I once heard a woman, who lives in a cold and inhospitable climate like I do, say that she would rather rule the cold than be ruled by it. Because the cold can sometimes make decisions for you. For example, I like to run, but the days and times I choose to run are sometimes chosen for me by the cold.
Sometimes you’ll decide not to go out for a certain event, or not get outside chores done, or not do something fun outside, all because the cold is making your decisions for you (which is what it means to be ruled by something).
In her case, she ruled the cold by choosing to expose herself to it in certain ways so as to strengthen her mind and her body against it so that it no longer controlled her and one of the ways she would do this is by taking morning baths in the freezing lake next to her home.
And if we’re attentive to it, we recognize that we embrace something like this principle in all kinds of ways in our daily lives and in our society. We don’t want to be ruled by our ignorance, so we choose the often unpleasant process of schooling. We don’t want to be ruled by our appetites, so we choose the often mortifying disciplines of nutritious diet and exercise.
Some people don’t want to be ruled by fear of water, so they choose a sometimes unpleasant process of learning to swim. And think about what that means. That means refining your instincts, your understanding, and physical reaction to being placed in water.
Knowing how to swim means governing your body and mind so that you only do the exact right kind of movements that produce buoyancy and movement and you reject all the kinds of random and chaotic movements that the untrained body would produce that would lead to drowning.
Knowing how to swim means behaving in one exact and precise way and rejecting all other movements and behaviours. It means restricting yourself in order to maximize your ability and freedom in the water such that you rule the water instead of it ruling you.
A perverted and distorted understanding of freedom would say that all these rules are inhibiting your freedom to swim however you want. But disregarding those rules would actually prevent you from the freedom that knowing how to swim properly provides when you’re in the water.
Just like with rules on the road. When you follow the strictly defined rules of the road, it maximizes your potential to drive effectively and efficiently. By contrast, when people don’t follow the rules and just do whatever they want, it produces chaos, danger, and immobility.
Rules and governing restrictions are used every day in countless ways to refine that which is crude and unmeasured into something refined and more capable.
We recognize this principle in countless ways in our daily lives except for one critical area: which is sex. We say, in this instance, we don’t need any thing that governs our behaviour except the absolute minimum. So, as long as you can find another willing adult, have at ‘er.
We don’t say things like, I want to rule sex rather than be ruled by it the way we do with everything else. But, our ancestors recognized that sex is a good thing which can, like everything else, be refined through governing restrictions in order to maximize its potential good.
So they said, it should be enjoyed in a certain way which recognizes its purpose, which is not pleasure by the way just like the purpose of eating is not pleasure, and which places reasonable restrictions on it so that we don’t let it rule us.
And this is what marriage has always been. It’s been a critical measure that places reasonable restrictions on sex and anticipates the reasonable consequences of sex, which is that it strengthens your emotional bond with another person and procreation.
Simultaneously, our ancestors recognized that marriage and family are essential to raising functional and well-adjusted citizens who can contribute and not be a burden to everyone else.
But over the past 100 years, we’ve been tinkering with this. We looked at our growing prosperity and arrogantly assumed that it was inevitable. That progress, like evolution happens naturally as long as we don’t interfere.
And since it does, we might as well enjoy ourselves and since sex is enjoyable, why place burdensome restrictions on it? And ever since then, we’ve seen catastrophic effects on marriage and the family and society.
We’ve seen a dramatic increase in sexually transmitted diseases which have costed millions of lives and an incalculable amount of health care expenses. We’ve seen divorce become as common as marriage. And the proliferation of several other effects that I’ll get to.
And ever since then, we’ve been doubling down on our little experiment trying to respond to the unintended consequences but with no appreciation for what’s causing them.
And a lot of this can be traced back to the advent and promotion of artificial contraception which promised us consequence free sex. But the consequences for refusing to govern ourselves isn’t necessarily a bad thing because as we’ve seen in so many other examples, governing ourselves is how we refused to be ruled by something or someone external.
Again, we govern our minds with education in order to refine our thoughts into knowledge. We govern our abilities with training in order to refine them into skills. We govern our bodies with nutrition and exercise in order to maximize their potential and the alternative negative consequences are what help inspire those good decisions.
When it comes to sex, we thought we had fixed that with contraception. But, no contraception works 100% of the time under the best circumstances and casual sex is rarely undertaken under the best circumstances.
Rates of effectiveness vary between 90% and 98% depending on the method and how strictly we use it. Which means that for every 100 cases of casual sex, there are a considerable number illegal aliens sneaking across the border. And if you multiply that by the number of casual sexual encounters, that’s a LOT of unintended pregnancies. Which means, we need abortion as a safety net because we were promised consequence free sex… which was and is a lie.
And it’s a lie that is perpetuated in so called “sex education”. I was taught how to wrap a condom around a banana, but at no point did any of my teachers say, if you do this 100 times, you should be prepared for a few abortions and that’s if you use this exactly as intended. If you’re drunk or intoxicated with hormones, the likelihood increases.
And so it has. Abortion has become a necessary safety net for a society that erroneously believes you can have sex with people you would never want to be a parent. And this goes against all conventional wisdom which says contraception prevents abortion which is the opposite of the truth. And they teach this to children at school.
The other simultaneous effect has been a dramatic increase in infidelity in marriage and, therefore, divorce because supposedly consequence free sex makes it a lot harder to remain faithful in marriage, especially if you’re in the habit of doing so before you get married.
And as we always see, there are those who are ready and willing to exploit such exposures. The less we are able to govern our sexual appetite, the more the industrial pornography complex can exploit that appetite for financial gain.
Pharmaceutical companies are likewise invested in our continued agreement with the idea that sex should be unrestrained so as to keep us reliant on their magic pills which don’t always work.
Pop culture, aimed at minors, spreads a message of unrestrained sexuality so that sex begins to rule us at our most vulnerable stages of development before we get a chance to rule it.
And so, what if all of this compromises marriage and the family. Big deal, right? Well, I’m sure we can all recognize that poverty, ignorance, & crime, just to name a few, are things we don’t want in society. These are things that compete with our ability to have a healthy civilization.
Well, if you ever get the opportunity to ask someone struck by ignorance, poverty, and crime how they ended up where they are, they will inevitably tell you a story about their family life.
They will tell you about abuse, neglect, and divorce. And the data bears this out. Children who come from divorced families are far more likely to struggle with education, employment, crime, and poverty, to name a few. So, policies and ideas that support and nurture the traditional family are not only good for the family, but for all of society.
And that’s because, if it isn’t obvious, the family is the pillar of civilization. Children who grow up with male and female role models who are able to exemplify each dimension of human nature will better understand themselves and have more confidence to face the challenges of life.
Kids who have siblings along with those parents will learn how to behave in a micro society so that they are better prepared to behave in the whole of society.
And this all comes back to a curious qualification that appears in the 10 commandments. The decalogue is split into two sections. The first 3 commandments are about our relationship with God because that is the most critically important consideration. You can’t live in harmony with your neighbor if you aren’t living in harmony with the source of your being.
Then the next 7 are societal norms and the very first one, as a matter of importance, is that we should honor our father and mother. Which is already curious. You’d think not murdering people would take priority, but it doesn’t.
And then God adds this little note after that commandment. He says that if we do so you will live in prosperity in the land he gives us. If we honor those who are the heads of that most vital structure, the family, and we support them and we recognize the noble venture that they are undertaking, then society and civilization will prosper.