There’s a Nationalist Baby Boom Going On in Europe!!! | YouTube

Source: There’s a Nationalist Baby Boom Going On in Europe!!! | Dr. Steve Turley

In which Steve Turley completely and convincingly debunks the absurd claim that migrants are needed to bolster Europe’s sagging population. Not so! What is needed is a “re-traditionalism,” the kind of nationalist-populist revival that is increasingly being seen in places like Hungary, Poland, and Russia.

This is not rocket science: when people believe in themselves and their people, when they have respect for their past and hope, energy, and ambition for the future, they will naturally want to have more children! When they are being led to believe (by the so-called “elites” of the media, politics, and academia) that they are worthless if not actually blameworthy, and destined to be replaced, why would they want to?

Ah, but when they honour their people, their ancestors, their cultural and genetic heritage, that’s another story! What you honour, you wish to pass on, as Turley comments:

“This is why scholars believe Europe is not lost! The nationalist movements throughout the continent are re-awakening the traditional family, which is effectively reversing its [Europe’s] population decline, and it’s reversing the population decline with good, conservative families that love their nation, their culture, and their tradition. That’s why they’re having children in the first place!”

Demographic deficits can be reversed, and – as Eastern European countries are demonstrating – they can be reversed effectively and relatively quickly if people are simply given hope for the future, and a reason to want to pass their heritage, genetic as well as cultural, on to their descendants.

And as Turley points out, it is the traditionalists, populists, and nationalists who have that fire, not the secular globalists: jaded, pessimistic, hedonistic, narcissistic, and frequently nihilistic and degenerate as they are.

May the fire grow and spread!

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“How To Kill A Church In Just A Few Easy Steps”: the Episcopal Church changes marriage doctrine… again

General view of Singer/Songwriter Chase Rice Filming Commercial To Preview New Single 'Whisper' at Church of the Assumption and Church of the Advent Episcopal on January 29, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Episcopal Church announced this week that it would be removing the words “man,” “woman,” and “procreation” from its marriage liturgy. Of course, the Episcopalians have long since removed Christ from their liturgy, so this latest move is no surprise.

Source: WALSH: How To Kill A Church In Just A Few Easy Steps | DAILYWIRE

The Episcopal Church – through which I came into the Anglican tradition, and which has been, in years past, the source of much joy and much of my growth in the Christian faith – has been on a long downhill slide for some decades, now. I am not quite ready to agree with Matt Walsh that it is “a church in the same way that the Church of Satan is a church. They are an anti-church. Rather than a body of Christian believers, they are a body of self-worshiping heretics,” but he is not entirely wrong, either.

Knowledgeable observers are torn as to when the rot set in; some would argue that the decision, back in the 1960s, to allow divorced persons to remarry in church without having had their previous marriage annulled – thus undercutting the authority of Christ’s dictum that “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder,” while placing secular understandings and popular “relevance” above traditional doctrine, and setting a precedent for further modifications – was the beginning.

Others place the point of departure further back, in the 1930s, when the Episcopal Church made the decision to allow artificial contraception, thus effectively decoupling (no pun intended) the sexual act with the act of procreation – a process which was made pandemic by the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s and following, with all sorts of unintended negative consequences for society as a whole (the specifics of which are outside the scope of this essay).

Howsoever that may be, this latest development – to excise both the terms and concepts of “husband,” “wife,” and “procreation” from the marriage liturgy – represents a further acceleration toward the abyss. As reported by Life Site News, inter alia:

The Church of England is torn over plans by the The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States to efface the terms “husband” and “wife” – as well as references to “procreation” – from its marriage liturgy.  

The change is meant to make the church’s marriage ceremonies more “gay-friendly.” Gay and lesbian Episcopalians have complained that the language of the current liturgy is offensive and exclusionary…

“The new service removes the phrase ‘the union of husband and wife’ and replaces it with ‘the union of two people,’” according to a report in the U.K. Telegraph. It also “replaces the section which talks about part of God’s intention for marriage being ‘for the procreation of children’ with the phrase ‘for the gift of children’ to make it more relevant for same-sex couples who may wish to adopt.”

This represents both an abandonment of Scriptural and traditional teaching on the point and purpose of marriage, and a complete and abject capitulation to a small but vocal minority for whom the celebration of their lifestyle choice is far more important than the moral and social standards that have characterized Christianity since its beginning.

I could cite chapter and verse from the Scriptures on this subject ’til I’m blue in the face, but I will not, for several reasons: first, I do not want to lengthen this unduly. Second, many of my readers will already be familiar with the arguments. And thirdly, those who are in favor of this innovation are unlikely to be convinced by appeal to the Scriptures – to which they already sit, shall we say, somewhat loosely.

But there are other issues with this as well. For one thing, I could easily see adding “the gift of children” as an optional alternative for cases in which the wife is infertile, the husband impotent, or the ages of the partners are such that bearing children is not a reasonable expectation. Such persons may well choose to adopt, and all respect to them. But the very word “procreation” is a reminder that we humans have the incredible blessing of sharing with God in the work of creation!

The sexual union of husband and wife, if all is going as Nature and Nature’s God intended, is capable of bringing new life into the world – a creative act, if ever there was one! – and raising up that child in a good way. In fact, the very reason sex feels good is to encourage us to engage in it, and (as the book of Genesis puts it) “be fruitful and multiply.” To put pleasure before procreation – in fact, to maximize pleasure and minimize or eliminate procreation, as we have been doing since the ’60s – puts the cart before the horse.

(We see the fruits of this, or lack thereof, in the plummeting birthrate among Western countries where the sexual revolution has taken hold, even as the population of less “advanced” and “enlightened” countries and regions explodes. Sidelining procreation is morally reprehensible, but it is also biologically and culturally suicidal.)

At any rate, according to Life Site News, “The move prompted a critical response from Church of England Secretary General William Nye last October, strongly urging the TEC to reconsider. The letter threatened to cut ties with the U.S. church if it adopts the planned gender-neutral [phrasing], replacing the current wording in its Book of Common Prayer.” This is more than a little disingenuous on the part of the C of E, since their pattern in the past has been to first deplore, and then later adopt, every left-wing innovation that has come out of the Episcopal Church! But it would be nice if they’d follow through, this time.

Whatever the C of E decides, Matt Walsh points out that

“Today there are fewer Episcopalians in America than Jews or Mormons. This is significant because the latter groups have always been relatively small minorities in America, while the Episcopal church was once the largest church in the nation. [Of course, that was a long while ago!] It’s been all downhill since then.

“What happened? You can easily track the church’s stunning decline over the past several decades and see that it corresponds to the church’s shedding of Christian orthodoxy in favor of liberal orthodoxy [emphasis added]. It began, as always, with the embracing of birth control and divorce. Then they moved to the ordination of women. Then it was a straight line to the ordination of openly gay clergy and the approval of same sex marriage. Now there is nothing surprising about seeing a feminist Episcopal priest blessing an abortion clinic or a transgender priest leading a service in a church adorned with rainbow flags. And it is even less surprising to look around the church and notice that nobody is sitting in the pews.

Why would they come and sit in the pews? What would be the point? The message of liberal Christianity is: “You’re perfectly fine exactly the way you are. Everything you’re doing is acceptable. Make no changes. Keep up the great work!” A weak person may be happy to hear that message, but they need not hear it twice. They need not come back for it week after week.

Traditional Christianity, in stark contrast, recognizes that a) we are all sinners in need of divine grace, and b) as sinners, we have a high recidivism rate, and need continuing infusions of that grace, just as we need to drink water regularly in order to survive.

Indeed, Christ likened himself to “living water,” that brings life eternal – and we imbibe that living water most fully when we “assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits we have received at [God’s] hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those thing which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul” (Book of Common Prayer 1928, Morning Prayer) – and not least, in receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in the sacrament of the Holy Communion, as is “our bounden duty and service.”

But for that, we have to show up. I generally offer live broadcasts of Morning and Evening Prayer via Facebook on Sundays, and just as in an earlier time (and sometimes still today) churches offered first radio, later television, broadcasts of their services, I have no doubt that these may serve as a means of getting God’s word out to people who might not otherwise receive it.

But (setting aside for the moment that there can be no such things as a “virtual” Eucharist – one is either present to receive the Body and Blood, or one is not) the fact remains that one must make a decision to be present, and act on it. If you don’t show up (or perhaps, click on the right link), you won’t be able to hear and receive God’s Word. Nor is merely receiving the end of it: you still have to act on it. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,” St. James reminds us.

And as Walsh points out,

“If a person wants worldliness, they can go literally anywhere to get it. If they want lectures on diversity and inclusion, they can stop by the Human Resources office at work, or maybe have a chat with a public school guidance counselor. If they want encouragement to continue in their sin, Satan is happy to use a whole variety of methods to communicate that encouragement…

“But if a person wants to pursue something higher; if he wants to be rescued from the dreariness of modern culture; if he wants to find his real and transcendent identity; if he wants to be challenged; if he wants meaning, then he has even less reason to turn to Episcopalianism or any similar variety of Christianity. It is not substantial enough. It is not different enough. It is not saying enough. It is not asking enough of him.

“That is the great secret that ‘progressive’ and ‘inclusive’ Christian leaders are too high on the fumes of humanism to notice or understand. Religions grow when they expect more of their adherents, not less. Religions thrive when they provide a lifestyle that is radically different from the dull, hollow lifestyle provided by the world. People turn to religion for identity. And if all they find is more of the same, more of what caused them to go looking in the first place, they will not be converted.”

Fortunately, there is an alternative. There are a number of alternatives, actually; but there is one that I can speak to and recommend personally because I am not only a member of it, but a priest in it: the United Episcopal Church of North America (UECNA, not to be confused with “the” Episcopal Church: TEC, or formerly PECUSA), of which the Oratory of St. Bede the Venerable (a.k.a. St. Bede’s Traditional Anglican Mission) and the nascent St. John’s Anglican Church, Westminster, are member congregations.

The UECNA is a conservative, traditional, and orthodox Church, in the classical Anglican expression of Christianity. We accept the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as “God’s Word written” and “containing all things necessary to salvation”; we look to the ancient and ecumenical (accepted by the whole Church of the time) Councils of the Church, and the Creeds promulgated by them, as our guides to interpreting those Scriptures.

We use the traditional Book of Common Prayer (1928 in the U.S., 1962 in Canada) and other classic Formularies (Ordinal, Thirty-Nine Articles, and Homilies) of the Anglican tradition for worship, devotion, and to guide our theological and moral understanding as Anglican Christians. These documents are to be read in accordance with the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church, to the exclusion of all heresies ancient and modern.

Our Bishops are consecrated in the historic Succession which we believe stretches back to the Apostles themselves. Our Presiding Bishop, Archbishop Peter Robinson, is also Bishop Ordinary of the Missionary Diocese of the East, within which both the Oratory of St. Bede’s and St. John’s Anglican Church are located. The United Episcopal Church maintains the Scriptural practice of ordaining only men to the orders of Deacon, Presbyter (Priest) and Bishop, but maintains the Order of Deaconesses as an ancient, lay vocation for women.

We believe that Christian marriage is to be between one man and one woman, and is a lifelong, sacramental union between them. However, as a pastoral matter, we also accept that marriages can and do fail, and seek to extend proper pastoral support to those whose marriages have failed or are in danger of failing. And we maintain the sanctity of life from conception through natural death.

For more details, see this exposition of our Core Values. You are also, of course, encouraged to visit the Oratory of St. Bede the Venerable’s page, either here or on Facebook.

And in any case, may God bless you!

The Medical and Legal Establishment Has Got It Wrong On Alfie Evans | Musings of an Old Curmudgeon

Image result for alfie evans

Of all the worldwide comment on the Alfie Evans case, the core truth was best encapsulated by a headline in the Wall Street Journal: “Alfie Evans and the State. A medical debate that’s gone global is not about the money. It’s about power.”

Source: Musings of an Old Curmudgeon: The Medical and Legal Establishment Has Got It Wrong On Alfie Evans

Most readers are probably at least somewhat familiar with the case of Alfie Evans, a 23-month-old boy from Liverpool with a still-undiagnosed neurodegenerative disorder (a fact which is itself concerning), who died in Alder Hey Hospital in Britain after a British court ordered life support removed (technically, they ruled that doctors could order the removal of life support, which they did).

This, despite his parents’ valiant fight to take him to Italy for further treatment, which resulted in Alfie being granted Italian citizenship, the Pope chartering a state-of-the-art air ambulance to fly him there, and the Italian government and even military standing by to serve in a support role.

Despite international outcry and support for Alfie and his parents, the hospital not only took him off the respirator – after which he continue to surprise everyone by living four more days – but for even denied him sustenance and hydration, and went so far as to station a police cordon outside the hospital so that he could not be removed.

The argument was that airlifting him to Italy – where he would, as is generally accepted, have had no more hope of recovery than in Britain – would not be “in the child’s best interest.” Apparently starving and dehydrating him was.

I was a relative latecomer to this saga, but after learning about it, the incident has touched me deeply. I found the linked response to be particularly on-target:

“[At] every stage of this power struggle, the motive invoked was Alfie’s ‘best interests.’

“In the event, Alfie’s best interests turned out to consist of removing his ventilation, depriving him of nutrition for more than 24 hours, giving him minimal hydration and refusing, with the support of the courts, to release him from the hospital where this regime was being imposed on him. Although judicial permission had been given, in principle though not in practice, for his parents to take him home, this was deferred due to fears they might abscond with him to Rome and secure him humane treatment…

“Nobody expected a miracle cure at the Bambino Gesù (though its world-class clinicians might at least have succeeded in diagnosing Alfie’s illness, in the interests of medical research). What was expected was that Alfie could have ended his days among people who did not automatically regard his best interests as synonymous with death. His palliative care would have been of a high order and, as a moral principle, he would not have been starved or dehydrated to death – the point at which gently allowing a hopeless case to slip away crosses the red line to become euthanasia…

“And what about his parents? In that environment they could have spent invaluable time with their son, become reconciled to the inevitability of his death, in the consoling knowledge that every human endeavour had been exhausted in the effort to save him. That experience would have brought them – though the over-used term may jar – ‘closure.’

“Why was that not allowed to happen? The air ambulance ordered by the Pope was state-of-the-art, the medical personnel highly qualified, even the Italian military were involved and the danger of harm to Alfie in transit minimal; and, if he had died naturally, it would have been no worse than suffocating at Alder Hey. At least his parents would have done their best for him.

“But family and parental rights are being marginalized in Britain. It was spelled out from the judicial bench that parental rights took second place to the child’s best interests, a subjective term that turned out to be a euphemism for killing him… Here, however, we had two loving parents, in full agreement, trying to take their child abroad with every medical facility both in transit and at their destination, but prevented by the state.

“That is the grim reality: Alfie Evans [was] a prisoner of the State.”

It was and is a tragedy. Not Great Britain’s finest hour!

Physician: American Children ‘Immersed in a Culture of Disrespect’ | Intellectual Takeout

Physician: American Children ‘Immersed in a Culture of Disrespect’

America’s children are immersed in a culture of disrespect: for parents, teachers, and one another.

Source: Physician: American Children ‘Immersed in a Culture of Disrespect’ | Intellectual Takeout

“America’s children are immersed in a culture of disrespect: for parents, teachers, and one another. They learn it from television, even on the Disney Channel, where parents are portrayed as clueless, out-of-touch or absent [fathers, in particular]. They learn it from celebrities or the Internet. They learn it from social media. They teach it to one another. They wear T-shirts emblazoned with slogans like ‘I’m not shy. I just don’t like you.’”

– Dr. Leonard Sax

This is, I am quite convinced, one of – not the only, but one of – the factors leading to the kind of society in which incidents such as mass murder at schools or other locations is even thinkable. Dr. Sax sites the example of Kyle, one of his patients:

“Kyle was absorbed in a videogame on his cellphone, so I asked his mom, ‘How long has Kyle had a stomach ache?’ Mom said, ‘I’m thinking it’s been about two days.’ Then Kyle replied, ‘Shut up, mom. You don’t know what you’re talking about.’ And he gave a snorty laugh, without looking up from his videogame. Kyle is 10 years old.”

There are several – interlocked – problems, here. One is that Kyle is “absorbed in a videogame on his cellphone,” at a time when he should be focusing his attention on the doctor – after all, he’s there for his own benefit! That his mother allows this is another. And that he is thus emboldened to be openly disrespectful and derogatory toward her – at all, but especially in public – is the crowning blow. And he’s not even a teenager, yet! With a start like this, what’s he going to be like when he is?

Now, does this mean that Kyle is going to become a mass-murderer? No, not necessarily. But there is some fertile soil there, for such an extreme version of acting-out. That he cares only for himself – and at that, his immediate desire for electronic gratification, even though he’s at the doctor’s because he has a stomach-ache – and neither those around him (including his mother, who presumable loves and sacrifices for him), nor even his own larger benefit, does not bode well for the future. Nor does the fact that he is dismissive and even belligerent toward those (again, including his mother) who are trying to help him.

Disrespect breeds disrespect. Self-centeredness breeds self-centeredness. And we don’t know what kind of video-game he’s playing. Is it an active-shooter game? Wouldn’t surprise me. If he’s like this at 10, what’s he going to be like at 15 or 16? If people irk him, tick him off, bully him, etc. – as inevitably happens in life – is he going to react to them in real life like his video-game character reacts to an imaginary scenario? By blowing them away? Again, no guarantees. But it’s certainly a concerning situation.

At minimum, if he’s like this at age ten, he’s not setting himself up for a very happy, pleasant, productive, or socially-adjusted life. But while I’m all about personal responsibility, I’m also realistic enough to know that a ten-year-old isn’t in a position to practice a whole lot of that, absent parental support and instruction – and discipline, if or as needed. In other words, it’s not entirely his fault: he’s been allowed, or perhaps even tacitly (if unintentionally) encouraged to adopt this attitude, by things his parent(s) have done, or not done; allowed, or even encouraged.

But the article points out that “while disrespectful children have become the norm, Dr. Sax has found that respectful, obedient children still exist out there, largely because there are still a few parents who practice authoritative parenting.” In other words, the disrespectful ones are the ones whose parents have adopted a laissez-faire, “best friend,” or disengaged model of parenting. And not only they, but society, are reaping the bitter fruits of that planting. Fortunately, solutions exist – and they are basically what many of us would call traditional parenting.

Dr. Sax suggests three basic points: 1) Put the family before the child; 2) Remove distractions, and 3) Draw a line in the sand, and don’t look back. I would say that, better than #3, don’t let it get to that point in the first place! Practice #1 and 2 from the beginning, and you may not get to the point of needing #3 – or if you do, you won’t have as much re-education to do. But in any case, as this article asks,

“Americans have tried the kinder, gentler, let-me-be-your-friend approach to parenting for the last several decades. If the behavior problems in schools and the heightened level of sensitivity on college campuses are any indication, this parenting approach hasn’t produced the positive outcomes we were hoping for. Is it time for today’s parents to reverse course and begin teaching their children to respect others first instead of their own little selves?”

I would think the answer to that question was self-evident. So I’m going to assume that it’s merely rhetorical!

The world’s most noble profession!

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, kitchen, indoor and food

QOTD:

So many women aspire to satisfying other men’s ambitions/corporations with their best talents and energy and then return home spent with little TLC left for husbands and children. I appreciate women who choose the very noble profession of stay at home mom. They truly make a difference in this world.

— Jeff Pearson

And yes, I know not every woman has that option. My heart grieves for those who would like to choose this most noble profession, but for a variety of valid reasons (often, in today’s world, economic), cannot. I have a massive amount of respect for those women who do what needs to be done – even if that means working multiple jobs – to support their children / families.

But for each of them, there is at least another one – and very likely more than one – who could stay at home and be a full-time wife, mother, and homemaker, but chooses not to… perhaps for valid reasons, but just as likely because she has bought into what Chesterton referred to as “a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”

I grieve for them, too, but in a very different way.

One more quote on this subject, this one by Chelsea Brauwn:

“Being a wife & mother may be the hardest job I’ve ever had but it is definitely the most rewarding job in the world.

“Mothers have the most important role in the world. We are responsible for raising our future! We are their encouragement, supporters, nurturers and the ones they should be able to go to when everyone else fails them. Their success is our success & their failures are our failures.

“Raising our own children and being a mother shouldn’t seem like a burden, it is the greatest privilege anyone could be given. We get to watch all of our hard work grow into happy, successful people with the capability to accomplish all of their dreams, with the morals and values that we set.

“Behind every Pastor, Doctor, Lawyer and President is a mother who refused to give up on them. No one else can replace, fill or substitute the duty of a mother & I refuse to let anyone else do my job.”

What we have lost

What we are losing, and too-often, have already lost:

Solid, cohesive, integrated families, joined by ties of blood, heritage, and culture;

Religion (and preeminently, the Christian faith) as central and determinative for the life of that family and its members, exemplified by regular, devout, and participatory church attendance at least weekly (and undoubtedly religious instruction at home as well);

An instinctive awareness that equality does not mean identicality, embodied in knowledge of the sexes – male and female – as distinct and complementary to one another (*); and

Parenting in which both parents were a) married to one another, and consistently present in the lives of their children (**), b) participated in child-rearing, but in different and complementary ways, and c) that focused on passing down valued traditions and cultural ethos/mores to the next generation.

As I have said many times before, a tree cut off from its roots withers and dies, it does not grow and blossom and bring forth good fruit. So also with a culture and a society.

 


* Yes, I know there have always been a tiny minority of genuinely intersexed people, and with all the synthetic hormones and other environmental toxins floating around, that number may be growing. But you don’t base a culture off less than one-half of one percent.)

** Much is made of the fact that fathers, in earlier generations, were often absent due to long hours at work, leaving women with the task of raising children almost single-handedly. Well, true. But that absence was both qualitatively and quantitatively different than fathers who are absent because they’re “deadbeat dads,” or simply “baby daddies” who are un-involved in the lives of their children, and in some cases, may not even be known for sure to the mothers.

They were absent because they were working hard providing for the material needs of their families, and in the process, setting a good example of the importance of hard work to their children. Ideally, both parents should be able to work at jobs that allow them to spend much of their time at home with the family, as was the case for the majority of humans for the majority of history. But we do not live in those times anymore, unfortunately.

In fact, nowadays, it is often necessary for both parents to work – and not just to afford luxuries (making that assertion borders on victim-blaming, at times), but often, to afford necessities. But that is no reason to beat up on the people of the past; rather, we should use them as exemplars and role models for the direction we should be trying to steer our society.

Fatherless Shooters … as Liberals Push for Fatherless Families | Crisis Magazine

Boys need dads. Just as daughters need dads. Children need fathers. They also need mothers.

Source: Fatherless Shooters … as Liberals Push for Fatherless Families – Crisis Magazine

I have a variety of interests, so I have a variety of stories coming through my Facebook news-feed – one of my chief methods, as a former op-ed columnist and lifelong student of human nature, for keeping my finger on the pulse of society. One of these was an essay by Paul Kengor, contributor to the online Roman Catholic magazine “Crisis,” citing a claim that I have seen before: that all but one of the 27 deadliest mass shooters in American history was raised in a home without his biological father.

Correlation, of course, is not causation; but if true, that would be a pretty stunning correlation. However, the essay was prefaced by an editor’s note that the figure cited was inaccurate, and containing a link to a new article discussing the complications in arriving at an authentic figure (the original article is well worth a read, even so, as shall become evident below). Kengor notes, with evident frustration, that “this is a dissertation project for an aspiring sociologist.” As it turns out, however, even the revised / updated estimates are still pretty stunning.

In “Shootings and Fatherlessness: A Clarification on the Data,” Kengor concludes that

“At most, and this is probably being generous, we found maybe four or five of the 27 shooters that we could definitively conclude (without doubt) had been raised in an intact family, or a family that included the biological dad at home, or a biological father who was consistently at home… what is clear is the vast majority of shooters came from broken families without a consistent biological father throughout their rearing and development. Very few had good, stable, present dads.”

Indeed! Something like one in five, if that. As Kengor goes on to note, “The overall thesis holds: the correlation between certain bad (even criminal) behavior among boys in fatherless homes is undeniable and terrible. In this case, the number of fatherless boys might not be 96 percent, but it’s certainly a highly disproportionate number.” He hastens to add that “Obviously, this doesn’t mean that boys raised in fatherless families are likely to become mass shooters. But it’s yet further affirmation of what we already know: boys need dads. Just as daughters need dads. Children need fathers. They also need mothers.”

This used to be self-evident, and widely accepted on both sides of the political aisle. Here is one quote from a former American President, cited by Kengor:

“We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

Who spoke these words? Ronald Reagan? George W. Bush? Nope. Barack Obama. I am no fan of the 44th president, but if even the poster-child for modern American “liberal” and “progressive” ideology recognized, in 2008 – ten short years ago – that children need their fathers, that is a pretty clear indicator that it is, or should be, an issue that transcends partnership.

That it no longer seems to be so is a reflection of the changing parameters of progressivist ideology, but tracing that is not the concern of this present essay; Kengor does a rather good job of that in his piece, if you wish to pursue the matter. I will here simply note that even if the figure of 26 out of 27 mass shooters growing up in broken homes is erroneous, 22 or 23 out of that number is still stunningly high. It is not a number which can or should be dismissed by a thoughtful observer.

Now, as I say, I have a variety of interests. And so one of the other articles that came through my newsfeed on this day was this one, from the UK’s “The Guardian”: “No hugging: are we living through a crisis of touch?” The tagline notes that “Strokes and hugs are being edged out of our lives, with doctors, teachers and colleagues increasingly hesitant about social touching,” and asks, “Is this hypervigilance of boundaries beginning to harm our mental health?” My response to that question is that it contains its own answer. Of course it is!

As the essay itself notes, “Touch is the first sense humans develop in the womb, possessed even of 1.5cm embryos.” And insufficient touch – hugs, cuddles, etc. – has long been recognized as a contributor to “failure to thrive” in infants and children, and difficulties in childhood development in general. See, for example, this article in Scientific American, which notes that “Many children who have not had ample physical and emotional attention are at higher risk for behavioral, emotional and social problems as they grow up.” And something which is so critical to our early development does not suddenly become inconsequential once we have reached a certain level of maturity.

Furthermore, many mass shooters (though not all) are adolescents. With current studies suggesting that full brain maturity does not occur until somewhere between age 20 and 25, they are in many cases still in the development stage. So that leads me to wonder: are these people getting hugged enough? Are they – and particularly, were they during the most critical stages of development – receiving enough affection, enough positive emotional and physical stimuli? Were they, children of broken homes as so many of them have been, hugged, cuddled, read to while curled up in bed or their parents’ arms? This is not snowflake-safe-space la-la-land, this is a serious mental, and therefore public, health issue.

In fact, it leads me to have a little more sympathy for the seekers of “safe spaces” on the Left, because maybe they themselves did not get enough physical affection as children. Is that why so many of them seem so alienated, so angry, so out of touch with culture, history, heritage, traditional norms, and much else – that they did not, in fact, receive enough affection growing up? That they did not feel safe in their parents’ arms, surrounded by the comfort of home and family traditions? That, being also children of broken homes in too many cases, they never had a real sense of security and at-home-ness?

If so, that would not totally justify some of the looniness, but it might help to explain it. And, with our increasing prohibition on touch – out of an almost hysterical fear (not entirely unjustified, but excessive) of sexual predation – are we breeding more of the same? More alienation, more separation, and potentially, more violence? It’s a sobering thought, at least to me.

We are, at least and at last, starting to wake up to the role of mental illness in violence as more than just a convenient criminal defense (“not guilty by reason of insanity”). But we run the risk of over-reach – not everyone who has ever sought the aid of mental-health professionals is a risk to him- or herself, or others – and we also run the risk of stopping too soon, before we’ve followed the road for long enough. Okay, yeah, these folks definitely have some mental health issues. You don’t attempt to kill large numbers of people (or anyone, except to defend yourself or others) unless you’ve got some pretty serious mental health issues! But mental health issues don’t exist in a vacuum. Where do they come from? What is their source?

There is no single or easy answer to that question; but fatherlessness, and the larger issue of living in broken homes, dysfunctional and divided families, and the consequent loss of physical and emotional affection, positive reinforcement, and overall security that may result, do seem to be fruitful areas of inquiry, to me.

As well as the societal assumptions driving these problems: the idea that relationships are disposable – that people are disposable! – and that “my” short-term happiness and gratification is more important than the hard work of creating long-term, nurturing relationships; that marriage is no longer a sacred institution, but a short-term (or even optional) arrangement that may be ended or dispensed with according to  my own sense of what’s convenient; that children are an imposition (better to have “fur-babies”), not a gift from God; even that gender is fluid and interchangeable (which is one way of saying that objective reality is optional) – and the list could go on.

Guns are low-hanging fruit, easily observed and therefore easily blamed. I have discussed this issue many times and many places in the past, so all I will say at the moment is that a sufficiently draconian ban to have a realistic chance of making it impossible, or even difficult, for would-be mass murders to get their hands on firearms would a) be almost impossible to achieve in the U.S., even if it were desirable, and b) is not desirable, because it would involve an extreme infringement of our rights and liberties, and would unfairly burden the law-abiding while being unlikely to deter killers from finding other ways to kill.

The real issue is this: what causes people to choose to use firearms, not (as most of us do) as useful and interesting tools for hunting, for recreational shooting, and – if it should sadly become necessary – to defend ourselves, our loved ones, or even (God forbid) our country and its Constitutional system of government and way of life against malefactors, but instead to take innocent life? That is the real question, and the one which is being studiously avoided by the majority of media, academic, and political commentators.

But I would suggest to you that broken homes and families – fatherlessness in particular, but the absence of either parent is a major handicap – along with the loss of security, stability, and (by no means least) physical affection which accompanies that brokenness, are some areas in which we need to take a long, hard look at what we are doing and where we are going as a society.

As a driver-education instructor, I have many times told my students that since beginning to teach driver’s ed, I have come to realize that traffic and driving laws are not there to hold you back and make driving a chore. They are there to help you, to protect you, to save your life and the lives of others. In a similar way, I have over the years come to realize that the family and societal norms embodied in the Judeo-Christian religious tradition are not right because they are tenets of the religion. They are tenets of the religion (most of which are not entirely unique to that particular tradition) because they are right.

Don’t believe it? Look around you at the society in which we are living today, deeply and honestly, and I think you may change your mind.

And if not, I’m sorry to say, it may be some time for you to do some serious introspection and soul-searching.