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Over at Faith & Heritage, Robert Fingolfin posted a couple of articles detailing his positions against vaccination.  Here I will present my own thoughts on the matter.

Once you “unplug” so to speak from the Matrix of the mainstream, whether the issue is race or Keynesian economics, there is a sore temptation to a harmful form of intellectual pride.  This pride is the thought that you are smarter than the “lemmings” who unquestionably believe everything mainstream authorities tell them.  However, it is illogical to assume that since the mainstream is wrong on subject X, that it is also wrong on subject Y.  Each issue must be evaluated independently, and there is the very distinct possibility that both the mainstream AND the promulgator of an alternative hypothesis are both wrong, especially when the latter is trying to sell you a health supplement, book, or newsletter.  There are three useful heuristics I use to determine the validity of any alternative hypothesis, and then I will discuss how the heuristics relate to the vaccine controversy:

a. Conspiracy theories are almost always wrong and should be rejected out-of-hand.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that someone promoting a hypothesis supported by a conspiracy theory is wrong, but rather that the conspiracy theory doesn’t prove anything useful.  If the CDC, the government and the medical establishment are promulgating fraudulent data, then no rational argument can be made.  It is impossible to prove the conspiracy, and also impossible to disprove the conspiracy, and since the conspiracy controls the data, nothing can be learned from that as well.  Except for very small conspiracies, most things happen based on the promulgation of a shared worldview and consensus.  This is why the research of Kevin MacDonald is so important: he liberated the study of Jewish influence in Western societies from the conspiracy nuts, and simply demonstrated that what some claim is a massive Jewish conspiracy is really the spontaneous cooperation of a relatively small group of recently immigrated, Eastern European Jews sharing an anti-Christian, anti-Western worldview (to cite a contrary example, the Western European Jews inhabiting Southern urban centers were largely supportive, loyal citizens of the Confederacy and did not agitate against the prevailing Christian social order).

Large conspiracies don’t work because people tend to talk.  Conspiracy theory thinking is also debilitating in the sense that it fosters both a sense of pride (secret knowledge) and learned helplessness (it’s no use to try to change anything because the Conspiracy is so powerful).  It leaves its adherents in an almost dispensationalist-style paralysis instead of a Dominion-taking postmillenial worldview.

This question in relation to vaccines is the worldview of those promoting them, notably the medical establishment.  When I or someone I know has a health condition, I spend a lot of time looking up evidence-based information.  Universally, I have been impressed with the evidence-based orientation of nearly all medical doctors.  Mainstream medicine’s dedication to slow, incremental progress through the scientific method is admirable.  In addition, medicine has become MORE evidence-based over time, gradually shedding outdated hypotheses.  In contrast, the “magical thinkers” who construct elaborate theories without the bother of scientific experiments have withered.  Virtually no one, for example, not even the practitioners themselves for the most part, takes seriously the original hypotheses of chiropractic (all maladies originate in the spine).

b. First and foremost is the existence of controlled scientific studies confirming or disproving a given hypothesis.  Many religious folks have an aversion to the idea of science, but I believe the scientific method is simply a form of applied Calvinism.  Any pseudoscientific blowhard like Sigmund Freud or Mary Baker Eddy can construct complex systems of thought that seem to make sense.  The scientific method, however, calls fallen humans on their tendency to intellectual fraud by demanding evidence.  Specifically, science demands that any system of thought be able to successfully predict the outcomes of a controlled experiment.  Hypotheses confirmed by many experiments become theories.  This is why the “Theory of Evolution” is a misnomer, unless we are talking about microevolution, as its use to explain ultimate origins is a hypothesis at best.  Ironically, it is because of the misuse of the “Theory of Evolution” that many Christians have rejected science, when in fact macroevolution is not experimental science, but rather just a well-developed but (so far) untested hypothesis (a first step to prove macroevolution would involve a demonstration of speciation among animals descended from common ancestors, which is posited based on interpretations of fossil evidence and carbon dating, but has yet to be demonstrated in realtime; microevolution is a scientific fact, of course, and can be demonstrated within hours with various stimuli to bacterial cultures).

I don’t think any serious commentator questions the efficacy of vaccines.  There are critiques around the edges (e.g. they don’t offer protection against all varieties of a disease, they only work for a limited time, etc), but every reasonable person can acknowledge that vaccines generally confer limited immunity to certain diseases for a certain period of time. Robert makes one of these edge critiques with his citing of public health statistics demonstrating that certain vaccines get credit for eradicating a disease when in fact, he posits, it was a general increase in public health and sanitation.  I’ll make two minor points about this:

i. Robert has cherry-picked his data and I believe misinterpreted it.  No one disputes that disease spreads by two interacting vectors: immunity and promulgation.  The Black Death eventually ended in Europe because the only people left alive for the most part were those already immune to it.  A disease that cannot infect cannot spread.  Similarly, improvements in sanitation caused a systemic reduction in the vectors of promulgation.  It should be obvious, however, that any such systemic efforts are subject to a declining returns curve.  Once people have sanitary water and sewer, the major pre-sanitation disease-spreading vectors, the next steps in preventing the spread of disease are going to have a declining return.  After all, even in a perfectly sanitary public system, people are still going to get sick and be around other people to spread the disease.  The major vectors (water and sewer) have been eliminated, but the minor vector has not and generally cannot reliably be removed (quarantines, such as those described in his second post, can work, but often do not because not every person exposed can be accurately identified).  It is not correct to linearly extrapolate the coincident improvement in sanitation and say that the additional gains post-vaccination are really gains related to improving sanitation.

ii. There are certain diseases where this does not hold true, for example, rubella, where the vaccine was introduced in the late 1960’s after virtually all of the US had adequate public sanitation:

iii. I’d also point out that many of the liberty-based objections Robert has to vaccines also apply to public sanitation.  For example, since I don’t have city sewer at my home, my state requires me to have an aerobic septic system, and requires me to maintain the system with a licensed installer at a cost of about $300 per year.  This is an imposition on my natural rights, but is necessary to prevent me from polluting my neighbors’ water supplies and land, and I support it because I know some people will simply pump raw sewage into a drainage ditch if not regulated.  While the issue of vaccines is more emotional (injections into the body of your child), it is not significantly more invasive than public sanitation regulations.  Americans have traditionally held that the individual states, not the federal government, have the prerogative to regulate this sort of thing, but I doubt Robert would be any happier about vaccines if it involved the state government instead of the federal.

Now that we have dealt with these side issues, the primary issue most often brought up is the idea that more children are harmed from vaccines than benefit from them. Is this true?  According to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System operated by the CDC, about 3,000 children suffered a serious reaction to a vaccine, and far fewer died; this likely overstates the case, as these are simply reports by parents, not validated vaccine issues (when children die, parents are often eager to blame vaccines which are sometimes just coincidental).  But let’s assume the 3,000 is an accurate figure.  Let’s compare that to the results of just one vaccine, rubella.  As you can see above, rubella was holding steady at about 25 cases per 100,000 population in the mid-1960’s before the vaccine.  With over 300 million people in the US, this represents 75,000 cases of rubella that we could expect a year without the vaccine, even with modern public sanitation.  I’d expect that the average “serious reaction” to a vaccine is considerably less serious than contracting rubella.

It is important to acknowledge that many early Christian critics of vaccines argued that because they were so effective at preventing death and disease, they should not be used because they hindered God’s providential punishment for human sin.  Those who made this argument obviously have a very defective theology, but it’s ironic that contemporary Christian critics of vaccines make the opposite argument, i.e. that they are harmful and ineffective.

There is one other angle to discuss which brings up another complicated issue.  There is definitely a risk in getting your child vaccinated, and the risk in NOT getting your child vaccinated is likewise very low.  In fact, because vaccines have eradicated these diseases, the total risk of vaccination (though very small) probably now exceeds the risk of not vaccinating, i.e. the bad consequences of stopping vaccination only occur if most people stop vaccinating; if 99% of people vaccinate, 1% can choose not to and likely never pay a consequence because the diseases can never spread to them through the vaccinated population.  However, if you choose not to vaccinate you and your children are lowering your risk slightly but essentially piggybacking on the vaccination risks taken by others which serve to mitigate your risk.  I think this is potentially an immoral stance, if taken consciously, though I should note most non-vaccinators are not consciously choosing a parasitic strategy, but rather are genuinely motivated by a (IMO misplaced and incorrect) concern about the risk to their child’s health.

I should note that the risk of not vaccinating is rising considerably due to our Third World immigration policies.  It’s one thing to choose not to vaccinate in rural Vermont; it’s and\ entirely different level of risk in Houston or Los Angeles.  Also, if your children ever pursue mission work in the Third World, not vaccinating can also be a risky decision.

c. So far, in outlining a general method to consider alternative hypotheses against the mainstream, I have counseled you to reject conspiracy theories, embrace data and to apply the scientific method to investigating the truth claims of the hypothesis.  I add to this a third heuristic, which consists of two conditions, both of which must be true to give the alternative hypothesis credibility:

i. Those espousing the alternative hypothesis are actively being persecuted: by this I mean not simply ridiculed but actually being driven out of polite society and their employment for espousing the position.

ii. Those persecuting the promulgators of the alternative theory must have a financial incentive to do so.

For example, on the issue of race, people espousing a belief in racial differences are actively hounded out of respectable society and their jobs.  Similarly, the affirmative action and equality racket has a definite financial interest in continuing to use “racism” as a tool to extract resources from whites.  Generally, persecution of one’s opponents is only worth the political capital if the scientific evidence is so overwhelming and obvious that the only way to maintain power is to silence dissent.  This persecution gives additional credibility to the substantial scientific evidence that race matters.

This same reasoning doesn’t quite hold true for vaccines, or for “alternative health” in general.  Anyone is free to believe in colloidial silver, shark cartilage, energy healing, aromatherapy, chiropractic or any other sort of alternative health system without fearing losing their job.  Jenny McCarthy is a celebrity who actively promotes the (debunked for the most part) idea that vaccines cause autism, yet while some dismiss her as loopy she is not hounded out of Hollywood.

Financially, vaccines are considered by most pharmaceutical companies to be extremely low margin, undesirable product lines.  You get maybe $5 and then the possibility of an emotional parent suing you when her child dies (of whatever cause) after getting the vaccine, a perfect plaintiff for some lawyer and a jury to stick it to you (and then once one jury sticks it to you, thousands of plaintiffs pile on, all able to use the original jury’s verdict to secure the facts for their own).  Vaccines are such a bad business that Congress has had to reduce their liability for injuries and also extend the patent period for new vaccines to entice manufacturers to stay in the business.

In “alternative health” generally, the opposite holds true financially.  The promoters of alternative health products stand to gain a lot (for some, billions) if their ideas are accepted, while those they attack in the medical establishment benefit very little from debunking them.  Doctors make their money on serious illnesses and surgeries, and it’s simply not a credible financial threat to them for people to use silver instead of a $4 antibiotic, as most people are sane enough to go to an M.D. when there’s a serious acute problem.

To conclude, I believe we must be very cautious of letting our alienation from the mainstream on some issues spill over irrationally into other issues.  Good people can of course disagree and I hope I have provided some food for thought for those torn on this issue.

Addendum:

I do have an issue with the HPV vaccine.  It is simply unnecessary to mandate a vaccine where the vector of disease is a moral choice.  That said, I will likely have my daughters receive this vaccination.  People lie, and I do not want them to pay a price because their husband hid a past sexual history.

Further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccine_controversy

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A reader wrote asking what might be done in his local church to counter the adoption mania being pushed on so many families.  My edited reply is below:

1. Racial differences and ethnicity are subtle statistical phenomena.  Most people (and especially theology-oriented people) are unable to think beyond binary “right or wrong” issues.  For example, because blind racial supremacy is obviously wrong (e.g. “All blacks are inferior to all whites”), they think that means that the opposite must be true, i.e. blind racial egalitarianism.  Very few people are going to understand the principles of a normal distribution that differs as to mean and standard deviation.  When I was in engineering school, it was this very concept (computing the areas under a normal distribution curve) in an introductory engineering course that washed out about a quarter of the freshmen.  I can virtually guarantee no minister is going to take the time to understand this, and many of them simply cannot.  Yet because of the cultural bias they feel qualified to speak to things they really don’t understand.

2. On top of the subtle mathematical reality of racial differences, we have to grapple with another hard-to-understand statistical-ethical concept, the “tragedy of the commons.”  Adopting one more child from Africa means the world for that child, and has almost no marginal effect on the rest of society.  However, multiply that one hundred million times over and you have a problem.  Our productive, Western society is like a giant commons (a field where anyone can graze their cattle).  Everyone thinks the resource is inexhaustible and bears no personal cost for depleting the resource.  Or to reference another analogy, the old starfish story: a man is throwing washed up starfish into the ocean, is challenged by someone saying he is wasting his time, because there are so many starfish.  He replies “well it makes a difference for this one.”  You see the same reasoning going on with those who adopt. The problem with this analogy is that everything has an opportunity cost, yet a third subtle statistical-economic hard-to-understand concept.  If I spend 12 hours a day throwing starfish back into the ocean, I am not spending time with my family or earning any money to support them.  Similarly, most people see that they would be foolish to adopt 20 African orphans (though I’m sure there’s a family out there who will do this), because there would be costs to their family.  Well, the same costs exist with one adopted child as with twenty.  Unless you’re the Duggars or have fertility issues, most families have a practical limit as to how many children they can handle.  Adopting a child ultimately means one less natural child.

3. I don’t think most people will ever understand rationally why this is bad, anymore than people understood, until fairly recently, exactly why eating rotten meat was bad for you.  The stench was enough to stop the behavior, not some abstract germ theory.  Many white people have a genetic defect, which is an unusually low level of ethnocentrism, akin to a predilection for eating rotten meat (actually, Swedes DO eat rotten fish, and like it).  I think this trait was bred out of us due to our isolation in Northern Europe, where suspicion of others became a liability when everyone was your third cousin and you needed exceptional community-level cooperation to survive the harsh winter.  Some white people have the instinct, some don’t.  Those who are wild-eyed fanatics about adopting you can never convince.  Our focus must remain on those who do have the instinct, but feel pressure to conform.  Much of my writing is an effort to produce an apologetic that will provide cover for those with healthy instincts.  A lot of this is limited to Northern Europeans.  I have some Cajun and Native American blood, and most of my European heritage is Celtic, not Nordic, so I believe this accounts for the relatively strong ethnocentric instinct I have.  You rarely see Italian, French or Greek whites doing this sort of thing.

4. There is also an enormous amount of pride and moral posturing in regards to adoption.  White people carry around a lot of white guilt from decades of propaganda, and what better way to alleviate that than to adopt a black.  See, we’re not racist, really!  Even better if a nasty racist actually objects to your adoption!  You’re so non-racist you’re being persecuted for it!  This moral posturing, supported by the entire establishment, church and state, makes it impossible to attack the problem directly through reason.  The more the “racist” reasons with someone, the more holier than thou they feel.  All false belief systems give a great amount of pleasure to their adherents because it makes them feel like a member of an exclusive group.  In fact, it is precisely the irrationality that so effectively separates the chosen from the “gentiles” so to speak.

Another issue: we both like to be part of theologically robust churches, which typically means smarter churches full of middle class professionals.  These people tend to be the very ones who have the wrong instincts.  Very few country churches with a “normal” sampling of white people are jumping on this bandwagon.

5. The best we can do at this point is to attack the problem sideways.  Some sideways objections I’ve covered:

a. Adoption is expensive, bad stewardship.  If you don’t own your house, you have no business adopting for $20k.  You are choosing to keep debt rather than pay it off, and God does not bless debt.  Dave Ramsey makes this very argument when people ask him if they should do something optional or pay off their house.  He puts it to them this way, “if you owned your house, would you borrow money against it to do this?  Because it’s the same question.”

b. Adoption is baby stealing.  Point out examples of corruption in Third World countries, where babies are being sold to Westerners who think they’re adopting:

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/05/05/pm-dark-side-chinese-adoptions/

c. Adoption doesn’t solve anything.  Roy Beck’s “Gumballs” video is an excellent formulation of this argument:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPjzfGChGlE

Roy does a great job of showing us how to present our message in the right way, as a caring, respectable white person.  Roy is a good Methodist, so he understands messaging to upper middle class white people well.

Adoption is a not a practical solution.  The solution to the world’s problems must be implemented in those countries.

What you’re trying to do is provide a fig leaf “excuse” for those with the proper instincts to opt out of the massive pressure the churches are putting on people to adopt.

6. This may sound depressing, that all we can do is mitigate the mania.  History teaches us all manias have a way of self-destructing.  During the Tulip bubble, when a tulip bulb cost more than a home in Amsterdam, the best course was to not buy tulips.  There was no hope in the midst of the mania to stop it.  Humans are too irrational.  I believe we are at the tail end of a multi-decade economic mania, and it is natural in flush times for people to believe that common sense wisdom no longer applies.  Adopting African babies is every bit as logical as investing in a dot-com with a sock puppet commercial during the Super Bowl.  There is ample evidence that much is below the surface.  During the early 90’s recession, David Duke and Pat Buchanan almost broke out into the mainstream.  During this recession, the Tea Party spontaneously erupted.  Ethnocentrism tends to come back with a vengeance when people lose their faith in the free lunch and permanent boom.

7. The adoptions themselves will eventually provide a deterrent.  Inter-racially adopted blacks are just going to have all kinds of problems that nice upper middle class white people aren’t prepared for.  I think when these cute little babies grow up into sexually mature Africans in about 15 years you’re going to see people become more cautious.  To make another analogy, a lot of homeschooling families we know, in addition to being adoption enthusiasts, are home birth, anti-vaccine and raw milk enthusiasts (and if you believe in these things, I apologize, but these are my opinions).  You can do something foolish for a long time with no consequence.  But eventually, somebody’s kid is going to have cerebral palsy because a midwife couldn’t perform a c-section.  Eventually, the nice farmer you’re buying raw milk from is going to have an anthrax outbreak in his cattle.  Eventually, some of these kids are going to die from previously eradicated diseases because the parents weren’t wise enough to vaccinate in a country filled with Third World immigrants who handle food.  Then the enthusiasm for these things will wane.  Louis Pasteur was not a tool of big pharma: he was a Christian who developed vaccines and pasteurization processes to keep people from dying from preventable causes.  Similarly, our ancestors were not evil racists who just wanted to keep black people down; there were reasons behind their attitudes that conformed to reality.  But it can go on for a long while.  Man is depraved in every faculty, and the best we can often do is two steps forward, one step back.

One of the big problems driving all of this irrationality is the emotion-driven pseudo-spirituality.  These folks may claim they have real theology, but to a man (or woman) they really believe in private revelation.  God “revealed” to them that they shouldn’t vaccinate, or they “feel comfort as a mother” in feeding their kids raw milk.  They turn the birthing process into almost a sacrament of spirituality, instead of the serious medical procedure it actually is.  The popular theologians, even the ones who claim to be robust, promote this kind of reasoning, and the same kind of vacuous spirituality drives the adoption mania.  We have yet to fully purge out the navel-gazing pietism even in these supposedly conservative churches.  BTW, a great popular book discussing this is “Just Do Something”:

http://www.amazon.com/Just-Do-Something-Decision-Without/dp/0802458386/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1299167543&sr=8-1

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My knowledge of human biodiversity is a constant comfort in my family’s homeschooling efforts.  I’ve seen many parents stress themselves out about academics, and the sheer plethora of materials and teaching methods are overwhelming.  By necessity, women like my wife are usually the primary homeschooling parent, and one thing I’ve noticed about Christian homeschooling mothers is the deep sense of guilt and anxiety they seem to have concerning their homeschooling competence.  Add to this the selection of extroverted “Perfect Mommy” (if you believe their blog) homeschool bloggers and it’s enough to make any mother feel inadequate.  Unlike men, women don’t seem to be able to write off obsessive outliers as weirdos (men, for better or worse, have stronger egos typically), but rather doubt themselves and their decisions based on a blog post she read about how someone’s four year old is supposedly learning calculus with play-doh while doing copywork out of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

I try to comfort my wife with scientific reality.  Among my conclusions:

1. All of these various methods of homeschooling, whether Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unit Study, whatever, NONE OF THEM have been subjected to a scientific controlled study documenting whether one or the other is better (and no study would likely show any difference between reasonably robust curriculums because of #2).  All of the “evidence” presented is anecdotal and useless, or based on an elaborate system of untestable hypotheses about how learning is supposed to occur.  My family chooses to do a more-or-less classical-based curriculum, but that’s based on a personal preference (specifically that my children are exposed to the heritage of their civilization and don’t become just narrow-minded Biblicists, i.e. Bible idolaters who reject the notion that all truth is God’s truth).  I have no illusions that my choice of curriculum will make a difference in any child’s academic outcomes.  I am also prepared to abandon our curriculum choice if it seems in the best interest of a child, the family or their mother.

2. Human Biodiversity: identical twin studies have pretty much proven that intelligence is about 70% genetically determined.  Of the remaining 30%, about 70% of that is based on non-genetic developmental biology, i.e. proper maternal nutrition during pregnancy, breastfeeding, sufficient iron intake during childhood, a safe and stable home environment etc.  That leaves 9% up for grabs for our homeschooling efforts, which is approximately the same maximum difference in IQ outcomes you see for identical twins (i.e. same genetics) raised in different homes.  Do your best, as in all things, but there’s no need to shorten your life with anxiety over homeschooling.  E. O. Wilson, the world’s foremost living biologist, put it this way, as summarized by Tom Wolfe:

Every human brain, he says, is born not as a blank tablet (a tabula rasa) waiting to be filled in by experience but as “an exposed negative waiting to be slipped into developer fluid.” You can develop the negative well or you can develop it poorly, but either way you are going to get precious little that is not already imprinted on the film. The print is the individual’s genetic history, over thousands of years of evolution, and there is not much anybody can do about it. Furthermore, says Wilson, genetics determine not only things such as temperament, role preferences, emotional responses, and levels of aggression, but also many of our most revered moral choices, which are not choices at all in any free–will sense but tendencies imprinted in the hypothalamus and limbic regions of the brain, a concept expanded upon in 1993 in a much–talked–about book, The Moral Sense, by James Q. Wilson (no kin to Edward O.).

Science is proving Calvinism, folks.  There is no free will.

Don’t let the evolution word above scare you.  That’s just Wilson’s worldview poking out (to the extent he is not talking about microevolution), not the nugget of his scientific work.  Wilson is a brilliant Alabama native who did his research work on the world of ants.  One of the results of Wilson’s work was his finding that ants exhibit extremely complex behaviors naturally, without any sort of training.  This breakthrough research showed that genetics can not only determine physical characteristics of organisms, but also quite complex social behaviors, which culminated in Wilson’s theory of sociobiology.

Whether we believe it is by evolution or design, Wilson showed that genetics have a major impact on behavior.  Wilson is hated by Marxists, for he destroys their social theory of the blank slate.  If inequalities between people are due to inherent differences and not exploitation, then the whole Marxist theory collapses.

Interestingly, many Christians, under the influence of biology deniers like Ken Ham (who essentially denies microevolution in humans with his illogical and unbiblical assertion that we are all equal), have now adopted the Marxist theory of the mind’s development.  I prefer to relax and know that God has taken care of the details in a genetic code that I and my children inherited through no effort of our own.

In short, you don’t have to “let go and let God.”  You can let go because God already did.  Your child’s genetic code has already been providentially decreed.

As I’ve covered elsewhere in my body of work, this reality of the overwhelming role of genetics also has implications for marriage and adoption.  In short: genetics matter.  Marry well and have your own children if you can.  The Christians of Jane Austen’s world did not talk about “good breeding” because they were racist, atheist evolutionists.  They simply noticed God’s design, in both animals and humans, before it was crimethink to recognize human differences.

3. Moral Development: This is the big area that your parenting efforts can impact.  Again, this is subject to a Pareto effect.  Assuming your family practices Christian morals, 80% of the benefit of homeschooling is that your children are not subject to the moral sewer of the public (and, for the most part, private) schools.  80% of what’s remaining will come from your direct instruction, discipline and your children’s observation of your moral behavior, and their genetics (see Dobson’s The Strong-Willed Child for references on how “difficult” children are hard coded that way from birth, and the distinction can only be mitigated by stronger parenting, not eliminated).  When you walk out of a store with something you didn’t pay for, your child seeing you walking back in to pay for it is ten times more powerful than their memorizing the catechism questions on “Thou shalt not steal.”  The Bible speaks of moral development as a casual, continuous and largely oral process of discussing God’s Law with your children just as a normal part of life.  And this is yet another reason not to worry about their religious academic work.  Make a reasonable choice based on your particular Christian beliefs and let go of the anxiety.

4. Political Economy and Worldview: This is an area where I feel a particular conviction.  My comments above are based on an assumption of curriculum equivalence and reasonableness.  Any popular homeschooling math book will probably be fine, as math is not a controversial subject.  However, since so many Christians have huge gaping holes in their worldview when it comes to the Human Equality Delusion, and this delusion has such a serious impact on the structural rot of our society, I am largely on my own in developing antidotes to these delusions so my children can truly understand how the world works.  I am working towards these ends.  My best idea so far is to particularly avoid contemporary religious writers.  When someone like John Piper writes with the authority of a minister of God, and presents ideas as true (for example, the Human Equality Delusion) which are not true and are outside the domain of his expertise, children can be influenced to believe bad ideas because they are coming from a religious source.

I would much prefer my children get their doctrine and instruction from theologians who lived before the Equality cult became predominant, or who actively fought it during their lifetimes.  The best authors seem to be those from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, theologians like Warfield, Thornwell, Van Til, Dabney, Rushdoony and to some extent, even C.S. Lewis (Lewis’ epilogue to The Screwtape Letters, “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” skewers the Equality cult).  While many earlier theologians were heavily influenced by the Enlightenment idea of the blank slate, these later men were exposed to a more developed theory of genetics and biology which better informed their worldviews, and had the luxury of digesting these truths of nature into a solidly Christian worldview before the current oppressive regime of political correctness took hold.

At some point I will publish a comprehensive list of recommended historical sources and textbooks for developing a proper worldview.  Since my children are young (our oldest boy is eight), I do not want to recommend anything we haven’t yet used.

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Advice to Young Men

I recently gave some advice to a young man who shares my Kinist convictions.  I told him that if a marginalized group wants to become mainstream, it needs to avoid any incidental weirdness to its core values.  The psychological warfare perpetrated by the SPLC and others sometimes makes one reactionary, which ends up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of nationalists as angry, strange men to be avoided.

This is particularly important for any young man seeking a mate.  Women are not naturally political like men for the most part, so anyone who expresses a non-mainstream opinion on an issue as touchy as race is automatically suspect.  You don’t want to exacerbate this disadvantage by being quirky and strange in other ways, for example, like displaying flags associated with low status, using the “n” word, etc.  Here’s why:

Women aren’t really interested in your politics per-se (and if they love you and come from a Christian anti-feminist background, will come to agree with you naturally as God created them to be a helpmeet).  Women have a problem: strange, creepy men.  The male sex has more genetic variance in expression, and one of the roles women perform is to weed genetically unworthy males from the gene pool so that their defective genes are not further propagated.  I believe many of these instincts are biological, and what seems to particularly bother women is any hint of an autism spectrum disorder, which is why women generally find men of above average intelligence but with normal social skills more attractive than highly intelligent men with a semi-autistic “geeky” demeanor.

This is important, as the autism spectrum disorders, while an offshoot of high intelligence, also have high liabilities: lack of normal emotional behavior, obsessive tendencies that may threaten the man’s ability to focus on provision for the family and/or developing the relationships within the family, lack of social skills and tact (which hurt social status and since so much is who you know, also one’s earning power).  Intelligence is subject to a declining returns curve; a man of 120 IQ and normal social skills is a better mate (and will produce healthier, more normal children, and likely earn more) than an awkward geek with an IQ of 140.

Let me give you an example of what women have to watch out for.  Recently, I visited my parents’ home.  In retirement, my father has become somewhat of a Ford Mustang aficionado, joining the local club and attending car shows.  In my dad’s case (besides the fact he’s already married), this is not anything that really interests a woman but also fairly normal for a man of his age; it’s a hobby he enjoys but he doesn’t take it seriously.  As part of his hobby, he subscribes to Mustang Monthly.  Featured in this month’s issue is a spread about a strange man from Pennsylvania who has spent all of his money his entire adult life on Mustangs and Mustang paraphernalia, and even went to the extreme of building a custom home to house his cars, such that he can live among and with the Mustangs.  Here’s a picture of this interesting male specimen:

The self-written article provides more details:

In the automotive world, most vehicles get relegated to a garage or carport. The special ones gain entrance into museums, dealership displays, or private warehouses. I wanted something different. Mine were to come into a house with me so I could actually live with them. It wasn’t a question of “why?” but “why not?”

By that time, there was a small problem. I was buying collector cars and having to pay rent for both their storage and my own personal living space. It was getting expensive, but as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

In late 1999, I put down a deposit on an ’00 Cobra R, but the dealership lost out in the lottery to get one. It was a blessing in disguise. Instead, that money went into a three-acre parcel of land. I then hired an architect to help me design a simple, efficient ranch home to enclose both me and my cars.

Things didn’t happen overnight or come easily. Opposition came from neighboring property owners who feared I’d litter my yard with old parts or rusty, rotting hulks. They envisioned loud exhaust rumblings at all hours of the night and frequent trailers coming up the lane. In other words, they saw a hot-rod bachelor who was going to lower property values.

Truth be told, many people, including my parents, thought I was a little south of sanity for pursuing this. My father, an interior designer for 52 years, never partook in a project like this. My mother knew early on that I marched to the beat of a different drum, but even this seemed “over the top” in her book.

I’ll admit the first night there, I sat on the porch past midnight staring at the stars and thinking back on all the sacrifices I made to make this “dream” happen-the 80-hour work weeks working three jobs; no fancy vacations; skipped or simple brown bag lunches; no cable television, computer, or cell phone; and no wife, kids, or pets (women can be much more expensive than any car). Please note: I’m not a surgeon, stockbroker, CEO, or lottery winner. I’m just a dedicated, hard-working guy who loves cars and sets goals to achieve them.

More crucial though, they need to know that going your own way in life is more important than following the herd. I have a Porsche brochure that sums up my mantra: “It’s only when you don’t try to conform that you can be the one thing that really matters-yourself.”

God has programmed women to automatically reject males like this.  This is why it’s so important to be as normal as possible in every area of your life outside of your core values.  Don’t pigeon-hole yourself as a freak.  Unlike this guy, who definitely has some variant of Asperger syndrome, you can help it!

Jane Austen nailed it.  Women seek men with “liberal” personalities because it is these men they feel will do the best job at loving them, providing for their families and not abandoning these first responsibilities in pursuit of obsessions, political or otherwise.  I happen to think women are right; their pre-rational instincts lead them to the right conclusions in a normal, healthy society.  Don’t be so reactionary to the defects of our society that you end up alienating this female instinct.  Be a normal, friendly clubbable guy who just happens to want his grandkids to look like his grandparents, in possession of the same country.

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Family Catechisms

One of the things I most appreciate about the Reformed tradition is its high level of literacy and drive to define what it is exactly we believe.  The catechisms in particular help impart a Biblical worldview to our children, organized in a logical and orderly fashion.  To the extent they are based on Scripture, they are for this limited basis (developing a comprehensive worldview) better than unfiltered Scripture.

Yet while bringing one’s children to a saving knowledge of Christ is the first objective (and the end of catechism training), I have not seen a similar use of the tool to impart wisdom.  To explore this possibility, I have written a series of family catechisms for my family addressing issues relating to Biblical wisdom, including subjects such as wealth, charity and marriage.  Over the next few weeks, I will release sections of this for your perusal.  You may not agree with everything I teach my children, but maybe it could be a starting point for teaching wisdom for your family.  I continue to refine it, editing it in a Google Doc whenever I have an update or tweak to make.  I’m sure some of you can offer constructive criticism to help me.  My children are still fairly young so there is yet hope to undo any damage 🙂

Generally what we find in Christianity today are antinomians and legalists.  Both miss the point: most of the important decisions in life are not between sin and non-sin, but between wise and unwise.  The antinomian denies there is such a thing as wisdom (often pursuing whatever feels good to them, and thinking they’re acting at the prompting of the Holy Spirit), whereas the legalist wants to make everything a black-and-white sin issue.  Wisdom is subtle and to some extent situational.

So here I present the first section of my family catechism, dealing with wealth.  There are four major sections, and once I have endured all of the critiques, I will post a final version in PDF form, similar to my essay on interracial marriage.

The Generation5 Family Catechism

Finance, Wealth and Money
What is wealth?

Wealth is stewardship over assets and resources of God’s Creation for which one is entitled, before men, all income and enjoyment.

Should Christians seek wealth?

Yes, wealth is a blessing of God for Christians and is a fulfillment of the Dominion Mandate.

What is the Dominion Mandate?

The Dominion Mandate is God’s command for His people to multiply in number, subdue the earth and disciple all nations in Christ’s name.

How do we answer people who say Christians should not seek wealth?

The notion that Christians should not seek wealth is usually an error of pietism.

What is the error of pietism in regards to wealth?

Pietism makes an idol of spirituality, when God makes no such distinction and has declared of all of Creation good, including those parts of Creation that constitute wealth.

Why is the pietist rejection of wealth particularly harmful to Christ’s Kingdom?

The pietist rejection of wealth accumulation has resulted in Christians surrendering significant portions of Christ’s Kingdom in the economic sphere to unbelievers.

The following three questions are from the Westminster Shorter Catechism to emphasize the pietist error in regards to wealth.

Which is the eighth commandment?

The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.

What is required in the eighth commandment?

The eighth commandment requires the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.

What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?

The eighth commandment forbids whatever does, or may, unjustly hinder our own, or our neighbor’s wealth or outward estate.

In what primary way can we improve the wealth of ourselves and others?

We improve our wealth and that of others through the free market exchange of lawful goods and services.

Why is a free market exchange a net increase in wealth for both parties?

The value of goods is relative for each buyer in the market, and a willing free market exchange means both parties enjoy an increase in wealth for the transaction.

Is wealth always a blessing?

No. Wealth can be a curse for Christians and non-Christians who make it an idol.

How can one avoid making wealth an idol?

Since idolatry of any kind is a sin, the primary means of victory is through prayer, reading Scripture and hearing the preached Word of God in a Bible-centered Church.

What view of wealth should a Christian have to avoid idolatry?

Christians should see their wealth as belonging to God and as a blessing of God for which they are mere trustees for God and future generations.

What should Christians seek to do with their wealth?

Christians should seek to grow their wealth for the benefit of their descendants and the work of the Kingdom.

Why should Christians seek to create wealth for the benefit of their descendants?

The Bible says that a righteous man leaves his children an inheritance.  Part of this inheritance is material and rightly includes wealth.

How has pietist error distorted this Biblical command to leave an inheritance?

The pietist error in regards to wealth has caused many wealthy Christians to abdicate their responsibility to raise up their children to be stewards of wealth after them.

How do wealthy Christians abdicate their responsibility in response to pietist error?

Many are convinced they must deny their children an inheritance out of a false sense of spirituality and simply give the money away to various ministries and nonprofits.  Giving should always be made on the basis of increase and not significantly impact the principal of wealth, the preservation of which is the chief responsibility of a Biblical family trustee of wealth.

Why should a wealthy Christian not donate a large portion of his wealth to a ministry or nonprofit?

First, the management of wealth is a specialized skill, and ministries and nonprofits do not have the skillset to properly steward wealth, otherwise they would generate the wealth themselves and not need assistance.  Second, with significant resources, due to man’s depravity, nearly all ministries and nonprofits become bureaucratic organizations run for the benefit of management and employees.  Third, well-funded organizations tend to attract the attention of Christ’s enemies, who actively organize to control and pervert the original mission of the organization.  Fourth, nonprofits and ministries are subject to unstable and changing government regulations, which limit the impact of general giving not directed to specific projects.

How, then, should a Christian provide for the management of his wealth after his death?

By ensuring that the wealth remains as private property where it is less likely to be dissipated, and raising Godly, responsible children to be stewards after them.

What types of Kingdom work may be supported by a Christian’s wealth?

The work of Christ’s Kingdom extends into every sphere of life and includes support of one’s family, support of the local church, and support for efforts to restore individuals and institutions of our society in ecclesiastical, domestic and political contexts.

What ways of earning and growing wealth are permissible for a Christian?

Christians may earn and grow their wealth through the free market exchange of any legal good or service that is not inherently sinful and is not sold through false witness.

What is money?

Money is the most desirable and marketable good for which all other goods can be traded.

Is money the same as wealth?

Money is an important form of wealth but not all wealth is comprised of money.

What is materialism?

Materialism is idolatry of money as the means of acquiring material goods to provide meaning for one’s life.

What is the end of materialism?

Materialism is a dead end spiritually, because material goods never satisfy man’s sinful nature.

What is debt?

Debt is money owed to another, usually paid back with interest.

What is interest?

Interest is money paid in addition to paying back debt to compensate the lender.

What does the Bible say about debt?

The Bible says that debt is slavery.

Is debt necessary is some situations?

Yes, debt can be necessary to provide for needful things, such as shelter, food, clothing and transportation.

When is debt most dangerous?

Debt is most dangerous when combined with the idolatry of materialism, because the debtor enters unnecessarily into a form of slavery.

What is our family’s opinion of debt?

Our family’s goal is to avoid debt if at all possible, and use it at most to acquire a home.

Is it permissible for our family to enter into debt for a business enterprise?

Our family holds as a matter of principle that debt is unacceptable and any business or investment requiring recoursable debt should be avoided.  Non-recoursable debt tied to a specific income-producing asset may be acceptable in certain circumstances.

When purchasing a home, what level of debt is reasonable?

A reasonable amount of debt for a home is the least amount possible, but in no case should the total payment exceed 25% of gross income on a 15-year note.

How much may one reasonably own of transportation consumption property, such as cars, boats or recreational vehicles?

The total value of all vehicles owned should not exceed half of one’s yearly income.

What is thrift?

Thrift is the practice of minimizing unnecessary expenditures and seeking the highest value in necessary expenditures.

Why is thrift a particular virtue?

Thrift indicates a three-fold blessing of God: lasting wealth, self-control and intelligent faculties.

Does thrift always mean spending the least amount of money?

No, thrift seeks the highest value over the long term regardless of initial cost.

Does thrift only apply to money?

No, thrift also applies to time.

Why do we seek to be good stewards of time as well as wealth and money?

Time is an asset, just like money, and should be treated as such.

Why is time a particularly valuable asset?

Time is the only asset of which it is impossible to acquire more.

Who gives us time?

Every day and every breath in our life is a gift of God, just like wealth and money are gifts of God.

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