If only it were that easy kid, believe me

September 26th, 2014 No comments

My five-year-old, L, was yelling at the two-year-old, E, to move out of the way of the tv. She couldn’t see the last moments of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Snow White

If that guy’s your prince, I would have kept waiting, honey. Is that a shirt or an apron?

I employed the appropriate motherly tool of yelling from the kitchen, “E, down in front!” Somehow, that didn’t work, as L was continuing her verbal tirade against the door who would make a better window. Finally, I walked into the living room, only to see the words, “The End” on the screen.

“Relax, L. The movie’s over,” I said and walked out again. Yep, parenting at its finest, folks.

L, on the other hand, came up with a brilliant solution for avoiding future such egregious situations involving her little sister. 

“Mom,” she called to me. “E’s birthday shouldn’t be in March. We should move it closer so she’ll be older and listen better.”

Don’t I wish that were possible sometimes!

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Ayn Rand in the mind of an impressionable twenty-something

September 24th, 2014 No comments

I went to see Atlas Shrugged Part III the night it opened. The evening led me to reflect on what had attracted me to Ayn Rand as a twenty-something graduate student in economics.

And let it be said: I was very attracted to her ideas. I appreciated how she dramatized the evils of a centrally planned economy. I was Ayn Randpersuaded by her depiction of the fast descent of economic control into a totalitarian state.

Most of all, I loved how she said it was ok to be selfish. There it is. The naked truth about the appeal of Ayn Rand. Selfishness and an irrational individualism continues to be a glaring weakness of much of the Right today.

But why exactly, was selfishness so appealing to my twenty-something self? Read more…

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Building a Better Fatherhood

September 24th, 2014 No comments

Our culture of individualism has trouble seeing the family, or understanding what it is seeing, when it does see the family.  Ruth Institute Circle of Experts member, Dr. Scott Yenor has an inspiring article, well worth sharing with the dads in your life.

How is our culture’s emphasis on autonomous independence different from an attitude of love? Is that salary yours or is it the family’s? Is the house you live in yours or is it family’s? Is your child’s education his or hers or is it the family’s? Is your time yours or is it the family’s? When these things are yours, you have adopted an attitude of independence; when they are the family’s, you exhibit an attitude of love.

Writing on the Knights of Columbus Fathers for Good blog, Dr. Yenor points out that the world needs good fathers and that we do not appreciate them.  More than that: our culture of individualism undermines good fatherhood, and blinds us to good fathers when they do appear.

Scott Yenor, Ph.D.  Ruth Institute Expert Author of "Family in Politics" a really great book, IMHO.

Scott Yenor, Ph.D.
Ruth Institute Expert
Author of “Family in Politics” a really great book, IMHO.

We hear all about “self-interest rightly understood” and “rational self-interest” and “ethical egoism.” These concepts obviously imply their opposites: “self-interest wrongly understood” and “irrational self-interest” and “unethical egoism.”  Perhaps we just need a completely new term to describe our current cultural moment: “irrational individualism.”

In any case, great and inspiring article by Dr. Yenor. Share with the Dads in your life!



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Stand Up to Elites to Stand for Children

September 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Why should we stand for the family, or for marriage, or for life or for any of the culturally-conservative issues?

Ordinary People Standing for the Family in Utah

Ordinary People Standing for the Family in Utah

Living in California during the Proposition 8 debates, I had a front row seat watching the “elites” mangle the meaning of marriage. The judicial elites have handed down a disastrous series of federal court decisions, solidifying governmental commitment to the ideology of the sexual revolution. The entertainment elites seem to celebrate every family form except the natural family of a loving father and mother
married faithfully to one another and raising their own children together. The media elites continue their shameless manipulation of public opinion. The economic elites pour money into political and propaganda campaigns designed to prop up the structure of the sexual revolution. Academic elites continue behind-the-scenes scribbling, advocating for recreating marriage, the family, and even the human body, in their own image. Read more…

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Married Rugby Buddies and the Point of Marriage

September 22nd, 2014 Comments off

Did you hear about the two young guys in New Zealand who got married to enter a contest to win rugby tickets? I wrote about them the other day. The contest was open to married couples. The two guys are not gay, but have been buddies since they were 6 years old.  They got married to be eligible to enter the contest.

Now some gay activists were indignant about this marriage. They claimed that it trivialized marriage itself and made a mockery of the efforts of gay activists to win marriage equality.  I agree with them, except for this point: removing the gender requirement already trivialized

BFF! Let's get married! Why Not?

BFF! Let’s get married! Why Not?


But I will not press that point here. I want to ask a different question.

Q: Do you or I care whether these two rugby buddies stay married for a lifetime or divorce next year?  Does the public have any interest whatsoever in the success or failure of this particular friendship?

A: The public has no conceivable interest in what two men do together. Whether they are rugby buddies or golfing buddies or sodomy partners, the public couldn’t care less. (As a matter of fact, I don’t really want to know!)

Why then, does the public have any interest at all in the relationship called marriage? Read more…

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I got this one, Dad

September 18th, 2014 Comments off

Our two-year-old would not stop dropping food on the floor at meal times. Whether she did it because she found that particular piece inedible, or because she enjoyed studying the spatial relation of the food on her tray versus the pile on the carpet below her, the habit seemed unbreakable. Our best effort at correction was to sternly say, “No,” and lightly rap the back of her hand.

This method maintained its desired effect for about five minutes, when our daughter, used to this routine and seemingly impervious to pain, decided to continue her scientific experiment. Just as was my husband was donning his authoritative expression, the perpetrator, sensing what was to come, firmly stated, Read more…

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To Melanie Batley at HuffPo

September 16th, 2014 Comments off
Jennifer Johnson, Director of Outreach

Jennifer Johnson, Director of Outreach


Hi Melanie,

My name is Jennifer Johnson and I am the Director of Outreach at the Ruth Institute. Since you linked to an important document created by my organization in your post called, “Conservatives Can’t Be Pro-Marriage and Oppose Gay Marriage,” I would like to respond to you.

You said that you haven’t found a conservative to “give you a satisfactory answer” as to “how gay marriage tangibly undermines traditional marriage arrangements.” That’s unfortunate, and I’m not very surprised. However, this kind of answer is the kind of answer specialize in here at the Ruth Institute (which is no longer part of NOM, BTW).

Before I answer, let me pose a question, Melanie. Have you researched the precise manner in which gay marriage is implemented into the legal code? I would like to make a prediction: that you have not done this research. Very few have. What I have observed, instead, is that gay marriage supporters make an assumption. Their assumption goes like this: Read more…

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Why you should Stand for the Family THIS WEEK!

September 13th, 2014 Comments off
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Dealing with a Guilty Conscience: A Modest Proposal

September 12th, 2014 Comments off

We talk about some very sensitive issues at the Ruth Institute: sex, abortion, divorce. I have noticed that sometimes, peoples’ reactions are all out of proportion to what we actually said.  Many times, I have wondered to myself, “What accounts for this extreme reaction?”

Without jumping to an overly broad conclusion, let me suggest that sometimes, the answer is A Guilty Conscience.  The person is reacting, not to what I said, but to some deeper, more complicated feelings.

When I reflect on my own situation, I can definitely relate to this. A Guilty Conscience is almost intolerable. We humans desire to think well of ourselves.  This fact of the human condition should be observable to anyone.  When we do something that violates our own moral code, whatever that may be, we feel bad.

That bad feeling, I submit, could be the very thing that helps us do a course-correction. We change our behavior so we don’t have that bad feeling.  That is how it works with the body, after all. We burn our fingers on the stove. We instantly pull back. We learn not to touch hot stoves.

But in the moral order, we are more complex. We do indeed withdraw from a moral wrong. But we do not necessarily do an automatic course-correction.

Sometimes, we withdraw by avoiding the topic altogether.

We medicate ourselves with substances, activities and busy-ness. We change the subject. And, always a favorite tactic: we blame someone else. We blame the person closest at hand, a family member for instance.  We blame the person who told us that we had done something

Five Minutes: That's All I'm Asking

Five Minutes: That’s All I’m Asking

wrong or hurtful.

There are a number of problems with this strategy. 1. It isn’t the truth. 2. We keep doing mean and stupid stuff and 3. We are impossible to live with.

So let me make a suggestion to try out, the next time you feel a tinge of guilt.

Set a timer for five minutes. Sit with the feeling for five minutes. Do not medicate the feeling away with a substance or an activity. Do not lash out at the person or situation that prompted the guilty feeling. Do not make excuses or offer explanations. Do not change the subject. Do not attempt to reassure yourself with the idea that there is no such thing as right and wrong.  If you really believed that, you would not be pricked by the idea that you might have done something wrong.  You could swat it away like a fly, an annoyance, nothing more.

While you are sitting there with the thought that you have done something against your own value system, allow yourself to feel your imperfection, your incompleteness, your finiteness. And just repeat this phrase. “I am not perfect. I am not God. God is God. Being imperfect is part of being human. I am perfectly imperfect.”

See if these affirmations help you address the underlying problem for which you feel guilty. Five minutes. That’s all I’m asking.

When the timer goes off, go ahead and do whatever you think best.

The Ruth Institute is dedicated to Inspiring the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution.  Join the conversation by Liking our Facebook page. 


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We don’t talk to friends in this house

September 12th, 2014 Comments off

Seeing that a friend had a “No Soliciting” sign on her door, I decided to get one of my own, as I get knocks far too frequently for my liking. I am almost never presentable, (See “Mommy goes out on the town, before and after“) which makes these regrettable encounters all the worse, for the other person.

So even though I had the sign, it wasn’t yet up in the window of the door when some gentleman, probably from a solar panel company who was “doing work on others houses in my neighborhood,” as they always somehow seem to be, showed up.

Before I even let him speak I said, Read more…

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