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December 30, 2013

Coffee Snorters, Slim Pickens Edition

During the Worst RepubliMan Caused Disaster Depression, Like... Ever..., mugger can't be bothered to steal cell phone that doesn't have all the latest features:

Picky, picky, picky.

A gun-toting mugger in Central Park was so disappointed by his victim’s cheap flip phone that he handed it back.

“Once he saw my phone, he looked at it like, ‘What the f–k is this?’ and gave it back to me,” recalled Kevin Cook, 25, of Brooklyn.

“It’s like a 3-year-old generation Windows phone,” said Cook, a New York Sports Club salesman who was walking with a pal near the West Drive in the 60s at 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

“I guess he didn’t think he could get anything for it,” Cooke added. “It’s kind of humorous.”

The gunman, who threatened to kill Cooke and his friend, was wearing a dark-green winter coat and blue jeans. His accomplice wore his long black hair in a ponytail. Both fled before cops could catch up to them.

The depths of human desperation on display here are hard to fathom.

Busted!!!

busted.jpg

Elephants munching Christmas trees.

The Editorial Staff found this extremely diverting:

Consider the percentages of the following groups thinking that gay sex is always wrong:

54% of those born in the 1940-1950 period,
65% of those from the East South Central region of the country,
77% of those believing that the Bible is the literal word of God,
72% of protestant fundamentalists, and
51% of males.

Other groups in which a majority believe that gay sex is always wrong include:

52% of male Democrats,
60% of male Republicans, and
63% of African Americans, including 58% of African-American females.

Kinda undermines the "OMG HIS BELIEFS ARE SO OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM!!!11!" mantra, doesn't it? The Editorial Staff are always somewhat bemused by the suggestion that holding an opinion that's supposedly "outside the mainstream" means that opinion should be discredited or even censored before it kills us all. It's also somewhat amusing that African-Americans, whose life experiences (according to progressive dogma) should uniquely position them to stand up for the civil rights of other Oppressed Groups, are among the most judgmental.

Patterico pokes fun (pun fully intended) at Eliot Spitzer.

Dear Lord, make it stop:


A good woman is "hard to find. Mainly because these boys are waiting until they get to be about 20 years old before they marry 'em. Look, you wait till they get to be about 20 years old, they only picking that's going to take place is your pocket. You gotta marry these girls when they're 15 or 16, they'll pick your ducks. You need to check with mom and dad about that, of course."

And perhaps a judge, if you live in Louisiana.
Lovely sentiment - kind of brings a tear to the eye.

Posted by Cassandra at December 30, 2013 08:38 AM

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Comments

Hi Cass,
Thank you for brightening my day!
FYI, the Christmas trees the elephants at the German zoo are eating are Hemlocks.

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at December 30, 2013 04:21 PM

OK, I'll be the bad guy.

I don't recall any specific Biblical prohibition against female homosexuality, only the male act.
I am not offended by girls being with girls, only disappointed if they choose to give up men entirely.
Male homosexual behavior does offend me.

As a libertarian, I'm not inclined to try to regulate the behavior of other adults, nor do I favor using the police power of gov't to control the private behavior of others. That does not imply I or anyone else should feel compelled to 'approve' of whatever the pc police are promoting.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at December 30, 2013 04:31 PM

No bad guys here, Mike.

Couldn't agree more that no one should be pressured to approve of things that run contrary to their moral code. I think good manners take care of 90% of that anyway, and also believe none of us has any reasonable expectation of commanding the moral approval of others :p

I've been taken to task for being married and monogamous, which always kind of amuses me. Never thought that would be viewed as morally suspect, but in today's world we're told it's downright "unnatural".

Personally, I've never thought homosexuality was morally wrong, per se. I don't think heterosexuality is wrong, per se. I do think there are a ton of moral issues wrapped up in how sexuality is expressed, but that applies to both sexes. And I'd have to say that I can't see how something could be morally wrong when one sex does it, but not morally wrong when the other does it but then I lose that argument with Grim all the time (the big brute!!!!) :p

I'm not a Bible scholar, but I was under the impression that the Bible has surprisingly little to say about homosexuality. In Romans, I think there's a verse that seems to condemn women for doing sexual things "against nature". There's Leviticus, but most Christians pretty much ignore Leviticus except when it's useful in some argument :p

And the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is so weird that I've never quite known what to think of it. I pretty much lose it when Lot offers his virgin daughters up to men, bidding them "do what they will" with them so long as his male guests are left alone.

Dad of the Year this guy wasn't :p

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2013 04:53 PM

Thank you for brightening my day!

Happy to return the favor, sir :)

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2013 04:54 PM

And I'd have to say that I can't see how something could be morally wrong when one sex does it, but not morally wrong when the other does it but then I lose that argument with Grim all the time (the big brute!!!!) :p

One of the reasons people like Kant -- and a major reason I think some important teachers of yours must have been strongly under his influence -- is that he believes in universal moral laws that apply to all rational beings with equal force. So much so that he doesn't think there's an issue that "no one should be pressured to approve of things that run contrary to their moral code," because everyone -- if they are being truly rational -- will derive (and thus legislate for themselves) the same basic moral laws.

For this reason he thinks the law will almost always be the same for man or woman, for this state or that state, for Europe as for Africa. The only difference he sees between men and angels is that angels don't need the law; but they'll do exactly the same things in moral situations as a fully rational human being.

But I just quoted you Kant's position on the sexuality issue. He'd be a part of that strong majority showing that thinks gay sex is always morally wrong. The account of why he offers is wholly derived from practical reason, not at all from religion or anything that might divide people into classes; and so he has no problem suggesting that it is a universal moral law that should be enforced by any just state.

Our idea that reasonable people should differ, in other words, is not what the Enlightenment thought at all. They thought that reason is just why people shouldn't differ. We tend to romanticize the Enlightenment (which is really amusing, when you think about it), but there was a tyrannical shadow to the liberating influence of Reason.

Posted by: Grim at December 30, 2013 05:45 PM

By the way, I liked the Robertson line about how you can know he isn't preaching. :) Advice worth every penny!

Posted by: Grim at December 30, 2013 05:55 PM

So much so that he doesn't think there's an issue that "no one should be pressured to approve of things that run contrary to their moral code," because everyone -- if they are being truly rational -- will derive (and thus legislate for themselves) the same basic moral laws.

Well that's just plain dumb :p The world simply doesn't work that way. But then I didn't get my views from Kant (I don't even know most of his work) - it's just that my view tend towards some sort of notion of the most practical justice involving rules that are, insofar as possible/practical, applicable to everyone. No sane law admits of no exceptions, but in general the problems of special pleading and motivated reasoning point to a law most folks are willing to be bound by as the most sensible.

Everyone can think of reasons to bind others to restrictions they would never accept themselves. I don't trust people to be disinterested enough.

Anyway, the whole point of not trying to force people to approve of things that go against their moral code is that good people - intelligent people - can come to different conclusions about the thornier questions.

I honestly don't understand the moral reason for believing that homosexuality is morally wrong, but then I don't believe sex is only moral when it's used to beget children. To my mind, that belief only logically follows from the "sex is for procreation only" POV. My problem with that is that I think sex plays an important role in a lot of marriages long past the time when children are a physical possibility. I know it makes me feel closer to my husband.

But I don't think my view is the only view. Nor do I hate people who came to a different conclusion (or who believe as their faith tells them to). That's not where I come down (probably why I am a bad Christian), but it's a respectable position.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2013 06:36 PM

So... no one has an opinion on the advisability of marrying 15 year olds, I take it :p

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2013 06:40 PM

Cass, I frequently seem to say that I try to follow the teachings of Christ, while denying that I'm a Christian -- that seems to me to be a church created by men (which might be part of their problem with the other half of the human race.)


Marrying at fifteen was probably a good plan when life expectancy for both was under thirty. Now, maybe not such a good plan. Personally, there was a girl I would have married at fifteen (when I was fifteen). That might have worked out well, and it might have been a disaster. There's no way to tell.


Thirty or forty-five marrying fifteen? Go away. They've got nothing to talk about.

Posted by: htom at December 30, 2013 07:00 PM

Well that's just plain dumb :p

I don't think that's a fair complaint towards Kant, so perhaps I am at fault for giving a poor account of his argument. He's utterly willing for people to come to their own conclusions. He just thinks that reason is the same for all people, and so any X, if X is a rational being, will come to a similar decision in condition Y.

There are empirical things he admits: one example he gives is that two rational beings observing a drowning man may not come to the same decision about trying to save him, depending on empirical facts about whether the two beings are equally capable of swimming. But he thinks you'll both reason to "I should do what I can to help save the drowning man."

As for marrying teenagers, I'm unconvinced that it's worse advice than Barack Obama's "I don't want my daughter punished with a baby." It might be that earlier family formation (say earlier than the mid-to-late-20s average) would be better in a lot of ways. (We'd have more time with our grandkids before we die, for example). But we'd need to restructure some aspects of family support, so that younger parents had more elder support in childrearing; and in advancing, later, into careers or higher education. That means a tighter family structure, but that might not be a bad thing.

Posted by: Grim at December 30, 2013 07:12 PM

Speaking as someone who married a 20 year old at 19 and had her first child at 20, allow me to call BS on that.

There's a HUGE difference between 15-16 year olds and even 18 year olds.

And it's not as though we don't have plentiful data on how well early marriages fare. The most stable marriages - the ones that don't crash and burn with wrecked families - are not early marriages. And I say that as someone who actually believes the smarter course of action for most women would be to have kids first and do the rest (career, school) later.

I didn't think much of Robertson before. I think even less (and that's something I would have thought unlikely) now. Marrying young girls so you can keep them under your thumb (and to hear him tell it, out of your wallet) shows a contempt for women that is just stunning.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2013 07:27 PM

Marrying at fifteen was probably a good plan when life expectancy for both was under thirty. Now, maybe not such a good plan.

Agreed. There's what you do when there's no better option and what you do when you have the luxury of real choice.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2013 07:29 PM

I realize there's a huge class division between you and Robertson. He is self-described white trash. Still, he sounds pretty decent when Terry Bradshaw talks about him. But he's got very different expectations about the good life -- I think he honestly believes that it's better for both parties to marry young and spend a life hunting ducks, instead of chasing after the monetary goods that American society favors.

He could be wrong about that, but I'm not sure he is. Your statistics about what the best outcomes have been assumes a society like the one that generated them. If you change the baseline, naturally you'll change the outcomes too. That may be outside our power, of course; but maybe it's not outside our power with regard to our own family, even if it is for the society as a whole.

I agree with you that having kids earlier is a much better idea, in general. There's a reason it seems like a "punishment" to be avoided by abortion to the elite on the Left. Our society is set up to make it hard. It doesn't have to be hard. If you want the luxury of real choice, why not that choice if you and I think it's the best one?

Posted by: Grim at December 30, 2013 07:44 PM

But maybe there's another difference at work here, with regard to assumptions about his audience.

If the argument is directed at 50-year-old men, then it's creepy whether or not he's talking about 15 year old girls or 20 year old women. The kind of child bride thing we see in some cultures is really problematic. There's a lot of literature on that.

On the other hand, it's different if he's talking to very young men (or older boys). Then the argument is potentially just, "You should be thinking right now about whom you want to marry, and taking seriously the concept of assuming a role as husband and father." If the idea is that American society is corrupting because of its focus on monetary gain, well, that may really be true.

Posted by: Grim at December 30, 2013 08:04 PM

I think it's good for helpless babies to have adults for parents. You know, people who have the requisite self control to actually do their freaking jobs.

Class has nothing to do with it. Maturity has everything to do with it.

Jesus Christ - do we really need to frame every question - even common sense ones - as being somehow in opposition to the left? I don't give a rat's ass whether Obama thinks girls are "punished" by having babies. I have enough real world experience (yes, even someone of "my class"), with mothers who are little more than children to know that babies deserve parents who are grown up enough to put their children first.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2013 09:31 PM

Then the argument is potentially just, "You should be thinking right now about whom you want to marry, and taking seriously the concept of assuming a role as husband and father."

That's not what he said. Not even close. And the problem of parents who aren't even adults yet gets far worse if we assume he's talking to boys of about the same age.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2013 09:32 PM

Well, if you want to go by strict reading of the words, he's not talking about them having children either. He's talking about looking for a wife who hasn't been taken in by material culture.

Maybe he's wrong. Free advice is worth every penny, as said above. I think there may really be a kind of reverse-window, though: if you don't marry early, marry late, when those materialist assumptions have had time to prove false. But that complicates child-rearing in many ways: you have the maturity, but may no longer have the capacity (not, at least, for as large and bountiful a family as you might have wanted).

Posted by: Grim at December 30, 2013 10:03 PM

I'll have another bite of the morality apple.

There are good solid non-religious reasons for sexual promiscuity and male homosexuality to be (or have been historically) immoral; STD's. Until quite recently the old standby Syphilis was incurable and horribly fatal, though due to long delays for the infection to get to the brain it left *lots* of time for the infection to be spread.

More recently, the social and sexual habits of male homosexuals were crucial in the spread of HIV/AIDS. Current youth 'hook-up' culture (aka promiscuity) has led to an explosive rise of chlamydia and genital warts (which can cause cervical cancer; this is why CDC recommends HPV vaccine for pre-teens)

. . . and this leaves aside the personal and my societal consequences of out of wedlock childbirths. I'm not a fan of shaming unwed mothers (my daughter was 18 and not yet wed when my granddaughter was born), but it does make life tougher.

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at December 31, 2013 12:29 AM

Well, if you want to go by strict reading of the words, he's not talking about them having children either. He's talking about looking for a wife who hasn't been taken in by material culture.

No, he's talking about looking for a wife who is still a child, because apparently by the time women reach the ripe old age of 20 all they're interested in is picking your pocket.

That's a really lousy thing to say, Grim. You can make excuses for it all day long, but it's still a lousy thing to say. As for this, if we're going by what Robertson actually said, it doesn't make any sense:

... I think there may really be a kind of reverse-window, though: if you don't marry early, marry late, when those materialist assumptions have had time to prove false. But that complicates child-rearing in many ways: you have the maturity, but may no longer have the capacity (not, at least, for as large and bountiful a family as you might have wanted).

He's not talking about marrying early vs. late. He's talking about marrying a child vs a very young adult of "about 20". Let's go back to what he actually said:

...these boys are waiting until they get to be about 20 years old before they marry 'em. Look, you wait till they get to be about 20 years old, they only picking that's going to take place is your pocket. You gotta marry these girls when they're 15 or 16...

It's ridiculous to talk about 20 being too old to have a family.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2013 06:00 AM

Mike, those are all excellent points. But lesbians have STD rates at least as high as hetero women. If spreading STDs makes sex morally wrong, then it logically follows that hetero and lesbian sex are wrong too, for the same reason.

We should separate sleeping around from monogamy, which effectively reduces the risk of catching an std (or single parenthood) to zero. Marriage encourages monogamy but unfortunately doesn't guarantee it. And monogamy doesn't require a marriage license, though I will admit that, people being what we are, not having a binding agreement in place makes monogamy harder to achieve. But if a homosexual couple are monogamous, I don't see the harm argument (at least wrt to STDs).

All sex can lead to harm. There's the risk of pregnancy, the risk of disease, and the plain old risk of temptation eroding moral boundaries and conscience. Throughout history, people have done all sorts of unbelievably dumb/wrong things because of sex. They have killed for it, lied, cheated, bullied and attacked each other for it. It has ruined friendships and caused children to be horribly abused.

That's a good argument for marriage.

Part of why I come down where I do on this is that traditional sexual morality (as actually practiced) is riddled with inconsistencies. It's wrong for women to have premarital sex because... pregnancy/STDs! But it's beautiful and natural for a young man to have lots of premarital sex because...[mumble, mumble] nature! Hard wiring! Of course the exact same risks apply, but somehow we only address half the equation because it's always easier to limit other people's freedom than to take responsibility for our own actions.

The pendulum has flipped from men telling women it's their duty to restrain themselves to feminists telling men it's their duty to restrain themselves. Both approaches seem fundamentally wrong to me because sex takes two people, *both* of whom need to act responsibly. No one gets to unilaterally delegate their responsibility to the other person.

I think there are good arguments to be made that sex is a powerful force that can cause great harm if not properly channeled. And I believe there are excellent arguments to be made that sex (as fun as it is) shouldn't become an end in itself. But I've never been able to reconcile myself to the view that the only legitimate (moral) reason to have sex is procreation.

In my mind, the best argument for your position is that male homosexuals are both less likely to commit to one partner and less likely to be faithful to that partner when they do than female homosexuals. Exclusivity and monogamy are more common for lesbians than for male homosexuals, but they're by no means universal. I think the argument here is that men (regardless of sexual orientation) are less likely to restrain themselves, period. In this context, the moral argument against male homosexuality would be that men need women to help them behave in more moral ways.

I would add that I have always believed the reverse it true as well.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2013 06:58 AM

Maybe it does amount to 'making excuses,' but I find it hard to condemn the advice -- though I certainly don't intend thereby to condemn the women (of 20 or so). I assume that anything bad they grow into as a product of the culture, they'll likely grow out of. Certainly I took on a fair number of bad beliefs from the culture between 15 and 20 that I might not have been out of... well, for a while.

My uncle is a similar figure, a civil engineer rather than a hunter, but a deacon in his Southern Baptist church. He's been successfully married for many decades (as has Robertson), but he tried very hard to talk me out of marriage when I turned to it myself. In part this was because he'd seen all his children marry and fail at it in different ways; I think he was of a similar opinion that the culture was making people unfit for it (though his children were as often female as male, so it wasn't a sentiment directed at men or women).

It's worked out well for me regardless, but in part I think it's because my wife was 28 when we married. She'd been independent for a long time, including earning her own living. She'd had time to sort through all the stuff she believed at 20, and realize how much of it didn't hold.

Some don't get through all that by 30 or 40, though. So there's probably not a hard rule about how long it takes to grow up.

Posted by: Grim at December 31, 2013 07:36 AM

The idea that 15 year olds are less influenced by popular culture than 20 year olds is dubious at best. Teens are notorious for being impulsive, self centered, and vulnerable to peer pressure.

Not good parenting material, and not good marriage material either. Maturity and self control are probably the biggest factors in successful parenting and successful marriages. I can't imagine why anyone would think a 15 year old more capable of those things (on average) than someone 5 years older. Just like I can't imagine anyone thinking a 20 year old more mature/responsible than a 25 year old.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2013 09:16 AM

I took Robertson to be joking a bit about marrying a girl so young she hadn't been taught to feel above such tasks as plucking ducks. He clearly believes that a sensible man has better values to impart to his wife than she's likely to pick up from the culture at large. It's also true that Robertson jokes often about his sons' yuppie wives and their addiction to spending. He's a huge cheapskate himself, preferring to live in a double-wide out in the woods, shooting most of his food, and affecting, at least, to be unwilling to spend money on almost anything.

He married his wife when she was 16 and he wasn't much older. That was over 50 years ago. She seems perfectly happy. Obviously it's not my cup of tea to be a non-earning wife who exposes herself to jokes about wanting to spend her "husband's money," but it's very much the cup of tea of lots of traditional women, particularly ones born before 1950.

Phil Robertson is quite open about how badly he screwed up his marriage early on with drinking and carousing. We might say it was because he and his wife were too young, but he attributes it quite simply to the absence of Christ in his life. He got religion, cleaned up his act, and embarked on a half-century of successful happy married life. He raised four sons who seem to be fine men, though, like their father, not immune to life crises. Like him, they tend to attribute their crises to failures of faith in Christ. Ditto for some of their grandkids.

Despite all that, I don't get a smarmy or smug vibe from any of them. They are considerably more uncompromising about their fundamentalist religion than I would ever be, but they're under no illusions about the hard work of doing the right things in their lives according to Biblical principles as they understand them. And that's not just a question of avoiding fundamentalist hotpoints like gay sex or demon alcohol, but of trying to implement in their daily lives abstract precepts like loving their neighbors, loving God, and living upright, honest lives.

Posted by: Texan99 at December 31, 2013 01:05 PM

He married his wife when she was 16 and he wasn't much older.

It's not clear to me how old he was. Some sources say he was 20 when they married (and 18 when he started dating his then-14 year old future wife). His own book says he was 16 when they got married and she was 15. She says she was 16. It's kind of weird, but I'm perfectly willing to believe whatever they say and suspect him being 20 is a mistake.

He got religion, cleaned up his act, and embarked on a half-century of successful happy married life.

From what I can tell, he got religion at the 12 year mark in his marriage after cheating on her, accusing her of cheating on him, kicking her and the kids out of the house - really horrendous behavior. To the extent that he's turned his life around, I applaud him.

I will admit to not having a great first impression of the guy long before this incident. The one and only time I watched DD, the paterfamilias was literally walking around inside their office space pissing on various surfaces b/c he couldn't be bothered to go outside or use a bathroom.

Now maybe this is a result of my [solidly middle class] upbringing (though I'm really not sure what class would have to do with not wanting people to pee on the floor inside a shared living or work space) but that just seems... weird. And really kind of aggressive and nasty. But no one ever said that simply being a Christian fixes everything about a person.

I don't think that advising a bunch of grown men (that's who his audience was) to go out and marry 15 or 16 year old girls is good advice. I get that he thinks it's funny, but it makes me think less of him as a person. Not something to get hysterical or uber outragey about, but definitely something that doesn't incline me to think highly of him. I don't really care how long he's been married - a single case is really irrelevant to the point of whether marrying 15/16 year old girls is a good general advice or not.

And I strongly suspect that no one would be defending that sort of thing if they hadn't already taken sides here. But that's just my personal opinion.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2013 01:33 PM

OK, Google says Phil's 4 years older than his wife and that they started dating when she was 14 and he was 18 and married when he was 20.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2013 01:53 PM

Hi again Cassandra,
Guess I was not clear enough, in fact I deliberately avoided graphic language.

Clarifications:
1. my comments about promiscuity were intended to be gender neutral; the male behavior is also a mistake. though it must be noted, females have inherently greater risk from a biological point of view.
2. male homosexual acts are problematic in that they are inherently more likely to cause bleeding, which greatly increases the likelihood of transmission for HIV. 'Normal' (heterosexual) vaginal intercourse has some combination of evolution and/or God's grand plan that significantly reduces the probability of transmission of (some) diseases. Simply put, a woman's organ has developed over time for both goes into *and* goes out of, while the 'waste elimination center' was never intended for intake.

Separately, it's easy for me to understand the general proposition of older guy to younger girl, as we guys mature emotionally later and historically needed to be able to develop a source of income to attract a mate. The details matter, a *lot!*
>>> I have a problem w/ an 18 year old young man developing a relationship w/ a 14 year old girl. 20 marrying 16 is very, very wrong. If they were so much in love they coulda waited a couple years. If she was pregnant, then it was statutory rape.

for us older / more mature folk, 10 or 20 years may not matter much, though again I see 50 marrying 20 as looking mighty fishy, and probably a mistake.

Best Regards, and Happy New Year!

Posted by: CAPT Mike at December 31, 2013 07:11 PM

1. my comments about promiscuity were intended to be gender neutral; the male behavior is also a mistake. though it must be noted, females have inherently greater risk from a biological point of view.

Oh, I agree completely. That part wasn't really aimed at you. It was more of a rant about the usual arguments I've been ranting about for centuries :)

On age differences, in general I think the sameage differential matters more when people are younger than when they're older. 4 years is a lot at 16. It's fairly insignificant once you're in your 30s. My own parents have a 2-3 year age difference. They were HS sweethearts but didn't marry until my mother was out of HS and my Dad out of college.

From what I can tell from looking up dates of birth, there were 4 years between the Robertsons.
She had their firstborn the year they married (when she was only 16 or possibly just turned 17).

I have a problem with a guy 4 years older getting a girl 4 years younger pregnant, but he did the right thing and married her.

From what I've read today, he made her life a living hell for the next 12 years and even kicked them out of the house at one time. That's an awfully long learning curve for me to idealize the arrangement. I'm glad he straightened himself out, but as I said earlier, none of this makes me think much of him. I am happy to attribute the last 38 years of their marriage to the power of faith and of her being mature enough not to give up on him despite more than ample grounds.

But I'm not going to say that track record is a strong argument for older guys marrying 15 or 16 year olds!

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2013 07:50 PM

He was a jerk, no doubt about it, and he'd be the first to tell you that. Did he turn his life around because he got more mature at about age 30? It was a pretty dramatic change, which also happened to coincide with a religious conversion that included not just a lot of emotional hype but a sincere effort to read the Bible and draw moral and ethical lessons from it that would drastically improve his behavior. A lot of people in that situation would have gotten worse, not better, at age 30. Many would decide to make a clean break and "find themselves" instead of repairing their broken families.

I think I agree with you that most people haven't any business marrying and procreating at age 16. On the other hand, they mostly haven't any business doing it until they're rather too old for it, and some never get there. I guess I'm just saying that the important patterns for me about Phil Robertson's life are not the chronological ones but the ethical and religious ones.

Posted by: Texan99 at January 1, 2014 12:16 PM

I guess I'm just saying that the important patterns for me about Phil Robertson's life are not the chronological ones but the ethical and religious ones.

I have no trouble agreeing with that, Tex.

The point I was trying to make by even mentioning it (I didn't think it deserved its own post) was that I am very uncomfortable with the tit-for-tat nature of a lot of these debates. The Left pounces (mostly unreasonably but on occasion they have a valid point) and the Right reacts and reflexibly defends who/whatever is being attacked (too often with a sort of "Our sacred cow is being attacked! We must support it or Armegeddon will ensue!" vibe that leads us to strange places that I find hard to defend or understand).

Robertson doesn't have to be a saint for us to point out that A&E knew his views on gays before their hired him, or that GLAAD's stance was both distasteful and overwrought. We don't have to defend everything the guy says to make the point that calls for firing people for offensive speech may (or may not) be beyond the pale.

And this isn't (or shouldn't be) a class warfare issue. Casting it in identity group terms doesn't add anything valuable to the debate.

As I said, Robertson should be commended for turning his life around but that doesn't make me willing to go to the barricades to find reasons to defend everything he says lest "the Left" score points on us. And there has been more than a bit of that tone to this whole debate, with ridiculous comparisons to Soviet Russia and re-education camps galore.

It's all kind of depressing and exhausting. More light, less heat :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 1, 2014 12:28 PM

Hi Guys, and Happy New Year!

OT, but just came across an interesting website:
http://womenformen.org/

from a link by an author with an interesting point of view:
http://www.foxnews.com/archive/author/suzanne-venker/index.html

Posted by: CAPT Mike at January 1, 2014 07:30 PM

I didn't mean class in the sense of "class war," but in the more ordinary sense of the kind of people whose way of life you feel some kind of kinship with, so that you assume they are probably good people and look sympathetically at things others tend to take as evidence of faults. Robertson is closer to the class I grew up with -- certainly none of my family were white trash. The uncle I mentioned was an engineer, as I said, as well as a deacon in his church and a man who never smoked nor drank in his life, and a man currently married over five happy decades to the same woman he first married.

But the connection to the back country South is there, and to its religious forms (which can be fundamentalist and unphilosophical, but which I can see offer a great deal of good to those who practice them). I understand the country and its ways very well, and tend to excuse (or look for the good in) even its more extreme examples.

We had this conversation in reverse about a recent Republican presidential candidate's many apparent reversals in public positions. On that occasion, I think I was the one whose class was too far removed to look sympathetically on the language, or assume that there was or could possibly be a good interpretation of the words. Possibly sympathy leads me to error here; perhaps I err both in being sympathetic here and not being sympathetic there.

Another explanation, though, is that sympathy is naturally extended to those you feel some kinship with; and not naturally to those you do not. I haven't seen the Robertson TV show, but it sounds like from your description of watching him urinate here and there that you had a kind of immediate sense of not sharing values or kinship with him. That's what I mean by class: you can use another word if you prefer it, but that concept of having the feeling that a person is a part of your order in some way, someone you relate to and are inclined to view kindly.

Posted by: Grim at January 1, 2014 08:03 PM

A couple of quick hits.

Biblically, all sex outside of religious marriage is sinful, period. Loving serially monogamaous pre-marital heterosexual sex is exactly as bad as gay sex. Christians committing the former may actually be worse, because they compound the sin with the sin of Pride: "At least I'm not as bad as teh gheys!"

The law of Moses (Leviticus), at least for gentiles, does not and never has applied. Christians who cite it are mistaken. What applies to Gentiles is Acts 15:20 which lists 4 religious laws for Gentiles to obey. One of which is sex outside Holy Matrimony.

Marriage at

That said, I think a 15-20 year old is capabable of much greater maturity than what is typically exhibited today. And perhaps enough to make a marriage decision. But they aren't today, largely because they aren't required to be. Maybe 50 years ago in the backwoods of Louisianna they were, but they sure as hell aren't in Suburbia in 2014.

The older I get the more convinced I am that what makes a marriage works is simply two people who make a committment and keep it. I feel a heck of a lot better about the marriage prospects of two 18 year olds getting married in the '50s than I do about two 30 year olds getting married in 2014. I think the 50's society valued keeping your word. "...For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, ... forsaking all others till death do you part" meant something back then. Now, as a society, we say the same words, but it's interpreted as "...Until one of us doesn't feel like it anymore".

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 2, 2014 01:25 PM

"Marriage at" was supposed to say:

Marriage at 16: That there'd be a good way to get yerself shot if'n it was *my* daughter.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 2, 2014 01:28 PM

Biblically, all sex outside of religious marriage is sinful, period. Loving serially monogamaous pre-marital heterosexual sex is exactly as bad as gay sex...

Kant reasons to the same conclusion. One of the things about his treatment is that it is thoroughgoing as a condemnation of non-marital, heterosexual sexuality. Sex is a powerful pleasure, and that can easily lead to setting animal desires over rational ends. There's an exception made in the case of marriage, because it's pointed toward the creation of a kind of being who can be an end in itself: a child, another human being.

But even there it must be done in cases in which the two sexual actors are not treating each other as mere means to their own end of pleasure, but treating each other as ends in themselves. And that, he thinks, is compatible only with marriage.

Posted by: Grim at January 2, 2014 06:39 PM

I'm not sure why everyone assumes that 18 is the age of consent nationwide, when 16 is the age of consent throughout most of the South. When I lived in Virginia, it was sort of a joke that Virginia girls must be much smarter than New York girls, because in New York, females weren't assumed to be able to consent until they were 18. Just ask any 16 year old girl in the South if she's mature enough to make up her own mind!

And, as an aside into the thinking that made laws in the earlier part of the history of this country, meaning at least 20 years ago or more, marriage was an absolute defense in Virginia to the charge of statutory rape, no matter what the age of the girl was. For that to be an absolute defense tells us that the "crime" was in making a youngster ineligible for marriage, and not in having sex without "consent."

Views may have changed since then, but we should be aware of what our "earlier" views were.

Posted by: Rex at January 2, 2014 11:12 PM

I'm not sure why everyone assumes that 18 is the age of consent nationwide, when 16 is the age of consent throughout most of the South.

Well, FWIW I didn't assume that. When I was taking paralegal classes in the 90s, there were several states where the marriage age was 13 or 14 (parental permission was usually required, though).

And as I pointed out in my post, 16 is the legal age to marry in Louisiana, I didn't look up the age of consent for sex, but it would be kind of weird if you could marry at 16 but not have sex.

...at least 20 years ago or more, marriage was an absolute defense in Virginia to the charge of statutory rape, no matter what the age of the girl was. For that to be an absolute defense tells us that the "crime" was in making a youngster ineligible for marriage, and not in having sex without "consent."

I doubt that was the reason. Look, it doesn't take a whole lot of thinking to understand that the consequences of sex are more serious for women than men (in a sane world, they would be closer to being the same because men would actually be horrified to get a woman pregnant or bring a fatherless child into the world, but we don't live in a sane world). And it doesn't take a whole lot of serious thought to understand that motherhood, aside from putting the mother in a position where it's almost impossible to support herself and her child alone, is a BIG responsibility - one that we shouldn't want to see 15 and 16 years olds taking on.

You can't leave an infant unattended even for an instant. You can't "forget" to feed it, or "forget" to change it, or leave your apartment or leave the baby in hot car. Screwing up even once can mean the baby dies. I guess I can see how many men don't truly understand that because very few men have been in sole charge of a helpless baby. They have NO idea what it feels like never to be able to get away - not to be able to just go to the store or go for a walk or even close the bathroom door and be alone for 15 minutes when you have toddlers. But intellectually it shouldn't be that much of a stretch.

It's not that I don't understand older guys being attracted to girls much younger than they are. When I was 12 or 13, older guys hit on me 24/7. Sailors used to follow me home from school when I was in 7th grade. In 10th and 11th grade I couldn't walk the family dog around the block on the base we lived on because they pestered me so much. And although I was flattered by the attention (that sort of recognition being new to me at that tender age) I was dimly aware on some level that there's something screwy about an older guy hitting on a much younger girl. That rudimentary awareness was enough to make me wary of older guys and stick to boys my own age.

Having been on the receiving end of ardent male attention in my younger days, I can tell you that guys pressure girls - often extremely aggressively - for sex. When there's a large age difference, that pressure takes on a different character.

I always took the point of younger marriage ages to be a way out for something that had already happened - an out of wedlock pregnancy. It gave the mother and child a fighting chance, and it's better than prosecuting the father or throwing in jail where he can't earn money to support the child he created.

Recognizing an unfortunate reality - that young girls are impregnated by older guys all the time - a LONG way from tacit approval of same. Or it should be.

I give Robertson full marks for marrying her, but let's face it - he didn't treat her OR the children well for over a decade. And frankly, I have to wonder if a less naïve/older girl wouldn't have had a better chance of avoiding such a situation in the first place (or knowing how to handle him so things didn't get so bad that he threw his wife and children out of their home)?

Posted by: Cassandra at January 3, 2014 09:56 AM

I'm not sure why everyone assumes that 18 is the age of consent nationwide, when 16 is the age of consent throughout most of the South.

Well, FWIW I didn't assume that. When I was taking paralegal classes in the 90s, there were several states where the marriage age was 13 or 14 (parental permission was usually required, though).

And as I pointed out in my post, 16 is the legal age to marry in Louisiana, I didn't look up the age of consent for sex, but it would be kind of weird if you could marry at 16 but not have sex.

...at least 20 years ago or more, marriage was an absolute defense in Virginia to the charge of statutory rape, no matter what the age of the girl was. For that to be an absolute defense tells us that the "crime" was in making a youngster ineligible for marriage, and not in having sex without "consent."

I doubt that was the reason. Look, it doesn't take a whole lot of thinking to understand that the consequences of sex are more serious for women than men (in a sane world, they would be closer to being the same because men would actually be horrified to get a woman pregnant or bring a fatherless child into the world, but we don't live in a sane world). And it doesn't take a whole lot of serious thought to understand that motherhood, aside from putting the mother in a position where it's almost impossible to support herself and her child alone, is a BIG responsibility - one that we shouldn't want to see 15 and 16 years olds taking on.

You can't leave an infant unattended even for an instant. You can't "forget" to feed it, or "forget" to change it, or leave your apartment or leave the baby in hot car. Screwing up even once can mean the baby dies. I guess I can see how many men don't truly understand that because very few men have been in sole charge of a helpless baby. They have NO idea what it feels like never to be able to get away - not to be able to just go to the store or go for a walk or even close the bathroom door and be alone for 15 minutes when you have toddlers. But intellectually it shouldn't be that much of a stretch.

It's not that I don't understand older guys being attracted to girls much younger than they are. When I was 12 or 13, older guys hit on me 24/7. Sailors used to follow me home from school when I was in 7th grade. In 10th and 11th grade I couldn't walk the family dog around the block on the base we lived on because they pestered me so much. And although I was flattered by the attention (that sort of recognition being new to me at that tender age) I was dimly aware on some level that there's something screwy about an older guy hitting on a much younger girl. That rudimentary awareness was enough to make me wary of older guys and stick to boys my own age.

Having been on the receiving end of ardent male attention in my younger days, I can tell you that guys pressure girls - often extremely aggressively - for sex. When there's a large age difference, that pressure takes on a different character.

I always took the point of younger marriage ages to be a way out for something that had already happened - an out of wedlock pregnancy. It gave the mother and child a fighting chance, and it's better than prosecuting the father or throwing in jail where he can't earn money to support the child he created.

Recognizing an unfortunate reality - that young girls are impregnated by older guys all the time - a LONG way from tacit approval of same. Or it should be.

I give Robertson full marks for marrying her, but let's face it - he didn't treat her OR the children well for over a decade. And frankly, I have to wonder if a less naïve/older girl wouldn't have had a better chance of avoiding such a situation in the first place (or knowing how to handle him so things didn't get so bad that he threw his wife and children out of their home)?

Posted by: Cassandra at January 3, 2014 09:57 AM

There's an exception made in the case of marriage, because it's pointed toward the creation of a kind of being who can be an end in itself: a child, another human being.

Kant very well might be making his exception for the procreative aspects. But what did Kant think then of sex after the age of fertility, even within marriage?

I know the Bible doesn't endorse sex in marriage for procreative purposes alone. It even explicitly states that spouses should have sex for non-procreative purposes (both for bonding and the satisfaction of passion).

I didn't look up the age of consent for sex, but it would be kind of weird if you could marry at 16 but not have sex.

I seem to remember that at one time and place it was not uncommon for two 13-15 year olds to get married. In these cases the children would live with the "husband's" parents. The "couple", however, would have separate rooms and would not consummate the marriage until they were much older. I could be completely garbling up my history, but if not, it may not be completely surprising, nor irrational, for the age of marriage to be less than the age of consent.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 3, 2014 10:33 AM

But what did Kant think then of sex after the age of fertility, even within marriage?

He has nothing good to say about the use of sex for mere animal pleasure; I find him (here as elsewhere) weaker than the Christian tradition, precisely because he insists on deriving morality from rational nature alone.

However, the author of the Blackwell commentary on the subject thinks we don't give Kant enough credit, given the place and era in which he was writing. He suggests that, considered in that context, Kant goes as far as he could be comfortable going in hinting at deeper ways in which sex was linked to virtue and value.

Posted by: Grim at January 3, 2014 11:02 AM

He has nothing good to say about the use of sex for mere animal pleasure; I find him (here as elsewhere) weaker than the Christian tradition, precisely because he insists on deriving morality from rational nature alone.

"Animal pleasure" aside (!), I've always found that sex just plain makes me feel closer to my husband. It also makes him more loving towards me.

There's something there more elemental than just the sense of touch, because I'm a big believer in plain old affectionate gestures (hand holding, hugs, back/shoulder rubs, etc) in relationships. I held our sons a lot when they were small, and when I read to them at night, we sat together.

I agree that a lot of life goes beyond the rational. I always liked the notion of mind/body/soul - all three are important and none of them is sufficient in itself.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 3, 2014 11:51 AM

Even the most cold blooded secular humanist evolutionary scientists allow that physical affection, including sex, helps strengthen the pair bond of a mated couple. This is obviously rationally advantageous, as it provides additional cause for males to support females during pregnancy and the infancy of their children.

It's actually an interesting and extremely unusual phenomenon in very recent human history for any but a few individuals to survive long enough to live beyond child bearing age, much to witness their grandchildren have children.

The nuclear family is easily the oldest institution of our society, and it's demonstrated success is beyond question. I am dumbfounded by individuals that denounce or downplay it's importance to the success of modern (and maybe much further back) humans.

This is my way of backing into the issue of rational analysis of sexual morality; we should approve of whatever behavior, customs and practices that strengthen the nuclear family, and discourage those that do not.

I'm not much of a Kant fan, nor most German philosophers. IMO far too many were simply rationalizing whatever theory or bahaviour they personally favored. Their writings have been used to justify a lot of evil acts.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at January 3, 2014 07:37 PM

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