The conversation:

I feel so frustrated by American parenting today. When I look around me at the playground, the local Food Coop or 7th Avenue to see how other parents are raising their children, I am sickened by the total indulgence, lack of affection between parents, and general dog-wagging-the-tail…

I see you as the anti-attachment parent. You practice… detachment parenting. I agree with your belief in the importance of marital intimacy to family harmony. If children do not witness loving and sexual parents in the home, they will have no idea how to enter into healthy and loving relationships as adults. But in so many of the relationships I see, the children are the center of the family. Parents seldom go out alone or vacation alone, the sex life is nonexistent and by the time they begin to get it back they feel social pressure to have another baby – which only puts it on hold for another few years. Men look at online porn; women watch America’s Next Top Model, eat Ben & Jerry’s, and nurse chardonnays for the intimacy they’re no longer getting in their marriages.

I do not think, as you say, that “teenaged sexual activity . . . robs them of their childhood and precious innocence.” I think much depends on the age of the adolescent and the relationship. Two seventeen-year-olds in a respectful, committed relationship may be more capable of lovemaking than two drunken twentysomethings who just met at a bar. And if a teenaged girl is lucky enough to have a committed partner who cares about her pleasure, she will compare future lovers to that first, attentive one, knowing that a man who doesn’t care about her pleasure isn’t worth it. Your categorical insistence on abstinence in teenaged years is naïve, out of touch, and will only encourage children to hide their activities from their parents instead of ask advice on such matters as birth control and STD production, advice they desperately need.

Response:

The reason why parents cannot enforce discipline among their children today is three-fold. The first is physical exhaustion. Since we define success today primarily through our professional endeavors, that is where we exert out energy. There is very little of us left by the time we come home. And it is easier to give in to our kids and let them do their own thing then lay down the law. The second is guilt. So many parents do not give their children the attention they need. So they give in to them as a way of compensating for their neglect. The third is the most interesting of all. In an age where so many parents have bad marriages, they depend on their children as their principal source of affection.

Now, would you punish or alienate your only source of love?

…disagree profusely with your comments on teen sexuality. Indeed, research suggests that there is even a direct link between teen sexuality and teen depression. A study by the Heritage Foundation, in-turn based on the government-funded National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, found that about 25 percent of sexually active girls say they are depressed all, most or a lot of the time, while only 8 percent of girls who are not sexually active feel the same.

While 14 percent of girls who have had intercourse have attempted suicide, only 5 percent of sexually inactive girls have. And whereas 6 percent of sexually active boys have tried suicide, less than 1 percent of sexually inactive boys have. The report challenges the previously held notion that teens become sexually active in order to self-medicate their own depressions.

“Findings from the study show depression came after substance and sexual activity, not the other way around,” says researcher Denise Dion Hallfors of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, analyzed data from a national survey of more than 13,000 teenagers in grades seven to 11.

Pretty tragic, huh, that it takes children slashing their wrists or sinking into a morbidly dark depression to awaken parents to the dangers of children engaging in activities that should be reserved exclusively for adults, and married ones at that.

Many parents mistakenly believe that the first job of a parent is to love their child, when really the primary responsibility of a parent is to protect their child from harm. You can’t love that which is no longer extant. An object of love that is destroyed will forever remain unloved.

Thus, prior to loving your child, prior to teaching your child, prior to even to feeding your child, your first objective is to protect your child. Your role as guardian comes before any other. A parent who allows harm to come to his or her child is a parent who has been delinquent in the very fundamentals of child rearing.

Most parents believe that protection involves guarding children from physical harm. You lock the door at night so that your kids won’t be injured by robbers. You drop them off at school so that they won’t be abducted by kidnappers. You teach them how to cross the street safely so that they won’t be hit by cars.

But protecting your children from external dangers is minuscule compared to the task of safeguarding them from absorbing influences that will corrupt them from the inside, and it is much easier to recover from physical scars than from their emotional equivalents.

Healthy parenting involves the dual role of nurturer, on the one hand, and protector on the other…

Read it all, here.

From the SC&A mailbag:

Hello,

My name is…, and I actually read a previous post on your blog from 3/22/2006 entitled “Why I Hate Islam.” I appreciated the story about your Muslim friend, who understands that Islam has been stripped away by ignorant, power-hungry, despotic lunatics. I agree that it has. I agree that Islam has been tarnished and is hiding under layers of crap that years of heinous ignorance and brutality and gosh, I don’t even know how to describe all the crap. But the only thing that I disagree with is your statement about hating Islam. Maybe you don’t hate Islam. Maybe you hate Muslims. I am Muslim. And I love Islam. I love what it really is, because I understand it, and I am not victim to the cultural garbage that other Arabs, South Asians, etc. are. So I think that maybe the better phrase is “I Hate Muslims Who Don’t Act According to Islam” or just to be simple “I Hate Stupid Muslims.” Because if you love your friend who is Muslim, and he is a practicing Muslim, then you don’t hate Islam. You hate how people corrupt Islam. Maybe that’s a good title too…”I Hate Muslims Who Corrupt Islam.” Anyway, I just wanted to share that, because at first, I thought I was going to be offended by your post, but when I read it, I agreed with you. There are TONS of Muslims, especially here in the US who hate what’s going on all over the world with Muslim extremists and idiots. And as our numbers grow, our voices will get louder and hopefully we’ll drown out the idiots. We are currently battling a formidible foe from the inside. Ignorance is one of the hardest battles to win. Education takes a few generations. Thanks for listening. :)

Our reader wrote again:

Hello,

I just read your blog entry from December 11, 2006 “How Deep Is the Well?” where you so incredibly hit the target….

Firstly, historical Islam is not the problem.

Blaming Islam for the violence we see today is like blaming Christianity for the Crusades (most of the damage and mayhem was committed in Europe, before the Crusaders even got to the Levant), or blaming the Holy See for the centuries of repression and machinations that enriched corrupt clergy and kept the European feudal system in business.

The truth is that religious dysfunction and expression comes about as the result of dysfunctional religious leaders. When religion and religious ideologies are allowed to be the purview of dysfunctional ideologues, the result is a dysfunctional expression of faith. When that perverted expression of religious faith is allowed a voice in the political process, by design or by accident, the result can be seen on the spiraling decline of virtually every dysfunctional Arab regime into even more dysfunction.

The same can be said for much of the Arab and Islamic cultures we see today. Those cultures in no way shape or form, resembles historical Arab culture. What passes for Islam and Arab culture today, does not even remotely resemble earlier iterations of those societies. What we see today are the results of decades of dysfunction, neglect and oppression by dysfunctional Arab political and religious leaders.

This is such an amazing analysis, and I really appreciate it. I really really do. Thanks for your insight and wisdom.

Take care

Larwyn pointed us to Dean Esmay, who has had his discussion on Islam sidetracked somewhat by a ‘line in the sand‘ or an ‘litmus test‘ that was issued to posters and readers who choose to comment.

Inevitably, he was taken to task/supported by some.

Dan Riehl has a very cogent take on the ‘disturbance in the blogosphere.’ In The Islamophobe Debate, he notes that

At outset, I’ll add that I think this is one of those nuanced debates in which all nuance gets lost. And both Dean and his opponents end up hurting the entire Right…

There are billions of Muslims living in the world, no small number of them happily living in secular states. At the same time, there is undoubtedly a significant movement within the religion which would prefer to live under sharia law.

Right now many of us suffer from a similar problem which even still occurs as regards Blacks in America. The news coverage focuses on the criminal or poor elements of Black America so much, it becomes easy to lose sight that the vast majority of Black America has long ago left the ghetto behind and is working its way up the economic ladder, just like the rest of America.

Denouncing a religion practiced by billions as a failed religion in need of, I assume, destruction, is a recipe for disaster, one I would hope very few actually embrace. At the same time, pretending that significant elements of said religion, some domestic, at that, aren’t determined to destroy our secular democracy would be another disastrous mistake. And it’s more likely loose language around a complex debate fueling more of the current debate than anything else.

Dan is right on the money. There needs to be clear an cogent distinctions between radical Muslims and those who reject that kind of ideology. There is also a need for non Muslims to understand that much of what we regard as radical- and even not so radical- Islam today, has been created, nurtured and even bought and paid for by some of the most dysfunctional and oppressive regimes the world has ever seen. The assault on Islam by radical factions that has been created for the sole purpose of supporting the agendas and ideologies of dysfunctional regimes. That assault has been relentless. Long established mosques throughout the US, Canada and Europe have been taken over by radicals, most often funded by dysfunctional regimes. Long standing second and third generation members have been shunted aside as new and radical and hateful ideologies. These are realities moderate Muslims face, every day.

In painting Islam with one brush, we are doing ourselves no favors and in fact, are making no friends. Is it any wonder that poll after poll indicates that young Muslims are attracted to the more radical expressions of their faith? In Europe, those polls indicate a reversal of the trend of Muslim assimilation.

Of course, it bears repeating that radical ideologues are only too delighted to present themselves as ‘victims’ too, but in the end, their words and and actions betray them. These ideologues prey on moderate Muslims as much as they target western values. As Esmay notes, Islam is indeed compatible with western notions of freedom and democracy.

Distinguishing between the more radical and moderate Muslims is not difficult. In the same way that Dean Esmay’s line in the sand isn’t the only line that can be drawn.

We have noted many times that

When nations that are that are led by or are under the influence of tyrants or dictators, attempt to justify those actions or ideologies, we can rightly assume that justification is false. Tyrants and dictators do not make moral choices, because moral choices can only lead to the demise of the tyranny.

Anyone that comes to the defense of tyrannical regimes, their ideologies and their leaders, have themselves made a conscious choice to defend and stand by what is immoral. They themselves consciously adopt an immoral posture.

The following is the post that inspired our correspondent to write:

As the Holocaust Conference in Iran gets underway, very few of mainstream media outlets reported that David Duke was scheduled to deliver a keynote address.

Suppose David Duke, former Louisiana Grand Wizard of the Knights of Ku Klux Klan, were to be a keynote speaker at a conference on denying the shame of slavery and race relations in the United States. Do you suppose that MSM would cover the event as ‘news’? Do you suppose that David Duke’s presence would be on the front page?

The MSM are of course, reporting on the conference itself. They are reporting on the conference as if it were news, duly noting western condemnation of course, but reporting from the conference as if it were a compelling and legitimate news event. What is it about this ‘Holocaust Conference,’ hosted by a nation with an atrocious record of human rights and a well documented record of religious persecution, that the MSM finds worthy of serious coverage? Why are the MSM behaving in this way?

To understand, we need to understand. When we are talking about the Middle East and the dysfunctional, oppressive, totalitarian and tyrannical regimes there, it bears remembering a few realities.

Firstly, historical Islam is not the problem.

Blaming Islam for the violence we see today is like blaming Christianity for the Crusades (most of the damage and mayhem was committed in Europe, before the Crusaders even got to the Levant), or blaming the Holy See for the centuries of repression and machinations that enriched corrupt clergy and kept the European feudal system in business.

The truth is that religious dysfunction and expression comes about as the result of dysfunctional religious leaders. When religion and religious ideologies are allowed to be the purview of dysfunctional ideologues, the result is a dysfunctional expression of faith. When that perverted expression of religious faith is allowed a voice in the political process, by design or by accident, the result can be seen on the spiraling decline of virtually every dysfunctional Arab regime into even more dysfunction.

The same can be said for much of the Arab and Islamic cultures we see today. Those cultures in no way shape or form, resembles historical Arab culture. What passes for Islam and Arab culture today, does not even remotely resemble earlier iterations of those societies. What we see today are the results of decades of dysfunction, neglect and oppression by dysfunctional Arab political and religious leaders. Dr Sanity noted in When Karl Met Sigmund that

Simply put, totalitarian systems–whether from the left or the right… whether religious or secular… actively promote the most negative, primitive, and immature aspects of human nature. In fact, they give a societal/institutional blessing to such behavior; and thrive on the resulting projection, paranoia, distortion, and denial of reality. [emp-SC&A]

One of the accepted hallmarks of civilized society is an accepted code of moral behavior. No matter one’s prejudices, biases or beliefs, we are all expected to behave in a certain way. We are all expected to treat others, regardless of their religion, culture or creed, in the same way we ourselves expect to be treated. If that accepted code of moral behavior is not present in a particular society, that society cannot be counted as civilized.

It is also true that free civilized societies do not make war on other free civilized societies, nor do threaten each other with violence. When the internal behavior of a society cannot be clearly categorized as civilized, it is safe to say that nation will not behave in a civilized way toward other nations or groups.

What we are witnessing today is the out of control and barbaric behaviors of whole societies that have been infected with ideologies that encourage and demand dysfunctional behaviors. By design, these behaviors are meant to intimidate and threaten. We shouldn’t be surprised, of course. Western media and leftist ideology created the stage where that kind of behavior was perfectly acceptable.

The very thought of someone with a venereal disease deliberately engaging in unprotected sex and other risky behaviors outrages us. We demand that persons that are in a position to cause harm control themselves and their behaviors. Nevertheless, we make no such demands of those infected with HIV/AIDS. The very politically correct and progressives are not demanding abstinence and responsible behavior-they are demanding a cure which may be decades away. Notwithstanding that truth, millions of people will become infected with HIV/AIDS because no one- including the very opinionated MSM- is demanding responsible behavior. Demanding responsible behavior could save millions of lives- and yet there are few if ‘progressive’ voices making those demands. The ‘right’ to sexual gratification trumps the rights of others to live.

The same is true of the MSM and ‘progressives’ when it comes to the Middle East. No one is demanding responsible words and behavior from the dysfunctional Arab world. No one is demanding that they cease their calls to genocide, violence and mayhem and no one is demanding that behave in a civilized and responsible way.

The King of Saudi Arabia recently said that the Arab world is on the verge of ‘exploding.’ He blamed the situation on the Israeli ‘occupation’ and conflicts in Lebanon and Iraq. Nowhere does he mention that for decades, Arab regional policy was predicated on the ‘Three No’s’- no to recognizing Israel, no to peace treaties and no to diplomacy. Nowhere does he mention the dysfunction and oppression of Arab world leaders as being the cause of so much misery in the region. Nowhere does he mention corrupt and religious leaders (many of whom are paid by his regime) that deliberately fan the flames of discord and religious intolerance and nowhere does he mention the relentless assault by Arab world media on western values, religions and principles.

The MSM doesn’t report on those things, either.

As the Arab world reiterates and proclaims their ‘victimhood’ and ‘humiliation’ at the hands of the Israelis and western democracies, the MSM accepts those declarations at face value. Lets look at that.

Arab world hatred of America and Israel will not be overturned with a change in Congress or the White House. The Arab world will hate America if we come as liberators or if we react in self defense. The Arab world is so dysfunctional that even when they bitterly complain we support the regimes that oppress them, they cannot abide that we might liberate them. They have proven incapable of identifying what might be in their own best interests. The dysfunction of the Arab world is profoundly deep. The pathology is so great that if they were to acknowledge the liberation of the Iraqis from Saddam as a positive outcome, the gratitude to America would only make more profound their sense of ‘humiliation.’ Because they are so immersed in a contrived culture of shame avoidance (meaning that ‘honor’ is derived only by the humiliation of others), they have proved for the most part, to be incapable of grasping the meaning of freedom.

Arab and Muslim societies, led by dysfunctional political and religious leaders, have redefined what it means to an Arab or Muslim. These societies have proven themselves incapable of producing good and decent citizens. Islam, once a religion that was the model for religious tolerance and a culture under which other religions were allowed to flourish, is now barely capable of acknowledging it’s own past. Islam today is recognized for it’s hate and belligerence- not the enlightenment, science, art and literature that contributed to the progress of humankind. These issues have nothing to do with America or Israel.

Arab political and religious leaders say that Arab ‘humiliation’ is predicated on the fact that Israel exists. It is not due to Israeli actions or inactions, but rather, to her very existence.

Besides being a mirror the Arab world has to look at daily, the fact there is an Israel is almost intolerable to most Arabs. To be sure there are many progressive, intellectual Arabs that understand that Israel is a reality- but for most, Israel remains a cruel violation of Allah’s promise to them. The fact that Allah seems to have abandoned them to live in such squalor is of no concern- it is the non Muslims that remain the obsession. It is the non-Muslims that have upset the ‘natural’ Islamic order.

The Arab world is not humiliated by the lack of decent schools. The Arab world is not humiliated by their scientific backwardness and book burnings. In a smaller, interconnected world, they cannot be unaware of their own medievalism. The Arab world is not humiliated by collapsed economies. There are car manufacturers in China and Africa, yet there are none in the Arab world. Societies that only consume products are very different than societies that create and produce products.

To put it all in context- how is it possible that the humiliations of centuries of Arab failures are trumped by the political ‘humiliations of today? What powerful agenda can pull a whole society away from reality? How is it that the Arab nations, blessed with wealth that is obscene, are not humiliated that by the fact that as a group, they are among the poorest people on the face of the planet? How is it that there is no humiliation that in the Arab world, female illiteracy tops 50%? How is it that there is no humiliation that of all the thousands of children born in the Arab world today, few, if any, will ever experience freedom and democracy? How is it possible that a vibrant, democratic and free Israel, or the sight of American soldiers rebuilding schools and power plants causes more offense and outrage than Arab failure? How is it possible that the only endeavor in which the Arab world has managed to excel is religious hate?

Many in the Arab world defiantly declare their ‘Arab pride,’ but of course, that really isn’t true. That is a kind of projection. If there really was Arab pride, they would be digging holes for the foundation of schools and factories, and not digging holes to bury IED’s. If the Palestinians wanted to reflect Arab pride, they would build hospitals and not rockets and missiles.

The Arab world is not fighting for freedom and democracy. They are fighting to retain the values of oppression, tyranny and dysfunction. There is so much self hatred of what they have come to stand for, that they are willing to blow themselves up in the process. Subconsciously, they must know what they are fighting to preserve and how they are fighting, is repulsive to any decent, civilized and religious adherent of any faith.

In truth, the Arab world cannot be proud of itself. The Islamic and Arab cultures that contributed mightily to the progress of mankind, have willingly become the poster children for religious intolerance, hate, violence and even genocide. There is very little the Arab world has to be proud of- and pointing to past glory only serves to highlight how far they have fallen. All the phony ‘Arab pride’ in the world has not motivated them to build. All they have done is destroy- and that destruction is a symptom of self hatred. People who hate themselves, destroy everything around them. People that believe in their higher selves, build. The same is true for nations. Nations, societies and cultures are not remembered for what they destroy. They are remembered for what they have built.

In Shame Culture And The Arab Psyche, Dr Sanity states a universal truth:

When a culture determines that the avoidance of shame is necessary no matter what the cost, the result is a culture of fanaticism, bizarre behavior in the name of “honor”…

The Arab world has come to hate themselves, because under the leadership of corrupt, dysfunctional and immoral political and religious leaders, they have become corrupt and immoral. We have noted many times that

When nations that are that are led by or are under the influence of tyrants or dictators, attempt to justify those actions or ideologies, we can rightly assume that justification is false. Tyrants and dictators do not make moral choices, because moral choices can only lead to the demise of the tyranny.

Anyone that comes to the defense of tyrannical regimes, their ideologies and their leaders, have themselves made a conscious choice to defend and stand by what is immoral. They themselves consciously adopt an immoral posture.

The tragedy and cost to the Arab world has been enormous and will continue to grow, until Arabs find within themselves the courage to do what they must.

As the Holocaust Conference in Tehran opens, it is indeed ironic that the organizers who wish to deny the Holocaust, are at the fore of instigating a new holocaust, as part of a religious ‘crusade’- they are doing Allah’s will (and speaking for him, as if he needed the mullahs, imams and sheikhs paid by corrupt regimes, to speak for him). It is also ironic that those who for the most part had nothing to do with the Holocaust, could rightly point an accusatory finger at the Christian world and say, ‘See what you have done!’

Instead they choose to identify with the perpetrators. Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

This post was originally published on December 11, 2006

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