A Weekly Blog From John Rosemond
A Stranger in a Strange Land
November 19, 2020
These are strange time in which we live. To be more accurate, human beings have never stopped being strange; therefore, times have always been equally strange. But this time around, the strange seems stranger than ever before.
Moral relativism was what brought down Adam and Eve. The serpent told Eve that if she ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, she would become “like God, knowing good and evil.” The serpent was lying, of course. By eating of the tree, Adam and Eve only began to think they could define good and evil on their own terms, on the basis of their own tastes, without reference to the moral laws built into God’s design.
A prime example of moral relativism is the notion that women have a “right” to terminate the life of an unborn child for whatever reason including “I don’t want to be bothered.”
God says “Thou shalt not kill,” and man begins inventing caveats. Eventually, man pulls out of thin air the idea that killing is not killing if the thing destroyed is not alive and since fetuses are only blobs of flesh, it’s okay then to destroy them. Furthermore, since a fetus is akin to, say, a cyst, a woman has a “right” to have it cut from her body.
Those are the sorts of strange ideas man comes up with on his own, when his primary loyalty is to himself rather God.
Relativism is the notion that moral standards are fluid. Instead of being timeless, fixed, external to man, they are “living” and most importantly, they are internal to man. As Greek philosopher Protagoras put it a while back, “Man is the measure of all things.” Protagoras’ most famous maxim definitely has curb appeal. Fortunately, God created all things; therefore, He is the measure of all things.
But in a popularity contest between Protagoras and God, guess who wins? For the time being, at least.
The latest supposedly fluid standard is gender. Once upon a time not so long ago, one’s gender and one’s sex were one and the same. That is clearly the way God designed us. Male and female He created us. Today, even otherwise intelligent human beings have been persuaded to believe that a person occupying clearly male biology can nevertheless be a female.
Furthermore, using that example, if the individual in question is challenged on that account, his/her challenger is a narrow-minded, mean-spirited, even dangerous bigot. That’s how strange things have become: If I deny that a transgender person is suffering delusions, I become said nutcases’ persecutor. Even if I do not care what he thinks he is, if I disagree with his personal assessment, I am a bully, an oppressor, and Twitter is likely to silence me for being a threat to public safety or some such insanity.
The final arbiter in matters of speech used to be the Supreme Court. Presumably, they ruled consistent with the wording of the Constitution. Now, the final arbiters in such matters are Facebook and Twitter and they rule consistent with political correctness. Chief Justice Mark Zuckerberg? Jack Dorsey is the measure of all things?
Mark my words. The “strange curve” is accelerating and we’re all along for one wild ride. I console myself with knowing that God never fails to keep His promises.
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
November 12, 2020
This blog will roam over the subjects of childrearing, psychology, postmodernity, the dangerous state of American politics, the Bible, the church, and rock ‘n’ roll music. That’s the short list. I reserve the right to add a topic as the whim overtakes me.
Today’s post is about rock ‘n’ roll music. My wife tells me I’m a repository of useless rock trivia. I once won a rock trivia contest by naming the conga player on Traffic’s “Welcome to the Canteen” album. I played in a working rock band for seven years. Early on in their career, we beat REO Speedwagon in a Battle of the Bands. It took place on our campus, so the outcome was foregone, but isn’t that impressive! Nonetheless, we rocked the house.
I can’t name my favorite rock ‘n’ roll band, song, album, lead singer, songwriter, guitarist, etc. Changes depending on my mood, I suppose. As for bands, Led Zeppelin is my answer on most days, but then there’s The Beatles. And then there’s that band I first saw in a 1000-seat theater in Chicago in 1966. Jagger was singing through the house PA. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. No one could. I appreciate a lot of bands, but my appreciation begins to run out in the mid-1970s and is gone by 2000. Dave Matthews? C’mon, man! He’s got zero soul. Listen to Eric Burdon during the early days of the Animals. Listen to The Allman Brothers Band. Jimi, Cream. Listen to “Bless Its Pointed Little Head” by the Airplane. Grace set the bar for female lead singers. Only Ann Wilson comes close.
Best concert for me was the Stones on November 16, 1969 in Chicago. Best band I ever heard live was The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the version one encounters on “In My Own Dream.” Saw The Beach Boys in 1972 in Quincy, Illinois in a college gymnasium. Willie and I were sitting on the floor, right in front of Carl, who was clearly leading the band. Even without Brian, who was back in California trying to figure out where to go next, they were mind-blowing. They were a rock ‘n’ roll orchestra of sorts. They probably had twelve musicians, including themselves, on stage. Ricky Fataar on drums, for example. Blondie Chapin on background vocals with Dennis. They did the obligatory Top-40 medley and then got down into deep album cuts like “’Til I Die,” “Sail On Sailor,” and “Surf’s Up.” Absolutely magical evening. Occasionally, I meet someone and discover he was in that same audience and we always agree it was one of the best concerts we ever witnessed.
I had the sublime pleasure of seeing Willie DeVille in a club in San Francisco in the late 1990s. He just held the crowd spellbound for two hours. If you’re not familiar with Willie, I highly recommend that you check him out. Lots of musicians regard him as the single most underrated, unsung singer-songwriter of our time. Sort of like Roy Harper, whom Zeppelin immortalized on their third album with “Hats Off to Roy Harper.”
I discovered Van Morrison when I was a senior in high school. In 1965, he was fronting the great Irish band Them. The first time I heard Van was at a friend’s house. His mother put on the 45 with “Gloria” on Side A and “Baby Please Don’t Go” on Side B. What a cool mom! I even remember what she was wearing. I immediately fell in love with her and Van both.
My favorite Beatles’ song is just about anything they ever did, but “Paperback Writer” pops immediately to mind. Some folks say The Beatles weren’t really a rock ‘n’ roll band. If that’s what you think, you haven’t been listening closely enough. Listen to Paul’s bass lines, listen to Ringo’s drumming, listen to John’s rhythms, listen to George suddenly turn a bouncy pop ditty into a rockabilly rave. They were a rock ‘n’ roll band all right.
When I return to the subject of rock ‘n’ roll music, we’ll take up The Four Seasons. At the peak of their powers, The Beatles came along and that was that. Too bad. “Rag Doll” is right up there with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Amy Hates Outback
November 5, 2020
When my social media boss, my daughter, told me to begin writing a blog, I knew she referred to weekly essays on whatever parenting topic was on the top of my head. I think she even told me not to write on politics or faith. She cannot tell me what to do! Who does she think she is! I am her superior in all things; therefore, I will write about whatever I feel like writing, whether it pleases her or not. So there!
Amy has only recently advanced beyond wanting to be the boss of everything. During much of her childhood, the family ate out probably once a week. One of us would announce that we were going out to eat.
Amy would ask, “Where?”
It did not matter what restaurant we had chosen, she wanted to go elsewhere.
“I want to go to Golden Palace!” she would yell.
“Yum! We all love Golden Palace, but we’re going to Outback.”
“I hate Outback!”
“We were there two weeks ago. You loved it.”
“I hate it now! I hate steaks!”
“They have chicken, too.”
“I hate their chicken!”
“You’ve never had their chicken.”
“I know I hate it!”
“Stay home then, ‘cause we’re going to Outback.”
And the histrionics would commence, and we’d leave, get in the car, back out of the drive, and turn the corner to the main road and Amy would come bursting out of the front door, run down the steps and across the yard and jump into the car. “Okay then!” Mind you, she never failed to enjoy our restaurant adventures.
From the get-go, my wife and I refused to let our kids dictate their meals. When Willie first introduced “solid” food to Amy – jars of Gerber purees – Amy would sometimes take a spoonful of something and then promptly push it out of her mouth with her tongue. Willie, undaunted, would simply scoop it up and put it back in her mouth, even if she had to gently pry Amy’s lips open. Repeat until completely consumed.
I think most kids become picky eaters before they’re six months old. Parents of pickers tell me their kids were “intolerant” to certain foods from the very beginning. Yeah, so was Amy. So are most kids, probably. Parents either persist in accustoming the child’s palate to what is initially repulsive or they switch to another Gerber pate’ and then another and pretty soon one has a food tyrant on their hands. Even a four-month-old human being is smart enough to know when her parents are dancing to her tune.
Who's on First
October 29, 2020
What can parents who possess and have modeled commonsense and rational thought processes do when children go off to college and promptly become convinced, courtesy of their professors – ideologues of the sort I marched with in the late 1960s – that the United States is not and has never been a great country, a beacon of freedom for the peoples of the world, but rather a systemically racist, sexist, homophobic cesspool in desperate need of riot therapy?
A question I am frequently asked, that. My answer is usually along the lines of “Why did you send them to said institution of anti-American learning in the first place?” The usual answer: “That’s where he/she wanted to go.”
“And just how did he/she come to want to go that particular leftist propaganda mill?”
“Well, we toured several college campuses and he/she liked that one the best.”
Ah, yes. The ubiquitous tour of college campuses, the result being that the youngster in question makes a life-altering decision on the basis of the “feel” of a certain campus as well as an artfully crafted sales pitch by a completely unbiased college employee. That was a joke.
Our kids told us what colleges they wanted to attend. In return, we informed them of the colleges we would pay for. It was a short list. One propaganda mill is as good as the next, after all. One child called me one day and told me he was voting for Michael “Tank Commander” Dukakis. He heard Dukakis speak and “liked” him.
“What did you like?” I asked.
Pause. “Um, I guess I just liked his stand on things.”
“Give me an example.”
He couldn’t. That’s the state of mind of the average young college student – easily swayed by stuff that sounds good but has no substance. And you’re going to let this person choose where to spend YOUR hard-earned money based largely on some visceral emotional reaction? The adage, “You get what you pay for,” is never so apt.
The second child, following graduation from the University of North Carolina, the People’s Republic of Chapel Hill, told me she did not tell me of the brainwashing that took place in her classes – was the major feature of most, in fact – for fear that I would promptly transfer her to a small Christian school where she would have no fun. Yes, that is precisely what I would have done, her misery notwithstanding.
The parents of a nineteen-year-old girl told me that at her college’s parent orientation, a faculty member, in his address to the people who funded his salary, said the college’s purpose was to “separate your children from you and your values and help them toward thinking for themselves.”
First, that is not the purpose of university. Second, it’s a lie. Excepting a handful, the goal of today’s American university is not to help young people think for themselves; it is to indoctrinate them in the most-failed, destructive ideology ever devised by the evil heart of man. I saw it coming when I was in college, I just didn’t know what I was seeing.
“Why did you let her go there?” I asked.
“It’s where she said she wanted to go,” they answered.
I am reminded of the title of a well-known Jim Carey movie.
The Simplest Explanation is Almost Always the Correct Explanation
October 22, 2020
During my childhood, my parents would occasionally remark that I was developing “some very bad habits.” They were, in fact, spot on. Looking back, I did develop a handful or two of bad habits as a child, a habit being something a person does repetitively, without thinking. That is not to say that people are not responsible for the habits they develop and foist upon the world. That may be true concerning, say, a muscle tic, but that is not the sort of habit to which my parents referred and I am now referring. The habits under discussion are emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. And they are, as my parents defined them, bad. They serve no constructive purpose.
Psychologists assign diagnoses to the habits in question. They call them by such names as “bipolar disorder,” “schizophrenia,” “depression,” and “attention deficit disorder.” They explain these emotional, cognitive, and behavioral phenomena in terms of biological processes that have never been verified – biochemical imbalances, for example, or the equally bogus, all-purpose “brain differences.”
Since no biological explanation has been proven, the simplest explanation becomes “bad habits.” How do the habits in question get their start? Who knows? How does any bad habit get its start? The fact is that very few people can identify when and how a bad habit began. They simply begin and sometime later, they are noticed. By the time they’re noticed, they’ve strengthened to the point where getting rid of them is problematic.
The reason no psychiatric medication has ever reliably outperformed a placebo in clinical trials is because such medications are developed on the basis of theories that have no basis in proven fact. But, even though several psychiatrists have admitted that to me (quote: “We all know that nothing we tell people has ever been proven”), psychiatric medications continue to be prescribed because of the incredible profits they generate. Furthermore, as research has determined, placebos work. The problem is that the sanctioned placebos in question have bad side effects and cost lots of money.
The point of this treatise is to say that the process of disciplining a child is all about preventing him from developing bad habits and motivating him to replace bad habits he has already developed with good habits. It’s really that simple. When discipline fails, the ever-increasing likelihood is that the child in question will become the subject of a psychological evaluation, performed by a person who believes in things that just ain’t so.