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Paeans to the Weak.

I haven’t been writing.  This is pathetic, I should write, I can write, but I haven’t been.  The near 1000 mile move took a lot of commitment from my family and I.  We are seeking to make a better and stronger family from this move and thus far it has been working.  My indignation and fear of the unknown have slowly melted away in this new verdant land I call home.  The unfamiliarity of place still exists, but now it truly is an adventure here.  Enough hemming with subjects unrelated, I shall make my points known because I see a lot of things going on that are foolish, trite, and genuinely disgusting.

In the interest of full disclosure, I spent 14 years in the general vicinity of the Ozarks where the Duggars live.  I am not a Christian (obvious to anyone that has either a.) spent time around me, or b.) read my words here).  I do not believe in the institution of religion, I do not believe that any of the power it offers can be used responsibly or well, but I do not believe that Christianity alone should have the largest target.  Atheism does not equal anti-Christian.  Atheism means anti-religion, all of them without prejudice for the one in which a particular person was raised.

This post is generated based off the internet rumor and later omission of guilt by the young Mr. Duggar.  Obviously, if you’ve seen the news, you’ve heard about it; however, when I see the following from a Facebook post:

“People need to lay off the Duggar family..yes he made a mistake as all Christians do. He was 14 people…I’m
Not saying it’s right but his family handled it the way they thought it should be handled. He has come out and admitted it and apologized and asked for forgiveness. Let that family be” (sic)

Or even better, the entirety of Chris Martin’s article. The rhetoric in use by supporters is violently disgusting, so let’s take the opposite perspective.  Morality does not exist as it is culturally created, therefore, we will not necessarily be discussing anything to do with regard to morals here.  This is about ethics and society.

To take the above Facebook quote, which is indicative of a number of people that which to believe in the family’s right to their religious expression, we condense the situation down to a simple commentary on the idea of Christianly failings.  This individual made a mistake, therefore, he asked forgiveness of his sins, and in his faith in Christ these were absolved.  While these are the basic tenets of the commentary, what the author misses is simple: sexual abuse, regardless of age, are a trope of power.  They are an assertion of will and control over another person.  Regardless of the morality of the “mistake” and the askance of “forgiveness,” this is ethically incompatible with the desires of the justice system to document and monitor those with a predisposition to sexual violence.  Sexual abuse is a crime that is profoundly larger than any mistake.  Because of its unethical weight, the individual that professes this a simple mistake is either missing the point or is  obfuscating facts.

Given Joshua Duggar’s age at the time, it is highly likely that he “grew out” of this phase of his life.  This is the implication of reminding of his tender age of 14.  It appears that this phase lasted from, at least, age 14 through 16, based on the researched timeline in this article.  At the very least, Joshua Duggar could have been tried as an adult for his aggressive actions.  Further, he could have been tried as a juvenile.  Either way, he would have been subject to the Arkansas Crime Information System database as a sexual predator and his particular desires would have been noted in case of future allegations made against him.  According to the number of victims, the severity of abuse (which I do not know), and other factors, Joshua Duggar could have faced upwards of 20 years in jail for his crimes if charged as an adult.  Regardless, based off his actions, Mr. Duggar is a criminal who never faced justice.  Further, he never was recorded or monitored as a sexual predator.  Utilitarians (what most Christian faiths and social justice warriors espouse) could not have been satisfied with this: based off the number of complaints, the timeframes in which the abuse occurred, and the general fact that this information was kept secret, it is possible there were victims whose abuse could have been prevented if they had access to this knowledge.  In other words, the general public’s health and happiness was put at risk by the selfishness of this specific family’s desire to protect their son.  This is unethical.

Being a parent, personally, I know he desire to wish to protect and love my child like nothing else in this world before me.  However, behavior choices and actions have consequences.  Those consequences must be paid.  It is unacceptable to attempt to exploit and hide the behavior of your family through connections you have made in the local governments.  This is being accountable to Caesar, as Christ as his people to do.

“He has come out and admitted it and apologized and asked for forgiveness.”  I do not need to forgive him.  He did not wrong me.  Forgiveness is between his victims, himself, and his god.  However, I can say that now he represents, to me, a person that symbolizes violence, sexual perversion, and exploitation of the system to his favor.  As a larger result, his family does the same to me as his parents aided and abetted this behavior, had knowledge of it but did not inform anyone as to the dangers of their son, and then used their personal connections and clout to hide it under the rug.  Further, they lied about sending Joshua Duggar to counseling for his behavior.

To continue in the cynosure of words that this has become, Mr. Martin wrote an article in which he criticized reality TV and pop culture; however, I take exception with a few of his arguments:

1.) Twelve years ago, Josh Duggar screwed up?

2.) He crossed a line by sexually molesting girls. That is an unforgivable sin. It’s not like he told a lie or took something from the office that belonged to the company;

and;

3.) Christian celebrities are held to a much higher standard because we all say they should know better. When they screw up, we are so quick to judge.

To counter one and two, which I have taken a bit of context here by not including his questions regarding the status of the Duggars as humans, is simple.  “Screwed up?”  This is what sexual abuse, which is an assertion of power, will, and authority, is condensed to by Mr. Martin’s words.  How fitting a pun to describe his own words about the situation.  This gentle amelioration of the actions of Mr. Duggar condenses it down to a Mayberry-esque, “aw shucks” moment.

Barney: “Hey, Andy, uh…. got something to talk to you ’bout.”

Andy: “Yeah, Barn’?”

Barney: “Well, girl down the street said Opie snuck into the room and touched her.”

Andy: “Aww, well, he’s just screwed up, hadn’t he?”

I doubt that really would have been script, but that’s what comes to mind immediately.  This description entirely eviscerates the concerns of the victims.  It also reminds that it happened 12! years ago.  The timeline shows 8-12 years previous, but that’s beside the point, right?  The article later asks the following question:

“For those of you who say “once a pedophile, always a pedophile,” you are basically saying God is incapable of changing a heart.”

Scentific work regarding pedophilia has demonstrated a large percentage of offenders who continually commit crimes and no cure or treatment has completely alleviated pedophilia.  Mr. Martin is right that people CAN change, but the efforts are herculean in these cases.    Further, pedophilia arises in pubescence, approximately the time frames in which Mr. Duggar began his actions.  Further, given this, it is highly possible that Joshua Duggar has a personality disorder associated with these behaviors that potentially went untreated for years or perhaps even still.  How effective and Christian are the Duggars as parents that do not take their son to a physician to discuss these issues, submit him to psychological testing to aid him with these behavior, and generally subjecting their daughters to their son’s personality problems.  They can be judged by the failures to comply with the ethics and morality they defined for themselves.  If so family intensive, why then was this not taken head on and cured?

Christian celebrities are held to a much higher standard because they put it on themselves, but documenting their faiths heavily.  A connection would be say, Tim Tebow, a terrible professional quarterback, but an amazing college quarterback (note I can still be wrong about this, depending on how he fares with the Eagles).  NFL evaluators fairly described him as a quarterback with a weak arm, poor mechanics, and an inability to read defenses — this was a fair commentary; however, Mr. Tebow also liked attempting to provide something to people at each home game, he tried to tirelessly meet with fans and well-wishers, and use them as a chance to witness his faith — this became an unfairly described personality fault by NFL evaluators.  Christian or not, Mr. Tebow is great PR for his team because of his requests, but his incessant need to attempt to fulfill them to expand his ministry has angered people in the NFL.    This additional level of ethical and moral attachment offers a ready made base of fans, but when actions of the public believer demonstrate their failures to adhere to their own expressed values, their condemnation comes far quicker than the rest.

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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Nocturnal Ruminations: Intelligence Disappearing into an Alternative Space

Inspired by the commentary from this post of all places, I spent time thinking today on the current realities. Most specifically, “With us being on the verge of complete environmental simulated encapsulation through either consumer-friendly VR glasses or full-room projections, the day will come where we’re able to transport ourselves directly into our characters. I don’t know if philosophically that level of escapism is advisiable(sic).”

Reality, to wit, is created anyhow. It is socialized from the moment we are born and constructed into us by the cultural inputs of our times. For example, this is the dreaded “generation gap” when it comes to parenting or educating. My parents, who were from a different period of time and from a far more geopolitical insular area of my home than I, raised me different than I am raising the spawn. I learned far different things than she does as well. My comic books were hard earned via chores and brought tangible (yet environmentally unfriendly) publications of brightly colored heroes whereas her accomplishments and chores often bring digital (yet environmentally friendly) reward. The concept is the same, but the reward occurs in a different space; one we cannot touch.

The Computer Age brought about a new period in human reality that had heretofore been defined in the most basic of senses: the tangible and the imagined. It brought a GUI to our imagined interface, fulfilling a prophecy of the Matrix’s philosophy it would so seem. Instant access, instant communication, instant and stalking knowledge of what and where your peers are. The family reunion became a Facebook group and profundity occurs in 140 characters or less. These are earmarked localities that define our identities, except these localities exist in only a mental place. Similar to Palaniuk’s discussion regarding how identity is more than the contents of ones wallets, you are more than your Facebook profile and you are more than your Twitter feeds.

Yet in this space, you elect a persona, adapting the identity you wish to portray. Look at your Facebook profile, realize that the bands you like at a given time do not demonstrate a specific set of life codes and photographs are just memories in still life and captured in frame. Exploration of the Yukon becomes a google search, and the image is easily referenced again, and again, and again. Ultimately, social media becomes an echo chamber of what you are and what you favor; something that was constructed starting from the moment you were born. Those who disagree with you are ignored or quieted while those that agree scatter a feed, solidifying your beliefs. Think of the irony in this: the space that was created to offer infinite ability to speak one’s mind, to learn about new things, and explore things digitally has condensed down into a social chamber of echoes, bouncing from all sides.

To a large extent, I have embraced this identity that I have created here for this blog. Buer, a Lieutenant of Hell, whose name was mentioned in the Pseudomoncharia Daemonium, is just a face I use for anonymity’s sake. It is something I have to do, because of my current employment. I readily and open embrace the idea that I constructed this identity, but this is not alone the place that we construct identities or thoughts. We do so at work, school, home, &c. We, in as much as we want to know ourselves, are constructed by the perceptions of others and our own self perceptions (remember the Thomas Theorem). Who I am at home is not who I am at work and neither of these were who I was at school.

Nietzsche writes that in life what does not kill us, makes us stronger. Then therefore, in thought, what must be defended makes one more thoughtful. The adverse effect of an echo chamber is that one does not have to defend their thoughts or their opinions, rather they are expressed and then reblogged, retweeted, or liked. We can go through life being entirely validated constantly by people who’s thoughts and opinions we too validate! This is not intellectual maturity; this is not life; this is not education. This is a sign of a construction of comfortable and interchangeable social liaisons through we cut the fat of those that are disagreeable to our deeply held and lead filled convictions. Yet, all the while, we see the negative effects of overuse.

One of the most addictive narcotics is the persona you cultivated. It is a cult of Ego so overwhelming and at times abusive that once overwrought, you cannot see who you are and what you truly believe anymore. Returning to Nietzsche in summation: “Europe has spawned two great narcotics: alcohol and Christianity.” In the Computer Age, we have spawned a third: “the Persona.” Some recognize their own hand in the creation of their online identity, whereas others completely and wholesale purchase it. Advertisers now market to you a fragment of a means to construct your reality.

 

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