Virtue is an Experience of Reality

When, in a moment of absentmindedness, I practice a virtue, my reaction to the fact is not that "I'm being good," but "Oh, so this is how it is." Before the moment of virtue -- be it patience or prudence -- I stumbled blindly without knowing my blindness. In the light of virtue the universe is illuminated and what was obscure makes sense. Virtue reveals the very consistency of existence.The virtues are not additions to life, supplementary goodies we tack onto our behavior -- they are modes of … [Read more...]

3 Reasons Porn Sucks

I don't think opposition to the pornography industry is a religious issue. Here's why: 1. Sex Trafficking The word pornography comes from pornos, prostitute, and grapho, to depict or write, meaning "depicting prostitutes." We seem to be waking up to the possibility that the word's etymology may very well be a description of reality. Pornography is fundamentally an experience of bought sex.In the purchase of pornography, we pay for sexual arousal. We do not simply pay money for a video -- … [Read more...]

The Difference Between a Pilgrim and a Tourist

It is a trend for white people fed up with the banality of existence to run to exotic locations and there write best-selling books about finding themselves. And while I admit to a certain romance in spending thousands learning to eat, pray, love, and afterwards become rich selling the simplicity of foreign cultures back to our own, I can't help but wonder whether the "self" is really "found" in such amazing, caucasian explorations. I wonder -- because I'm cynical -- if the self hasn't been … [Read more...]

What Happens to Women Who Are Denied Abortions?

The New York Times article What Happens to Women Who Are Denied Abortion? is an interesting read. The conclusions drawn from it have been -- so far -- pretty awful.This is because, by and large, culture-warriors don't read. We subsume everything into a pre-ordained, pre-packaged worldview, and use even the most incomplete, unhelpful sociological data as a weapon and a trump card. This particular article, judging by its postings on Facebook, went into the "See, abortion is good for women!" … [Read more...]

Ritual or Death

Hello everyone! I'm writing for the Steubenville conferences.When a man first begins to work out, he usually does so in a burst of enthusiasm. He envisions his ideal weight and future health. He buys new shoes and a barrel of protein-powder with a man who looks like a Transformer grimacing on its label. In short, he gets pumped. But if his enthusiasm isn’t followed by ritual — by a well-kept routine of stretching, running, and lifting — he’ll cease working out.Similarly, upon first fallin … [Read more...]

Modest is Not Hottest

I'll keep this short.Every time a Christian says "modest is hottest," a puppy jumps off a bridge, dies, and is run over by truck while second graders watch. (Which I really wouldn't care about, except that it gives godawful evolutionary biologists an excuse to pretend that willful suicide is a beneficial evolutionary trait unspecific to the human race.) That a phrase rhymes does not make it a truism -- I can "snooze" and not "lose," "fake it" and never "make it" -- and this is especially … [Read more...]

The Contraception/Abortion Connection: Part 3

In which Scott Alexander and I continue a worthwhile discussion. (Part 1 and Part 2. (Scott is in quotes.)) Thanks once again for a really thoughtful response. And thanks for pointing me to the unintended pregnancy rate data - I was using teen pregnancies as a proxy, but this is much more interesting.So you're right that unintended pregnancies stay pretty constant. On the other hand, this article claims that change in percent unintended pregnancies that end in abortion only explains two po … [Read more...]

Popular Music as a Nauseating, No Good, Very Bad Attempt at Propping Up a False Sense of Eternity (With Goats)

I'm in the habit of taking popular music at its word. That is, I take the thumping stuff as a general indicator of what our culture enjoys hearing, and as a direct result of this habit, I'm awash in an atlantic depression, considering moving off the grid to make moonshine in the company of two goats (as an isolated goat gets lonely and begins to yell for companionship).There is a trend in the basic pop lyric which, if actualized into daily life, will have us all enthusiastically trying to en … [Read more...]

The Contraception/Abortion Connection: Part Two

Scott Alexander's critique of my attempts to show a potential connection between contraception and abortion is very good. Several of the countries I cite to show abortion rates rising alongside contraceptive use don't actually establish causation. Some countries do, however, and for these Alexander quotes Guttmacher's explanation of why increased contraception is often associated with a simultaneous increase in abortion: The advent of modern contraception is associated with a destabilization of … [Read more...]

Getting a Little More Detailed with the Contraception/Abortion Connection

Scott Alexander recently published a critique of a post of mine. He argues against the idea that there is a positive correlation between contraceptive use and abortion. The man is far more educated in this field than I am -- I can only venture into the soul-sucking scene of statistics if I mutter "you're screwing this up, you're screwing this up," in a self-soothing fashion -- and he certainly cuts my argument down to size. I think he misses a few crucial details, though. I want to address them … [Read more...]