Polemics & Exchanges: July 2022

Sins of the Fatherless

After Ian Dowbiggin’s commentary on psychology in the July 2021 issue of Chronicles, I was stunned to see Stephen Baskerville write in the May 2022 issue that “the crash of Western civilization” is due to the “Revolt of the Fatherless.” Prof. Baskerville clearly sees students “intoxicated … with their own righteousness and unaccountable power” but then explains the etiology of the problem as resting in another observation: “…today’s youth have never known effective parental authority.”

Anyone failing to trace the origin of our problems to Genesis 3:5 (where Satan tells Eve that she can be as wise as God) will inevitably fall into Prof. Baskerville’s psychoanalysis. Did Adam and Eve disobey due to the lack of “effective parental authority to begin with”? Can Original Sin be eliminated and/or covered via a parenting syllabus based on Howard Schwartz’s understanding of “primal and intimate relationships”?

I can only conclude that the conservative non-elites are as cloaked in psychobabble and “interminable philosophizing” as “the socialist-feminist welfare behemoth” could ever be!

—Carol Tharp
Winnetka, Ill.

Prof. Baskerville Replies:

I did not invoke the sin of Eve or Adam, but I agree with Ms. Tharp that it is relevant to my argument. In fact, I might ask how we can be held culpable by a just God for the sins of our original parents if those sins (plus many more) are not passed down to us by each succeeding generation of parents and especially the most recent one.

I know of no work of social psychology that conveys so succinctly the principle that the sins of the past must continue to wreak havoc on the present and that what we teach our children—or fail to teach them—cannot help but implicate us all in the evil they do. (The statistics on the anomie wrought by fatherless children certainly vindicate the biblical principle.)

No parenting syllabus is necessary or desirable. (Florida legislators just enacted one, but its main virtue will be to transmit to the state’s children the legislators’ own skill in avoiding responsibility.) Inheriting the sins of our parents, and passing them on to our children, hardly absolves us of responsibility. But parents are hardly accountable for the sins of children that the politicians prevent them from raising.

Sins of the Motherly

The overweening motherliness of political agencies dominated by females, which John Kline documented and decried in the May issue of Chronicles (“America’s ‘Female Future’ Has Open Borders”) seems to me to flow almost logically from what I think was Thomas Hobbes’ notion that we surrender to the state our right of defense—and attack—in exchange for more secure protection from harm, with harm deemed almost the only evil.

Reading of this political entrenchment of “motherliness” brought to mind G. K. Chesterton’s comment in The Illustrated London News when the suffragettes were first active. He wrote that the feminist who disdained to be guarded by men she knew was obliging herself to regard every chance policeman as if he were a lover watching over her.

However, this seems to me to proceed more or less rationally from the supposition that a government’s first duty is to defend its citizens. That makes sense if we deem the state to be its citizens together defending themselves, but not, I think, otherwise. Anyway, a government ought to be the citizens’ instrument for defending not themselves but their own agreed standards of right and wrong from their own frequent inclinations to contravene these. It ought to do this not by supervising everyone to prevent wrongdoing, but by punishing wrongdoing after the fact. It ought to do this with penalties which any citizen would ordinarily forgo wrongful enjoyment to avoid but of which any citizen ordinarily would willingly incur an equivalent through fighting fairly rather than let wrong go unpunished.

—Vincent Colin Burke
Port au Port, Newfoundland

On Ukraine

The May issue of Chronicles (“Not Our War”) provided needed background on the current war in Ukraine. Our current public discourse on the subject is embarrassingly empty of context and historical background. Thanks in particular to Srdja Trifkovic for reminding us of John Mearsheimer’s and George Kennan’s contributions to rational foreign policy discourse in this area.

Now would be an excellent opportunity for a conservative political figure, if one exists, to review the 2014 Western-instigated coup in Ukraine and probe how such efforts were in the best interests of the instigators or at least the best interest of the United States.

While they’re in a probing mood, perhaps they can ask how U.S. interests are being served by sending billions of unbudgeted dollars to Ukraine, much of it in the form of weapons. Sadly, such efforts appear to be a form of bipartisan virtue-signaling.

—William Vinck
Scottsdale, Ariz.

More on Ukraine

Back in February 1997 there was a very important article in Chronicles (by Jim Jatras) titled “Pravoslavophobia” about the war in the Balkans and western irrational hatred toward the Orthodox Christians. Unfortunately it seems that article needs to be updated in light of the current situation of western aggression against Russia. I am reading in the papers that a Russian symphony conductor was fired for not condemning Putin. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if a Jewish conductor were fired for not condemning Israel’s attacks on Gaza or Syria?

There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe the insanity of the psychotic, racial-justice obsessed liberals and neocons. Consider that China has interned more than a million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps. Saudi Arabia, with explicit U.S. support, has inflicted a Holodomor against Yemen, with 20 million people on the verge of starvation and pictures coming out of there of children looking like dead skeletons—just horrific. The Zionists have been inflicting a Holodomor of their own against Gaza, and NATO member Turkey has been commiting atrocities against the Kurds, while Ethiopia has recently been committing atrocities against the Tigray people in Ethiopia.

And of course America has gone around invading and bombing Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Yugoslavia, bringing death, pain, and destruction to millions of people. And—according to these crazy, irrational liberals, black people are being killed every day by America’s racist white cops.

But forget all that stuff above—Russia’s attacked Ukraine. The only lives that matter now are blond-haired, blue-eyed Ukrainian ones.

If I were ever to walk down the streets and pass by these white liberal protestors outside the United Nations or the White House protesting on behalf of Ukraine, I would tell them they’d be better off going there. Here in America you will soon have no rights because you are white and guilty of slavery. In Ukraine white people can safely revere their ancestors—who were real Nazis! And if Putin scratches your Ukrainian house you’ll have the whole world on your side, plus billions in aid from Americans who will have to suffer as gas and food prices go up.

—Yehuda Littmann
Brooklyn, New York

Image: the gutted remains of cars lie along a road during heavy fighting at the front line in Severodonetsk, Luhansk region, Ukraine, on June 8.
(Oleksandr Ratushniak / Associated Press)

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