The Bully Dilemma

This story about young Keaton Jones, a boy who poured his heart out as his mother filmed his teary-eyed confession and posted it on social media, is heartbreaking. No innocent person deserves to be treated with such disrespect. That being said, the response to this video has me concerned with the profound lack of understanding when it comes to bullying.

I used to be a bully.

My friends and I once made a book of fat jokes that landed us in trouble with the school and incentivized a female classmate to leave in the middle of the school year. We were 11.

The armchair psychologists who plague social media with their uninformed yet equally passionate responses would blame my parents for not showing me how to respect other kids. In the case of Keaton Jones, an armada of celebrities would call for some sort of new measures to stop me from ever doing such a heinous thing again.

The truth is that my parents taught me well, and I knew what I was doing was wrong. However, there is something truly primal that happens when you exert power over another person. When the girl I teased left school, I wore it as a badge of honor. I was mean and nasty. I could dominate another person into total submission. I felt powerful.

I used to be a victim of bullying.

I grew up as the only white kid in an all-black neighborhood. Since I was different, my “friends” used to try to get me to do stupid things all the time. I went along because I was desperate to fit in. One time, they coaxed me into a fight with a kid from another street. We did not know each other, but somehow were convinced that we should fight. I had never punched another person, and the “fight” did not go well for me. I was 8.

School was not much better for me. I rode the bus with mostly black students, one of which seemed to make it his life mission to mock me for being poor. He threatened to fight me almost every day, and I cowered in fear awaiting the time he would strike. My previous experience dictated that I would not fare well. Almost 30 years later, and I still see his face. When someone said his name when informing me that his father died, I immediately got angry.

You see, I gave my power to these people. I knew that I shouldn’t, but fear drove me to act against my will.

A Complex Issue

Bullying is not just a result of faulty parenting or “bad” kids. In most situations, I was a good kid – just as I am a good man now. However, I am not impervious to doing bad things. In fact, I have a talent for doing or saying awful things to other people. If I am not careful, I can destroy someone’s day in an instant. It’s reflexive.

My parents taught me better. My wife and kids teach me to be better every day, but it is a struggle. You see, my penchant to bully others comes from the desire to show others how powerful I am. Having given my power to other people as a childhood victim of bullying, or in certain adult relationships, I learned to put up a wall. I learned how to re-direct that power.

Sometimes I can do amazing things with it. I pour my emotions into playing drums or I furiously research a contentious topic. Sometimes I escape into solidarity and pray. Sometimes, I lash out to show others that they cannot hurt me, but I can hurt them.

You see, not all bullies are always bullies. Not all have parents who ignore them. Not all of them come from broken or abusive homes. This stereotyping lynch mob mentality of our society has forgotten that applying the perceived traits of a group to an individual is an unacceptable outcome. #NotAllBullies

People Can Change

I have been a bully and victim, but now I am neither. In fact, the thought of someone getting bullied infuriates me. However, I believe that the victim mentality is one of the most dangerous trends growing in America.

The response to the Keaton Jones story is troubling to me. His video is a great conversation starter. We can discuss bullying with our friends and our children using his words as a catalyst. But what will he learn from this?

Sean Hannity is leading a charge to raise thousands of dollars. Glenn Beck is inviting Keaton to his radio studio. Dana White wants to bring him to a UFC event. Others are calling for additional fundraising and starting up new and improved anti-bullying campaigns. This kid will have tens of thousands of dollars given to him by the very same people who complain about entitled “snowflakes” who cannot withstand opposing arguments.

His bullies are about to be socially ostracized. If the community does not already know their identities, they will figure it out soon. What will the negative sanctions be? A phone call to children’s services? Public shaming? The potential for bullying the bullies without understanding WHY they say what they say is an awful precedent.

None of the children involved will have a chance at natural change. Most kids grow out of bullying by the time they reach college. Most victims learn to develop thicker skin. The power imbalance that we see in instances like this often ends up equalizing.

A massive scale public interaction disrupts potential learning opportunities for these children. Society is robbing them of a healthy growth experience. This is the impact of social media. It can lead to great things, with both positive and negative ramifications.

Let’s not overreact.

What Worked for Me

I was born a sinner. I still am. That is why I find satisfaction in the pain of others. It is natural instinct for me. Thankfully, God has forgiven me for my sins. I need not dwell on my past, which allows me to learn from it. I can take an objective look at bullying because I have lived on both sides of the issue, allowing me to step back and analyze it properly.

There will be victims if there are bullies. There will be bullying so long as there is sin. Like it or not, all societies have suffered from one form of social inequality or another. Human nature is to exert our power over another, but we can overcome human nature.

Rather than giving or taking my power to/from other people, I give it to God. I let Him deal with my problems. When someone harasses me, I pray and ask for God to handle it, so I do not have to. I have learned to hold back and not hold on to anger. The solution is not raising money or new social programs. The solution is found in the Bible.

Matt 7:12 says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you: do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

This is also known as “the golden rule.” Every sinful child must learn this principle. It is not innate. Some can grasp it more quickly than others. I pray that the bullies who are cruel to Keaton Jones learn this lesson soon, because others are about to do some not nice things to them and their families.

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The Satanic Era

In the first episode of Mindhunter, the Netflix show about how the FBI serial killer program began, an interesting proposition was presented. The gist is that prior to the 1970s, crime had motive. In the contemporary era, however, motive was no longer a factor. Serial killers may have a modus operandi, and even a purpose, but they essentially kill indiscriminately. Random people become targets. Of course, this is a fictional story, but does that make the point any less relevant?

We may understand a killer has a motive, such as creating fear or terror, but there is no motive for target selection. Consider the most recent case of the Las Vegas shooting. As of this writing, a full month has passed and no one knows what motivated Stephen Paddock to shoot 500 people. Many terror attacks are on large groups of people, but none involve a personal motive.

Gone are the days of organized crime when gangsters wanted to “send a message” by killing a rival or snitch. No longer must a woman die because she was cheating on her husband. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is as dangerous as infidelity in today’s world. When did this change?

I will once again point my finger at what I have termed “the Satanic Era” of the 1960s. Prior to the 1960s, the majority of mass killings were familicide. Since the 1960s, mass killings have been in public places against innocent bystanders. The deadliest decade prior to 1960 was the 30s, with 9 mass shootings. The 1960s had 6, the 70s had 13, there were 32 in the 1980s, and over 40 in the 1990s. The number since then as only increased.

Again, low numbers of mass shootings which primarily were targeted at family members prior to the 60s. Much higher frequency of shootings with a major increase in bystander fatalities since the 1960s.

How about serial killers, the focus of Mindhunter? According to one site, there were only a dozen or so serial killers in the United States in the decades leading up to the 1960s. There were 19 in the 1960s, 119 in the 70s, 200 in the 80s, and 141 in the 1990s. The number has since dropped to 60 or less in the twenty-first century, but the line drawn through the Satanic Era is still worth noting.

It does appear that this notion of random killing has increased since the 1960s.

17,000 women were forcibly raped in 1960. By the end of the decade, the number of victims had more than doubled. By 1992, the number peaked at over 109,000.

Recreational drug and alcohol use, though prevalent regardless of drug laws, has exploded since the 1960s.

Increases in violence against strangers, depictions of violence and sex in film and television, sexual assault, drug use, alcoholism, the opioid crisis, teen pregnancies, deviant sexual behaviors, homosexuality, transgenderism, mass murder, and serial killings are directly correlated with the decline in major religion and distrust of major media and government institutions.

In every single one of these categories – religious decline (secularization), increases in crime and deviance, the birth of new religious movements and serial killers – you can draw a line before and after the Satanic Era of the 1960s and see that there has been a seismic social shift in the United States.

One cannot help but notice that many of the same issues of the 1960s are manifest today. Civil unrest, shouts of racism, segregation, unending protest, free love, excessive drug use, sensitivity toward anything deemed “offensive”, attacks on free speech and the Constitution, militarized police, political corruption, calls for revolution, Marxism, and the list goes on and on.

I am a child of the 80s, but I would love to hear from those who were alive during the 60s. Does your lived experience mirror my theory? Has the shift been noticeable? Do you think there has actually been a shift? Please, I want to hear from you.

Taking God for Granted

Think of all the things we take for granted in life.
The concepts of white privilege and patriarchy are that white males have certain historical advantages that they never actually think about. Things are becoming more egalitarian, for sure. However, Western civilization has been, for better or worse, a product of straight white men exploiting others.
Don’t believe me? When we identify colleagues or even friends, we often clarify the race of minorities, but not whites. You do not hear things like “famous male inventor Thomas Edison…” or “the straight, white Founding Fathers like Jefferson and Madison.” On the other hand, we do that for racial minorities, homosexuals, and women.

In other words, heterosexual and white are default categories. The all-encompassing term to describe all of humanity is “mankind.” Consider the term “straight,” which is the opposed of crooked, which has the negative connotation of deviance. These are taken for granted assumptions typically made by straight, white, men and are often challenged by those who violate one or more of those categories. The reaction from those in the majority is shock and denial of their privileges.

This happens when we take these concepts for granted, and Christians have been doing the same thing with doctrine. From everything from Bible translations to baptism, the modern American Christian has been fattened with privileges that go all-too-often ignored.

Our Christian Founding Fathers were persecuted and murdered for their Faith. The history of the Church is filled with meeting in secret locations under penalty of death from their governments, which still occurs in many countries. What do we, as Americans, do? We use our Christian colleges as an excuse to challenge and “correct” the Bible that our brothers and sisters and the Middle-East are being beheaded over. While we bicker about whether we should wear suits or have drums in a worship setting, Christians around the world are being crucified or burned alive.

We need not fear being used as gladiatorial fodder in the Colosseum of Rome, so we find minor things over which to quibble.

Almost 80% of Americans identify as Christian, but the average weekly church attendance for a believer in this country is 1.7 services per month. Attendance is not low because Uncle Sam is waiting to bust in our doors and imprison those inside, but because to 22% of American churchgoers, watching football has become a priority. Rather than being thrust into the arena to face lions, we can watch others combat live on television. We take our churches for granted, because we have churches to go to.

American Christians have taken church attendance for granted, but have also taken prayer and daily time in Scripture for granted. We can tell you anything you want about what our favorite actors are up to, but nothing about Solomon’s life. We can quote Tom Brady’s QB rating in the 2004 playoffs, but can’t quote a verse other than John 3:16. We have time to text, not call, but text our best friends with every detail of our daily lives, but spend no time having a conversation with our Heavenly Father.

I cannot tell you the number of fellow church members and Church members who gleefully post party pictures on social media with faces distorted by drunken frivolity; forgetting that we are called to be pictures of Christ to our unsaved friends and families. How can a drug addict be helped by someone who is right next to them shooting up? How might an alcoholic have a life change while we sit at the bar sharing shots? With no thought of the repercussions, we indulge in the very same behaviors as those who are lost. How will they ever be found when we throw the map in the garbage?

We do these things because we CAN do these things. We do them because we CHOOSE to do them. We put God’s will behind our own ambitions because we ignore the manifestation of His grace in our lives. We no longer count our blessings, because our insatiable thirst for humanistic pursuits has us spoiled and privileged.

No one is perfect. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. The difference is that the heroes of the Bible felt regret when they fell from grace. King David never fully recovered from his tryst with Bathsheba. Peter spent the rest of his life trying to make up for his denial of Christ before the crucifixion. Will we do the same, or will we continue to take our privilege for granted?

Check your privilege. It is there, and we must acknowledge its existence. The only way we will be effective at bringing others to Christ is if we throw away our hedonistic lifestyles and BE LIKE CHRIST. If you sin, it’s okay. Jesus’ blood covers Christians for all eternity. However, we must all try to avoid the temptation to flaunt our sin to everyone in our social networks.

Becoming a Christian is an easy decision for most privileged Americans. LIVING like a Christian is incredibly difficult. The first decision is personal, while the second affects the lives of all those around us. Remember who you represent. You are a child of the King of Kings. You are privileged, whether you want to admit it or not. Time is running out for our loved ones who have yet to accept Christ. Do them a favor and dare to be different. Be a rebel. We are already experiencing a revolution, so be revolutionary. Stop taking God for Granted.

I am a “Racist” and That’s Okay.

I was talking to person of color yesterday about the lack of a major church led peace rally in response to the Black Lives Matter riots, and the conversation ended with me essentially being called a racist.

How did we get there?

This person, a self-professed Christian who happens to be biracial, seemed like a person who might want to have one of those “difficult discussions” or race that supposedly never happen. I said I wanted to see church leaders hold an MLK style march on Washington where hundreds of thousands of Christians could unite with a message promoting peaceful protests.

I was then informed that there are apparently 1500 peaceful protests that I don’t hear about. I responded that I have no problem with those protests, or those who are just regular folk who believe that too many black people are being killed by police. My problem is with those at the top who pour millions of dollars into the “movement” and bus professional agitators to a location seeking to set the city on fire.

I was told that I was uninformed because I did not know about the 1500 protests. An interesting indictment, because this person 1) was unaware of the millions of dollars given to BLM by George Soros and other big money donors; 2) was unaware that unions are busing in paid agitators; 3) has watched none of the shooting videos; 4) knows very few of the names of the victims.

As I provided the statistics about how only 200-250 blacks are killed by police each year. How 70-80 of those cases are justified. Maybe 10-15% are questionable, and the remaining 10-15% are absolutely unjustified. These statistics are all available from government sites (FBI, CDC, etc.). This person actually told me that those statistics cannot be trusted.

I was even told that my opinions are based on videos, not what actually happened. Although they admitted to not watching any videos, this person believed that perhaps the evidence that I saw with my own eyes was possibly falsified. I suppose my eyes are deceiving me.

In arguing about justified shootings, I informed them that if one of my little ginger daughters pulled a gun on the police, I would expect her to be shot as well. It is NOT a racial issue.

“Have you ever lost someone close to you?” I was asked. Thankfully, I have not. However, according to this person, losing someone is extremely emotional and I cannot expect someone in pain like that to behave rationally.

I told them that if someone walked into my house and killed my family, I would more than likely be filled with rage, but I would not set fire to my innocent neighbor’s house. I understand the outrage. I get that the community may be hurting. I know that they seek justice. I do not believe that burning down a local CVS is proper exercise of the outrage and pain.

This person challenged my Christianity. They asked how a Christian could be okay with black people being killed. I told them that I am not okay with it, but there is no reasonable way to stop all of these shootings. No matter what training is implemented; no matter how many cameras are on the person and vehicles of police officers, perpetrators will still pull illegal firearms out and aim it at officers, thus, justifying shooting in self-defense.

This person told me that they have to be scared for their spouse and children because they are black, and might be shot during a routine traffic stop. I told them that out of a population of 350 million people, fewer than 100 are killed by police for “no reason.”

I also have to teach my daughters to not mouth off  and especially not pull out a weapon on a police officer. I told this person about being personally harassed by police several times in my life. I have been pulled over for no reason many times. I was sucker-punched by a black man during a basketball game and looked to the police for help as I was 17 at the time. The officer harassed me for 20 minutes, trying to get me to admit that I said the “n word,” which I did not. No witness said I did, but the officer could not believe that I was punched just for playing basketball despite a dozen or so eyewitnesses that backed up my story.

Having grown up as a pale, ginger boy in an all-black neighborhood, I got into fights. I was bullied and the victim of racism. I had to go to private school because it would have been worse for me had I gone to a public school.

This, apparently, is why I have “racism in my heart” now according to the person I was conversing with. I was a victim of racism, so now I must be racist. There is no evidence of this during my entire lifetime, yet I suppose I must be.

I mean, I also had some bad run-ins with white people. The only other white kids on my block broke into my house while we were at church and stole all of our video games and systems (and yes, there were many). In fact, I got into fistfights exclusively with white people in high school. Reflecting on this made me realize that I must also be racist toward white people. They were all men too, so I must now be a man-hating sexist. Makes sense, right?

No.

I was also told that my obvious outrage over being called a racist was more proof of my racism. The conversation ended when I asked if they had ever had a bad incident with a white person, and they simply said “not until now.”

“Wow.” I left the conversation with that one word response.

This is the never ending cycle of circular reasoning and straw man arguments that keeps people quiet about race in America today. Whenever the subject is broached, white people become racists. A conversation beginning with a call for unity and healing ended with charges of racism and personal attacks.

Unfortunately, I am too stubborn to run from the topic. I will still talk about race, and I will do so with some academic authority on the subject. I will do so with research, statistics, social theories, and actual data. I refuse to believe that one “must be black” to discuss black issues. With that logic, no blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Islanders, etc. should be able to discuss white issues, which, if you use the liberal academic talking points of the day, are all issues. The default of our society is white and male.

Women can talk about men. People of color can talk about whites. Yet the reverse is not allowed? Who is the racist? Who is ethnocentric now?

A “discussion” requires two people. If we are to solve any social problem, the “opposing” groups must engage in a dialogue. It is the basis for understanding one another. I look forward to being called “racist” more often, so long as I continue to press for conversations about tough issues. I can live with that, because I know that the Truth is on my side.

Let’s Talk About Rape

Rape culture. Have you heard of it? Are you aware that we allegedly live in one here in the US of A? Did you know that our college campuses have rates of sexual assault on par with the Rwandan genocide (23% if you take the highest possible estimations) where rape was used as a weapon.

I am sure that at least some of you are aware of the “1 in 5” statistic that claims that 20% (again, awfully close to Rwanda’s 23%) of our female college students are sexually assaulted (as well as 1.4% of men). I have looked at the study, and have several problems with it—the sample was large, but only taken from two universities, the definition of “sexual assault” was very broad, and sexual assault and rape (3.4% of victims are physically forced; 8.5% are incapacitated by a substance) are often conflated but are not the same thing.

If that is true, then it is safer to send your girls to Cancun for spring break than to class at Harvard.

It seems absurd on its face, doesn’t it? But, could it be legitimate?

I just watched a CNN documentary about this epidemic called “The Hunting Ground.” The film is full of statistics, including that 16% of college girls are sexually assaulted (lower than 20% though). It argues that 88% of these assaults go unreported, and those that are reported are ignored or outright covered up by the institution of higher learning.

They also gave statistics about the number of rape allegations vs. students expelled for rape that are truly problematic. For instance, at one school there were 203 sexual assaults reported, but only 3 students punished. Another school had 169 assaults and 0 expulsions.

Clearly, there is something untoward going on.

Then I did some quick math in my head. The 203 assaults were over a 12-year span. That’s less than 20 per year. But there are another 88% not reported, according to the statistic mentioned before. So let’s multiply by 10 to be generous. Now we are at 200 sexual assaults happening on a college campus each year. This is truly an atrocity! However, the university probably has 20-25,000 students, half of which are female. That means that 200 out of 10,000 women are sexually assaulted on this particular campus—and that’s with using higher than just 88% being unreported.

Does this sound like 16-20% to you? That’s because rather than 1 in 5, it’s more like 1 in 500.

How about the case of Melinda Manning, former Assistant Dean at the University of North Carolina? She claims that she spoke to about 100 young women about their victimization during her career (11 years, so an average of about 10 per year…again, not 20%). She claims that the university ordered her to under-report these assaults, and is an advocate for those perpetuating the 1 in 5 statistic.

However, she quit her job, and enrolled AT THE SAME UNIVERSITY in order to get another degree. This beacon of rapes where women are being assaulted in high numbers with a corrupt administration, and Dr. Manning ENROLLED THERE! Does this seem inconsistent to anyone else?

For the sake of argument, let’s just say that the 20% frequency and 88% unreported numbers are true. I will also cede that universities may very well be trying to underreport the number of sexual assaults. What are some of the ramifications?

First of all, I would love to see these universities fully investigated by outside law enforcement agency—like federal or another county. If there is a rampant cover up, then these schools should not only lose federal funding, but those involved in a cover up should be prosecuted harshly. They should never be allowed to jump from one university to another after being a part in hiding sexual assault from students and the public at large.

If the problem is ever to be corrected, victims do need to be more proactive with their reporting. I understand that there is fear, not wanting to relive the experience, and some PTSD involved. There is fear of being shamed or ignored, and these issues are absolutely justified in most cases. However, I do not understand why these young girls are calling campus security, rather than the police. As a parent, I will make sure to tell my daughters to call 9-11 for any actual emergency—which is exactly what sexual assault is. Whether afraid or not, such a huge influx of reported sexual assaults would most certainly be a method of forcing the public to look into the problem.

And since I have probably already angered some of you, I would point out that university faculty and students are overwhelmingly comprised of those who identify as politically left (Democrat/liberal/progressive). If our campuses really are bastions of sexual assault, the perpetrators are statistically more likely to be leftists. Ironically, those who seem to champion the 1 in 5 stat are predominantly leftist as well. So, the safest place to be if you are a young woman is surrounded by conservatives—but I digress.

This is a very sensitive topic, but we will never make any progress if we avoid an honest discussion about the veracity of statistics, how to prevent attacks, identifying tangible solutions to the problem, and stop shaming 1) victims of assault and 2) skeptics.

Whether 20% or 2% of our girls are raped, the numbers are too high. Ignoring the issue or making false claims in order to “raise awareness” are not helpful solutions. Would anyone treat murder with such tactics? Of course not.

I also do not believe that we live in a rape culture. Most of the men I have ever met would probably beat a rapist half to death if they ever bragged about their conquest. Moreover, the film also put out a stat that 8% of men are committing 90% of the assaults. If true, then a HUGE majority of men are not involved in sexual assault. That is not a culture of rape, but a larger-than-should-be number of bad apples.

Compare the 8% of men to the 8% of Muslims who support violent extremism. Would we say that Islam is a “terrorist culture”? Are we not told that we cannot hold all Muslims accountable for the actions of a few?

How about the 7% of Americans who are LGBT? Are we living in a “gay culture”? Of course not. In fact, we are told every day about how oppressed the LGBT community is. How they must live in the shadows in many cases for fear of reprisal for their behavior.

But rapists are so brazen that 8% of them can make the academic system a rape culture? It makes no sense.

Do your own research, and do not believe statistics (which are almost always manipulated to make a point—I know I just did it). If we really are sending our children to a hotbed for sexual assault, then we MUST take action against it. If there are legitimate findings that support the stats presented to us, then I want nothing more than for those involved to be punished in ways that would make the Inquisition seem like a Disney theme park. If not, though, then we must be big enough to realize that inciting a moral panic is the antithesis of progress.

All Things Being [un]Equal

“Women are better than men,” declared heartthrob Ryan Gosling. This statement has, for whatever reason, began trending across multiple social media platforms and have feminists of all walks cheering with glee as a young, attractive man decided to tear other men down so that women can stand tall on the pedestals of power.

The unwed father of two young girls has decided that men have had their day, and now that women are “stronger” and “more evolved” than men, the reigns of society should be handed over to the females. Apparently, Mr. Gosling believes that men should not only accept this transition, but should do so willingly because we deserve to be treated as unequal.

Not all of us will do so; nor should we.

I understand that feminists had the “separate, but equal” mentality, but there is truth to the idea. No, I do not subscribe to the doctrine of separate spheres—in which the home is a woman’s domain, and everywhere else is the man’s—but true equality begins when we understand that we have differences.

Men are biologically larger, stronger, and more physical. Whether by evolution or design, men are made for hard, physical labor. Not all men are larger than all women, but the general rule applies.

Women are biologically more capable of nurturing, which actually begins in-utero. It is the mother’s body that provides nourishment for a developing baby in the womb. It is the mother’s milk that nourishes the child after he/she is born. The intimacy of breastfeeding simply cannot be replicated by men.

There you have it. It is biology. It is science. It is nature that men are physical and women are nurturing. This also does not mean that either sex is “better” than the other.

Sure, men are better at certain things, but women are better at other things. Some women are better than some men at athletics, and some men are better than some women at raising a child. Just because there are exceptions, does not make the rule any less true.

In our “all or nothing” society, we tend to forget that even nature accounts for anomalies.

There is also the concept of intersectionality that we must consider. This idea basically boils down to “not all women” or “not all whites.” The experiences of women vary based on other characteristics, such as beauty, race, sexuality, or social class.

A gay black woman from the middle class has different experiences than a straight black woman from the lower class. A white lesbian schoolteacher has different experiences than a white lesbian business owner.

This is the problem with stereotypes—there are over six billion unique individuals with experiences that are not perfectly shared with anyone else. Thus, to say that half of those people are “better” than the other half—whichever side you choose—is ignorant and dangerous.

Moreover, to say that men deserve to be taken down a few notches as some sort of repayment of past ancestral patriarchy is just plain stupid. That’s like saying that white people should be slaves because our ancestors were on the other side of the experience.

Whatever you believe about patriarchy and “white privilege,” I think that the best way to have an egalitarian society is not to bring one side down to meet the other, but to bring both sides UP. Rather than berating masculinity, we should elevate femininity. Rather than firing white men from positions of power, we should create more positions for women and people of color.

We should also understand that it is our differences that make modern society function. This is the crux of Emile Durkheim’s concept of Organic Solidarity. Not everyone can be a mechanic, plumber, professional athlete, and CEO of a tech company. It is the specialization of society that allows us to worry about being good at a few things, rather than being competent in all.

The same logic can be applied to this seeming conflict between men and women. We do not, and should not have to be “better” at all things. It is okay to specialize. As a matter of fact, it is BETTER so specialize. Some men want to stay at home with their kids. Some women want to be a CEO. That is perfectly fine! It is also fine for a woman to want to stay at home while the husband works.

It does not matter whether the couple is straight, gay, lesbian, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, mixed race, polyamorous, monogamous, polygamous, married, co-habitating, dating, rich, poor, etc. ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE DIFFERENT…but equal.

Knowledge or Wisdom?

We are the most technologically advanced civilization in history, but all this knowledge has not improved our lives in any meaningful way. Sure, we have more luxury and leisure, but we are no happier than our ignorant ancestors who simply sought after things like the meaning of life or what our purpose on the planet is. Unfortunately, these “big questions” are rarely even asked by most. We are lacking something in this “civil” society. We are a society without wisdom.

Regardless of your moral genesis, political affiliation, or religious dogma, all of us feel that the world is lacking “common sense.” But what they mean is that we are failing in the application of all the information and knowledge available to us. We are like living trivia machines, full of facts, yet no idea of how those facts are relevant to our day to day lives.

My fellow university students quote long passages from Karl Marx. They can identify the flaws of capitalism and the inevitable inequality produced when people are paid based on merit, rather than the sheer fact that they are human. However, when ideologues attempt to apply Marxism, it fails. That is simply because the utopian Communist ideal society is impractical. A wise man would take human nature, and history, into account. A wise man applies the ethos that man is flawed, thus to believe that man, himself, can possibly give up all potential possessions for the good of the whole without force is naiveté to the millionth degree.

Putting your trust in a politician, like Obama or Trump is completely unwise. History shows us that political corruption is the rule, not the exception—no matter how few exceptions we try to name. Philosophers are flawed. Our “news” media is flawed. Those who we love to quote—Marx, Jefferson, Franklin, Nietzsche, Plato, Socrates—are all men who are flawed.

Yet some of them were wise.

I believe that our Founding Fathers were wise to the inevitability of corruption, which is why the US Constitution is one of the only documents that seeks to limit the power of our leaders. I believe that philosophers can be wise, so long as they are seeking answers to the big questions.

I also believe that The Bible, whether you believe it is the Word of God or not, is a document full of wisdom. Not killing, stealing, coveting the possession of others, honoring your parents, and not sleeping around on your spouse are “common sense” principles that are almost universal throughout global cultures.

A wise man seeks wisdom from others. We must be prudent in our sources, and be unafraid to ask the big questions. Personally, The Bible and the Founding Fathers have been instrumental in my own acquisition of answers. I have found satisfactory reasons for my meaningful existence. I have tested the answers again and again, and I still find myself returning to those same sources.

I have found a satisfaction with my life that few others that I know actually enjoys. Every action that I make has eternal consequences. My legacy may live on for a generation or two through my children, but my decisions have repercussions that will last longer than the Earth as we know it.

Some may say it is foolish to prattle on about such fantasies, but I believe it to be Truth.

A wise man seeks knowledge from many sources, but discerns what knowledge is good and true through sound study—and dismisses the other as falsehood. A wise man tests Truth by filtering all information through his world view, rather than trying to piece together a world view with scraps of information. A wise man does not change the world to fit his view of it, but understands the world as it exists.

A wise man does not re-define centuries old concepts for the sake of placating the few. A wise man cannot dismiss history and science for the sake of making others feel good about themselves. A wise man takes his time to understand a situation before making any judgments about it.

This used to be “common sense,” which is no longer common or makes any sense.

A wise man recognizes that the world has been changed by those without wisdom.

A wise man understands the danger of wisdom in a world so lacking in it.

Be wise.