The Best from "First Things" (a curated compendium)

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BeardFisher-King

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"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2018, 04:42:58 pm »
https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/02/the-atheists-imagination

I believe Steven Pinker's perspective is similar to some of the views expressed on the "What do you believe? (Redux)" thread. Specifically, the ideas that the belief in an afterlife drains meaning from this life and that the belief in a God that intervenes on our behalf absolves us from the responsibility to address the injustice and wrongs of this world.

I should probably put Pinker's new book, "Enlightenment Now" on my reading list.
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

Bolivar

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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2018, 02:30:17 am »
First Things is awesome. Archbishop Chaput writes some really great stuff on there from time to time but all the writers seem class acts.

Hope your Lent's going well BFK!

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2018, 06:12:38 pm »
First Things is awesome. Archbishop Chaput writes some really great stuff on there from time to time but all the writers seem class acts.

Hope your Lent's going well BFK!
Thanks, Bolivar, same to you! Observing the Friday abstention from meat at the moment.

Here's something from the marvelous Wesley Smith:

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/03/your-mind-uploaded-in-a-computer-would-not-be-you
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2018, 08:54:42 pm »
Here's an interesting take on the Jordan Peterson phenomenon:

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2018/04/jordan-peterson-unlikely-guru
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

Bolivar

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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2018, 02:29:54 am »
Time to Challenge No-Fault Divorce:

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/12/time-to-challenge-no-fault-divorce-1

2014 article but this remains a big deal. The invention of no-fault divorce, which American bar assocations pulled entirely out of their own ass, was the first of many disastrous shifts that undermined the significance of marriage in the public consciousness. Conservatives often say "politics is downstream of culture," but Maggie Gallagher rightly pointed out in another excellent First Things essay that the inverse is often true - the machinations of attorneys in the bar and the bench have often worked to unilaterally destabilize our values outside of the democratic process.

Society has an invested interest in preserving marriage as a permanent union. The article cites to the overwhelming evidence that children outside of traditional families suffer great disadvantages in terms of their educational, vocational, and interpersonal outcomes. During my toast at my brother's wedding, I posited the idea that marriage is the means by which we improve society, one generation at a time. May we work to strengthen families to create stronger civilization.

Wilshire

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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2018, 12:06:49 pm »
... American bar assocations pulled entirely out of their own ass... the machinations of attorneys in the bar and the bench have often worked to unilaterally destabilize our values outside of the democratic process.
This is an interesting topic in its own right. Lawyers, and especially judges, wield nearly unfettered power. Just as we've discovered that *shock* police abuse their powers of upholding power, as do men of the cloth. Its a stupid thing that we have done - letting people have unchecked power. I hope we collectively realize at some point how much power we have given the court, and how much power they/it has seized. Its a damn shame

... overwhelming evidence that children outside of traditional families suffer great disadvantages in terms of their educational, vocational, and interpersonal outcomes.
Increased rates of crime, substance abuse, the list goes on forever. Some even show staggering statistics indicating that growing up in a single parent household is the single worst thing you can do to ruin a child's future - even when directly compared to drinking  during pregnancy, or smoking during pregnancy and in the house after birth. I don't know how true that is or not, but its significant that the comparison can be made.


I posited the idea that marriage is the means by which we improve society, one generation at a time. May we work to strengthen families to create stronger civilization.
This is brilliant. I'm not so sure that forcing people to be married for life is the answer, but certainly divorce with children is something that should be more heavily scrutinized. Granted, again I don't think forcing people to stay married solves the issue, but unfortunately not everyone is fit to raise children. If you can't lock in a relationship for your own children for 20 years, you shouldn't be having them in the first place. If if looks like something might be an issue before that timelimit, people need to seek help before it gets to that point. Relationships are hard, and can be irreparably damaged, so when there's a second generation to consider more needs to be done to keep things in-tact. My 2c.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 12:22:01 pm by Wilshire »
One of the other conditions of possibility.

MSJ

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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2018, 12:30:22 pm »
Quote from:  Wilshire
This is an interesting topic in its own right. Lawyers, and especially judges, wield nearly unfettered power. Just as we've discovered that *shock* police abuse their powers of upholding power, as do men of the cloth. Its a stupid thing that we have done - letting people have unchecked power. I hope we collectively realize at some point how much power we have given the court, and how much power they/it has seized. Its a damn shame

Yes. 100% correct.  Its a rigged system. Public defender? You mean the prosecuter and judges drinking buddy.

Though, I've seen a lot progress, around here at least (WV). That in divorce cases it isn't the Mom gets everything anymore. Many, many dads coming away with full-custody. Many getting 50/50 with very light child support. And, this is as it should be. Its great, and I love to see progress in this area of the judicial branch.

Quote
Increased rates of crime, substance abuse, intellect, the list goes on forever. Some even show staggering statistics indicating that growing up in a single parent household is the single worst thing you can do to ruin a child's future - even when directly compared to drinking  during pregnancy, or smoking during pregnancy and in the house after birth. I don't know how true that is or not, but its significant that the comparison can be made.

Another highly predictable scenario. Its why even when me and the wife have had significant issues we worked through them. A kid needs a mom and a Dad. You can easily see the difference most of the the time. Though, ive seen people raised by their mom and a good support group and do very well. Or, even mom alone. Its just is the truth that too many kids grow up fatherless and usually that hurts them, badly.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 12:31:54 pm by MSJ »
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

H

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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2018, 12:41:49 pm »
I posited the idea that marriage is the means by which we improve society, one generation at a time. May we work to strengthen families to create stronger civilization.
This is brilliant. I'm not so sure that forcing people to be married for life is the answer, but certainly divorce with children is something that should be more heavily scrutinized. Granted, again I don't think forcing people to stay married solves the issue, but unfortunately not everyone is fit to raise children. If you can't lock in a relationship for your own children for 20 years, you shouldn't be having them in the first place. If if looks like something might be an issue before that timelimit, people need to seek help before it gets to that point. Relationships are hard, and can be irreparably damaged, so when there's a second generation to consider more needs to be done to keep things in-tact. My 2c.

Well, I think one issue you are always going to have, looking at something like this, is disentangling what is a symptom and what is a cause.  Are marriages failing because of some aspect of marriage?  Or is the failure the symptom of some underlying issue at hand?  The deeper, much more difficult dive is not to just look to see if marriages are failing, but rather find out why.  And not just the lip service answers, but the actual root causes.  That's not easy, because the answers are all going to be qualitative and not quantitative.  It's also going to be tough because the prima facie reasons, those able and willing to be expressed by the principle parties, are most probably not going to give you the actual explanatory reasoning you are looking for.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

Wilshire

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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2018, 01:01:03 pm »
I agree. The article cites that the most given reasons for filing divorce are 'growing apart' (and/or similar answers). I would imagine that this is a terrible gauge of why people are getting divorced.

Asking someone to disclose something so personal in such a public and permanent venue is obviously going to lead to misleading information. If there was a "no reason given" option, I'm sure it'd be given more than anything else.

But if that wasn't an option, people would just pick whatever it was that makes the divorce go through. If you can't say 'growing apart' because it will be thrown out, people will say 'domestic violence' or whatever options makes it a sure bet.

That's probably the worst venue to seek information regarding the true reason someone is seeking to end a marriage. On top of that, regardless of venue, very few people can/will incriminate themselves - or say 'I was abusive'/'I love another person'/'am cheating', etc. etc. Its probably question that's close to impossible to answer in today's society.

But that's kind of neither here nor there. The point is that Bolivar makes great posts ;) .

Though, ive seen people raised by their mom and a good support group and do very well. Or, even mom alone. Its just is the truth that too many kids grow up fatherless and usually that hurts them, badly.
Its a difficult subject to address. Certainly there are better parents than others, and just because people have 1 or 2 parents doesn't mean life will be great. I also don't mean to sound super judgemental - I understand that life doesn't work out so neatly, and that's why I don't think the a brute answer like 'lets force people to stay married' will solve anything (not that this is what anyone is proposing).
One of the other conditions of possibility.

H

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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2018, 02:07:26 pm »
I also don't mean to sound super judgemental - I understand that life doesn't work out so neatly, and that's why I don't think the a brute answer like 'lets force people to stay married' will solve anything (not that this is what anyone is proposing).

Well, that's the rub though, is No-Fault divorce causing (or facilitating) people to leave, or are they leaving and so No-Fault divorce was exacted to lessen the burden on the other party?  Not a rhetorical question, I don't know.  Ideally we would have no one wanting to end the marriage, but that is wishful thinking.  What is the effect of the opposite though?  Keeping people together who do not want to be so will not be a net positive for children.

I don't have a hard and fast good answer for this.  The issue (as far as I can fathom it though) isn't marriage itself or the easy or facility of divorce.  The problem is people.  Why can't people seem to be happy and content?
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

Wilshire

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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2018, 02:25:16 pm »
I don't have a hard and fast good answer for this.  The issue (as far as I can fathom it though) isn't marriage itself or the easy or facility of divorce.  The problem is people.  Why can't people seem to be happy and content?

The argument made is that the no-fault divorce thing is causing more marriages to end. I don't agree with that for the reasons you've mentioned. At best it seems like a logical fallacy to me, post hoc ergo propter hoc (and/or  cum hoc ergo propter hoc). Something like that.

But probably the underlying point is that marriage is important and people should work harder at it - and thus if the easy ripcord option isn't available then people will be better. I don't necessarily agree with that either. People will people, regardless.

Then again, there's something to that. Maybe not the cause/effect chain, but finding a root cause. I do think that if people were better at relationships things would be better, and there are few institutions like an intentional marriage to support that. But it takes two people to make a relationship work - within or without a marriage. I doubt marriage (or lack there of) is the root cause or cure. Its probably something much closer to communities that all agree on rules and strive to uphold them. Places for people to go to get help, and the people themselves feeling like they can do so without reproach.

Marriage is an easy institution to pick out though, of the options that we've got. There's probably a reason that people who come from families with happily married parents, and who marry with in-laws who are likewise situated, tend to have better relationships. The opposite is also true, children of divorced and/or abusive relationship families tend to have the same. Its sad, the degree to which our lives are determined before we get a chance to choose for ourselves. We do what we're taught, we copy what our rolemodels do, it gets ingrained into our psyche and we act it out the rest of our lives.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2018, 07:36:51 pm »
But probably the underlying point is that marriage is important and people should work harder at it - and thus if the easy ripcord option isn't available then people will be better. I don't necessarily agree with that either. People will people, regardless.

Not saying I really disagree with that, or the article, at least somewhat in principle, but I do think that boiling it down to a simplistic cause and effect (which isn't really what is happening between us) of easy divorce promotes divorces, in general to be a fair idea, but possibly not the most correct reflection of what is actually going on.

Consider the possibility that if divorce is far harder, the chance that people will essentially end up living separate lives only still technically married.  So, of course, if it is more difficult for people to get divorced naturally there would be less divorce.  That doesn't, however, prove that people are living in happier or even better functioning marriages.  For all that data would show, they might just be living separate lives only nominally married.  And that could well be showing children, at best, a bad view of marriage and, at worst, an even worse result than divorce (by the article's own definition of having the kids around unmarried partners).

It's a very tricky situation...
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

Wilshire

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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2018, 05:35:18 pm »
And to that effect, making divorce trivial might well be worse for relationships but allows for better data to be gathered on the effects of it. That makes a pretty strong argument to leave it be, imo. Kind of like the choice between putting a band-aid on a fatal wound or not, knowing that neither will fix the problem but by putting it on you don't have to watch it fester and rot.

Probably not an ethical solution, but empirically more useful for the future? The trouble with this type of thing is that in order to run a proper experiment you need control groups, and when talking about child rearing that's a problem.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2018, 10:53:24 am »
Yeah, I mean, first you need to really comprehensively know why it is people are getting divorced, or for that matter, married in the first place.

This sort of reminds me, in a roundabout way, something Jordan Peterson alluded to, how problematic things get if we imagine that people should be driven to, and by, happiness...
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira