Sunday, March 18, 2007

In case you were wondering whether anyone actually says, "Why, yes, I'm in favor of Patriarchy!"

here you go: Patriarch Magazine.

Of course, what they really are are neo-Calvinists, otherwise known as Dominionists. Not a term people generally use to describe themselves, granted. But, what's in a name; the important thing is

A Christian man's duty as a citizen

Which is, we learn, to Reclaim Our Nation. for Guess Whom.

Interestingly enough,

Our primary concern here is with the man and so we shall consider further the nature of his leadership. While it is customary to emphasize submission in reference to the wife, this quality is even more important in the man. That's right—the submission of the husband is even more fundamental than that of his wife. This is because of the nature of leadership as modeled and taught by Jesus himself. The most important ingredient of effective leadership is submission.

the author elaborates:

The most basic statement of faith is that there is one God. This one living and true God made us and he demands and deserves our worship and obedience. That is why the first of the Ten Commandments is that we must not have any other gods before the Lord (Exod. 20:3)...More fundamental than God's love or holiness or any other characteristic is that he is utterly unique; he alone is God. Therefore he is a "jealous" God who demands our absolute loyalty and submission (Deut. 5:8).

In short, this is a mindset that, if taken into the political realm, favors authoritarianism. Specifically, right-wing authoritarianism.

A brief detour through the concept of the authoritarian personality:

Although the first usage of the term "authoritarian personality" goes back to Abraham Maslow in 1943, whose work in turn rests upon Erich Fromm's theory of the authoritarian character, in its essentials it has been marked by the 1950 study The Authoritarian Personality by Theodor W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson and R. Nevitt Sanford. Conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, the study was part of a large research project aimed at examining the psychological bases of anti-Semitic prejudices. The researchers performed their work heavily influenced by Second World War and the Holocaust, which had just ended, and these events strongly informed the direction of the project. A result of their research was the development of a measure for fascist tendencies known as the F-scale that is still in use today, but disputed.

In light of this background, it was the goal of the study to explain the onset of fascist and antidemocratic attitudes from a psychoanalytic viewpoint, and thereby to make a scientific contribution in the struggle against fascism. The theory of the authoritarian personality laid the cornerstone for a rich, extensive tradition in social science research that continues down to the present day, even though practically everything about the theory has subsequently been questioned.

[edit] Theory of the Authoritarian Personality

Those persons who admire fascist ideologies, according to the theory, distinguish themselves through their unconventional, prejudice-laden view of social and political relationships. From this background in their personal history arose the assumption that the emergence of certain phenomena such as anti-Semitism and ethnocentrism stands in close connection with this particular personality structure. Because fascistic groupings get support essentially from the right-conservative camp (although that does not suggest that the right-conservative camp invariably lends these groupings such support) parts of the conservative outlook are likewise judged as an expression of this personality structure. As an instrument to measure this outlook, the AS-scale (for "anti-Semitism") the E-scale (for "Ethnocentrism") and the PEC-Scale (for "political-economic conservatism") are used.

The instrument for assessing the underlying authoritarian personality structure was the so-called F-Scale ("implicit antidemocratic tendencies and fascist potential"). This scale consists of the following subscales:

* Conventionalism -- uncritical acceptance of social conventions and the rules of authority figures; adherence to the traditional and accepted
* Authoritarian Submission -- unqualified submission to authorities and authority figures
* Authoritarian Aggression -- hostility toward individuals or groups disliked by authorities, especially those who threaten or violate traditional values
* Intellectual hollowness -- rejection of the subtle, subjective, imaginative and aesthetic; little or no introspection
* Superstition and Stereotypy -- ready acceptance of pseudoscience as truth, cliché, categorization; ethnic and religious prejudice; fatalistic determinism
* Power and Toughness -- identification with those in power; excessive emphasis on socially advocated ego qualities; rejection of gentleness; contempt for the weak, unpopular, and powerless
* Destructiveness and Cynicism -- general hostility, lust for violence, extreme pessimism, view of the world as a dangerous place
* Projectivity -- belief in the overwhelming power of evil in the world, even in natural phenomena, and to project unconscious emotional impulses outward
* Sex -- undue concern with the methods of reproduction and sexual activity

"Rejection of the subtle, subjective...little or no introspection"
is one that particularly interests me.

Let's go back to our partriarchal-type menfolk here:

"Talking Biblically About Feelings"

We say, "I feel angry, anxious, lonely, happy, affectionate, fearful, guilty, thankful, excited, ashamed, compassionate, sorrowful, awed, joyful." These are all God-given emotions. They are signals that register what is happening to you and within you, like the red lights on the dashboard of your car tell you what's happening under the hood. Your children have these red lights on their dashboard as well! They feel angry, sad, fearful, and joyous. In fact, God is Himself full of emotions like sorrow and joy, anger and tenderness. Since He has created us in His image, we have emotions too.

But the Bible teaches that these emotions can be either justified or unjustified, rightly expressed or wrongly expressed; and they are generally linked with thoughts, attitudes, expectations, words, and deeds. So emotions are not automatically legitimate. They simply register, for good or for ill, what is going on in our relationships with God and neighbor. For example, we say, "Such and such happened, and I'm worried." That's a "red light" that I have forgotten the sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness of God who controls all my circumstances. Or we say, "You offended me, so I feel angry." But when my anger is evaluated by the Word of God, I will in all likelihood find in my response some pride, some comparing, and perhaps some envy. If I am not careful to repent right away, then that anger will be expressed in bitterness, hatred, and even murder (cf. Gen. 4:3-8).

So in Scripture our emotions are properly called "feelings," but they may be either right or wrong based on whether they are biblically justified and biblically expressed...


A third way we employ the word "feeling" is to describe our beliefs, attitudes, and thoughts. This use begins to move outside the parameters of Scripture. Notice in the above example how the wife said, "I feel that my husband wronged me. I feel he won't listen. I don't feel the Bible applies. I feel justified." What is this wife really saying? She is saying she believes her husband has wronged her. She thinks he won't listen. She doesn't believe the Bible applies. And so she thinks she is justified. Though this wife expresses both physical sensation and internal emotion elsewhere in her words, she is here expressing her beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, and opinions.

Yet the Bible nowhere uses the word "feeling" in this way. And the problem with allowing ourselves to use "feeling" to express beliefs is that "feelings" are impossible to argue with. People either have them or they don't. When we express beliefs in terms of feelings, our subjective, inner "truth" replaces the objective "truth" of the Bible. If I "feel" it as an inner conviction, then it becomes inherently true and right. You can surely see the dilemma a father will face with his son or daughter during courtship if his child has been allowed to express beliefs and opinions in terms of "feelings."

In other words: there -is- no legitimate, subjective, "inner truth." At least, not one that contradicts Authority, here of course defined by a particular interpretation of the Bible.

The examples the dude is using are interesting too, of course: the wife's feelings are not valid unless they are based in "truth;" she may -believe- that she is being done wrong, but of course if the husband can argue logically and rationally (because what's more logical and rational than this?) that she is incorrect in that belief because XYZ, and also oh yeah he does happen to be the "leader" of the family, well then, QED. Particularly of course if they then take it to an outside authority, and...

And of course, the child who does not wish to be "betrothed" but instead would prefer to base who s/he spends her/his life with on the basis of scare-quoted feelings, well...that's just hir opinion.

Going on,

There is a fourth way we use the word "feeling," and this one, too, is in error. We often use the word "feeling" to express our desires. Notice again the wife's words: "I don't feel like talking to him. I feel like leaving." What is she really saying? She means "I don't desire to talk to him. Instead, I desire to leave." Yet by using the word "feel" she has given implicit authority to her impulses, inclinations, desires, yearnings, intentions, and plans. And she has obscured her responsibility to submit her desires to the search light of God's Word. When expressed as feelings, our deceptive desires will often produce sinful choices.

Specifically, the wife's desire to not talk to "him," to "leave," even, may well be sinful, and in any case is not to be trusted, much less indulged in.

So, yeah, that there would be patriarchy, all right. It's more than just the sexist-based domination here, though:

We call our false beliefs and fleshly desires "feelings" simply because we do not want God interfering with the idolatries of our wayward heart.

These last two uses of the word "feeling" - to mean either our beliefs or our desires - are not biblical uses at all. So use the word "feeling" to express an outward sensation like a pin prick, or an inward emotion like anger or fear. But using the word "feeling" to mean belief or desire should be stricken from our vocabulary and our children's vocabulary

It is interesting, because a common idea liberal/Enlightenment-based types tend to have of radical zealots is that they are *over* emotional, that in fact that is a good part of the problem with them: they aren't rational, therefore they are guided by...well, what?

Authority. But one needn't be whipped up into a foaming hysterical frenzy by Dear Leader; the point of irrationality isn't that the irrational people don't -think-, or -feel- rather than think; it's that they actually aren't really trusting their own subjective experience of either thinking -or- feeling.

And here you have part of the blueprint for how this process works. He's very calm, this guy. Very -reasonable- sounding, at least in tone. No snake handling. No speaking in tongues. As a matter of fact this bunch generally tends to frown on such things.

And yet.

More on this general theme later, I think.

On edit: timely enough, trinity reminds me that I posted this, about a year ago:

the erotic impulse is an incredibly powerful source of energy. if you don’t use it one way, it’s gonna pop out in another.

authoritarians have known (to whatever degree of consciousness) about this since time immemorial. There’s a reason why “patriarchy” is so emphatic about sexual repression. It’s not just taboos based on primal existential fears (although no doubt that’s part of what started it, and that’s always there); and it’s not just a nefarious plot to keep people miserable or even distracted from the “real” issues.

It’s a way of harnessing energy.

Magic, in other words.

in the case of mass movements like fascism, malign sorcery. all those brooms stand up and march, march, march…

...teach people to become disconnected from their own bodies and desires and you can fill them with pretty much whatever crap you want to.

This is why “my body belongs to me” is so fucking important.

It’s not about the Meaning of the Womb or the Phallus or whatnot; that’s there, but ...

It’s [also] because what they call the “still small voice” in religious/spiritual circles, wherever its ultimate source, comes--I have found--from within.


Alon Levy said...

If only my book had a juicy one-line quote on a par with Syme's "The purpose of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought"...

Dee said...

What a bunch of horse hockey.

Emily said...

Oh, man, have I got an example of the authoritarian personality for you.

This was probably less than a year ago, when Bush's approval rating was maybe only a few percent above what it is now.

I was working at the Barnes & Noble cafe and it was quiet day with no line, and this guy came in, looking at first to be very normal and polite, and he ordered two cookies. While I got the cookies, he went over to the register and saw a few copies of a Dixie Chicks CD for sale. When I returned to him, I noticed that he was suddenly devoid of personality, staring straight ahead with a sort of zombie-like air.

"Shame on Barnes & Noble for selling this CD. The Dixie Chicks are terrible people for saying what they said about President Bush. He's a great man. He can do no wrong. I'm going to talk to your manager."

I'm not kidding you. He really said all of this stuff, just spewing it out as if he'd memorized it off of a piece of paper. Yikes.

belledame222 said...

oh, weird. i mean, saying it is one thing--we've many of us tried similar stuff wrt "boycotts" on a small level at one point or another i expect-- but the delivery sounds really weird. what'd you/the manager say to him, and how'd he respond?

belledame222 said...

--er, except for "he's a great man, he can do no wrong." seriously? that's what he said? in so many words? cuz, ack.

Rosie said...

Someone left some excellent anon links on my site of these Xtian patriarchy nuts and it was really eye opening.

There is something sort of S & M -y about them...except without the fun or ethical part.

There were articles about "stoning" children and how to beat your children properly using rods. I hope CPS in every state are keeping a close eye on these people. They are truly whacked.