America’s Dwindling Economic Freedom
“World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.”
“But as the U.S. economy languishes, many countries are leaping ahead, thanks to policies that enhance economic freedom—the same ones that made the U.S. economy the most powerful in the world. Governments in 114 countries have taken steps in the past year to increase the economic freedom of their citizens. Forty-three countries, from every part of the world, have now reached their highest economic freedom ranking in the index’s history.”
“Hong Kong continues to dominate the list, followed by Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand and Canada. These are the only countries to earn the index’s “economically free” designation. Mauritius earned top honors among African countries and Chile excelled in Latin America. Despite the turmoil in the Middle East, several Gulf states, led by Bahrain, earned designation as mostly free.”
Why Atheists Are Angry at God
Joe Carter’s series series on apologetics and worldview analysis looks at the strange phenomena of why so many atheists are so angry with the God they don’t believe exists.
Many claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, they tend to be the people most angry at him.
The most striking finding was that when Exline looked only at subjects who reported a drop in religious belief, their faith was least likely to recover if anger toward God was the cause of their loss of belief. In other words, anger toward God may not only lead people to atheism but also give them a reason to cling to their disbelief.
Joe’s ends his survey of recent research with an appeal for a new apologetic:
I’m beginning to suspect that emotional atheism is far more common than many Christians realize. We need a new apologetic approach that takes into account that the ordinary pain and sufferings of life leads more people away from God than a library full of anti-theist books. Focusing solely on the irate sputterings of the imperfectly intellectual New Atheists may blind us to the anger and suffering that is adding new nonbelievers to their ranks.
Masculinity is More than a Mask
A popular new documentary, The Mask You Live In, argues that a harmful social code of masculinity is the cause of male aggression and depression. There’s a great response here from Christina Hoff Summers. She says of the film-maker Jennifer Newsom:
I admire Newsom for using her considerable talent to advocate for boys. But I worry that she is less concerned with helping boys than with re-engineering their masculinity according to specifications from some out-of-date gender-studies textbook. The trailer is suffused with males-are-toxic ideology but shows little appreciation for how boys’ nature can be distinctively good.
Sommers says that Newsom should go back to the drawing board and craft a new film with the following emphases (summarized):
1. Recognize that masculinity is more than a “mask”
“The title and content of the film suggest that masculinity is a cultural creation. That is only marginally true. A lot of typical boy behavior, such as rough-and-tumble play, risk taking and fascination with gadgets rather than dolls, appears to have a basis in biology….We do not yet fully understand the biological underpinnings of these universal tendencies, but that is no reason to deny they exist.”
2. Appreciate the difference between healthy and pathological masculinity
“Most boys evince healthy masculinity. They may enjoy mayhem in games and sports, but in life they like to build, not destroy. Their instinct is not to exploit vulnerable people but to protect and defend them.”
3. Acknowledge the virtue of male reserve
The driving message of Newsom’s film is that we must free our young men to become emotionally expressive. Of course, parents should do all they can to improve their sons’ emotional literacy. But parents (as well as wives and girlfriends) should keep in mind that male reticence has its advantages….Male stoicism may be adaptive and protective. If you want a boy to be more forthcoming, Rose has good advice for parents and counselors: “You will have to persuade him that it serves a practical purpose.” Engage his male instinct for problem solving.
4. Make clear that most boys are psychologically sound and resilient
The Mask You Live In gives the impression that the average adolescent boy is severely depressed. In fact, clinical depression is rare among boys….Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) does appear to be an epidemic among boys, but the implications of that are ambiguous. It could be that as a society, we are pathologizing age-old male rambunctiousness. Some experts have suggested that ADHD would be significantly reduced if we allowed boys more unstructured recess and occasions for spirited rough-and-tumble play.
The energy, competitiveness and corporal daring of normal males are responsible for much good in the world. No one denies that boys’ aggressive and risk-taking tendencies must be socialized and channeled toward constructive ends. But the de–Tom Sawyering of the American boy should not be anyone’s agenda. I am sure it is not Newsom’s. Yet her film in progress suggests otherwise.