always like hearing both sides, but that's just me and my fascination with people......

    There's probably a whole segment of people out there who avoid religious types out of fear they'll get the "Convert Lecture"......as well as the groups who avoid the piercings/hooker dressers/odd types that seem to abound everywhere now a days - someone's always going to be leery of something different then themselves......

    Bottom line to all of this is getting more parents to get involved with their kids and their kids' environments....and that's never a bad thing, to begin with......Side point to this is how sad/strange/whatever it is that's going on where some young people feel they have to call so much attention to themselves, from complete strangers as well as those they know.....something's lacking somewhere.....

    ReplyDelete
  6. I follow this blog because of the information posted and the insights I can take from it in my own homesteading...not to observe quibbling.

    The fact that a differing opinion was posted to your comments and met with dual rebuttals makes me unfortunately disinterested in continuing to peruse your entries. I can see name calling and back-biting as a future undertone.

    Good luck with your project but I'm no longer a follower.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I feel like the important part that prompted all of this was lost - that personal parental choices about educating children should NOT be made illegal by the state, especially under the guise of socialization no less. We should all be fearful of that sort of state incursion.

    We should all take a step back and say all of us want to be appreciated for who we are. The same way as a country farmer/wood worker wouldn't want to be perceived as a country bumpkin (who instead might be an intelligent articulate 'husband of the boss' ;-) ) The same way as a home schooled, modestly dressed girl wouldn't want to be dismissed as un-socialized wood-lice. The best thing we all can do is take the high road - take a moment to look past those 'generation oddities' to find out if they're blessed with ethics, values, etc. (I'm not talking about putting yourself in scary situations with gangsters, but being aware of those cultural oddities and looking beyond them to know the person) The lefties are the first to try to stereo type us - let's not fall into their traps. Too many lefties to to paint the right as evil, so perhaps safely reaching out with respect and appreciation of the gifts others have will change perceptions.

    And let's not lose sight of the fact we don't want the state (and a majority of the lefty voters)to tell us how to raise our children and educate them. We have a battle to fight for this freedom. Some of this can be accomplished thru good P.R (part of which is thru this blog which is very funny, level headed etc)

    Just some thoughts, Thanks,
    ~Clare

    ReplyDelete
  8. It says right there at the top of the page in big white letters "In-your-face stuff from an opinionated rural north Idaho housewife." and that's what the readers get.....

    I wouldn't have it any other way......

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree with Clare. It's all about the Golden Rule folks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Bravo Don. And to the rest as well. Great perspectives and amazingly civil discourse.

    Adios Min, don't forget to delete the bookmark from your favorites.

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  11. We saw nothing wrong with Patrice's homeschool socialization column, either. In fact, we sent a link to your blog to everyone on our address list. We know we'll get back many replies saying "Amen!", "We couldn't agree MORE!" and so forth. Of COURSE liberals who read the column were offended. Their purpose is to disrupt, destroy and denounce any and all morality coming from God and His Word. Explaining our intentions and beliefs to liberals is simply "casting our pearls before swine."

    Do you think the hypocrites of Christ's time weren't offended by His words? They were greatly offended and eventually killed Him! Trying to reason with people like that is a complete waste of time, because they are not reasonable people. They would rather spend eternity in Hell than obey God. They would rather see their businesses and lives go down the drain than admit they could be wrong. They truly are insane. (Extremely arrogant, as well.)

    As for making judgments and judging others, you are so correct in that liberals do this every day, but as hypocrites and liars they point their fingers at everyone who doesn't agree with them and accuse THEM of making judgments! The Bible tells us to teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16), meaning as Christians we should admonish (or judge) each other when we see a brother or sister stumble. Those with no morality who live by pride and vanity rather than God's rules don't want anyone passing judgment on them. But disagreeing with the way someone acts, talks or looks is NOT judging them, it's simply giving an opinion that we disagree, THE SAME AS THEY DO TO US! If they can dish it out, which they do in spades, then by golly they'd best learn to take it in return!

    We know that if you sleep with dogs you wake up with fleas. And if you dress like a prostitute or a gang-banger or even a cowboy, you are advertising to the world that you share something in common with those sociology-types. Liberals know this, too! Their way of thinking has been around for thousands of years. They're stubbornly and defiantly foolish, but we try to help them just the same. We try to get them to see the Light, because, unlike them, we truly care.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am a bit curious when socialization and not education was the point of schools? During the 1800's and early 1900's many folks lived on homesteads and or small towns, folks that made it through High School really accomplished something and it wasn't just validation for showing up everyday! Funny it did not destroy this country, that so many poorly socialized and educated folks became a success. Like Abe Lincoln or Thomas Edison. Thank God are Modern Education system stopped that kind of nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My kids went to public school and parochial school. Dress codes very different in both, behaviors at both schools very different. The choice to home school or not seems the same as the choice of public school or private school.

    It is up to the parent to guide their child in whatever setting they are schooled in. Then you hope that whatever morals and values you gave them survives they keep at they attend college and enter the work force.

    As for the "socialization" idea that public school is supposed to be-last I knew home school kids got together with other kids by joining town sports and Boy and Girls Scouts and 4-H Clubs--those are where socialization is supposed to occur. Schools are supposed to be for education, at least that is what I thought.

    As for the "Freak Show" you see when you drive by the local High School, that is the result of peer pressure and what the local Mall sells and the parents buy.
    But, I will say, while I am conservative on some things, when I turned 40 my daughter and I got tattoos together(she was 20 at the time), why did I do that? freedom of choice, but they are low profile, and when I got my second one, it was also low profile. Unlike the boy your husband talked to who was full of metal, my kids understand that extreme body art can affect their job prospects.

    Oh, and good luck in getting your wheat field plowed-we have been having the same weather and haven't been able to get our garden in yet either-only plowed it about 2 weeks ago, and then it was under water again.

    Just A Mom

    ReplyDelete
  14. Amen, Don! Great job, Patrice!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love your writing, Husband of the Boss! Very interesting response with a little humor thrown in.

    Jesus DOES say, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," but one has to look at the various ways that the word judge is used in the Bible. In this particular passage, the Hebrew means to condemn as in the act of sending to Hell. Only God has the power to condemn so we are not to even attempt to condemn someone to Hell. But other uses of the word "judge" in the Bible mean "to discern between" and we are admonished to do that daily. ALL people practice discernment whether they wish to admit it or not. When we open the refrigerator and see a jar of picante sauce with a bit of mold on it, we 'discern' that it isn't a likely candidate to eat. Those with no discernment would eat it anyway and get food poisoning. Discernment is a safety switch for us in the physical and the spiritual.

    When it comes to our children, we had BETTER be discerning. If we aren't, then we place our children in dangerous situtations whether the danger be physical, mental or spiritual. We are told in scripture that we are to judge (discern) the fruit of others when discerning our relationships with them. Fruit does not just mean whether they are feeding the poor or not. It means to discern how they are taking care of themselves, how they present themselves to others, how they treat others and what they think is important. It is just a-ok to make distinctions to our children about these fruits in order to "train them up in the way that they should go" (Proverbs)

    We are told to be "IN the world but not OF the world" by Paul and that very statement says that we are to discern what is OF the world. Jesus tells us in John that we are to be no more OF the world than He is. Too many people, especially Christians, are afraid to separate themselves from being like the world because of the ridicule, finger-pointing and persecution it may entail. But if we really trust who God is and that He does exactly what He says, we don't worry about that. I admire any family that takes its job of parenting so seriously that they endure the jabs of the world to continue parenting under God's guidance.

    Just as there are really bad teachers in really bad schools, there are parents who do not do their best at home schooling. It all boils down to honoring God. There are home school parents who are not home schooling because they are following God's guidance and direction. They are few, but they do exist. However, when you see a parent who is teaching their child to be discerning in God, all the arithmatic in the world can't take the place of that teaching. God doesn't care if we can do algebra or diagrams. He cares about whether we trust Him, honor Him and place Him first in all we do. A PHD doesn't give that discernment. Only the Bible and the Holy Spirit does.

    So I say, "socialization" has nothing to do with hanging out with other people. Socialization has to do with a relationship with God that will then bring other people of God to you with whom to socialize. Keep up that socializing with the Father and "all these things will be added unto you!" :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. The first two verses of Matthew Chapter 7 are frequently used by liberals in order to ridicule others and to attempt to stop individuals with Biblical based moral values from speaking forth about social issues. It has been my experience, by observation, that people who deem themselves Christians often use these two verses against others without studying or knowing the entire Bible.

    “Judge not, that you may not be judged. For with the same judgment that you judge, you will be judged, and with the same measure with which you measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7: 1-2

    The same Chapter of Matthew states the following in verses 13-20:
    “Enter in through the narrow door, for wide is the door and broad is the road which leads to destruction, and many are those who travel on it. Oh how narrow is the door and how difficult is the road which leads to life, and few are those who are found on it. Be careful of false prophets who come to you in lamb’s clothing, but within they are ravening wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do they gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? So every good tree bears good fruit; but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit neither can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree which does not bear good fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire. Thus by their fruit you will know them.”

    It is apparent that by “using” excerpted verses from the Bible in order to stifle truth the far left has gained a strong foothold in destroying our nation. The Bible must be read and its entirety considered as “the principles and guidelines of God.” Hence, there is much about wearing apparel, appropriate dress, manners, decency, and body abuse that is found in different books of the Bible.

    Matthew 7: 21 states, “It is not everyone who merely says to me, My Lord, my Lord, who will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

    To know the will of the Father one must know the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. It is not sufficient to simply know a verse or two and use them “against” others. The will of the Father includes all of God’s teachings and principles – not those we decide fit our lifestyle.

    2 Timothy 3: 1-5
    “Know this, that in the last days disastrous times will come. And men shall be lovers of themselves and lovers of money, proud, conceited, blasphemers, disobedient to their own people, ungrateful, wicked, false accusers, addicts to lust, brutal, haters of good things, traitors, hasty, boasters, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but far from the power of God; from such turn away.”

    And to further clarify this point:
    1 Corinthians 6: 9-10
    “Do you not know that the wicked shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not misled; neither the immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor the corrupt nor men who lie with males, nor extortioners nor thieves nor drunkards nor railers nor defrauders shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

    I have posted this only because so many rebuttals of Patrice’s wonderful article used the Bible as their source without contemplating it in its entirety. It is wonderful to quote scripture but we all must be careful that we do not use it as a weapon to prove an ungodly viewpoint, if we profess to be believers of the Word of God.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think that for the most part we're talking about first impressions. For example, most people who have all sorts of tattoos and piercings seem very scary. Yet several of the guys I've talked to have been very bright and articulate. One of them, Matt, works at a bike shop--as in bicycles not motorcyles--and he has these three XXX on his fingers. He said they're for no cigarettes, no alcohol and no drugs. I asked him, "Oh, are you in NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or something?" And I was very surprised when he said that it meant he never smoked, drank or did drugs and he wasn't planning to. I was shocked because as I got to know Matt, I realized he's actually a bit nerdy. =D

    My first impression of him with all of his tattoos was less than favorable. That's judging him and then because I am a smart person I was able to change my mind. Don't these people who are all upset realize that it is a normal part of human nature. It's almost a protective instinct telling you that this other being is different and MIGHT be dangerous. It's up to you to use the brain that the Gods gave you to explore and find out if that being is indeed a friend or foe. Our initial impressions don't have to be set in stone the way some of these people are implying.

    ReplyDelete
  18. For The Love Of AlpacasMay 16, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    Amen Don and Patrice! Thanks for saying it like it is. I enjoy your blog and I find it a great pleasure to have the opportunity to know there is others like myself out there too that aren't afraid to call it like "it is". Blessings to you and your family and please continue with your great site! I stand with you....

    For the Love of Alpacas!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I believe much of the disagreement comes from a misunderstanding. When I read Patrice's article, I did not see her or her daughters calling the children freaks. I read it to mean they are allowed to dress in an inappropriate way.

    The thing is, these children purposely dress this way. They want to portray themselves as something in the way they dress. The parents should be teaching them in this instance to think about what persona they portray to the world, and how this may effect them now and in the future. If a person covers themselves from head to toe with tattoos or piercings, they want this to be noticed. They want to be seen. The same with girls who wear clothes that are way too revealing. The problem is, more often than not the children who dress in these ways do not have a parent to explain to them how this hurts them.
    This is not to say that a child will never do something rebellious if you are a good enough parent. Good parents have children that do not heed their lessons. My point is that parents should take the time to explain why the way many teenagers dress is harmful. It sounds to me as if Patrice has explained this to her daughters and they have taken the lesson to heart.

    ReplyDelete