On The Psychological Implications Of The Economic Competition Based Culture

It is my personal theory that there are fundamental psychological implications inherent to and natural within an economic competition based culture. Thus I offer the following thoughts regarding both the human personality and the social predicament of life in an economic competition based culture.

Freud’s theory of the personality is based upon the concept of an ongoing conflict between three components of the human psyche. The basic instincts; known as the id, seek pleasure and self gratification without any concept of reasonable regulation or moral constraints. The newborn child functions primarily in accord with such base instincts, and thus cries out for comfort and instant self gratification with no regard for any conflicting concerns. The cries of a baby are instinctive reactions to discomfort, and are likewise indicators of a natural hedonism as our core instinct.

Left unfettered of course our instinctive hedonistic nature would destroy self or others in an irrational and amoral quest for instant gratification and self fulfillment. For example, a toddler who chases a ball into traffic lacks the reasoning capacity to comprehend the perils of their own pursuit of pleasure, and can thus prove a danger to their own self existence even though their actions are in accord with their base instincts. Or that same toddler might hit and dominate a weaker child in an effort to take away a toy that tickles their instinctive fancy. Chaos would ensue and the preservation of the self and our entire species would be questionable were we to never develop beyond our core instinct for pleasure without regard for consequences.

The human thus develops the faculty of reason; known as the ego, which coordinates and regulates the interaction of the instincts in real world relationships so as to pragmatically protect the individual from their own instinctive impulses for instant gratification. Self preservation is the primary concern of the ego, and thus the rational self regulates our base instincts towards that practical end. However, a reasonable sense of self preservation in and of itself lacks any moral direction with which to govern our quest for self gratification.

The human thus develops a moral faculty, which Freud termed the superego. The super ego thus serves to regulate both the instinctive hedonism and our natural sense of self preservation. Without any moral faculty there would be no safeguard to preserve our species against the chaos which would ensue from a world of beings whose instinctive hedonism was solely monitored by each person’s sense of self gratification.

In essence the Freudian theory of the personality is that of an ongoing conflict between and the coordination of three selfs within each person. The instinctive self seeks instant self gratification with no regards for the consequences to self or others. The rational self measures self preservation against the instinctive desires and so governs the wants in accord with one’s own self preservation. The moral self factors an ethical code into the reasoning process and so governs the will in accord with socially acceptable standards and a natural sense of compassion and empathy. The conflicts between and the coordination of the three selfs within each person function so as to allow each of us to emerge into mentally healthy and socially balanced individuals.

There are of course a variety of factors which conflict with the natural development of the tripartite human personality. Stress which arises from one’s social environment as a child can create a host of neurotic thinking and behavioral patterns which alter or even damages the development of the natural tripartite human personality. The expectations of accomplishments in a competitive social market imposed upon the individual as early as preschool ages through forums such as organized community sports programs creates social stress which is oftentimes escalated by fanatical adults whose addiction to the concept of winning creates a culture among mere preschoolers that labels certain children as more talented or less talented than others even as they are enduring the natural stress of entering Kindergarten.

The labels and class identification informally imposed upon mere children progresses and escalates through their entire childhood as the distinction between the physical and intellectual skills are insensitively exposed through a variety of competitive civic and school related forums. The psychological effects of unfulfilled expectations, perceived failures, guilt of “letting down” one’s community or family, and basically the transparent labels of “winners and losers” creates undue stress which impairs the natural development of one’s tripartite personality even before emerging into adulthood and “everyday life”.

Additionally the ongoing stress of the everyday struggle to survive as an adult in a competitive economic system which forces meaningless alienated labor and which exploits human efforts and energy inflicts psychological injury and emotional impairment. In such a system humans are reduced to the role of a mere commodity to serve as the transparent means to the beneficiary ends of an isolated elite. Psychological effects from the labels which distinguish success and failure based upon how one fares in an economic competitive society are by no means lost on adulthood. Meanwhile those who live a leisurely existence as a result of the efforts of others are insulated from the psychological suffering of insecurity and the mental degradation of being exploited as a mere commodity.

The ego of the exploited laborer thus conditions working class folk to function as a commodity in an economic system which affords no reasonable alternative. When survival is based upon a person having to sell their daily efforts and energies in order to enrich the economic ruling class, then the instinct to seek one’s own good serves to condition a submissive compliance with such a degrading scheme. The worker is thus ruled by their own capacity to reason through a scenario with limited alternatives to arrive at the conclusion that to be used and exploited is preferable to hunger and death. The psychological effects of compliance with an arrangement which renders the individual a willing slave to their need to survive surely impairs the natural development of the human personality.

One such manifestation is the general depression and chronic angst of working class people in economic competition based cultures. The economic insecurity of working class people who are overworked and underpaid, or who are unemployed creates undue stress which oftentimes leads to drugs, depression, general anxiety, and a host of other social and behavioral disorders. The constant fear of the loss of income, or the agony of budgeting bills when one lives paycheck to paycheck can oftentimes result in physical and mental illnesses. Stress is a slow killer, both physically and mentally, and the struggle for survival in a competitive economic market amounts to systemic stress and manipulated misery.

By nature the mind may protect itself by a variety of coping mechanisms. One such feature in dealing with the stress of the everyday struggle in an economic competition based culture is experienced through the socially conditioned superego. Oftentimes those who are victims of exploitation in such a culture cope with their circumstances by actually rationalizing their conditions of meaningless alienated labor on behalf of others as a natural experience or even more extreme yet as a seemingly noble endeavor. Protestant religion which emphasizes a strong work ethic and respect for authority seems a coping process of the superego for those who are so indoctrinated. Thus Protestant Christians are conditioned to accept the degrading experience of alienated labor and transparent exploitation in an economic competition based society as a matter of faith and duty.

Meanwhile the super ego of the economic ruling class is negated by their instinctive ego to serve their own good by using and exploiting other people. Their fixation on their own leisurely comfort negates any concept of right or wrong even when such exploits the lives of others. Predatory exploitation of the basic need of others merely for the purpose of mass accumulation is clearly unethical and socially immoral to those who are the victims of such an arrangement, yet to those who are the primary beneficiaries of the labor of others such is rational and reasonable. The negation of the super ego is a social impairment of those who condition their conscience to justify the utility of other human beings as mere commodities for their own enrichment.

The insensitivity of the ruling class with regards to the psychological and physical suffering inflicted upon the working class victims in an economic competition based culture is evident manifestation of a suppressed super ego. The moral interpretation of the super ego of ruling class folk conflicts with the natural aversion to suffering which is innate and instinctive. Subsequently, seemingly civilized people of the ruling class are able to rationalize and justify the suffering of the working class people whose alienated labor and transparent exploitation sustains their leisurely existence.

Even more so, the suppressed superego of the ruling class renders them capable of justifying further social atrocities such as collective murder in the name of war, genocide and occupation in the name of manifest destiny, and environmental irresponsibility in the name of progress. The standards of ethical and moral concerns are different for those of the ruling class, as their sense of entitlement and their lust for power have conditioned them to suppress the natural development of their superego so as to justify the psychological and physical suffering which they inflict as they use and exploit other people.

In essence, working class and ruling class folk each tend to cope with an economic competitive culture by living in denial. Each functions in accord with our natural hedonism in their daily quest for comfort. The ruling class is most comfortable when using and exploiting others in order to sustain their lives of comfort and leisure. Thus their suppressed super ego allows them to do so with a sense of assumed entitlement and a clear conscience. The ego of the working class meanwhile rationalizes that alienated labor and transparent exploitation are more reasonable than suffering and death, and so they submit to their daily degradation with a sense of dignity and self respect. The superego of some working class folk even embraces their alienated labor and transparent exploitation as a natural experience or even a noble endeavor. Living in denial is a natural safeguard of the human psyche.

For such are among the psychological implications of the social predicament of daily life in an economic competition based culture.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

Advertisements

On Libertarian Ethics

As a libertarian ideologist I maintain that free will is a basic human right, and that all legitimate rights are derived from our natural basic needs. Everyone is born expressing free will, for the cry of the newborn asserts a natural aversion for discomfort and is a subsequent demand for comfort and care. Generally speaking very little changes in this regard from the moment of one’s emergence from the womb to the very instant of one’s death. The rudiments of libertarian ideology are realized in those earliest experiences of our being, and remain so throughout our lifetime.

Freedom of expression and legitimate human rights are derived from nature and are applicable to everyone on an equitable basis. It follows then that such rights are not subject to being supplanted by another individual, nor by system or social collective. The implications which follow constitute the basis for libertarian ethics.

The notion of libertarian ethics is paramount to the very principle of libertarian ideology itself. Free will unfettered by ethical restraint would constitute social chaos. Such an atmosphere would render oppression and exploitation. By no means could such a circumstance be regarded as libertarian in any sense of the concept.

The limitations of liberty are elementary to the universal applicability of the very concept itself. Thus the applicability of legitimate rights to everyone necessarily limits the freedom of anyone to impose upon such with reference to any other given individual. Each person’s natural rights then negate any perceived liberty of anyone to alter or supplant another individual’s rights. The question then arises as to the distinction between legitimate rights and perceived rights which are in fact illegitimate.

As legitimate rights are derived from our basic natural needs, then assumed rights which are not evident from nature are in actuality illegitimate assertions as so proposed. In this regard efforts to exercise one’s will at the expense of another’s natural rights are illicit endeavors and are representative of illegitimate authority. Hence any system so inclined likewise qualifies as an exercise of illegitimate authority and should therefore be either amended or altogether eliminated in order to maintain libertarian principles.

The principle then of “freedom from” serves as a natural governor which quite adequately regulates one’s perceived “freedom to” with regards to human relations. In fact the utility of such in essence is the basis for libertarian ethics. For each individual then to comprehend the limitations of their own freedom there needs to be a degree of understanding as to the rights which are natural to each person based upon our innate qualities and implied human rights.

Comfort being the primary concern of the individual from the womb to the grave so to speak, then it follows that such is the basis for natural rights. There is perhaps no more basic human instinct than to seek comfort and to avoid any degree of discomfort. The moment by moment quest for comfort constitutes the process of each person’s daily existence. Thus it seems reasonable that any exercise of one’s perceived freedom which hinders or denies the legitimate right of another person to comfort would constitute an illicit effort of illegitimate authority.

In essence libertarian ideology entails the responsibility to recognize and respect the natural rights of others. Inconsistency in this regard may very well be the assertion of one’s will, yet such is by no mean the exercise of a natural right. For the denial of any given person’s natural rights is by no means in and of itself a natural right. Rather such constitutes a breach of legitimate libertarian principles.

The principles of libertarian ideology being rooted in the concept of natural rights, then libertarian ethics naturally restricts one’s actions as a matter of respect for the natural rights of others. Libertarian ethics are thus derived from the concept that the free will of the one is always to be regulated by the natural rights of the other. Liberty for all then necessarily entails the limits of individual and collective freedom so that everyone may be truly free from any degree of oppression or exploitation.
.

On The Man And The Millennials

There was a time when those who resisted imperialism, exploitation, and collective murder in the name of national identity understood the concept of “the Man”. Casual references to “the Man” in songs such as “Military Madness” by CSN and “Born On The Bayou” by CCR reflected the collective insights of the youth of that generation as to the transparent authoritarian nature of the American way of life. And as Jack Black so passionately proclaimed in “Schoolhouse Rock”, the simple reality is that the Man is everywhere!

In fact, the reason that the counterculture youth movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s was “counter culture” is because in those days those who resisted in general understood that the Man is rooted in the mainstream institutions of society which serve to execute systemic oppression and economic exploitation of the masses in the name of conventional ideology. Indeed “the Man is in the White House and down the hall”. The counter culture youth of that era rebelled against the establishment as such, for they recognized the fundamentals of fascism in the very institutions of convention which propagandize the fairy tale myth of freedom and liberty in a society of domestic wage slavery and interventionist wars abroad.

The counter culture revolutionalists of that time rebelled because they realized that the Man was not just an individual or a specific political party, but rather the entire amoral system which used and abused people while parroting lip service to the concept of liberty and human rights. Frankly, the counter culture youth of the late 60’s and early 70’s were critical thinkers in a culture which coveted conformity as a means of subtle crowd control. That which the Man cannot abide is the individuality of critical analysis and free thought.

Now inasmuch as I have an unapologetic respect for the counter culture movement of the youth of 50 years ago, I am equally amazed at the resiliency of the Man. For in spite of the Woodstock culture and the Watergate scandal, the Man not only survived but in many ways is as influential as ever in an effective beat down of would be social dissidents. Ironically, the effort to foment fear as a means of social control which failed in the case of the counter culture youth of the late 60’s has yielded its intended effect in post 9-11 America. For even though the young counter culture revolutionists of the late 60’s had been trained as grade school children to hide under their school desks in case of a hypothetical nuclear attack, in time they came to recognize the Man as the enemy instead of the imaginary Commie crouching in the shadows. Such fear baiting may have failed the Man by the late 60’s, but that very methodology has proven quite effective since 9-11 for an entire generation which has been raised to willingly march off to war in order to battle alleged enemies harboring imaginary weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of that reality is that whereas the Man depended on the Draft in order to facilitate the Vietnam War at that time, there is no such systemic coercion in order to maintain the ongoing Bush-Obama-Trump wars of today.

It would seem that the Man has finally achieved authoritarian utopia. A generation of seemingly willing participants who dutifully volunteer to fight and kill in the interventionist wars of the 21st Century. And the Man doesn’t even have to worry about any Catholic priests or rebellious teens burning Draft Cards! The will of the Man for collective conformity would seem to be complete. Those who have not sold out to the Man seem to have bought into the concepts which enable the authoritarian tyranny of the establishment.

And then came the social dissidents from among the Millennials.

For as in the 60’s, the times they are a changin’.

For the millennial generation seems to have awakened to the corruption of the establishment. And the Man is once again beginning to feel the heat of the people in the streets. Even the political puppets are showing albeit tentative signs of concern that they may actually have to consider the will of their constituents instead of merely representing the interests of their corporate doaners.

Critical thinkers of a generation who are informed enough to know the reality of the effects of climate change and world war are actually questioning the wisdom of denying the reality of the one and engaging in the other. The youth of today are becoming aware of other cultures less prosperous than our own who have the will to provide healthcare for everyone and higher education for the qualified, and they are pressing the establishment to account for student debt and healthcare insecurity in a society that writes blank checks for endless wars and is willing to fund silly ventures such as a Space Force.

The times are a changin’, and the Man is feeling’ the heat.

Time will tell whether the generation of my children; the Millennials, and that of my baby grandson will be able to resurrect a counter cultural social resistance which once and for all brings social change which ends imperialism, exploitation, and collective murder in the name of national identity. But at the moment such a movement for the sake of humanity seems to be underway.

As CSN once sang, “it’s been a long time coming, but it’s always darkest before the dawn”.

Introducing A Blog Dedicated To The Concept of Play Education For Children

As a Secular Humanist, I trust natural instincts which govern human thought and activity as a sufficient source for sensible thinking and sensitive social relations. Morals and ethics derived from our innate sensitivity for the suffering of others are the basis for peaceful and non-violent social relations. The ancient Chinese thinker Mencius taught that “all things are complete in oneself” and that altruism would develop as one looked within and trusted their own feelings. The philosophy of Mencius was an expression of humanist values which encouraged practical experience and intraceptive perspectives as fundamental to daily living.

The fact is that by nature we are intraceptive beings in that we relate to the world through our feelings and emotions. Unfortunately, by systemic design we are oftentimes indoctrinated otherwise. The natural development of children is in all too many cases suppressed and even discouraged through the well intentioned yet potentially repressive theory that education should be a format of rigid rules and oppressive obedience training techniques.

Fortunately, there are professional educators on the introductory and elementary level of public education who are realizing the value of play and imaginative expression as a natural means of effective child development. In fact, one such professional is so passionate as to such that she has created a writing blog dedicated to the principle of play as a preferred and practical means of child education both in the home and in the public school setting.

Thus as a Secular Humanist whose primary concern is a peaceful society of well developed and altruistic human beings, I wholeheartedly endorse both the theory of play as education in child development, and the following blog as a viable and valuable aid for parents and teachers alike who are interested in exploring and enhancing the concept in their own specific setting:

https://littlewonderseverywhere.com/

(Note: The link to the site is likewise listed on my Blogroll on my Home page as well. Dave)

On Libertarian Socialism and Social Transformation

As a libertarian socialist, I aspire to a society rooted in the fundamentals of freedom, liberty, and the common good. State controlled so called socialism fails towards that end, as does neoliberal corporatism. In other words, state control and private industry each fail the standard of freedom and liberty as basic human rights, as well as the end purpose of a humane society; namely a collective effort to supply for the common good.

The means to accomplish such ends would entail either the transformation of the agents of authority into administrative entities towards the general welfare, or the elimination of any given agency of authority which cannot justify itself as a feasible means of supply towards the common good. The decentralization of all authority and the democratization of all entities within any given culture seem necessary expedients in order to achieve the ends of libertarian socialism.

As the political process can either obstruct or aid in this process, then the transformation of such towards the end of freedom, liberty, and the common good is a given. Thus, in a corporate driven government such as the neoliberal ideological based two party system of the US, either an extreme revision of or an outright replacement of the operative components so orchestrated is a logical necessity.

Or so it seems to me.

The Essence of Ethics

The notion that we humans are self equipped with instinctive qualities for ethical thinking is evidenced by our natural aversion to suffering for self and others. It seems to me that we are born with the former and that we develop the latter quite early in life through the most basic of natural experiences. Mencius’ illustration of our aversion to the suffering of a dog is a prime example of our natural sensitivity for the suffering of others. Our moment by moment quest for comfort seems to be a kinetic illustration of our natural discomfort in general.

It seems to me that such basic human qualities are the basis for ethical thinking, which in turn should translate to subsequent ethical behavior.

The Twelve Years of Christmas

A Humanist's perspective

THE 12 YEARS OF CHRISTMAS
By Dave Henderson

There are two Canonical accounts of the birth and early childhood of Jesus.

By Canonical of course I mean texts that are deemed worthy of inclusion in the Bible per the standards of the Catholic scribes who composed such in the 4th Century CE. There are several Infancy gospel accounts, but only those of Matthew and Luke met the approval of the Bible composers. I myself am somewhat partial to the Gospel of Thomas. Thomas relates several fanciful boy Jesus stories which did not merit Catholic scribe approval for inclusion in the Bible; yet which are both entertaining and enlightening nonetheless. A topic for another day no doubt.

Now though the tone, topics, and even time frames of Matthew and Luke differ with regards to the childhood of Jesus, they each claim that he was divinely conceived and of a virgin birth…

View original post 2,345 more words

Tribalism: The Confessions of a Campbellite from Carrollton

Tribalism.

Denominational Protestant Christianity; bible thumping ideology of the Church of Christ. Every good Campbellite knows that there are no other Christians, there are no other saved ones, there are no other saints, and there is no other spiritual kingdom; save for them that are members of the Church of Christ. Immersion, not sprinkling, for the remission of sins, and for no reason other. If baptized any other way, or for any other reason, then your baptism did not get you saved, it just got you wet!

Tribalism

Of course, Muslims are more lost than Baptists and Methodists. But they are all lost nonetheless, unless they repent and are immersed into the Church of Christ.

Tribalism

Be true to your school! Trojans before Lions, and Eagles before Vikings. Depending on what part of town you are from. The Battle of the Spike, Texas-OU weekend, and win one for the Gipper!! RAH! RAH!! RAH!!! Go home team, win, win, win!! Down with the vile visitors from the other side! Boo!! Hiss!!!

Tribalism

All us kids from Carrollton knew this joke back in the day. Question: What does FBI stand for? Answer: FBI stands for a “Farmers Branch Idiot” Ha! Ha! Ha! The joke’s on you!!

Tribalism

An observation while watching a movie at the Plaza Theatre back in the day. Question: Why are all the black kids and their families sitting in the balcony at the rear of the theatre? Answer: Because they are black, and their families know that they are supposed to sit in the balcony at the back of the theatre.

Tribalism

Elephant or Donkey; of whose tribe are ye? Choose ye this day, but choose wisely; like me! It’s one or the other, Red State or Blue. Unless heaven forbid, say it ain’t so. You’re no Socialist are ye? O no no no!! Vote for the corporate puppet of your choice, it’s your constitutional right. Red State or Blue State; Elephant or Ass.

Tribalism

Blue or Gray, North or South, Poor or Rich, Gay or normal, homosexual or homo sapien, lazy or ambitious, successful or failure, lost or saved, Texas or some other insignificant State, the USA or some other insignificant country.

Tribalism

Choose ye this day whose god ye shall serve, whether the wrong god or mine, but choose ye you must!

Tribalism, confessions of a Campbellite from Carrollton.

The Sand Creek Massacre: November 29, 1864

On this date, in the year 1864; the infamous slaughter of approximately 200 peaceful Native Americans by members of the US Military was executed at Sand Creek in the Colorado territory. The preparations by the US Government for the event were as sinister as was the brutality of the event itself.

For weeks leading up to the massacre, peaceful Indians were encouraged and enticed to assemble and dwell at Sand Creek under the guise of forming somewhat of a safety zone from the violence of allegedly “bad Indians” or any conflicts with the US Military who were patrolling the area in search of such alleged menaces to society. (Society of course being gold diggers who found the presence of the indigenous people an annoyance and a hindrance to their efforts). In retrospect, it is clear that the peaceful Indians who were assembling at Sand Creek were actually being corralled for the slaughter.

Having assembled a sufficient quorum for the killing, the commander who had arranged for the assembling of the Indians at Sand Creek, (who seems to have been sympathetic to the plight of the Native Americans) was suddenly recalled and replaced by a Christian Minister Military man by the name of Chivington. Chivington was a murderous mercenary who aspired to a career in politics, and who also believed in and commanded the genocide of the American Indian people.

And on this day in 1864, for a period of 6-8 hours, Chivington and his men did their part in an effort to such a very end.

The record of the atrocities afflicted against the unsuspecting Indians during the massacre consists primarily of two letters written a few weeks later by two Officers of character who refused to engage in the Sand Creek slaughter. The most outspoken of the pair was Silas Soule, who told his superiors and his men the night before the premeditated mass murder that any man who engaged in such an endeavor against the peaceful community was a “low life cowardly son of a bitch”. Although threatened to be hung if he did not take back his words and engage in the massacre, Soule stood by his words and the next day commanded his men to stand down when the killing commenced. (Soule was never executed as threatened, but he was murdered the next year in Denver. Soule’s murderer was never brought to justice, but years later would himself be buried with honors)

In closing my commentary as to the slaughter of the innocents at Sand Creek 153 years ago today, I offer the following three links which provide more history as to the event, including the text of the two aforementioned letters written by Soule and Cramer, a pair of men of character among the low life cowards who did in fact carry out the massacre itself. The third link is a personal letter which Soule wrote to his Mother; which is dated four days after his letter to the former commander Wynkoop (I must warn the reader that the letters of Soule and Cramer are graphic, and that the description of the slaughter involves bodily mutilation of the basest sort, and the slaughter of children who were begging for their lives; among other atrocities too gruesome to bear):

Soule’s Letter to Wynkoop (former Commander): 12.14.1864: http://www.kclonewolf.com/History/SandCreek/sc-documents/sc-soule-to-wynkoop-12-14-64.html

Cramer’s Letter (12.19.1864): http://www.kclonewolf.com/History/SandCreek/sc-documents/sc-cramer-to-wynkoop-12-19-64.html#sthash.ptjUSrsB.dpbs

Soule’s letter to his Mother: 12.18.1864: http://www.kclonewolf.com/History/SandCreek/sc-documents/sc-soule-letters.html

Misogyny In The Law Of Moses: Femaleness Devalued And Disdained

The society which produced biblical literature was clearly male oriented and misogynistic. The very explanation for the hardships of survival is blamed on a woman in the Hebrew Creation Myth of Genesis 3, and even the Ten Commandments relegated wives to a role equivalent to an item of personal property. The degradation of women and the double standards between the genders are each consistent and common themes within biblical writings, and the fundamental basis for each was apparently derived from an assumed inferiority of the former from the day of their very birth. Hence, the reason that misogyny and the maltreatment of women are both normalized and legalized in biblical literature is that the culture which produced such both devalued and even seems to have disdained the very concept of “femaleness”.

“The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Say to the people of Israel, If a woman conceives, and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. 3 And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying; she shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. 5 But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation; and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.” (Leviticus 12.1-5)

“The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Say to the people of Israel, When a man makes a special vow of persons to the Lord at your valuation, 3 then your valuation of a male from twenty years old up to sixty years old shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. 4 If the person is a female, your valuation shall be thirty shekels. 5 If the person is from five years old up to twenty years old, your valuation shall be for a male twenty shekels, and for a female ten shekels. 6 If the person is from a month old up to five years old, your valuation shall be for a male five shekels of silver, and for a female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver. 7 And if the person is sixty years old and upward, then your valuation for a male shall be fifteen shekels, and for a female ten shekels.” (Leviticus 27.1-7)

In the case of the laws regarding childbirth, a woman was considered unclean by the very act itself. The sexism related to such thinking is unmistakeable. The double standard regarding such is transparent and hypocritical. The very notion that a woman is impregnated by a man, and then is regarded as unclean when she delivers the product of the impregnation defies logic and sensitivity. Furthermore, to compound the insult, if a woman delivers a female baby then she is regarded as being twice as unclean. The double standard of such legalized misogyny clearly indicates a disdain for the very concept of femaleness in general.

Then, in a case of put your money where your misogyny is, the laws regarding the value of one’s very being assessed females at a fraction of the worth of a man. The blatant bigotry of male superiority (and thus female inferiority) as written into the laws regarding valuation sacrifices reveal the depth of the feelings which the ancient Hebrew culture which produced the Old Testament had for femaleness in general. Females were thought of as less than worthy in that male dominated society, and hence women were regarded as mere private property of men (cf Exodus 20.17).

That such double standards and degradation of women were ever normalized to the point of being legalized in any culture is a shame and a pity. But then to realize that many contemporary cultures view biblical literature as a social template with regards to patriarchal rule and female subjugation, and the concerns are compounded to the extent that the influences of such should be regarded as ill advised.

(NOTE: All biblical citations are Revised Standard Version; Biblegateway.com)

Next: “Misogyny In The Law Of Moses: The Male Right To Veto The Vow”