Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Isaiah 3 part 1: The problem with the men

Isaiah 3 and 4 provide a prophecy of a then future people who would be so sinful as to trigger end times desolation. Let's study this chapter and see what modern characteristics, if any, might match his description, in the hopes that we can address these deficiencies in our personal lives, even if we can't turn the course of society as a whole.

In part one of this series, we will look at the failings of men as described by God through Isaiah. I have highlighted the verses that appear to be speaking of men specifically.

For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.

2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,

3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.

4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.

5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.

6 When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand:

7 In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.

8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.

9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

13 The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.

14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.

15 What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

16 Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:

17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,

19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,

20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,

21 The rings, and nose jewels,

22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,

23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.

24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.

25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.

26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.

Isaiah begins by describing the loss of key masculine roles in society: mighty men, men of war, judges, prophets, wise men, elders, military leaders, men of honor, men of counsel, artisans, and orators.

Isaiah does not explicitly say how these men are taken away. Perhaps there is a war event. A universal draft for a high casualty war would certainly decimate the number of men available to fill these roles, as was seen in Europe in the aftermath of WWI. This is possible, and in my opinion probable. But is that the only way these roles could be taken away?

Is it not possible that societal culture could shift in a way to make it much less likely that men with the capacity to fill these roles actually do? This is certainly a possibility.

A culture that does not value these roles will find less people willing to strive beyond the norm as is required to attain them. A culture that actively attacks these roles will develop even more apathy from the few who could perform them. A microcosm of this is found in the medical profession, where parasitic regulations, lawsuits, and government price fixing are converting one of the most profitable and high competition professions into something most experienced doctors say they would not recommend to their children.

But this shift in our culture is not just external, imposed upon those who otherwise might pursue these paths. No, rather the very people who might pursue these paths are sloughing off thousands of years of precedent to race towards radically different cultural standards with no thought of the recklessness of doing so, all in the name of "progress," the validity of which is yet to be measured. Though our generation is not novel in the fact that youth deprived of a fully developed prefrontal cortex believe their ignorance is greater than thousands of years of tested ideology, our generation is novel in that the mature give unprecedented credence to such an unlikely possibility. It is possible that the disenfranchisement of society's thought leadership as described by Isaiah is voluntary!

Isaiah speaks of a society where not only do those capable of thought leadership not take up their duty, but one that also abdicates this responsibility to children--perhaps in the idea of young people taking roles historically given only to those with the maturity requisite to exercise them well, and perhaps in the sense that novel "needs" of literal children dictate the behavior of adults in the modern world.

It is no surprise that the inescapable outcome of such approaches is that of oppression of all people. Excessive taxation to chase equality of outcomes is a policy sure to pit every person against every other--the giver vs. the recipient fighting in a race towards the lowest common denominator, the giver to avoid the pointless toil for less reward, the recipient to maximize the gain from the system. In such a system, no one wins.

So it is not surprising that those that could fix the situation instead opt out of the system, citing the fact that they have been deprived of the traditional fruits of exceptional output. The bar for elected leadership is thus dropped precipitously, and we get reality TV stars for politicians.

But lest we lose sight of the cause of such ruination, we are reminded that at its core this is a God problem--we have lost sight of the wisdom and instruction given by the creator to guide us against the wiles of fallen man.

Our disregard of God is perhaps most clearly illustrated  in our open celebration of the sins of Sodom--which not only included homosexuality, but also wanton neglect of the poor. 

God gives special mention here of the latter. Truly we have eaten up the vineyard--the United States produces an enormous surplus of food, and yet most of the world suffers from malnutrition while we not only are morbidly obese, but spend billions annually "treating" this "condition" in every imaginable way except the obvious one--to eat less. Meanwhile, the spoil of the poor is literally in our houses, as more than half of the inhabitants of this country are enriched by handouts taken by force from the people who have increasingly less buying power. Unless you are incredibly wealthy, the only way to get by is through government welfare in the form of food stamps and medicaid, or less stigmatically through tax incentives, social security, medicare, government/military retirement, etc.

God, through Isaiah, places these burdens squarely on our shoulders as men. So, men, what are you doing about it?

Men are voluntarily opting out of the game. Movements like "MGTOW" are encouraging young men to opt out, and they are enjoying success. They are choosing not to go to college, choosing not to marry, choosing not to have kids, choosing not to strive for financial success, choosing not to refine their character.

Should it be surprising that men or opting out in alarming numbers? As the deal for traditional participation continues to sour, it is quite easy to serve up a compelling alternative. Video games provide clear and fair rules and clear and fair rewards. Modern culture does neither. There are no guides to navigating reality for males today, and the deck is quite stacked against them. Success is increasingly difficult for males. Their IQ distribution is wider than women in an increasingly complex society where higher IQ is required to provide economic value. Women are disproportionately favored for STEM training, where jobs tend to offer double the national averages. Men are judged primarily by women according to their production, which is Pareto distributed (very few good selections), while women are judged primarily according to their looks, which are Normally distributed (meaning most have a good shot). They are also sexually disadvantaged by their looks, as shown by a recent study documenting that women rated only 20% of males as attractive (Pareto distribution), while men's preferences were Normal distributed. Between welfare and family court, men are told in bold letters that they are not needed and not wanted.

So should a male opt out? Absolutely not. A man is meant to be a light in the dark, the leaven that persists God's mercy in not destroying us. A man is meant to be a resource to the world. Spiritually, he is to rise up and attain power with God. He is meant to make his character a self-authored masterpiece, emulating God independent of what society says is good or bad. Temporally, he is meant to navigate the complexities of vocation, and get a job that pays enough to support a family (hint: mostly limited to programming or trades). All of these things ought to be done before entering the search for a wife, as his potential spouses will judge him based on his capacities in these respects, and poor performance means a poor selection, and unnecessary misery.

MGTOW is for cowards. Yes, the odds are almost zero that a modern man will find a woman worth marrying [1], but marry anyway. A man is meant to rise above what society gives him. He is meant to find a wife, knowing full well the odds are that she will despitefully use him, and help her to the best of his ability anyway. He is meant to have kids, and help them learn to see through the lies of this life, to shine a light into the darkness. 

Resistance to the erosion of these moorings is largely a masculine duty, one that is grounded in logic and a broad view, not in the shallow emotional reactionism of modern political and social policies. Unfortunately, these trends tend to be one way until reality, mortgaged to the hilt, comes crashing through the dam of illusion, and crushes all in its path in a complete social collapse.

[1] This comment will no doubt raise ire. Please consider the points I will make in part 2 about modern female culture.