Of Morality And Marshmallows

The Atlantic reports on a new study suggesting that the famous “marshmallow test” is unreliable as a predictor of future economic instability. Excerpt:

In the case of this new study, specifically, the failure to confirm old assumptions pointed to an important truth: that circumstances matter more in shaping children’s lives than Mischel and his colleagues seemed to appreciate.

This new paper found that among kids whose mothers had a college degree, those who waited for a second marshmallow did no better in the long run—in terms of standardized test scores and mothers’ reports of their children’s behavior—than those who dug right in. Similarly, among kids whose mothers did not have college degrees, those who waited did no better than those who gave in to temptation, once other factors like household income and the child’s home environment at age 3 (evaluated according to a standard research measure that notes, for instance, the number of books that researchers observed in the home and how responsive mothers were to their children in the researchers’ presence) were taken into account. For those kids, self-control alone couldn’t overcome economic and social disadvantages.

The failed replication of the marshmallow test does more than just debunk the earlier notion; it suggests other possible explanations for why poorer kids would be less motivated to wait for that second marshmallow. For them, daily life holds fewer guarantees: There might be food in the pantry today, but there might not be tomorrow, so there is a risk that comes with waiting. And even if their parents promise to buy more of a certain food, sometimes that promise gets broken out of financial necessity.

Maybe so. But might it also be the case that children raised in more affluent homes will have been taught the value of resisting their impulses? I say this because one of my own children has had a very demanding sweet tooth from earliest childhood. He is also impulsive by nature. It has taken years of effort on the part of his mother and me to train him to say no to his impulses — not only for sugar, but, as he has gotten older and started earning spending money, his enthusiasms for buying things that strike his fancy. Many times I have pondered the difficulty he is going to have managing his money if he doesn’t get this impulsiveness under control. He’s a very good kid, highly moral and responsible, but impulsiveness is his Achilles’ heel.

He’s not being raised in poverty. We are middle class people, but culturally I guess that puts us with more in common with the affluent than not. Our impulsive child has been raised in a stable household — materially and emotionally — so there are no environmental factors that nurture his impulsiveness. From an Orthodox Christian point of view, this is simply one of his passions, something he has to struggle against. I have my own particular passions (anger and gluttony). Orthodoxy teaches that life itself is a struggle to crucify the passions and order ones desires towards the will of God. There is nothing wrong in principle with wanting to eat a marshmallow, but if your reason and your will are overcome by that desire to eat a marshmallow, you are weak, and can fall into sin. The regular fasting that Orthodox Christians do is designed to train the will to desire what God desires for us, not what we desire for ourselves.

Anyway, all of that is prelude to what I want to tell you. Last night, I was at a dinner party with some friends. One of them, N., told a long story about a local carpenter she and her husband had hired to do some renovations on their house. I won’t tell the story in depth, because the story is hers to tell, and she’s a writer. The gist of the story is that N. and her husband have been working with this guy for a long time — it’s a big project — and have gotten to know him well. He’s working class, and economically quite precarious. N. said the man has become a friend, and that she and her husband have been working hard to help him stabilize his life.

N. said — again, I’m summing up, but the details are sort of breathtaking — that the carpenter’s personal life is a study in chaos. He cannot grasp that he has the power to determine future events by the choices he makes today. A sense of moral agency totally escapes him. He sees N.’s ordinary family — they have kids — and thinks that they are simply one of fate’s winners. N. talked about the extraordinary lengths she and her husband have gone to befriend and to help this man, but how ultimately it has been futile. No matter what they say to him, no matter what they do for him, he cannot get it together. And he is leaving all kinds of chaos in his wake (several wives, kids, etc.).

I told N. that my wife and I have been in the very same situation, trying to help someone just like that who had become a friend … and in the end, concluding that it was futile. I wrote about it in the past on this blog: how I had gone to my lawyer, offering to pay him to represent this impoverished friend in a particular case. Lawyer said he would take my money and meet with the friend, but that in his lengthy experience with these cases, he could tell me that I’d be wasting my money and his time, because my friend would not follow through. It’s in the nature of people who get themselves into these kinds of situations, he said, to keep doing what got them into that situation in the first place. I told him I would be willing to take that chance to help her.

Next time I saw this friend, I told her to make an appointment with Lawyer X., that he would be willing to advise her, and that I would pay the bill. She thanked me profusely, but said that wouldn’t be necessary that she had decided to … well, that she had decided to keep doing the same stupid thing that got her into this bind in the first place. The country lawyer’s practical experience in dealing with the poor was wiser than my heart-on-the-sleeve idealism. Not for the first time did I feel like a character in a Flannery O’Connor story. (My future epitaph: “Call me Azzberry”.)

At dinner last night, my friend and I dwelled on the intractability of human nature in cases like this. She said that she had to conclude that a stable family life in childhood provides psychological goods that cannot be given through any other way. There aren’t enough government programs, personal charitable efforts, or anything else to compensate adequately for a chaotic childhood. My friend was certainly not saying that we can wash our hands of the responsibility for our neighbor’s welfare, but she was concluding — accurately — that we have to recognize the limits of our ability to change the lives of others. She was also saying that her experience with the carpenter made her more fully aware of how important it is to do everything she can to give her own children a stable home life.

Notice that I’m not saying — nor did I hear her to say — “affluent” home life. My folks never had a lot of money. We were an ordinary working-class to lower-middle-class family. But the gift my mother and father gave me of an orderly, stable childhood was priceless, I now see. How did they do it? They were both imperfect people who endured their share of difficulties in marriage, caused by their own flaws, as well as a period of economic stress. My father is no longer with us to discuss the matter, but the truth is, neither one of them would have been given over to much self-reflection on the question. They were the kind of people who would have simply said, “We made a vow,” and left it at that. For them, that was reason enough to stay together — that, and they always made it clear that the needs of us kids came before their own. That was just how my folks went through life. Not to get too philosophical about it, but for them, that was the Tao.

That wouldn’t have guaranteed stability in my family’s or my late sister’s, but they gave us such a good model of how family was supposed to work. Again, I don’t want to hold my mom and dad out to have been perfect. I don’t think there are any perfect families, and certainly mine had its particular flaws, some of which had unfortunate long-term consequences. That said, I am so very grateful to my parents for holding things together, and showing my sister and me that it is possible to build that kind of life, even when you don’t have much money.

My father was the chief breadwinner in our household, and, because they were a traditional 1950s-era couple, he was the one who dictated how our financial resources would be handled. I find this interesting with relation to the Atlantic article because having grown up very poor in the Great Depression, he ought to have been shaped by the experience of inconstancy in a particular way. Remember, the Atlantic writer said:

There might be food in the pantry today, but there might not be tomorrow, so there is a risk that comes with waiting. And even if their parents promise to buy more of a certain food, sometimes that promise gets broken out of financial necessity.

That’s how my father grew up, but that same experience made him far more likely to do what he could to hedge against chaos. He talked to Ruthie and me a lot about these things, relating him to his childhood. His own father was away from home for most of my dad’s early childhood, entirely because he had to work and send money back to support his wife, children, and elderly mother, who lived in the household. That sense of vulnerability made a profound impression on my dad, who was determined that his children would not feel it, if he could help it.

Daddy wasn’t unique in that. What I can’t quite understand today is why his response to childhood poverty and insecurity was so very different from what is normal today. That is, Daddy’s response was to live as an adult in such a way that he was less vulnerable to that chaos, and in which his own children were made less vulnerable to the chaos that would have come had outside pressures broken the family apart. I’ve written many times in this space about how he had deep compassion for people who were poor and suffering victims of circumstance, but also something bordering on contempt for people who were poor and suffering, but who always blamed others, or fate, for their suffering. He would say, “You can’t do nothin’ for people like that.” This was the opinion of a man who had once been poor, and who had lived his entire life in the same community as poor people, and working with them. Kind of like that country lawyer I mentioned above.

It seems to me that aside from his personal qualities, my father was the beneficiary of a local culture that, for better or for worse, had a strong bias against people living morally disordered lives. I should add that my dad had much more hostility towards middle class and wealthy people who lived that way. “They know better,” he would say. “They don’t have an excuse.” In his case, it wasn’t so much a matter of religion — my dad wasn’t particularly observant — as it was a matter of shame and honor. The culture that shaped my father’s code said it was dishonorable for men and women to live in ways that violated its core moral code. I heard my dad say on a number of occasions, “There’s no shame in being poor,” but he also spoke with stern judgment against men who abandoned their families, people who wouldn’t work, and so forth.

That code could be harsh, but it was more realistic about life than a lot of what passes for wisdom today. I think that has a lot to do with why Jordan Peterson is so popular. He gives to young men a sense of moral agency. Peterson is not Moses coming down from the summit of Sinai, but he talks common sense to a culture that has forgotten it. There has never been a society, and never will be a society, in which somebody can live like a fool and not pay the consequences — and for that matter, inflict consequences on others. You can’t not show up for work and expect to keep your job forever. You can’t ignore your kids and expect that they will grow up to be responsible people. You can’t get loaded every weekend and wonder why your roof is falling in, and won’t fix itself. You can’t allow television and social media to raise your children, and expect that they will be good.  And so forth.

“The world doesn’t owe you a living,” my father would lecture me, usually when I hadn’t done my homework, or failed to do something I was supposed to have done. I suppose this attitude is what made my dad a natural conservative. He couldn’t stand people who were ungrateful and lazy. His basic attitude towards us kids was: I bust my ass to provide for y’all, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you waste the opportunities you’ve been given. There was a time in my life when I thought he was so square, but the older I get, the more I see that there really isn’t any other way to live. My dad was keen to help people who were down on their luck, and I see now that he allowed himself to be taken advantage of by some folks with hard-luck stories. Mostly, though, what he was eager to do was to teach people how to help themselves, and to encourage them to do so. For him, this was a matter of natural justice. A society in which people were rewarded even though they did the wrong thing, or failed to do the right thing, was not a just or good society. And doing the right thing always meant subjugating your own desires to the greater good, especially the greater good of your family.

Here’s a funny thing: a few years back, when I was working with the African-American actor Wendell Pierce on his memoir of growing up in south Louisiana, I spent some time speaking with his Uncle L.C. Edwards, the last surviving member of Wendell’s parents’ generation. Uncle L.C. was the same age as my father, and like him, had grown up in rural poverty. I loved the stories of L.C.’s parents (that is, Wendell’s grandparents): poor black farmers who weren’t educated, but who had a very strong religious ethic, and who placed enormous value on education and self-discipline as the only reliable means of self-advancement. Poverty was the enemy of both L.C. and my father, but Lloyd and his siblings also had to deal with Jim Crow. If memory serves, every one of the children of Wendell’s grandparents got educated, and escaped poverty. I’m telling you, the chapter on Papo and Mamo (the grandchildren’s name for L.C.’s parents) is worth the price of the book. Here’s a characteristic excerpt:

One Christmas evening after supper, the Edwardses went to call on their College Point neighbors, to wish them a happy holiday. The kids were startled to go into one house and to see that all that family had eaten for their Christmas meal was potatoes and grits. When they returned home, Papo told the children, “This is what I mean when I tell you it’s important to save for a rainy day. If you put your money aside now, you will have enough to eat well on Christmas.”

Given the man Papo was, if the Edwardses had any food left, he probably took it to that poor family and didn’t tell his own children for the sake of preserving their neighbors’ dignity.

His children remembered Papo as a slow talker but a deep thinker. He never made a quick decision, but acted only after prayer, deliberation, and sleeping on it. Whatever the answer was, he arrived at it through careful reason, not passion. Acting on impulse was the sure way to lose your money, in Papo’s view.

Papo worked for a time in a sugar factory and received his weekly wages in a brown packet. He had a firm rule with himself: Wait twenty-four hours before spending a penny of it. Uncle L.C. said that as a young working man, he thought his father’s rule was silly. You have the money, he figured, so why not enjoy it?

But when he got married and started a family of his own, he understood Papo’s good sense and followed the rule himself. Uncle L.C., who worked at the DuPont chemical plant, has done well through saving and investing over the years. To this day, he credits Papo for teaching him by word and example the importance of being careful with your money and not letting your passions guide your decisions.

Talking with L.C. was like speaking with a black version of my own father. Though he had long been in retirement when I met him, L.C. was always thinking of ways he could make a little money. He told me about how he would take fatherless black boys from a nearby trailer park, and try to teach them something about working to make money and to plan for the future. He told me how sorry he felt for those young men, who had no father in the home to offer them direction, or a sense of responsible manhood.

But his pity had strict limits. Like my own father, L.C. was death on those who wouldn’t work or practice self-discipline. He told me about how his own wife, a retired public schoolteacher, quit her job the very day the last of their adult children no longer needed their help paying for college. She was of a generation for whom education was the most precious thing, their ticket out of poverty and oppression. Today, though, she was worn down by students who wouldn’t work, wouldn’t behave themselves, and parents who blamed the schools and the teachers for their kids’ failures.

American culture is far less friendly to the worldview of those Depression babies like L.C. and my father. Politics and economics are complicated things. You can’t simply apply a moral code to every situation, and expect it to solve the problem. But let’s recognize this: very few Americans in 2018 are as materially poor as my dad and L.C. Edwards were when they came into this world in the 1930s. Is there anybody in America today who is poorer than a black child born to uneducated farmers living in the Deep South under American apartheid? And yet, look what they did with what they had been given! There never will be a society in which family won’t matter, and in which moral self-discipline won’t matter. 

The wealthy, and those with social connections, can absorb a lot more disorder than the less well off can, but money won’t last forever.

The world we have today is wealthier, and in some ways is better able to defray the cost of that disorder. We have more of a social safety net today than we did back then. But this world is much poorer in social capital, which is not something you can raise from Chinese bankers.

There’s a lot of brokenness in this country, and no clear way to fix it. The people my dinner companion and I were talking about last night are white. They live in Charles Murray’s fictional Fishtown. They diverge greatly from the core values and practices of stable middle-class and well-off Americans, in ways that were not true a couple of generations ago. Society has grown far more individualistic and tolerant of non-conformity. This is not entirely a bad thing! But the cost to people who don’t have a lot of social and material capital to begin with has been immense. People love to imagine that if only we brought good jobs back to America, or voted in this or that political party, then these problems would solve themselves. I don’t believe that’s true. That’s no reason not to try to improve opportunities for people, but there are no government programs or private charitable initiatives that can meaningfully compensate for the loss of a sense of moral order and purpose.

Finally, I phrase occurred to me while writing this post, a fragment from something I’d read ages ago. I googled it, and the source turned up here. Here is the excerpt I was thinking about. The writer is talking about the 1950s:

It was a more human world in that it was a sexier world, because sex was still a story. Each high school senior class had exactly one girl who got pregnant and one guy who was the father, and it was the town’s annual scandal. Either she went somewhere and had the baby and put it up for adoption, or she brought it home as a new baby sister, or the couple got married and the town topic changed. It was a stricter, tougher society, but its bruising sanctions came from ancient wisdom.

We have all had a moment when all of a sudden we looked around and thought: The world is changing, I am seeing it change. This is for me the moment when the new America began: I was at a graduation ceremony at a public high school in New Jersey. It was 1971 or 1972. One by one a stream of black-robed students walked across the stage and received their diplomas. And a pretty young girl with red hair, big under her graduation gown, walked up to receive hers. The auditorium stood up and applauded. I looked at my sister: “She’s going to have a baby.”

The girl was eight months pregnant and had had the courage to go through with her pregnancy and take her finals and finish school despite society’s disapproval.

But: Society wasn’t disapproving. It was applauding. Applause is a right and generous response for a young girl with grit and heart. And yet, in the sound of that applause I heard a wall falling, a thousand-year wall, a wall of sanctions that said: We as a society do not approve of teenaged unwed motherhood because it is not good for the child, not good for the mother and not good for us.

The old America had a delicate sense of the difference between the general (“We disapprove”) and the particular (Let’s go help her”). We had the moral self-confidence to sustain the paradox, to sustain the distance between “official” disapproval and “unofficial” succor. The old America would not have applauded the girl in the big graduation gown, but some of its individuals would have helped her not only materially but with some measure of emotional support. We don’t so much anymore. For all our tolerance and talk we don’t show much love to what used to be called girls in trouble. As we’ve gotten more open-minded we’ve gotten more closed-hearted.

Message to society: What you applaud, you encourage. And: Watch out what you celebrate.

The author of those words is Peggy Noonan. She published them in, get this, 1992. Some things have gotten better over the last 26 years. For example, when she published this, David Dinkins was mayor of her town, New York City, and the city would record just over 2,000 homicides. Know how many the city recorded last year, 25 years after the column was published? Only 290.  Progress is real!

On the other hand, I can’t get out of my head the words spoken to me by a professor at an Evangelical Christian college. Speaking about the student body, which is predominantly white, he told me that he didn’t think most of them would ever be able to form stable families. I was shocked by this.These were not kids from the blighted projects or wretched rural trailer parks. Why not? I asked.

He said, “Because they have never seen it done.”

We live in a society in which the moral code that we applaud and the people we celebrate all say: Take the marshmallow now, and don’t worry about the future. This is going to cost us.

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North Little Rock notebook

The first of several development projects in a concentrated area of North Little Rock’s Argenta downtown district will have a portion completed and open by July 1, a company representative said. Thrive Argenta, a $16 million, 162-unit apartment complex, will have its first 26 apartments available July 1, according to leasing consultant Tess Lester.

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Ironism

Amerika, like the projects before it, broke new ground with a few ideas. The first was to view politics as an instance of herd behavior; another was to oppose diversity itself instead of the groups involved. Now it expands into inspection of human motivations and how those result in a distorted worldview.

Few think about ironism, mainly because the word is rarely used in what would be its consistent sense, namely to speak of those who advocate an approach to reality and moral choice rooted in irony, or things not being what they seem to be. Ironists extend this inversion beyond appearance and deny that things are as they are.

There is great power in denying that things are as they are. One becomes instantly messianic because people cannot tell the difference between more accurate perception, as happens with upsets in the scientific field, and simply projecting a conjecture as a replacement for reality itself.

Ironism becomes self-reifying, or manifesting itself by pursuit of itself, because it changes the human social order to be reality-denying and then only reality-deniers win. This is why once-thriving societies just drop off the map and fall out of history; their people went into denial, a form of insanity, and become incompetent, at which point the societies failed to do anything of relevance and withered away.

In other words, once ironism begins its cancerous work, soon only the bad will win, and the good will lose, which becomes important because the good are what make civilization possible. The bad are what unravel civilization and replace it with people living third world style, in anarchic personal lives bonded into thronging herds.

One of the approaches that Amerika has taken over the years is to view politics as philosophy because every organized system of thought or behavior reflects an underlying way of viewing the world and sense of purpose within it. This reveals some surprises.

For example, under the surface of “collectivism” we find that in fact, individualism motivates each member of that group. This is why idiots bleat about collectivism a lot; they do not want to acknowledge the sin they share in common with that collective, which is the desire to be above anyone who might tell them “no” or that their ideas are unrealistic. This is why conservatism fails, for example.

When we look deeply into individualism, we find that some people are merely bad, and they choose badly, going with their herd animal nature instead of observing, understanding, and adapting to reality. Since they are one step removed from nature through the cooperation and judgment of others, they exist entirely in that bubble.

Soon that bubble expands to include others as they seek to find compromise with the bad ones. This leads to an eternally recurring pattern where human groups become inverted, then ironic, and through that, act against all sensible and natural instincts, propelling them down a path of both self-destruction and a generalized “impulse to destroy”:

We know very little of the Adamites, but the picture that emerges of them – one that comes primarily from their enemies – was of a people more like the Hippie subculture of the 20th century rather than the Middle Ages.

For example, the chronicler Laurence of Brezova writes:

Wandering through forests and hills, some of them fell into such insanity that men and women threw off their clothes and went nude, saying that clothes had been adopted because of the sin of the first parents, but that they were in a state of innocence. From the same madness they supposed that they were not sinning if one of their brethren had intercourse with one of the sisters, and if the woman conceived, she said she had conceived of the Holy Spirit.

The scholar Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who later became Pope Pius II (1458-1464) also noted their supposed sexual activities:

They indulged in promiscuous intercourse, but no one might take a lover without the consent of Adam, their chief elder. When one of these brethren ardently desired a sister, he took her by the hand, and, going with her to the chief elder, said, “My soul is afire with love of this woman.” Whereupon the elder would reply, “Go, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.”

These views of Adamites were not necessarily new – in the early centuries of Christianity there was a sect called Adamites and that St. Augustine even mentions they practiced nudism while rejecting marriage.

Wherever ironism goes, the result is the same: invert all that works and replace it with whatever affirms the power of the individual over reality and common sense.

They seek this inversion through “reality is not as it seems” because they desire to cover up something, specifically that natural selection applies to humans and so we are unequal in character, ability, intelligence, and talent because these are inborn and we cannot alter them.

For them, every fact is something to be interpreted in a way that advances the ideology of Leftism. The best way to do this is to read the facts backward, so that effects appear to be causes. Witness a mundane example of backward thinking:

The research, published in the journal Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, indicates that a chronic lack of money can be damaging to people’s health and wellbeing – something which currently isn’t widely acknowledged by policy makers and mental healthcare providers.

Edited by Dr. Jaime Delgadillo, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Sheffield, the international collection of research featured in a special edition of this journal indicates that people living in poverty are more likely to develop mental health problems, which could be related to their increased exposure to adverse life events and a chronic state of unmet material and emotional needs.

The studies presented in the journal examine the relationship between social inequalities and psychological care. Together, the findings show that people living in poverty are less likely to start treatment for mental health problems. Once they do start treatment, they are more likely to have ongoing mental health problems after the treatment is completed, and they face a range of material (e.g. lack of transportation) and social (e.g. stigma) barriers to accessing support. The studies also indicate that people living in poor neighbourhoods are less likely to recover from depression and anxiety symptoms after psychological treatment, compared to people from more affluent neighbourhoods.

Turning this around:

The research, published in the journal Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, indicates that bad health and low wellbeing can cause a chronic lack of money – something which currently isn’t widely acknowledged by policy makers and mental healthcare providers.

Edited by Dr. Jaime Delgadillo, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Sheffield, the international collection of research featured in a special edition of this journal indicates that people with mental health problems are more likely to be living in poverty, which could be related to their increased proclivity for adverse life events and a chronic state of unrecognized material and emotional needs.

The studies presented in the journal examine the relationship between mental health and social inequalities. Together, the findings show that people with mental health problems are less likely to start treatment for living in poverty. Once they do start treatment, they are more likely to have ongoing mental health problems before and after the treatment is completed, and they face a range of material (e.g. lack of transportation) and social (e.g. stigma) barriers to accessing support. The studies also indicate that people living in poor neighbourhoods are less likely to recover from depression and anxiety symptoms after psychological treatment, compared to people from more affluent neighbourhoods.

The last two lines did not require writing because they baldly stated facts, which is why this study gets away with what it does. The earlier material interpreted those facts backward — as our counter-inversion shows — and used those facts to make broad proclamations about policy.

Later facts however simply state the association the study found, which is that some people achieve both wealth and mental health, while others achieve both poverty and mental disease. That is the opposite of the lede which the story chose:

a chronic lack of money can be damaging to people’s health and wellbeing

In fact, as anyone with experience in the world can tell you, poor mental health leads to poor decision-making which leads to having less money. In order to support the dogma of egalitarianism, however, they have to flip that around and blame a lack of money for the mental health issues of the poor.

Since the dawn of time, the riff of ironism has plagued humanity because people want to believe it. Like a good cult, it excuses their failings and blames someone else all in the same statement, while giving a sense of meaning to lives that doubtless need more of it.

Once they are hooked, they cannot remove the parasite because it has become part of what supports their self-esteem. Caught in hopeless contradiction, the civilization collapses, and the last thing that most people try to do is loudly bleat proclamations of innocence as the result of their actions brings their world down around them.

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Hallivis Brothers, Ambassador Film Eye Projects With Hispanic-American Crossover Appeal

The Hallivis Brothers are the award-winning filmmakers behind sci-fi drama Curvature as well as 2016 viral short The Laughing Man. Last year, under their 1inMM Productions banner with Zach Horwitz, they raised a fund to produce and finance two-to-three …

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New wind projects would deliver enough power for 600K homes

She created a website, Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project, as a way for single people who were lonely to come together. Eventually, she turned the site over to someone she did not know and abandoned the project. The movement was ultimately co-opted by …

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Professor calls for ‘toxic masculinity’ training in children as young as kindergarten-aged

A professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is calling for K-12 schools to create programs to combat “toxic masculinity” from kindergarten all the way through high school.

What are the details?

On Thursday, Campus Reform reported that professor Kathleen Elliott said that it’s imperative for elementary school teachers to “recognize, reject, and challenge simplified toxic masculinity” in children as young as kindergarten-aged.

Elliott argues that by integrating collegiate “Men’s Projects” — which, according to Campus Reform, are programs that “typically probes participants to reflect on the ramifications of masculinity” — into K-12 schools could help eradicate “toxic masculinity.”

So, wait — what’s ‘toxic masculinity,’ anyway?

According to Tolerance.org, “toxic masculinity” is defined as:

Toxic masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression. It’s the cultural ideal of manliness, where strength is everything while emotions are a weakness; where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured, while supposedly “feminine” traits—which can range from emotional vulnerability to simply not being hypersexual—are the means by which your status as “man” can be taken away.

Right. And how is this supposed to apply to kindergarteners?

In a recent issue of academic journal On the Horizon, Elliott points to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s defunct Men’s Project, which aimed to educate students on “intersectionality and the complexity of masculinity identities” and encouraged students to “challenge simplified definitions of masculinity.”

According to Elliott, “Educators of all types can and should be involved in this work, which includes simple steps that educators across disciplines can engage daily in their schools.”

She notes that in addition to bringing such Men’s Projects to the (much) younger grade levels, educators can “highlight women’s achievements in curricula and in the classroom” to help combat “toxic masculinity.”

“Including women’s achievements and stories in the official curriculum has been promoted for decades as a way to work towards gender equality and empower young women in the classroom,” Elliott notes, and says that teaching “women’s achievements” is also a beneficial tool to shape the minds of boys.

“It is also a powerful way for boys to see examples of women who are intelligent, capable leaders,” Elliott says.

She suggests that elementary school teachers as well as middle- and high-school teachers should “explicitly teach and model complex masculinity” to combat anything that may promote “aspects of toxic masculinity such as physical strength, dominance, and heterosexual prowess.”

“While educators have taken on gender inequality in the past, for the most part, we have not stepped forward to take the same kind of lead in challenging toxic masculinity,” Elliott continues, noting that it is “essential” for men to be involved and to take leadership roles in such work.

Elliott adds that educators are heavily responsible to “teach young men and boys to recognize and challenge simplified conceptions of their own and others’ identities.”

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Ed Brown Products Introduce the K1 Field Knife Designed by Jason Knight

Ed Brown Products Introduce the K1 Field Knife Designed by Jason Knight
Ed Brown Products Introduce the K1 Field Knife Designed by Jason Knight

PERRY, MO-(Ammoland.com)- Ed Brown Products, Inc, is proud to team up with the craftsmen at Winkler Knives USA and master bladesmith Jason Knight to introduce the Ed Brown K1 fixed blade knife.

Some may know Jason Knight from his time as a Judge on the History Channel’s Forged In Fire. What you may not know is that he began designing knives at a young age, inspired by Edgar Rice Boroughs novels. Jason’s designs are more than just edged weapons and tools, they are functional art. His designs are inspired by curves and angles found in nature, and by years of studying blade performance and ergonomics.

His unique designs and experience made Jason the perfect choice to design the first knife for Ed Brown. Fitting with their 50 year history of making custom 1911s, Jason took some of the design cues from standards like, the Snakeskin on the Kobra Carry and the skeletonized hammer on the 1911. The K1 field knife is lightweight and the perfect companion in the field or on the range.

Sales and Marketing Director John May said, “It just doesn’t get any better than this – having a Master Bladesmith like Jason design our first knife. It has been an honor to work with him, and we look forward to teamming up with him on more projects in the future.”

For more information on the K1 Knife, or any of the world’s finest custom 1911s, parts and accessories, check with your local Ed Brown Products Authorized Dealer or visit www.edbrown.com . Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Find informational videos on our firearms by visiting our YouTube channel.


About Ed Brown Products: Ed Brown Products

Beginning over 50 years ago as a one-man custom shop, Ed Brown Products has evolved into one of the leading custom manufacturers of high-end 1911 handguns and components. The complete line of innovative 1911 parts, and 1911 handguns, represent the pinnacle of engineering, hand craftsmanship, and performance, and come with a lifetime warranty! All Ed Brown products are manufactured in a family-owned and operated facility under the direct supervision of the Brown family, who are entirely focused on raising the bar for custom 1911 excellence. For more information please contact Ed Brown Products at 573-565-3261, or visit www.edbrown.com.

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It’s Official: NC Representative Marcia Morey Pushes ‘Extreme Gun Confiscation’ Bill

NC Rep. Marcia Morey, Durham Democrat
It’s Official: North Carolina Representative Marcia Morey Wants Your Guns

North Carolina –-(Ammoland.com)- It’s official: Representative Marcia Morey wants your guns. This North Carolina House member from The People’s Republic of Durham and (ugh) former judge has now introduced HB 976, “Extreme Gun Confiscation for North Carolina.”

Morey doesn’t call it that, of course. She claims it is for “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” to keep all those mass killers (the ones the media endlessly encourages) from possessing guns.

Doesn’t HB 976 just keep guns out of the wrong hands?

But like most “reasonable sounding” gun control proposals, what hides behind the curtain should outrage not only gun rights supporters, but anyone who values the U.S. Constitution.

Somebody complains, and the nightmare begins…

To give you a sample of what Morey and her Democrat cohorts have in mind for you, consider what could (and inevitably WILL) happen:

  • A VENGEFUL EX (or stepchild, or roommate, or even somebody you dated ONCE…or perhaps declined to date?) decides to “get you” by filing a complaint alleging that because you own guns you are “imminently dangerous.”
  • NO TIME TO RESPOND. That complaint, however flimsy or false, produces an IMMEDIATE “EX PARTE” (EMERGENCY) HEARING, as in “24,7,365” – whether court is in session or not.
  • YOU DON’T GET TO DEFEND YOURSELF. The hearing will be held without even giving you notice that you’ve been accused. Even if you find out about the proceeding held THAT SAME DAY; even if you find a lawyer and pay him or her big bucks to defend you, should you chose to testify in your own defense, the hearing could GET YOUR GUN CONFISCATED FOR A YEAR OR MORE.
  • YOUR GUNS GET SEIZED. If the judge decides enough evidence exists for a “temporary” order (and they almost always do), you get 24 HOURS TO SURRENDER YOUR GUNS, after which THE SHERIFF WILL TAKE THEM, BY FORCE, IF NECESSARY.
  • LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. Although the ex parte order is only valid for 10 days (renewable, of course), the next hearing will likely result in a FULL ‘EXTREME RISK PROTECTION ORDER’ valid for renewable periods of up to ONE YEAR.
  • PAY TENS OF THOUSANDS IN LEGAL FEES. Ex parte hearings, court proceedings, motions and counter-motions, incurring legal fees at $300 per hour or more. It is entirely possible you might have to MORTGAGE YOUR HOUSE TO FIGHT FOR YOUR GUNS.
  • YOUR ACCUSER CAN LIE. Although the penalty for perjury is normally 10-20 months in prison, HB 976 GUARANTEES YOUR ACCUSER CANNOT SPEND EVEN ONE DAY IN JAIL FOR LYING TO CONFISCATE YOUR GUNS – the only penalty it allows for lying is 1-30 days of community service…and that is in the unlikely event they get caught at all.
  • YOU GET REPORTED TO N.I.C.S. You will be a prohibited person in the national background check database. Even if the court order is allowed to expire, odds are it will take an act of Congress to get you out of the NICS database.
  • YOU COULD PAY UNTOLD THOUSANDS FOR ‘STORAGE.’ No maximum storage fees are stipulated, so the sheriff who confiscates your guns can charge you whatever he wants for “storage.” He can also fire them to obtain and record ballistics data. Moreover, we know anti-gun sheriffs have a habit of returning confiscated guns in less than ideal condition.
  • YOUR GUNS COULD BE DESTROYED. So congrats! You’ve spent perhaps $50,000 fighting seemingly endless court orders and motions, but you are victorious: The Gun Confiscation Order is finally lifted. One little problem remains: Now that you are broke, the sheriff wants $10,000 for “storage” in order to return your guns. Oh, yes, did we mention that if you don’t raise the money to file YET ANOTHER MOTION to get them back within 90 days, YOUR GUNS CAN BE DESTROYED.

This is your ‘due process of law’

This, the gun banners claim, is the “due process of law” you are promised under the Fifth Amendment. After all, you got your day in court, didn’t you?

Gun Confiscation Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans
YOUR GUNS GET SEIZED. If the judge decides enough evidence exists for a “temporary” order (and they almost always do), you get 24 HOURS TO SURRENDER YOUR GUNS, after which THE SHERIFF WILL TAKE THEM, BY FORCE, IF NECESSARY.

Will HB 976 become law?

The good news is that Morey’s bill, like the companion bill introduced by anti-gun Democrats in the Senate, has been shunted to the Rules Committee where such bills usually go to die.

The bad news is that gun ban advocates are holding public forums and press conferences, and issuing press releases to the fawning media as a run-through for next year, when they hope Governor Roy Cooper will sign it into law.

Where are the Republicans?

In theory, we elected a Republican majority to defend our gun rights and champion conservative ideals. So what are Republicans doing to defend against the gun ban onslaught?

Nada.

  • How about Speaker Tim Moore’s School Safety Committee? Did they recommend arming faculty or even providing more armed school resource officers to defend students? Nope.
  • Has Senator Phil Berger promised to give HB 746 a hearing in order to expand concealed carry? Hah! Not bloody likely.
  • Have the ostensible “conservatives” responded with vision to provide an alternative to the endless gun control being pushed by liberals? Nope. Not a whisper.

Republicans: The Party of Cowards

When YOU elected a Republican supermajority to the General Assembly, they promised to champion conservative ideals; to not only defend your rights, but to expand your freedoms.

Instead, Speaker Tim Moore, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse are responding to recent tragedies by hunkering down in the bunker like refugees.

Instead of advocating effective solutions to school shootings such as eliminating “gun-free” zones and equipping faculty members to protect students against violent sociopaths, their “solution” is to bottle up bills in committee and avoid sticking their necks out.

Pablum for the masses

We would be remiss not to mention the “pro-gun” initiative Sen. Berger has been shopping to Republican groups – a constitutional amendment for hunting and fishing.

Yep. You heard it right. As the left dances in the streets, making plans and hanging Republicans in effigy; as the media and gun ban advocates invent new ways to steal your liberties; our side has come up with a plan.

And that plan is to placate you with meaningless pablum designed to pacify you because clearly you are stupid enough to mistake it for something meaningful, right? (Oh, yes, and it would bring a few “sportsmen” to the polls in November to vote Republican, while they’re at it.)

Tell Republicans to stop cowering and lead!

It’s time to deliver a loud and clear message to Republican leadership that you aren’t the slightest bit interested in the little “consolation prize” they are offering to compensate for their cowardice in not moving HB 746. In fact, tell them to GROW A SPINE.

  • Call AND email Sen. Phil Berger and tell him to pass HB 746: Contact Berger at (919) 733-5708, [email protected]
  • Call AND email Speaker Tim Moore on school safety: Contact Moore at 919-733-3451, [email protected] and tell him that beyond the wimpy solutions proposed by his “Select Committee on School Safety,” he should support arming volunteer school faculty members as contained in the bill currently being drafted.
  • Call AND Email NC GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse: Leave a message for Woodhouse at the GOP’s headquarters (919) 828-6423, email him at [email protected] or tweet to Woodhouse at @DallasWoodhouse. Tell him to stop telling supporters that the GOP won’t move gun bills in the short session of the legislature.

Help GRNC elect pro-gun LEADERS in November: The GRNC Political Victory Fund spent everything it had on the May primary elections. WE NEED YOUR HELP. You can donate to help elect candidates with spines by going to: www.grnc.org/grnc-pvf/donate-to-grnc-pvf

You can also still buy tickets for the SECOND drawing of the “WMD Raffle” – with the potential to win either a 12 gauge Mossberg Shockwave or its 20 gauge twin – by going to: www.grnc.org/grnc-pvf-raffle-2018

So please tell Republican leaders to develop spines, and then help the GRNC Political Victory Fund elect legislators with the courage to actually stand up to the left and defend your freedom!

Armatissimi e liberissimi,

F. Paul Valone
President, Grass Roots North Carolina
Executive Director, Rights Watch International
Radio host, “Guns, Politics & Freedom”

Grass Roots North Carolina

About:
Grass Roots North Carolina/Forum for Firearms Education is a non-profit, all volunteer organization devoted to educating the public about trends which abridge the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and engaging in grass roots activism to preserve those freedoms. Formed in 1994 to conduct a highly successful rally for the Second Amendment, GRNC has gone on to conduct projects like “Remember in November: A Gun Owner’s Guide to Voting,” bringing concealed carry to North Carolina. Visit:www.grnc.org

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