Welcome to the Mental Ward

Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining

Chesterton once wrote that the madman is not the fellow who has lost his reason, but the fellow who has lost everything but his reason.  Such a person, seized by a single monomaniacal idea, loses his balance, as if under the weight of a mental hyptertrophy on one side.  Because a man may add five and six, and a cash register may add five and six, he discovers that a man is no more than a cash register.  He begins to dream dreams of cash registers, male and female he dreams them, coming together to make change.  If he is Mr. Richard Dawkins, he dreams of other worlds wherein cash registers, or card catalogues, spring up naturally among the lilies of the field.

But what kind of madness is it when one is simultaneously beset with that single idea, and yet one cannot remember what one has just said?  That would seem a monstrous impossibility, a stupidity far beyond the scope of normal perverseness and study.  And yet that is what we witness now, a sort of intellectual slapstick.  It would be like Mrs. Carry Nation raffling off baskets of cheer to fund Prohibition.

Perhaps it is sex that has driven us mad.  I think rather it must be boredom.  We are so bored, we not only cannot be bothered to remember what our opponents say.  We cannot be bothered to remember what we ourselves say.

So then, on Monday, the harridans of the National Organization for Women announce the great discovery, that it is a bad thing for men to beat women black and blue.  We wonder what took them so long to discover it.  APPLES FALL TO THE GROUND, runs the headline, with the helpful addition, Effects on Agriculture Undetermined.  So terrible a thing it is for women to be beaten, they must promote a national law, the Violence Against Women Act, to ensure the safety of women against the fist of a brawling boyfriend.

Then on Tuesday, the same harridans announce the great discovery, that it is a good thing for women to join the infantry, to confront not boyfriends, but enemy men who will be at the peak of their physical prowess, armed to the teeth, and filled with the rage of killing and plunder and rape.  The chivalry or plain common decency that once protected a woman against brawling—or war—is derided as a masculine plot to keep women in subjection.  Women must be free to be conscripted.  Women have long missed the joys of trench life, where table and bed and latrine are all the same mud.  They have missed the airy delight of seeing a brother blown sky high, or the wonderful tingle of an arm or leg suddenly missing or hanging by a thread.  They should then enjoy those experiences, and add to them the salt that makes it all worthwhile, the futility of loss, the unspoken knowledge that it has all been for nothing, and that your brothers and your country would have been better off without you.

On Wednesday, the keepers of our national morality inveigh against a priest or a coach who entices a teenage boy into sodomy.  On Thursday, the same keepers inveigh against the Boy Scouts, for shying away from scoutmasters who might do the same.  The unnatural experience of sodomy is so crushing to the heart of a normal boy—who simply wants to grow up like all the other boys, falling in love with a girl, getting married, and having children just as his father did—that he cannot get over it, not ten, not twenty years later, but breaks down in public, in mingled rage and shame.  But within a single day, one might even say a single sentence, the same pundits will celebrate the same perversion as just an ordinary human variation, such as being left-handed or having a taste for kumquats.

On Friday, the feminists in an alphabet-soup alliance of people with various sexual proclivities will protest against pornography, the technical term for smutty pictures.  Their grounds are that it turns women into objects of sexual consumption.  The same people, on Saturday, boldly proclaim the right of both women and men to fornicate, coldly, aloofly if that is possible, with people whom they do not love; it is recreation.  Apparently, it is an object if it is a picture and distant, but not an object if it is alive and underneath; a dagger of the mind is more dangerous than a dagger of steel; fantasizing about doing a wicked thing is worse than actually doing it.

They do not notice, either, that the GB contingent of the alphabet are notorious producers and consumers of smutty pictures, of men, naturally.  It is not clear why this is not equally offensive, rather than something proud to celebrate.  The feminist harridans of Monday, meanwhile, make common cause with the G’s on Sunday, and neither notices that the positions are mutually contradictory.  The feminist says, “There are no differences between men and women, other than minor details of plumbing.”  We gape in amazement at so foolish a claim, and wonder whether she has dropped down from some unknown planet, where bipeds have neither eyes nor ears, and where common necessaries such as food, clean drinking water, stone and ore for building and industry, houses to dwell in, and roads and ships and trucks and bridges simply materialize at a thought, without the bending or breaking of a single back.  But let us grant her point.  The gay man standing right beside her not only insists on a difference; that difference is so vast, and so determinative, that he cannot possibly imagine learning to love a woman after the ordinary pattern of nature.  Almost in the same sentence he and his feminist ally claim that he must have A, and cannot possibly settle for A.  He must have the man and no other, because he is attracted to that creature that is just like the woman, with no important differences.  He must have the masculine and not the feminine; and there is no difference between the masculine and the feminine.

On the next Monday—for the lunacy outlasts the phases of the moon—we are told that a pregnant woman is, emotionally, a tender flower, who must be protected against people praying for her and her child as she enters the abortuary.  On Tuesday, we are derided for being impossibly old-fashioned if we suggest that it might not be a good thing for women who are possibly pregnant to be crawling on their bellies on a battlefield, where men will be shouting things much more terrifying than the Hail Mary.  On Wednesday we are told that a church’s failure to provide free contraceptives to its employees is a terrible sin against the common good.  On Friday, we are told that the notion of the “common good” is trumped by the individual’s supposed right to be antisocial in matters of sex.

On Saturday, we are told that no man is an island.  On Sunday, we are told that every woman is an island.  On Monday, a bad man is sued to support a child conceived out of wedlock.  On Tuesday, a good man is told to shut up when he sues to support his child conceived within wedlock, rather than have it aborted.  On Wednesday, we complain that there are no good men to marry.  On Thursday, we make sure to destroy the last institution that made for good men.

On Friday, we complain about “government in the bedroom,” by which is meant no Bureau of Bedrooms, but the least social or legal restraint against sexual vice.  On Saturday, we vote for increases in funds for government in the classroom, government in the board room, government in the laboratory, government in the doctor’s office, government in the hospital, government in the warehouse, government in the stockyard, government in the shipyard, government on television, government on radio, government on the highways, government over the churches, government over the government, government in the cradle, government at the tomb.

A comic nightmare comes to mind.  I see a man jiggered and wired to a hundred machines, each jolting him at irregular intervals.  His cheek twitches, his head jerks, his fingers drum, his knee wobbles, his feet tap, his breath is interrupted with coughs, his blood runs hot and cold.  I invite him to leave that contraption, and take a walk with me over to a chapel nearby, and say a quiet prayer.

“You can’t make me!” he cries.  “I’m free to choose!”

Editor’s note: The image above depicts Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film The Shining.

Anthony Esolen

By

Professor Esolen teaches Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization at Providence College. He is a senior editor for Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine. His most recent books are The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008); Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Press, 2010) and, most recently, Reflections on the Christian Life (Sophia Institute Press, 2013). Professor Esolen has also translated Dante.

  • Catherine

    Thank you, Professor Esolen. I have several of those ‘circular’ conversations with my family each week. The ‘circle’, of course, being the universal symbol of lunacy drawn with the forefinger against the temple, and invariably directed at me for recognizing one of the inconsistancies you describe in your article. Today, I will drive from Rhode Island to Maryland for my mothers 80th birthday ‘party’ which has to be held over several days to accommodate those of my siblings who cannot bear to be in company with others of my siblings. ‘Circular’ conversations will abound.
    Thanks to your good article I am bringing my copy of Everlasting Man, by the Apostle of Common Sense along with me. Our parish has an Adoration Chapel and a time sitting with the Lord in “quiet prayer” is just what this trip calls for.
    You don’t think I’m crazy, do you?

    • Carl

      Crazy as a fox, and don’t forget to be wise like a serpent and as gentle as a dove!

  • kentgeordie

    When will the fight back start? Who will lead us?

    • John O’Neill

      Not our bishops or priests; they are too busy kowtowing to Obama and the democrat power structure. They allow the powerful democrat Pelosi to call abortion a sacred thing and say that her Catholicism has lead her to support unrestricted abortion and they say nothing. Our religious leaders have been bought and now bow down to the abortionist in chief and his god Molock. When Henry VIII separated the thousand year old English Catholic Church from Rome the majority of English bishops never complained; I read a book once that called it the Great Betrayal. Are we witnessing the betrayal of the faithful once again but now in the American State.

      • asa2222

        Um, ok, do you have any actual evidence of this other than your opinion that Pelosi should be refused communion? Have you actually studied the canon law on this point? I don’t think it supports your allegations.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          CCC 2258-2330 inclusive.

          Yes, it actually does.

        • Jambe d’Argent
        • John O’Neill

          google nancy Pelosi abortion and sacred ground. Now do you have any evidence that Pelosi is a spokesperson for the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church or that Joe Biden is the Church’s spokesman on homosexual marriage; both Biden and Pelosi are public figures who have made statements to those two points; try lexus nexus.

      • Kevin Aldrich

        My bishop, Thomas John Paprocki, is a champion!

        • Bono95

          So is George Murry, my bishop.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            A Jesuit! Like my bro.

            • Bono95

              And our new Pope!

      • Alecto

        When did Nancy Pelosi say that? It isn’t that I doubt she said it, but that takes her to a new low, even for her!

        And they let her into the pope’s installation mass and voluntarily allowed her to take the Eucharist? Doesn’t make any sense any more.

    • lifeknight

      Good question. Our Lady said that the laity will save the Church. That may be our ultimate “weapon.” I don’t see it coming politically or from the bishops. It will be up to US.

    • elle

      We’ll get leaders when we stop asking “who will lead us?” Too many of us are turning into “facebook warriors”, posting memes, sending email forwards, etc. Not enough of us are scout leaders, school volunteers, KofC or Catholic Women members. Should all of us be all of those, no. But find the one area where you CAN make a difference, and start. It may just be getting your kids to Sunday School or saying a decade of the rosary. On the other hand, maybe it’s starting a youth retreat. If we use the gifts God gave us, it might even be fun!

      • kentgeordie

        I stand corrected. It is painful to admit that we probably get the leaders we deserve.

      • musicacre

        Exactly what I wanted to say! The fight against evil is from the time you are of a mental age to understand what sin is, until you die. We (my husband and I ) didn’t wait for a separate leader, other than just being inspired by good Catholic authors, and priests, who are properly reiterating the the timeless faith, to fight the feminist/anti-life attitude. Our personal reaction was for me to be a stay -at -home Mom and home school. We didn’t do it because there was financial security. We just did, because it was right. We don’t wait for the perfect time to pray the rosary. We just pray it every day. We all have to fight with the graces we are given, every day, period. We can make excuses waiting for the perfect eloquent speaker, but really we need to buck up and make the sacrifices required to pass the faith to others around us, particularly our families. We all need to persevere and let our faith show to our neighbors, co-workers, and fellow parishioners. Support the young families in the parish, lend them reading materials. Discuss the faith at fellowship time after Mass, instead of making small talk. There are so many ways to take back the faith in a personal way, if everyone feels responsible to do it! We (once again , my husband and I) got pulled from a longtime pro-life ministry, and Natural Family Planning, because the D and P people won out in our diocese. ( Their organization has been proven to contribute to well-known abortion providers) but we don’t dwell on it or let it get us down. You can only help people who want to be helped. As it stands there are no actual fully trained NFP people teaching in our diocese, now that we’re not officially teaching in the Church. Some bishops don’t seem to want Catholic women to get off the pill, but I guess that is their prerogative. So we use our time and knowledge to help those who do want to learn…..

  • Sherry

    This is the best representation of the absurdity and confusion that abounds today! There is no logic and it was high time someone called it like it is. And, in response to “kentgeordie”, people are finally waking up.

    There are several women who are speaking clearly about what needs to be done: Genevieve Kineke, who has a column in the Anchor Catholic Newspaper, did a terrific series on “Women in Combat”. She is also the author of “The Authentic Catholic Woman”. Then there is Helen Alvare whose recent book “Women Speak for Themselves” is outstanding. And, St. Benedict Press has come out with a series of “Catholic Courses” – DVD sets – one of which is by Teresa Tomeo – “Reclaiming Feminism” which can be used to “jump start” action to reshape the inane conversation of today.

    • asa2222

      Just curious — what is “kentgeordie?”

      • TheodoreSeeber

        It is a screen name in Disqus. How long have you been online?

      • kentgeordie

        kentgeordie is a Geordie exiled to Kent. A Geordie is someone from the northeast of England. Check out St Bede and St Cuthbert. Kent is the south-eastern corner of England. Thanks for asking.

    • Tony

      Dear Sherry — I’ve been to Genevieve’s house! She’s a wonderful woman, and a fellow Rhode Islander. Helen Alvare has been doing heroic work, and so has Teresa Tomeo. May their tribe increase!

  • lifeknight

    I had a bat in my house last night. After calling the pest control office regarding its removal, I was told that these lovely (sometimes rabid) creatures are protected by federal and state laws. Naturally (emphasis on NATURAL) I was drawn to the fact that babies in the womb may be willfully torn apart without regard. God forbid we hurt a nuisance! The mental illness of our country has to stop at some point! It will take divine intervention. Meanwhile, I am left to preserve a nasty creature.

    • Alecto

      I have been a member of Bat Conservation International for years. I would argue bats aren’t nuisances or nasty, rather they are important because they eat many times their body weight in pests decreasing the need for pesticides. Incidence of rabies is bats is less than raccoons. But they don’t belong in your house and there are humane ways to get them out yourself. Given that White Nose Syndrome has decimated the number of bats in the Eastern U.S. by about 95% or more, look for West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, or even crop blights to increase. Of course that will necessitate higher pesticide use.

      I agree that our obsession with protecting wildlife ought to spring from a belief that all life is sacred, but if there’s one thing I have come to realize, it’s that all life is interconnected in ways we cannot even imagine. That demonstrates God’s creative genius. Even a bat is a creation of God. So is a mosquito, a spider and a centipede. I wouldn’t want them in my house.

    • Jambe d’Argent

      I think that this is a false dichotomy. One of the very few secular moral achievements of our time is the increased awareness of animal suffering and a will to do something about it. I only wish that Christian churches would match it. Instead, the concern with animal welfare is often treated by Christians with contempt and contrasted with a lack of such concern for the unborn. But if we don’t care for animal life, how can we call ourselves “pro-life” (or “lifeknight” for that matter)? Please, remember that this “nasty creature” is God’s creation.

      • Facile1

        Hmmm. I think the Bible says we’re allowed to eat animals. I don’t believe we’re allowed to kill (or eat) humans.

        So, I beg to disagree.

        LOVE GOD FIRST. All else follow.

    • LarryCicero

      I bet you have more than one. My next door neighbor had bats a few years ago( a year with noticeably few mosquitos) and called a company that trapped the bats and released them in a wooded area. The trap was installed over the little hole they used to exit the eaves. There were about fifty. The problem may be that you apparently called a government office to solve your problem. Reminds me of the time I called animal control because a neighbor’s dog would have its muddy paws all over my back door evertime my dog was in heat. The officer chased the dog away but it would be back again. You see, it was our fault for not having her spayed. She(we) were “asking for it”.

      • lifeknight

        Update on bats: There were only two creatures. Thanks be to God. One in the attic and one outside. I DID follow humane protocols and had them removed without a death sentence. My point was that we are totally schizophrenic when it comes to protecting animals (not that it is wrong to do so) but what about our own species— for crying outloud? I don’t relish killing any creatures, but isn’t it obvious when reading this excellent article that our society is bizarre! I once had a car sticker that was a baby seal holding a placard that said “Save the baby humans!”

        • Adam__Baum

          I wonder how much fear of bats eminates not from fear of bites or rabies, but the endless stories that began with Bram Stoker.

        • Reets46

          Couples are often willing to have one or two dogs, but no children. We live in a nice city neighborhood that, not too many years ago was populated with a few dogs and cats and lots of kids. Four of those kids were mine. So were two of the cats. Now it’s populated with many more dogs and cats and just a few kids. Instead of the shouts and cries of children, we listen to the endless yapping of dogs.

          Another sign of this switch to pets over children is the skyrocketing cost of bringing a pet to the Vets. The Vets get it… He/she knows that your dog or cat is your “baby” and you’d pay almost anything to save that baby.

          My neighbors cat was hit by a car. I saw the damage to the hind quarters of the cat, and although the cat was still alive, it was obvious to me that it needed to be put out of it’s misery. I gently shared my assessment of the cats condition with her. She took it to the animal hospital and was told, for $600, that she was looking at extensive surgery that might not work and that she should consider putting the cat to sleep. I’m sure they would have been quite willing to perform that surgery if she had insisted. $$$$$

          I’m going to try to search for that bumper sticker! It says it all.

  • poetcomic1

    You haven’t truly met the insane till you’ve attempted a conversation with a staunch feminist ‘soft’ on radical Islam.

    • Jim

      ….or seen a protest march, “Gays for Sharia”. No joke.

    • http://madamescherzo.tumblr.com/ Mme Scherzo

      Which is why I wonder why Karen Armstrong hasn’t written a book with the title,
      “Why I am not a Muslim”. She sure as rain shills for them right well. I’m certain that filthy lucre doesn’t have anything, anything at all to do with it.

    • Adam__Baum

      You mean like all those “bubbled headed bleach blondes” that have no problem advancing their career by submitting to veil when in an “Islamic” “nation”?

      • Bob

        Exactly! Über Feminist Erin Burnett of CNN the other night made sure she had a colorful head veil the other night reporting from the Iranian elections. Another show she held to the camera a pic of her at her First Holy Communion shrugging her shoulders and basically saying “I’m Catholic, but I believe in abortion, contraception, and woman priests.@

  • JERD

    Without the grounding of a first principle, we are incapable of consistently knowing what is right or good.

    The secular world is comprised of intellectual nomads; minds wandering from place to place; no permanent place to rest its thought filled heads. Conclusions about good and right become as varied and irreconcilable as the variety of places and cultures a nomadic people may inhabit as they move about.

    The great commandment is the only ground upon which a people can find a home; where good and righteousness can settle in all things.

    • Facile1

      I hope by “great commandment”, you mean ‘LOVE GOD FIRST’.

      Language is a human invention. The TRUTH is NOT.

      Language is subject to human error and manipulation. The TRUTH is NOT.

      TRUTH begins with GOD and cannot exist outside of GOD.

      So, if one loves the TRUTH, one must LOVE GOD FIRST.

      Words matter. Otherwise, we cannot agree.

      But the TRUTH (ie GOD) sets us free.

  • Watosh

    Well it appears that men are listening to women feminists just like Adam listened to Eve and we know how that turned out.
    The thing is this country was founded on liberalism, the Constitution is the product of the liberal enlightenment which considers “equality” as our destiny. This pursuit of absolute “equality” has resulted in envy becoming a virtue. Now “equality” can be a legitimate consideration in regard to specific issues, however making “equality” an absolute good is a madness.

    • Carl

      Declaration of Independence:
      “separate and equal station to which laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them”
      “truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”
      “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”
      Equal under Law, equal in God’s nature is the same as equal in dignity and separated in God’s gifts and talents—Church teaching!
      Rights requires duties, our duties will be measured by God given talents and graces! Constitution DOES NOT say Life, Liberty, and to equal outcome in any form what so ever!

      U.S Constitution is the greatest form of Church social teaching ever designed!

      • Carl

        “liberalism” has done a complete 180 degrees since 1776. In 1776 liberalism was the freedom to do God’s will under the confines of His law. Today liberalism is the complete freedom to do man’s will in complete ignorance of God’s law!

        • slainte

          You said: “Today liberalism is the complete freedom to do man’s will in complete ignorance of God’s law”

          I would suggest that many know God’s law, but affirmatively reject it.

          We have become the French Republicans of 1793 living lives governed by an expansive, God-neutral definition of “liberte and egalite”.

      • Watosh

        Once a child is indoctrinated via our grammar school “Parson Weems” level American History, they are crippled for life. There is nothing more for them to learn since America is the greatest nation ever created, and is doing God’s will to create the millennium on earth. Convinced of this, they have no need to raise their intellectual horizons, but instead can chant the Americanist litany, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA ……as a conditioned response. Pope Leo XIII realized the temptation of Americans to idolize their form of government, but his warnings went unheeded and the American Catholics succumbed for the most part to the Americanist Heresy, Our constitution was designed by liberal Deists, just as liberal economists formulated our celebrated conservative economic unrestricted free market principles. were formulated by liberal economists. But we are a nation that believes that by war we can end all wars, and 70 % were convinced Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, and that the rest of the world hates us because of our freedoms, so what can one expect?

      • Facile1

        Whoa! The “US Constitution is the greatest form of Church social teaching ever designed”?

        What Church are you talking about?

    • Facile1

      Men listen to women at their convenience.

    • lasveraneras

      I think you’re confusing the American Revolution with the French Revolution. In France it is Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. The “equality” here was not meant to signify that of opportunity, but that of outcome, to redistribute the income of the aristocracy to the “sans culottes.” On the other hand the American form of government is based on a representative republic, which was a mechanism put in place by the Founding Fathers to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority under a direct democracy. However, we now seem to be seeing the first inkling of an oppressive majority as the number of income tax payers has shrunk to just below 50% of the population. Time to get the debt-fueled entitlement machine revved up to high gear!

      • Watosh

        On the other hand this statistic, i.e. the number of taxpayers has shrunk to just below 59%, indicates the number of poor in this country has been on the increase. for those concerned with the debt-fueled entitlement, the military-industrial- financial complex is by far the largest entitlement fueling our debt. They soak up trillions. The pentagon admits it has no idea where many billions of dollars has disappeared. Then the mega financial investment banks needed trillions to rescue them from their misdeeds, but for some people they can only get aroused at the bail out of the poor. I would be more impressed with their concern about our debt fueled programs if their concern was for all of our debt fueled programs.

  • slainte

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of
    wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the
    epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
    it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything
    before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were
    all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the
    present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being
    received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

    Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

    • musicacre

      Perfect!

  • RP

    Line up the virtues in the middle and contrary vices to the right or left. Each of the positions described will be one of the vices, whether contrary to the same virtue or another further down or up the line.

    It is not insanity. It is evil.

  • msmischief

    “On the next Monday—for the lunacy outlasts the phases of the moon—we are
    told that a pregnant woman is, emotionally, a tender flower, who must
    be protected against people praying for her and her child as she enters
    the abortuary.”

    But she is a perfectly rational, self-possessed being as soon as she steps inside. There must be no question that abortion was her free choice, made with all due weighing of all factors, and it is always the best thing she could have done at the time.

    • Facile1

      I believe women who choose abortion are suicidal to begin with; and so should be treated with the same care and compassion as the seriously depressed.

      As a parish volunteer who was trained to deal with ‘people suffering from depression’, we were first trained to assess the subject’s potential towards suicide. We were told to remove ourselves to safety if there is serious doubt and to call authorities who are better trained and equipped to deal with the potential for violence.

      One should always remember, the ‘suicidal’ are ‘homicidal’. One cannot love one’s neighbor better than one loves one’s self.

      Making abortion legal does not help a ‘suicidal’/’homicidal’ woman. Making abortion legal merely allows authorities (the doctors, the police, etc.) to ignore the very real suffering of the woman. Abortion is certainly never “the best thing she could have done at the time.” But it is certainly the coward’s choice for both woman and the LAW.

      I urge women who had abortions to seek repentance. Our sins are not news to God. God loved us first and has forgiven. God cannot love us any less for our choices. God loves us always.

      As for the LAW with regard to abortion, it has to change. Let us not pretend it serves women.

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  • TheodoreSeeber

    I think large amounts of this are due to compression of time in memory. The circle isn’t quite the 24 hour news cycle, it’s really 4-5 years.

  • roxwyfe

    Alice would feel right at home in our modern age. Unfortunately, you’ve hit several nails directly on the head. Or would that be considered nail cruelty to be avoided at all costs?

  • Jambe d’Argent

    The first error: “All animals are equal”. The second error: “Some animals are more equal than the others”.

    • Bono95

      Very true.

  • tamsin

    On Saturday, we are told that no man is an island. On Sunday, we are told that every woman is an island.

    Best line. But I’d change the order to perfect it: On Saturday night we are told that every woman is an island. On Sunday morning we are told that no man is an island.

  • Carl

    After reading this I’m convinced that the National Organization for Women may think they are as wise as serpents but in reality they are as subtle as female dogs in heat.

    • Bono95

      They ain’t as wise as serpents, but they are rather snakelike in other ways.

      • John200

        … nor do they have much in common with doves.

        • Bono95

          Yeah, I’m seeing more crows, blue jays, vultures, harpies….

    • Facile1

      Men listen to women at their convenience.

      After all, the Supreme Court that ruled for abortion in “Roe vs. Wade” were composed ENTIRELY of men.

      Women do not have the exclusive rights to nonsense.

  • Regis Martin

    What a smashing piece, Tony! It is always perilous to appear alongside Professor Esolen, whose trenchancy and humor eclipse everything else on the page. I don’t mind, actually, as it is such a joy to read you.

    • Tony

      Dear Regis — that’s funny, because I was saying the same thing about you to my wife the other day! Thank you. I only wish there weren’t so much of the madness to write about.

  • Takeheart

    The western world has turned away from seeking truth to redefining it.

  • Daria

    “On Friday, we are told that the notion of the “common good” is trumped by the individual’s supposed right to be antisocial in matters of sex.”

    This is the best internet article I’ve read in a month, but–forgive me, it’s midafternoon and I’m sleepy–I can’t figure what the above line refers to. “right to be antisocial in matters of sex” means?

    • Tony

      Hello Daria — the right to believe that sexual activity concerns only the agents and nobody else; that children, neighbors, parents, and mankind generally have no interest whatsoever in sexual virtue. It’s complete madness. You can just imagine what would happen to business if we believed something analogous about mercantile honesty.

      • Daria

        Got it. I was imagining a more specific issue, since so many of your other examples of modern self-contradiction were specific. ( I was wondering if anti-social sex meant masturbation!). But yes, “anti-social sex” really covers so much of what is wrong with the decline of society, or rather the cliff that society is jumping off.

        • msmischief

          That the transmission of STDs is not a public concern.

          You know, we do know how to contain a fatal, incurable STD. We did it with syphilis. That we did not do it with AIDS comes from the howls of outrage at the notion. (Which would make them the greatest homophobes on Earth, if they followed their own standards.)

  • Sherry

    On my earlier post, I indicated that Helen Alvare’s book was “Women Speak for Themselves”. However, the actual title of her book is: “Breaking Through – Catholic Women Speak for Themselves”.

  • Billy Bean

    Precious few trolls commenting on this one. I mean, what could they say? And yet, they always seems to find a way . . .

  • musicacre

    Chesterton would definitely have had endless material for pointing out outlandish contradictions in our culture that is scurrying for meaning, after making truth illegal.

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  • Ford Oxaal

    The pace of the article accelerates to a Promethean climax. An inspired piece of writing.

  • MoniC

    Wow, love this!

  • Bono95

    “A dagger of the mind is more dangerous than a dagger of steel.”
    How does that Macbeth monologue that begins “Is that a dagger which I see before me?” go again?

  • wonderingaboutromethesedays

    Yes, and listen to Pope Francis if you really want a bigger headache!

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  • OJS

    I think it was logic, not reason, that is only kept.
    The Chesterton quote is something like (from a bad memory):
    “The problem with the madman isn’t that he’s not logical; the problem with him is that he’s ONLY logical”
    OJS

    • Facile1

      Reason is the ‘super set’ of logic?

      Hmmmm. So, madmen are ‘collapsed stars’?

      I guess I can buy into that.

  • Facile1

    This is brilliant. I am speechless.

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  • Demon Teddy Bear

    Splendid – thank you.

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  • Vivianne

    Amazing but true!

  • Ana

    I’ve noticed it too that they are making less and less sense every single day. The only part of your essay that I completely disagree with and mildly resent is the part where you claim they announced that violence against women is a bad thing. Alas saying this only puts you square in the line of fire of survivors who have been trying to tell the all male establishment this for decades to no avail. If it has always been a bad thing, then why was it passed into law only in the 70s and 80s? Did the nation’s leaders only realize it then? If men already know it is a bad thing, then why do only 3 out of 100 rapists get any jail time? Maybe *you* already know but perhaps can’t imagine that other men have a hard time knowing it. The police delcare unfounded close to 50% of valid rape accusations just simply because they think that the behavior was nasty but not illegal.

    • Ana

      Professor, I just have to add that your mockery ” We wonder what took them so long to discover it.” Hit a very raw and painful spot. Not one of the 4 men that raped me think what they did was “bad” and neither did the police. The deafness I personally experienced at the hands of men is truly devastating, and for you to turn around and mock women like me who have to over and over again explain that men’s actions are hurtful, is hurtful in and of itself. I only say this to you not out of anger but out of agony because Jesus taught me that men (and women too) are hard of hearing and I need to expect this deafness as painful as it is. So I once again have to tell my story so that maybe one more person can realize that the reason why women shout so LOUD is that men are hard of hearing. Bless you for noticing, but now that you have noticed their cry, try maybe listening.

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  • givelifeachance2

    Add to that…the following week, you are dismissed as a conspiracy nut for suggesting there might be some common threads linking together these radical contradictions .

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  • Lila Rajiva

    I laughed out loud. Beautifully and wittily written and so to the bone.
    I wish you as great an audience as you deserve, Dr. Esolen.

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