"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Failed Promise Of Logic - How Faith And Credulity Always Rule


The role of faith and reason as means to salvation was debated for four centuries after the death of Jesus Christ.   The early church fathers were disciplined thinkers who first developed logical apologies to defend Christianity from its persecutors; and then after Constantine and the progressive acceptance of the religion into the Roman state Christianity, necessary during the long years of persecution, continued their exegesis to convince non-believers to adopt the true faith.



None of them, however doubted the existence of God; and were only concerned with his nature and that of the humanity and world he created.  Did God create the world out of nothing (ex nihilo)? Or following the reasoning of Plato did matter exist but only in a chaotic form waiting for divine enterprise to give  it order and meaning?  Did Jesus Christ always exist in divine spirit equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit, or was he secondary and subservient to the Father who gave him life? What in fact was Jesus’ nature?  Was he fully divine, fully human, or a mystical combination of both.

St. Augustine, perhaps the most influential of early church theologians made it clear in his Confessions and The City of God that faith must precede reason.  The only way to fully understand the mysteries of God was to put faith in his divine wisdom.  It was he who would lead the seeker to full understanding and complete belief.   Although his journey to faith was a long and difficult one, he found faith and was then, like the Christian thinkers who preceded him, used reason to explain and justify the words and intent of the Bible.


Agnostics on the other hand use reason to determine whether God exists or not.  How could one take the Bible as the inspired word of God, they argue, if much of the Old and New Testaments is derivative.  Many Egyptian and Mesopotamian myths precede or are contemporary with the stories of the Bible.  The flood, the murderous relationship of brothers, the virgin birth, Moses’ heroic march out of slavery to the promised land, resurrection, and the complex relationships between Man and God were not new.  If the Bible were truly divine, then God would have corroborated its stories with historical events.



If God is omnipotent and omniscient then why did he create mankind in the first place; and why did he create beings which were disobedient, disrespectful, venal, and evil?  Why did he choose to create the world when he did, given the eternity of time which preceded creation and followed it?  Why did he confect such a universal drama when he could have, as Genesis suggested, created man in his own good, righteous image?

Tolstoy, like Augustine, wrote a memoir of religious quest - A Confession – and in it chronicled his odyssey from non-belief to faith.  Tolstoy struggled with questions of God, existence, suffering, and the nature of good and evil using every logical methodology he knew.  He studied history, art, mathematics, political philosophy, and science in hopes of finding answers.  Finding none, he turned to religious writings, but found no solace or rewards there either.  He, a supremely logical man, could not abide the a priori judgments he found in religious texts.



In the end he gave up and backed into faith.  If billions of men before him had believed in God; and if millions of Russians, Europeans, Amazon tribes, and Eskimos believed in him now, then there must be something to faith.

Tired from his efforts, exhausted at decades of pursuing leads down blind alleys and always coming to the same conclusion that neither faith nor reason could lead him to an understanding of why he was created and why the world was configured the way it was, he gave up.  Adopting faith as a default was an understandable but easy way out of his dilemma.

Evangelical Protestantism puts a premium on faith and dismisses logic altogether as a way of finding God and attaining salvation.  One’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ is all that matters, and such a relationship can only be achieved through abandoning reason and opening one’s spirit to the divine.  Although this behavior has intellectual roots – the Protestant theory of grace focuses on faith rather than works and the absolute adjudication of Jesus Christ on Judgment Day – it is only part of hymn and liturgy.

Islam is based on obedience and subservience to God.  It is a comparatively simple religion without the theological complexity of Christianity, Judaism, or Hinduism.  Mohammed did not arrive at his severe monotheistic beliefs through the same academic, intellectual efforts of Jewish and Christian thinkers.  Mohammed saw a divine vision in a cave not far from Mecca and for him that was enough.
Revelation was not a matter of intellectual inquiry and deconstructing faith to discover divine essence.  He, like Saul of Tarsus, saw God and from then on his life would never be the same.
Islam and evangelical Christianity share the same belief in the absolute power of God, that salvation can only come through him and abiding faith and fealty.

Pope John Paul II severely criticized Christian fundamentalism because it ignores reason, dismisses Augustine and Aquinas and there conviction that both reason and faith must coexist.  Both theologians understood the primacy of faith but believed that only by logically considering ideas such as the Trinity, divinity, resurrection, and crucifixion and how they figure in the quest for salvation, would one’s faith be solid, unwavering, and invincible.



Yet few believers, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Hindus bother with such intellectual presumption.   Brought up in faith, taught to believe and to respect the Almighty, they choose to celebrate their faith rather than question it.  Most Hindus worship a multiplicity of gods, unaware of the sublime philosophy of Oneness that underlies the religion.  Similarly few Christians spend much time on John 1: 1-5 and his sublimely sophisticated conception of divinity; or on Genesis 1-11 where the same profound issues are presented.

The distinction between religious scholarship and the faith of the people has never been more pronounced.  As the world becomes more complex, more competitive, more dangerous, and more unknowable, faith becomes essential. Faith provides simple answers, solace, comfort, and even peace.  It matters little that people arrive at faith in non-rigorous ways and are far removed from the deliberations of Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp.



In fact logic is overrated in more ways than one.  While logic essential to navigate one’s way through the day, and without it there would be no architecture, bridges, medicine, or the computer; still it offers no privilege to those who feel the need to sort things out before they die.  “Too soon old, too late schmart” goes the Jewish saying.

Ivan Ilyich in Tolstoy’s story of the same name uses logic to construct what he believes is a perfect world, one which allows him freedom, a modicum of pleasure, freedom from want and suffering, and even happiness.  As he lies dying, he realizes that all his carefully-laid plans have come to nothing.  He is faced with extinction and has never even considered eternity.  He is afraid of death because he has had neither faith nor the right kind of reason.

Many critics have lamented the dismissal of fact in the current (2016) election.  How can people dismiss Donald Trump’s distortion of fact, truth and reality? How can they be so complaisant and lazy?  Yet these critics have overvalued logic and reason and disregarded the visceral human tendency of illogical belief.

Conspiracy theorists have analyzed what is a very common phenomenon in the United States.  People believe the most impossible scenarios; and once they have crossed the line and adopted one illogical theory, it becomes easier and easier to adopt many more.  They have suggested that conspiracy theories are the result of social marginalization, psychological weakness, lack of education, indifferent upbringing; but have concluded little.  People suspend logic easily, often, and without question.

It does not seem coincidental that there are so many people of faith in the United States and so much dismissal of reason.  If one takes the Bible as the word of God without question (even Augustine and his colleagues understood the importance of Biblical allegory and interpretation) then it is not surprising that one accepts secular propositions of faith as well.

The coming post-human age in which everyone lives in a world of virtual reality – a complete symbiosis of mind and computer – is the logical result of a diminishing concern with reality, truth, and fact.  Logic in this highly-personalized, subjective world will be worth little.

We are different from the animals, says the Bible, because we have reason; and God himself endowed Man with the free will to make logical choices.  Only through such rigor could one choose between right and wrong.  Yet as Dostoevsky has pointed out, men only look for mystery, miracles, and authority.  Faith is all that is required.  Free will is irrelevant.

This all leaves most of us nowhere.  As we get older questions of life, death, and eternity become more pressing.  We all deal with them in our own way; but most of us reach the end without every being schmart.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Separation Of Church And State And Augustine’s The City Of God–Time To Reconsider Secularism?


Ivan Karamazov, Dostoevsky’s  character in The Brothers Karamazov, explains to Father Zossima why he believes that the state should be subsumed within the Church.  How little crime there would be, he said, if men were beholden to first to God, the final arbiter of right and wrong.  Crime – sin – would be punished at Judgment Day, the consequences of ill deeds far more lasting than any secular punishment.

The United States, of course, has fiercely defended the separation of church and state and insisted; but the intent of the Founding Fathers has been misinterpreted ever since the framing of the Constitution.  Jefferson et al were never against the incorporation of and respect for religious principles within a secular state; just that no religion should ever be imposed on anyone.



The principles of the Enlightenment on which both the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights were based were profoundly religious.  Although philosophers of the 18th century valued logic and rationality above all, they were insistent that they be put to use in the service of God.  They like Augustine and Aquinas before them understood that the way to faith was through logic; and while faith would always triumph, the exercise of reason would strengthen belief not diminish it.

Today, however, these Jeffersonian principles have been deformed into policies which forbid the inclusion of religion in any secular institution or debate.  As a result the teaching of Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards find no place within schools at the very moment when they are most needed.  The dysfunction of inner-city communities from which the majority of public school students come, demands an insistence of the values of honesty, honor, respect, courage, and compassion embodied in both Old and New Testaments.

These values predate Christianity, of course.  The diptychs of Cato the Elder (234-149 BC) included in a curriculum for future Roman leaders stressed the same ideals.  A good Roman consul or even Emperor needed to have more than good management, military strategy, and administration to rule well.

In other words, Roman-Judeo-Christian values are universal and ex-temporal.  No successful civilization has ignored them; and most have incorporated them in education and civic life.

The institution of moral and ethical principles as normative values in society is a far cry from theocracy; and given the austere, medieval nature of ISIS and others which propose a religious caliphate, it is no surprise that Western democracies are harshly critical.   Similarly, since religious fundamentalists in the United States have often espoused radically right-wing conservative views and have flaunted their anti-intellectual sentiments, it is no surprise that progressives have been quick to dismiss them as retrograde and dangerous.

Worse yet, these same progressives have insisted that Judeo-Christian values have no place in a pluralistic democracy like that in the United States.  The inclusion of distinctly Jewish and Christian values would automatically marginalize and disrespect those of other religious traditions.

Nothing could be further from the truth. All religions espouse the very same principles.  Teaching – insisting upon – honesty, integrity, respect, honor, discipline, courage, and compassion would strengthen common values and would do nothing to disturb or challenge the beliefs of non-Christians.
America is very much a Christian country in that it espouses these Biblical values; and confirming that belief and commitment in no way disrespects those of a non-Biblical heritage.

Political movements which focus on ‘traditional’ values – respect for family, God, and Biblical lessons and injunctions – are not retrograde but avant-garde, for they see that that progressivism in an age of contentious divisions is in itself retrograde.

Identity politics which favors self-interested separatism instead of social and philosophical integration are corrosive and dangerous to the body politic.  Pride in ethnic, gender, or racial identity in and of itself is not dangerous; but when self-serving, often venal, principles replace common, mutually-respected values, there is indeed a problem.

Augustine’s work, The City of God is perhaps the most important Western work on the relationship between church and state.  As a good Christian who evolved from doubting roots into Christianity’s most influential theologian, Augustine argued for the co-existence if not integration of church and state.  As a good Christian, he believed that nothing was possible without faith – not civil society, not government, not family or community.  Faith precedes logic, civil discourse, laws, and governance, he said.  Without it, mankind would be lost.



Rational secularists believe differently. Justice can and indeed does exist without faith.  Belief is an add-on, important if not essential, but not indispensable.  Augustine never goes as far as the fictional Ivan Karamazov, but he comes close.

Where, then, does this leave us? The United State is a peculiar country.  It is one of the most avowedly religious in the world, but it insists on the separation of church and state.  At the same time, inroads are being made into America’s dogged insistence on institutional secularism. 

States are challenging the principle and the rulings of the Supreme Court – the philosophical fulcrum of liberal democratic secularism.  Individuals and businesses which reject abortion and gay marriage are mobilizing to challenge the purely secular judgments of the Court.   Conservative activists would like to see a diminution if not not elimination of what they see as a secular ex cathedra institution.  There is no way that the Court should decide Biblical matters.

There is no way that the United States will ever become a religious state let alone a theocracy; but these populist demands to de-secularize the state have gained traction and credibility.

The evolution from a secular and increasingly progressive state to one more attuned to Judeo-Christian, Biblical values will be long process; but the lessons of radical Islam –as dismissed and criticized as they currently are – cannot be ignored.  The advocates of a Muslim caliphate insist on God’s law over all; and while such authoritarianism is questioned, its purpose and goals must be considered.

Muslim radicalism is attacked and marginalized for the wrong reason.  Suspension of civil rights, misogyny, and rejection of liberal democracy are important considerations; but the advocacy for divine law are not.

Essential, historic, and universal values have been discredited, dismissed, and ignored by progressive secularists.  They persist at their peril.

The Separation Of Church And State And Augustine’s The City Of God–Time To Reconsider Secularism?


Ivan Karamazov, Dostoevsky’s  character in The Brothers Karamazov, explains to Father Zossima why he believes that the state should be subsumed within the Church.  How little crime there would be, he said, if men were beholden to first to God, the final arbiter of right and wrong.  Crime – sin – would be punished at Judgment Day, the consequences of ill deeds far more lasting than any secular punishment.

The United States, of course, has fiercely defended the separation of church and state and insisted; but the intent of the Founding Fathers has been misinterpreted ever since the framing of the Constitution.  Jefferson et al were never against the incorporation of and respect for religious principles within a secular state; just that no religion should ever be imposed on anyone.



The principles of the Enlightenment on which both the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights were based were profoundly religious.  Although philosophers of the 18th century valued logic and rationality above all, they were insistent that they be put to use in the service of God.  They like Augustine and Aquinas before them understood that the way to faith was through logic; and while faith would always triumph, the exercise of reason would strengthen belief not diminish it.

Today, however, these Jeffersonian principles have been deformed into policies which forbid the inclusion of religion in any secular institution or debate.  As a result the teaching of Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards find no place within schools at the very moment when they are most needed.  The dysfunction of inner-city communities from which the majority of public school students come, demands an insistence of the values of honesty, honor, respect, courage, and compassion embodied in both Old and New Testaments.

These values predate Christianity, of course.  The diptychs of Cato the Elder (234-149 BC) included in a curriculum for future Roman leaders stressed the same ideals.  A good Roman consul or even Emperor needed to have more than good management, military strategy, and administration to rule well.



In other words, Roman-Judeo-Christian values are universal and ex-temporal.  No successful civilization has ignored them; and most have incorporated them in education and civic life.
The institution of moral and ethical principles as normative values in society is a far cry from theocracy; and given the austere, medieval nature of ISIS and others which propose a religious caliphate, it is no surprise that Western democracies are harshly critical.   Similarly, since religious fundamentalists in the United States have often espoused radically right-wing conservative views and have flaunted their anti-intellectual sentiments, it is no surprise that progressives have been quick to dismiss them as retrograde and dangerous.

Worse yet, these same progressives have insisted that Judeo-Christian values have no place in a pluralistic democracy like that in the United States.  The inclusion of distinctly Jewish and Christian values would automatically marginalize and disrespect those of other religious traditions.

Nothing could be further from the truth. All religions espouse the very same principles.  Teaching – insisting upon – honesty, integrity, respect, honor, discipline, courage, and compassion would strengthen common values and would do nothing to disturb or challenge the beliefs of non-Christians.
America is very much a Christian country in that it espouses these Biblical values; and confirming that belief and commitment in no way disrespects those of a non-Biblical heritage.

Political movements which focus on ‘traditional’ values – respect for family, God, and Biblical lessons and injunctions – are not retrograde but avant-garde, for they see that that progressivism in an age of contentious divisions is in itself retrograde.

Identity politics which favors self-interested separatism instead of social and philosophical integration are corrosive and dangerous to the body politic.  Pride in ethnic, gender, or racial identity in and of itself is not dangerous; but when self-serving, often venal, principles replace common, mutually-respected values, there is indeed a problem.

Augustine’s work, The City of God is perhaps the most important Western work on the relationship between church and state.  As a good Christian who evolved from doubting roots into Christianity’s most influential theologian, Augustine argued for the co-existence if not integration of church and state.  As a good Christian, he believed that nothing was possible without faith – not civil society, not government, not family or community.  Faith precedes logic, civil discourse, laws, and governance, he said.  Without it, mankind would be lost.



Rational secularists believe differently. Justice can and indeed does exist without faith.  Belief is an add-on, important if not essential, but not indispensable.  Augustine never goes as far as the fictional Ivan Karamazov, but he comes close.

Where, then, does this leave us? The United State is a peculiar country.  It is one of the most avowedly religious in the world, but it insists on the separation of church and state.  At the same time, inroads are being made into America’s dogged insistence on institutional secularism. 

States are challenging the principle and the rulings of the Supreme Court – the philosophical fulcrum of liberal democratic secularism.  Individuals and businesses which reject abortion and gay marriage are mobilizing to challenge the purely secular judgments of the Court.   Conservative activists would like to see a diminution if not not elimination of what they see as a secular ex cathedra institution.  There is no way that the Court should decide Biblical matters.

There is no way that the United States will ever become a religious state let alone a theocracy; but these populist demands to de-secularize the state have gained traction and credibility.

The evolution from a secular and increasingly progressive state to one more attuned to Judeo-Christian, Biblical values will be long process; but the lessons of radical Islam –as dismissed and criticized as they currently are – cannot be ignored.  The advocates of a Muslim caliphate insist on God’s law over all; and while such authoritarianism is questioned, its purpose and goals must be considered.

Muslim radicalism is attacked and marginalized for the wrong reason.  Suspension of civil rights, misogyny, and rejection of liberal democracy are important considerations; but the advocacy for divine law are not.

Essential, historic, and universal values have been discredited, dismissed, and ignored by progressive secularists.  They persist at their peril.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

RECIPES–Baked Whole Cauliflower With Spicy Rub


There have been a number of recipes for baked whole cauliflower recently for good reason.  Slow baked with a spicy rub is a perfect variation from the usual recipes.  Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that needs a boost, and toppings are usually it.  Cold cauliflower with a mayonnaise, anchovy, caper dressing is a good example.  Alu Gobi, the classic Indian curry dish is another.  Baked cauliflower with a rub of a mixture of spices is simple, unique, and delicious.


Baked Whole Cauliflower With Spicy Rub
* 1 lg. cauliflower with leaves and stem trimmed
* 2 tsp. paprika
* 2 tsp. thyme leaves
* 1 Tbsp. garlic flakes
* 3 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 Tbsp. good Dijon mustard
* 10 gratings fresh pepper
- Place all spices in a mixing bowl and mix well

- Taste the mixture and add spices as needed

- Rub over the entire head of cauliflower

- Place in baking dish uncovered

- Cook for 2-3 hours or until done (fork penetrates easily, nice crust on top)

- Drizzle another 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil after 2 hours.


- Serve 

Discrimination Against Men–Claims Of Universal Misogyny And The Moderating Role Of Strong Women


This is The Year of the Woman (2016).  Not only is a woman running for President of the United States, but she has made her sex an issue.  The fact that she is the first woman to run for the office is beside the point, lost in her radical feminist attacks on men.  Although her slams are aimed at Donald Trump - a sexist, woman-hating, abusive misogynist – women understand that she is taking up the cudgel against all men who, no different from Trump, harbor and  express their disdain, disregard, and dismissal of women.

The animus is understandable and predictable, women say.  Little boys are treated differently and specially.  They are given sexual license while little girls are taught to be demure, chaste, and complaisant.  Boys’ sexual enthusiasm is dismissed as ‘boys will be boys’ but any sign of girls’ flirtation or ‘come hither’ suggestions are disciplined.

It is quite natural for boys to grow up as crude, undisciplined misogynists. How in a sexist world and within male-favoring families could they possibly be otherwise?

Today’s woman, as embodied in Hillary Clinton, has had enough.  She has suffered  slights, sexual innuendo, unwanted advances, and sexual abuse her whole life, and it is time to put a stop to it.


                          www.hardnoxandfriends.com
Hillary, consummate politician that she is, understands the zeitgeist of America.  Men are on the run everywhere.  Universities accept all women’s claims of sexual impropriety, and deny the accused men of due process.  College administrators create safe spaces for women to isolate them from their predatory male classmates.  Threatening gestures, words, looks, and insinuations are considered potentially abusive, and men are schooled in how to behave with women so not to give even the slightest intimation of offense.

Women on the other hand are given free rein.  How they dress, no matter how provocative, is considered their own business.  If it arouses men, that’s their problem.  They must wait in the wings blue-balled until called.  Girls can drink as much as they want without concern for consequences.  If they consent to a sexual encounter under the influence of alcohol which they might not have if sober, they have been raped.  Women can act with impunity while men are always under suspicion.

If this is not a heating up of the war between the sexes, nothing is.  The fact that women label all men as potential rapists is as slanderous and pernicious a discrimination as any.  Discrimination is defined as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex”.  In women’s blanket assumption about male behavior, are they not discriminating against a category or class of Americans as a Southern racist might blacks?

Women’s sexual discrimination shares another unfortunate trait with the racial variety – innateness.  The racist condemns all black people because they are innately inferior; and the female sexist condemns all men because of their innate, genetically-programmed, inescapable abusive behavior.
Most women and men share none of these discriminatory feelings.  Women understand that men have pursued them aggressively for a million years; and that women have been reluctant, diffident, and dismissive in response.  Taking on all comers would be tantamount to throwing survival to the winds; and up till recently, women have always played this careful, selective role.


                             www.imgarcade.com

Strong, confident women today know that there are far too many men who cannot manage their sexual drives; and who, instead of solving the puzzle of women’s desire, turn violent; and are on the lookout.  Women’s radar is highly attuned to the boor and dismiss him easily.  They pick up negativism, frustration, and crossed wires, and move on quickly.

In other words, they understand men – what makes them tick, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they can be led.  They are careful to avoid situations where boors can turn nasty.  They know that despite feminist manifestos, provocative dress and sexual flirtation can indeed lead to unwanted sexual advances; and have learned when and how to behave to get what they want and deter what they don’t.

All men talk dirty, always have, always will.  Savvy women understand men’s boasting, braggadocio, and lewdness; and know that it derives from three sources – male libido which forces men to think about sex all the time; competition; and sexual insecurity.

Men are  obsessed with sexual conquest, anxious to best all competitors, but timid and unsure around women.  They talk big in the locker room, share stories of sexual adventures, ogle pictures of naked women, and puff, prance, and strut; but cannot seem to find the gumption to make the first move.
Knowing this, savvy women dismiss the talk as silly sexual ineptness, use the poison-tipped, ego-deflating feminine rapier to deflate all ignorant comers, and clear the way for those few confident, admiring, appreciative suitors who get them.

Strong, confident men understand that women raised in patriarchal families respond to men like Daddy – unquestioning love, kindness, support, and admiration.  These men know that the way to a woman’s heart is to reflect Daddy.  Patience, respect, interest, and courtesy are not only good general social skills but the unequivocal keys to sexual conquest.


       www.hiddencanberra.webs.com

These men know that even in an age of sexual freedom, women are offended by sexual ineptness.  An arm around a woman’s shoulders at the wrong moment is inappropriate, but at the right moment a sign of affection and interest.  Women have always been the arbiters of physical intimacy; and all but the most obtuse or disturbed men respond accordingly.

The reason why the war between the sexes, usually a stalemate, has gone out of kilter is because of the current progressive demands for recognition, retribution, and compensation regarding race, gender, and ethnicity.  In an era of such universal reform, the sanctity and identity of each aggrieved group is tantamount.  Rights and privileges not enjoyed by the majority will be awarded to the minority until balance has been reestablished or achieved.

Men, white people, and Anglos need to back off while minority grievances are redressed and social equilibrium is restored.

Normal sexual relations have been interrupted by ‘No Means No’ and the legal processing that must occur before any male advances.  An inept gesture of hope and interest (the arm around the shoulder) is not dismissed as such but decried as abusive groping.  In such a climate a focus on actual, real, indefensible sexual aggression risks being blurred.

Resolution to any conflict becomes more difficult when one side intractably assumes the moral ground.  Not only does such sanctimony hinder any understanding and mediation, it fuels resentment, anger, and hatred on the other side.   More whites have negative feelings about blacks the more groups like Black Lives Matter make unrealistic demands based on questionable evidence.   More men resent women in this environment of universal condemnation and calumny than before.

Strong women have always managed the most difficult of men.  The fictional defiant heroines of Ibsen, Strindberg, and Shakespeare – Hedda Gabler, Rebekka West, Laura, Miss Julie, Gertrude, Margaret, Goneril, Regan, and Volumnia – were more than a match for their weak, errant husbands; and negotiated the patriarchal societies of Victorian Europe and Elizabethan England with ease and dispatch.  Did anyone worry about Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, or Indira Gandhi?


                            www.fanpop.com

Or Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO J.P. Morgan Asset Management; Abigail Johnson, CEO Fidelity Investment; Marie Chandoha, CEO Charles Schwab; or Charlotte McLaughlin, President and CEO, PNC Capital Markets?

It is to these women – strong, self-assured, aggressive, smart, and savvy – that feminists should turn as examples of women who have – like Shakespeare’s historical heroines – navigated the treacherous waters of male dominion with conviction and aplomb.  Young women who are brought up to believe that they are victims, that the enemy is everywhere, and that they need and deserve protection can never become strong and self-assured.  The world is a dangerous, tricky place, and only the fittest survive – true for politics and true for mating.

It is encouraging to see that the tide may be turning slightly.  Conservative activists have challenged progressive reasoning and have insisted that university administrators re-calibrate the scales of justice and encouraged men not to take allegations without defense.

Male students on campus have for too long, they argue been asked to give up their rights to due process in the name of exposing predatory, abusive behavior.  Women, even those with questionable claims, have been encouraged to speak out because they have for so long been forced to remain silent.

Everyone in America seems to be warring with someone else as identity politics takes its toll.  Yet, given the long-overdue rise of women to political and corporate power, perhaps the inflamed and discriminatory rhetoric against men can be quieted as women begin to assume more responsibility for their own fate.

To be sure, the world is a dangerous place; and the erosion of traditional morals seems epidemic.  Crime of all kinds is endemic and growing in many areas. Women especially need to be particularly wary of criminal assault; and the full force of the law should be leveled on those convicted of it.  At the same time, the world that most of us inhabit is not so dangerous or fraught with threat.  We deal with bullies, jerks, dopes, and assholes all the time.  We learn to sort them and toss them overboard and move on.  This is the normal world of men and women.