Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Is Statism the new normal?

Rasmussen: 32% Favor Marriage Law That Punishes Verbal Abuse:

But a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 32% of Americans say the United States should have a law that punishes individuals for verbal and psychological abuse of their spouses. Forty percent (40%) are opposed to such a law, and another 27% are not sure.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of men are against a law that cracks down on arguing in marriages. Women are much more narrowly divided on the question. Adults ages 18 to 39 think the law’s a better idea than their elders do.

Interestingly, married adults are less enthusiastic about a law against verbal and psychological abuse of spouses than unmarried adults are – by a 43% to 36% margin.

When I read that 32% of people agreed that verbal and psychological abuse should be prosecuted and 27% are unsure, I really start to wonder about a society that even considers such draconian ideas. How did we get to this point?

And why is it when someone threatens to kill others or harm others in institutions such as schools or in the military, that is okay--especially if they are politically correct about it? The worst that happens is a psychological evaluation, typically. Or is it is just the same old war against boys (and men) that is really the key here? Or is statism just the new normal in the US?

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Blogger Cham said...

I guess if we are going to be punished for verbal discourse, we can hone our passive aggressive skills and silent treatment. Nothing says disagreement quite like months of silence and nasty looks.

8:02 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger yukio ngaby said...

@ Cham


8:40 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

fear not. If you know a lawyer he or she will get you off the hook. For a price.

8:50 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger MikeT said...

I suspect the reason why married women are less sanguine about the law than unmarried women is that they realize all of the possible ways that their nagging could be blown out of proportion into a criminal offense.

We regulate in ways today that the old absolute monarchs of Europe would have found unconscionable.

8:58 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

new laws = new bureaucrats.

entrepreneurialism is alive and well in the judicial system.

9:36 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

When does a discussion become an argument? At what point?

When one party realizes that they are not going to prevail, I think. Then they are ready to call in the power of the state to bring down the law on their spouse for arguing with them. This speaks volumes about the extent to which marriage has been degraded today.

If one member of a couple is willing to see the one another prosecuted under the law for failing to agree, then they value the marriage very, very little. The old values of love, honor, and obey seem to have gone completely out the window!

The very idea of making the state a party to a marriage is intrinsically evil. The marriage should be between a man, a woman, and God, and no others. Specifically, the state should have no role whatsoever in a marriage. But then, where would that leave the feminists? Up a creek, I suppose. Too bad!

10:43 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Evan M. Thomas said...

I don't believe we "got to this point;" we've always been there. If you look at the how the founder's checked the people's power, it was to curb the people's instinct to give away all their rights.

If anything, we've probably improved in the past couple of hundred years.

10:50 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

"Specifically, the state should have no role whatsoever in a marriage."


Then why get married under the state's laws?

Just do whatever ceremony or incantations or whatever that your particular religion calls for and basta.

The state only gets involved when you marry under the state's laws.

11:05 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

I also think it's amusing when people cook up their own version of a religion or know "what God thinks" in great detail, particularly when their notions are not based on anything solid or at best a mish-mash of concepts that they want to keep from a Holy Book (and ignoring the concepts they don't want to keep).

11:09 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

France can pass all the laws they like, the US is bound by the constitution which is pretty explicit with the first amendment in its description of freedom of speech:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

However, we are quickly becoming a society where verbal discussions which include a disagreement are frowned upon. People, mainly the younger generation, are much more comfortable with email (with copious amounts of ccs and bccs). Not only do we want to avoid physical interaction but we want witnesses to our carefully worded notations. Email a coworker you have issues with their contributions? Make sure you bcc the boss and the rest of the department so that you can showcase your diplomacy skills and cover your ass. The mere thought of potentially hurting someones feelings surmounts positive changes and getting anything done. We're a feelings-first society.

11:17 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...


The Supreme Court can and does put boundaries on time, manner and place of speech, it doesn't consider certain types of "speech" worthy of protection (for instance defrauding someone and saying that it was your right to say what you want, or the famous example of screaming fire in a crowded theater), and it could very well decide - if a case even makes it up there - that verbally abusing someone is an ACT (subject to regulation) and not an exercise of free speech.

I mean, just to spell it out for you.

11:21 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Dr.D --

"The marriage should be between a man, a woman, and God, and no others."

Which god?

11:24 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

I also think that men are extremely wary about calling the police on their wives (with very good reason), and any new law that is put in place would be used by women against men. That's very clear to me.

There are even women who beat on their husbands (without him hitting back) and then, in a fit of rage, call 911 to try to have the cops beat on him as well. That's the level of entitlement that some women have. They are shocked when the cops don't help to beat up the husband (assuming they don't - they may well do it if they are chivalrous cops and just assume the man must be at fault).

11:26 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger LPF said...

I think we need something similar for the dating world:

I think we need a law that makes it illegal for a woman to give a man blue balls. If she's gonna start the engine, she should have to go for a drive...

11:34 AM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Double "heh" to Cham's first comment. Interesting point about passive aggressiveness, too. Will outlawing passive aggressiveness soon follow? In my observation passive aggressiveness is a form of psychological abuse although it's not as readily apparent.

If such a law came into being, I would flat out and openly tell my sons and every other male to NEVER GET MARRIED. (My daughter too, as she can be quite snippy at times.)

12:51 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Mary said...

Or is it is just the same old war against boys (and men) that is really the key here?

I'm sure that's it helen. No matter the issue, isn't everyone thinking, "How can we screw the men, and the young boys especially??"

Then we find a pill, or a support group, or some other way to acknowledge how society is victimizing our male members. Keep at it! It's the only way to save society (can you get another batch of those books printing teaching boys how to play outside? I don't know without you here helping HOW our males will ever learn how to grow up and be men. Thanks again for seeing the problem, and understanding that even as a woman doctor, you are in a position to publicize publicize publicize how they are weakening our men! Aren't you lucky you had a girl and not a boy? ;-)

12:51 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

The bar is set so low for "verbal abuse" that the phrase has no meaning. If someone in a marriage complains about the cooking it is now verbal abuse. When people accuse their spouse of verbal abuse I always ask a lot of questions because I have found that calling something "verbal abuse" is usually verbal abuse in that the person doing the labeling abuses the word abuse by applying it to something that made them feel uncomfortable rather than something that harmed them abusively.

"Verbal abuse" is often short hand for "take my side in this matter."


1:01 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Tether said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:06 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Tether said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:08 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Tether said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:08 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

hey tether, the tourettes flairing up again?

1:31 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Mary said...

I second Trey, above.

1:38 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

If the state should have no say in a marriage then why is it that I must apply to the state to allow me and my beloved to marry? Why the state for divorce?
The thinker/writer Paul Goodman would not marry but lived with a woman because he said it ought not be up to the state to tell him he could marry.

2:05 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

Is there something in the Bible or elsewhere in Christian theology that commands you to get married?

I'm asking that seriously.

And if so, how do you distinguish that - and know you are supposed to follow it - as opposed to some other things in the Bible that are taken with a grain of salt and not followed today, even by radical Christians.

2:15 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

JG, this is a good question and I hope you will allow me to answer it.

In the OT, I think it was part of being fruitful and multiplying that people felt God wanted us to marry. Marriage was the condition placed on sex, and sex leads to children, and the benefits of children are mentioned too, so I think this was the OT approach.

In the New Testament, Paul has a much less positive view of marriage because he saw it could be a hindrance to Christians serving God with all their heart. Yet Paul mentioned that this was his idea, and he was not writing it at the command of God.

So, that seems mixed to me.

The more challenging aspect of Scripture and marriage is how it is given as a blessing from God when done correctly.

But there is certainly no direct commandment to marriage that I am aware of.


2:27 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

"Marriage was the condition placed on sex ..."


Where is that part in the Bible?

2:32 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

And the second - unanswered - question was about how you distinguish certain commands in the Bible as being "valid" and others as not being "valid".

Or do Christians here agree that an unfaithful woman should be stoned to death?

2:33 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

There are a number of Christian pastors that will marry a couple in the Church without a state issued marriage license. This keeps the state out of it entirely. Of course, as far as the state is concerned, the couple are not legally married, but they have God's blessing and are properly married in the eyes of the Christian community. This is the way it should be. The state has no role to play here, and should butt out.

Someone asked "what god?" The answer is the only true God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, creator of Heaven and earth. There is no other god worthy of the name.

2:37 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

fred asked "If the state should have no say in a marriage then why is it that I must apply to the state to allow me and my beloved to marry?"

A cogent question fred. It is my understanding that the state got in the business of marriage in order to try to keep blacks and white marrying. What a nasty business!

I have heard tell of Christian ministers who will NOT marry a couple if the couple register with the state. While this is a bit contrarian, it is intriguing to me. Their way of thinking is that the state holds marriage (and for some of the proponents, men) in such low regard that people who want a good and Christian marriage need to abide by spiritual rather than legal guidelines to facilitate that better union.

So the foundation of state control of marriage is based in hate, ignorance, control, and bigotry. Lovely!

I have not thought out how that affects current legal considerations of marriage, but the situation, and your comment, beg the question of gay and alternative marriages.


2:40 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

7th commandment, thou shalt not commit adultery. Adultery is sex with a person you are not married to.

As to the second question, it is tricky and I have a patient on the way.

But thanks for letting me try to answer your question.

I appreciate it.


2:42 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

OK, I'm not trying to ask trick questions.

I assumed that adultery was sex with someone else while you were married, but I'll accept your interpretation.

2:54 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:58 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...


You realize that if you simply substitute "Allah" (which simply means God in Arabic) in your statement, that's the kind of thing that radical Moslems say (except for the Jesus part).

Instead of pushing your religion on agnostics who don't really want a lesson from you, why don't you get into a heated argument with them about whose God is better?

2:59 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger David said...

Hypothesis: as more and more people follow careers that involve mainly writing/talking/symbol manipulation, the distinction between speech and action is being lost.

If you're a farmer or a machinist or a cook or even an electrical engineer, it's pretty clear to you what is speech and what is action. If you're a lawyer or a literature professor or a consultant, not so much.

4:57 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

i don`t think you have to be a christian or even married to dislike an unfaithful woman....though stoning seems a little over the top.

5:01 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

"... though stoning seems a little over the top."


My point, though, is that when picking and choosing what you retain from the Bible and what you ignore, how do you make that decision (that is addressed at the religious people here).

There's lots and lots of pretty extreme doings and pronouncements in the Bible, mostly in the Old Testament.

I'm asking because Christians sometimes say that they like the religion because it provides a moral base. But if there is some kind of screening going on with regard to what you keep as a moral precept from the Bible and what you reject, then you ALREADY have a moral base somewhere in your noggin.

Anyway ... how is the decision made to loudly proclaim some command as being from scripture and label something else as "only symbolic" or even just ignore it?

5:14 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

Back to the article at hand here:

It appears - because of the encroachment of laws involving domestic issues that are more and more vague, not just in France - that the trend is towards simply removing the man from the house, or throwing him in jail, if the woman is simply displeased.

I say that because ...

... I don't think men are going to be calling the police station and saying that their wife was mean to them as often as women will do it. Not anywhere near as often and

... police officers have a chivalrous bent towards women, although I think this is changing somewhat.

Women are getting more and more tools to find *something* if the guy isn't acting exactly how she wants him to, or is otherwise irritating her.

5:19 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger BarryD said...

Anyway ... how is the decision made to loudly proclaim some command as being from scripture and label something else as "only symbolic" or even just ignore it?

According to the appetites and proclivities of those who make the proclamation, perhaps?

I mean, there's nothing in the New Testament that says we can start eating bacon and enjoying it -- Peter's vision about digging into an unclean feast was about preaching to non-Jews, not breaking Jewish food laws.

Paul's view of marriage and women in the church, in his own words...

1 Timothy 2: 11-15

11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But women[a] will be saved[b] through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

6:02 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

What I find bizarre in these proposals is that it's openly stated that the goal is to prevent abuse of women, and while men can be loud, true verbal and emotional cruelty isn't a sexually exclusive thing. Anecdotally, the most cruelly abusive people I know are all women (I know there are exceptions, just not popped into my head while writing this.)

I also raise the question: is the failure of one spouse to provide for the sexual needs and desires of the other psychological abuse?

6:06 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Locomotive Breath said...

Leave the state out of marriage then, fine.

Also leave out all the state-sponsored benefits like right of survivorship, etc., etc. That's what the state sanction of marriage is all about these days. It's also why gays and lesbians are so desperate to have the state sanction marriage for them.

9:37 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

JG's question about what Old Testament law is thought to not apply to Christians is a great question. I think it has two answers.

In practice, most of us as Christians get most publically upset about sins that we either do not struggle with, or which we hope are "worse" than our own. That is because most serious Christians struggle some with Legalism. This is the Old Testament approach to being in relationship with God. Follow His commandments, and He will love us. But nobody CAN follow the commandments, so we are left knowing that we do not make the cut. So we look to another group with another sin so we can pretend that we are better than them, which is a lie, but we act it out as if that will help us make the cut.

See the virulent homophobia in some of the church for an example. We are ashamed of our own sexual sin, which is damning, so we focus on someone else's prohibited behavior as if it were somehow worse than our own. Ashamed, we condemn.

So Christians have a sinful bias that we should contend with. When we don't win the struggle we get judgmental and useless.

From a more theological approach, Jesus' sacrificial death switched the rules. Where once impossible obedience was required for us to approach our Deity, now acceptance of Christ's substitutionary death for us is the key to salvation and greater community with God.

This changed things in a couple of ways that are relevent to your question.

First, obedience was done for us, so in Christ people are free of guilt. Jesus did it for us. He lived a perfect life and then took on the shame and punishment of our sin by dying and going to hell for us. Because he loves us.

So in one way, it loosens the ties of the small l law, the 613 laws of Leviticus and elsewhere in the Mosaic OT. Thus, Jesus told Peter to rise, kill, and eat animals that he was forbidden to eat in the 613, Jesus defended his cleaning some grain on the Sabath when he and his folks were hungry, and Paul and Peter agreed that non-Jewish Christians were not required to be circumscised or follow the 613. And Jesus cooled and stopped a crowd that was going to stone a woman for adultry.

On the other hand, Jesus strengthened the law by saying that if a man just looked at a woman with lust in his heart he was as guilty as if he had committed adultry. He said that calling someone a fool put us at risk with God. So in these ways, he changed the interpretation of the law by making it broader and even harder to follow.

I see it as Jesus teaching us that we are all sinful and incompetent without God's help and guidance, that we are bound for eternal separation from God because of our sins, and that Jesus took care of that for us.

For many of us, it makes us less afraid but more sad because of our sin.

But for too much of the time, the first approach, based in shame and blame, is the most likely way of understanding Christianity's approach to understanding the OT law.

Thanks for asking. I hope I was able to answer a bit of your question.


10:52 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Not to go too far OT, but I would like to know why only homosexual couples can get a civil union from certain states but not heterosexual couples. New York is like this. This sounds very discriminatory.

8:27 AM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger cma said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:46 PM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger cma said...

Locomotive Breath said...

"Leave the state out of marriage then, fine.

Also leave out all the state-sponsored benefits like right of survivorship, etc., etc. That's what the state sanction of marriage is all about these days. It's also why gays and lesbians are so desperate to have the state sanction marriage for them."

If that were true, then civil union (which conveys all these benefits) should satisfy the demands of those campaigning for gay marriage.

That is doesn't, suggests that these benefits are not the (only) goal of those demanding gay marriage.

1:48 PM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger Alex said...

Dr. Helen - I'm disappointed in you. You think that we are becoming more statist then past times? FFS - we passed a fucking Constitutional amendment banning alcohol in 1919! If anything we've been becoming a less statist nation with every passing year since then. It's just that the over consumption of media gives one the impression that there is an overabundance of statist attitudes. Please gain some perspective and stop posting these hysterical articles.

5:35 PM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

"That is doesn't, suggests that these benefits are not the (only) goal of those demanding gay marriage."


No, what gay people want is some kind of confirmation from society that what they are doing is completely normal.

I personally could not possibly care less about the issue. Whether they get marriage or not.

I have never understood exactly what marriage is - that's probably why I'm approaching 50 and have never married and most probably never will marry.

I've seen friends go into marriage and, ten or fifteen years later, absolutely get decimated in divorce court. I don't understand why men marry at all, I don't understand what marriage is supposed to be, and I don't understand why gays want it.

It will be interesting to see how they handle a divorce of two women, though. Both will be victims and both are entitled to support.

Actually, I think they are going to assign the male role to one and the female role to the other. That's what happened with the breakup between Martina Navratilova and Judy Nelson. Martina was the big earner, so she was the man who had to pay lots and lots and lots and lots of money over the victim, Judy Nelson, who played the girl role.

5:39 PM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

In my 20s, I experienced male relatives who poked their meaty finger into my chest and declared that Real Men get married (and they are getting married, of course). My answer was "OK".

Then, 20 years later, with the meaty finger withdrawn, or pointing in a limp way towards the ground, they are complaining that they are living in a little apartment while the wife is living in the big family house, not working naturally, and getting a huge chunk of his paycheck. My answer was "OK".

But every year brings a new crop of hopped-up men who just KNOW what they are doing with marriage.

5:47 PM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

"No, what gay people want is some kind of confirmation from society that what they are doing is completely normal."



8:16 AM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

"You think that we are becoming more statist then past times?"

Well, I sure think that. 41% of people who file income tax pay NONE. That means the 59% of us who do pay are picking up their bill. That is not indicative of the land of the free or the home of the brave.

I am disappointed in you for not recognizing that Alex. Buy yourself a cup of coffee and smell it.


8:20 AM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger Mary said...

"No, what gay people want is some kind of confirmation from society that what they are doing is completely normal."



I know you've got your teacher hat on here Trey, but quite simply, you are wrong. And I don't suspect in your snowflake church circles, where homosexuals are seen as sinners -- that you actually talk with any about these issues.

Many want the legal protections and financial benefits that come from plunking down $35 for a license, not jumping through special expensive contractual hoops, that may or may not be honored in some states.

We really don't care if you come to the weddings Trey, or even are forced to teach your boys and girls about such sinful things.

Hopefully I have taught you something here. Now give the lil snowflakes a hug, and keep working on taking off those pounds so you'll be around to watch them grow up.

7:34 PM, January 15, 2010  
Blogger Mary said...

ps. Did you get some kind of guarantee that the children you adopted were not the offspring of a gay couple trying artificial insemination?

In some churches you know, your little offsprings are the products of sin themselves -- artificially and not naturally created.

Wait, let me see if I can find that bit in the Bible, about accepting what he gives you in the fertility game, and not playing God just to raise somebody else's little snowflakes...

7:37 PM, January 15, 2010  
Blogger Mary said...

Just so you can be properly educated, of course. Not that I'm judging the choices you and your wife made to create your (potentially sinful) family.

I just want you to please ask me any questions, Trey, you might have about what some Churches think about your way of family formation. Because you might want to pull that speck out of your eye one day... Indeed.

7:38 PM, January 15, 2010  
Blogger Alex said...

Mary - your tone is very hateful and condescending. You are what you espouse to hate.

7:39 PM, January 15, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Mary, I have no idea what it is you are trying to tell Trey. You speak (write) so obliquely, without ever really saying plainly what your point is. Could you just state your idea, without beating around the bush and name calling?

8:25 PM, January 15, 2010  
Blogger RealManTM said...

Alex, Dr. D, while it makes perfect sense to feel pity for internet trolls like Mary(for obvious reasons), please do not allow your pity to lead you into feeding them. Not many people want to read inane blather, especially blather that takes 3 posts to say nothing of value.

8:41 PM, January 15, 2010  
Blogger Mary said...

Dr.D.: I believe Trey will understand what I am trying to tell him.

Alex: It's a writing technique, not hate. See, I am employing logic, and teaching of genuine relious holdings and applying it to a specific family situation -- identical to the paragraph I quoted of Trey. Perhaps you misunderstand my gentle suggestion that he rethink that of what he knows of gay people, so much so that he is undertaking to teach others. I was wondering the same of him, in a slightly different family/religious situation.

Lol @RMTM... You know what they say if you've got to advertise; are your sons named King and Prince? Plus, I got how many to read those 3 comments ... and 3 bites on an old thread in an hour. Y'all holler back; busy weekend, but I'll check ya by Sunday.

10:00 PM, January 15, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Dr. D. wrote: "Mary, I have no idea what it is you are trying to tell Trey."

Me neither. I don't read his posts.

I think it bothers him.

A little.


7:49 PM, January 16, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Trey, I don't think I understand the point of your last post either. What am I missing?

8:14 PM, January 16, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Dr.D., Mary's posts are contentious and worthless in my opinion. So I stopped reading them. Every now and then I see my name mentioned in a response to one of Mary's posts, so I guess Mary is still writing to or about me.

There are just a couple of people who post here who are not worth reading, Tether being one of the others, so I just refrain!


9:39 AM, January 17, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

I scroll past Tether, Topher, Mary, Doom and JG.

9:46 PM, January 17, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

I read Topher, Doom, and JG as I find their posts though provoking. And I read you for the same reason as well Cham.

And I do not get the same vibe from Lisa that some others do, I enjoy and read her posts too.

Reality is a mess and I lose interest in his after a couple of angry sentences.


8:35 AM, January 18, 2010  

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