He Was An Idiot

I don’t usually say this about folks in our military Special Operations community, as they tend to be fairly bright folks. The person in question in this case, in fact, was in SEAL Team 6/DEVGRU/Whatever its real name is, and was supposedly involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. So I know he isn’t a stupid man.

But seriously, I’m not even in the military and EVEN I know that, if you leave short of 20 years, you are not going to be eligible for retirement benefits.

As for whether he was the trigger man who shot Osama bin Laden, we may never know. Still, I believe Matt Bissonette’s story–chronicled in the book No Easy Day. The outcry against Bissonette has not been with regard to his accuracy, but rather his telling of the story. That tells me he is probably on the money.

Whoever this guy is who calls himself “The Shooter”, why can’t he go into security work. I hear that SEALs and Rangers and Special Operators–who leave the service–are fetching pretty high dollars in security work. I’d say that being a veteran of SEAL Team 6–which typically has the best of the best of the SEAL community–would carry an advantage going into such work.

How to Stop a Cult, Part 1: Building a Cult

A cult requires two things: one or more leaders–usually one–and a set followers.

If you have those two things, you’ve got the beginnings of what can easily become a cult.

In other words, ANYTHING can become a cult.

It can be a religious group; it can be a club; it can be a company (think multi-level marketing); it can be a gang; it can be a government agency; it can be a head of state.

But how does a cult typically start?

For one, it usually begins with a leader. More often than not, the leader has a substantial amount of charisma. He (in some cases she) is someone who inspires a certain loyalty. He is usually a dynamic speaker, with great people skills to boot. He may appear (or at least initially be) charitable, selfless, kind, devoted, and trustworthy. He may even be humble in his beginning stages.

As he begins his run, the leader is all that and change. He attracts a swath of people, he is likeable, he is providing answers that many people need (and that some people want to hear). The group is growing, people are happy, and some of the growth takes on a momentum of its own.

The problem is, at this stage, there are some critical, subtle switches–both within him and within the hearts of the people in the group–that people flip, and, as they flip those switches, they make fateful choices.

That critical stage where this occurs is early in the process, not later.

The leader may begin to see the devotion of the people around him, and that stokes his ego.

The people may get energized by the growth of their group and the dynamic nature of their leader, and they decide he can do no wrong.

Through that subtle process, the leader goes from a humble servant with charisma to a powerful leader who is never wrong. He starts believing that about himself, and the people in his group become HIS followers. They have made him their god; he has accepted the job.

You now have a cult. It may be large; it may be small. But it is a cult.

If you are in a church setting, here’s what it looks like:

(1) Most of the people come to church just because they like the pastor. They are less-interested in the Christian implications–or even the Biblical veracity–of his message; they are attracted to HIM.

(2) If you dare to question the veracity of anything the pastor says or does, you can count on ending up on the pastor’s–or his lieutenant’s–permanent doo-doo list. At best, you will be ignored for the rest of your time there; at worst, you will be called everything short of Satan himself and run out of town. Come to think of it, if they run you out, they may be doing you a favor…

(3) The pastor becomes very controlling and micromanagy. If he doesn’t think you are giving enough money, you’ll get a visit. If you take any initiative as a teacher, you may find yourself getting grilled by his lieutenants. If you cannot give him undying devotion, you will become persona non grata. If you tell him anything he does not want to hear, you are marked for life.

(4) As a counselor, the pastor becomes very domineering. He makes your decisions for you rather than guide you through the process of making those decisions yourself. (Sometimes, he starts doing that because people WANT him to do that, but–rather than force people to own their responsibilities–he becomes accustomed to that as the default for everyone else, and he begins doing this in ways that work to HIS advantage and not necessarily the best interests of the people involved.)

(5) As a husband, he may be controlling and/or abusive. That abuse may be physical, it may be sexual, it may be overt–or even covert–manipulation. That once charitable, selfless leader is now the most controlling, domineering, pathological mass of flesh that has no resemblance to the Biblical Jesus. At home, his wife and kids see him as a self-serving son of Belial–look that up in 1 Samuel–who puts on a costume every Sunday and Wednesday.

At this point, everyone knows what he is, but they are now afraid to call attention to the large elephant defecating all over the room. They will CRUSH dissenters, even though they know better. At this point, disaster is likely, and a peaceful resolution is close to impossible.

(6) In a worst-case scenario, the pastor starts taking sexual liberties that are not his to take. It may be with another woman; several other women; teenage girls; even members of the same sex. At this point, the disaster is imminent.

The best-case scenario: a nasty church split;

The medium scenario: a sex scandal that rocks the leadership and forces people back to their senses (think Jack Schaap).

The worst-case: mass suicide (think Jim Jones).

How Do You Stop a Cult?

The short answer: once it is in full swing, you can’t, except either (a) by force or (b) by miracle.

Once a cult leader is in place–and his followership is sufficiently brainwashed–they will follow him until he crashes and burns. And when that happens, the fallout will be severe.

Toward that end, I would suggest that Linda Murphrey–the daughter of the late Jack Hyles–need not sweat it. Short of having something explosive–such as a sex tape–there was absolutely no way she could have stopped him. There were too many “True Believers”, and–in the absence of overwhelming evidence–that was not going to change.

Having said that, the cult dynamic is not a new phenomenon; neither Jack Hyles nor his successor–Jack Schaap, who has been sentenced to prison for his affair with an underage teen–invented that dynamic. Nor will it end with the demise of Schaap.

Having said that, the larger question is how do you PREVENT a “ministry” from becoming a cult?

And make no mistake, preventing that begins with YOU. The minister, the deacon, the elder, the secretary, the wife, the faithful attender.

I’ll address this in more detail in the days or weeks to come. But this is the opening salvo.

Former Pastor Jack Schaap Gets 12 Years in Sex Case

Didn’t hear about this until a commenter at Boundless mentioned it.

According to letters released by federal prosecutors last week as part of the government’s sentencing memorandum, Schaap wrote to the teen that his sexual relationship with her was “exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants to marry us + become eternal lovers!”

MIT Economist Gets it Wrong

Dr. Helen has this piece.

I think the greatest, most astonishing fact that I am aware of in social science right now is that women have been able to hear the labor market screaming out ‘You need more education’ and have been able to respond to that, and men have not,” said Michael Greenstone, an M.I.T. economics professor who was not involved in Professor Autor’s work. “And it’s very, very scary for economists because people should be responding to price signals. And men are not. It’s a fact in need of an explanation.” …

Perhaps the men HAVE, Dr. Greenstone. The women are heading to college in droves. In and of itself, that would be no big deal, but here’s the problem: THEY ARE GRADUATING COLLEGE WITH HIGH LEVELS OF STUDENT LOAN DEBT. In doing this, they are damaging their marriageability.

The men aren’t heading to college at the same rates, and that is not a bad thing. If the men seek to learn trades at tech schools and 2-year institutions–taking on little or no debt–they are going to be better-prepared for the volatile economy that is going to shed the fluffy corporate jobs when the money runs out.

Instead of making marriage more attractive, he said, it might be better for society to help make men more attractive.

If women are piling on the student loan debt, then they are damaging their attractiveness. What we need is a larger discussion about what attracts the sexes. The women are being sold a certain bill of goods, and so are the men. And both sexes are getting screwed.

One of the woman commenters of the NY Times article had this to say:

As the mother of a teenaged girl and a teenaged boy I see the differences between the two of them and between their friends. The modern world and the modern economy agrees with the girls: they see that the glass ceiling is diminishing, they see that their attention to detail and adaptability are valued, they see the world as open before them. The boys? A little less so — generally they are less mature as they leave HS, they sense that the 20th century order, which gave them an instant leg-up, is vanishing.

All the encouragement the baby boom heaped on their daughters is paying off. But we didn’t mean for it to come off the backs of our sons. I think the shift in the economy is reinforcing/ exaggerating the result. It’s in popular culture everywhere, the new woman so strong and smart, the new man so backward and foolish.

Sadly, she is correct. Encouraging women was not the problem; doing this while attacking masculinity was the problem. We have sowed, and we are reaping.

Another observer noticed:

Males are now being given a “boot on the neck” and so this has nothing to do with any sort of level playing field. Males are expected to build, repair, transport, and defend everything…while women are free from any such expectations.

This is an economic reality that Badger or Dalrock or Keoni Galt–not sure which one–alluded to last week: the difference between men and women in the economy is that, whereas a woman is not expected to produce more than she consumes, the same is not true of the man. Economically, the men are expected to produce more.

So denigrating the men–and re-engineering the economy in a way that rewards services rather than production–is disastrous to men on a grand scale. And when that service-oriented economy eventually tanks, the misery is going to be across the board.

Dr. Helen nails it:

Boys and men right now are off to a bad start from day one and those who don’t go along with the female -privileged society are stuck on the sidelines. A boy’s typical day might be one with a single mom, mostly female teachers who rarely give him a break, a culture that tells him he is a pervert, TV shows, bulletin boards and news shows portraying him as a rapist and domestic violence abuser and all around bad guy. It’s no wonder men have opted out of an economy and culture that values them so little.

We’re due for the mother of all re-adjustments.

My $0.02 on The Steubenville Rape Case

While it is true that “boys will be boys”, there are some things–whether you are Christian or not–that you just don’t freaking do. Ever.

There are some lines–particularly when it comes to sex, whether you are Christian or not–that you don’t freaking cross. Ever.

The two Steubenville football players crossed those lines. The community–seeking to mitigate the incident in deference to the two football players–nearly denied justice to the 16-year-old girl–I shall call her JD (for Jane Doe)–who was raped.

While JD was wrong for getting drunk, she did not deserve to be raped. That she compromised herself by being stupid did not give others the right to her body.

I fully support the prosecution in this case, and those two guys deserved what they got. While I would be hesitant to beat them down the way I would an adult offender, they need to feel some pain here. They need some valuable training in boundaries. They need to apologize to the victim–and offer some restitution–not just for violating her but also for employing digital media in the process.

With that out of the way, we have this screed by Marthe Weyandte.

Photos and videos were circulated among acquaintances, making light of the incident. There were witnesses, although nobody stepped in to stop the attack from happening.

This is nothing new. It is not uncommon, for example, for public assaults–not just those against women–to go uncontested. There is a predisposition among Americans not to mess with other people’s businesses. That is both a good and a bad thing. Complicating matters, the larger question is what kinds of people are going to be present at those kinds of parties? When I was in high school, I almost never went to parties. The few I did attend had no alcohol and were chaperoned by coaches who were of good repute. We had none of this type of mayhem.

OTOH, I knew of other parties–hosted by others of less repute–where the drugs (including cocaine and pot) and alcohol were plenteous. And yes, there were hookups, although that was mostly on the fringes. The types of folks who went to those parties were not the kinds of folks who would have intervened if there was an assault going on.

Now let’s look at Weyandte’s take on why this happened:

1.) We live in a misogynist society. It is improving, albeit slowly.

Bullhockey. We live in a FEMINIST society. We have a system that PEDESTALS women. Our education system is DESIGNED around girls and PUNISHES masculinity.

None of that, however, explains why these boys did what they did.

My take: they were party animals, veterans of the hookup culture, and were having fun. In doing so, they totally crossed boundaries that no one should ever cross. Sadly, JD will pay a terrible price. The boys will also have to face the reality that they did a very bad thing that cannot be undone.

2.) We trust our politicians and our scions of industry and our entertainment execs and our friends to teach our kids right from wrong. This is ludicrous.

Who teaches American kids values like empathy, respect, patience and compassion? Television execs? Violent video game distributors? Jersey Shore? Maybe politicians like Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin with his Dark ages stance on gender relations?

Parents and concerned citizens, do you think most of these people really care what happens to your kids beyond a healthy bottom line?

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

CNN can go to hell, in my opinion. The victim had a ‘promising’ future too. Nobody seemed to mention that. But we can only blame CNN so much. Major news networks almost always follow the status quo anyway.

If those boys lived the straight life as former Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has, they would not have committed rape.

Having said that, it would be nice to know what kind of parental instruction these kids had regarding how to treat a woman. If a child grows up seeing his parents respect each other, he will learn to do this. If a child grows up in a home where parents are actively teaching them to respect other people’s bodies, they’ll learn to do that. Some will still do horrible things, but those occurrences will be less likely.

3.) Social networks are detaching us from reality.

We live in a culture that promotes disconnection from others through entertainment, media and social networking. People are pixels and bytes and status updates, not hardly human. We are more self-involved and more narcissistic.

One of the most striking features of the Steubenville rape was an almost-sociopathic sense of detachment from the victim coupled with over-developed sense of entitlement displayed toward the victim. This young woman became a toy, an object to her attackers who carried her, like prey, from location to location. This sort of depersonalization is characteristic of wartime atrocities. It has made its way onto violent video games.

I’m not biting on that. It’s easy to blame these acts on the vices of the day–today it’s social media and video games whereas 30 years ago it was various brands of rock music, combined with movies.

In fact, I could make the case that, but for social media, those boys would not have been prosecuted.

4.) Hook-up culture is rampant in our society, but that old double standard still holds true in many places.

There is a sort of cognitive dissonance. Guys who have sex are studs. Girls who have sex are sluts. The double standard isn’t right and it isn’t fair, but it is very, very prevalent in the American subconscious. Nobody wants to touch that one. Not with a thousand-foot pole. Parents remain mum on the topic. High school sex ed programs, who either hand out condoms like candies or promote abstinence.

Television networks feature hook-up heavy reality shows like Jersey Shore. Self-respect and emotional maturity are in short supply. Men demonstrate their prowess with endless sexual conquests. Women who do not fit conventional standards of beauty are referred to as ‘grenades.’

The double-standard exists in no small part because women are the gatekeepers for sex. It is quite easy for a woman–even one who is not attractive–to get sex. The same is not true for a man: even an Alpha is only successful about 30% of the time.

This is why women who have many partners are viewed negatively by men whereas men who have many partners are viewed positively by women.

Calling me names will not change that reality, because I didn’t create it.

Oh, and you can thank feminism and their ardent supporters–including Bill Clinton–for the hookup culture. As President, he insisted that oral sex doesn’t count. After that, the percentage of teens engaging in that skyrocketed…

5.)Where is the love?

We live in a throwaway society at times. We pitch everything from Starbucks cups to sexual partners without a second glance. We need to talk with our kids about the emotional complexity of relationships. Respect and concern for another’s needs is an integral part of any consensual relationship. Respect can not be a two-way street when one of the parties is pressured or forced or obliterated out of his or her mind. This isn’t rocket science, but then maybe rocket science is easier to learn!

Yes, where is the love? We live in a throwaway society, where women are allowed the throw away their babies if they don’t want them. We live in a throwaway society, where people can throw away their marriages with near-impunity, two-thirds of such dissolutions pursued by the women.

Please don’t lecture us about how horrible this society is, because you have the society you asked for.

You wanted the prerogative to be as promiscuous as the men, and you got it.

You wanted to be able to end a marriage at will, and you got it.

You wanted to be able to kill your babies in utero, and you got it.

You wanted a government that pedestals women and attacks masculinity, and you got it.

You wanted unwed motherhood destigmatized–even pedestaled–and you got that.

So don’t sit here and complain about the unintended consequences.

Having said that, it would be a stretch to blame the Steubenville rape on these factors.

We must hold individuals responsible for their actions, and–while society has issues–what those boys did was nothing new, and we are doing ourselves a disservice by pretending otherwise.

Lingering Consequences

I injured my back last week – not quite sure how, but I decided to start with a chiropractor. I simply picked the closest clinic in-network on my insurance, and so far so good. Today was my second visit. This office is arranged to have two automatic massage therapy things per small room, allowing two patients to get their massage therapy at the same time.

They were busy this morning, and as they were setting me up in the massage therapy chair, I noticed a man outside the room waiting for the next available. Within nano-seconds I went into panic-attack. “I am not comfortable being in a room with a man.”

“Our rooms are all full.”

“I am not comfortable being in a room with a man. I would rather leave than do this. I was abused by my dad, and I cannot be alone in a room with a man.” She conceded, and there was not another person brought in while I was there.

When I was in therapy, my counselor told me that my dad was only one man … that there are many men out there that are good. I believe that is true. I have healed a lot … a lot … but lingering consequences of such abuse leave me very uncomfortable in many situations with men. Usually I can just move to a different line, or a different place, or something subtle. This is fairly easy to do since I do not work in an office and can easily control who I am around during the day. It was much more difficult years ago when I worked in an office setting with many men. It is rare that I need to speak up like I did today. The strong, panic, knee-jerk, reaction seems to catch me off-guard sometimes; I was a bit surprised at how reactive I was this morning. The fear and panic are powerful, and real.

I am thankful that although I have been so hurt, I do not hate men. God has brought people into my life over the years to teach me Truth and to heal me. Not every person, man or woman, is bad. Some are, but not all. I can handle situations like this morning without totally freaking out … and without hating. It is okay to protect myself.